Having left a large Telecommunications company with a bit of money I decided to work for myself doing something that I would enjoy – being a Handyman. I have always been pretty good at DIY and fixing things in general so I thought this would be a good business to get into.
Well, working for myself was great but, actually making a living at it was extremely difficult. You also have to be good at marketing, selling and pricing. You have to count every bit of your time. All the ringing around for parts and materials, going to collect them costs time and time is money. I had got to the point where I had began to learn which jobs to take on without ending up spending extra time preparing. I also began to get a ‘feel’ for those customers that would mess me about by continually haggling over prices. I mean, £15 an hour wasn’t exactly expensive. I was working less and earning a bit less but didn’t feel as if I had been ‘diddled’ each time.
I was a handyman for 9 months until I had a horrible quad bike accident in November 2003. That accident put paid to any work for 6 months. Strange though, having not done any crawling around under dirty, mouldy baths for a few months, I decided that I didn’t want to do it anymore.
While convalescing, I came up with this idea. A web based list of Handymen and women. I could start it while still in bed and learn ‘Freeway’ a MAC based web design tool at the same time. The eventual aim is to sell prime advertising space once the amount of visitors has risen to a sufficient and regular level. I am self employed now (offering technical electronics skills) and this is one of my long term web projects.
You will notice that the site is easy to use and navigate and does not send you off to another search engine.
Anyway, some hints and tips from my experience........
- Always ring back
- Always turn up
- Never take on a job that you can’t do
- Don’t drop your price under pressure.
- Ring private landlords who advertise in your local paper – they need reliable people
- Word of mouth is your best advert. I had some tee-shirts made up with my trading name on and was spotted by a gardener who then recommended me to any customers he had that needed general work doing. It was a good arrangement in the end I helped him and he helped me on some of my work. I thought I put a good day’s work in but he did work really hard and a long day as well.
- Keep aware of new law; e.g. electrical rules
- During Spring, Summer and Autumn – Gardening jobs are an enjoyable earner and most often are a regular earner.
- I sold the site in 2006 but the person that bought it let the domain expire and it is no longer available. I have now started a 'Handyman UK Social Network'. Visit it at http://handymanuk.ning.com/