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Setting up a handyman business

Being competent across multiple trades means your opportunities when setting up or growing a handyperson business are virtually limitless. Wondering how to get started and what practical steps you need to take your business to the next level? Read on.

If you’re a jack-of-all-trades, it’s likely you’ll be a highly skilled tradesperson who’s valued for your versatility. Homeowners always have an endless list of improvements and repairs. They just don’t always have the skills!

Starting a handyperson business could be a very lucrative step. As a self-employed handyman or handywoman, you’ll have total freedom. You’ll be able to choose your working hours, clients, and services.

Or, if you’re already set up as a handyperson, growing your business is the logical thing to do. ‘Handyman’ is one of the most searched-for trades on Checkatrade.

This guide will cover all considerations and tips for setting up and growing a multi-trade business:

  • Creating a business plan
  • Working out your marketing strategy
  • Financing your business
  • The legalities
  • Getting going!
  • Gaining more work
  • Increasing your revenue
  • Expanding your team
  • Developing your services
  • Setting SMART goals

Handyman assembling furniture

Don’t have the time to read about all of this right now?

Not to worry, our ‘Become the Boss’ series will help you to get your handyperson business started in no time.

You’ll receive a series of 8 emails containing actionable tips and advice. You’ll also get a free business strategy call.

Add your email below to make the most of this invaluable business advice.

What to consider when starting a handyperson business

Before you start investing money in setting up a handyperson business, there are a few things you’ll want to do.

1. Create a business plan for your handyman business

Mapping out a business plan is vital when setting up a handyman or woman business. In fact, it’s probably the very first thing you should do.

Your handyperson business plan should outline your target market. It should also set out your goals and the steps you need to take to achieve them. This way, you’ll stay organised, work efficiently and productively, and have everything you need to make informed decisions.

Your business plan will let you outline the scope of the services you’ll offer. As a handyperson, this can be quite broad. Try focusing on your area of expertise to keep your work to a high standard.

Need some help with a business plan? Grab this free template to make your life easier!

2. Invest in training and qualifications

It’s so important to have some qualifications to show potential customers you’ve acquired the right skills for the job. Plus, there are solid financial benefits to upskilling yourself.

It may be that you’ve decided to start out as a handyperson after repairing and maintaining your own home. Gaining formal training from a recognised Checkatrade partner will help you solidify your practical repair skills. This will also help you tackle professional property maintenance projects.

Alternatively, as handyperson work is varied, you could look at sector-specific qualifications. These could include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Bricklaying
  • Level 2 and 3 Diploma in Fencing (the non-jousting kind) and Construction
  • Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery
  • Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Site Carpentry

It’s also worth checking out our partner’s NVQ courses at North West Skills Academy. Or, consider completing a multi-trade City & Guilds course to make it clear you’re qualified for this line of work. Any of these credentials will make you appear more credible and encourage people to hire your services.

Along with qualifications, we’d recommend joining the Association of Certified Handyman Professionals (ACHP). Gaining membership relies on you passing an assessment. But it will demonstrate competence and a willingness to apply best practices.

3. Make sure you have the right skills and attributes

As a handyman or woman, you’ll face a number of challenges while on the job. You’ll need strong problem-solving skills and a good dose of common sense.

You’ll also need other skills to excel in running your own business. These include:

  • Practical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Physical fitness
  • Attention to detail
  • Leadership
  • Customer service
  • The ability to work independently
  • Time management
  • Health and safety knowledge
  • Basic maths
  • The strength to resist sucking air through your teeth when pricing up jobs

Starting a handyman business – step by step

Now for the juicy bit of this guide – the steps to complete to get your business up and running.

1. Register your business

For legal reasons, you’ll first need to register your business. You’ll need to decide whether you’re a sole trader or a limited company.

Setting up as a sole trader is a simpler process, with the primary paperwork being your annual tax return. However, this does mean you’ll be held personally responsible for your business losses and debts.

On the other hand, a limited company structure provides better financial protection. The downside is that limited companies have more paperwork and responsibilities, so you need to decide what’s best for you.

These aren’t the only pros and cons to weigh up when making your decision. Do your research and choose a structure that suits you best.

2. Get insurance

As a tradesperson, there can be moments when an accident happens or a customer is left dissatisfied. This is where insurance comes in. It will protect you from fines and compensation fees in the event of a legal dispute.

Here are the main types to consider for a handyperson business:

  • Employers’ liability insurance (if you employ anyone else as part of your business)
  • Public liability insurance
  • Contract works insurance
  • Legal expenses insurance
  • Tools in transit cover
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Personal accident insurance
  • Legal expenses insurance

There are tradespeople out there saving money on insurance

Tradespeople who join Checkatrade get discounts with Checkatrade partners. That includes 20% off PLI – a must for all our members!

