MR. HANDYMAN OF VIRGINIA BEACH
Fix it right or don’t fix it at all
by Cristi Sanchez
Success breeds success. That famous adage has been proven locally by Tim Adams, owner of Mr. Handyman in Virginia Beach. In less than four years, Tim’s location has earned the distinction of becoming a Mr. Handyman Franchisee Field Training Center. “We had our first trainee in June, about three months before our fourth anniversary,” Tim says with pride.
It’s Tim’s success as a franchise owner himself that had Mr. Handyman corporate offices eager to have him train new franchise owners on how to successfully fulfill their mission to repair, maintain, and enhance homes.
Opening in September of 2015, Tim’s franchise was only open for the last 15 weeks of the year. Yet, in that short amount of time, as the second youngest Mr. Handyman franchise in the nation, it ended that year ranked 82 out of 102 franchises in profitability. Just one year later, it earned Rookie of the Year status, and as of today, Tim’s business has been more profitable than nearly half of the older franchises.
“Our motto here at Mr. Handyman is
‘fix it right, or don’t fix it at all’...
We will get the job done right
the first time.
We stand by the quality of our work
and won’t do a job that doesn’t live up
to our standards of excellence.”
“I run my business the way corporate wants everyone to run theirs, so I’m one of the examples that they want to use for new franchisees,” Tim explains. “They wanted me to train newcomers a couple of years ago, but I didn’t feel comfortable proceeding that soon after launching my own business. I wanted to understand the company’s expectations for a training center clearly and to make sure I was fully prepared to help guide other franchisees to success.”
Tim’s trainees spend about three to four days with him learning the ropes of the franchise’s day-to-day operations and observing how a franchise owner interacts with customers and employees.
Aside from the details of day-to-day operations and interpersonal skills, Tim is resolute in ensuring that his trainees know the primary factor in his equation for success. What would that factor be? “Follow the model,” Tim replies without hesitation. “Corporate has a franchise model to follow that ensures the success of the business. How well one follows it, adheres to it, and executes it determines how well one will do.”
In Tim’s previous career as a naval engineer with nuclear submarines, he had a definite model to follow. “I had to follow the model, or people could die,” he says. “As I went through the training process with Mr. Handyman, everyone I spoke to who struggled with their franchise admitted that they’d deviated from the model somewhere along the way.”
So Tim religiously followed the franchise model for six months before making any changes or adjustments to it. Within the second full month in business, his franchise was profitable with a positive cash flow. Within a year, he bought a second territory cash-in-hand. “That’s why we were chosen as Rookie of the Year after our first year, and it’s why corporate continues to use my experience as an example of how to be successful running a Mr. Handyman franchise by following the model,” Tim continues.
Just following the model, however, would not be effective without upholding the standards of excellence that Tim has adhered to his entire career. He shares and endeavors to instill those standards in his trainees and employees.
“Our motto here at Mr. Handyman is ‘fix it right, or don’t fix it at all,’” Tim says. “We can’t compete in pricing with a local independent handyman service who has no employees, marketing budget, or overhead expenses. But we can be the best at what we do and offer the best service available. We will get the job done right the first time. We stand by the quality of our work and won’t do a job that doesn’t live up to our standards of excellence. We’ll provide education and guidance to our customers regarding the work we see that needs to be done. Our customers understand and are very appreciative of that.”Tim has every technician use his ‘Root Cause Analysis’ for jobs that are not straightforward and symptomatic of a preexisting issue.
“It’s important to find the cause of the problem, fix the cause, then fix the cosmetics,” Tim explains. “For instance, if a customer wants us to fix a stain on the ceiling, we have to ask what caused the stain. If we don’t determine the cause of the stain and eliminate it, in a week or so, it’ll be back, and the customer won’t be satisfied. If to cut corners and save money, a customer wants us to simply paint over the stain without treating the cause, we will turn that job down because we won’t be fixing the problem.”
If during a root cause analysis, Tim’s technicians find that the problem stems from a more complicated cause, Tim has a network of professional colleagues to which he can refer his customers. “If we come across a problem that involves extensive repairs in roofing, electrical, HVAC, or plumbing, we have a long list of certified companies that can address the problem should customers not have a company of their own to use. We’re trying to add convenience and be that first call for all home repairs for our customers,” Tim acknowledges.
If Mr. Handyman doesn’t do the large, complicated, extensive jobs, then what exactly do they do? “We specialize in small one-hour to one-day jobs. There’s no job too small for Mr. Handyman, and often, those are the things people need help with the most. We tackle that Honey-Do List. Whatever honey can’t do, won’t do, doesn’t have time to do or doesn’t know how to do--or if honey is deployed—or if someone doesn’t have a honey—those are the jobs we do,” Tim says with a smile.
Whatever job his company tackles, from mending a fence panel to hanging a light fixture to patching a small hole in a wall or a roof, Tim Adams instills in new franchisees and employees the drive to excel, to be the best and do things right. Tim’s Mr. Handyman franchise has become a model of success that, by all indicators, will continue to grow, thrive, and provide quality service to homeowners in Hampton Roads.
Mr. Handyman of Virginia Beach
5321 Cleveland Street, Suite #205
Va Beach, VA 23464