How To Start A Home Renovation Business 

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Image of a man on a renovation job taking a break

Starting A Home Renovation Business Overview And Resources

A key function in this business is to be able to transform existing homes into something that is appealing, flows well, and is better than the homeowner expected.

There are a lot of hidden issues in the home renovation business because you won’t be able to see certain problem areas until you tear down the old construction.

Another issue is you have to be accurate when you give a quote. You need to account for the unseen, or you will have a lot of unhappy customers and potential lawsuits.

In addition to the unseen, when giving a quote, you can’t only consider money involved — you must quote the time needed. You are better off taking more time and finishing early to account for the unseen than promise a two-week job and end up finishing after four weeks.

Plan correctly, create beautiful renovations at affordable prices, and you can become very successful with this type of business.

Skill Set and Traits:
  • An eye for design
  • Excellent planning skills
  • Excellent scheduling skills
  • Effective skills in safely tearing down old construction
  • Effective skills in building, new additions, walls, etc.
  • Troubleshooting skills
  • Excellent people skills
  • List of Common Business Skills
Employee & Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase or In The Future:
Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

Working hours are usually 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but keep in mind you will run into days when you are running behind and you may need to work more hours, such as 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Equipment and supplies during start-up phase or in the future:
  • Transaction — Pickup truck & trailer
  • Power tools — Drill/driver, circular saw, routers, jig saw, reciprocating saw, miter saw, portable table saw, sanders, portable planer
  • Electric generator
  • Air compressor and accessories
  • Pneumatic nail gun
  • Pneumatic staple gun
  • Hand saws
  • Tool belts, tool chests, and a variety of portable tool boxes
  • Measuring Tapes
  • Speed square
  • Framing square
  • Carpentry pencils, chalk, and crayons
  • Hammers — framing, finishing
  • Utility knives
  • Retractable chalk line
  • Pliers, vise grips, and wrenches and socket sets
  • A variety of levels
  • A variety of chisels
  • A variety of lights and flashlights
  • A large supply of nuts, bolts, nails, drill bits, saws, sandpaper, glue, screws, etc.
  • Pry bars and nail pullers
  • A variety of clamps
  • Ladders of various sizes
  • Extensions cords of various sizes
  • PPE — gloves, steel toe shoes, safety goggles, hard hats, sanding and fiberglass respirator.
  • Clean tools — Magnet wheel, brooms, waste bins, heavy duty garbage bags, wet/dry vacuum
  • Pickaxe, shovels, rakes, wheelbarrow
  • Various hand tools
  • Specialized tools you will be needed once your business takes off
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:
  • If running out of your home, you won’t have a lot of monthly expenses other than your wages, fuel, maintenance, and repairs. On the other hand, if you have an office, you will have added expenses, such as utilities and lease or mortgage payments.
  • List of common business skills
Licenses:
  • Each country, state, and province have different laws — you will need to check with the correct authority to ensure you have the correct licensing. For business licenses, we have a wealth of information on our Page for Licenses and Permits
Marketing Ideas:
  • The best type of marketing you can do is word-of-mouth in your area. In order to have good word-of-mouth, you need to do extraordinary renovations.
  • To get your business started, you may need to do a few small jobs for no profit. Even better, find a project where you could renovate for public use — this way, you contribute to society and you will get free press and radio exposure, which works better than advertising.
  • You could do a radio show or a monthly column for renovation tips for homeowners. This type of exposure will build trust, authority, and expertise as a home renovator.
  • Create deals with local suppliers that sell the material you use. For example, here is a “no money involved” joint venture — You will use their materials, and they will send you customers that need installation. Deals are not easy to make — in order for them to work, both parties must benefit. Also, keep in mind you won’t strike a deal with every supplier, but you only need one to get started.
  • Give free quotes. People that want a quote aren’t usually just wasting time — they want the work done, but they probably just want to see if it’s affordable.
  • Create an alliance with a lender so that you can help your customers acquire credit so they can have monthly payments. You probably want to get a low-interest rate provider for customers with good credit, and you’ll want to deal with a lender that provides high-interest, high-risk loans for people who have bad credit.
Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • Allows you to unleash your creativity
  • Can be highly profitable when you give accurate quotes
  • Is a stable industry with little room for change in the foreseeable future

The Cons:

  • There are unseen issues behind old construction that won’t show up until the old construction is torn down.
  • With unseen issues, it’s hard to meet deadlines.
  • A lot of older houses have mold and asbestos that needs a specialist to come and remove the unsafe material. This costs time and money.
  • Deadlines are hard to keep with unseen circumstances.
  • Staying on budget is difficult with unseen circumstances.
Profitability and Revenue Considerations:

Your profitability depends on how accurate your quotes are, the type of jobs you take, and if you are doing the job yourself or getting help.

