Honey-Done Handyman - Home Based Business Profile
Do you need a handyman around the house? Perhaps you have too many projects, and not enough time. It could be that you lack the skills and special tools for the job.
If so, you're like a lot of people I know. There always seems to be so many things to do, and not enough hands to get it done.
Does this sound like an opportunity for small business ideas to take root and grow? I think it does.
Around my place, there are several remodeling projects that I want to get done. A room addition, a lean-to for my lawn equipment, a large storage area for tools and other equipment, and the list goes on and on.
Sometimes, you just need some help with everything you have on your honey-do list. Well, here is just the business you can get some help from. The business is called Honey-Done Handyman, and our young entrepreneur for this home business profile is Spencer Foster.
Let's take a look at who Spencer is and what he is doing with his home repair, maintenance and remodeling business.
Honey-Done Handyman is a well established business in Laramie, Wyoming. It has a good reputation for quality work and satisfied customers since 2004.
The impressive aspect of this business is that it's Spencer's first business, and he is a full time college student. Now, if you think you don't have what it takes to run a business while working your regular job, just think of how challenging it is to be a full time student (complete with homework assignments) and operate a full time enterprise.
In addition to home repair, maintenance and remodeling, Honey-Done Handyman also provides yard service, house painting and all sorts of odd jobs that are usually too small for a larger contract organization to handle.
On the left is a house that needs prep and painting. It's just the kind of job for Honey-Done Handyman, especially if you want it done right.
The picture on the right shows the house after the prep and painting is finished. What a nice looking job.
Spencer's motto is "no job is too small". Do you get a sense that this is a niche market that Spencer is cultivating? I sure do.
There is a portion of the home maintenance and repair market that goes unserved by many contract organizations because the overhead and "trouble" associated with small jobs just isn't worth their time. That's where Spencer's enterprise can fill the void.
It all started when…
In 2008, Spencer got the idea that running his own business would be a good thing to do - much better than working for someone else and putting money in their pocket. So, he got a loan and purchased Honey-Done Handyman in Laramie, Wyoming.
One of his motivating factors was the idea of self achievement - a motivating factor for many enterpreneurs. He has a strong belief in making his own way.
Being a novice business owner, such an undertaking would normally be a steep challenge, but the previous owner stayed on for a couple of months to show Spencer "the ropes". No doubt, this helped our enterprising student get off to a good start.
Yep, Spencer is stepping up in the world. And, speaking of stepping up, get a load of the nice new stairs that Spencer's handyman business built for one of their customers. Beautiful slate tile trimmed with long wearing oak hardwood.
How the business grows…
Here is yet another business that grows by word of mouth. No advertising in the paper or on the radio, just satisfied customers that tell other people about the handyman business that did a good job.
For many "onezees" the good word of satisfied customers is key to getting new customers. So far, Spencer has been kept very busy - about 50 to 60 hours a week, so his approach to growing the business is certainly working.
Another aspect of business growth involves associations with other businesses. Such cooperation can be a one-way street or it can be mutually benefitial.
Spencer has relationships with real estate companies that sell and manage real property. This provides a source of business leads. Real estate agents are in a good position to recommend Honey-Done Handyman.
Just think of all the leads for repair, maintenance and preparation of rental units and single family homes that can flow from associations with real estate offices. These are good relationships to build for a handyman business.
Benefits of the business…
One of the great benefits the business offers our young entrepreneur is experience. Many of us never get this type of hands on experience running an enterprise until we are much older.
Can you imagine the jump start Spencer will have in any career path he selects? The combination of his education and practical business experience spells "can do" to any potential employer. It will also sit well with bankers that might be called upon to help finance his next enterprise.
In addition to the income, Spencer also enjoys seeing his handyman efforts meet customer needs. He has a real sense of accomplishment, and that has to be very satisfying.
Resources you’ll need…
There are many ways that a handyman business such as this can be operated, but here is a "hit list" of the type of resources you might need to make a business like this run well.
- Cash or a line of credit - essential for buying materials and supplies, and floating a payroll. Depending on the amount of business knocking at your door, you might consider $25K to $65K a reasonable ballpark figure to start with.
