How to Start a Profitable Home Improvement Referral Service

Home improvement referral services are cropping up from New York to California. They are taking the time to do the legwork to find reputable and reliable contractors and these businesses are reaping profits from good work.

It really doesn’t take much to start. A home improvement referral service business takes only a little money and not more time than a regular 40 hour a week job. They can actually start making money within the first year of business.

The first thing to consider is what types of home improvement businesses your will refer. This can include gutter cleaning and replacement, remodeling, building additions, fencing, lawn maintenance, and many others. Remember, all though you may like to paint a client may not like it or have the time. Therefore, no business should be overlooked.

Once you have an idea of the types of contractors for your referral service business, you will need to call the local, county, and state government offices. Get the regulations and requirements regarding licensing, bonding, business registry, and insurance for each type of contractor. This is the first step to building your list. Any contractor that does not meet government regulations should not be on your referral list.

By knowing these requirements and using them, your home improvement referral business will gain credibility with your clients. They will know that if the contractor doesn’t meet these requirements, they will not be on your list. It makes the client feel more sure the job will be completed professionally and correctly.

Another way to ensure creditability of your referral service business is to only look at contractors that are recommended by their past happy customers. But this is not the end of the screening process. Recommendations are not enough.

Once a contractor is recommended to your home improvement referral business, you need to check out his or her service. Talk to them, explaining your referral service business. Many contractors will give you the needed information happily. Ask to see their licenses, bonding information, and insurance to ensure they are current and up to date. Ask for a list of services they provide and the cost for these services. Finally ask for references you may speak to.

Now you have gotten your contractor referral list started. While working on creating this list, you should have started thinking about a name for your referral service business, advertising, office area, office equipment, and ordered a phone line for the business. You may want to use a computer right away, but an index card or file system could work just as well and for a fraction of the cost, until your company grows. Keep in mind that as your company grows, the office space, office equipment, and referral list system will probably need to become computerized to save time and money.

Since your referral business is going to begin locally, check with local newspapers and periodicals to see if they would be interested in doing an article about your business. Make some flyers and ask local hardware stores if you could leave some there to advertise your service. You may also want to send letters to realtors announcing your business, they can be great advertisers for you.

Make your services free to the people calling into your business looking for referrals. Many home improvement referral businesses charge the contractor anywhere from 6% to 15% depending on the size of the project. You put the customers in touch with the contractor, and upon completion of the project, the contractor pays you a fee.

Advertise that no contractors pay you to get onto your referral list. If clients or contractors ask how they get on the list, explain to them the only way for a contractor to get on the list is for a customer to recommend them. You may want to explain the whole screening process to let the person know the exact qualifications the contractors need to have before being accepted.

A referral service business can expand easily and rapidly. Once your business starts to grow, create a business plan to set goals. Decide how much you want to expand and consider starting franchises in other locations or expanding the list to include contractors that were not included originally. This is your home improvement referral service business and you can take it wherever you want.



Source by Randy Wilson

Important Tax Considerations For The Self-Employed Handyman

One of the difficulties that can arise from being a self-employed handyman is figuring out how to handle taxes. Understanding tax law is obviously something most people would rather not get into, due to the shear complexity of the tax code. As a handyman working for yourself there are a few things you should know about your tax situation, and if you have employees there are several other things that you might want to keep in mind.

First of all, if you are self-employed, there's nobody else withholding taxes from your paycheck ever week. Because of this, the IRS requires that you do so yourself, in the form of "estimated taxes". Estimated taxes are generally paid on a quarterly basis, but done so on a certain odd schedule. Estimated taxes are paid using an IRS Form 1040-ES, and these tax payments are due April 15, July 15, September 15, and January 15 of the following year. Failure to make these payments can result in stiff penalties, which can exceed 45% of the amount of the tax, not to mention interest charges that compound daily.

The second thing that you might have to be concerned with are payroll taxes. When you have employees, you are required to withhold income taxes from your employees paychecks, as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes. On top of that, you have to match the employee's Social Security and Medicare withholding out of your own pocket. These taxes are in addition to any state withholding taxes, unemployment taxes, and even even local taxes depending on where you do business. The IRS requires that you file a quarterly tax return, Form 941, and actually deposit these taxes to the US Treasury on either a quarterly, monthly, or even weekly basis, depending on how high your payroll is. Again, the failure to pay these taxes when due or promptly file the tax returns when due can result in incredibly large penalties and interest charges, which can sometimes double the amount that you owe.

