Introduction: Learn How to Market a Handyman Business
⚠️ Follow this guide and your biggest problem will be hiring.
Thanks for checking out the Handyman Marketing Pros’ step-by-step guide to drastically improve your marketing and online presence!
This guide focuses on action and will not go into much explanation behind each step – if you’d like to learn more about the “why” of a specific step, check out our blog where we upload informational content.
This is a concise list of handyman marketing ideas and the important, foundational steps you need to apply in your business today. Created specifically for handyman and contractor businesses, this guide is inspired from:
- Experience working with 400+ handyman and home improvement contractors across the US and Canada, in all sizes of markets;
- Having thousands of conversations with owners about their experiences and marketing needs;
- My personal experience in starting a local business from scratch;
- And from my own continual education in the latest SEO and marketing strategies
Be excited and encouraged! There is incredible opportunity to operate and scale a business like yours, no matter where you are located. I see it time and time again, every single day. Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
100% Necessary Fundamentals
This is a list of 100% necessary, uncompromisable marketing items you NEED to have in place.
A house built on solid ground will stand the test of time! This is your foundation.
If nothing else, do yourself a favor and PLEASE apply all the items in this section. If you don’t, you’re going to have a significantly harder time staying in business than if you put these tactics into practice.
Business is hard enough as it is. Put these into practice, and hire our team to do your website (at a minimum), and your business will have a much higher likelihood of being successful.
Your logo is a unique symbol that people associate with your business. You need one to use on EVERYTHING where appropriate:
- Business cards
- Estimates and invoices
- You get the idea!
Recommendations for where to get your handyman business logo
- Free, DIY solution – Canva.com
- Relatively inexpensive freelance option – Fiverr.com (I recommend spending at least $100 to ensure quality – “you get what you pay for”)
Note: If your goal is to have multiple crews, and grow well beyond yourself, at a point it’s worthwhile to invest in building a high-end, professional brand through a Branding Agency. But for most, the above options, or using a local graphic artist, will work great.
Google Business Profile (GBP)
Formerly titled Google My Business (or commonly referred to as a GMB), your GBP is your most important online marketing asset alongside your website.
Why? Over 50% of local handyman and home improvement searches go directly to the Google Maps section at the top of the search results. Consumers can see a list of all the local businesses, review ratings, website links, phone numbers, and more.
See below an example of our client, Honest Lee Handyman, ranking in the #1 spot for his primary service area.
The Numbers: Honest Lee Handyman’s GBP gets 100+ calls, and 200-350 website visits each month. It is a BIG lead source! Further, many of these searches have “purchase intent” (ex: handyman near me), as in, the person is prequalified to 1) have a need and 2) be looking to hire someone. This translates to the lead quality being very high.
Website That Sells Your Business
As mentioned above, your most important marketing asset, alongside your GBP, is your website.
Your website is at the bottom of your “marketing funnel” – as in, all your marketing leads potential customers to your website. Whether someone finds you on Google, Yelp, sees your Facebook posts, receives a flyer or business card, etc… Folks these days will visit your website to learn more about your company.
Having your website setup in a way that SELLS your business is vital to maximize the effort you put into marketing your business.
Overall, when your website is designed and optimized correctly, it maximizes the lead flow from your marketing. If you don’t have one, you are literally leaving money on the table.
Note: On a tight budget? Please don’t waste dozens of hours trying to build your own on the numerous available DIY platforms out there. Get a free Google Site (in your GBP dashboard once it’s verified) that will serve you fine in the short-term. You’ll save tons of time that is better spent on “sales related activities” to produce revenue, so that paying for a professional site (with a high return on your investment) is a no-brainer.
Below are the primary attributes your website should have.
SEO (search engine optimization) is a critical piece to your website’s success. Without SEO, or any other marketing channel that is driving traffic, your website is like an unlit billboard in the middle of the desert on a stormy night.
So what the heck is this mystical unicorn that is “SEO”? I mean, everyone talks about it, but what is it?!?
In summary, SEO is the collection of strategies to increase your business’s visibility in organic search engine results. (Organic = not paid) This is in the Google Map section, and the website section underneath. You can see a few screenshot examples below to get a visual.
