Being Handy Really Matters for this Home Repair Provider

In this Salute to American Success, we’re taking a look at Handyman Matters and founder and CEO Andy Bell. This company, which started doing business in 1998, provides home repair and home improvement services. Bell originally worked in the restaurant industry, but started calling homeowners and contractors to inquire about their experiences with repair services. He eventually began advertising his own skills as a “handyman,” who performs small repairs, in the local paper.

In its first year of business, Handyman Matters generated $300,000 in revenue, according to Bell. The following year, revenue totaled $1 million, and by its fourth year, the company had amassed $4 million in revenue and employed 50 craftsmen.

However, it wasn't always easy for Bell and Handyman Matters, as the Great Recession took its toll on the business.

“We went from $35 million to $30 million in 2009, to $27 million in 2010 and $21 million in 2011,” Bell said. “People were doing repairs, but no remodeling… expansions were put on hold, too.”

Today, Handyman Matters is bouncing back. It has about 150 locations in around 30 states and employs 585 craftsmen. So far in 2015, the company has sold 12 franchises and may add another 18 to 20 by the end of the year, according to Bell, who said the industry is booming in residential and commercial areas.

“We’re up 12.5% this year, and we were up in 2014 as well,” Bell said. “We’re going to hit just under $30 million in system-wide revenue this year, almost back to pre-recession numbers. In the next five years, we're looking to double the system.”

Bell said the company continues to do well with its indoor and outdoor projects.

“On the repair side of the business, our two biggest revenue makers are drywall and carpentry,” Bell said. “Our biggest projects are bathrooms. We also do a lot of work on interior and exterior doors, brick work and deck repairs, staining and expansions. We continue to work on painting, custom shelving and crown molding jobs as well. Right now our top market is Chicago.”

As for international expansion, Bell said he isn't focusing on that part of the business just yet.

“We want to nail the domestic market,” he said. “After that, we would consider international [expansion].”