Success in uncertain times: how Geoff grew when others declined

Date: 24 Aug 2022

How did you start in the handyman industry?

I have known Troy Hillard the founder for 7 years now. He started The Handyman Group and, when he talked to me about the brand, I saw the potential and we talked about partnering to build the business. I loved the brand and the feel of it - building a team that can deliver the promise and transform the handyman industry locally. I loved the idea of making a difference in people's lives.

I started as Hamilton based handyman of the Hamilton business. I earned and bought into the ownership of it, then moved into the corporate side to rebuild the corporate structure during 2021.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve come across while running your own franchise business?

The [Covid] pandemic. I started in the depth of the pandemic, I thought [taking over the franchise] was going to be either a really good or really terrible decision. At that point [in the pandemic], customers didn't want us in their homes. People were postponing their moves and a lot of things were put on hold. The part that was good is, I thought: “who else to navigate this but me?” It would be hard to leave this for someone else to navigate, but I also thought it'd be nice to have some stability and a paycheck. However, people could travel so they started to spend their expendable cash on house repairs and renovations. It wasn't long until we were flooded with work, all trades were at this time.

What is the most surprising thing you've learned about running your own business?

The team I have around me supported me throughout this and care about this business as much as I do; they invested their sweat and tears to push through this and if they hated anything about it, it wasn't obvious to me. They were 100% in from day one and committed to taking this business to where they all felt it could go - pandemic or no pandemic. Nobody ever achieved anything great on their own, this is absolutely a team effort. There was risk for them too, but they believe in what we are trying to achieve and wanted to see it through.

What’s been the most rewarding thing that has come from running your own franchise business?

It's seeing the success for my team. The reviews, the outside validation so that the team can see it was worth it to push through. We've had great people rally and join the cause, and it is as strong as it was before. Sometimes when you grow, it can be hard to maintain the same culture. I think our culture is just as good or maybe even better through the growth we’ve experienced, and we continue to bring like minded people who believe in the mission - we’ve even doubled the team since pre-pandemic.

Speaking of your team, you have had the same core team for quite some time.

We are able to retain employees because with us, they get to learn, they get better at what they do, they get to earn, and it feels like a family looking out after them. Here we give them opportunities to grow.

What is the secret sauce to help you retain and engage your team amidst the current workplace climate?

It's important to show my staff what the opportunity is. With our team, our movers have control and influence over what they can earn month over month, rather than being told to work hard and maybe somewhere down the road you get a raise or a promotion. We have people at the highest level of the organization that are people who started at the bottom, so that gives my crew the ability to see the opportunities ahead of them.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

On a beach fishing! [chuckles]. I would like to see my core group who started this with me in 2021 achieving their goals of owning homes and having their own businesses and living their best lives. For me, it is just about delivering what we have been delivering on a greater and greater scale so we can continue to impact more people.

Success in uncertain times: how Geoff grew when others declined

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