If you’re not hiring us to take care of your website, ensure your website is designed with best practice SEO.
CRO (conversion rate optimization) is a fancy, 5-dollar word for “turning more of your website visitors into leads and phone calls”.
I say, forget the fancy business words and SHOW ME THE LEADS!
But seriously, this is an important element of your website. Here are a few examples of conversion optimization that we’ve learned from working with hundreds of handyman businesses:
- Big phone number easily visible in the top corner
- Appealing CTA (call to action) buttons encouraging visitors to “Get A Free Estimate” (or something similar)
- Site must load fast
- Displaying live review feeds that show positive customer feedback and overall rating
- Imagery that shows the friendly faces behind the business (personality on the website)
- “Click To Call” buttons on mobile
The example below highlights various elements that work to convert a high percentage of website traffic into phone calls and online estimate requests.
At the end of the day, your website is an ASSET! It should be producing leads, jobs, and revenue for your business. Thus, conversion optimization is critical to maximize the real revenue that is generated from your online presence.
A majority your website traffic is on mobile phones. If your site isn’t device responsive, you are losing in 2 big ways:
- Losing leads and calls because visitors are “bouncing” off your site (they leave because it’s not a good experience)
- Losing rankings because mobile optimization is an important element in your SEO
Make sure your site is device responsive! We optimize our clients’ sites for all primary devices – desktop, tablet, and mobile.
Looks amazing and stands out from competitors
Your site can be SEO’d head-to-toe, mobile responsive, and conversion optimized, but if it looks BAD and doesn’t present your business in the best light… Well, it’s all for naught.
Your website is the digital representation of your business. When you show up to your client’s home, you want to make an amazing first impression. You want the same impression with your website!
Overall, having a professional appearance (on and offline) allows you to command above-average pricing commensurate of how you run your business. Also, the only way to scale your business, or take home fat profits as a one-man-band, is charging above-average market prices.
This is exactly what we do! Schedule a call with Jason, Founder of Handyman Marketing Pros, to have a conversation about your business, answer any questions you have, and see if we’d be a good fit to work together on your website and marketing.
Business Cards & Flyers
We’ll talk more about “print marketing” later in the guide, but you should always be packing business cards and flyers/postcards to hand-out.
I advise all our clients, when you show up to a client’s home (or a prospect’s home for an estimate), have something to hand them!
Having a flyer or postcard that highlights your focus services allows you to educate the client about services they might not know you do, and build traction for the services you’d like to focus on – whether it be services you enjoy doing, your most profitable services, or both.
In addition to the up-sell opportunities and education, having something physical to hand can create some “social comfort” in the interaction.
Below is the primary flyer that Honest Lee Handyman technicians and estimators hand to their clients and prospects.
Note: All of our clients get access to our Template Resources library that includes: flyers, business cards, postcards, etc. that just need a little tweaking before sending to the print shop. We also provide template “cold outreach” emails/letters that can be sent to Realtors, property managers, large contractors that might need reliable referrals, etc.
Overall, our goal is to equip family-owned home improvement businesses with all the resources and tools to be successful!
High Visibility Online Profiles
The following profiles are prudent to have setup, because these sites have people that are regularly searching for home improvement services, and asking for recommendations. Also, these are profiles that Google EXPECTS to see for a legitimate home service business, which is important for their search engine to treat your business seriously (i.e. ranking).
For social media, it allows you to stay top-of-mind with the occasional post about your company.
Later in this guide you will find a more exhaustive list of online profiles to setup that are beneficial to your SEO and ranking.
Here are the reasons you NEED to place a high priority on constantly receiving 5 star Google reviews:
Google Reviews are an ever-increasing ranking factor their algorithm. Google is a rational, logical algorithm with the objective of serving helpful results to user queries. If it serves unhelpful results, people would stop using Google. What’s the easiest way to serve up great handyman businesses for users to see? Review count, rating, and velocity.
“Review velocity” is a new ranking factor as-of 2022. This is a fancy way to say “the frequency of reviews being posted to an account.” What this means: not only are total reviews and rating important, but also the frequency that reviews are being posted to your account.