If you have run into trouble with the IRS because of these types of tax issues, and are facing tax debts with mounting penalties and interest, then there are actually things that can be done to protect your assets and bank accounts from being located by the IRS , but you must be proactive in taking the necessary steps.

If you do happen to fall behind on payroll taxes or self-employment taxes, it is important for you to understand that these types of taxes in particular represent the single most important enforcement area for the IRS. These taxes are what the federal government debts up to fund day to day operations through the year, so they get pretty serious about chasing down people that do not pay them.

However, with that said, do bear in mind that the IRS is not completely evil, and they will work with you to get caught up. But as I mentioned earlier, you have to be proactive about it.



Source by Jassen Bowman

The Handyman Special – How to Sell a House in Disrepair or Buy a House With No Deposit

Imagine this:

• You need to sell your house but you can not because you have let it run down over the years and it needs lots of Tender Loving Care.

• You can not fix it up because you do not have the cash.

• You are behind on the Mortgage Payments.

If this sounds like the house you have right now then read on. The solution to selling these difficult homes is surprisingly simple, and incredibly effective. The easiest way to explain a House Selling Strategy (or a House Buying Strategy for that matter) is through an example.

Here goes:

The Handyman Special

• The Situation – You are a seller with a house in a bad state of repair. It is currently worth $ 200 000. All the other houses in your area are worth $ 300 000.

• The neighbours are on your back to Renovate Your House because it is bringing down the value of their homes.

• You have had professional tradespeople in to give you quotes on the repairs. You can not afford to pay the $ 30 000 for the repairs and you could not possibly find the time to DIY. You're too busy working to try and pay the mortgage payments for that!

Here is what you do – "Make Your House Easy to Buy, so it Will Be Easy To Sell". With the Handyman Special strategy here are the steps to follow:

1. Let's assume that if your house was in good condition it would be worth $ 300 000.

2. Also let's assume (conservatively) that the bank would be happy to lend on an 80% Loan to Value ratio. This means they will lend a buyer $ 240 000 to buy a $ 300 000 home.

3. Next thing to do is put your home up for sale at say $ 270 000. In your marketing, ask for people who are Good With Their Hands. Yes you will get a lot of interest because it is well below the area value of $ 300 000. However when a buyer comes to inspect you should expect them (if they have eyes in their head) to baulk at the price when they see the poor Condition of your house.

4. Now explain to the buyer that you were going to fix it up at a cost of $ 30 000 but if the buyer would be happy to do the work them instead you would be happy to knock off $ 30 000 and sell it to them for $ 240 000 instead. This means you will be accepting a $ 30 000 deposit in the form of "Sweat Equity". The buyer needs NO CASH DEPOSIT. The buyer does $ 30 000 of work instead.

So – What's in it for the seller? The seller no longer needs to pay $ 30 000 for repairs and renovations. The seller will get $ 40 000 more than expected ($ 240 000 instead of current value of $ 200 000). The property title will remain in the seller's name until the renovations are completed to their satisfaction. The seller does not have to spend precious time doing DIY Renovations.

So – What's In It For The Buyer? The value of the house will be $ 300 000 when it is fixed up. The buyer only pays $ 240 000 to the seller. The buyer knows that DIY is much cheaper than the $ 30 000 quoted to the seller – say $ 4000 to $ 8000, using their own skills and network (relatives, friends, professional contacts).

The buyer will end up with a house worth $ 300 000 for which he paid only $ 240 000 (plus costs of fixing up). He / she has $ 60 000 of "Equity" in the house before they even move in (this is 20% of the house value).

Conclusion: How does this all end?

• The Bank sees a house worth $ 300 000 and a buyer who has a contract-for-sale for $ 240 000. They are deferred to lend 80% of the valuation to the buyer ($ 240 000). Happy Bank!

• The Seller gets $ 40 000 more than he / she ever believed possible and did not have to spend a penny or lift a hammer to get it. Happy Seller!

• The Buyer gets a beautiful home decorated and renovated to THEIR Tastes and the only money spent is about $ 8000. NO DEPOSIT needed. The bank cave them ALL the money they needed to buy the house at the seller's price of $ 240 000. Wow – a beautiful $ 300 000 home for only $ 8000 cash. Happy Buyer!

So the "Handyman Special" Strategy for Selling a House has in this case resolved in Happy Seller, Happy Buyer, and Happy Banker. Now that is a WIN – WIN – WIN situation.



Source by Inezmaree Stockley

Great Winter Handyman Project Ideas

For some handyman types, winter is the slow season. It's too cold out there to do anything, so we sit around watching TV, wishing there was something to build or fix. But there are actually some great handyman projects that are just perfect for the colder months of the year. Here are some things you can do during the winter.

Winter Is Tree Trimming Season

The cold months of the year are usually when folks call a handyman to do their tree trimming. If you've got branches going everywhere, this is a good time of year to get them cut because there are not any leaves or foliage to deal with. Tree trimming can be done at any time during the season, but it's best to get it done before the first thaw. This depends on where you live, but it will usually be February or March. Once things thaw out, buds will start popping up quickly.

Clean Your Gutters And Roof

One of the most important and pain-saving handyman jobs you can do this winter is to clean up the roof. Now, you do not want to be walking around on an icy roof in sub-zero temperatures, but you do not need to. Just get your best ladder and put it up. Get up there and clean whatever you can reach, especially the gutters. All those fallen leaves and whatever other junk is going to be all wet and compacted this spring when everything thaws. Do it over the winter and save you the trouble.

It's Cold Out There – Work Inside

Winter is a great time to do indoor projects. Save up all those things you want to do inside the house and work on them when it's cold outside. For example, do some painting, change your light fixtures, put in some new carpeting. These are all things you can do inside and they help the winter months pass. You can even use these cold months to go through stuff in the garage and closets and get them cleaned out.

Kitchen Renovation For All Those Big Meals

A great time to get your kitchens redone is when the holidays are approaching. Whether it's a little bit of simple remodeling or something larger, like new counters, you've got to get your kitchen into shape. There's going to be lots of cooking and eating going on! The kitchen's full of small projects that you can do to improve this space for all the great food that's going to be ateen.

When It Starts To Thaw, Install A Deck

The end of the winter season is the time of year when handyman services are really useful. Once everything starts to thaw, we're already thinking about the summer months. This is why the second half of winter is when lots of people decide to install decks. If you've already got a deck, this is the time when you'll want to fix it up with any needed repairs. You'll want to get it ready for all the barbecues and nice spring evenings.

Winter is actually a great time for fixing up the house and yard. Try some small handyman projects during these months and it 'll not only get things done – it' ll also give you something to do!



Source by Abraham Avotina

What Qualities Should a Good Handyman Have?

Handymen are hired to perform occasional domestic repairs or minor renovations. From caulking tubs to fixing fences, and from hanging blinds to putting up wallpaper, good handymen should be able to perform any small job, repair, or maintenance you require. What else makes a good handyman?

When you first begin to look for a handyman, you need to consider the services that you want performed. Do you need yard work or carpentry? Repairs or painting? Whoever you hire depends a lot what you need him to do. Good handymen offer many different services and can perform all the services advertised. Not all handymen are created equal, and some have more expertise or experience in certain areas than others. If you need someone for a plumbing repair project, it’s not a good idea to hire someone who is more experienced in yard work. So from the beginning, ask prospective hires what kind of background they have.

Second, the person you hire should have all the necessary tools to complete the job. Remember that if he has to rent tools, that will be reflected in the final price. When this happens, not only are you paying him to complete a project, but you are also paying for equipment that he should already have. Of course, handymen come across the occasional special project for which they have to rent a specific tool. But they should have every tool necessary to complete jobs they do on a regular basis, especially the jobs they advertise. For example, a handyman who advertises roof repair should have a ladder–otherwise, you would have to wonder about his ability to complete the job correctly if he doesn’t even have the right tools in the first place.

A third and final consideration is experience, and with that, age. Exercise caution when hiring young workers. Even people who have been in the home construction business for twenty or more years profess to not know everything. Make sure that as you hire someone with the advertised skills to complete your job, you check out his credentials and past work experience. If possible, find out how he has dealt with unforeseen problems in the past. Not every project is the same, but it does pay to do your homework before committing to someone you are unsure of.

In summary, a good handyman has a winning combination of the right tools, expert knowledge, and necessary experience to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Source by Rachel Spohn