Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Handyman business in retirement, any experience?
Old 03-16-2019, 04:01 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
JoeWras's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,993
Handyman business in retirement, any experience?

I'm a computer guy, but in my spare time over the years, I did home improvement. I like it a lot. I volunteer doing "handyman" work. I've also been a Habit for Humanity volunteer.

I am retired now six months and like life this way.

Recently, a few friends have asked me to do "handyman" kind of things, because they know I can. Most impressively, a handyman friend has asked me to offload some of his jobs.

I am feeling a bit of a calling. But...

I like this stuff, and I'm sure I could make my own schedule (maybe one or two days a week). I want to help people. But people are mean. They sue. They complain.

I'm hesitant to do this kind of thing for money. I think I need to set up an LLC, get insurance and all that kind of thing. Maybe even get a contractor's license. Is it worth it? I don't know.

Question out there. Has anyone done this? What did you do to setup a business? Insurance, LLC, regulations, etc.? Was it worth it? What would I need to do?

Postscript: my handyman friend does this off the cuff. I don't want to do it that way. Frankly, I'm a bit afraid of lawyers and lawsuits. He is not, so basically works a cash business. Not my thing, and maybe I shouldn't even bother if this kind of thing worries me...
__________________

JoeWras is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-16-2019, 07:08 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Colorado Mountains
Posts: 2,682
I too was a software guy and did a lot of remodeling and renovation on my own place in my spare time. I have been retired for 5 years and am building my own house. I like this a lot better than making it a job. I work when I want and don't when I have something else to do or just don't feel like doing anything on the house. No issues with insurance, business, taxes, or customers. Works great for me.
__________________

Hermit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 07:15 PM   #3
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Long Island
Posts: 723
How about working for someone else, who is insured, for a while (part time) so that you can get a first hand experience of the pros and cons, with less risk?

And yes, people can be mean (including not paying cash contractors by pretending the work is bad.)
__________________
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.
MarieIG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 07:21 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Amethyst's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7,119
We have a handyman who is probably close to retirement age. He's pretty expensive, but he works his butt off too. I wouldn't want to work as hard as he does.
__________________
If you understood everything I say, you'd be me ~ Miles Davis
'There is only one success to be able to spend your life in your own way. Christopher Morley.
Amethyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 07:28 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
JoeWras's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,993
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarieIG View Post
How about working for someone else, who is insured, for a while (part time) so that you can get a first hand experience of the pros and cons, with less risk?
I like that idea.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
We have a handyman who is probably close to retirement age. He's pretty expensive, but he works his butt off too. I wouldn't want to work as hard as he does.
Yeah, the work is demanding. I was volunteering this week and found myself on the floor of a bathroom working on toilets. Squirming around on my back in tight spaces. Good cause, but I was completely spent. Hard work. I'm not sure I'd want to do this for pay.


The only reason I am even considering it is if I can just do it a day or two. No way could I do this 40 hours a week.
JoeWras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 07:35 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
zinger1457's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,917
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
I'm hesitant to do this kind of thing for money. I think I need to set up an LLC, get insurance and all that kind of thing. Maybe even get a contractor's license. Is it worth it? I don't know.

I have a golfing friend who is doing something similar, he has so much work lined up it's turned into more of a full time job, doesn't golf much during weekdays anymore. All his work comes from word of mouth, he doesn't advertise. He doesn't have a contractors license, out here it isn't needed as long as the job is under $1200. Not sure if he has any special insurance, he's never mentioned it. He seems to be happy so far but I think he got into it more for the money rather than a hobby that he enjoyed.
zinger1457 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 07:44 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
JoeWras's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,993
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinger1457 View Post
I have a golfing friend who is doing something similar, he has so much work lined up it's turned into more of a full time job, doesn't golf much during weekdays anymore. All his work comes from word of mouth, he doesn't advertise.

This is what I'm seeing. I have two friends who do this, and both have more than enough work. No advertising required.

