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How to Become a Handyman: Your Complete Guide

June 14, 2024 7 min. read

Becoming a handyman can bring you financial freedom, the satisfaction of doing valuable work in your community, and a handful of exciting career opportunities.

If you’re looking to build up your skills and become a licensed handyman, here’s where you need to start. In this guide, we’ll cover the essential steps to take to learn to be a handyman and get your business off the ground.

A handyman is looking for solutions to problems; to fix what’s broken.

So if you like to tinker and you’re always looking around your home at the things that could be better and improved…you’re going to be a great handyman.

Headshot of James Droste from My Handyman James
James Droste My Handyman James

1. Understand handyman licensing requirements

Handyman license requirements differ by state and city. In many states, handymen are allowed to work without a license as long as the job doesn’t exceed a certain dollar value. 

For example, in Alaska, you only need a handyman license to work on any projects worth more than $10,000. And in Florida, you only need a license to do certain regulated jobs.

Generally, handymen focus on small jobs that don’t need a licensed trade worker such as major remodels or renovations.

For states that do require a license, the steps for how to become a licensed handyman typically include:

  • Providing proof of insurance
  • Completing work experience
  • Passing an exam
  • Registering with the department of labor

READ MORE: Find out the difference between a handyman and a contractor

In addition to your state’s guidelines, you should also check your city or town’s requirements since their rules related to licenses and permits can be different. 

Once you know what you need to become a handyman in your state, it’s time to move onto the next step: getting handyman experience.

2. Choose handyman training and courses

There’s no one path to handyman training. Some popular ways to learn are:

  • Attending community college and vocational school
  • Gaining hands-on work experience
  • Doing independent learning
  • Volunteering

Community college and vocational school

Community college is a great way to learn the technical skills you’ll need to be a handyman while also working towards a skilled trade.

Most colleges provide training for trades like carpentry, HVAC, and plumbing — all the way from apprenticeship to journeyman certification. Not all trade schools offer general home improvement or handyman courses, although there are options available.

Becoming a licensed or certified handyman professional in a specific trade can help you to offer more services, take on different jobs, and specialize your skillset. You may even choose to build on your handyman skills by becoming a general contractor down the road.

Work experience

If you aren’t interested in pursuing a specific trade, you can focus on gaining work experience as a handyman instead. You can do this by:

  • Shadowing or assisting an independent handyman
  • Taking an entry-level job at a construction site or for a home builder
  • Offering handyman services to friends and family members
  • Working for a handyman business

Professional work experience is not only a great way to develop your handyman skills, but to learn the ins and outs of the business. By working with other professional handymen, you’ll have a chance to ask questions and learn from their mistakes.

Independent learning

Thanks to the internet, there are a ton of excellent handyman resources out there. From how-to videos and articles to home improvement courses and expert advice, you can learn a lot about becoming a handyman online.

You can also connect and network with other handymen through social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, giving you access to large communities of professionals to learn from and share educational resources with.

NETWORK: Join our community of handymen, contractors, and service business owners

Practice what you’ve learned in your own home by making small improvements and keeping up with maintenance. The more hands-on experience you have, the better.

Just make sure that you use well-known and trustworthy learning sources so that you get the most accurate, up-to-date, and relevant information.


Another way to get work experience as a handyman is to volunteer. You can either offer up your skills to a charity or non-profit or to a handyman business in exchange for hands-on experience.

Charities are notoriously strapped for cash, which means that they don’t always have the funds to hire a handyman to do small office repairs or maintenance.

Lending a hand will not only get you valuable handyman experience, but it will also give you a chance to do a good deed and grow your network of contacts and potential clients.

Alternatively, if you can’t find a charity that needs a handyman, consider getting in touch with some local handyman businesses. They may be willing to let you take on some basic tasks in exchange for free labor.

Take full advantage of the time you spend with them by asking questions, learning new skills, and building your professional relationship. When you are ready to go out on your own, they could end up being a great resource.

3. Set services and pricing

Next, you need to decide which services you want to offer as a handyman. Start off by contacting your state’s contractors board to determine which services you’re legally allowed to offer and whether there’s a monetary limit to the jobs you take on.

Next, take a look at what other handymen in your area are offering. This will help you to get a feel for what kind of services handymen typically provide, and whether there’s a gap in the market you can fill.

For example, if you’re great at installing wall mounts for TVs, and not many other handymen in your area provide that service, it may be something that you want to highlight in your ads or on your website.

READ MORE: 19 handyman services you can offer (with a free price list template)

Reviewing what others offer can also help you get a feel for how to price your handyman jobs. Try to position yourself somewhere in the middle, as pricing too low can negatively impact your handyman salary while pricing too high can cause you to miss out on average clients. Build out a comprehensive service list based on what you have experience in and what you can legally do. Calculate a price for each individual service so that, when a client calls, you can offer them competitive, consistent pricing that leaves you with a profit.

Low-balling yourself doesn’t just impact your salary. Professional handyman James Droste shares that it can also be a red flag for customers:

4. Explore career options: Solopreneur vs. employment

A career as a handyman presents two primary paths — working for yourself as a solopreneur or working for a handyman company.

Working as a solopreneur

Running your own handyman business gives you more control in your work with flexibility to make decisions over your hours and jobs you take on. It involves setting up your business, marketing your services, and managing all aspects of operations.

Employment with a handyman company

Working for an established handyman company comes with more stability, a steady income, and opportunities for learning and professional growth without the responsibilities of running a business.

Both of these options are a great way to establish yourself as a reliable handyman in your community and can lead to a profitable future.

5. Start your handyman business

After you’ve met any licensing requirements, built up your work experience, and come up with a service list, you’re just about ready to become a handyman.

Now, it’s time to start a professional handyman business so that you can market yourself, get new customers, and start turning a profit:

READ MORE: 12 must-have handyman apps for busy contractors

By following this guide, you can learn how to be a handyman, build your skills and gain the experience needed to succeed. Whether you choose to start your own business or work for a company, there are many opportunities to thrive in the industry.

Expert featured in this article: James Droste of My Handyman James.

Originally published in June 2021. Last updated on June 14, 2024.

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