You'll want to start with as low a figure as possible, but you also don't want to underfund the business either. Enough resources to "almost succeed" is still failure. A line of credit works well for this. You write checks off the account as needed.
A business credit card can be an effective tool for tracking smaller purchases. Keep in mind that most department store cards can only be used at the store itself and tend to have higher interest rates. A notable exception is the Lowe's credit card from American Express, which can be used outside the store and provides discounts for purchases made at Lowe's.
- License - a business license might be required for a handyman business. Check with the city clerk to see about the requirements.
- Insurance - expect to pay about $2,000 a year for liability insurance. No matter how careful you are, things can go wrong. It is best to be prepared with adequate insurance coverage. Check with your insurance agent for the type of coverage available and recommended for a handyman business.
- Employees and subcontractors - unless you intend to do all the work yourself. Depending on the amount of work, you might have a helper or two or you might need 6 to 10 skilled individuals to help service the market. Remember, the more jobs and the more people you have, the more things you need to keep tabs on.
Also, if your work starts to crowd the local trade unions, you might have another issue to deal with. Staying with smaller jobs keeps you out of their hair because they usually aren't focused on serving that market.
There are other things you might consider like uniforms, a company vehicle, specialty tools, and decals or magnetic signs for service vehicles. The key is not to go overboard spending money on nice-to-have things, but to stay focused on things that are need-to-have.
For example, unless you know you'll have a recurring need for a specialty tool, you're probably better off renting it occasionally, instead of buying it.
A handyman business has good potential for making money. Contractors tend to make a healthy profit for their skill and experience. Even though you aren't building a house, you can make a good wage while remodeling one.
Expect annual gross income to be in the $100K range, and perhaps much more if you have multiple staff or subcontractors skilled in remodeling, repair and maintenance, and you keep them busy full time. Remember, that this is gross income and not profit. Your profit will be realized once you subtract payroll, supplies, materials and other expenses from the gross income received.
Take a look at these pictures of a bathroom remodel to see the kind of quality work it takes to generate and sustain that kind of revenue.
The picture on the left is the bathroom before the remodel. It's okay, but not nearly as nice as it could be.
This is the "during" picture on the right. It looks a mess, but it's all necessary to do the job properly.
Wow, look at this finished product. This bathroom even feels like it is luxurious. Beautiful tile on both the walls and floor. Nice accent trim. New basin and cabinet and mirror.
Very nicely done by Honey-Done Handyman in Laramie, Wyoming.
Challenges to overcome…
Spencer gives us some insight as to the challenges that he faces with a handyman business. In his own words, his three biggest challenges are:
- "Figuring out the scheduling of jobs, and management of my own time. It's tricky trying to run a full time business and go to school full time."
- "Getting insurance for this type of business is also a hassle because of the wide variety of work activities I get involved with."
- "Keeping up with payroll and other liabilities is quite a challenge while a big job is going on."
This last comment is an important one for anyone that is contemplating a handyman business with employees or subcontractors working on projects - you have to keep everyone paid regularly (even your material suppliers).
Even if your customer is only going to pay you once a month, you'll probably have to pay "your people" more often. If you have a job that only pays after its finished, then you might have to "float the payroll" for more than a month. That requires cash reserves.
The before and after pictures of Spencer's home improvement projects speak very well of his achievements. When asked about his greatest achievements, Spencer tells us:
"The greatest satisfaction I have had so far is the freedom of working for myself, knowing that I am supporting myself. I like the satisfaction of using business skills that I learned (and continue to learn) in college in a real life situation."
I think when a young man jumps into a serious business like this, while still in college, that's an achievement all by itself. If you think planning or implementing small business ideas is difficult, try doing it while you're a full-time student.
Special message from our featured entrepreneur…
"The reason I went into business was for the opportunity and challenge of working for myself. I like the challenge of running a business and everything that comes along with it. Plus I really enjoy the handyman work because it is always different and interesting."
If you need a little help with a household project or even something in the yard, Spencer is the man to call. Here is how you can reach him:
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