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Old 10-14-2012, 11:41 PM   #1
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


Hi all. My name is Scott. I am in the midst of changing careers and ultimately becoming a self-employed handyman. I was hoping you could give your thoughts on my approach thus far... and any advice would be very appreciated! Thanks in advance!

I chose a name that I think is memorable and includes my name... "Great Scott! Handyman Services". I have all the promotional materials, door hangers, biz cards, shirts, etc. I got myself a truck with topper and most all tools. I got myself a job with a handyman franchise (just to supplement)... I take as much work from them as I can get, but its not that much, maybe 5-10 hours a week. I have been walking door to door posting door hangers whenever I have time. I have been studying google adwords and trying to figure that out too. And I just ordered 5000 postcards for a local mailing that will promote "20% off for new customers". That mailing alone will cost me about $2000, not too excited about this... I just really really hope it earns me some calls.

I have been at this for 2 weeks and I have received no calls, no emails, nothing Guessing I have passed out over 500 door hangers. I am hoping that the postcards with the "20% off" will yield decent returns (unfortunately, the door hangers do not have a discount incentive). I also stress on the postcards that I am local. I plan to target only the city I live in (this town has about 5000 homeowners). I plan to purchase a mail list this week for $125 which will have 16,000 addresses (I will get my town and two others for future advertising).

I also plan to get some magnets and a new batch of postcards for small businesses. I will start putting together my own small business mail list for my town. I plan to tackle the residetial and business mailing over the next two weeks and

Thanks a ton for the help and thoughts.
Scott
PS, my passion is woodworking/woodcarving... that is what I hope to be when I grow up So I also dedicate a good amount of hours to this every week in hopes of taking this somewhere.

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Old 10-14-2012, 11:46 PM   #2
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


Is your name and contact info on the truck? Is it clean?
When possible when you park at store/restaurants park so people driving by can see your truck.

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Old 10-15-2012, 12:15 AM   #3
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


Good luck. I would suggest name and number on you truck in nice clean decals no magnets or mailbox number. Looks more professional IMO. I hear the best referral is word of mouth so once you get some calls that could get the ball rolling. Try posting in civic centers of older communities where people are less likely to be Diy and need your services..
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:28 AM   #4
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


Scott---Add some pictures to your opening page---it's to plane and doesn't catch the interest long enough to get someone to read it.

The return on mailings is very small--you are selling a service someone may not need for months----is your mailing piece something a person can hang onto easily until the have a need for you?

A refrigerator magnet or a simple business card might be a good idea----

I know your area----there is plenty of potential work in that neighborhood---Are you targeting people who can afford you?

Some folks have to do the work on the cheap---they can't support you----look for neighborhoods where people pay to have their lawns mowed---have built in sprinkler systems and use a limo service to get them to the airport.

Get your post count up to 20---so you can PM---Ask questions here----and good luck.---Mike-----
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:54 AM   #5
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


I looked at your pricing and pictures----I don't have time now to dissect it--but your prices are scary low---the stair case you have pictured is eye catching--but contains code violations---

You need an older and wiser person to guide you an a few things----Mike----
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:17 AM   #6
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


Our local newspaper will often run an article on a new business if you send them a press release. I did this once, and they ran an article with a photo.
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:19 AM   #7
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
I looked at your pricing and pictures----I don't have time now to dissect it--but your prices are scary low---the stair case you have pictured is eye catching--but contains code violations---

You need an older and wiser person to guide you an a few things----Mike----
That said, do you know what things (electrical, plumbing, etc.) a handyman can and cannot do in your area without being appropriately licensed? Some states don't even allow handyman services.

Two thoughts:

1. Check with some local Realtors. They often need handyman services when a potential buyer wants something fixed to close the deal.

