The word “handyman” evokes images of a friendly local guy who can fix most of your home problems, but maybe isn’t quite equal to a full-blown professional.
Patrick LeBlanc and Zach Medeiros don’t feel that’s quite right. The two, partners at Family Man Handyman Professional Services in Yelm, are out to change that perception.
“The ‘handyman’ often has a lesser value than a general contractor in people’s minds,” LeBlanc says. “We took that guy and gave him a uniform, gave him great communication skills, and made him very professional.”
It seems to be working. Family Man has earned 85 out of 86 five-star reviews and multiple Super Service Awards on Angie’s List. That is a big deal to LeBlanc and Medeiros, both of whom pride themselves on the high esteem and wide customer base the company has earned via reputation marketing.
“We hear over and over that it was so great to be able to read the reviews before calling us,” says Medeiros.“People have already decided that they want to work with us when they’ve seen [so many] 5-star reviews.”
As a result, the company has been able to do virtually no marketing other than initially signing up for Angie’s List. That’s a point of pride for Medeiros, who launched the company in March 2014 with himself as the only employee. A steady growth curve has meant more jobs, and by 2017, Family Man had expanded to four full-time employees and two part-timers.
This year, they’ll add another full-time employee and two more part-time.
“The intent last year was not to grow too fast,” Medeiros says. “We wanted to spend more time on being efficient as a business, making sure the quality of our customers’ experience didn’t diminish.”
In the future, they’ll have YouTube training videos for staff to accompany a manual LeBlanc created.
“I’ve done a handbook for our employees on how to do a day with Handyman,” he says. “We’re going to get a cartoonist to illustrate that.”
So how exactly does one do “a day with Handyman”?
Part of that expectation, says Medeiros, is basic: making sure employees show up on time and are courteous. But he also ingrains the idea of superior service into his staff, starting with including clients in all conversations and taking careful note of their needs.
“It’s about, ‘What is your vision? Let’s meet that vision,’” says LeBlanc. “There’s a level of attention to detail and including customers in every decision that’s made. People feel like this is not just some guy they’re hiring.”
Employees take note of details like a blind dog who lives at a particular property and may take time to move out of the service van’s path or a client who prefers that workers take their shoes off before entering. Those notes are kept in customer files and passed along to whomever will be working there next.
“It’s about coming in with a mindset of wanting to be professional,” says Medeiros.
Links for leaving reviews are included in follow-up emails, but the company doesn’t push clients to do so, according to LeBlanc.
“Because of the way we work, people want to do a review because they’re so happy that we solved their problem. They’ll say things like, ‘I know 10 people that could use your services.’”
Thus far, only two reviews have been negative, and Medeiros addressed those immediately.
“We make it a point to be sure that expectations were met,” he says. “If clients are not happy, we’ll make sure they get happy.”