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Attention Handymen! How Can You Triple Your Income?

Why does an appliance repair man make three times as much as a handyman?

Often when a man finds himself out of work or between jobs, he considers using his handyman skills and developing a handyman business and making a lot of money. It certainly seems logical; everybody has small jobs around the house that they need taken care of. There is never a shortage of work.  Where is the flaw in this logic?

handyman cartoonActually, the logic is only partially flawed. It is almost accurate but it does not go far enough. There is plenty of work.  A  handy person who does the slightest bit of advertising will get a lot of calls. He will always be busy.  The only snag is most folks who are looking for a handyman are not willing to pay a living wage. I have had many conversations with handymen who were considering migrating over into appliance repair. They had a pretty accurate sense that appliance repair men made a whole lot more money than they did.

In all cases, it was typical for the guys that I talked to gross about thirty dollars an hour. Of course they had to pay for gas, insurance, vehicle repair and tools  out of that $30 dollars per hour. I’m sorry folks but $30 per hour will not cut the mustard. In addition to that, customers are never willing to pay for all your trips back-and-forth to Home Depot, flawed or incorrect materials or broken tools. At the end of the year, these hard working guys were lucky to net $30,000.

Why are customer so reluctant to pay full price for a handyman?  It’s actually quite simple, they don’t respect what you are doing.  It looks too easy. They figure if their husband would get his lazy ass off of the sofa, he could do the odd jobs and it wouldn’t cost anything. Or their lazy son or son-in-law. They also figure that if they had the right tools, they could probably do it themselves. Basically, they have no respect for the value of a handy man’s time.

There is another huge problem, and that is a handy man is supposed to be a master of all the trades. Not only that, he is supposed to stock all parts to perform all jobs. So a handyman needs to be a master electrician, plumber, carpenter, plasterer, tile setter and on and on.  And he needs to be driving a huge semi full of materials all over town with any and all parts and tools he will ever need. Obviously, this is impossible. So a handyman, inevitably, must fumble around and waste a lot of time going to and from the various supply houses. Time for which he is not paid.

doctorThe only time people are willing to pay high prices is when the required skills are highly respected or very mysterious. Obviously doctors are good example. People are afraid of electricity so they will happily pay for an electrician. They will pay a lot to have their computer repaired.  Happily, appliance repair man to fit into this category. Computerized appliances make it easier for appliance repair men to charge a hundred dollars an hour like other highly skilled trades. Modern appliances are very mysterious.

So what really happens? The appliance repair tech comes in the house for an hour and collects his 200 bucks. The poor handyman works all day for the same amount of money. To add insult to injury, the housewife happily pays the appliance tech his money and bitches at the poor handyman for being so slow and leaving a bit of sawdust on the floor.

I’d love to hear your comments on the handyman trade. Have you ever known a handyman who made a respectable living?

8 comments on “Why Can’t Handymen Make Any Money? Triple Your Income!”

  1. Tyrone Williamson says:

    Okay, I believe an appliance repairman makes more money than a handyman. But a handyman never runs out of work.
    I know this first hand. And no, I don’t like climbing on roofs and into crawl spaces but I’m always busy. What do you do with
    your down time. Isn’t better to make 25.00 an hour all the time than 85.00 some of the time?

    1. Uncle Harry says:

      Tyrone,
      I’m sorry but you need to rethink your approach. A wise appliance serviceman uses any slow time on additional marketing efforts. Gradually these efforts will pays off and the slow times disappear. Market constantly, don’t sit around and complain. Isn’t is smarter to aim for making four times as much money?

    2. John says:

      What do you do with the down time? I don’t know I never had any “down time”. If you are not doing a repair, which I always am, you are building your business or investing your excess money. The only down time is when I plan a trip in the middle of the week because I want to or go on a vacation.

  2. JOSH says:

    Can I do this successfully in a real small town? A town in Arkansas that only has 7,000 people? I’m about to move and trying to figure things out. The town has an older guy that does appliance repair.

    1. Uncle Harry says:

      Josh,
      Absolutely! Small town are always a gold mine for my students. I am willing to bet the older guy is constantly turning away work that he would be happy to send to you. He will become your best buddy, not your competitor. I have numerous testimonials from guys just like you who have become very successful. Testimonials>>

  3. Kevin E Schlosser says:

    I have a professional handyman business and I charge 70$ an hour for residential clients and 90$ an hour for commercial clients with a trip charge depending on mileage. I am always busy, I am always able to perform service repair tasks in every home tech industry you can think of plus I don’t get stuck with the monotony of working on the same thing day in and day out like you, or with difficult or overly large jobs that would take me away from new acquisitions for weeks to a month. I provide more value than most trade specific people/companies, by keeping a list of over 35 contractors I trust in various trades and because of my expertise in contracting many of my homeowner/builder clients will pay me a 10% finders fee for evaluating a contractors bid and portfolio before they hire them. Netting me over $500 in most cases for simply arriving drinking coffee and reading/analyzing/discussing their propositions before saying yes or no. I sense a particular bias and lack of information in your subject matter, just my opinion.

  4. Larry Cannone says:

    I have been doing handyman work for a few years, primarily when not working FT at Home Depot. Most of my came from fellow employees needing repairs or wanting upgrades. I also, fixed cars an small engine tools, installed kitchens an baths, and repaired appliances if I could. Appliance repair by far exhibits the most amount of return potential versus amount of work and effort to complete a job. I certainly look deeper into this opportunity. This class instruction, manuals, schematics, videos, are all excellent materials and having full support a phone call away is a no brainer. As soon as I can gather the fund’s I will be joining.

  5. Mr. Ken says:

    http://mrkensfixitco.weebly.com/

    Above is my website. I should do away with it but as of now I am charging $40/hr and have a minimum of $150-$200 per little job. Uncle harry you make some very good points in fact yes if your charging $30 an hour and have to supply tools, insurance car insurance and all the other expenses and some times overhead that come along with businesses, there wont be much left over. I have been in business 5 years now and am hoping to cross over into the home inspection field which would be more profitable for me.
    Problems with Handy Field

    1. Yes no, respect you’re treated like a reject of society half the time. People will cancel or view your time with very little compassion.
    2. You are constantly searching for work.
    3. Yea I charge for store trips on one time clients but not larger accounts. So I get what you are saying about trying to bill people for the time. Before I take a job on I send a written contract/estimate that states how many hours are needed to purchase goods and any other expense that may come up. So either they can digitally accept the estimate or they don’t. Most handymen’s problems are all business and organization related. I do business in Wisconsin/Minnesota and let me tell you that my business and almost everything else around here gets shut down in February due to frigid temps and snow. I don’t chance wrecking my precious equipment during these times.
    4. Sometimes you take on jobs that you don’t want just because you need money.
    5. I believe that partially the reason that handymen suffer financially is because they are hiring you because they are too cheap to hire a plumber or can’t afford it and secondly you are in a business that generally speaking is one that lives off of the misfortunes of others.

    Honestly, I’m really hoping, and praying that the home inspection business works out for me.

    Mr. Ken

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