How Much Does It Cost to Start a Handyman Business?

Starting a handyman business can be both exciting and overwhelming, with numerous considerations from startup costs to licensing nuances. Uncover the essential costs of launching your venture — from equipment expenses and business registration to ongoing marketing and branding efforts — helping ensure you're well-equipped for success from the get-go.

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Start Your Handyman Business

Ever wondered about the ins and outs of starting your own handyman venture? Our detailed guide gives you a clear picture of the handyman business startup costs, helping you budget effectively and kickstart your dream.

Setting up a handyman business offers autonomy and earning potential for those skilled in various trades. Yet, before setting the handyman business wheels in motion, understanding the financial groundwork is paramount. Here’s how much it costs to start a handyman business.

Approximate Total of Handyman Business Startup Costs

The cost to start a handyman business (or to start any business, for that matter) will vary widely from one business to another, especially based on your location and the scale of the business you’re starting. But here’s a general look at the costs you can expect.

  • Business Registration: $0–500
  • Licenses and Permits: $0–1,000
  • Handyman Tools and Equipment: $500–5,000
  • Transportation: $5,000–30,000 (depending on vehicle type and branding)
  • Insurance Costs: $500–2,500 annually
  • Marketing and Branding: $100–10,000 annually
  • Office Space and Utilities: $0–3,000 per month
  • Training and Certifications: $100–1,500
  • Hiring and Employee-Related Costs: $30,000–50,000 annually per employee
  • Miscellaneous Costs: $50–2,000

Essential Costs of Starting Your Own Handyman Business

How much does it cost to start a handyman business? Kickstarting any enterprise requires a set of foundational investments. Let’s break down the essential startup costs for handyman businesses.

Business Licensing, Permits, and Handyman Business Registration

The foundation of many legitimate businesses lies in their paperwork. Depending on where you operate, registering your legal business entity as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation can vary widely in costs, typically between $50 and $500. If you opt for a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you won’t need to pay a registration fee.

You may require a general business license in some areas, and you might also need a contractor’s license and other relevant permits. These licenses and permits can cost several hundred dollars to acquire and renew, depending on your location. In some areas, you won’t need any licenses for your handyman business.

Navigating the legal requirements is crucial to prevent potential future hiccups. By registering as an official business structure, like an LLC or corporation, you usually safeguard your personal assets from potential business liabilities. If you register as a corporation or LLC, you’ll also have to maintain a registered agent. If you use a third-party service (recommended), you’ll have a monthly or annual expense for that, as well.

Handyman Tools and Equipment

Your expertise is pivotal, but without the right tools, your hands are tied. Basic tools, from hammers to screwdrivers, might cost around $500 in total. Specialized equipment like power tools can considerably inflate your initial investment. And it doesn’t end with acquiring this equipment — tools need regular maintenance to remain effective, adding to your ongoing expenses.

Whether you decide to buy or lease your larger equipment can also impact your total costs. Buying equipment has a bigger upfront cost and gives you full control over your equipment. But leasing may be a better option if you want to keep your upfront costs lower or upgrade to the latest equipment regularly.

Transportation

Being a handyman means being on the move. A reliable vehicle is essential to offering handyman services. While buying offers long-term ownership, leasing can provide a newer model without the upfront costs. Vehicle costs typically range from $5,000 to $30,000. Maintenance, fuel, and vehicle branding, which can be a mobile advertisement for your services, are added expenses that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Business Insurance Costs

In the handyman industry, accidents can happen. General liability insurance, ranging from $500 to $1,500 annually, is important to cover potential injuries and property damage. If you’re thinking of hiring, workers’ compensation becomes pivotal. Tools are assets — protect them with property insurance, which can cost roughly $300 to $1,000 per year. Each business insurance type comes with its own cost spectrum, so shop around for the best rates and coverage.

Marketing and Branding

In today’s digital age, an online presence is indispensable when you start a handyman business. Setting up a business website might cost between $100 and $5,000, but costs vary depending on webpage features and whether you create your own site or hire a designer. On top of online marketing, physical marketing tools like business cards, flyers, and sign boards are traditional yet effective methods to spread the word. Delving into digital marketing strategies like search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) can further bolster your reach, albeit at an added cost.

