Check with your state or local licensing authority to determine if your handyman work will require a license. To protect your assets it is very important to get the necessary licenses and that you have general liability insurance.
Insurance is necessary for two important reasons. Insurance will help to protect your assets in case something goes wrong with a job that you complete. Secondly, it will bring you more business. In fact, chances are that it will bring in far more revenue than the cost for coverage.
There are many handymen working in my area and it would surprise me if more than 1 out of 10 carries general liability insurance. The fact that I have insurance sets me apart from my competition and has helped me get additional jobs. I don’t hesitate to let people know I have it. “Insured” is on all of my printed materials and business cards.
Having insurance has also opened the commercial market for me. I have done work for professional management companies that have needed small jobs done at their retail stores. One of these companies required that I have at least $1,000,000 in general liability insurance, the second wanted $2,000,000. Interestingly, when I told them about my $1,000,000 coverage limit they still wanted me to do the work. This proved once again that a good handyman (especially one with insurance) is hard to find!
If my commercial experience is typical, $1,000,000 worth of general liability insurance is a good starting point. On my latest renewal I discovered that raising my limit to $2,000,000 did not increase my premium. Ask your agent for quotes on both coverage limits.
The more assets you have, the more important liability coverage is and the more coverage you need. Please consult your insurance agent for all of the facts. You will also want to get a full explanation of manifestation or sunset clauses when choosing your policy.
Finding coverage is not always easy, especially if you are a first year handyman. I called around to my local agents and had no luck. On the internet I found an insurance broker who was able to quote a policy for me. There are a couple of agents on my Resources Page. These policies are becoming more and more available and are often called “Artisan Policies”.