Start a general home repair business by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your general home repair business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a general home repair business?
A general home repair company can start with and retain a low overhead operating cost. You’ll first need to get your contractor’s license, form an LLC, secure business insurance, and check to make sure you don’t need any other paperwork from your state or county to get started.
Next, you’ll want to spend money on marketing and advertising, build a website, and invest in quality tools. Consider wrapping your vehicle with your company logo or name as well as your contact information. Choose to invest in quality work tools, as well, so you have less problems while on the job. Use your website as a point of contact for customers and as a tool for showing off previous work you’ve completed.
What are the ongoing expenses for a general home repair business?
Most expenses will pertain to materials, equipment costs, internet, cell phone, website services, fuel and vehicle maintenance, and annual insurance and licensing costs.
Who is the target market?
Local and regional homeowners of all ages.
How does a general home repair business make money?
General home repair businesses make money by completing customer jobs around the house.
How much can you charge customers?
Charging for work will depend on the type of work being performed. Your hourly rate for labor should be relative to other contractors in your area. $25-30 per hour may be a good starting rate, but look up what other local home repair services charge to set competitive rates.
How much profit can a general home repair business make?
Home repairs businesses can be lucrative, especially if you’re able to work in an area with more homeowners than renters. Work to retain low overhead costs, and your business could earn between $40,000 and $70,000, annually.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Offer deck and gazebo construction, as a service, if you have the experience and knowledge. Smaller construction projects can still keep your overhead low and will offer a different possibility for revenue.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your general home repair business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a general home repair business
As we mentioned above, you’ll need to spend money on an initial ad blitz to establish your business’s presence in the community. This consists of advertising in local magazines and papers, posting flyers, creating radio and TV ads, renting a billboard, creating a website for your business, and developing a social media presence for your business. Once you are working, ask your customers to become your advertising partners by referring your business to friends and family members.
How to keep customers coming back
Customers for this kind of business like to hear success stories from other customers. Use your business website to highlight testimonials of prior customers. Include pictures on the website, as visuals tend to catch people’s attention and easily convey the quality of your work.
Retaining customers can be tricky since you don’t want past customers to have problems with your work, but you definitely want them to hire you when new work is available. If you have return customers who like your work, offer rebates for being allowed to use pictures of their houses on your website.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A General Home Repair Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
If you are an experienced carpenter or trade worker looking for an independent business with low overhead, general home repair may be an excellent option. Knowledge of construction and installation of interior and exterior home items is necessary to get started.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a general home repair business?
A general repair business focuses on servicing customers and generating new leads for future jobs. Calling and communicating with customers will constitute some of your most important daily actions, as you need to keep current customers up to speed and inform future customers when you’ll be starting work.
You’ll also be visiting customer houses to assess what work needs to be done and to build quotes for the jobs. Additionally, expect to make frequent trips to various hardware stores and lumber yards. Customers will be looking for repairs to electrical systems and appliances throughout the house, including installing or repairing lights, fans, refrigerators, stoves, and garbage disposals. You may be called on to build or install cabinets, shelves, or closet organizers. Additionally, you may be asked to replace wall paneling of sheetrock. You may also be replacing sinks, replacing faucets, performing tile work, repiping plumbing, and replacing toilets.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful general home repair business?
As a home repair professional, you’ll need to have knowledge and experience in a wide variety of construction and machinery work. You’ll need a general knowledge of plumbing and electrical systems as well.
What is the growth potential for a general home repair business?
General home repair businesses can do well. Since many of the jobs you are completing are of a smaller scale, your materials costs will be minimal. Each job pays for the materials, in essence. You will also be able to operate successfully as an individual for most of your jobs, which avoids salary costs. Additionally, many homeowners aren’t equipped to do repairs themselves, making your services invaluable. All of these factors lead to a healthy job market for home repairs.
TRUiC's YouTube Channel
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a general home repair business?
Advertise in hardware stores and lumber yards you use. Spread the word by talking with professionals and store associates you often see — they can recommend you to potential customers. Contractor service desks often let you post flyers for your business too.
Advertise in local homeowner magazines and newspapers. Your initial ad blitz needs to help your business name become recognizable.
How and when to build a team
As a home repair handyman, you’re often able to work independently for most jobs. You may want to have an assistant on call for jobs which need an extra set of hands. If you find you have consistent work, you may need an assistant to come on full time.