Google reviews get more eyeballs than any other platform
The more reviews you have, the more authority you have in your market. This means you can: 1) charge more for your service and 2) turn more estimates into booked jobs because you have a strong online reputation. So, Google Reviews will literally boost your revenue and profitability if you have an effective pricing and sales strategy.
perfect example of the power of google reviews
We just started working with Right Hand Man in Hendersonville, TN. Before they signed up with us, they had ZERO marketing expense, outside of business cards, and ~$350K annual revenue.
The only marketing they had was a Google Business Profile with 90 reviews. This accounted for a majority of their new clients.
Of course, they provide EXCEPTIONAL quality and customer service, which attributes to great referrals and repeat business.
You can see them ranking on the 1st page in their town of about 70,000 people. A decent sized town with great clientele, since it’s a suburb of Nashville.
Shout-out to my man Jason Holley! A business owner with a heart to serve will always find success and their place in a market.
Notable Mention - Handyman CRM
Having a CRM (customer relationship management) for your handyman business is a pivotal piece to your business as a whole. This system should allow you to send professional estimates and invoices, keep an organized client/lead database, enable automatic followups, and have various other marketing and sales features (example: email marketing).
Popular CRMs our clients use:
- Paid – Markate, Jobber and HouseCallPro
- Free – WaveApp and Joist
Note: Handyman Marketing Pros is developing a dedicated Handyman CRM that will be available by Q2 2024. Overall, our objective is to provide incredible value to small, family-owned home improvement contractors. This is an important piece for us to be able to connect your marketing (website, Google, phones, etc.) with your sales. We want to maximize the value of your marketing, and this is an important piece for us to add value!
Setup Free Online Profiles & Directory Listings (Citations)
From an SEO perspective, if it’s a free profile that lets you add a website URL, it’s worth creating. Many of these profiles have “paid advertising” they will try to sell you, but this section is purely concerned with creating the free profile.
Note 1: be sure that all profiles are completely filled out and uniform – same name, website, phone number, business description (if applicable), logo, etc.
Note 2: part of our Handyman SEO service is a robust build-out of nearly 100 powerful profiles and citations that move the needle for our clients.
Step 1: Create FREE Profiles & Directory Listings
Here is a list to get your started. Be aware: you WILL receive calls/emails from sales reps trying to get you to sign up for advertising. This is part of the game!
- Google My Business (mentioned above)
- Bing Business
- Yahoo Business
- Yelp (yes, take the free profile – it’s worth it from an SEO perspective)
- BBB (aka “Yelp for old people” 😂 – actually very popular in the south and midwest)
- MapQuest (now that brings back memories…)
- Apple Maps
Step 2: Find Other Directories Not Listed Above
Search Google for “handyman in *your service area*”, “remodeling contractor in…”, etc etc. (Use a town – people largely do not search by county.) Look through the first 3-5 pages and create a profile on all free directories not mentioned above.
In many areas, there are local directories you can join. These are THE BEST for your local SEO.
^We do this heavy-lifting for our SEO clients
Join Local Business & Networking Groups
The most reliable, durable source of leads is a strong referral network. Cement your name with local influencers in the community: business owners, active community members, “movers and shakers”, etc. Here are places to start:
- Your local Chamber of Commerce
- Realtor Association (join as “affiliate member”)
- Networking groups (like BNI)
Typically these groups have a “business directory” on their website. Be sure to complete those profiles with your website link.
Personal note on this one: There is a local moving company that has 2 full-time employees dedicated to this. Their only job is to create relationships by attending all local Realtor Association and Chamber Of Commerce meetings. More than half their business comes from Realtor referrals – this shows the power of a local referral network!
If you are well established and looking for your next big growth move – give it a shot! You can’t beat the power of relationship marketing, especially along-side an exceptional client experience.
⚠️ Before you advertise, you need to identify your ideal client. What is their budget/income? What are their common problems/struggles with their property? Do they value quality or a bangin’ deal? How do they search/find services?
When you know your ideal client you can dial-in a marketing strategy that attracts the exact clientele you’re looking for. This will fuel your growth and allow you to grow confidently knowing exactly who you are seeking to serve.