Profitability also depends on how quickly you can get the job completed. If you have quoted a flat rate and it takes you longer than you expect, you can’t charge more — but, if you complete the job sooner, it’s more profit for you.

Start-up Cost Considerations:
  • When starting off, it would be wise to use subcontractors for a lot of the work that you don’t specialize in. For example, you may need a plumber, but instead of hiring one, in the beginning, you could subcontract that part of the job. Keep in mind when working with skilled trade people that the price you pay is discounted because they expect a lot more business from you.
  • Especially when starting out, be sure to specify in your quote and remind the customer that you can’t quote the unseen and make sure they are prepared for issues that might show up, like asbestos, mold, plumbing problems, wiring, structural problems, etc.
  • In the beginning, you may do all the work yourself, but as time goes on you may need to create crews in order to take on jobs that come in at the same time.
Full-Time or Part-Time Business:
  • This type of business can be a part-time business that can grow into a full-time business.
Home-Based Business:
  • You can easily run this business as a home-based business, although it’s recommended to have a separate area to meet with clients and plan jobs.

Resources

Business Plans:

Residential Remodeling Business Plan Sample | Bplans

Home Renovation Owners Interviews:

A Conversation with Home Renovation Expert Bob Vila | National Trust for Historic Preservation

An Interview with Michael Manzola of Manzola Carpentry | Massrealty.com

Expert Interview: Diane Foreman of Neil Kelly on Historical Renovations | Reliable Remodeler Blog

Expert Interview with Darian Bobby Of Atlas Home Improvements | Moonworks

An Interview with Brian of Brian S the Handyman | New Hampshire Homes.com

An Interview with David Schmerin of Bingham Development | Michigan homes.com

Home Renovation Market Research:

Home Improvement Statistics & Market Research | Nielsen Local Insights

Home Improvement Research Institute | HIRI.org

Remodeling in the US Market Research | IBISWorld

Remodeling Market Index (RMI) | NAHB

Home Improvement – Statistics & Facts | Statista

Home Renovation Trends:

Economic Outlook/RRI | Remodeling

Home Remodeling Market Remains Strong | US News

17 Top Kitchen Design Trends | HGTV

Home renovation trends for 2016 and years to come | Gialluisi Homes.com

The interior trends you’ll be loving in 2017 – Domain

Interior Design Trends – Elledecor.com

10 Best Bathroom Remodeling Trends | Diynetwork.com

Opening a Home Renovation – Startup Tips:

Starting a Business as a Remodeling Contractor | Entrepreneur.com

Helpful tips for opening a remodeling company | Remodeling.hw.net

So, You Want to Start a Home Improvement Company | Pro Remodeler

5 Simple Steps for Starting a Home Repair Business | Handymanstartup.com

Tips to starting a successful renovation business | Exclusive.multibriefs.com

What to Know When You Start a Remodeling Business | Dreammakerfranchise.com

Renovation Nation: Remodeling Startup 101 | Startup Nation

Home Renovation Article Mix:

How Home Owners Could Choose a Remodeling Contractor | HGTV

50 Questions You May Be Asked As A 50 Contractor | Ask the Builder

15 Tips for a Successful Remodeling Project | BHG.com

Contractor Tips: Top 10 Home Remodeling Don’ts | Houzz.com

Home Renovation Ideas & Mistakes to Avoid | HGTV

10 Tips For Working With A Renovating Professional | Styleathome.com

10 Steps To Building A Successful Construction Company | Shawnmccadden.com

Learn How To Run A Construction Business From The Rich Contractor | Rich Contractor.com

5 Traits of a successful Renovation Business | LinkedIn

Home Renovation Business making renovating for profit a blast | Renovating Riches.com

Ultimate Home Remodeling & Renovation Guide | A+ Construction Pro

Fire Prevention: What to do before the summer and fall months bring dangerous temps that can lead to forest fires.

