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The Handyman Startup Podcast: Small Business | Marketing | Lifestyle | Home Improvement

Learn How To Start Or Grow A Handyman Business

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HS 003 – 5 Strategies To Increase Your Hourly Rate

Have you ever wondered why some handymen are booked solid at $75/hour while others are struggling while only charging $25/hour?  Sure, level of skill plays a major role, but there is  much more to the equation. In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast, I discuss strategies that you must implement in order to demand a solid hourly rate.  There are 5 things that have allowed me to go from charging $25/hour to demanding $60/hour and having customers be more than happy to pay that.  I discuss each in detail so you can start making more money with your handyman business. Here’s what to expect in this podcast: Why your appearance plays a major role in how much you can charge. How targeting the right customers will make or break your business. How the types of services you offer effects your profits. How to re-assure customers and increase the likelihood of being hired. Why quality should be integrated into every aspect of your business. Thanks for listening and don’t forget to put these strategies into action right away. If you find this information helpful, be sure to subscribe so you can receive my podcasts as soon as they are released.  Also, a quick review on iTunes is very much appreciated! How to subscribe: Go to iTunes (if you’re on a mobile device, you’ll need to download the podcast app) Click Subscribe.  It’s that easy. Now you can get all of my best advice on the go!


19 Apr 2013

Rank #1

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HS 016 – 7 Lessons Learned From 3 Years In Business

In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast I share 7 of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in the last 3 years in business.  These are lessons that have changed my mindset and the way I view business, people, and the world in general. Today marks exactly three years since I quit my engineering job and decided to venture out on my own in an attempt to control my own destiny and design a better life for myself. Deciding to quit on that day was the best (and hardest) decision I’ve ever made for myself.  Because of that decision I was able to start a successful handyman business, create this website, and enjoy the entire experience (well, most of it). That’s pretty cool considering that while working as an engineer I was depressed, out of shape, and really unhappy.  Things have pretty much made a 180 degree turn for the better. While quitting my job was a great decision, it wasn’t always easy.  There were a lot of struggles over the last three years and many times where I wanted to give up and just go get another job.  There’s a steep learning curve as a beginning entrepreneur.  But, with the support of my readers, friends, and family I was able to stick it out. Through those struggles I learned a LOT, often times things that I didn’t even know I needed to learn.  That’s what this latest podcast is all about – those major lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’m excited to share these with you today because they are things I think about all the time.  It’s great to share my story with the hope that it may help you along your journey to dominate life and start a successful handyman business. Here is a sneak peak of what you can expect in this episode: Why you shouldn’t care if a customers say your too expensive. Why saying no is such a valuable skill. Why you shouldn’t even worry about your competition. How to learn what you don’t know you don’t know. My best tips and secrets on how to enjoy this business to the fullest and design it exactly how you want. Related Resources: How to get more customers – Handyman Marketing Machine The Ultimate Handyman Pricing Guide Michael Port – Book Yourself Solid JamesAltucher.com  (I don’t mention this in the podcast, but I think his blog is worth mentioning.  Check it out.) Thanks for listening and if you get a chance, please leave a written review on iTunes.  It helps the show gain more exposure and you may even get featured on the next podcast. Comments or Questions What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since starting your business?  Or, if you haven’t started yet, which one of my lessons hit home the most?  Let me know in the comments below!


17 May 2014

Rank #2

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HS004 – How To Target the Best Customers For Your Handyman Business

Trying to sell a product or service to EVERYBODY is the opposite of a good idea. However, way to many small businesses try to do so and end up wondering why nobody is buying what they sell. While it may seem counter-intuitive, it’s actually much more effective to target a very specific group to market your services to. This allows your marketing pitch to be more specific to that particular customer group and resonate with them on a higher level. The more your marketing relates directly to their beliefs, pains, or desires, the more likely they are to buy your stuff.  Period. Since there is a wide range of beliefs, desires, and problems with different customers, it’s almost impossible to create a marketing campaign that relates to all of them at the same time – at least not on a level that convinces them to buy.  That’s why trying to market to everybody just doesn’t work. As a handyman business owner, it’s just as important to target a specific customer base as with any other business. Here’e what to expect in this podcast: A step by step method you can implement to reach your best customers. The importance of targeting the right customers. How you can eliminate time wasting customers by simply filtering them with your marketing content. How to target real estate agents with laser precision. How I target my customers. Once you’ve listened to the podcast, please leave a comment below if you have any more questions on the topic.  And don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes! As always, thanks for listening.


