How To Write a Better Handyman Estimate
Handyman services are becoming increasingly popular thanks to the digital age making these jobs more available to consumers.
Being a handyman or handywoman is a highly skilled profession that requires a great body of knowledge as well as sharp critical thinking skills and clever marketing strategies to stand out from the competition.
This article aims to help those in the handiwork and home repairs profession better understand what needs to be included on their estimates to increase their profitability and grow their business network.
Types of Handyman Services
First off, we’d like to take a brief moment to talk about how to identify yourself and your services.
“Handyman” is a blanket term for a wide variety of jobs and people—a handyman does not have to be a man, and women can do all the same tasks. We use the term “handyman” in this article, but we are referring to an entire profession of people with different identities.
If you are a handywoman, you can call yourself that, or you may come up with a different, clever name to set yourself apart, like, “Ms. Fix It” or “Wonder Woman Repairs”. These are just examples, you can give it some thought and come up with your own, or use these to get started. Creativity is encouraged and noticed in this profession.
Next, what kind of work do handymen and women do?
Some standard services include:
- Tile installation and repair
- Attic insulation
- Bathroom repairs, improvements, and maintenance
- Deck finishing and repair
- Drywall services
- Outdoor installations and repairs, such as gutter maintenance, siding repair, and fencing
- Basic carpentry tasks
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a good benchmark for knowing what to offer. To read more about handyman work, check out our article on handyman proposals.
Setting A Price
Handyman services usually charge by the hour, but you can elect to charge by the job if it is a task that you feel you can accurately estimate.
Industry experts typically recommend at least setting a minimum service charge. This could be something like changing a light switch or installing a doorbell. It’s totally up to you if you want to come up with a fixed price for small tasks like this or if you want to set an hourly rate.
Obviously, the larger and more complex the job, the more you’re going to charge per hour. The average hourly rate is $60-$65, but jobs that get complex or are part of a larger company can be up to $125 an hour.
Another thing you need to consider are your supplies and materials. Many jobs are going to require you to show up with specific supplies, all of which should be billed to your client.
In Route’s estimator tool, you can account for this by selecting your necessities under the “supplies, materials, and equipment” tab. Here you may determine if these are one-time or recurring costs.
Since most handyman jobs aren’t recurrent, you’ll likely only be billing your client once. Keep track of all your expenses and add a markup to ensure you’re hitting your profit margin.
Route will do this for you in the estimator tool. An 8% markup is standard for the building services industry, but what you think is fair is up to you as an independent contractor working manual labor.
Average Job Times
To see if you have a good production rate, you’ll want to know the average time it takes other handymen to do certain jobs.
What is a production rate? This is simply an average time it takes you to do a job.
Sometimes production rates are found by determining how much work you can do in an hour. Other times it is found by seeing how long it takes you to complete an entire job.
To find your production rate, time yourself over the course of a particular job several times. Remember that you aren’t averaging the time it takes you to do all handymen jobs, you’re averaging the time it takes you to do a one job, say, drywall installation.
Time yourself over several drywall jobs and find the average. Then check it against a national average to see where you fall compared to everyone else. This will help you assess your skill level and competitiveness in the industry.
Below are some average job times:
- Replace thermostat, hang a heavy picture, repair leaky faucets: 1-2 hours
- Small drywall repair: 2-3 hours
- Replace windows, hang a door, woodwork repair: 3-4 hours
- Repair a wall, install heating and air conditioners, lay carpet: 4+ hours
A note on labor assessment.
Most handyman jobs are done by you and no one else. However, if you’re working on a team, you might bring more than one worker to a jobsite, especially if it is large and complex.
In your initial walkthrough or conversation with your client, you should be trying to get a good feel for how much labor the job will require. If you think you need help, be sure you’re adding this into your estimate and hourly calculations.
If someone gets paid at a different rate or is allocated for different hours, you can factor this into your estimate without changing your own rate or hours.
Most bidding tools and templates include an easy way to make sure everyone on your team is properly accounted for. With Route, under the “labor” tab in the estimator tool, selecting the “advanced” box will allow you to break up your team by composition.
Working in the handyman profession requires a lot of skill on and off the job site. There are many things to account for when deciding what to charge for your services.
First, assess the type of jobs you are capable of doing. Make a list of your top skills or areas of trade.
Next, decide whether you are going to charge by the hour or by the job. You might do a mix of both. If you’re using a platform like Route’s estimator tool, you can easily differentiate between jobs and pricing structure. Make sure you are billing your client for supplies and materials you incur during the job.
Take some time to find your production rate, or simply put, your average time it takes you to complete different jobs. It helps to compare your production rate to national averages to see where you fall.
Last, make sure you are assessing your labor needs as you write your estimate. If you want another person to help with clean-up or debris removal for instance, you will need to factor in their costs, as well.
Follow these steps and you’ll find yourself increasing your business and maximizing your profitability simply by being thorough and organized when formulating your bid.