DIY How To

From Amateur to Expert: Turn Your DIY Hobby Into a Job

Do you spend your spare time tinkering around the house looking for DIY projects? Is your partner becoming concerned with how many times the shelves have been refitted and how your converted garage-turned-workshop is now turning into your second home? Have friends and neighbours started calling you round to their houses to help with fitting blinds and assembling flat packed furniture?

If that sounds familiar, then why not consider turning your hobby into a business?

Don't Jump into the Deep End

The Initial Costs: Tools and Transport
Think about how much you would need to invest in your business. Are you going to have a specialised niche like painting and decorating? Or is carpentry and working with wood more suited to your skill-set? If so, you probably already have a good selection of tools that will mean you are equipped for the job, so you may not need to spend too much upfront on any more work gear.
If you are to become a handy-man who relies on call-outs, you'll need transport to get to your clients. It may be easy to think that you can car-share with your partner, but how realistic is that? Tools are hardly child-friendly, and what would your other half think about the motor coming back covered in oil and sawdust? Having your own reliable van is important and will allow you the freedom you need to let your business expand.

Get Certified
Before you go declaring yourself as a business you need to look into all the legal aspects associated with it. Are you going to set up as a sole trader? There will be tax issues that you need to consider, and there's also training and certain qualifications that must be acquired.
If you are going to be carrying out any electrical work as part of your new business venture - whether it's residential, commercial or industrial - you must be qualified to do the job. You need to hold an up-to-date version of the 17th Edition qualification in order to ensure you are aware of the very long and very detailed regulations for safely installing electrical systems. The qualification needs to be provided by City and Guilds in order to be valid, and you can enrol on an industry-recognised course by contacting PASS.

Don't Jump In at the Deep End
When you're qualified, don't be tempted to bite off more than you can chew. It's incredibly important to get hands-on experience before you go it alone, and assisting an experienced electrician on-site is the best way to do this.
If you don't know any electricians personally, give a local firm a call and offer them your assistance for free to start with. Make sure you let them know about the qualifications you have, and keep trying until you find a firm that's willing to let you help out. Eventually, they may start paying you, but if there isn't a permanent vacancy at the company, you will have built up your experience and will be at a stage where you're ready to go it alone anyway.

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