Office Space and Utilities

While many handymen start from their homes, as your business grows, you might consider an official commercial space. Leasing an office can be a recurring expenditure, ranging between $500 and $3,000 monthly. This not only includes rent but also utilities like electricity, water, and internet, and the cost of office supplies. Having a dedicated office can also elevate your business’s perceived professionalism.

Training and Certifications

Staying atop the latest trends and techniques can be an element of successful handyman businesses. Courses and certifications, while an investment, bolster your credentials. Initial courses, workshops, and license exams vary in cost, usually falling between $100 and $1,500. But the value these business expenses can add in terms of skill and business credibility is considerable.

Hiring and Employee-Related Costs

If your vision is bigger than a one-person show, hiring becomes a crucial consideration in expanding your customer base. Recruitment processes, background checks, and training programs have their costs. Salaries, benefits, and potential health insurance for employees can add up to anywhere between $30,000 and $50,000 annually per person, depending on their role and expertise.

Miscellaneous Costs

Every handyman business has some unforeseen or auxiliary costs. It’s part of regular business operations. Whether it’s a uniform branded with your business name, a dedicated business mobile line for better communication with potential customers, legal consultations for advice on business law, or bookkeeping services and accounting software to streamline tasks, these expenses can add between $50 and $2,000 to your budget.

Additional Costs to Consider

The essential costs are unavoidable as you start your handyman service business, but there are others you might encounter down the road as you grow. Let’s walk through a few of them. 

Ongoing Training

As the handyman industry continues to evolve, staying updated with the latest techniques and practices could be important. Investing in ongoing training helps ensure that you’re always at the forefront of your trade, offering the best to your customers. It can set you apart from other local businesses. While these might not be immediate expenses, budgeting for periodic workshops, seminars, or courses can enhance your skills and, in turn, your service quality.

Equipment Upgrades

Your tools are the backbone of any successful handyman business. As you grow and take on more varied tasks, you might find the need to upgrade or expand your equipment arsenal. High-quality, specialized tools can be pricey but often offer better efficiency and durability. Setting aside a budget for equipment upgrades every year can help you stay competitive and efficient, especially as technology brings forth more advanced and specialized tools.

Franchise Fees

If you’re considering joining a franchise instead of starting your own handyman business, there will be associated fees. Franchising can provide a recognized brand name, proven business models, and training — however, it comes at a cost. These fees can vary significantly based on the franchise’s reputation and the support it provides. It’s essential to weigh the benefits against the costs, considering both the initial franchise fee and ongoing royalties or advertising fees.

Funding Your Handyman Business

Starting a new business often requires capital, and while personal savings can be the initial go-to, it’s essential to understand the broader selection of funding options available. One popular choice for many new businesses is a small business loan, available through many banks and credit unions. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loans specifically tailored for small enterprises, providing favorable terms and interest rates. If you have a compelling business plan, traditional business loans from banks, though stringent in their requirements, can offer larger amounts with competitive interest rates.

Apart from loans, grants are another avenue to explore. While they’re harder to come by and often have specific criteria, they don’t need to be repaid, making them an attractive option. Crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe, allow you to present your business idea to the public, letting them fund your venture in exchange for perks or early services. Additionally, angel investors and venture capitalists might be worth considering if you’re open to trading a stake in your company for funds. These investors often bring not just money, but valuable experience, mentorship, and networks that can catapult your handyman business onto a bigger playing field.

Timeframe to Break Even for Handyman Businesses

Starting a handyman business is much like embarking on any entrepreneurial journey — it requires time, effort, and financial investment before you begin to see a return. Generally, after paying your initial startup costs — like purchasing tools, getting licensed, and investing in marketing materials — small business owners may find that it takes anywhere from six months to two years to break even and become a profitable handyman business. This timeframe is influenced by multiple factors, including your pricing structure, your operating costs, the frequency and size of the projects you undertake, and the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

It’s important to remember that while breaking even is a significant milestone for small businesses, consistent profitability should be the ultimate goal. Continually reassessing your business model, expanding your skill set, and staying connected with client needs can hasten your journey to profitability. Moreover, keeping a close eye on financial statements and regularly adjusting strategies based on performance indicators can make a huge difference in reaching your break-even point sooner than anticipated.

