Marketing

Do I Need to Have a Catchy Name for My Handyman Business?

If you’re interested in selling your business down the road you will want to have a catchy name.  It would be pretty tough to sell Jim Smith’s Handyman Service to Jenny Jones!

But there are some downsides.  Using a fictitious name (any name that isn’t your given name) will cost you some extra money.  Once you’ve chosen the name you’ll be required to register that name with the local authorities and to pay to publish the announcement of the name.  You’ll probably want to have a logo to go along with your new name too and that could mean additional expenses.

This is the route that I chose to take, but in retrospect I could have just used my given name and added “Handyman” as my title.  Besides saving on the cost of the filings and the extra time involved getting the paperwork together, I wouldn’t be on every credit card company’s mailing list under my business name!

Regardless of the name you choose, business cards are a must.  There are some great online print sources for professional looking cards listed on the Resources and Helpful Links section my website: SensibleHandyman.com.  You can lay out the cards online to save on graphics fees.

Order plenty of cards and give them out to everyone you know.  When someone asks for my card I always give them three so they have one to keep and two to pass on.

Do I Need an Email Address and My Own Domain Name?

Yes on both counts.  An email address and a domain name will help to build your credibility.  They prove that you are serious about your work and give your clients another way to communicate with you.

I encourage you to get your own personalized domain name and use it for your email address and your webpage.  There are many free email services and free web hosting services out there and you may be tempted to save money by choosing one of these.  Before doing that, consider these two email addresses:

[email protected]  vs. [email protected]

Who would you rather do business with?

Should I Accept Personal Checks?

Yes!  Most customers pay by check.  However, when in doubt do what the corner merchant does to cover himself.  Write the customer’s driver’s license number on the check to prove you checked their ID.  In order for the police to help you collect on a bad check, you will need to be able to prove who it was that signed the check.

Should I Ask To Be Paid in Cash?

No.  And don’t offer a cash discount.  Never tell a customer that you prefer to be paid in cash.  Asking for cash is bad business and a dead give away that you are cheating on your taxes. If they pay you in cash, accept it!

Will I Get More Business If I Accept Credit Cards?

I haven’t had a single customer ask if I accept credit cards. I don’t think they expect me to.  But I do offer the option and I think it brings me more business.

There are some compelling reasons to invest the money it takes to have a merchant account.  People will often have you do more work if they know you will accept their credit cards.  It is also great to be able to offer the credit card option to the rare customer who, after the work is done, says that they don’t have enough money.  If you have a merchant account you can let them charge it.

Secondly, by letting your customers know that you accept credit or debit cards you will set yourself apart from your competition.  Every advantage helps!

Here is the least expensive way to accept credit cards.  Open a Paypal business account.  Your customers can pay with their charge cards even if they don’t have a Paypal account.  The fees charged to you are minimal and are strictly on a per transaction basis.  There are no monthly service fees.  Your customers could also pay with their Paypal account.  Visit the Resources and Helpful Links section on this website for more details.

Marketing Your Handyman Business

The handyman industry needs professionals with good customer service skills.  Talk to your friends and neighbors…what experiences have they had dealing with a handyman?  Almost without exception you will get the same answers.  “They never called back…he didn’t show up.  I wasted a whole day waiting for him…all I got was an answering machine, I left a message three times…the job was never finished.”  Unfortunately the list goes on and on. Let’s get started…

How Can I Set Myself Apart From My Competition?

It is very easy in this business to put yourself ahead of the other handymen in your area:

  1. Answer your cell phone when it rings unless you’re in the middle of a conversation with a customer.  Return messages the same day (or night).
  2. Use a hands free device.  If your work is interrupted by a call, you can keep working while you talk.
  3. Show up on time.
  4. If you are running late, call the customer at or before your scheduled arrival time.
  5. Finish the job.  Keep this as a very high priority.
  6. Smile and say ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Thank-you!’
  7. Ask them if they are happy with your work.  Use the Customer Feedback card included in the Free Forms Packet.
  8. Ask if they would like any other work done.  Be helpful.  Leave some space in your calendar for the unexpected task.
  9. Clearly quote the cost of a job.  Avoid making vague estimates.
  10. Don’t try to get work by being the cheapest handyman on the block.  Be the best and demand to be paid as a professional.
  11. Don’t ask for cash as payment or offer discounts for cash payments.  Let the customer decide what form of payment to use.
  12. Be conscientious and reliable.
  13. Don’t get into lengthy conversations when you’re being paid to work.  Keep moving and demonstrate that the time clock is important to you.
  14. Don’t complain about the state of your world to a customer.  Brighten their day, don’t darken it.
  15. Don’t talk about politics or religion.
  16. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  17. Build a network of professionals in related fields like plumbers, electricians, general contractors, roofers, carpet cleaners and painters.  Refer out jobs that you can’t handle or are above your legal limit.
  18. Thank people who give you referrals.  Thank them again.   Thank them in writing!  Give them a token gift.  (Flash light? Fire extinguisher?)
  19. Prepare an invoice for every job.   Use the Handyman Invoice that you can download on this site. The simple act of giving your client an invoices for your completed work is an inexpensive way to upgrade your image and set yourself apart from the competition.
  20. Keep your truck clean and organized.  You’ll work more efficiently and your customer will notice.
  21. Be honest.  Earn their trust and ask for their referrals.

Should I Advertise in the Newspaper and the Yellow Pages?

I don’t think so.  Though these ads will bring you business, it is not always the type of business that you want.  As I’ve said before, by putting your name in with all of the other handymen in your area you are entering a bidding war for work.  There are better alternatives for your advertising dollar.

How Can I Save on Newspaper Advertising?

If you insist on running print ads, always test the waters with the least expensive ad you can run. Order the minimum ad run and only commit to a longer run or a larger ad after the first one has proven to be successful.  Follow this advice and you will easily save the money you invested in this book many times over!

Don’t forget to look online for free sources of advertising.  Craigslist.com will run services ads for no charge.

What Other Sources of Business Are There?

Real estate agents are a great source of business for a handyman.  The referrals that I get from them tend to be either pest repairs to complete the sale of a home, spruce up work to make a home more presentable for sale, or maintenance work on rental homes under their management.  These jobs tend to have a tight time line so your prompt response will earn you their loyalty and many referrals.  Real estate agents know lots of other agents and are glad to pass on your card.

The elderly are always in need of handyman work and will gladly let their friends know that they have found a good handyman.  In order to effectively reach the elderly, you must get to know them.  If you are active in a church let the senior ministry leader know that you are interested in offering your services to the elderly.  Sponsor the church newsletter and be active in the church community.

Get to know the in-home care managers and senior care advisors in your area.  They frequently need help with the installation of grab bars, wheel chair ramps and other modifications to make a home more accessible and safe for their clients.

Doing community service, being active in the PTA, coaching soccer, baseball or any activity where you are involved with groups of people will prove to be a source of referrals.  Simply carry your cards with you and let people know what you do.

Scroll to Top