The steps to becoming a handyman can look different depending on the way you want to get trained and transition into a business.
Some people choose to attend a trade or vocational school. Others choose the faster (and often less expensive) option of franchising with a professional services company that offers both training and a viable business opportunity.
While it’s pretty easy to find schools and vocational programs for learning a skill or trade, there are not many resources that explain how franchising with the right service company can offer all the training you need, just faster and often cheaper.
This guide offers just that: a look into a simpler path that just about anyone can take––even with zero handyman or professional service experience. Not only will you learn in-demand skills, but also the systems, processes, and support you need to run and grow a business.
Before we jump in, we suggest downloading and reading through our free franchise owner Q&A guide here. This PDF is filled with firsthand interviews with people from all walks of life who have used the franchise model to learn a skill and run a successful business.
Let’s start by looking at the important differences between trade schools and franchises that train and support their owners.
Trade schools vs. full-training professional services franchises
There are many educational programs (both in-person and online) that will train you in various professional service skills such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc.
Handymen typically go this route when they want to take on more complex work that requires a license, but the downsides are important to consider:
Time & Money
It can take years and many thousands of dollars to learn a complex trade, pay the fees, and maintain a license. In many states, you may be required to spend up to five years as a journeyman after your formal training before you can start on your own depending on the service you provide.
On the other hand, buying a franchise that offers comprehensive training is a more attractive option for those who don’t have the time and money for schooling. As our own franchise owners can attest to personally, you don’t need to work in a licensed field to run a very successful and rewarding professional services business. More often, successful handymen are those who offer a specific, in-demand service that customers can’t get anywhere else.
The other major difference is what comes after you complete a training and education program. Those who spend the time and money for school often have another huge hurdle to overcome as soon as they graduate: starting and running a business from scratch.
This can often mean committing to another long and expensive business training program––taking on even more expenses and risk before actually launching your business.
By comparison, those who buy a professional home services franchise are given a turnkey business immediately following training. Unlike going it alone, the franchisor provides systems and support along with the name recognition of a trusted brand.
What’s more, franchise owners have an entire network of other owners like them who can offer valuable first-hand advice. Instead of wasting time and money figuring out what works and what doesn’t, you can immediately follow their best practices and maximize ROI from the start.
Training to become a professional service provider through a franchise takes a few steps, which we’ve summarized below. Use this as a guide to familiarize yourself with the process and don’t hesitate to contact us for one-on-one help to learn more about how a franchise like our’s works.
1. Evaluate any current skills.
While good franchisors can train even the least experienced people to become expert service providers, if you do have skills, take stock of what you can do to get a baseline of your abilities.
Take out a notepad or hop on the computer and make a simple list of your skills. Can you group any together and build on them? More importantly, is that what you want to do?
While you shouldn’t be constrained by what you’ve done in the past, this can at least be a helpful exercise in identifying any skills you could build upon if you already have a background as a handyman or service provider.
Again, don’t worry if you don’t have experience.
2. Consider the skills and services you’d like to learn and provide.
Unless you know exactly what services you’d like to provide, a healthy dose of research can uncover the opportunities that are most viable from a business perspective. Remember that the more specialized your service is, the more valuable it is. This is why it’s almost always more lucrative to shift from being a “handyman” to a dedicated service provider.
Consider what services are and aren’t offered in your area. Where can you fill a service gap? How can you differentiate yourself to provide a highly needed, but underserved area?
Here are a few important questions to get you started:
- What services in your area are saturated or oversaturated (meaning there are already enough or too many providers)?
- Conversely, what services aren’t being provided in your area?
- Are there any services that are especially needed based on where you live?
- Are there services that are treated as add-ons when they really deserve a dedicated professional?
Our franchise offers an example of that last point, which might serve as a helpful reference. Our core services –– grout and tile cleaning, restoration, repair, and restoration –– are needed by homeowners and businesses across the country. But in most communities, the only providers offering this service treat it as an add-on.
The key here is that they don’t specialize in grout and tile work. The Groutsmith, on the other hand, focuses squarely on those services –– providing the level of service and attention to detail that’s needed to do great work customers are willing to pay a premium for.
The takeaway here is simple: Finding an in-demand service and dedicating yourself to being the very best at it is a simple, but powerful formula for success. This should be the goal when setting out to determine what you want to get trained to do.
3. Look for franchises that provide specialized, in-demand services that fit your location.
There are a ton of resources online to help you find and choose from the many franchise opportunities available. But filtering through page after page of listings can be a time consuming and frustrating without knowing how to do it efficiently.
Here are a few quick tips to help make the best use of your time and effort:
- Once you have a good idea of the potential services you’d like to offer, ask yourself a few questions that will help you filter possible franchisors down to a short list:
- Decide whether you’re looking for a large, established brand or a smaller, but fast-growing franchise.
- Do they provide comprehensive training and ongoing support?
- Do they have opportunities to expand beyond your initial territory?
- Do they fit your financial plan?
- Once you’ve answered these questions, use the answers to filter based on fit. This will help you narrow your area of research from thousands of franchise opportunities to perhaps a few dozen.
- Google can be great tool for finding potential franchises. Also, franchise finder sites like FranchiseHelp.com can help you browse and filter franchise opportunities based on a number of factors. You can search by answering questions in a franchise “quiz,” browse franchises by industry, or search by company name using a directory.
4. Make sure potential franchisors offer comprehensive training.
This is critical and shouldn’t be overlooked. Franchisors should offer at least some information about their training programs on their website and be able to go into further detail over the phone.
No matter how you receive information about training, make sure it checks a few important boxes:
- It fits your level of skill and experience
- It includes hands-on instruction on real job sites
- It thoroughly covers any proprietary products used
- It covers not only the service skill itself, but all the areas you need to run a successful business
5. Evaluate top contenders, make a decision, and start the onboarding process.
Once you’ve narrowed your list to roughly one to three franchisors that appear to offer what you’re looking for, you can begin digging deeper to evaluate and compare them in different areas, identify a winner, and apply to become a franchise owner in the system.
In general, there are five key things to do once you’ve found the right franchise:
- Connect with current franchise owners and ask questions
- Reach out to the franchisor to indicate your interest and get detailed information about the company
- Read the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) provided by the franchisor
- If necessary, hire a professional to help you evaluate the business if the information isn’t clear
- Make an informed decision and apply to purchase the franchise
Check out our full article here to get the details of all five of these steps.
Final Thoughts & Next Steps
Becoming a handyman––and eventually a specialized professional service provider––starts by asking an important question: what’s the best path to getting trained and starting a business?
While sometimes traditional schooling and licensing
Read our other article here to learn if franchising is right for you.
Other helpful articles:
- 6 Personality Traits for Successful Franchise Ownership
- What Does a Franchisor Look for in an Ideal Franchisee?
- 5 Red Flags to Watch for When Buying a Franchise
- 5 Money Questions to Ask Before Buying a Franchise
- 5 Things to do After You’ve Found the Right Franchise
Want to learn more about becoming a franchise owner with a low-cost opportunity anyone can succeed with? Learn more about The Groutsmith, read a real-life success story from a Groutsmith franchise owner projecting $1 million in sales this year, and contact us to get more information and start the conversation.