We’ve all seen those home improvement shows teaching us how to repair our damaged plumbing or replace those old cabinets. Aside from the entertainment value these shows provide, they do give good advice when detailing how to do these projects. Even if they are one big 30 minute advertisement for the home improvement stores (looking at you, Home Depot and Lowes), you can learn a lot from them.
You can save a lot of money by doing these projects on your own as well. If you do not already own the equipment necessary to execute the project, you may have to invest in the proper tools. This will be especially useful if the tools you will be purchasing can be used for other DIY projects you have planned for your home.
So, you’ve bought the equipment, watched the shows, studied the tutorials online multiple times, and you perform the repair or change you wanted in your home. How did it turn out? Hopefully as expected.
After doing enough DIY home improvement projects on your home, you now think that you can do it for a living. Before you take your learned skills and YouTube tutorials out into someone else’s home, know that it is just not that easy. There are several things you will need before you can begin your own home improvement business.
Below are discussed several of the things you will need to start your business.
License, Registration, and Proof of Insurance
Potential clients will ask you for your license and registration. What they are looking for is proof that you are capable of conducting the needed repairs or alterations they seek. If you are coming to their home off the street without any documentation to present to them, you will be scoffed at and turned away. Your dream business will die before it can begin.
You will need to receive professional training to receive a license in your field. As a handyman, you may need multiple licenses in multiple fields; electrical, HVAC, construction will each have a set criteria for you to know and demonstrate before receiving a license in each area. There are a wide variety of trade schools that you can attend to (properly) learn the skills of the trade(s) you are interested in.
Even after receiving your license to perform work in the necessary fields, you will want to get certified. Certifications give you even more credibility when dealing with clients. They show that not only do you have the skills to perform the work, you are an expert at what you are doing, minimizing (in the client’s mind) the risk of mistakes or poor workmanship.
Once you have all of that, you will need to purchase insurance for yourself. This will cover you in case of any accidents that befall you during a job. It will also cover the damages to a client’s home should something unforeseen happen while conducting the repairs or rebuild. Insurance also shows your professionalism, again building up your credibility as a quality home improvement specialist.
A Vehicle to Get You There
Once you have your license and certifications in order, you will then need to acquire a vehicle for business purposes. For some, this may be a pickup truck. For others, a full size van would be needed. The areas of home improvement you specialize in will determine what vehicle you actually need.
Whichever you choose, make sure that it will have enough space to store all of your tools along with any materials a particular job might require. Aside from the small, handheld tools, you will also need space for power saws and ladders, and anything else necessary to complete the project.
Caught Up on the Web
Every business in the new century needs a website. Up until the end of the 20th Century, the best way to make a small business known would be through the telephone book. Potential clients would scroll through the book and find the phone number of a business and call. In today’s world there is no phone book. Now, everyone searches the Internet for a home improvement specialist.
It is easy to start your own website. Many companies provide all of the tools and templates you need to get started. Simply pick a domain name that fits your business, one that will be easy to find and tell people what your business is. Then find a web host that can get your site up and running.
To stay current with search engine criteria, you will want to update your website with fresh content quite often. Just because you made it doesn’t mean it will be found. Because of the technicalities involved in Google searches, letting your website sit there and waiting for customers to find you is not realistic. You have to stay proactive on your site, and on the Internet, to give your business a fighting chance of survival.
Why you? That is the question clients will ask once they do find you. What advantage do you have over your competition? What benefit do you offer that no one else does?
If you do not know your unique selling point, then you need to figure it out quickly. There is so much competition in the home improvement industry, if you do not have an USP then a potential customer does not see the value in doing business with you.
Are you better quality than the others? If you advertise this, you need to provide proof. Use previous clients as references if they are willing. Better pricing than others can be a good means of providing value to customers, but you run the risk of making less money, making it harder to operate your business. If timeliness is your USP, you are guaranteeing the work to be completed by the quoted date. This may require you to skip weekends off in order to get the job done.
Whatever your unique selling point is, make certain you can follow through with it. If not, then you are damaging your business’s reputation. A bad reputation will prevent you from working as a home improvement specialist, undermining the efforts you put into starting your business.