One of the best things about running your own handyman business is that there’s near-constant demand. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 67% of people in Australia own a home. When something breaks, they often rely on handyman services to make that repair.
But while the demand exists, there’s also a lot of competition.
Research from IBISWorld states that there are 3,685 trades and handyman businesses in Australia in 2019. While that might not sound like an immediately huge number, some simple math reveals that equals out to more than 520 trades or handyman businesses per state.
And that data really only paints half of the picture. Handyman businesses aren’t only competing against each other. They’re also up against various manufacturers and dealers who offer repair services, as well as customers’ friends and family members who have even a basic level of DIY expertise.
If you own a handyman business, you can’t rest on your laurels and assume demand will keep you afloat. These types of service professionals need to know how to actively market their businesses in order to separate themselves from the competition and maintain a steady stream of customers.
Rest assured that you don’t need to be a marketing expert or have a huge budget in order to get your business in front of the right people. This article shares a few different tactics that will make marketing a handyman business a breeze.
Marketing a handyman business: online strategies
In today’s digital world, a large portion of your marketing efforts will happen online.
According to BrightLocal’s 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey, 27% of consumers looked online daily for a local business in 2018. Another 69% looked monthly, and 56% searched weekly.
While some people tend to think that handyman businesses can get away with only “old school” methods of marketing, having an active presence online is crucial. It’s where your customers are—so you need to be there too.
Optimise your website
If you don’t already have a website for your handyman services, you need to get one.
While having that online platform to display information—like your services, rates, contact information, and a biography—is helpful on its own, you’ll really reap the rewards if you optimise your website for search results.
Imagine that someone was looking for a professional to complete a repair. Likely the first thing they’ll do is visit Google and type in something like “handyman Yarraville, VIC.”
When someone types in a search term like that for your own area, will your business show up toward the top of the search results? If not, it’s important to focus on boosting your ranking through search engine optimisation—especially when 75% of users will never go past the first page of search results.
To put it simply, search engine optimisation involves injecting certain keywords into your website so that search engines are able to identify those terms, gain a better understanding of the information, and then present it in relevant search results.
“It’s usually a relatively non-competitive industry for SEO so it doesn’t take a huge amount of time to rank,” explains Brad Ormsby Owner of Colorstone Marketing, a California-based marketing agency that has worked with numerous handyman clients. “Once ranked, we’ve had handymen getting so many calls that they can’t service everyone.”
Keep in mind that search engine optimisation is something that does require a bit of expertise (especially if you aren’t willing to invest hours worth of hair-tearing into it), so it can be well worth it to find an expert who can help you improve your own website.
Encourage positive customer reviews
You’ve heard that online customer reviews are a big deal. 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses, and they really do carry some weight. 67% of customers won’t even consider a business with unfavourable online reviews.
The challenge is actually getting those reviews from your customers—especially when people are much more inclined to only share negative experiences (because our brains have a negative bias). According to Sensis, 43% of people posted an online review in 2018.
This means that you can’t assume that your best customers will leave a glowing review on a variety of platforms out of their own free will. You need to explicitly ask for their recommendation. You can even go so far as to incentivise those reviews with a discount on their next service or some sort of freebie.
Additionally, if and when the occasional bad review does crop up, make sure that you respond to it. 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to a negative review. Plus, that extra effort shows all of your existing and prospective customers that you truly are committed to service—even if it means receiving some hard-to-hear feedback.
Maintain an active presence on social media
You’ve probably grown tired of hearing just how important social media is, but that doesn’t change the fact that it needs to be a staple of your marketing efforts.
You should be maintaining an active social media presence and posting regularly (at least once per week) to the accounts of your choice. That’s a way to continuously engage with your existing customers and followers, so that when they’re ready to hire a handyman, you’ll be top of mind. Sensis reports that consumers are 64% more likely to trust a brand if they interact positively with customers on social media, so this point is important.
Many repair professionals get stuck about what to post, but there’s no shortage of inspiration. Post a snippet about a project you’re currently working on or a bio of yourself or one of your team members (along with a photo). Or, post a helpful tip or piece of insight about the industry. That educates your customers, while also establishing you as a trustworthy expert.
