How much can a handyman make per year?

So you want to become a handyman, but need to know how a handyman makes per year. Let’s run the numbers so you know what to expect.

handyman working with a drill

Are you good with your hands? Do all your friends and neighbors come to you to help them fix every running toilet, leaky faucet, or household problem?

If so, you may be considering taking your handyman talents to the next level by turning them into a full-fledged business, especially as there’s money to be made.

But how much can a handyman make per year? Let’s run the numbers so you know what to expect.

How much do handymen make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a handyman earns a median annual income of approximately $39,080.

  • The lowest 10% of earners make $24,600 per year with an hourly wage of $11.83 per hour.
  • The highest 10% of earners make $63,140 per year with an hourly wage of $30.36 per hour.

Most handymen (especially those that are experienced and talented) can make more than $40,000 per year. The numbers can vary by the specific industry you cater to and are as follows:

  • Traveler accommodation (hotels, resorts, etc.)– 91,060 handymen with an hourly mean wage of $17.60 and an annual mean wage of $36,610.
  • Real estate (commercial or residential)– 313,000 handymen with an hourly mean wage of $18.99 and annual mean wage of $39,510.
  • Local government – 131,510 handymen with an hourly mean wage of $20.96 and an annual mean wage of $43,590.
  • Academia – 31,750 handymen with an hourly mean wage of $21.32 and an annual mean wage of $44,350.
  • Motor vehicle manufacturing – 2,410 handymen with an hourly mean wage of $30.33 and an annual mean wage of $63,080.
  • Natural gas distribution – 920 handymen with an hourly mean wage of $32.71 and an annual mean wage of $68,030.

Stacked up against other professions (both within and outside of the construction industry) handymen make almost the exact average salary for all occupations nationally, which is $38,810.

That’s nothing to scoff at! And since most handymen get paid by the hour, it’s also possible to earn overtime, which can significantly boost your overall annual income.

On top of that, there are a variety of other factors that can affect your earning potential to help you make more money

Education & training

Unlike a general contractor, handymen don’t have licensing requirements. There are no exams, registrations, or other hassles since the jobs tend to be relatively short and simple. As a result, there’s not as much oversight and bureaucracy involved, which can make it easier for you to focus on the work at hand. However, it’s important to know and understand the laws that apply to contractors in your state as there may be regulations that affect the size of jobs you can do as well as what you can advertise.

It may be wise to get specific higher-level training, education, and licensing in fields like:

  • Carpentry
  • Electrical repair
  • Plumbing

Experience in these other fields can help you attract more clients. Plus, that expertise will also make it easier to justify setting a higher hourly rate.

Industry - The type of handyman work you do

As you saw above, a handyman’s wages will vary greatly depending on the industry they’re in. Per the BLS, handymen in natural gas distribution had the highest annual income, $68,030, whereas those that work in parks and recreational camps only earned an average of $31,180.

Location - Where you work

Like any job, the location you’re in will have a significant impact on your earning potential.

States with a higher cost of living tend to pay more on average, while states with a lower cost of living pay less. But there are other market factors that might cause the average price to go up or down, including scarcity of workers in a particular location.

According to the BLS, the top paying states for handymen are:

  • Washington D.C. – 4,620 handymen with an hourly mean wage of $25.34 and annual mean wage of $52,7200.
  • Alaska – 4,500 handymen with an hourly mean wage of $24.51 and annual mean wage of $50,990.
  • Connecticut – 11,310 handymen with an hourly mean wage of $23.84 and annual mean wage of $49,580.
  • Massachusetts – 25,810 handymen with an hourly mean wage of $23.61 and annual mean wage of $48,110.
  • Hawaii – 7,400 handymen with an hourly mean wage of $23.46 and annual mean wage of $48,790.

Reputation (& reviews)

Now, this factor may be harder to quantify, but there’s little doubt that your reputation has a significant influence on your success.

The vast majority of your jobs will be through word of mouth. Therefore, it’s vital that you impress each customer and then encourage them to spread the word about what you do, preferably by leaving a review on a website like Yelp or Google.

On top of that, you can generate business by developing a marketing plan. This includes leveraging all advertising channels, including:

  • A website
  • Social media
  • Online directories (i.e Angie’s List, Handy, Homeadvisor)
  • Networking with contractors and other handymen
  • Traditional advertising (magazines, radio, etc.)

Ultimately, much of your marketing success will depend on the quality of your work. Do a good job, treat your customers fairly and respectfully, and people will be more than happy to sing your praises.

The size of your business

If you’re a solo operation, your earning potential is capped at around $60,000, simply because one person can only handle so many jobs. However, if you build a handyman business and hire other handymen, you can start taking on more projects, which increases the opportunity to make money.

That said, there may be licensing and other regulations that dictate your ability to operate the business legally. Look into what your particular state requires.

Protect your business: Handyman insurance

As a handyman, there are a dozen things you have to worry about. But few can have as large of an impact on your success or failure as handyman insurance.

Put simply, when you interact frequently with third parties (in this case, homeowners and business owners), you expose your small business to potential legal liability. One lawsuit could really throw a wrench in things! If you want to ensure your venture’s success and your ability to earn a living, you need protection from the inherent risks of the trade.

Although there are several types of business insurance you should consider getting, the most important is general liability insurance. This type of policy can help cover the costs related to third-party claims of:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Personal and Advertising injury

And since your handyman job is gig-based, you need insurance that only works when you do.

That’s where Thimble can help.

We’re an on-demand insurance company that offers game-changing flexibility. Our affordable policies can cover you for an hour, day, or month. Tailor them specifically to when you’re on a job site so you never have to spend money when you’re off the clock.

Getting covered via Thimble takes less than 60 seconds. Simply click “Get a Quote” or download the Thimble mobile app. Answer a few quick questions and we’ll generate an instant quote.

It’s really that easy.

Maximize your earning potential as a handyman

Handymen have the opportunity to make a decent living off their trade. There are a variety of factors that impact wages including location, industry, expertise, and reputation. Whichever route you go, you’ll need a business plan to get the word out about your services.

But all of your efforts will go down the drain if you don’t protect yourself with insurance. And since just a single liability claim can hit your profits hard, investing in insurance is a quick fix for protecting both your business and bank account.

Want to start making money as a handyman? You focus on doing what you do best, and we’ll focus on protecting you from the inherent risks.

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

Related Articles

painter painting ceiling
Handymen

How to start a painting business

If you’re a whiz with a paintbrush and roller, a house painting business can be a great way to cash in on your skills and brighten people’s lives. We’ve assembled this short guide to show you how to start a painting business.

Read More