Business Insurance

Starting a Handyman Business UK

Getting your handyman business off the ground can be a daunting task. You may be wondering how best to generate work, what you'll need to get started how to sort your taxes out properly. We've got you covered.

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Starting a Handyman business UK

Beginning your own handyman business can be a daunting task. From getting properly insured, to marketing your business and sorting out your own taxes, there's the potential for a wide variety of issues to cause you a headache. We’ve put together a guide to getting properly prepared to start your handyman business, whether you’re becoming self-employed or starting up a bigger venture.

Insurance for handymen

Handyman work is risky in its nature. On any given day you might be using sharp tools or carrying heavy objects—all while in the presence of customers or members of the public. The costs of something going wrong can be severe, and may even end up having a harsh impact on your earning (and possibly even your ability to continue trading) so it’s extremely important to make sure you’re sufficiently protected.

Compensation claims can be expensive, and it isn’t cheap to set yourself up with a good legal defence—a quality handyman’s insurance policy can help mitigate these risks altogether, allowing you to get on with doing your job without the fear of something going wrong.

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance for handymen is a must-have as you’ll regularly be coming into contact with third parties (customers, members of the public, etc.). If they incur property damage (e.g. knocking over a flower pot) or an injury (e.g. tripping over a wire you’ve left exposed) then you could potentially be left with an expensive bill to cover.

Public liability will cover both the cost of any legal fees if you need to defend yourself in court and any compensation awarded against you, helping you to continue trading and getting on with the work you love.

Employers liability insurance

As your business expands, you may want to bring in some additional staff to help your business continue to grow. If you do, you’ll require an employers’ liability insurance policy. Employers’ liability is a legal requirement in the UK for any business that employs staff, even if they’re only part-time or contractors.

It’ll protect you if your staff member feels they become unwell or were injured while working for you and your business is at fault, covering both any compensation awarded and any legal fees you owe during your defence.

Business use vehicle insurance

Many handymen rely on a car or van to get them and their tools from A to B. If you’re using a vehicle to support your business then you’ll need business use vehicle insurance to protect your vehicle from the additional risks of driving for professional purposes.

It’s illegal to be on the road without the correct vehicle insurance, and the penalties (fines, penalty points, etc.) simply aren't worth taking the risk of being improperly insured.

Tools insurance

Tools cover makes sure that you never have to worry about your equipment being stolen, lost or accidentally damaged. It’ll cover you for the cost of an equivalent replacement, reducing the negative impact on your customers and allowing you to get back to work quickly and efficiently (and without a large bill to cover!).

Personal accident insurance

If you’re unsure how you’d cover your monthly spending commitments (bills, mortgage, etc.) if you needed to take an extended period off of work then you should consider personal accident insurance. It’ll guarantee a % of your income while you’re off work due to injury or illness, making sure you don’t run into financial difficulties while you’re recovering.

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How to register as a self-employed handyman UK

If you’re going to be working for yourself, you’ll need to inform HMRC. If you earn over £1,000 in a single tax year (6th April-5th April) then you’re required to register for tax self-assessment as a ‘sole trader’. If you’re not 100% sure whether you qualify or not (or what exactly you qualify as) then we’d recommend checking HMRC’s Employment Status Checker.

You need to register with HMRC before October, after the end of the tax year that you begin earning as a self-employed handyman. For example, if you began your work in February 2021, you’d need to be registered with HMRC before October 2021.

If you aren’t 100% sure about what you owe, how to get signed up or what you’ll need to submit your taxes then we’d recommend checking out the Money Advice Service’s guide to tax and NI for the self-employed.

How much should I charge as a freelance handyman

Our best advice would be to scan the local market and see what other handymen are charging. Don’t be afraid to look for some quotes for some work you’d typically do—after getting a good enough idea, you should know what the local market rates are and be able to charge your services out accordingly.

Otherwise, websites like Checkatrade can offer you guidance on what the average UK handyman is charging for certain jobs. Keep in mind that prices change regionally—a London-based handyman would probably be charging more than one based in a more rural region, for example.

How to advertise as a self-employed handyman

Now more than ever, the UK population is heading online to find reputable handymen with a great reputation—in the form of excellent online reviews. Signing up to websites like TaskRabbit or Checkatrade can be an excellent source of leads, and many self-employed tradesmen rely on them as a source of work.

You may also want to consider building a website to advertise your handyman business. Companies like Squarespace or Wordpress offer a simplified website building experience, allowing you to showcase your work to potential customers and build up your online reputation.

What supplies does a handyman need?

Assuming you’re already an experienced handyman, you’ll know what services you want to offer. You may already own your own toolkit, or you may want to consider buying or renting your own. Depending on what you want to spend your days doing, you may need a combination of the following:

  • A good toolbox, including screwdrivers, nuts and bolts, wrenches, etc.
  • Cordless drill
  • A good step ladder
  • Extension cables
  • Saws (manual, electric)
  • Vacuum (handheld, hoover)
  • Sanders/planers
  • Painting materials
  • Cleaning materials (dustpan, brush, etc.)
Luke Masters

Prior to NimbleFins, Luke studied economics at Brunel University and worked at FreshMinds, Investigo and BMW. His work in data analytics, pricing, strategy and business development helped him write business insurance content to support SMEs at NimbleFins. He now works at DataPOWA, a sports & entertainment data analytics company. Read more on LinkedIn.