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Handyman pricing guide

Handyman pricing guide | Nextdoor
January 6, 2022
Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team
January 6, 2022 | Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team

This article was updated on June 7, 2022.

How to set your prices as a handyman

As a handyman, you thrive in the home repair environment and take on home improvement tasks with grace and gusto. But how do you know how much to charge as an experienced handyman?

For the task at hand, you can put away your monkey wrenches, screwdrivers, and miter saws. Instead, read through this pricing guide for handyman services. You’ll discover everything you need to know about how to price your services in a way that’s both fair for your clients and profitable for you.

Table of Contents:

Handyman or licensed contractor?
Professional handyman rates
Project type
Prices by state
Set hourly rate vs. variable hourly rate
Distance
Material costs
Minimum fees
How to determine your hourly rate
How to boost your income as a handyman


Handyman or licensed contractor?

Before we can dive into the details of the handyman price list, you’ll first need to have a better understanding of what your handyman job encompasses and how it may differ from other industry-adjacent titles. For example, whether you’re able to market yourself as a handyman or as a licensed contractor will affect how high you can set your handyman charge rates.

In short, a handyman is, as their name implies, a person skilled at making repairs. They’re usually hired for small jobs, and although they are considered unlicensed “generalists,” they typically specialize in a certain type of repair.

A licensed contractor, on the other hand, is a person who’s licensed in a specific skill. Contractors typically charge more than handymen and are required by law for certain jobs. For instance, though a handyman may know the basics of electrical wiring, an electrical contractor may be more equipped to deal with projects involving electricity.

If you fall into the handyman category, you’re in the right place. Here’s how to start setting your general handyman service rates.

 

Professional handyman rates

Whether you’ve been fixing homes for years or are just starting out on a new business endeavor, you’ll want to be sure you’ve structured your business in the right way—particularly when it comes to finances. While you might be able to repair a leaky faucet in your sleep, you might not be the best at nailing down a fair price for your services.

That’s why it’s helpful to stay on top of the average rates within the industry. Currently, the average handyman rate is between $40 and $100 per hour, with the national average rate hovering around $60.

That said, several factors may cause this hourly rate to fluctuate.

 

Project type

As you know, not all projects are created equally. While a window repair may take less than a day, a complex kitchen renovation could take weeks. As a result, the amount you charge for your services largely depends on the type of job.

As you start to outline your price list, organize it based on the size of the job: small, medium, and large.

  • Small jobs – Small jobs are projects that require minimal tools and time. These jobs include hanging a piece of art ($60-$125), replacing ceiling fans and light fixtures ($75), and replacing the garbage disposal ($75). On average, you can earn $75-$150 for this kind of work.
  • Medium jobs – More time-consuming than small jobs, medium jobs typically require power tools. These jobs include redoing shower caulking ($100-$280) and replacing attic ladders ($150). In general, you can earn $150-$300 for this kind of work.
  • Large jobs – As the name implies, large jobs require more time and specialized equipment than small and medium jobs. This category of work can include room painting ($400-$1,000) and heavily damaged drywall repair ($300-$800).

Regardless of the size of the job, it’s always worthwhile to prepare your customers a quote before proceeding. This way, there’ll be no surprise expenses for the client, and they can ask any questions they might have before work gets underway. If you need some inspiration to model your business after, take a look at Mr. Handyman. This handyman service, based in Mooresville, North Carolina, prides itself on charging the fairest price. They’ll call you with an estimate before even stepping foot on your property.

The key takeaways? Cost transparency from start to finish and an easy, commitment-free way for your customers to evaluate if your services are the right fit for them are important.

 

Prices by state

Location is another factor that dictates pricing. Due to the varying cost of living and supplies in some locations, what you can earn as a handyman might vary depending on where you live and work. However, keep in mind that your expenses can also vary accordingly.

As you might expect, handymen typically earn more in states with a higher cost of living. For perspective, here are some examples of how much a handyman might earn per hour in the top-earning states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • Alaska – $25.66 
  • Washington, DC – $25.61
  • Massachusetts – $24.97
  • Hawaii – $24.86
  • New York – $24.86

It’s worth noting that while handyman rates fluctuate state by state, there’s also an urban vs. rural price difference. As a general rule, you can charge more if you live in a larger city than if you live out of town—no matter which state you find yourself in. 

Here are a few cities where you can expect to earn more as a handyman, according to the BLS:

  • San Francisco, CA – $28.96
  • San Jose, CA – $28.79
  • Seattle, WA – $26.02
  • New York, NY – $25.73
  • Boston, MA – $25.63

As you determine your prices, considering the average hourly earnings of handymen in your state and city can help you to maintain competitive pricing. It’s also a helpful way to ensure you’re earning what you deserve.

 

Set hourly rate vs. variable hourly rate

While some handymen choose to charge a flat hourly rate, others charge a variable hourly rate based on the job.

For instance, when considering the cost of drywall repair, two handymen may approach the same project from different pricing angles. The handyman who charges a set hourly rate will build a quote featuring their standard rate, regardless of the type of repair. The local handyman who charges a variable hourly rate, however, will provide a flat-rate quote regardless of how long it takes to complete the repair.

While the decision to charge a variable rate vs. a set hourly rate is ultimately up to the individual handyman, some think it's a straightforward decision to make:

"True, fixed-rate pricing can be a pain, since you have to plan for variables when quoting prices to clients," writes California-based handyman Leland Stone. "But the advantage is that you'll leave less money on the table when you're done."