The great thing about social media is that it’s mostly free. However, you can also consider investing some budget into advertising that will allow you to target a specific set of users and drive them to your website.
Finally, make sure that you’re keeping a close eye on your messages and mentions. A reported 57% of consumers have reached out to brands with a question via social media, and you don’t want to leave those notes unanswered.
Create profiles on business directories
While optimising your social media accounts and your search rankings will help, that’s not the only place potential customers are looking. Many also turn to highly targeted platforms to find handyman services in their area.
Some of the most popular include:
- Service Seeking
All of them make it easy (and, in most cases, free!) to claim your business, verify your information, and setup an account—so that you show up when people search the platform for your services.
Not only does this widen your reach, but having those external platforms pointing back to your website can also help to boost your search engine rankings.
Finally, if you haven’t already, make sure to claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing so that you can control the information that appears when people search for your business—including displaying your name, hours, and location. HubSpot has a helpful and comprehensive guide for doing so.
Marketing a handyman business: offline strategies
We live in an increasingly digital world. But as a repair or service professional, you’re working directly with people, which means a lot of your work still occurs offline. Fortunately, these tactics can be just as effective—provided you do them right.
Incentivise client referrals
Word of mouth marketing is undeniably powerful. A whopping 91% of Australians have been part of a word-of-mouth referral process, making it the most credible form of advertising among consumers.
Of course, the first step in gaining referrals is to do high-quality work. People will be far more likely to rave about your business when they have an overwhelmingly positive experience.
However, similarly to online reviews, you can incentivise referrals to get people talking positively about your services.
Start a simple referral program that rewards your customers for bringing more business to you. Offer a small discount on a future service, a freebie, or whatever else suits you, and then make that information known to your customers.
Print out a one-sheet or even a small business card that you can leave behind at job sites that explains to your customers what they’ll receive in exchange for referrals, as well as any other details that are important. It’s a gentle nudge to encourage them to start spreading the word about your business.
Advertise directly on your vehicle
As part of your business, you do a lot of driving from job site to job site. If you aren’t already advertising your services directly on your vehicle, you’re wasting an opportunity.
Some businesses opt for a completely customised, full vehicle wrap while others use a simple window decal. Ultimately, it comes down to what works best with your budget.
Regardless of the specifics, at the bare minimum your vehicle should display:
- Phone number
- Business name
Full wraps will have room to display even more information—such as some bulleted services or a tagline. But even having just the nuts and bolts information displayed will help you maximise that time you spend driving around.
Create a refrigerator magnet
Here’s a strange fact: In a study of 10 different households, it was found that the refrigerator door was opened an average of 48 times per day. That means the average person spends a lot of time near that specific space.
Why not use that as an opportunity to remind them of your services by creating a refrigerator magnet with your contact information? It’s convenient for your customers, while being cost-effective for you. When that customer discovers they need a handyman, that magnet means that your information will be right there—prominent and easily accessible.
When there’s so much talk about new technologies, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the most effective marketing tactics really are the simplest.
Form strategic partnerships
It takes a lot of legwork to chase down every new client one by one. You spend almost as much time landing new clients as you do actually offering your services. That’s why it’s so helpful to let other people do the marketing for you.
What does this mean? Form partnerships with organisations or individuals who can immediately recommend you—almost like you’re a preferred provider. Think of things like:
- Rental owners
- Senior centres
- Strata associations
- Property management companies
Those types of customers obviously have numerous properties, which means you’ll have immediate exposure to far more than one potential customer at a time.
Leave a flyer, brochure, or business card with a point person (like a landlord or the primary contact from the strata association) and they’ll be able to pass along your information to anyone who’s looking for some repair services.
Roll up your sleeves and grow your handyman business
You’ve been wanting to grow your handyman business, but you’ve also felt a little lost about where to start. You don’t consider yourself a marketing whiz, and you don’t have a ton of time or money to invest in your marketing efforts.
The good news is that there are plenty of reasonable and effective ways that you can promote your services both online and offline.
Put these strategies to work in your own handyman business, and you’ll spend less time chasing down new customers and more time actually doing the work you love.