handyman business

Wood working questions and answers in here please

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whitt
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handyman business

Post by whitt » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:05 am

Hi guys, im thinking of starting my own handyman business and just want to ask what insurance i need + kind of costs im looking at. any links or advice is hugely welcome :thumbright: thanks guys
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Re: handyman business

Post by northwales4u » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:22 am

Public Liability Insurance is a must
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Re: handyman business

Post by lockie » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:59 pm

Only you know the costs, write a business plan and work them out.

For example how far to you need to travel to get work therefore how much fuel do you need.
How much is parking in these areas ?
What work do you intend to do ?
Liability is a must have as can be product insurance and also goods in transit for the van contents.
How are you going to get work, marketing can cost however much you want.Going to have a website ?

Try to think of everything you can and write it into your business plan (loads available free via google) and work out how much you need to earn each week to cover costs.Then work out how many jobs you need to do to earn that much and work out how much you want to earn per week.

Only once you start to do this will you get an idea on your true costs..
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Re: handyman business

Post by Beachcomber » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:54 am

As mentioned, liability insurance is a must - try trade direct for a quote:
http://www.tradedirectinsurance.co.uk/

Assuming you have your own tools then start up costs are minimal. You don't need a van - you can get magentic car stickers for your doors / sides dirt cheap at Vistaprint:
http://www.vistaprint.co.uk/car-magnets ... ng=Signage

You can also get business cards printed here as well as t-shirts with your business name etc.

Take time to design a proper flyer (nice layout, proper logo identifying your business, worded well) and get them printed up properly - home printed flyers look cheap and reflect badly on your business - you can get 1000 double sided colour flyers knocked up for about £45.00
Then get out and deliver them thoughout your area. If time is scarce and you have a neighbour with a nipper with a paper round - bung them a tenner to drop of your leaflets as they go on their round.

Visit local letting agents and chat to the person in charge of property maintenenace - they get flyers every day of the week which go in the bin so take the time to actually visit, have a 2 minute chat and leave them with your contact details.

Don't underestimate the power of a card in a newsagent window - get one of your flyers in every window in your area. Usually only costs 20 - 50p per week max.

Look at your local paper - not bothered with them myself as they charge the earth but your local may be more competitive and offer a good introductory deal. More effective (in my experience) are local directorys that are delivered monthly.

Don't bother with any of these online handyman / trade directories which charge you a subscription / % of your work - I have never heard of anyone making anything off of these sites.

Don't bother with yellow pages etc - you will be paying a fortune to advertise to thousands of people out of your area!

One thing to look out for is waste carrying - if you are going to be transporting waste from a job (even if it's only a bin bag full) you will need a trade waste licence (about £150.00 for 3 years) or run the risk of a council officer issuing a fine.
You can avoid this by offering a small discount if the customer agrees to remove the waste themselves.

With alot of determination and hard work it can work - and once you get those first few jobs you will get referals which are priceless!

Good luck.
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Re: handyman business

Post by whitt » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:21 pm

Thanks guys that helps loads, should have done it last year but i was made redundant and confidence was at an all time low, so thankyou again :thumbright: i aim to launch in jan 2011 and try and get some garden work over the spring and summer then hopefully i will gain some refurals etc for some joinery work and such like :thumbright:
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Re: handyman business

Post by royaloakcarpentry » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:00 pm

If you are hoping to be getting joinery work coming in, then why would you bother pushing a lawn mower around???
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Re: handyman business

Post by Beachcomber » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:09 pm

royaloakcarpentry wrote:If you are hoping to be getting joinery work coming in, then why would you bother pushing a lawn mower around???
Why would you not look for as broad a range of work as your skills allow?
When your business is booming you can pick and choose the best work if you like. When you are starting up you cast your net wide as a matter of necessity and to build your reputaion locally.

Once you have been up and running 6 months I'd recommend you have a look at yuor local councils web site and see if they are running the 'Buy with confidence's scheme. This is a scheme run by trading standards who vet you thoroughly and (if passed) you can use the trading standards logo on your van / paperwork / advertising etc. Very good for helping to instill peace of mind in customers.

I've just been accepted and have had a very positive response from customers.
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Re: handyman business

Post by royaloakcarpentry » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:40 pm

perhaps I ought to remember doing all things you are capable of and offer a weeding, watering and grass cutting service next year, alongside carpentry/joinery pmsl.
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Re: handyman business

Post by wine~o » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:05 pm

royaloakcarpentry wrote:perhaps I ought to remember doing all things you are capable of and offer a weeding, watering and grass cutting service next year, alongside carpentry/joinery pmsl.

