Skip Wyatt entered the handyman business with no experience. “I was probably the least likely contractor,” he admits. He’d been in sales and marketing, retired early from IBM, and found himself looking around for something to do. As a marketer, he saw a need for the service the Mr. Handyman franchise offers, and a contractor was born.
Skip’s son, Lorenzo, joined the business about four years ago. The company has four distinct lines of service: the handyman side, which typically consists of small jobs such as hanging pictures and cleaning gutters; the remodeling arm, which does bathrooms, finished basements, and the occasional kitchen; and a home energy division, which has two components, energy audits—diagnostics and some weatherization—and energy upgrades. The upgrade segment involves more extensive weatherization projects, such as installing insulation.
The home energy business was started by Lorenzo and grew rapidly. It now makes up about two-thirds of the company’s sales. Skip says that customers are often referred by state employees who are in charge of running Connecticut’s energy program.
Still, Skip expects the remodeling portion of the business to see substantial growth this year, and he recently hired a designer to boost the franchise’s capabilities.
- “I’m big on proving to our people the importance of satisfied customers,” Skip says. “So I give them a lot of facts to show that, as our level of customer satisfaction improves, our business results do too.”
- “We try to make it as cost-effective for the customer as possible,” Skip says. To that end, about 90% of the work is done by employees.
- Skip is on the executive committee of The First Tee of Connecticut, a program that teaches kids life lessons through the game of golf. “In golf you actually are your own referee,” Skip says. “And golf requires a level of discipline and a work ethic.”