3 May 2013

Rank #3

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HS017 – Grow Your Handyman Business With Chuck Solomon

In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast I’ve got a special guest – Chuck Solomon.  Chuck is a former handyman business owner, an author of multiple books, and a business consultant. He’s literally written the book on how to start and grow a handyman business.  (See resources below for a link.)  He’s also just an all around nice guy who’s looking to help tradesmen like you grow your business. Just like most handymen, Chuck kind of fell into the business and before he knew it had a list of customers asking him to do all kinds of work.  He capitalized on the opportunity, offered excellent service, and soon enough he was running a successful biz. After 10 years, Chuck decided to hang his hat and sell his business and became a consultant.  He’s now using the valuable knowledge he gained during his own journey to help others. Back in episode #10, Jim Copenhaver talks about the importance of mentors.  Chuck was one of the mentor’s he was speaking of who helped him build his business. Talking to Chuck in this episode is very humbling as it makes me realize that there is still a lot I can learn about this business. Here are a few things we cover in this episode: Why you shouldn’t give free quotes and what to do instead. How to build instant credibility with customers. Who you should hire first if you’re looking to grow. How to find and hire skilled labor step by step. How to qualify customers and avoid tire kickers before they waste your time. Resources mentioned in the podcast: Chuck’s books:  “Building Your Successful Handyman Business” & “Upkeep“ Chuck’s website:  ChuckSolomon.com (Want help growing your business?  Chuck offers consulting services.  Contact him through his website.) The Handyman Web Academy – Learn how to generate your own leads online. (Now called “Handyman Marketing Machine”) Thanks for listening!  And if you get a chance, be sure to leave a written review on iTunes.  It helps me tremendously and you may even get a shout-out on the next episode.


27 Jun 2014

Rank #4

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Why You Should (or Shouldn’t) Start a Handyman Business

This week (first week of July 2013) I’m taking the entire week off from my handyman services to celebrate Independence day and I couldn’t be more thankful for having that opportunity. This excitement about my ability to control my schedule and take off time at my will has got my brain turning with all of the benefits that come along with owning a small business, more specifically, a handyman business. You see, two years ago in May of 2011 I was still working at an office job that I, for lack of a better word, hated.  Sorry to be negative, but it’s true.  I had been working at this desk job for the previous 3.5 years and every day it seemed like a little bit more of my soul was draining away. I’d sit there at my desk, across the room from my boss, feeling like I had been imprisoned from 8am to 6pm every. single. day.  I was 28, unhappy, unhealthy, and clawing desperately to gain the courage to turn things around and improve my life. Finally, I mustered up the courage to say “screw a good paycheck and full benefits, I’m unhappy and something needs to change.” So on Monday, May 3rd of 2011 I put in my notice and two weeks later I was free!  On that day I decided I would never live a life suppressed by “the man.” Fast forward 1.5 months and I went camping with my buds and celebrating 4th of July.  Despite having no idea what I was going to do with my life or how I was going to pay the bills, It was the first time in a long time that I was truly happy and excited about life.  What an amazing feeling. 2 Short Years Later… I’ve come a long way since then, figured some stuff out, and have started and grown my handyman business into something I’m very proud and happy to operate. This week, I’m about to take that same trip to a Lake in the Mountains of Idaho to camp and boat with 9 of my good friends, just as I’ve done for the past 2 years since I quit my old job. I am truly happy in the moment and am full of life and excitement about the future.  Quitting my job and starting my handyman business was one of the best decisions of my life. This trip is really special to me because it not only represents America’s freedom and independence, but my personal freedom and independence. So… In this podcast, I discuss the many benefits of owning a handyman business as well as some of the disadvantages. This podcast is meant to help you decide if the handyman business is right for you.  And if you’ve already started yours, it is sure to make you happy you did! Here are some of the key points: The many financial benefits of starting a handyman business. The many Lifestyle benefits of starting a handyman business. The financial and lifestyle drawbacks of the handyman business. The must have personal characteristics of a good handyman business owner.