Marketing A Home Renovation Business:

Which Advertising Tactics Work Best for Home Improvement Contractors? | Replacement Contractor

Ten Advertising and Marketing Tips for Contractors | Small Town Marketing

Marketing Strategies That Are Working…? | Remodeling.hw.net

4 Direct Mail Marketing Ideas for Home Improvement Contractors | Quantum Digital

5 Small Business Marketing Strategies for Home Improvement Companies | Reputation Defender

Training Tips & Resources:

What Training Is Necessary for a Career in Home Remodeling? | Learn.org

Online Home Remodeling & Repair Classes | Penn Foster Career School

Home Remodeling and Repair Training and Education Information | Study.com

Training Courses for the Renovation, Repair and Painting Program | US EPA

Where Can I Learn Home Improvement Skills? | Lifehacker.com

Home Renovation Equipment:

The 20 Tools You Need for Remodeling | Popular Mechanics.com

Must-Have Tools for Every Skill Level | This Old House

Northern Tool + Equipment

Tools Needed To Build Your Own Home | Build It Yourself Today

Log Building Tools | Timber Tools.com

Tools & Equipment | Builder Magazine

Home Renovation Software:

Best Home Design Software of 2016 | Top Ten Reviews

23 Best Online Home Interior Design Software Programs (FREE & PAID) | Home stratosphere.com

10 Best Free Online Virtual Room Programs and Tools | Freshome.com

Home Renovation Insurance:

Is a Home Improvement Project Covered by Insurance? | All state

Construction Insurance | Progressive Commercial

Handyman Insurance and Liability Coverage | Nationwide

Handyman Business Liability Insurance | Trusted Choice

Established Home Renovation Sites and Business:

Case Design

Airoom

Alure

Belfor

Paul Davis, Inc.

Power Home Remodeling

Statewide Remodeling

Homefix Custom Remodeling

Home Renovation News, Industry Publications & Popular Sites:

News and Trends for the Remodeling Industry | Pro Remodeler
Qualified Remodeler | Qualified Remodeler.com

Remodeling Ideas | HGTV

House trends Kitchen & Bath, Landscapes, and Interior Décor | House Trends.com

Contractor Magazine | Contractor Mag.com

Residential architect Magazine | Residential Architect

Ask The Builder | Ask The Builder.com

Reliable Remodeler | Reliable Remodeler.com

Building Products, and News for Home Builders | Builder Magazine

Kitchen, Bathroom, Window, HVAC and Other Home Improvements | Repair-Home

FineHomeBuilding | Fine Home Building.com

Home Renovation Books:

The Home Renovation Bible

The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs: The Investor’s Guide to Defining Your Renovation Plan

Kitchen Design and Planning 1-2-3: Create Your Blueprint for a Perfect Kitchen

Home Renovation Checklist: Everything You Need to Know to Save Money, Time, and Your Sanity

How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Redesign, Redecorating, and Home Staging Business

Construction Contracts, Estimating, Planning And Scheduling, Skills

Home Staging – For the Finial part of the project

Home Renovation Glossaries:

Home Improvement Glossary | Repair Home

Glossary | Bob Vila

Home Renovation Associations:

NARI

NAHB

NARI

Home Renovation Franchise Opportunities:

Top 10 Home Improvement Franchises | Entrepreneur.com

Home Improvement Franchises for Sale | Franchise Opportunities.com

House Doctors | Handyman Franchise | Home Improvement Franchise

Home Services Franchise Opportunities Guide | Franchising.com

Home Repair and Renovation Franchise Opportunities | The Franchise Mall.com

Home Renovation Businesses For Sale:

Construction Businesses For Sale | BizBuySell.com

Remodeling Businesses for Sale | Globalbx.com

Home Improvement Related Businesses For Sale | BizBen

The Latest Home Renovation Related Videos:

Home Renovation

Home Renovation Shows

Home Renovation Ideas

Home Renovation Software

Home Renovation Fails

Home Renovation Forums:

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

Renovate Forums

Old House Web Forums

Home Renovation & Building Forum

DIY Chat room Home Improvement Forum

City-Data Forum

Hire Contractor.com

Home Renovation on Social Media:

Facebook

POSTS

Home Renovation Posts

GROUPS

Home Renovation Groups

PAGES

Home Renovation Facebook Pages

Videos

Home Renovation Facebook Videos

Twitter

Home Renovation Tweets

LinkedIn

Home Renovation Linkedin Groups

Pinterest

Home Renovations Before And After

Home Renovations on A Budget