Checkatrade members save on average £470 on business essentials**

Save money on fuel, insurance, tools, equipment, materials, workwear, and more!

Tell me more

3. Get your head around the finances

Your business will have many transactions coming in and out. It’s important to keep track of all the income and expenditures to stay profitable.

At the start, you may be operating at a loss due to the upfront costs of equipment, insurance, and supplies. If you’re struggling to cover these expenses, you could take out a business loan. Just be mindful of the interest rates and repayments.

Another major part of bookkeeping is filing taxes. You’ll have to keep these well documented on a regular basis along with your cashflow. If you’re unsure about taxes or paperwork, you could hire an accountant to help.

4. Invest in handyperson tools and equipment

tools for home improvement help

Investing in a full inventory of tools is key to making sure you’re ready to tackle any job. This will make your job much easier. You’ll also impress customers with your speed, efficiency and professional finish.

Make sure your equipment is the best quality you can afford. Remember the saying “buy cheap … buy twice”. As the expert, you’ll know exactly what tools you’ll need. But just in case, here’s a list of tools to get started with:

  • Vehicle – van or car – and a valid driving licence, of course!
  • Hammers
  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers
  • Utility knife
  • Allen keys
  • Pliers
  • Sander
  • Planer
  • Chisels
  • Tape measure
  • Saws
  • Electric drill
  • Step ladder
  • Spirit level
  • Caulking gun
  • Stud finder

Checkatrade members are saving money on business essentials including tools, insurance and fuel.

Checkatrade members save on average £470 on business essentials**

Save money on fuel, insurance, tools, equipment, materials, workwear, and more!

Tell me more

5. Market your handyperson business

A major part of starting a handyman or woman business in the UK is knowing how to develop your business.

While word-of-mouth recommendations are ideal, there are many marketing strategies to explore.

Print marketing is very effective to market yourself in your local area. Just a few avenues you could pursue include:

  • Distributing leaflets and flyers door-to-door
  • Put up posters in busy areas
  • Get vehicle graphics with your business name and contact details
  • Advertising in a local newspaper or magazine

Checkatrade members have the opportunity to feature in our leading trade directory, which is delivered to homeowners around the country.

tool carrier full of tools

6. Marketing your handyman business online

There are many digital marketing methods available to establish an online presence for your new business. They can really help to engage with clients digitally and target new audiences. Methods include:

  • Building a website
  • Investing in SEO
  • Building a social media presence
  • Paid advertising

The best part about organic social media is that it’ll only really cost you your time. It provides a solution to advertise your handyperson services for free!

Save time and money marketing your business with Checkatrade

When you’re ready, joining Checkatrade can really help to boost your profile. Our memberships save you time and money as you build your brand’s trust.

Signing up means your business will be visible to over three million monthly site users. Not only will these homeowners see you; they’ll also trust you thanks to our tick trademark.* In fact, 8 out of 10 people would choose a tradesperson we’ve checked over one we haven’t.*

The tick that people trust

You’ll need to pass our 12 checks to become an approved and guaranteed member. As standard, we only list tradespeople who meet the high standards homeowners expect.

Once approved, you’ll be recognised as a trusted and guaranteed business with a profile on the Checkatrade site. Here, you can showcase your skills and qualifications, examples of your work, and reviews from happy customers.

Better still, our membership is tiered. This means you can scale up and down the number of leads you want depending on your schedule.

Get a steady stream of customers for your handyperson business

Join the best trades on the UK's leading trade directory

Start our checks now

Learn from other business owners and ‘Become the boss’

Save yourself time and hassle getting your business started with the help of our Become the Boss series.

You’ll receive a series of 8 emails containing actionable tips and advice. You’ll also get a free business strategy call. At the end of it all, you could be the founder of your new business.

To get trade business insider secrets sent to your pocket, enter your email address:

How to grow a handyman or woman business

Once you have a firm client base, you might be wondering how to grow your handyperson business.

Keep this in mind for when you’re established and want to grow your brand.

Here, we’ll explain how to identify, set, and achieve realistic targets to help scale up your business and maintain profitability.

What is business growth?

Growth can happen in a number of ways, so think about your business goals.

Perhaps you want more work, to increase your revenue, expand your team, or widen the variety of services you offer. You can also grow by reducing your costs to maintain efficiency and increase your profit margins.

To help plan out this initial stage of business growth, we’ve put together a FREE business development strategy template.

Handyperson business ideas for growth

The type of growth strategy you’ll need will depend on your goals. We’ve listed a number of handyman business ideas below to get you started.

If it’s more work you’re after…

…you need to attract more customers! But how?

This is where your marketing comes into play. Take a look over the marketing strategy you created as part of your initial business plan.

What’s worked well for your business, and what didn’t get much traction? What new ideas could you try? Perhaps you’ve seen competitors try new marketing tactics that could help to attract more customers.


