5 steps to start a successful service business from scratch

Want to start a home service business from scratch? Follow these 5 steps and set your business up for growth.

    Updated at Apr 28, 2021How to


The home service industry is experiencing rapid growth in our current times and is expected to keep growing even further. If you are someone who can contribute to this profitable market with a set of skills, now is the time to start your service business and begin capitalizing on it. Sure, it can feel like an overwhelming task to start a business from ground zero, but with the right tools and the right plan, you can get it done.

When you think about starting a business, the possibilities are endless. In today’s busy world, having a home service business is a smart decision because the demand for certain services is high. When you combine your specific skills to people’s needs for those skills, you have a market. In this article, we have compiled a list of 5 must-dos if you want to take advantage of the growing demand for home service jobs and grow a profitable business.

1. Define which services you can perform and provide

That can be an easy or difficult task, depending on where you stand. Maybe you are already someone who works in the service industry and is thinking about building your own business around your skillset. Maybe you are someone who needs to sit down and make a list of all your skills, then decide which ones you want to focus on. The idea here is to make the decision early on, so you don’t end up being a jack of all trades, but a master of none.

Think about your previous experience and what you can bring to the table. Cleaning, landscaping, painting, pool maintenance, plumbing, carpentry, home organizing, are just a few examples of services people are looking for. If you don’t have any formal experience, don’t worry! Start with something you know you can do well, and always find opportunities to improve so you can stand out among your clients and competitors.

You can also think about what you enjoy doing for others. The service business is all about helping others by coming up with solutions to their problems. Being aware of what people need and are looking for can give you excellent ideas of what services to provide.

You can also think about what you enjoy doing for others. The service business is all about helping others by coming up with solutions to their problems. Being aware of what people need and are looking for can give you excellent ideas of what services to provide.

2. Learn how to price your services right

This is probably what business owners struggle with the most - no matter how novice or experienced they are. You want to charge what you’re worth and still make a profit. At the same time, you want your prices to be competitive to drive clients to your business. There is no magic formula to coming up with the right numbers because they can vary from industry to industry.

You will certainly need to do some research before you post a pricing table. It can be as easy as looking at other companies who perform the same service you want to provide in your area and visiting their websites to find a price list. If social media is your thing, you can find many Facebook groups that will have posts of service providers announcing their businesses and prices. Taking the time to do this research early on can give you a good idea of where to start when it comes to pricing your own services.

Another great point to consider is anticipating things that may affect your prices, like how many hours you will need to complete the job, if you will need to pay a helper, the difficulty level of the job you are performing, if there will be any extra charges, and so on. When you do this homework in advance, you avoid the undesired consequence of ending up getting paid very little for the time and effort spent. It's possible to make pricing mistakes in the beginning, but don't let that discourage you! With practice, you will become more confident in your pricing abilities.

3. Get initial clients with some investment in marketplace apps

Before you skip this tip thinking it will cost you an arm and leg, read along! There are many ways you can start advertising your new business for free nowadays. There are paid ones too, so you can decide whether or not to invest money initially. One powerful tool that is available for free is social media.

Create a page for your business and post some content to start sharing with your contacts. Post your contact information, a list of the services you provide, and before and after pictures of your jobs to really showcase your work. Think about it as a portfolio you are building in order to prove with facts, not just words, why someone should hire you.

Once you have a business page, start advertising your business in your local Facebook groups. Think about the neighborhoods around you and look up local groups using the names of these places. These groups usually allow entrepreneurs to advertise their businesses and services once a week, on a specific day. Remember to check their rules for announcing your business and post consistently. You will be surprised to see potential clients reaching out to you. This strategy can be a successful one because you are going directly to the place where the demand for your business is.

Other marketplace apps where you can announce your services include Thumbtack Pro, Handy, NextDoor, Angi, and Craigslist. Some of them allow you to post for free, while others will charge you to send a quote or deduct a percentage from your earnings. The idea here is to use these apps initially to obtain your first clients, then move on to building a more faithful client base through referrals. More on that in another section.

4. Set up your business for growth

Once you started showcasing your business on social media through posts and consistent networking, it’s time to make it look professional. Some practical examples of how you can do this are a creative business name, a professional-looking business logo, a simple webpage, a business page on social media.

You don’t need to be a professional graphic designer to create a nice-looking logo or a website for your business. There are tools that allow you to do it easily, by yourself, and sometimes even for free! The Bizbox app can help you build a simple lead page for your business that you can share with potential customers. Canva is a website where you can create logos and graphic designs for free. If you are willing to pay a little money for a nice logo, you can create yours for about $50 using Fiverr.

You might also want to consider purchasing business insurance, as it will bring lots of peace of mind as your business grows. There are many options in the market even if you don’t have a Social Security Number. Another great way to invest in the growth of your business is to digitalize your tasks, and apps such as Bizbox can help you with that.

5. Start growing your business with referrals

Once you start getting your first clients using the strategies above, the next step is to ask for their referrals on your page! The more, the merrier. Word of mouth is still one of the top marketing tools around. Better yet, it will not cost you a penny.

There are many ways you can obtain client referrals. You can direct them to your website or social media page and ask them to leave a review. You can offer a discount for clients who refer others. You can message your client as soon as the service is complete asking for feedback, and with their permission, post their feedback to your pages. If you are in a Facebook group where your client is also a member (and you know they will be comfortable with it), you can tag them saying thank you for the opportunity to serve them, giving them an opportunity to answer, write good feedback, while reaching other members of the page.

Part of referral and growth is to make sure you keep in mind the distance between jobs. Local referrals can help you build a loyal client base in the same area, and at the same time cut some traveling costs. When, and if, you are ready to expand your business to other areas, you can assign a certain day of the week to serve each area or assign different teams to different areas.

Starting a home service business from scratch can feel overwhelming and scary but following these 5 important steps will you help you set your business for success. No beginning is without its challenges, but when you have a plan, the challenges can be easier to overcome. We will dig deeper into each of these steps in our following posts, so stay tuned!

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