MR. HANDYMAN OF VIRGINIA BEACH
Making home maintenance easy
by Allison T. Williams
There’s not much Tim Adams - better known around Hampton Roads as Mr. Handyman - doesn’t do.
He and his highly skilled team of service technicians will replace drywall, change light bulbs or replace smoke detector batteries. They’ll hang blinds, mantles or large pieces of art. Appliance or sliding glass door installations are welcome. Repairs to decks, plaster ceilings, flooring, fences and just about anything else one can think of are all just part of a day’s work.
“We take care of our customers’ honey-do lists,” Tim says, grinning from behind his desk at Mr. Handyman’s new offices off Cleveland Street in Virginia Beach. “And we concentrate on the small stuff.”
Business has been thriving since Tim bought the company’s Virginia Beach franchise in 2015. Within the first year, he purchased the franchise rights for neighboring Portsmouth, Norfolk and Chesapeake. He occasionally takes projects in Suffolk and, since January, has been servicing the Peninsula due to the retirement of the Mr. Handyman of Williamsburg franchise owner.
“Customers have learned they can trust and believe in us to get the job done right,” Tim says, scratching the ears of Rebel, his aging black lab waiting eagerly with a tennis ball in his mouth. “When we do right by them, they do right by us.”
Rebel rides shotgun in the company van with Tim to the office daily, is always on hand for bank runs, where he likes the treats, and proudly serves as Mr. Handyman of Virginia Beach’s CFO — Chief Fun Officer.
“Rebel keeps the office in a happy state of mind. He makes the rounds to say ‘hello’ or nudges the tennis ball at folks, ever hopeful for a game of fetch,” Tim says, rolling the ball across the paved parking lot. Occasionally, Tim takes Rebel on a service call if a customer specifically asks for him.
“We have a few pet-lovers who have seen Rebel on our website and want to meet him,” Tim laughs. “We’re happy to accommodate.”
“I’ve been working with wood for years...
I’ve built decks, sheds, fences
and garages over the years.
I think I’ve always been a handyman.”
—Tim Adams, Owner
Tim’s success with his Mr. Handyman’s franchise is evident in the numbers. He started with one service technician to make service calls and one customer service representative to work in the office.
Today, he has five service technicians — Paul Kenas, Ed Rosas, Ryan Velivlis, John Koubakis and James Parker working in the field as far west as Toano and Williamsburg. They drive the signature red van emblazoned with the Mr. Handyman logo on their house calls.
Tim served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years, then spent the next 10 years working as an analyst and project manager for a defense contractor at Suffolk’s Joint Forces Command Center. But when his daughter, Katherine, graduated from the University of Virginia, he began searching for a business opportunity that more closely aligned with his personal interests. Tim had always been a hands-on, do-it-yourselfer, even building some of the furniture in his family’s home.
“I’ve been working with wood for years,” Tim says. “Carpentry and building furniture is my hobby, and I’ve built decks, sheds, fences and garages over the years.”
When his fellow shipmates needed something built while he was in the Navy, Tim recalls only charging them the cost of any new tools he needed to complete their project.
Tim adds, “I think I’ve always been a handyman.”
When he and his wife, Lauren, discovered the Mr. Handyman franchise, Tim realized he had found his new professional niche.
Although roughly 80 percent of his clients are residential customers, a growing number of mall businesses, including food vendors and jewelry and clothing stores, have contracted Mr. Handyman’s services over the last year. Typically, store employees are not allowed to make even minor repairs because of potential workers’ compensation issues.
“Much of the jobs I do are projects that past generations of homeowners probably had the know-how to do themselves,” Tim explains. But times have changed. High school shop and industrial arts classes that were once standard on teenage boys’ school schedules a generation ago have been swapped for computer and technology classes.
“A lot of the general population doesn’t have the skill set to do what we do, or there are some who just can’t do it themselves any more,” Tim says. “And sometimes we have customers who simply don’t have the time to do the work themselves.”
Setting up an appointment with Mr. Handyman is an easy process, one that’s just a phone call away. A client calling into Mr. Handyman of Virginia Beach will reach Customer Service Representative Becky Pappas, who wants as many details as possible about what the project entails in order to give an accurate phone estimate of the cost. Lauren steps in to help, too. She covers the phones as needed, purchases office supplies, and completes bank runs, under Rebel’s supervision of course.
“We’re here to help lighten the load.
No matter how small the job, we can help.”
—Tim Adams, Owner
For clients needing larger jobs, such as an entire fence built, Tim refers customers to contractors specializing in larger jobs. “There are some jobs we’re just not set up to handle—it wouldn’t be cost effective to our customers. In those cases, we have a list of trusted contractors we can refer customers to,” he says.
With spring around the corner and the customary spring cleaning it invites, many people also discover a long list of things to fix that they hadn’t noticed before. “We’re here to help lighten the load,” Tim says. “No matter how small the job, we can help.”
Mr. Handyman of Virginia Beach
5321 Cleveland Street, Suite #205
Va Beach, VA 23462