Sorry ROC...I'm with Beachcomber...A diyer starting as a "Handyman" is gonna need every available source of income (until established)...Gardeners/Lawn mower pushers in my area charge £15 an hour..which, for some-one made redundant a year ago, might well be keeping a roof over the head ...and still leave a few quid for a few Beers and a curry on a Friday night...

But if he does pick up some decent carpentry work...Good luck to him.
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Re: handyman business

Post by royaloakcarpentry » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:04 pm

Aaaah, but the point was that he states that he wants to pick up ''joinery'' work. joinery isn't an unskilled handyman cut your grass change your light bulb type skill. If he is offering joinery work then that shows a high skill level. look at what joinery entails.............stairs cases, sash windows, casement windows, storm proof windows, making doors, frames with stuck mouldings etc etc etc.

When you have the skill set to be doing joinery works, why start a firm cutting grass..............after all how many people ask the local lawn mower pusher if they can give them a price to make a new staircase??
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Re: handyman business

Post by Beachcomber » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:31 am

royaloakcarpentry wrote:When you have the skill set to be doing joinery works, why start a firm cutting grass..............after all how many people ask the local lawn mower pusher if they can give them a price to make a new staircase??
:scratch:
When you are starting up you may get a few joinery jobs coming in - but what do you do the rest of the time?

a) Sit on your arse waiting for more joinery work?
b) Deliver more flyers looking for joinery work?
c) Take on other jobs - allowing you to earn, network, get referals, talk to customers about what else you can do and generally build your reputaion as someone who turns up on time, does a good job and charges a fair price.

..........or do you see gardening as 'beneath' you? :wink:

Work is work - you pay the bills and take care of the family, not turn your nose up at anything less than an order for a custom hand made kitchen!
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Re: handyman business

Post by Geewizz » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:44 pm

Well said!

@Royaloakcarpentry - I'm one of those people who likes to do a variety of different jobs. I can turn my hand to a lot of different skill sets. I will be doing a stone carving project for a client one week, working on a £200,000 landscaping job the next and clearing leaves in a car park another. I get contracts for private individuals on domestic properties and I work on huge industrial estates too doing contract fencing and building. Variety is the spice of life and it doesn't suit everyone to be doing the same thing day in, day out.
When I started out on my own, my first paying customer took me on to rotovate his veg patch for £30. I impressed him and he got me to replace the kerb on his driveway too. I did a good job and he recommended me to two people. It's now 14 years since that first job and I have never had to advertise. All my work has come from the people I worked for recommending me to others and I can't keep up with the demand; there just aren't enough months in the year.
It is good practice to push a lawnmower around a garden when you start up a handyman business. When you have enough work on the books to be able to choose which field of jobs you want to concentrate on, that is the time to change your business model. But at the outset, you don't want to be narrowing your options ... or your contacts.
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Re: handyman business

Post by royaloakcarpentry » Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:36 pm

Well Geewizz, I always thought you were a landscape gardener, shows how wrong one can be.

I must admit that when i started over 20 years ago I never thought to combine with changing light bulbs, baking cakes, cleaning ovens etc.

chose the trade and field and went for it.

Maybe that is where I went wrong.......on starting up, I should have ponced around the houses in the hope of picking up the work I really wanted.

Not that I see gardening beneath me................but then again my business isn't a gardening business.
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Re: handyman business

Post by lockie » Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:47 pm

When i first set up as a locksmith i did a stint doing handyman stuff.I ended getting a really nice job at a care home installing a complete new master suite system of 40 locks cut in from scratch.I only went there to give a quote for some shelves but ended up with a lovely lock job and never even did the shelves.
The trouble is now getting established is a lot harder than in years gone by.Its easy to forget how many years of built up word of mouth advertising has been built up.

But i also hear what royal oak is saying you wouldnt look to your gardener for a joiner would you ? Might be worth setting the joinery up as a sister business so you can build the quality side of things seperately from the general handyman stuff.Have 2 different websites showcasing the different skillsets perhaps ? Both business's could feed each other work and if it picks up you could employ someone to do the handyman stuff while you did the joinery.
Just a thought.
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Re: handyman business

Post by royaloakcarpentry » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:07 pm

That's exactly my point Lockie..............At the moment it sounds like he wants to go into business but hasn't a clue what he wants to be.

My comments might be negative to some but to others they are saying, ''don't ponce and fart around'' decide and do it otherwise you will be sidetracked into running a business that you never intended. 5 years down the line you will be cutting grass and not had one joinery job because you started up as Bob the Odd Job man.

I might patent that name pmsl.........got a ring to it. He fixes door bells too
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