power wash
Power washing

David Ambinder, franchise owner of Mr. Handyman of S. Orange/Westfield/Scotch Plains & Metuchen , N.J. recently received Mr. Handyman's Franchisee of the Year Award at the national Convention in Orlando, Fla.

David spent most of his professional career in the investment banking industry and following the fall of Lehman Brothers, where he formerly worked as a senior vice president, he was ready to find a new opportunity. His professional management, marketing and customer service skills have served him well as a Mr. Handyman franchise owner.

A hyper focus on customer service has been the key to solving repair, maintenance and improvement problems. David said he learned something at his first job at the Waldorf Astoria that made a tremendous impression on him, "Difficult is done immediately, and the impossible just takes a few minutes longer."

He also employs technicians who have many years of experience and have even owned their own contracting business in the past. They must be trustworthy, have good communication skills, a commitment to customer service and have a wide scope of skills to complete the many jobs Mr. Handyman is hired to do.

Home owners typically hire his technicians for a half day of service to tackle a lot of little annoyances, like sticking doors, drywall repair and repairing leaks.

Many times, customers use technicians as their home consultants and brainstorm future improvements and larger repairs. Customers have used his business on larger jobs like bathrooms, kitchens, custom carpentry and crown molding and installing new doors and windows.

"We had one customer with an older kitchen and they were looking to renovate the entire room. They purchased the new cabinets and we hung them and also added a lot of custom carpentry to make a dramatic upgrade," said Ambinder. "We added a lot of crown molding and constructed built-in bookcases and areas for their electronics. The customer was extremely pleased."

Trends for spring include getting the deck ready for warmer weather. Deck repairs as well as painting and sealing are important to get done early. Requests for power washing the home's siding after the long winter will begin picking up as March approaches. Lastly, gutter cleaning and repairs are important to complete before heavy spring-time rain begins.

Larger projects include upgrades in the older homes in David's area, which typically have plaster ceilings. To upgrade the aesthetics as well as soundproof and insulate a room, technicians add 3/8-inch drywall over the ceiling, which is a much cleaner solution than removing the plaster. By adding crown molding and recessed lighting, value has been added to the home.

As consumer confidence in the economy improves, David said home owners are doing more room remodeling projects. His business has helped upgrade several bathrooms by replacing the vanity, sink and toilet and installing ceramic tile. This improvement makes a home much more competitive against the many other homes for sale.

David likes the challenge of trying to be a different kind of company for the consumer.

"We are good at communicating, keeping the home clean while we work, we hire great technicians and if something does go wrong, we handle any concerns professionally. Basically, I believe in treating people like I'd want to be treated," he said.