Tradesmen vs handymen- What’s the difference?

Tradesmen vs handymen

A ServiceSeeking.com report shows how trade jobs are among the highest paid in Australia right now. According to the report, five of the top tradie job categories get you earned over $100,000 per year. Plumbers earn the most, with earnings averaging around $110,000, and one in ten tradies are reported to earn over $200,000 per annum. If you have made the decision to be a part of this industry, you have made a smart decision. However, do you have to be a tradesman or can you enjoy similar earnings as a handyman?? How different is the work profile and what should you expect in terms of demand for either line of work?

What do tradies do?

Tradespeople or tradies cover a whole range of jobs. Carpenters, bricklayers, dry plasters, painters, stonemasons, fence builders, roof tilers, waterproofers- they are all tradespeople. Tradies are a very critical component of the building industry and are integral to every construction project.

As a tradie, you may either work on your own and hire a team that helps you with projects that your firm takes up. Or you can be a part of a larger firm as an employee. Many tradies work as sub-contractors for reputed builders. There are licensing requirements to follow if you are involved in certain types of tradie jobs such as electrical jobs or plumbing works.

Typically, tradespeople work on new constructions or critical alteration and renovation jobs that require work at a structural level.

Read Also: Water Safety Tips For Your Next Family Vacation

What do handymen do?

Usually, handymen take up smaller jobs that may involve repairs and routine maintenance of homes and office premises. Minor replacements and changes to the house or workplace may also be carried out by handymen. Handymen may have trained themselves on the job and may not have training or certification backing them. However, since experience does teach a lot on the job in this line of work, hiring a handyman for small jobs is quite a common preference.


Let’s first talk about how much you can make. As a tradesman with the right training, certification and license, you can make a good income. This holds true whether you are a sole trader, that is, you own a business, or you are employed in a bigger firm. For example, a carpenter may make about $102,424 on average per year while a landscaper may take home around $88, 750 (as per the ServiceSeeker report). In contrast, a handyman may not earn as much. On average, the yearly take home for handymen stands at around $73,200. So, before you decide if you wish to invest in training to be a tradesman or you want to go the handyman route:

  • think about your financial goals
  • what your ideal earnings expectation would be
  • what kind of projects you wish to take up


Since the handyman is a less expensive proposition for the client, the demand for you may be higher here. Small repairs are a frequent occurrence with home properties especially as they age so as a handyman you may have a steady trickle of jobs coming in. Maintenance, such as gutter cleaning, replacing a faucet, repairing lighting, for home is routine. Since handymen are called in for such small jobs, this again ensures you have a steady stream of jobs to work on even if there is a slow down in general.

Tradespeople are in huge demand when the construction industry is witnessing a boom. Tradies take up new construction or major renovations and so the demand may not be as steady. However, the projects you get will represent a much larger income and also offer a much longer duration of work.

Insurance and demand

Whether you are a self-employed tradesperson or a handyman, the one thing you should ensure for yourself is risk protection. You invest in the right safety gear so that you can protect yourself from physical injury at work. Similarly, you address the financial risk by taking out tradie insurance of the right kind. When it comes to insurance for tradies, public liability insurance is often overlooked. This insurance protects your business from financial ruin in the event a third party sues you for physical injury or financial loss to them arising from your business.

Consider the following scenarios:

  1. A member of the public gets knocked over by your company vehicle
  2. A client sustains a slip and fall accident at home in an area that you are renovating
  3. A client’s laptop is damaged when water leaks on it from a pipe that you were hired to fix

There may be myriad situations where a client or third party claims that you, your staff (or your business) caused them some loss. To fight these allegations in court, you have to pay up court fees, attorney fees that may amount to a whopping sum. In addition, if you lose the case, the damages may drain your business finances. However, with public liability insurance for tradies covering you, all these costs are covered by your insurer. You can undertake a legal battle to protect your reputation without worrying about the cost implications.


Being insured makes you an attractive and safe option when a client is looking for a tradie or handymen to take up their work. They have the assurance that your business is not going bankrupt while in the middle of their maintenance or renovation work. That said, you can choose to be either handyman or tradie but do understand the differences well before you make your decision. Your financial goals, expertise, willingness to invest time and money in certification and skill sets all decide which line is ideally suited for you.


Hi. I'm Mursaleen Siddique, The guy behind UltraUpdates.com. I'd rather call myself a struggling Blogger. I love Blogging with WordPress, Covering Tech, General Topics, Graphic & Web Design Inspiration., Feel free to get in touch via mentioned social media platform or E-mail me at hello[at]ultraupdates.com
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