A start-up handyman business needs a lot of licenses--usually including a contractor license--and other requirements. Handyman businesses generally perform jobs that are too small for most contractors and too big for most homeowners to do themselves.
Research and plan your business. Develop an extensive business plan complete with start-up summary, marketing strategies and financial plans. Find out everything you can about other handyman services or other businesses in your area that specialize in similar work, such as plumbers, carpenters, and air conditioning or appliance repair services. The National Small Business Association and the Florida Business Portal have resources to help you start your new business.
Apply for a business license. Contact your city or county government to obtain an occupational license specific to your type of business. For a handyman business in Florida, you need a general maintenance license.
Select a legal structure for your business. Decide whether you’d like to be a corporation, limited liability company, sole proprietorship or partnership. A corporation is the most complex and expensive form, and probably inappropriate for a handyman business. A sole proprietorship is the easiest business structure to form and operate, and might work best for a small handyman business.
Register your business with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Obtain financing. Both the National Small Business Association and the Florida Business Portal provide start-up funding for new businesses. A bank loan is another option.
Get liability insurance in case of property damage or injury to people while your company is doing a job. Liability insurance is expensive, but you will need at least $300,000 worth to cover potential accidents and lawsuits. Such occurrences have the potential to ruin a handyman business that does not carry liability insurance.
Buy tools and equipment. A handyman business requires a lot of both hand and power tools, which you can buy at either chain or local hardware stores or, for a larger handyman business, from wholesalers.
You will need hammers, saws, Phillips- and flat-head screwdrivers, wrenches and many other tools, all in various sizes. You'll need drill/drivers, and ladders of various sizes. You'll need items as small and inexpensive as work gloves, nails and screws, and as big and expensive as trucks.
Hire handymen who have experience in working with tools and equipment in both office and residential buildings. Perform a background check on prospective handymen to make sure you can trust them and rely on them to do the work properly without injuring themselves or others.
Register your handyman business for state taxes with the Florida Department of Revenue. Every business must register for state taxes. You must obtain a sales tax certificate and receive a sales tax number.
Call the U.S. Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-4933 and apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The IRS will ask for specific business and personal information, such as the type, name and telephone number of the business and your own name, address and telephone number. Have this information handy. In order to file taxes, as required by law, all businesses must have an employer identification number.
Advertise your business widely, including in newspapers, in magazines and on local radio stations. Also use fliers, business cards and banners. Advertise your handyman business on trucks you use for service calls; this is an easy and inexpensive way to advertise. Leave your business cards in stores and wherever else people will let you leave them. Emphasize that your handyman business can do some of the same jobs that more highly paid specialists do, but at lower cost.
- Florida Department of State Division of Corporations: Business Registration
- Florida Department of Revenue: Registration and Account Maintenance
- Buildhandymanbusiness.com: How to Start a Handyman Business
- Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation: Construction Industry Licensing
- Business.Gov: Starting a Business in Florida
- tool bag and tools 1 image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com