2. One of our local banks lets businesses attach a small advertisement to the envelopes they put your money in when you cash a check or make a withdrawal. We've actually gotten some restaurant discounts from them.
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:21 AM   #8
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


This post reminds me of attempting to read a magazine article after someone cut some of the advertisements out and part of the text went with it .
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:43 AM   #9
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


I think you are wasting money. Door hangers and mailings are old school and like many (most?) folks I toss them in the garbage before reading them. I thought about this and was scheduled to get a general contractor's bond and insurance for a handyman type business. In this state there are some limitations to a specialized handyman license and with my credit history I was able to get covered for a GC license for just $50 more. You might want to look into it.

For advertising, I would focus on the internet, signage and business cards. Having been in the sign business for 28 years, 26 on my own, I can tell you that it makes a huge difference how the public will perceive you. You don't need to spend a fortune on branding but find a good sign man in your area and don't be concerned about saving $50.

The low bid guy will give you the low bid look and everyone will see you as the lowball in town and get that kind of business with all its' problems. Not that you won't have any but when you invite it, it will come in droves. Also vinyl is made in different qualities, like paint. Calendered vinyl will fail in a few years so that savings will mean a redo sooner rather than much later. Ask for 2 mil cast film only.

Keep the vehicle clean and simple, don't try to tell your life's story, no one cares and if looks like work they won't read it. If you look and act like a pro people will treat you like one. Unless your work says some thing else.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:06 AM   #10
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Great Scott View Post
I am in the midst of changing careers and ultimately becoming a self-employed handyman.....I have been at this for 2 weeks and I have received no calls, no emails, nothing

In my humble opinion the stigma of a handyman is one that is not an expert in any one field like plumbing...electric...roofing, but a handyman is one who knows a little about a lot.

I probably would not let a self proclaimed handyworker work on my locales. Just my opinion and hope I have not offended any self procalimed handyworkers.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:11 AM   #11
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


Not only the appearance of your truck and equipment, but your personal appearance is so very important. Clean shaven, hair trimmed, if you are heavily tattooed wear long sleeve shirts, remember you probably will be going in the homes of some older people and they don't always understand the new culture. Pick out a sort of uniform like Dickies work clothes or something similar. A lot of work can be lost before you even get in the door just by your appearance. IMHO
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:33 AM   #12
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


I am not sure I would agree that things like newspaper advertising, door tags and postcards are dead but people do expect more of them than they ever delivered. 1-2 percent has always been a return on direct mail to boast about. And rather than mailing out 10,000 of the same card, there are companies that will let you customize individual cards. Tricky real estate people use these to great advantage reminding prospects of properties they were shown.

Positioning your website to appear in local searches is imperative. If it is not your thing, you should hire someone or use an online service that can help you.

Good signage and memorable business cards would be where I would first invest money. Hang tags (if allowed) might be next. Then direct mail. You have no reputation to brand yet and racing it is just going to cost you money.

I too think "handyman" has mixed connotations. On the lousy side it suggests someone who rips off unsuspecting seniors, cannot get a contractors license, works without bonding and insurance (if you have them brag about the fact), and may or may not know what he is doing. On the positive side and with a carefully maintained reputation, handyman can signify a go to resource for appropriate repairs and minor changes and a person with enough common sense not to get in over his head.

Try not to be discouraged this early on. It takes time for any company or product to build a presence.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:44 AM   #13
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


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On the positive side and with a carefully maintained reputation, handyman can signify a go to resource for appropriate repairs and minor changes.

Seems like sdsester is thinking like me: Word of mouth and referrals will be the best for business.
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:09 PM   #14
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


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Scott---Add some pictures to your opening page---it's to plane and doesn't catch the interest long enough to get someone to read it.

---I know your area----there is plenty of potential work in that neighborhood---Are you targeting people who can afford you?

---I looked at your pricing and pictures----I don't have time now to dissect it--but your prices are scary low---the stair case you have pictured is eye catching--but contains code violations---
Mike, I know you mods have superpowers, but what the heck are you talking about???
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:22 PM   #15
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Opening a handyman business... your advice?


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Mike, I know you mods have superpowers, but what the heck are you talking about???
I believe he Google'd "Great Scott! Handyman Services" like I did and found his website.

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