Working as a handyman can be a rewarding and lucrative career. From performing minor repairs to maintaining crucial systems and appliances, homeowners and businesses need competent handypersons for various tasks.

Moreover, working as a handyman offers you the independence and flexibility to manage your business. If you’re wondering how to become a handyman, the following steps will give you a better idea of how you can launch your career in the field service industry.

1. Find Out If You Need a License

One of the first steps to starting your business is to obtain a license. There are a few things you should know:

  • Licensing requirements vary by state. Not all states require a permit.
  • These requirements also vary depending on which services you offer.
  • You might need multiple licenses if you provide services in several areas.

You’ll have to renew your license regularly. In addition, some states require you to complete handyman courses to further your education.

The process of obtaining a handyman’s license is unique to each state. For instance, California doesn’t require a license if you work on small projects and charge under $500.

If you charge more, you’ll need a California General Contractor License. You can obtain this license after gaining four years of experience and passing an exam.

In Minnesota, licensing requirements vary depending on the services you offer. For example, if you work on existing structures, you must pass an exam and get a Residential Building Remodeler License.

However, you’ll need a contractor’s license if you want to work on multiunit properties. Besides passing an exam, you’ll have to complete 14 hours of continuing education courses every two years.

You might also need to obtain insurance. In NYC, contractors need to carry business liability insurance. In addition, Florida requires that you purchase liability insurance if you work on projects worth more than $2,500.

Do some research on how to become a handyman in your state. Each state has a licensing board with an official website where you can find reliable information.

2. Learn the Right Skills to Become a Handyman

Now that you understand the process of becoming a certified handyman, it’s time to focus on honing your repair and maintenance skills.

Start by taking an inventory of your current skills. Then, look back on projects you completed and be realistic about the repairs and maintenance tasks you can perform.

You can acquire handyman skills through DIY projects, but you’ll need to go further if you’re serious about becoming a professional handyman.

Work Experience

Gaining work experience under a contractor is a licensing requirement in some states. However, even if your state doesn’t require hands-on experience, working with a successful handyman for a while can be beneficial. You can also look for an internship position.

Consider working for different local contractors to become confident in several areas. You can also look for a part-time job to give you enough time to start working on your own business venture.

Odd Jobs

Doing odd jobs is another great way to learn. In addition, you can help people you know or even volunteer through a nonprofit.

Performing odd jobs without a license may or may not be legal in your state. Do some research to understand what you can legally do. For example, you might have to charge less than a certain amount or stay away from jobs with plumbing or electrical repairs.


Community colleges offer courses in plumbing, roofing, carpentry, welding, HVAC maintenance, and much more. Plus, you’ll often get a certification after completing a course.

Vocational schools are another excellent option. You can also find eLearning companies with curriculums geared toward how to learn handyman skills. If you opt for online classes, look for content created by industry professionals.

Consider taking classes that focus on business and entrepreneurship skills. Learning how to manage the day-to-day operations of a small business can be an advantage.

3. Register Your Handyman Business

Registering your business is a relatively simple process. Depending on the legal structure you choose, you might not have to file any paperwork.

There are two common options for handymen:

  • You can work as a contractor. Your business will become a sole proprietorship by default, and you won’t need to file any paperwork.
  • You also have the option of creating an LLC. There is a small filing fee, and you’ll have to file articles of organization with your state.

A sole proprietorship is a good option if you’re the only owner. You’ll be personally responsible for the business’s financial obligations and pay income and self-employment tax on your personal return rather than filing a tax return for your business.

Over a third of small businesses are LLCs. It’s a popular option because you’ll get some protection for your personal assets and can file for bankruptcy for your business without declaring personal bankruptcy. Plus, you can bring a partner on board and become co-owners.

An LLC also gives you more flexibility in terms of taxation. By default, your LLC will be a pass-through entity.

You can also pay taxes as an S corporation or a C corporation. While there are few benefits with taxation as a C corp for a small business, paying taxes as an S corp can reduce your tax bill compared to an LLC.

Next, you might have to file a DBA, short for Doing Business As. This form establishes an official name your business can use if you don’t want to use your own name for a sole proprietorship or the name you wrote on the articles of organization for your LLC.

Additionally, you can apply for an EIN number from the IRS. Many small business owners don’t need one, but it’s a requirement if you have a co-owner or employees.

4. Secure Financing

Securing financing for your handyman business is an important aspect of becoming a certified handyman:

Additionally, you might have to spend money on handyman software to manage your business, work clothes or uniforms, and supplies.

Launching a small business can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. The upfront cost might be much lower if you already have a vehicle and some tools or friends willing to help create a website or promote your business on social media.

Assess your upfront costs and consider your different options for financing your project:

  • You can borrow from friends and family. Then, offer to pay them back later and share a portion of your profits.
  • Many entrepreneurs dip into their own savings to fund their projects.
  • Many small business owners need help qualifying for a business credit card. Charging business expenses on a personal credit card is a common practice.
  • Small business loans remain one of the most affordable financing options. Compare your options, and remember that alternative lenders have the highest acceptance rate.

5. Get Started With the Right Tools

Besides must-haves like electrical or plumbing tools, utilizing service scheduling software from WorkWave is an effective way to save money and streamline the process of managing your business.

This comprehensive and affordable tool lets you schedule appointments, assign jobs, manage bills, track customer satisfaction, and more. It’s a must-have tool for handymen and any field service industry professional looking to work more effectively.
Schedule a demo to discover these features for yourself, or give us a call to learn more about how we can help you succeed as a handyman!

Start Using Handyman Software!

Service by WorkWave’s handyman software helps you run your business more efficiently with features such as scheduling, dispatching, reporting, and more.

Hosam Sayed is a Product Marketing Manager at WorkWave with extensive knowledge of B2B product and marketing positioning. When not in front of his computer, he can be found spending time with his family, enjoying outdoor activities, and working on perfecting the art of landscaping.