Introduction: Learn How to Market a Handyman Business
Thanks for checking out the Handyman Marketing Pros’ step-by-step guide to drastically improve your online presence! Give yourself some credit for taking steps to learn how to market a handyman business and how to grow (most owners never do, which is why most businesses inevitably fail).
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.
I encourage you to schedule time within a few days to follow these steps, or review against your current marketing setup to find gaps. We’re all busy, and if you don’t make it a priority (even if it’s important), it WILL fall off your radar and you’ll be back to coasting along in your business.
“If you’re not growing, you’re slowly dying.”
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 200+ handyman and home improvement contractors across the US;
- Having thousands of conversations with owners about their experiences and marketing needs;
- My personal experience in starting a local business with zero paying clients;
- 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
1. Create A Free Google Account For Your Business
I recommend Gmail for a few reasons:
- You will need a Gmail account to create a Google My Business profile (upcoming step)
- You can create a free business phone number using Google Voice (helps to keep your personal and business calls/texts separate)
For the email, use your business name if possible. If unavailable, avoid using numbers and try adding your state (“BusinessNameTX@gmail.com”) or town (“BusinessNameDallas@gmail.com”) after your name.
2. Get A Logo And Business Card
Fiverr.com is a great source for a quality, affordable logo. I recommend finding a logo package that includes a business card design, which you can take to your local printer.
3. Get a website
Your website is your business’s “home on the internet,” and having one is necessary to gain value from following the steps in this guide. Since this is our expertise, we will shed a little more light here:
Are you a new business with zero-to-little budget and revenue?
- Create a Google My Business account – start here (also covered in the next step)
- In your dashboard, there is a “website” tab. Follow the steps to set up a simple website that will work in the short term. This will serve you far better, and is more affordable, than Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, etc.
- Be sure to secure a domain and connect the Google site to it ($12/yr expense through Google). Don’t use their free, generic “.business.site” domain.
- Upgrading your website should be a priority once your budget allows it.
If you aren’t classified as the above, then you are here. Having a professionally designed website ensures you are maximizing your marketing efforts. Not having a well-designed site is quite literally devaluing the time and money you invest in your business through forgone leads, lackluster impressions, and lost SEO value. Your site should be optimized for search engines, optimized for conversions, and mobile responsive. (There are more, but these are critical.)
For most businesses, a single job gained from a professionally designed site will pay for itself (whereas a DIY site would not have secured this same job because of a lack of the above-mentioned traits).
Handyman Marketing Pros, since starting in 2017, has accrued more 5 Star reviews than any other web designer specializing in contractor and handyman websites.
How? We believe it’s because we:
- Carefully listen to our customers
- Are responsive to their needs and communications
- Are constantly learning from industry experts in web design, SEO, and digital marketing
- Are gifted at what we do
- And, perhaps most importantly, we respect the trust that our customers place in us. We honor this trust by treating their businesses like our own.
Overall, we understand the ins and outs of a successful contractor website – from design to SEO. And we do it all with exceptional customer service. Click here to schedule a Strategy Call and we’ll unpack how we can serve you and your business.
4. Setup And Optimize A Google My Business (GMB)
Please note: this is one of the most important marketing assets of any local business. If you do nothing else in this guide, do this:
5. 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
6. 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.
8. Get 5 star google reviews
A review is the online version of personal referral. Get dozens of 5 star reviews on Google, and I’d wager that’s even more powerful than a personal referral.
Along with instilling trust with potential clients, online reviews are an ever-increasing ranking factor. Point is, you need to have a process for consistently getting 5 star reviews.
Note: because this so important, we provide a “review system” to all our clients to help them consistently generate 5 star reviews. Whether the review is on Google, Facebook, or wherever else, they are automatically uploaded to the website in various review sections.
- Create a template email and/or text that is sent to all customers after completing the job
- Provide a review link(s) for them to easily leave you an online review
- For most platforms, click “leave a review” on your profile page and copy that link. If the link is long and ugly you can use a “link shortener” (search Google for one) to make it visually appealing.
- Never miss an opportunity to get a 5-star review – consistent reviews are becoming increasingly important in your overall online visibility. We recommend focusing on getting reviews for your GMB because it has a direct impact on ranking and SEO.
9. 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…
10. deeper application and 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
11. Helpful tools and 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.
- Customer Relationship Management platforms for estimates, invoicing, marketing, and staying organized:
- Markate and Jobber are the most popular applications our customers use.
- Take note of their marketing features. Email and text blasts are worthy add-ons that can be a great marketing tactic to implement.
- Markate and Jobber are the most popular applications our customers use.
- 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
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