1 Jul 2013

Rank #5

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HS018 – Interview With Ed Padilla: Home Inspector, Handyman, and Founder of ACHP

In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast, I sit down with Ed Padilla, founder of ACHP (Association of Certified Handyman Professionals). Ed has a really interesting story.  After being trapped in the corporate rat race for several years, he realized that he wanted something else.  So, he quit his job and capitalized on the demand he could see present for home repairs. In 2006 he started Padilla Home Inspection and Handyman Services.  Soon after getting started, he noticed that handymen had a terrible reputation in the eyes of homeowners.  Tired of getting the stink-eye every time he entered a home, he had the urge to change this perspective. Three years later, he took action and created ACHP, a non-profit, member based organization  to help handymen all over the country appear more reputable to homeowners.  Now, ACHP is growing and offering benefits to it’s members such as great insurance rates. I’m honored to have Ed on the podcast.  He’s doing great things for the handyman industry and by listening to him you get the sense that he really cares about our industry. Here’s what we cover in this episode: Where to go for your general liability insurance and what to consider. Insights into the home inspection industry. How to limit liability as a home inspector and handyman business. The importance of confidence when starting your own business. The most important skills you need as a handyman. Quality over quantity.  The benefit of taking your time on your jobs. What is the ACHP and why is it important? Resources mentioned in the podcast: ACHP website (go here for general liability quotes and more) ACHP LinkedIn Group (Great place to interact with other handymen even if you’re not a member of ACHP) Handyman Web Academy – Learn the best strategies for getting customers. (Now called “Handyman Marketing Machine”)


25 Jul 2014

Rank #6

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HS 015 – How To Go From Mowing Lawns to $32 Million In Revenue With Christy Webber

In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast, I’ve got something special for all you landscaping contractors out there. I bring on Christy Webber of Christy Webber Landscapes in Chicago, IL and uncover her story and how she went from a small town lady mowing lawns, to running one of the largest Landscaping companies in Chicago. I know this isn’t the typical type of guest I bring on the show and Christy isn’t a handyman, but the lessons she shares are applicable to all trades. Christy’s story is incredible, especially considering that she didn’t graduate with a business degree.  In fact, her education was in physical education.  She knew nothing about operating a business and just got started mowing lawns.  And that’s the key to her success, she just got started. Her determined attitude and love for her job helped her build a business that currently employs roughly 400 people!  Listen in to find out how. Here’s what we cover in this episode: Why some companies fail in bad economic times and others succeed. How to scale a service business even if business isn’t your strong suit. How integrating your story into your business can get your customers working to help you. Struggles with employees and how to deal with them. How to overcome fear and finally get started with your business. How brutal honesty with your customers can take your business to the next level. The importance of letting go and allowing others to help you. Links and Resources Check out Christy’s website here. Handyman Web Academy Info (Now called Handyman Marketing Machine) As always, thanks for listening!  And a special thanks to Christy Webber for joining me on the podcast and sharing her story to help others succeed. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Comments or Questions Did you find Christy’s story inspiring?  If so, let me know in the comments below.  Then, sign up for my e-mail newsletter to get updates when future episodes are released.


1 Apr 2014

Rank #7

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How To Learn Any Skill And Get Paid To Do It

As a home service professional, developing new skills to keep up with the competition is necessary.  For handymen, learning new skills is basically our job description. Not only is learning new skills important, but learning how to learn new skills efficiently is getting ever more important.  We are now in what is commonly known as the information age.  That means it is easier than ever to get starting with your business, but it also means that more people have access to quality information.  That means more competition. This tells me that in order to get ahead and pull away from the pack, developing a system for learning rapidly could mean the difference between success and failure. In this podcast, I discuss: 4 methods for developing your home repair skills. How I gained my handyman experience and skill set. My method for developing new skills (while getting paid). 3 Tips to accelerate your learning process. This podcast was designed to help you develop your home repair skills, but the methods described are applicable to any skill. Enjoy!

