We received a note from a contractor asking if what we talk about applies to his business:
I have been reading blogs on your website. I have purchased your book markup and profit and a couple other items. One question that I have is it seems to me that you can talk about new construction and it’s hard for me to understand putting it into context of a handyman business. Is this just for new construction?
Business is business. For the most part, a handyman business should be run the same as a remodeling, new home construction or commercial contracting business.
There are some significant differences between owning a handyman business and other construction-related businesses. It’s more difficult to make a profit on handyman work if you only have one truck doing jobs. You’ll spend more time driving between jobs and discussing projects that might or might not happen. The jobs are also smaller, which means fewer billable hours in a day or week.
When it comes to handyman work, just like every other construction-related business, the owner needs to know their costs so they can calculate the correct labor rate and/or the correct markup. In many ways, handyman work is similar to service work for specialty contractors. We’ll go into detail on pricing these types of projects next week, discussing the pros and cons of time and material pricing versus upfront quotes.
Our goal is to help construction-related businesses survive and be profitable. We seldom address production, although we have a number of online videos available discussing production. We talk about business, and that won’t vary much no matter what type of work you’re producing.
You’re in business to provide a service and make a profit doing it. You have to price your work to cover all your job costs and your overhead expenses, and make a reasonable profit. You need to be able to estimate the cost of the work you’ll do. You need to communicate clearly and often with your clients, and put all agreements in writing.
It’s best to stick to tried and proven approaches to business that will make you money. Remember, you aren’t in business to be different. Business is business and if you start trying to do things differently, you just might head down the wrong road and that’s always an expensive trip. Don’t do it unless you can afford the excursion.
Each of the basic branches of construction (remodeling or renovation, new home construction, specialty, commercial, and handyman projects) have nuances, but overall the business practices are the same. So when we write about business, you can apply it to any of the branches of construction and you’ll be right most of the time. You can always send us a note if you aren’t sure and we’ll be happy to help.