How To Start A Home Service Business
Starting a home service business is a great way to use your knowledge and skills to make a living. Keep reading to learn about some of the most popular business types and find out what you need to do to get started.
If you have experience with carpentry, painting, landscaping, or another home service, it may be time to start your own business rather than working for someone else. Running a business gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility, but it also requires good organizational skills, attention to detail, and the ability to manage your time effectively.
This guide provides an overview of some of the most common types of home service businesses and offers tips for generating small business revenue once you get started.
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Types Of Home Service Businesses
In the United States, the homeownership rate is just over 65%, giving entrepreneurs more opportunities than ever to start successful home service businesses. Before you start a business, you need to know what kind of service to provide to generate the most revenue and take advantage of your existing skills. These are some of the most common business opportunities available to home service contractors.
Carpentry is the practice of building, installing, and repairing structures made of wood and other materials. This might be the right home service business for you if you can follow blueprints, take accurate measurements, use a variety of carpentry tools, and oversee other laborers. Before you start a carpentry business, check with local officials to find out what kind of license and insurance you need. Many municipalities require carpenters to be licensed to protect residents against scams and shoddy work.
Many people need carpentry services, making carpentry one of the most popular options for people interested in starting their own businesses. General contractors often hire carpenters to work on large building projects, but you can also generate revenue by completing small finishing projects or making simple repairs.
Roofers use a wide range of materials, including metal and asphalt, to install, repair, and replace roofs on residential and commercial buildings. If you want to start a roofing business, you need to understand how to select the right materials for each job, have the ability to climb a ladder while carrying heavy loads, and know how to install materials correctly to ensure the finished project is weatherproof.
Like carpenters, roofers typically need to be licensed. Depending on where you live, you may only need a license if you plan to work on projects valued at more than a minimum dollar amount. Other jurisdictions require a license no matter what type of work you do.
Many people think cleaning their home once or twice a week gives them the skills they need to offer cleaning services to paying customers. Although personal experience may give you a slight advantage over someone with no experience at all, starting a cleaning business isn't quite that simple.
You need to be able to choose the right cleaning products for different surfaces, develop detailed plans for cleaning homes of all shapes and sizes, assess each environment and determine if you need to use protective equipment, and accept critical feedback from your customers. Some cleaners focus on residential properties, while others increase their revenue by providing cleaning services for businesses.
Before loaning out hundreds of thousands of dollars, lenders want to know that the properties they're financing are in good condition. After all, if the buyer defaults on the loan, the mortgage lender needs to be able to sell the property and recoup as much of the money as possible. This is why starting a home inspection service is a great option for anyone interested in starting a home service business.
Home inspectors look for structural defects and other potential problems with residential properties. After conducting an inspection, an inspector puts together a detailed report outlining their findings. These reports cover things like the condition of the home's HVAC system, the presence of hazardous materials, and problems with the home's electrical and plumbing systems.
Home inspection is a great opportunity because each inspection usually generates $300 to $400 in revenue and takes about 2.5 hours to complete. It may take even less time if you specialize in working with customers who are interested in buying apartments or condominiums, which are much smaller than many other homes. You may even be able to get referrals from real estate agents and mortgage brokers.
Supply chain issues have made it more difficult for appliance manufacturers to get their products into retail stores. As a result, some buyers have been waiting months to receive new refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers. If you start an appliance repair business, you can help customers avoid these long waits by repairing their existing appliances instead of recommending they buy new ones.
Appliance repair is a great opportunity for contractors because almost every home in the United States has at least one or two appliances, from an apartment with a basic stove and fridge to a high-end home with a double oven, built-in microwave, and stainless-steel refrigerator.
If you have extensive experience in carpentry, electrical work, or another home service, you may want to focus on general contracting. A general contractor is responsible for coordinating larger building projects and ensuring each project is completed according to the customer's specifications. To succeed in this type of home service business, you must feel comfortable supervising other workers and giving them feedback to help them improve the quality of their work. General contractors also need to be able to follow project budgets and communicate effectively with their customers.
Like carpentry, general contracting is a good opportunity for someone looking to start a home service business because many homeowners need a skilled professional to oversee major remodeling projects. For example, you may have several people in your area who want to remodel their kitchens or add more living space to their homes.
