An investment opportunity for DIY enthusiasts

0800 Handyman has launched its franchise opportunity and seeks franchisees to help with its expansion. FDS South East Regional Director Malcolm Porter interviews MD Clive Smith

Malcolm Porter: How would you describe the 0800 Handyman franchise opportunity?
Clive Smith: 0800 Handyman is an owner-operator franchise, providing the opportunity for aspiring business owners with good commercial and practical skills to prosper from the growing demand for reliable property repair services. The business specialises in small repairs and maintenance tasks - fixing leaking taps, assembling flat-pack furniture, hanging pictures, installing washing machines and re-sealing baths are typical jobs that a franchisee would be dealing with, the type of numerous jobs that home and business owners don't have the time or ability to handle.

0800 Handyman is professionalising a well established trade. There are obviously many other independent handymen, however, our investment opportunity enables DIY enthusiasts to build a business doing something they really enjoy.

MP:'How long has 0800 Handyman been trading?
CS:'The business was established in 2001 and was acquired by the Zockoll Group at the end of 2007. Our Chairman Jim Zockoll has a tremendous reputation in franchising, having founded and built the Dyno-Rod service, one of the UK's most successful franchise operations.

MP:'Describe your target market and the potential for your business across the UK
CS:'Our target market is very broad, appealing to both home and business owners. Small businesses in particular are very regular users because they can't afford to retain maintenance staff or contractors. Independent research has shown that the outsourcing of repair and maintenance services is very much an increasing trend due to the time constraints, lack of skills and, in the case of businesses, health and safety considerations.

MP:'Has the current economic uncertainty affected your business?
CS:' We are in fact continuing to grow, with new opportunities arising which have effectively countered any adverse reaction caused by the current economic climate. For example, although work from house movers has declined we are finding that our business with letting agents has significantly increased. Also, people who have decided against moving are instead making home improvements, which 0800 Handyman is ideally suited to.

MP: What differentiates 0800 Handyman from its competition?
CS: In truth the scope of the service is no different to that offered by most other handymen, but the big difference lies in how we deliver the service. We've grown our service through a very simple approach - understanding and fulfilling the customer's needs.

We book specific appointment times, in town centres, use motor bikes to minimise delays and use vetted, uniformed and properly equipped personnel with a positive attitude. We charge competitive prices and our workmanship is backed by a no quibble guarantee. All of this combines to produce a value for money service.

MP:'What support do you provide franchisees?
CS:'We have designed our franchise model to allow franchisees to focus on delivering a quality service. Franchisees are provided with a bespoke works management and finance programme, which is simple to use and aids business efficiency enormously. As well as this, franchisees have access to networking facilities and marketing support. Our experienced and dedicated team is constantly accessible for guidance and mentoring. Full technical and business training is also provided.

MP:'What are the most important characteristics you look for in potential franchisees?
CS: We seek franchisees with good people skills and commercial grounding. Obviously practical aptitude is important, however it is attitude, and personality that will have the greatest influence on us when weighing up a candidate's suitability. There are no specialist skills required to be a 0800 Handyman franchisees.

MP: What are 0800 Handyman's goals for the next 12 months?
CS:'Ensuring that our core business is stable and continues to grow is obviously important but from a development viewpoint the priority is to successfully establish our first group of franchisees. We will also be broadening our service range.