30 Jul 2013

Rank #8

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My Monthly Report – May 2013

Welcome to my May 2013 monthly income report!  I’ve been writing these reports each month since I started my business and this marks my 18th month in business as a handyman.  1.5 years baby! For those of you that enjoy my podcast, good news!  This month, you can listen to my monthly report as I’ve featured it on the Handyman Startup Podcast.  You can find it in the itunes store or listen to it directly from this page (bottom of page).  Enjoy, and don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review! In these reports I share my income for each month, how I made that money, how much it cost to make that money, and anything interesting that happened along the way.  I also share tips to help you dominate the home service industry. If you are first time reader of the blog, I’m not rich (yet :)).  In fact, this is my first business and I still have a lot to learn.  However, I’ve successfully created an income stream that supports my lifestyle doing something that I enjoy and have complete freedom over.    I used to work as a mechanical engineer and absolutely hated what I did.  Somehow, I mustered up the courage to quit and start something on my own.  It was the best career decision I’ve ever made.  Now, I’d like to help you create the same level of freedom that I’ve created.  May was an awesome month for my handyman business.  I continued to grow my client list despite the fact that I limited my schedule to only 3 days a week and have put zero effort into advertising in the last several months.  Not only did I gain customers, but I was more profitable than I have been since January of this year.  Old customers that I thought I’d lost were even calling me for more service. Schedule Upgrade – Part 2 I’m really exciting about this… In last month’s income report, I discussed limiting my workdays to only 3 days a week.  I did this so I could pack my schedule into less days giving me more time to work on this website and a product that I’m working on.  My goal was to only schedule customers on Monday through Wednesday while answering the phone the rest of the week.  Now that I’ve been doing this for over a month, I’d like to share my results, which are pretty awesome. Previously, I’d been scheduling jobs throughout the week and even work an occasional weekend.  When I did this, I’d leave a ton of time in between jobs just in case one of my jobs ended up taking longer.  Additionally, I would usually schedule one job a day until I filled up a week and then start stacking jobs up once I had a job for each day booked.  This naturally led to a lot of downtime in between jobs where I wasn’t making money or doing anything else productive.  I was wasting a LOT of time. Now, with my new schedule, I only schedule jobs Mon-Wed and pack the jobs much closer together.  This takes a little more finesse to avoid scheduling mis-haps, but it’s way more efficient.  I’ve scheduled up to 5 customer in a single day so far – a significant increase over the the 2 I’d have scheduled before.  Take a look at the pictures below to see the difference between the two schedules. Example of a weeks schedule using my old scheduling method. (16.5 Billable Hours) A weeks schedule using my new method. (21 Billable Hours) As you can see, my old scheduling method wasted a lot of time in between jobs and took up the entire week.  My new method of scheduling doesn’t waste much time between jobs and packs the same amount of work into just three days!  So I’ve managed to work less days and make just as much money. Another benefit of this is that I’m now consistently scheduled out at least one week.  That means I know exactly what I’m doing for the entire next week and allows me to make fewer trips to Home Depot.  If I do everything right and plan accordingly, this could reduce my trips to the hardware store by half. Sound enticing?  Why not apply this to your business and have more free time to spend doing other things you enjoy? It’s The Busy Season Spring is THE time for home improvement projects.  Just go to Home Depot next Saturday and you’ll see what I mean. With my handyman business it was no different.  Sometimes it felt like I couldn’t get away from the phone for 5 minutes without it ringing.  Since I’m only working 3 days a week, I ended up turning down a lot of business.  In fact, I could have easily done another 2 to 3 grand in work if I was as hungry as I was last year. While constantly answering the phone can get annoying at times, there are some good side effects of being too busy. One, I could be much more selective about jobs.  If a customer lived too far away or was asking for work that I don’t like to do, I would just turn them down.  I’d either say that I didn’t service their area or that I didn’t do that kind of work.  Existing customers are an exception to this, however.  If a customer is willing to hire me over and over, I’ll do my best to help them whenever I can. Secondly, I could bid a little higher on jobs without having to worry about losing the business.  If I didn’t get a job, I was sure I could fill my time with another.  