A lot of people out there need ceiling fans put up, light fixtures replaced, drywall holes fixed, etc. I love doing that stuff. Most people don't know how. This is perfect handy-person stuff. There's a huge market out there for this.
JoeWras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 07:56 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 673
I live in a large condo complex that has predominantly retired residents. There is a newsletter we get once a month that includes some ads in the back. There are always 2-3 handymen advertised and it must be worth it to them, since I've seen there ads for over 10 years. I've used a couple of them, and they were all small, one-man operations that did little projects like closet repair, shelves, hanging pictures etc.
Katiek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 08:03 PM   #9
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 513
Still a licensed contractor for heating/AC and electrical. Also do plumbing, appliance repair, and garage doors/openers. I'd love to do it, but for reasons OP mentioned, plus in CA over 50% would go for taxes, and all the associated paperwork, it's just not worth it.

Really too bad, for it's something I truly enjoy, but the headaches outweigh the positives.
Elbata is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 08:12 PM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 135
It's all fun til something goes wrong. eg: hit a plumbing fixture while drilling a hole, or put a ceiling fan in and wire it wrong and it starts a fire. You'll lose everything you've got.


I don't want to be a spoiler here, but....if you act like you're in business you're in business. This means insurance, taxes and everything else.


As for working for someone else who has insurance...they're going to treat you like an employee, which you would be. If you want to be someone's employee a day or two a week that's great. You can't be both an independent contractor and an employee. Even if you are an independent contractor, sooner or later you're going to be asked to provide a certificate of insurance.


Would you hire an uninsured contractor to work at your home ? What if you have a helper once in a while, would you be providing workers compensation insurance and withholding ?


I wouldn't do it. Unless you want to start an actual business with insurance and tax records.


Keep life fun.
Stormy Kromer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 08:13 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,314
How will you get customers?
COcheesehead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 08:18 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Jerry1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 1,848
I would love to help people out and do small jobs that they can’t do. I’ve thought about doing it for free. Of course I’d be very selective on what I did and stay on the very low end, but as was mentioned, a light switch or a wall repair could make a person very happy. Unfortunately, the same problems would exist even if done for free. Any time you do work on a strangers house, you take a risk. Heck, even a “friend” might sue you. Sad, but just not worth it.
__________________
Ended work 9am 1/17/2018 - 56yo. Officially retired 2/1/2019.
Jerry1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 08:44 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Florence, AL/Helen, GA
Posts: 3,175
What'd be nice is to get in with a few real estate firms and do basic reconditioning of the problems on punch lists. They demand prompt service. They also often need house cleaners to come in after clients move out--and quickly get the house ready for the new owners.

For someone that's an experienced handyman, they could also take a course and sign on as a home inspector. At $350 or so per inspection, it appears to be easy money. Our local home inspector hits virtually every homeowner for installing a radon exhaust system--$1500. There again, real estate agencies need fast, fast service from inspectors.
Bamaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 09:03 PM   #14
Full time employment: Posting here.
Scrapr's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Bend
Posts: 822
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
What'd be nice is to get in with a few real estate firms and do basic reconditioning of the problems on punch lists. They demand prompt service. They also often need house cleaners to come in after clients move out--and quickly get the house ready for the new owners.

