Jul 26 , 2017
If you want to start a handyman business, whether full time or part time, you probably have some fears holding you back. The whole idea might seem too risky.
And that actually makes sense on an emotional level. Your brain is designed to fear the unknown and make you run away from uncertainty. But I’d like to share why there is actually very little, if no risk at all.
In fact, it’s likely more risky NOT to start a business that puts you in control of your finances and life. The consistent pay and benefits that comes with a 9-5 give a false sense of security, which is only obvious to those who have been laid off. A consistent paycheck is mistaken for security, and they are far from the same thing. But that’s another topic for another day.
Now, despite the fact that I quit my job a few years back to start a business, I’m actually risk averse. I like to keep a large chunk of cash in savings, I tend to overthink money decisions, and I eat a very restrictive diet to reduce the risk of disease even though I’m healthy.
In fact, the inherent low risk of starting a handyman business is exactly what drew me in. Before the idea of a handyman business was even on my radar, I had my sights set on starting an internet business.
I even invested in a mentor to help me get started, but after a few weeks I realized my chances of success online were low. So I gave up. A few weeks later, I decided to start a handyman business instead. Even though an internet business is easier to scale and can generate more profits, the handyman business was more of a sure thing.
First, it would take a small investment to get started. Since I would be doing most of my marketing myself, and I already had a few tools and a truck to work out of, all I needed was a few hundred dollars to get started.
Second, I could get some cash flow almost immediately. Most businesses out there may take months or years before you start to see a profit. With the handyman business, since costs are so low, you can start generating income immediately. Since I quit my job 5 months earlier, this was essential.
Third, I didn’t need employees or a place to rent. Even after the business was up and running I wouldn’t have to worry about my overhead. I could operate out of my house completely by myself. No pressure to keep employees busy. To this day I still love this feature, especially when I want to take a week off to visit Hawaii. And if I have a dip in business, I don’t have payroll for my employees hanging over my head and draining my bank account.
Low initial investment, quick cash flow, and low overhead. All signs point to low risk.
But, there is one more feature of the handyman business that further reduces the risk.
Success Can Be Expected
Nothing is guaranteed, but the handyman business is about as close as a sure thing as you can get (assuming you follow best practices).
Because it’s hard to scale. That’s right, the biggest disadvantage of starting a handyman business is also one of the biggest benefits. The very fact that it’s difficult to scale makes the business more reliable and predictable.
Compare this with many other industries and the reason becomes clear.
For example, many people think they just need a “big idea” to make their business dreams come true (probably from watching too much Shark Tank). But 99% of those big ideas fail miserably, often costing entrepreneurs their life savings.
If you look to the tech industry, the book publishing industry, and most entrepreneurial endeavors, you might notice something interesting – they’re all “winner-take-all” industries. That means the few companies that succeed take all the profit.
A few of the tech companies will experience massive success while the vast majority will fade into obscurity. Some lucky entrepreneurs will drive Ferrari’s and develop a taste for $10,000/per bottle champagne, while the other 98% will go broke and be lucky to buy a $10 bottle of wine for the weekend.
Take smart phone apps for example. There are over 2 million apps in Apple’s App Store, but only 1% of those are a financial success. A few apps are making over a billion dollars per year while most are lucky to make a few sales per day. That’s an example of “winner take all.”
Or, take J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series) who has sold over 400 million books, while there are thousands of other talented authors who will only sell a few dozen books. You’ll never hear of them and they’ll never make any real money.
Those are risky professions to get into because the the odds of success are dismal at best. Skill is important, but luck plays a much bigger role.
The handyman business is mostly immune to these “winner-take-all” effects. If you simply follow what works and show up, you can actually expect to succeed. The odds are far better than most businesses.
Even if there are 20 other handymen in your city who are 20x better than you, those 20 handymen can only fix so many things in a day. That leaves plenty of customers for you and others.
Unlike books or apps that only have to be written or created once for millions to enjoy, each time a room needs painted, the painter needs to show up and do the work. Each time a faucet breaks, a handyman needs to show up and fix it. There’s no way one handyman can handle all of that work, even if he is the best in the world. Because of this, the rewards are more evenly distributed. Instead of a few handymen making millions while the rest starve, we can all generate a healthy income.
Of course, there are those who make $20K per year and those who make $150K per year, but at least the difference between the two doesn’t rely solely on luck. The $20k per year handyman can move closer to the $150K per year mark with some strategic effort.
Basically, the odds of success are in your favor.
It’s Also A Great Side Hustle
One of the biggest risks you could have is quitting your existing job before you succeed in business. Unless you have a lot of savings and a backup plan, this dramatically increases risk.
I would recommend for most people to start their business on the side, get established, and THEN quit your job IF it works out. Because even though the odds are good, success is never guaranteed.
And Most Mistakes are Reversible
One of your big concerns might be disappointing your customers – whether that is by messing up a project, getting in too deep on a project, or just not being able to provide great service because you’re busy with your day job.
And this makes sense. Nobody wants to get in an awkward situation with a customer. However, these mistakes are all reversible with either a few hours of your time, or a few hundred bucks.
Th downside is low, and most of these mistakes won’t even matter in the long run.
The Biggest Risk?
What’s the biggest risk in a handyman business?
It’s actually you, the handyman.
While most think they are competing with the competition, their biggest competition is actually themselves. Limiting beliefs, boredom, distractions, and the need for instant gratification are the biggest obstacles holding anybody in this business back from success.
But, even if you fall victim to productivity destroying behavior, the downside is low. Bottom line. The odds of success are high, the cost of entry is low, and even if you fail you won’t lose much.
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