Thank you all for your input.
in reply to Runningdeer:
1. I'm not too bothered by competition if there is only one company around doing that who are they by the way? (in PM if possible!) after all there are hundreds of carpenters or metal workers in the very same area and they compete and co-exist. I have spoken to many who thought there was no company doing this around la cote, which proves there is still potential.
2. Concerning the "cowboy" handymen, yes they undercut on price, also they only work weekends (usually), also they never last very long because one day they realize it's not paying to renew tools and they can't live from it. The only answer to this is the availability of a full time person and reputation for quality/value.
3. I'm very much trying to begin as a one-man show but with a very scalable repertory of services.
I worked in the construction industry directly and indirectly for getting on for 20 years. I ran a waterproofing and insulation company for 8 years. I know who can do what and am competent to oversee, consult or subcontract. After 25 years here I am bilingual English/French, indeed my whole building industry experience was acquired in French, so I foresee no major difficulties there.
I could organize the building of a house from planning permission to mowing the finished lawn, but that's not really the target (yet). The idea is a one-stop address for ALL the small jobs, ALL the consulting and advising in relation to the existing building and its maintenance or repair. I intend to leave the heavy stuff to the builders who already specialize in that, although I will also be useful as the overseer of a building project - often done by the architect themselves ... at much higher cost.
4. Networking: Yes I do have good networking skills although I've "lived Switzerland in French" rather than in English, so my networks are mostly French-speakers. But here I am on this forum now
I am really aiming at home owners, of which there are very many along lake Léman (Geneva), but another target group will actually be house rental agencies...they often have tenants call up, needing small jobs done and have the same dilemma as for a private individual.
For example, a light fitting needs replacing, the roller blind is stuck, the garden path needs weeding, the gate is broken. The rental agency would call several companies for that. Each company has a basic charge for travelling to the site. Each will have a minimum time of billing (often one hour). I could go there, (only one basic charge) fix the light, the gate, weed the path, check the blind and fix that or (again, only an example) find the blind too much for my skills or parts supply and inform the agent who would then only send the company for the blinds or better yet with the agency's prior agreement, I call the blinds company, explain to them what's wrong, which model of blind, which part seems to be the cause.
In the above example, the agency managed to avoid the cost of a gardener and an electrician. The agency also saved a trip for the blinds company who would probably had to fetch parts in a separate trip...I can do the math...so can the agency