Mike was the handy kid in the neighborhood growing up, doing lawns and leaves when younger, and eventually turned that into painting, drywall, minor drywall and roll roofing work on garages. He worked for a builder for two summers during college before doing his own handyman work his last summer before graduating. As a homeowner and hobbyist woodworker, he also updates bathrooms, painted every home he has ever owned, built furniture, shelving and the like.
He and Libby have an apiary and he builds their hives. He says he doesn’t have the skills to do the work his staff does day in and day out (not quickly anyway), but he has a good idea of how the work is done, and has the business background to operate and manage a business that does this type of work.
Additionally, during his corporate career he’d call on contractors and service providers when his busy schedule simply didn’t allow him to complete something that needed done, and it was always a miserable experience. In two different instances, home additions took much longer than the contractor promised. Weeks’ worth of work took 2 months. A 6-week room addition, took 4 months. His IT career was supporting call centers and customer service organizations and he lamented how badly the ‘trades’ needed a ‘white collar’ customer service approach.
“Mr. Handyman was my opportunity to bring this idea to fruition. 10 years later, this is still the backbone of our operating philosophy.”
- How many years? 9
- Why Mr. Handyman? “Having spent almost 25 years in the corporate world, and dreaming of being my own boss, my layoff from Citigroup as the financial crises unfolded seemed the opportune time. We explored many concepts with a franchise consultant, but Mr. Handyman connected with us.”
- What were they doing before? Mike: IT professional for GE (12 years) and Citigroup (11 years). Last position held prior to MRH was as divisional CIO for a Citigroup business in Jacksonville, FL. Mike has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, and a Master of Science in Business. Libby: Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a 10-year career in hospitality/restaurant management before starting a family and raising three boys before opening Mr. Handyman with Mike.
- Key Benefit of Mr. Handyman franchise ownership? Hands down, the key benefit to owning a Mr. Handyman franchise vs. opening my own home repair and improvement company, is the owner peer group. With 125+ other owners out there, no matter the situation that I run across, I can find somebody that’s had a similar situation and I can pick their brain. As we’ve grown over the last 10 years, I’ve always had a few rabbits (larger, growing owners) ahead of me and I’ve monitored what they were doing and how I might leverage it. If I was an independent home repair and improvement company, I wouldn’t have this peer group in other cities, and everybody in Jacksonville would be potential competitors and less likely to share as openly.
JoAnn McCabe is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. She also has an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University. McCabe spent 8 years of her time in the Navy in physical security, overseeing the Navy’s northeast region and managing 1,500 people. In 2008, she opened her Mr. Handyman business and has been growing it ever since. Since then she has been honored in several arenas, including the Angie’s List Super Service Award, Mr. Handyman President’s Circle, Customer Service Champion, among others. She is also a member of the Franchise Advisory Council and serves as a field training center for new owners.
- How many years? 9
- Why Mr. Handyman? She was looking for a proven business model.
- What were they doing before? Officer in the U.S. Navy and served in the Reserves.
- Key Benefit of Mr. Handyman franchise ownership? She selected Mr. Handyman for their results-oriented systems, support network, and the flexible workweek schedule, which allowed her to meet her Reserve obligations.
Kim and Wayne enjoy the opportunity to connect to their community through Mr. Handyman. “Some days I think we could write a book on customer stories,” Kim reminisced. “On an annual basis, we participate in the National Day of Service where we provide one day of service to an organization. Last year, we provided a local Disabled Veterans and Homeless Shelter our day of service. Meeting the members of the organizations and the individuals who receive services really make you understand why we do what we do.”
Wayne also felt the impact of the National Day of Service within their Mr. Handyman family. “Every year I am amazed at how willing our employees are to donate their time for people in need,” he added. “Seeing the appreciation from the charity or family toward our employees, and the joy they get out of the experience is a wonderful thing.”
- How many years? 8
- Why Mr. Handyman? “Home office support is one of the primary reasons why we purchased a Mr. Handyman franchise.”
- What were they doing before? Wayne: Ran a battery distribution center, Kim: Ran an off shore data center
- Key Benefit of Mr. Handyman franchise ownership? “The variety of support you can get from your business development liaison to marketing programs, technology support, and at times, just someone to lean on for advice, has all helped us in our journey over the years.”
Allen Ellison served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. army for 14 years, and then went on to own and operate a flooring company in his home town—all before opening Mr. Handyman with his wife Penny. Mr. Handyman of West Knoxville has been one of the top performing franchises since they opened, having received impressive awards including the Rookie of the Year, Trailblazer Award and Franchise of the Year Award.
- How many years? 8
- Why Mr. Handyman? Owner networking at events. “For me, it’s other owners that I want to hear from. It’s easy to pick up the phone and call an owner after meeting face to face.”
- What were they doing before? Allen: US Army, Penny: Customer Service
- Key Benefit of Mr. Handyman franchise ownership? Marketing Support