  • Seeking sponsorship (for instance, from a local sports team or community event)
  • Networking (such as building relationships with other trades)
  • Building a company website
  • Adding fresh content to your company’s social media profiles
  • Joining an online trade directory
  • Setting up a Google Business profile
  • Asking for customer reviews

Check out our FREE marketing planning guide and checklist to create a clear list of marketing tactics and responsibilities.

If you want to increase your revenue…

…you need to make more sales or consider the value of the sales you are making.

One way to do this is to review your pricing structure. Make sure you’re charging fair and competitive rates while keeping an eye on your costs.

Another idea is to refine your sales process. Look at how you can win new business, improve your close rate, and upsell/cross-sell to existing customers.

If you want to expand your team…

…you need to identify the role you need to fill. Understand the hiring process, and know your responsibilities as an employer.

For example, as an employer, you must have employer’s liability insurance. You’ll also need to understand company payroll and learn about things such as holiday pay. Check out our checklist for taking on employees and our guide on how to hire employees.

If you want to develop the services you offer…

…you will need to research what those services might be and consider what you require to fulfil your plans.

For inspiration, here are several handyperson business ideas to consider:

  • Some handypeople choose to offer services that take care of simple or small repairs and maintenance for those that lack the skill or the time to do it themselves. For example, painting a room, cleaning gutters, doing garden work, or hanging pictures
  • Others will focus on a particular niche, or area of specialism, such as window cleaning or cabinet making and refurbishment/upcycling
  • Some handypeople will make their response times their USP. For instance, they might offer emergency call-outs or do weekend work. This flexibility will attract more business, and you’ll be able to charge a premium rate
  • With the growing trend for repairing and reusing items, rather than disposing of them, a business model based on sustainability could be a good move

Key considerations for setting up a handyman business

There are some other important considerations to make when planning your business growth.

  • Funding – will you need to source additional funding to facilitate your growth plans?
  • Business structure – is it still suitable to operate as a sole trader as your business expands? Speak with your accountant about becoming a limited company
  • Company finances – an accountant can help you to stay tax efficient and compliant, and even help to source additional funding as you grow
  • Business processes – review your processes to make sure they’re scalable. Consider what technology can help to make your business more efficient

For more tips to help grow your trade business, check out this article.

Fix stair tread

Grow your handyperson business with Checkatrade

There’s a lot to think about when running your own business. With Checkatrade, you can get your business off to the best start.

Checkatrade is the UK’s leading trade directory, with a strict approval process to ensure we only list the best tradespeople.

Just a few of the reasons to become a Checkatrade member:

1. Get more leads

3 million homeowners used our trades last year. Checkatrade members receive more than 100,000 leads each week. What’s more, third of all trade work comes through Checkatrade***.

2. Win more work

Homeowners trust our renowned ‘tick’ of approval, helping you to build your reputation and win more business.

3. Save money

With exclusive access to trade discounts, Checkatrade members save money on business essentials, helping to keep their profit margins generous.

Checkatrade members save on average £470 on business essentials**

Save money on fuel, insurance, tools, equipment, materials, workwear, and more!

Tell me more


Is a handyperson business scalable?

The average handyperson salary in the UK is £32,000, but you could earn even more than this. Growing your client base and finding a steady stream of work will increase your revenue.

How much does it cost to start a handyman or woman business?

Starting a handyperson business will usually cost between £1,500 – £3,500. The up-front costs vary because it depends on how much you’re spending on equipment, supplies, marketing, insurance, and so on.

One way to keep costs down is by hiring equipment rather than buying it. You can buy it outright once your revenue increases.

Here’s a nice tip! Being a Checkatrade member means you can actually save on your tools, insurance and fuel. Selco, Tradepoint and Caterpillar Clothing are some of the partners you can save with.

See what else you can get as a Checkatrade member.

How profitable is a handyperson business?

A handyperson business can be very profitable as there is always a need for house maintenance and improvements. For this reason, your business is bound to make a healthy return from all the opportunities out there.

Who can I learn from to grow my business when I launch it?

Homeserve founder Richard Harpin has a free book available called Accelerate!, which is aimed at trade businesses. It’s packed with all his experience and knowledge so that you can get your business going on the right path.

Get a steady stream of customers for your handyperson business

Join the best trades on the UK's leading trade directory

Start our checks now

*Claims are sourced from a survey conducted by Deep Blue Thinking on a nationally representative UK sample in November 2021.

** Year runs from April 21’ to March 22’. Spend based on 12,505 members. Discounts differ depending on the partner. Products range from low-value items to high-value items. Total amount spent on Selco is estimated at £42,380,838 by 7,298 members and based on average savings per member from 2020/21. 10% discount. Some exclusions will apply on products.

***Checkatrade brand tracking survey April 2021.


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