This is not an exhaustive list of every advertising option available. This is a list of advertising options that we know-of or witnessed businesses having success with.
Please note that effective advertising can vary by market and your specific trade. Something that works for one business, may not work for you. That being said, there are certainly tried-and-true advertising combos. One being our service combination of Website + SEO + Google Ads.
Another quick note: Worth-of-mouth is powerful and necessary, but real businesses have real marketing strategies. In fact, when you have a solid marketing strategy, it amplifies your word-of-mouth. Here are the issue when you don’t advertise and rely on word-of-mouth alone:
- WOM will not bring long-term, reliable business growth
- It fluctuates and is not reliable month-to-month
- You want to retire or sell one day. No one is going to buy your rolodex and “personal guarantee” of your reputation.
- Life happens and you might need to relocate. Your customers won’t come with you, but your brand, reputation, website, online reviews, and more, WILL come with you!
Free or Inexpensive Handyman Advertising
- If you’re brand new, tell your friends and family about your new business – they will be excited for you and want to support you.
- Regular, consistent posts on Facebook and Instagram
- Join local Facebook groups that allow local businesses to post occasional free advertisements
- Post your services on Facebook Marketplace (ex: TV Mounting Service)
- Network at group events (groups listed in the previous step)
- Door hangers, flyers, and yard signs (be sure to check local and neighborhood ordinances first)
- Cold calls, emails, and in-person visits to property managers, real estate professionals, apartment complexes – anything related to real estate. If you have a professional appearance (logo, business cards, website) you’ll be ahead of the curve for this tactic.
- Build relationships with established competitors and related trades. They may refer you jobs to you that they do not want, or cannot perform.
- Vehicle “magnets” with your branding and contact information
If free advertising tactics aren’t getting your business where you’d like to be, there are a lot of paid options.
To source ideas for your area, search “handyman (or contractor, electrician, etc.) in *service area*” and see what platforms show near the top of the first page. Yelp’s “TOP 10” lists are typically the 1st result, and running Google Ads is a surefire way to get your business in front of people.
Google gets you right to the source: quality leads with verified needs!
When someone searches “handyman near me” – guess what? They’re looking to hire someone!
When someone is mindless browsing Facebook – guess what? They have no idea what they’re even looking for! Yes, there is a use for Facebook, and I’m not 100% discounting it. We’ll get to that.
So where do you start?
Google allows you to easily set-up “smart campaigns” through your Google My Business dashboard (linked above in the guide). These smart campaigns were created with the average small business owner in mind – they are easy and straightforward to set-up!
Spend at least $250/mo. Google needs data to optimize the campaign for you. If you don’t have a professional website, I recommend doing the “call only” ads. You don’t want to waste money sending people to an ineffective website with a weak user experience and poor call-to-actions.
If you’re full-time and looking to hire, or well established with a crew already, schedule a Strategy Call with me. We can bring a ton of value with our fully managed website, SEO, and Google Ads strategy.
We don’t consider running Facebook Ads for clients until they’re capped-out on Google Ads (depends on the market but that number is at least $2,000/mo). Why? We’ve done the testing and Google has higher quality leads, which ultimately brings our clients a lower cost-per-QUALIFIED-lead.
That being said, Facebook is the best digital billboard advertising platform ever. The amount of impressions you get, for the $ you spend, just can’t be beat. We use Facebook for “being everywhere” more than we use it to generate qualified leads.
Facebook is best used for advertising services that the user didn’t necessarily know they wanted, but when they saw your ad, started to consider it. So if you focus on remodeling, decks, fencing, outdoor living spaces, high end landscaping, etc. Facebook can work great to generate high lead volume – just be ready for “sticker shock” and tire kickers.
I’ll reference the Google Ad statement above to drive home this point:
When someone searches “handyman near me” – guess what? They’re looking to hire someone!
When someone is mindlessly scrolling through Facebook – guess what? They have NO CLUE what they’re even looking for.
So for services/products where the user doesn’t have an immediate need Facebook is great. Home repairs are usually immediate – therefor the user will go right to a search engine (if they don’t already have someone or a referral).
So where do you start with Facebook Ads?
