How to Start a Handyman Business: A Complete Guide

How to Start a Handyman Business: A Complete Guide
Here's a complete guide on how to start a handyman business. Everything from skills to insurance and necessary equipment needed. Find out more with Square.
by Square Dec 06, 2021 — 5 min read
How to Start a Handyman Business: A Complete Guide

As Australians become increasingly time poor, we also become less handy. That might not be great news for homeowners, but it’s fantastic news for anyone interested in starting a handyman business.

If you enjoy helping people and fixing things, have general home maintenance skills and knowledge, and if you’re eager to trade the nine to five for a chance to set your own schedule, you might consider becoming a handyman (or handywoman.)

But the question of how to start a handyman business can be a complicated one – it’s not a simple matter of buying your tools and finding customers. What are the rules and requirements? How do you create a business, market yourself, and get paid? Where do you even begin?

Let’s take a step-by-step look at exactly how to start a handyman business, from the initial idea through to getting paid by your first customer.

Pros and cons of starting a handyman business

Before you go too far down the rabbit hole, ask yourself: is it a good idea to start my own handyman business? To help you work that out, let’s take a look at a few of the pros and cons:

1. Pros

2. Cons

The skills and certifications a handyman business needs

You’ve weighed up your options, and decided that starting a handyman business is what you want to do. The next question: what are the rules, regulations and requirements?

1. Skills and knowledge

The first requirement is a basic knowledge of home maintenance, such as carpentry, plumbing and electrical systems. ‘Basic’ is the operative word, as anything too complex must legally be undertaken by a qualified tradesperson. For example, a Queensland based handyman can change a showerhead, replace a water filter and install a watering system, but a qualified plumber must be called if the work extends beyond these basic tasks.

2. Licenses

Most Australian handymen won’t require a licence unless they undertake a particularly large job:

It’s wise to contact the relevant authorities and research laws in your state before setting up your business.

3. Business registration

You’ll need to register your handyman business, which is as easy as applying for an ABN. Most handyman businesses run as sole traders, but if you have grander visions and choose to create a company or trust, there are a few more steps in the process.

If your annual revenue exceeds $75,000, you’ll also need to register for GST. It’s wise to employ a professional accountant at this point (if you haven’t already) to help you navigate the quarterly business activity statements (BAS).

The importance of insurance for a handyman business

Insurance is critical for a handyman business. As a physical job undertaken on someone else’s property, the liability you face for mistakes, accidents and injuries can be significant. It might sound dramatic, but without insurance, you’re always just a moment away from financial ruin.

The greatest threat is injuring someone else or damaging their property. These accidents are covered by public liability insurance, and most basic policies cover between $5- $20 million in damages. If you complete work for a business, like a real estate agent or property manager, they may require you to meet a coverage minimum.

Other forms of insurance that a handyman should have include:

The necessary equipment for a handyman business

How much does it cost to start a handyman business? One of the biggest expenses can be the initial outlay for tools. Charged with a wide variety of tasks, you’ll require an extensive toolkit. Although the specific tools you choose will depend on the skills you have. Some of the more common handyman items include:

How to market a handyman business

Once you’re registered, insured and equipped, it’s time to find work. The home improvement industry is a competitive space, so you’ll need to work hard to stand out.

We go into more detail about marketing a small business in this guide, but the most effective strategies include:

How to get paid as a handyman

Congratulations – you’ve secured your first job! The next step: getting paid. Where cash was once king for the handyman, few people keep much – if any – on them these days, so if you want to succeed, you’ll need to go digital:

As the general population becomes less handy, the skill sets of handymen and handywomen will only become more valuable. If you hope to capitalise on this growing industry, you can trust Square to deliver the knowledge, tools and support that you need to succeed.

The Bottom Line is brought to you by a global team of collaborators who believe that anyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy.


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