If you can fix things, chances are becoming a handyman has crossed your mind at least once. And if “working for the man” is no longer working, or you’ve suddenly been fired by “the man”, you may be seriously considering starting a handyman business.
So is being a handyman a real way to support yourself and your family? Depending on how much you charge, and how much you need to live, the answer might be “yes” or “no”.
Here’s some math to consider. According to the Census Bureau, the average median US household income was $50,233.00 in 2007. That means about half of the households in the country made less than $50,233.00 in 2007, and about half of the country made more than $50,233.00 in 2007. We’re a few years past 2007, but with the economy the way it is, I bet there are a lot of us out there that would be thrilled to be earning what we were in 2007.
Let’s assume there are two wage earners per family, and that one of those earners is full time and the other is part time. The full time earner makes $35,000 and the part time earner makes $15,000. We’ll assume the handyman income is the full time, so you would need to make $35,000 a year, pre-tax, to be roughly in the middle of the road for earnings in America. That works out to about $3,000 a month. At 40 hours a week, or 160 hours a month, that means you would need to be earning $18.75 an hour to make $3,000 a month. The problem is that as a handyman you are not going to be working every hour of the week. In fact, you’ll be lucky to be working even one out of every two hours of the week. That means you’ll need to make $37.50 an hour. Handyman Oxfordshire
That’s not an unreasonable rate to charge as a handyman at all. I live in the West, in a town of 60,000, and the going rate for a good handyman with good references is about $40. Guys who are starting out don’t make $40 an hour, though. They make more like $20 to $30 an hour. $20 an hour, working 20 hours a week comes out to an income of $1600 a month. If you can not live on $1600 a month, you may need some extra income while you build a reputation as a handyman and find good recurring customers.
Unfortunately, even the “work one out of two hours” guestimate is pretty optimistic. Frankly, handymen starting out would be doing well to work one out of three hours a week, and working only one in every four hours may be where you end up. You also have to save money for down times… even good handyman have periods of time where work is just pretty light. If you live in certain parts of the country, there may be times during the winter where nobody does anything they don’t have to until some of the three feet of snow melts. This is the downside of working for yourself. You have freedom to be your own boss, but sometimes cashflow is erratic.