If you like to work with rocks, plants, mulch, and other natural materials, a landscaping business could be right for you. No matter where you live, people are bound to need a landscaper to keep their yards looking neat. For example, customers in drought-prone areas may want you to use rocks and mulch to reduce their irrigation needs, while people in other regions are more interested in keeping their lawns as green as possible.
To succeed as a landscaper, you must be able to operate hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, and other equipment in a safe manner. You also need to be able to read landscaping plans, choose appropriate landscaping features based on the customer's budget and location, manage the soil, determine how much watering is necessary, and control pest activity.
Carpentry, general contracting, and roofing are all great ways to earn money, but they require in-depth skills that can be difficult to learn if you don't have much experience. Painting, on the other hand, requires fewer skills. When compared to a carpentry or roofing business, a painting business also has much lower start-up costs, making it a good option if you don't have a lot of money saved to purchase tools and supplies.
Setting Up Your Business
As noted earlier, many home service businesses require you to obtain a professional license. Although license fees are a major source of revenue for cities and counties throughout the country, licenses also protect consumers against fraudulent business practices. Before you secure your first customer, check with your local government to determine what type of license you need, what qualifications are needed, and how much it costs to obtain the required license.
It can be tempting to save money by holding off on applying for your license, but if something happens on a job, the lack of a license can come back to haunt you. Therefore, you shouldn't start working with customers until you have your license in hand.
You also need to think about whether you plan to work as a sole proprietor or form a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. It's easy to establish a sole proprietorship, but the main drawback is that you'll be personally liable for any issues that arise on a job. For example, if you make a mistake, your customer can sue you and take your personal assets if you lose the lawsuit.
Forming an LLC or corporation requires a bit more paperwork, and it costs more to meet all the requirements, but these business structures shield you from liability. As a result, many home service providers invest the extra time and money to establish a formal business organization.
Bookkeeping And Tax Considerations
It's important to keep track of your revenue and expenses throughout the year. Otherwise, it's impossible to determine if your business is profitable. You'll also have a tough time filing your taxes if you don't know how much you made or how much you can deduct to reduce your tax bill.
To avoid financial difficulties and prevent unpleasant tax situations, consider hiring a bookkeeper or accountant as soon as you start your business. You don't have to hire a full-time employee right away; you can pay a bookkeeper for 10 hours of work per month or ask an accountant to go over your books once per quarter to make sure everything looks good. You should also consider meeting with an accountant before you start your business to ensure you understand your financial obligations and know how to manage your finances appropriately once the business gets off the ground.
Marketing Your Home Service Business
Once you launch your business, you need to market your services. At first, you may not have a lot of money available for expensive marketing campaigns, but that doesn't mean you can't spread the word about what you have to offer. Here are a few cost-effective marketing methods you can use:
- Ask satisfied customers to refer their friends to your business.
- Build an active presence on Facebook and other social media sites. You can post pictures of completed work, testimonials from happy customers, and other information to promote your business and bring in more work.
- Use a lead generation service. CraftJack screens every lead carefully to ensure you spend your time talking to people who have a genuine need for your services.
- Set up a website. You don't need to start off with 100 pages of content. Simply create a site that showcases some of your recent projects, discusses your experience, and invites potential customers to contact you for a free estimate. As your business grows, you can add landing pages, blog posts, and other content to attract even more people.
Increasing Small Business Revenue
After you establish yourself as a reliable service provider, you may want to find out how to grow company revenue. The easiest way to do this is to raise your prices. If you currently earn $50 per hour and increase your rate to $60 per hour, then your revenue for a 10-hour project will increase from $500 to $600, even if everything else stays the same.
If you work with price-sensitive customers, you may want to skip the price increase for now and focus on other ways to increase your revenue. One way to do this is to get more customers. If you currently have three customers paying you an average of $1,000 per project, then you have about $3,000 in revenue coming in. Six paying customers would give you $6,000 in revenue. You can use the marketing methods above to attract potential customers to your business.
Grow Your Home Service Business
Starting a home service business is a great way to make money. Keep these considerations in mind if you're thinking about branching out on your own.
See how CraftJack’s pros are growing their home service businesses. Read More.
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