If “DYI” is your motto consider learning how to start a maintenance business. The home improvement business has skyrocketed since cable television shows have become so popular. Homeowners want their home to look like the ones on TV but not everyone is handy or has the time and skills to finish the to do list. You could hammer out a living with a maintenance business.
The categories of maintenance services can include all different types of businesses. These include building maintenance, handy man services, construction and cleaning services, to name a few. Many trades professionals start their business part time, doing jobs “on the side” for extra money during the downturn in the construction industry and then turned it into a full time business. Narrow your offerings to your skills and capabilities to start. You can later expand with apply hard work and smart planning.
What You’ll Need to be Successful
Starting a maintenance business is a great choice for someone who is known as a Mr. Fix-it or handy man who already has experience in construction, lawn maintenance, plumbing, HVAC, dry wall, paint, wallpapering, construction, cleaning, or electrical. If you need to learn or brush up on your skills, there are many classes offered through community colleges and some independent training courses as well. Another option is to hire experts in the fields you in which you aren’t proficient. You could manage a team of professionals for certain jobs rather than doing the work yourself.
The type of equipment and supplies needed to start a maintenance business will vary depending on the kind of maintenance you jobs you will handle. Generally, you will need a van or truck, basic cleaning supplies, tarps, a good set of tools, some power tools, ladders, and safety equipment, such as goggles, gloves, and safety belts. Supplies like paint, flooring, and wallpaper can be supplied by the homeowner. Other supplies needed can be charged and itemized on an invoice or contract. Have business cards and quote forms so that you can give a professional price for your services. Be prompt and answer your phone because if you do not want to give a potential customer a quote for their job someone else will. Look the part. There is no need to wear a business suit but a painter should wear painters pants. Jeans and a shirt with your company name on it will also look like a professional who owns and cares about his business. If you can, letter your vehicle with company name or get magnetic signs to advertise your services. On any of your printed materials list your contractors numbers and “bonded and insured” only if you are.
You’ll need to apply for a business license, and depending on the state you are in, other permits or certifications to run a maintenance business. In some states you will have to be a registered contractor before you can do certain types of jobs. Be sure to check with your state and city for job permit laws and costs. Get your business covered by a good insurance policy and perhaps be bonded. An accountant will also help with tax preparation.
How to Market Your Maintenance Business
Getting clients will be the most time consuming part of your business. It’s hard to be on a job and answer your phone. If you have a message machine or a person to handle your calls, your business and reputation will grow when you return calls promptly. You will need to visit potential customers and the decision makers to give a quote and the details of the job. Giving the client a professional quote in writing , itemized if necessary, promptly will impress them with your level of service and knowledge. Always be sure to follow up any visits you make and keep a file of your quotes for a few months. Many maintenance services have too much business and do not reply to the customer promptly, if at all. This opens the door for your business. When you perform a job for a satisfied client, ask for referrals and give them a few extra business cards to give their friends. Referrals will really grow your maintenance business.
In addition to cold calling on businesses, another great way to get the word out about your maintenance business is to network. Attend local networking events to meet people who can either use your services or pass on your name to others who can. Many hardware or home improvement stores, RESTORE Habitat for Humanity stores have a bulletin board or area for maintenance people and contractors to put their business cards. Any place you can put a flyer or business card will give your business visibility. Volunteer at Habitat for Humanity building sites and offer your services. Let people know that this is your business. If you aren’t shy and you demonstrate that you will take care of your clients with fast, efficient, clean service, you can nail it when you learn how to start a maintenance business!
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