If I did get the job, I made good money doing it. Last year, I also did very well in the month of May.  Even though it was only my 6th month in business, I was able to bring in $5,300.  It had to work a whole lot more than I do now to get make that, but I was still able to make really good money because there is so much business during spring time. Times may be good now, but… Don’t Get Too Cocky Even though things are going awesome right now, I can’t let myself get too confident. When business is going this good, it’s really easy to think you have everything figured out and that it will always be this way.  Just like when things are really slow and you wonder if they’ll ever pick up.  Like I’ve said before, it’s a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. And just like not letting the slow times get to you, it’s also important not to get too cocky when business is flourishing.  This could lead to getting sloppy with customer service or not treating clients the way they should be treated.  This has happened to me in the past and trust me, I regretted it during the slower periods. I’ve found that if somebody is your ideal client, you should do whatever you can to service them to a high standard.  But, this doesn’t mean you should serve everybody.  Wasting your time on the wrong customers will lead to failure just as fast as not treating the good clients well. Either way, it’s important to realize that there are other people that are willing and able to swoop in and take your best clients.  No matter how busy you are, always provide the same quality of service and treat everyone with respect. Income and Expenses Income: Existing Customers:  $2,457.25 Search Engines:  $2,640 Referrals:  $489 Expenses: Direct Job Costs: $999.35 Phone:  $69.82 Mileage:  $245.78 Insurance:  $94 Tools:  $39.62 Total Income:          $5,586.25 Total Expenses:        $1448.57 Net Profit:            $4,137.68  (last month:  $2,882.19) Billable Hours:  70.5 Income from Labor:  $4,486.97 Average Hourly Rate:  $63.64 I’m not sure it can be any more ideal than this (other than making more per hour).  I was able to stick to my 3 day a week schedule and still have the second most profitable month of the year. Sure, I could have made more money if I work all 5 days, but like I’ve said a thousand times before, money is not my only goal.  I can always make more money, time is the one thing I can’t make more of. Some of the numbers that I find really interesting here are my income numbers compared to my vehicle mileage.  By reducing the number of days I work, It looks like I’ve also been able to reduce the ratio between driving and working.  Not really sure how, but the numbers don’t lie.  This was the cheapest month in terms of vehicle mileage out of the whole year. In addition to the fact that packing jobs closer together is more efficient, I think that turning down jobs that were too far away was a contributor to the decrease in driving.  Also, I turned down jobs that seems like they were a waste of time (even if they were close) instead of driving out, quoting, and then not getting the job. Overall, I think the change I’ve made to my schedule was a great choice and I plan to continue with this schedule to see how it works out. Monthly Goals This month I met both of my goals – To maintain a $60/hour rate and to only work 3 days a week.  Feels good when it works out that way. But, how can I make this business even better and more enjoyable? I’m thinking the next step is to limit my service area for new clients.  I figure that by making my service area smaller and smaller I will save a ton of time and will be more profitable.  I’ll always continue to service my existing clients even if they live outside of that area, but maybe I can filter out new clients with this method?  I guess it’s worth a try. I don’t think it’s a smart move to just jump into this big of a change head first.  So, my goal for this month is to investigate the possibility.


13 Jun 2013

Rank #9

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5 Time Saving Tips That Will Shave Hours Off Your Work Week

In this session of the Handyman Startup Podcast, I share five of my most valuable time saving tips that I use every day in my business. As a handyman or other home service provider, you get paid for your time.  Time is a form of currency, with one major difference from other currencies – you can never get more time. That being said, it’s obvious why saving a few seconds, minutes, or even hours each day is extremely valuable – in fact, it’s priceless! That’s why I’ve decided to share these 5 tips with you so you can enjoy the many benefits of more time.  Who doesn’t want more time? Here are some of the highlights of this podcast: 5 easy to implement time saving tips that you can start using today. Why saving time is so important to not only your free time, but the growth of your business. BONUS TIP:  A tool I use everyday to literally save hours each week.  (hint:  It’s less than $20) Mentioned in this podcast: My marketing course for handymen.Click Here to learn more. Tim Ferriss blog post on saying no.


4 Oct 2013

Rank #10