Hereís a business idea that I would absolutely pay for. And yes, you can start out servicing it yourself and as the business grows, hire additional people.
I think thereís a tremendous calling for handyman services, but the people who do this near me are either flaky or not organized enough to make this a viable business. Hereís what I would do differently:
1. Focus on new developments in HCOL or gentrifying areas. Iím in a new urban development in HCOL WDC. My neighbors tend to be single women or gay couples. We also have straight couples that seem to be older/retired so they donít want to do the work themselves either. Even the youngest couples are so busy focusing on their careers that very few people do any DIY.
All of my neighbors have houses built by the same developer and we have the same problems. We share information and try to combine services through a neighborhood list serve. Even with all of this info, I canít find a good reliable handyman.
2. Become an expert in the systems used in the neighborhood houses. Iíd love it if someone could tell me that my Zone 2 heat pump is crap and is likely to die within the next 3 years because everyone elseís in the neighborhood already has. Then do research on the best alternative, and find an HVAC company that you can oversee. If you do that for one house in my neighborhood, youíd immediately have 15 people lined up to do exactly what you did for the first (assuming it was well-researched and well-priced). So far, on our listserv, weíve coordinated window-washing, power washing, floodlight motion-sensors, etc. Be the person who is willing to do the legwork to find the best deal and oversee it for us. Work a deal with the companies so that we get a good deal if we use your name.
3. Have a schedule and a plan for economies of scale. Schedule all preventative maintenance tasks in advance and do all of the same type of work over the course of a weekend or a few days in each neighborhood. This is the way to keep costs low and get a shit-ton of work, IMO. For instance, if you emailed the whole neighborhood every February and told me it was time for me to have my sprinkler system serviced and that you were arranging with the company to come out on the following 5 days to the neighborhood, then I would sign up, as would probably 40-50 other homeowners. The next month, you could tell us itís time for you to inspect the roofs on block x, and if we want an inspection (flat roof with the possibility of leaks, would make me want this). Following month could be outdoor caulking / etc.
4. Basically, everything a husband would do if he were the best home handyman in the world. If you did this and got in front of me every month (by email or in person) and did a good job, Iíd find more and more and more for you to do. And so would MANY of the other people in my neighborhood.
If your organization and communication skills are good, you could definitely outsource much of this and/or hire people to do it. Youíd have to get great insurance and workersí comp for anyone you hire, but you could have very long-term and repeat customers and believe me, once someone finds a good handyman, youíll have more business than you can handle ó just donít waste your time traveling between clients. Thatís why I say to focus on new development. And yes, there is a tremendous amount of work/maintenance/installation for new development.