 

Distance

When calculating a project's total cost, many handymen take into account the time and gas cost it'll take to reach the job. Decide on a radius that you're willing to service and whether or not you'll charge extra for jobs located outside of your service area. Some handymen charge a flat fee for any distance outside of the handyman's range, while others charge per mile.

If you'd prefer to keep things close to home, be sure to turn to Nextdoor. Geared towards small, hyperlocal businesses, Nextdoor allows you to connect with homeowners near your business. To tap into your neighborhood offerings, all you need to do is claim your Business Page. You can then get the most out of your local connections.

Material costs

As stated above, a handyman job is typically categorized as small, medium, and large. While small jobs require less time and materials, medium and large jobs typically require more time and specialized tools. As a result, you'll need to factor in these additional material costs when setting your rates.

In general, any handyman service will include basic tools and materials, such as nails, screws, measuring tape, nuts and bolts, etc. If a particular project requires additional tools and materials, you'll have to purchase those materials yourself. In this case, you'll need to adjust your pricing to include the extra material costs as well as the time spent shopping.

Operating from South Weymouth, Massachusetts, Steve Mills Handyman Services is a small business that knows a thing or two about material costs. For Mills , the time spent purchasing materials factors into the project's overall cost:

"My time spent shopping and delivering materials would be billed at my regular rate. Any materials I purchase would be billed at cost plus 10%."

 

Minimum fees

To ensure they make a profit (or at least cover business expenses), many handymen charge a minimum service fee. This service fee usually takes the form of a minimum number of hours.

For instance, if a handyman charges by the hour, they may have a two-hour minimum requirement. That means that even if your project takes less than two hours of your time, you'll still be able to charge for two hours' worth of work. If you do plan to charge a minimum fee, be sure this is clearly communicated to the customer either on your website or on the quote you provide them.

To build a long-lasting relationship with your customers, consider working with them to ensure they receive the most cost-effective service:

"I charge by the hour – normally $40 per hour, with a two-hour minimum," writes handyman Steve Mills. "Since no project is too small, I usually suggest that customers find another small job or two around the house to use up the minimum time left on really quick jobs."

 

How to determine your hourly rate

As with any business endeavor, your goal as a handyman is to turn a profit that allows you and your small business to thrive. At the same time, you don’t want to overcharge your customers. Providing fair rates allows you to build positive working relationships within your community and appeal to customers as a fairly priced handyman.

To find a balance between your potential profits and fair pricing, you need to determine your break-even point. Put simply, this benchmark is the amount of money you need to make to ensure profits (and avoid losing money).

To calculate your break-even point, you need to break down how much it costs you to run your business. Start by crunching the following numbers:

  • Business expenses – On top of the cost of materials mentioned above, you’ll also need to factor in your vehicle expenses, business licensing fees (if applicable), training courses, and any payments and benefits you provide to employees.
  • Taxes – When tax season comes around, you’ll have to pay income tax on anything you earn as a handyman. If you’re self-employed, you should set aside 20–30% of your taxable income for the IRS.
  • Cost of living – The cost of living in your area will help you determine how much you need to earn to live comfortably. The more you spend on your mortgage, gas, and groceries, the more you’ll need to charge to break even overall.
  • Your experience – If you’re an experienced handyman, you may be able to charge more for your services. As such, you may be able to work fewer hours and still break even. If you’re new to the industry, you might need to charge more affordable rates and work full-time.

Once you have your benchmark, add the amount you want to make each hour. For example, if your break-even point is $40 (i.e., it costs you $40/hour to run your business and live your life), you may decide to set your regular rate at $75/hour. You’re now making a profit of $35/hour (minus taxes).

How to boost your income as a handyman

Aside from pricing your services appropriately, there's more you can do to be sure your skills are earning you a competitive salary. Build your audience and your bank account by:

  • Encouraging word-of-mouth marketing - Get your neighborhood talking about your services by rewarding customers who leave a review on your website or social media page. Offer a discount to those who offer up a testimonial for your website or who refer your services to a friend.
  • Harnessing the power of social media - Earn new customers by posting regularly online. Share before and after photos of a recent project or spread the word about a special promotion. Whatever content you choose to post, be sure it showcases your expertise while also providing value to your audience.
  • Playing to your strengths - You're a handyman, of course, but if you're particularly handy with certain types of projects, use those unique skills to your advantage. Carving out a niche for yourself could be an avenue through which to earn more money.

Start earning more with Nextdoor

As a handyman, you have a unique skill set that deserves to be valued at the right price. Once you've outlined your budget and determined your rates, share them with your local community on Nextdoor.

Geared towards hyperlocal connections, Nextdoor enables you to find homeowners right in your area. On your Business Page, you'll be able to share everything from basic contact information and services to mission statements and customer reviews. That way, you can start building relationships and earning more with neighbors within your ZIP code.

Claim your free Business Page and start putting more money in your pocket with Nextdoor.

Claim your Business Page


Sources:

Bob Vila. Here's Exactly What You Can Expect to Pay a Handyman. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/handyman-costs/

Mr. Handyman. Request Handyman Service. https://www.mrhandyman.com/mooresville-nc/request-service/

Steve Mills Handyman Services. FAQs. http://stevemillshandyman.com/faqs.html

The Journal of Light Construction. Pricing Handyman Work. https://www.jlconline.com/business/pricing-handyman-work_o

Thumbtack. What is the average hourly rate for a handyman? https://www.thumbtack.com/p/handyman-prices

Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes499071.html


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