For someone that's an experienced handyman, they could also take a course and sign on as a home inspector. At $350 or so per inspection, it appears to be easy money. Our local home inspector hits virtually every homeowner for installing a radon exhaust system--$1500. There again, real estate agencies need fast, fast service from inspectors.
Realtors are infamous for not paying. After the close the finger pointing starts. Oh...you need to call the seller, etc. Either get on the closing docs (Notice of right to Lien) or $$$ up front
Scrapr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 09:07 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,314
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrapr View Post
Realtors are infamous for not paying. After the close the finger pointing starts. Oh...you need to call the seller, etc. Either get on the closing docs (Notice of right to Lien) or $$$ up front
My wife is a vendor to the RE industry, a photographer. You just get payment upfront. No pay, no work.
COcheesehead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 09:25 PM   #16
Full time employment: Posting here.
Scrapr's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Bend
Posts: 822
Quote:
Originally Posted by COcheesehead View Post
My wife is a vendor to the RE industry, a photographer. You just get payment upfront. No pay, no work.
someone not around the RE industry might not understand the risk here. Small money. But it might be your beer money!!!
Scrapr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 09:44 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,314
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrapr View Post
someone not around the RE industry might not understand the risk here. Small money. But it might be your beer money!!!
Business principles apply no matter the amount of the invoice or industry. Never extend credit on the first order. Cash up front. That makes everyone happy.
COcheesehead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 11:03 PM   #18
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Camas, WA
Posts: 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormy Kromer View Post
It's all fun til something goes wrong. eg: hit a plumbing fixture while drilling a hole
I do a lot of DIY work. My wife and I built our own house, significantly remodeled her parents house, and recently made many improvements to my mom's house so we could sell it. I've made a few mistakes here and there, but overall things have gone very well, or at least were easy to fix.

Last year we repainted my mom's house inside and out, removed the popcorn ceilings, laid new carpet and flooring, updated all the cabinets and plumbing fixtures, replaced the water heater, etc. We were down to our last few little items before selling the house when I decided to mount a shelf in the laundry room. It was the very last thing to do. I knocked on the wall to find the studs, then verified with my electronic stud finder. Held the shelf bracket up against the wall and drove in my screw. That's when I noticed the screw was wet. Huh? I must have stood there 3-5 minutes looking at that screw asking myself "why is the screw wet?". Once I got past dumb confusion I realized I had driven a screw into a copper water pipe. Dang.

I had to pull out the washer and dryer, cut a hole in the wall, replace a section of the plumbing, repair the wall, repaint, and reconnect the washer and dryer. All because I decided to mount a shelf at the last minute. How difficult could that be anyway...

I too have thought about starting a handyman business, but little mistakes like that changed my mind.
mountainsoft is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 11:49 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: E. Wash
Posts: 1,227
Another option using many of the dame skills is to home inspection associated with home sale. In many markets, decent inspectors are usually waitlisted for weeks. If of interest,
consider being an understudy for a too busy inspector, and assist him/her with their book.
nwsteve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2019, 04:45 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 1,785
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
This is what I'm seeing. I have two friends who do this, and both have more than enough work. No advertising required.

A lot of people out there need ceiling fans put up, light fixtures replaced, drywall holes fixed, etc. I love doing that stuff. Most people don't know how. This is perfect handy-person stuff. There's a huge market out there for this.
As a dentist, when I retired, the person who bought my practice wanted me to continue to work on a limited basis. While I would not have minded the work, in order to do it legally and safely (for me) required licensing, malpractice insurance, and continuing ed classes. The investment comprised more effort than I was willing to commit to, and would have required more work than I wanted to do in order to pay for that investment. So I see a parallel there to what you are describing setting up an LLC and getting insurance etc.

On the other hand, if you can work for someone else, without feeling the need for the protective net, that might work great. Also, you might consider telling them certain things you are not willing to do, that might beat you up too much, like what you describe crawling around under the sink. Let the boss do that while you do something less demanding on your old body, but frees up some time for the boss so he can crawl around under the sink.

I suspect that very likely, should you choose to go this route, your problem will be saying "no" once your 2 days a week is up and there is more work to do.
__________________

HadEnuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Washing Machine question for the handyman types... Dawg52 Other topics 44 11-14-2012 06:36 AM
Family handyman $5/year travelover Other topics 14 04-04-2012 08:31 PM
Supersize Handyman--Deal or No Deal? JPatrick Other topics 23 11-11-2011 06:34 PM
Whoe here uses a handyman to do work around the house? thefed Other topics 26 08-28-2006 03:45 PM
Handyman University wabmester Other topics 17 02-19-2006 08:56 AM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:36 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.