For most, I recommend sticking with “boosting” posts. Pay attention to the targeting, and always include some sort of media (photo or video). Here are a few basic targeting parameters to take note of:
- Other targeting considerations: household income percentage (this targeting organizes people by HH income within particular ZIP codes), parents, married, education level
For the “techy” folks that want to get more involved in their Facebook Ads, I recommend creating a Facebook Business Manager, Ad Account, and Pixel.
Note: if you’re a solo owner, and you have time to learn FB Business Manager (or anything advanced), I recommend looking at how you’re spending your time. Until you are full-time and profitable, your time should be spent on activities that DIRECTLY drive business. There are plenty of these activities that don’t require hours and hours of research/learning. Same concept of spending 40 hours to build a Wix website that somewhat works. Use your time wisely!
Other handyman marketing ideas for paid advertising
- Neighborhood and HOA newsletters
- Sponsoring a lunch at a Realtor event
- I have a friend who owns a >$1M annual revenue window washing business – his biggest paid advertising is bringing a high-quality breakfast to the Realtor Association meeting, and he does it once a quarter. It’s about the only paid advertising he does!
- Pay-per-lead platforms (there are a TON of these, so we will only list the popular ones):
- Home Depot Pro Referral
- Home Advisor (read our blog: Is HomeAdvisor Worth It?)
- Note: we don’t advise using PPL platforms, and instead recommend investing in your own brand and long-term marketing assets (when you stop paying these companies, everything stops)
- Note 2: there is much debate as to what pay-per-lead platforms “work” and what profiles are “evil and should die a long, horrible death” – this is highly dependent on your market and personal preference. Our experience – we’ve seen many successfully use Thumbtack, and we’ve seen many absolutely burned on HomeAdvisor.
Home shows and other local events where your ideal customers would be
Truck and/or trailer wrap with your branding and contact information – I consistently hear this pays for itself time and time again.
Influencer Marketing: Every Customer Is An Influencer
“Influencer marketing” is a marketing strategy where “influencers” (deemed so by their large social media following) are paid to promote a brand or product to their audience. I would argue that every business can leverage influencer marketing without paying a dime because every customer you have is an influencer.
Provide an exceptional customer experience to everyone – from the initial communication to the follow-up, and moving into all future contacts. Consistently revisit this entire interaction from a customer perspective, and you will have ideas to improve the experience!
With consistency, you will reap the benefits of your “influencer marketing” strategy. Just imagine the impact if every customer you have, takes every opportunity they have, to refer your business…
Deeper Application & Strategy
The Handyman Journey specializes in coaching and growing handyman businesses. From pricing to operations, to marketing, this is a GREAT resource for learning and accountability with like-minded business owners. Learn more at HandymanJourney.com
Helpful Tools & Resources
- Running a small business is challenging. Having a group of like-minded, supportive people makes it easier. Joining a Facebook group to learn from peers and similar businesses is an amazing (and free) resource. Ask questions, get help with bids, seek business advice, laugh together about a meme – you name it. We recommend joining The Handyman Journey for a professional, supportive group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/955093931316242/
- Canva.com is a graphic design tool that enables anyone, even YOU, to design professional graphics. Their templates for social media posts and marketing will make your life easier, and make your business look good. Start with their “Facebook Cover Photo” templates.
- Track your website traffic with Google Analytics – analytics.google.com.
- Recommended business email platform: Google Workspace (ex: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thank you for reading! I sincerely hope this guide has brought value to you and your business.
This guide’s purpose is to HELP! Not only for you but for future readers. I say this to encourage your input so we, together, can help handyman and contractor businesses everywhere. Here are a few things I’d love to hear from you:
- General feedback
- Specific questions
- Advertising tactic that has worked for you (but not mentioned here)
- Other marketing-related advice or tools
If you’d have any questions about how we can serve you and your business, schedule a free strategy call with Jason!
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✅ Google Business Optimization Guide – An Absolute Must For All Businesses
✅ Free & Effective Facebook Advertising Via Group Posting Strategy
✅ Marketing Checklist To Fill Missing Gaps In Your Marketing Strategy
✅ Comprehensive Marketing guide to make HIRING your biggest problem