How to Become a Handyman: 4 Steps You Need to Take
Starting a handyman business can bring you financial freedom and the satisfaction of doing rewarding, valuable work in your community.
If you’re looking to build up your skills and become a professional, licensed handyman, here’s where you need to start.
Step 1: Review Handyman Licensing Requirements
Only some states require you to have a license to work as a handyman.
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.
This is typically fine since handymen focus on small jobs that don’t require licensed trade work, such as major remodels or renovations.
For the states that do require a license, how to become a licensed handyman can involve a number of different steps, including:
- Providing proof of insurance
- Completing work experience
- Passing an exam
- Registering with the department of labor
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 from your state’s.
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.
Step 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
Community College and Vocational School
Community college is a great way to learn some of the technical skills you’ll need to be a handyman while also working towards a skilled trade.
While not all colleges offer general home improvement or handyman courses, most do provide training for trades like carpentry, HVAC, and plumbing — all the way from apprenticeship to journeyman certification.
Becoming licensed or certified in a specific trade can help you to offer more handyman 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.
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:
- Finding an independent handyman to job shadow or assist
- 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.
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.
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.
FREE TOOL: Try our free handyman receipt template
Step 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.
Reviewing what others offer can also help you to 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.
Step 4: Become a Handyman and Grow Your 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:
- Choose a handyman business name, insurance, and company structure
- Hire any subcontractors or employees you need
- Develop a marketing and advertising plan
- Purchase any materials or tools you need to get started
To start off on the right foot, try our free Handyman Job Toolkit. Create professional-looking quotes, track invoices, and store customer information in one place: