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EXECUTION Making money doing dirty deeds (Unsexy Tasks)

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Isleofbing

Contributor
Oct 23, 2013
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41
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So in light of Covid shutting down a lot of my Union electrical projects I've found myself with a lot of free time. I've decided to start a handyman business to fill up this time and keep me headed forward in a direction. I thought I would keep a process/execution journal and share some of the processes that I'm going through building an unsexy handyman/dirty deeds task company from the ground up. No previous existing customer base, no revenue, $0.00 in starting capital. I hope this helps some of you guys on your own endeavors, as your own posts have helped me over the years in my own.

2021 DIRTY DEEDS BUSINESS JOURNAL




1.25.2021(MON)​

No news from Henderson Electric on when I’ll get to work this week. Starting to worry about how long this slow down is going to last. I can’t exactly quit my apprenticeship, but my resolution to continue walking this path gets harder with each workless day.

1.26.2021(TUE)​

I’ve decided to start taking on handyman/appliance repair customers again. Even if it doesn't bring in six figures it will give me something to do to occupy all this idle time I seem to have on my hands lately. I signed up with Thumbtack and so far I have had a few inquiries for my services. We shall see where this goes. I had three of my friends who I have done work for in the past write me glowing reviews to try and boost my search results on thumbtack. I've decided to name my endeavor Trident Home Services. I created a logo on Canva wile waiting in the car rider line for my daughter. Researched customer management systems and best practices for invoicing customers dr

1.27.2021(WED)​

I got called into work this morning by Henderson Electric. I managed to eke out 8 hrs today($125 after taxes) on a project, but things are not looking good for Electrical work with Henderson. I get that I'm not the only one suffering hours wise, but it's getting harder to fight the anxiety that comes with not working consistent hours on a project. Honestly it's not the lack of money that bothers me, it's the lack of purpose in my day that feeds the depression.

1.28.2021(THU)​

Decided to take inventory of all the tools and skills I have available at my disposal to try and get myself out of this rut with Henderson. I have a truck, assorted power and hand tools, and a lifetime of experience making the best out of shitty situations just to get by. I actually had a customer call me today to get a quote for some handyman work( fixing a door that won’t shut, hanging some blinds, replacing some rotten wood around her garage doors.) I also had my JATC Electrical code exams today (scored an 84) and left the campus at 10pm.

1.29.2021(FRI)​

Got up this morning and had some coffee at a local restaurant that I use as my mobile office. I met with my customer this morning at 10am to take measurements and worked up a bid for her project. ($865). She just approved via text messaging, so now I'm waiting on her to send over the deposit so I can order materials and start work on Monday(2/1) at 9 am. I’m feeling really anxious about this, and the fear that I may screw this up sometimes keeps my feet planted firmly to the ground. I’m having to learn how to bill out and invoice all over again, Trying to set up systems to track the 6 leads I've gotten so far, as well as the estimates I have pending.

1.30.2021(SAT)​

Woke up this morning to 2 more Appliance repair leads. Responded to them, and texted my first customer about collecting her Deposit. Materials are only going to cost me $150 but that's money I'd rather not spend on someone I don’t have a business relationship with. Some of that has to do with having so many customers at Maverick First Aid, not paying us for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Safety and first aid equipment. I like my clients to have a little skin in the game before I commit my resources to them.

I had an Anxiety attack Friday night driving home. I should feel excited about this side job, but I’m worried about not being able to do it, about messing up and failing, about losing what little bit of freedom and self-reliance I have created in the last 2 years. Every call that comes in I worry will I be able to schedule them and honor my word, or will something outside of my power prevent me from doing that.

I can’t run any jobs today because I promised my son I would chaperone him and his girlfriend. So I started reading a business book about Mattress Mack (Houston, Tx) a lot of what he has gone through really resonates with me like the below entry.

“The lack of work and purpose in life depressed me. In addition to my growing frustration over the bankruptcy, I was personally running out of money. When things were going well with the health clubs, I wasn't uneasy about going into debt to buy a nice car or to build more clubs. However, now that no money was coming in, I felt the pressure of my creditors. It happened gradually, but it was grinding and relentless. First I sold my car and began to use public transportation, mostly the bus to get around town. Next, I broke the lease to my apartment and moved back home with my parents. The final straw, the last move that convinced me that I had lost everything, was when I was served divorce papers.
I spent days at a time without leaving my parents’ house. I felt like a failure. When I look in the mirror, I thought to myself I even look like a failure. A mostly shy and private person already, I was now becoming even more withdrawn. Talking became a burden. My depression began to feed on itself. The more depressed I got, the less functional I became. The less functional I became, the more depressed I got. It became a vicious cycle that anyone who has suffered from depression knows all to well. I had always had something to lift my spirits when things were not going well--football, weight lifting, business, Now I wasn’t sure what to do.”
 

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Kal-El1998

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Way to keep track of this! And yes I totally agree, you often have to do the "unsexy" things to get to where you want to be. I remember learning that one as early as high school with our strength coach.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Great job of not sitting around waiting for things to change, grabbing bull by horns!
Thanks for sharing your journey.
 

Isleofbing

Contributor
Oct 23, 2013
8
41
19

Sunday 1.31.2021​

So after about 4 days of paying for leads on Thumbtack, I finally made my first sale Saturday at 1 pm. I repaired a customer’s ice maker and netted $65.00 dollars, plus a $10 tip for being so expedient in my customer service. (Note: No parts were needed, and the repair took me less than 15 mins to complete.)

I started Sunday off with 1 job scheduled (a dishwasher repair) but finished the day with 3 jobs (Fridge, Elec. Dryer, Gas dryer) completed, and a return trip to install parts tomorrow morning. I also gained two new 5-star (glowing) reviews from customers without having to ask for them.

So to recap my first week

Money spent on Advertising(Thumbtack): $72
Listing Views: 512
Leads: 10
Converted: 4
Sales: $512
Expenses: $65 (Parts and Fuel)
Profit: $447
5 Star reviews from New customers: 2
 

Stargazer

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Good job :thumbsup:

I imagine the US is similar to the UK insofar as someone turning up on time, doing an efficient job and making the process from initial enquiry to wiping your feet on the way out, is so rare that we go 'wow' when it happens.

Your cobweb of doubts will soon start to blow away.

Dan
 

Isleofbing

Contributor
Oct 23, 2013
8
41
19

Monday 2.01.2021​



So after the high of the last two days, it was apparently time to learn some hard lessons about billing. I’ve been accepting Cash and checks, along with PayPal (credit/debit). I set up my business PayPal last Wednesday, and as I have written before I made my first sale, Invoiced, and was paid Immediately $75.00. So I assumed everything was working pretty well with invoicing through Paypal. I woke up this morning (Monday) to find that my 2nd and 3rd Paypal invoice payments are on hold, and could be on hold for as long as 21 days while Paypal verifies their validity.

Okay, no big deal I’ll just transfer the cleared balance in my Paypal to my debit card to float business expenses/Parts until the payments clear. That is when I learn that it will take Paypal 3-5 business days to verify my bank account info before they can deposit my funds.

So what have I learned:
  1. Vett all NEW online Platforms 30 days before you really plan on using them.
  2. Have a 30-90 day cushion of funds to cover any billing hold-ups that may arise.
  3. I need to charge a convenience fee on my invoices to offset the 2.7% fee Paypal is taking on each invoice.

It was a little hectic and there was a lot of hair-pulling out going on, trying to figure out how to overcome this financial obstacle, but ultimately I feel the lessons learned were worth the temporary pain.

Side Note: Paid my Rent and managed to pick up 2 more jobs (Hanging some lights in a corral, and fixing a front-load washing machine, from my landlord just by taking the time to shoot the breeze. BONUS: Lesson learned, talk to everyone about what you do you just may uncover a few needs that you can resolve.
 

Isleofbing

Contributor
Oct 23, 2013
8
41
19
Good job :thumbsup:

I imagine the US is similar to the UK insofar as someone turning up on time, doing an efficient job and making the process from initial enquiry to wiping your feet on the way out, is so rare that we go 'wow' when it happens.

Your cobweb of doubts will soon start to blow away.

Dan
Thank you, Dan.

Yeah, I'm pretty confident that customer service is a pretty universal need. I've discovered this last week that if you respond quickly to customer inquiries, and offer them honest solutions to their pains, they will open their wallets without batting an eye to pay for that resolution. Most of my jobs don't take me more than 15-30 mins to diagnose and fix, but customers are eager to pay me for an hour of my time. I've also learned to narrow down my "Ideal" customer to weed out the tire kickers and time wasters.

Example: I require a 50% deposit on all part installs or any job where materials will have to be ordered. I have learned from past experience that this is a good way to measure if a customer will be able to pay their final invoice.

I had a customer this week refuse to pay her deposit ($400) because "She didn't know me". So I thanked her for her interest and told her she may be better served by someone else. Yes, I could have bought the material and done the job, but then how much time am I going to have to waste chasing her for payment on $800 after the job is done.
 

Stargazer

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A friend of mine, 15 years ago, used to do handy little jobs like you.

If he finished quickly, as he had allocated an hour for most things, he would ask them if they had anything else to do whilst he was there to fill in the rest of the hour free of charge.

He got lots of referrals from doing that. Especially from older people.

If they had nothing they could think of he would say 'well get the kettle on and lets have a 10/15/20 minute chat then'

Eventually his diary got busier and busier.

I think in this day and age some form of work that has to be done on location is more appealing than office type jobs for young people.

White collar workers are finding sitting at home isolated staring at screens is not that much fun. A plumber (as an example) is finding that going somewhere, interacting face to face with different people and seeing a result from their physical work is maybe better than they previously thought.

Dan

PS: Get the kettle on means let's have a cup of tea if you don't have this expression in the US and was wondering where he rest of the sentence was.
 
Last edited:

WJK

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You're doing good. Yes, finish up with the electrical license, but this business you are creating maybe even better for you in the long run. I have several licenses, credentials, degrees, and skills that I have never used as "they" thought I should. But, I blend all that and use them to make my own way in the world. I'm retired and a full-time RE investor now. I still use my education and business skills every day. So will you.
 

Isleofbing

Contributor
Oct 23, 2013
8
41
19
So 1 week into this little experiment and I've already made $1081.00 in sales. I'll go further in the process of what I did the last few days to reach that mark. Just wanted to drop back in and give you guys an update.
 

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Soundmaxx

Contributor
Aug 25, 2018
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Uk
A friend of mine, 15 years ago, used to do handy little jobs like you.

If he finished quickly, as he had allocated an hour for most things, he would ask them if they had anything else to do whilst he was there to fill in the rest of the hour free of charge.

He got lots of referrals from doing that. Especially from older people.

If they had nothing they could think of he would say 'well get the kettle on and lets have a 10/15/20 minute chat then'

Eventually his diary got busier and busier.

I think in this day and age some form of work that has to be done on location is more appealing than office type jobs for young people.

White collar workers are finding sitting at home isolated staring at screens is not that much fun. A plumber (as an example) is finding that going somewhere, interacting face to face with different people and seeing a result from their physical work is maybe better than they previously thought.

Dan

PS: Get the kettle on means let's have a cup of tea if you don't have this expression in the US and was wondering where he rest of the sentence was.
Hi mate UK plumber here That's right!

Although don't forget the amount of value we add to everyone's life bringing fresh hot/cold water and heating in your house.
I had an emergency call out on a bank holiday weekend, that means they had to be left 3 days without water until they can get a plumber in, so I decided to help them and once the water was back on the client's wife asked me "is it ok to give you a hug love" ... This is when I realized how vital the plumbing service is and I'm proud to be a part of it!!!

Chris
 

Lorri

PARKED
Aug 9, 2019
1
0
1

Monday 2.01.2021​



So after the high of the last two days, it was apparently time to learn some hard lessons about billing. I’ve been accepting Cash and checks, along with PayPal (credit/debit). I set up my business PayPal last Wednesday, and as I have written before I made my first sale, Invoiced, and was paid Immediately $75.00. So I assumed everything was working pretty well with invoicing through Paypal. I woke up this morning (Monday) to find that my 2nd and 3rd Paypal invoice payments are on hold, and could be on hold for as long as 21 days while Paypal verifies their validity.

Okay, no big deal I’ll just transfer the cleared balance in my Paypal to my debit card to float business expenses/Parts until the payments clear. That is when I learn that it will take Paypal 3-5 business days to verify my bank account info before they can deposit my funds.

So what have I learned:
  1. Vett all NEW online Platforms 30 days before you really plan on using them.
  2. Have a 30-90 day cushion of funds to cover any billing hold-ups that may arise.
  3. I need to charge a convenience fee on my invoices to offset the 2.7% fee Paypal is taking on each invoice.

It was a little hectic and there was a lot of hair-pulling out going on, trying to figure out how to overcome this financial obstacle, but ultimately I feel the lessons learned were worth the temporary pain.

Side Note: Paid my Rent and managed to pick up 2 more jobs (Hanging some lights in a corral, and fixing a front-load washing machine, from my landlord just by taking the time to shoot the breeze. BONUS: Lesson learned, talk to everyone about what you do you just may uncover a few needs that you can resolve.
This is a great post. What you did and what you learned and Now how to proceed. This is the process that so many business owners share. These are the "mistakes" that can derail you if you let them when all they were was what you didn't know yet. Thank you.
 

Isleofbing

Contributor
Oct 23, 2013
8
41
19
2/20/2021

Sorry guys I've been dealing with the aftermath of winter storms down here in Houston,Tx.

Week of 2/7/2021-->2/13/2021

I spent most of the week working at my full-time job with the Electrical Union from 6a-2pm
and running Appliance Repair calls from 2 pm-6 pm.

INCOME Metrics for the week
Union Electrical Job // Hours worked: 44 // Income: $ 705.00
Appliance Repair // Hours Worked: 4 // Income: $ 831.00

EXPENSE Metrics for the week
Advertising Expenses(Thumbtack): $75.00
Other Business Expenses(Parts, Fuel, Auto Maint): $232.59

NET INCOME WEEK: $ 1228.41

Week 2/14/2021--> 2/20/2021

Houston Froze over Monday (2/15/21) around 2 am. Most of Texas was without power, heat, and or water. I'm still without water at the moment. So most businesses, including my union shop, were shut down for the week. I've answered a lot of service inquires this week over the phone, but I don't have it in me to charge people service calls for stuff I can't fix (Ex...no power, No water service). I'm aware that my income this week is going to take a hit, the bright side is that once things start to come back on, I'm going to be super busy. (As are all the Plumbers, Electricians, Handymen, etc.). It's also my daughter's birthday this weekend so I've blocked off Saturday Afternoon and Sunday to spend time with her and my other two kids. #WorkLifeBalance.

INCOME Metrics for the week(So far)
Union Electric Job // Hours Worked: 0 // Income: $0.00
Appliance Repair // Hours worked: 2 // Income: $125.00

EXPENSE Metrics for the week(So far)
Advertising Expenses( Thumbtack): $101.00
Other Business Expenses(Parts, Fuel, Auto Maint): $70.00

NET INCOME WEEK: $ -46.00
 

FastLaneSoCal

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2/20/2021

Sorry guys I've been dealing with the aftermath of winter storms down here in Houston,Tx.

Week of 2/7/2021-->2/13/2021

I spent most of the week working at my full-time job with the Electrical Union from 6a-2pm
and running Appliance Repair calls from 2 pm-6 pm.

INCOME Metrics for the week
Union Electrical Job // Hours worked: 44 // Income: $ 705.00
Appliance Repair // Hours Worked: 4 // Income: $ 831.00

EXPENSE Metrics for the week
Advertising Expenses(Thumbtack): $75.00
Other Business Expenses(Parts, Fuel, Auto Maint): $232.59

NET INCOME WEEK: $ 1228.41

Week 2/14/2021--> 2/20/2021

Houston Froze over Monday (2/15/21) around 2 am. Most of Texas was without power, heat, and or water. I'm still without water at the moment. So most businesses, including my union shop, were shut down for the week. I've answered a lot of service inquires this week over the phone, but I don't have it in me to charge people service calls for stuff I can't fix (Ex...no power, No water service). I'm aware that my income this week is going to take a hit, the bright side is that once things start to come back on, I'm going to be super busy. (As are all the Plumbers, Electricians, Handymen, etc.). It's also my daughter's birthday this weekend so I've blocked off Saturday Afternoon and Sunday to spend time with her and my other two kids. #WorkLifeBalance.

INCOME Metrics for the week(So far)
Union Electric Job // Hours Worked: 0 // Income: $0.00
Appliance Repair // Hours worked: 2 // Income: $125.00

EXPENSE Metrics for the week(So far)
Advertising Expenses( Thumbtack): $101.00
Other Business Expenses(Parts, Fuel, Auto Maint): $70.00

NET INCOME WEEK: $ -46.00
Keep it up - when the weather allows! You Ready-Fire-Aim approach is the way to go!
 

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