During Covid, my husband and I were both thinking of ways to make extra money. We’re very entrepreneurial so our wheels are always turning. We started with an Etsy shop that did over a million dollars in sales in our first 2-3 years. When our fun little business felt like it became a factory that overtook our house and our lives, we decided to pump the breaks and re-evaluate. I’m the creative, loner type, so I love building businesses online- I currently run a t-shirt mockup shop and a web design business.
My husband is the type who, unlike me, needs human interaction and is always on the go. He’s also very handy and has been fixing stuff around his parents’ house and ours for years. He (Chris) loves tinkering with stuff, taking it apart, and figuring out how things work. If something breaks and he can’t fix it, a quick Youtube tutorial always does the trick.
Chris signed up for TaskRabbit sometime in 2020, assembling Ikea furniture and doing odd jobs that people would request on the App.. one task was going to Bath & Body Works to pick up someone’s order. Easy enough. For the most part, it was basic handyman type jobs. He got tons of great reviews which helped build his TaskRabbit profile, leading him to land more jobs.
He tried Home Advisor for a bit but the fees were crazy and it was giving scam vibes. For users it’s great, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t recommend another handyman to use their platform unless they had to.
Next, he put himself on Thumbtack, which was his favorite platform to get leads (job inquiries). You can turn your leads on and off at any time, but keep in mind, you are paying for leads on all of these platforms. This is pretty standard, but some are higher than other, so it’s definitely something you should look into. It’s a different world we live in now, so everyone is finding their handymen online now instead of in the newspapers etc. When you are just starting out, if you don’t have your own website, you need a platform like TaskRabbit or Thumbtack to help you get work.
If you’re like us, climbing the corporate ladder and working a 9-5 is like dying a long slow death. We would rather do literally anything else in the world to make money. With TaskRabbit, Thumbtack, etc, you get to set your own appointment time, so you can work as few or as many jobs as you want each day. This side hustle is extremely flexible and can fit any type of lifestyle. If you wanted a side hustle you can do after work or on the weekends- a handyman job is perfect. It’s important that I note, that those apps aren’t all for handymen either! There are tons of different “tasks” or jobs – party planning, errand running, dog walking, you name it, if it’s a service other people need, you can make money from it.
Once my husband realized he could make good money being a handyman, he started looking for ways to establish himself as his own business, instead of relying on TaskRabbit and Thumbtack. He picked out a business name, got business cards (you can get a really great-looking business card on Vistaprint for cheap!), got a Google Voice number (so he didn’t have to use his cell phone number), and his lovely wife (yours truly) put her web design skills to work and built a custom website for his handyman business. We also did a Google Business Profile (formally known as Google My Business), which is HUGE if you have a business like this. Seriously, you NEED a Google Business Profile. A Google Business Profile is simply having your business on Google Maps. It will show your reviews (which is so important to ask customers for reviews!), all of your services, contact info, etc. Click the link to look into the Google Business Profile. https://www.google.com/business/
If you are able to get your business online with a website and a Google Business Profile, you have SUCH an opportunity to stand out and make seriously good money. There are not a ton of handymen that are younger and tech-savvy, marketing their business online. You often think of handymen as the older generation who might take out an add in a local paper or work on referrals to get work (nothing wrong with either, and this is not always the case, so don’t get offended!)
Here in Dunedin, Fl, where we live, if you searched “handyman near me”, only a handful of guys had reviews and their own website. Scratch that, a handful had reviews, and I think ONE had their own website. So we knew with more and more people going online to look for services like this, we had an opportunity for real growth.
Because let’s face it, nobody clicks on page 2 of Google. To check where he is ranking on Google, I opened an incognito window so it wouldn’t alter the results (your IP address is tied to your location) and typed “handyman Dunedin, FL” and Chris shows up in the first position! If you have a Google Business Profile, you can also be featured in this section- “the map pack” as they call it. The results are always changing, based on recent reviews and different factors, but we tend to always be near the top. Not to toot my own horn (but toot toot!).
It was slow growth in the beginning. It can take months before the Google bots discover your site and SEO really starts working. (SEO is search engine optimization- optimizing your website with different strategies so the boss (Google) likes you).
If he ever hits a slow period in calls (back-to-school time always seems to slow the calls down for a week or two), he can always turn on leads on Thumbtack to supplement. But I’m proud to say, he rarely has to go back to paying for leads. 99% of his jobs found him organically, for free, through his website or Google Maps.
Google says it can take 6-12 months before you really start seeing results from your website. So building your own website is something you want to do as soon as possible and just remember to be patient with it.
I’d say the first six months, he landed jobs only through TaskRabbit and Thumbtack. Somewhere during this time, I built his website (I wish I knew exact dates, but you get the general idea). The next six months were a combination of paying for leads on these apps and starting to get calls from his website. The second year has primarily been website only, meaning he keeps all of his profits- no ad spend and no paying for leads.
Starting a handyman business has been such a blessing for our family. Between my web design business and his handyman business, we work as much or as little as we want. When we both had Covid, we were able to fully rest and not worry about rushing back to work. It is the ultimate side hustle (or full-time career) that will ALWAYS be in demand, no matter where you live. You have the ultimate flexibility and you determine how much money you’ll make. It helps to develop social/sales skills so you can be confident charging what you want. We quickly learned, when he started charging more, he got the BEST customers. It got rid of all of the whiney, nit-picky people who are looking for a deal and are going to be hovering over you the entire time you’re working. That’s a lesson I took with me with my web design work too.
If you’re wondering about the expenses of starting a handyman business, they are minimal to start. Chris built up his tool collection as he got more jobs. You don’t have to have every tool in the toolbox right away. Accept jobs that you know you are able to do with what you have and don’t be afraid to lean on Google or Youtube for tutorials on how to do a certain job. You can use Google voice if you don’t want to use your personal number- their business plans start at $10/month. Investing in a website can cost as little or as much as you want. Remember, you get what you pay for and if you are wanting to make serious money, you’ll want to invest accordingly. Chris’s truck is his office- you definitely don’t need to rent a physical brick-and-mortar location to be a handyman. Gas can be expensive, running from job to job, but this is also why it is so important to invest in a good website- a good designer will optimize your business for your location so you can get more leads closer to home.
As I mentioned earlier, starting a handyman business is such an underrated opportunity to make consistent, reliable income. You are the determiner of your success and how much money you will make. If you have any questions about starting a handyman business or getting a website for your business, don’t be afraid to reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org. My husband and/or I would love to help you get things going!
Good luck and let me know if you have any questions regarding a website for your business or starting a handyman business!