We can help!

Starting strong sets the tone for a thriving business. At ZenBusiness, we’re your partners in this journey. Begin with our LLC formation service or corporation formation service for as little as $0 plus state fees. Meanwhile, our business license report helps ensure you step into the business world compliant and confident, avoiding penalties and legal hassles. We’re here to provide robust support, so you remain zeroed in on what you do best — building your business.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

Handyman Startup Cost FAQs

  • Many handyman businesses charge an hourly rate that varies based on their experience, the complexity of the job, and the region where they operate. On average, handyman services in the U.S. can range from $50 to $100 per hour. It’s essential to note that some might have a minimum charge or call-out fee, especially for smaller tasks that won’t take a full hour.

  • Billing for handyman services usually involves creating an itemized invoice that details the services provided, the hours worked, the rate per hour, and any materials used or additional expenses incurred. Some handymen use specialized invoicing software or apps designed for tradespeople to generate and track these invoices. It’s also common for handymen to ask for a deposit, especially for larger jobs or when expensive materials are needed upfront.

  • Even though any service can set the foundation for a profitable handyman business, jobs that require specialized skills or certifications tend to pay more in the handyman industry. Tasks such as electrical work, plumbing, or HVAC repairs usually command higher rates than more generalized jobs like painting or minor carpentry. This is because the former tasks often require specific training, licensing, or certification, making professionals in these areas more in demand and allowing them to charge premium rates.

  • Handymen often get clients through word-of-mouth referrals from their target market, as a satisfied customer’s recommendation is invaluable in this industry. Additionally, many leverage online platforms like Thumbtack, Angi, or HomeAdvisor to connect with potential customers. Advertising in local newspapers, community bulletin boards, and social media accounts can help drive business growth. Some offer promotions or discounts to repeat customers or referrals to grow their clientele. There are also good opportunities to establish relationships with property management companies and even real estate agents if you’d rather serve corporate clients.

  • In Texas, there isn’t a specific “handyman license” or even a general business license, but certain tasks require licensing. For example, if a handyman is performing plumbing, electrical, or HVAC work, they need to be licensed in those specific trades. For large projects, a general contractor’s license might be required. It’s always advisable for handymen operating in Texas to check local licensing requirements and ensure they’re compliant, especially when offering specialized services.

  • Having a separate business bank account is essential when starting your own handyman business. It helps ensure that your personal and business finances remain distinct, simplifying tax preparations and financial tracking. Additionally, a dedicated business checking account projects professionalism, allows for easier financial reporting, and can help protect personal assets from potential business liabilities (for a registered business structure like an LLC or corporation).

  • Crafting a business plan is essential when you start a handyman business. Begin by conducting market research. Then, outline your business objectives, define your target market, and detail the services you’ll offer. It’s essential to include financial projections, marketing and advertising strategies, and an operational plan. Regularly revisiting and updating your business plan as you grow can help ensure you stay aligned with your goals and adapt to market changes.

  • Depending on the jurisdiction you’re operating in, certain tasks especially specialized ones like electrical, plumbing, or HVAC work may require specific licenses or certifications. Your jurisdiction might also require a general business license. Always research federal, state, county, and local regulations to ensure you’re compliant, as operating without necessary credentials can result in hefty fines or legal complications.

  • Effective marketing for a handyman business often combines both digital and traditional methods. Building an online presence through a user-friendly website, social media, and platforms like Yelp or Thumbtack is crucial. Additionally, never underestimate the power of local word-of-mouth, community bulletin boards, or even branded vehicle signage to attract clientele in your immediate area.

  • Dealing with disputes or negative feedback is a part of running any new business. The key is to remain professional, listen actively to the client’s concerns, and strive for a solution that satisfies both parties. Addressing complaints promptly and genuinely can often turn a potentially negative experience into an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to outstanding service.

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