Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Year’s Resolution Ideas for your Home

As we list out our own personal New Year’s resolutions, there may be some other areas that are in dire need for some attention in 2011 too. Like your home. Whether you haven’t had the time or the energy, 2011 is a great year to get some of those home projects in motion. House Doctors Professional Handyman Service business owner Harry Rimmer offers some expert tips on simple projects to make your home a priority this year.

New Year’s Resolution Ideas for your Home
By Steve Coomes

"He who owns a home deserves it!"
Author unknown

While most homeowners regard their domiciles with pride and joy, there is wisdom to be inferred from the wizened wisecrack above: homeownership implies regular work.

Be it patching cracked plaster, attacking a weedy lawn or something major, such as replacing the HVAC system, the need to invest in a home—be it with money or mere sweat—never ceases.

But experts insist that homeowners who stay ahead of the game with regular preventative maintenance not only work less on their properties, but can avoid costly expenses that zap the already burdened budgets of many.

"There's a lot of truth to the old saying that a stitch in time saves nine," said Harry Rimmer, a Wayne, Pa., franchisee of House Doctors, a 90-unit professional handyman service. In other words, "there are so many minor things a homeowner can do on his own to keep him from facing major repairs."

But while Rimmer believes many homeowners are capable of performing small maintenance tasks, many become overwhelmed by what appears to be a lengthy and almost insurmountable to-do list. His advice: Start somewhere and scratch items off the list.

Ed Miehlke, a franchisee of 175-unit HomeTeam Inspection Service, agreed and advises homeowners to triage that task list according to the season.

"Right now we're in the fall, so you need to be sure your gutters are really clean," Miehlke began. "That ensures you don't have water backing up and ice forming inside them when winter comes."

Planning on selling your home? As an inspector, Miehlke said neglected basic home maintenance leads to sellers having to spend major dollars fixing in order to make their properties sellable. On the other hand, performing these duties regularly and keeping a journal of when you did the work can assist in the speedy sale of any property.

Miehlke and Rimmer teamed up on a "12 Months of Maintenance" checklist homeowners can address seasonally and a little at a time. Several of the items can be addressed outside of months they suggested, but both stressed each point should be addressed well ahead of the applicable season.

January: Clean and/or replace clothes dryer vents. Not only will it reduce fire hazards, it will boost the performance of your dryer which saves money on energy use. Remove all holiday lights and decorations, both because your neighbors want you to, it makes the yard safer for playing in the snow.

Beauty tip: Frame and hang some of those photos you shot last year.

February: Inspect the outside of your house prior to a snowfall. Why? "Because you'd be surprised at what can get caught in a snow blower and damage it," said Rimmer. Once you retreat from the cold, it's a good time to inspect drywall for cracks that need patching. The arid air from your furnace will help the mud dry quicker and allow for painting sooner.

Beauty tip: Since the weather outside is frightful, choose just one room to paint so you don't become overwhelmed by the thought of it.

March: Check to be sure your sump pump is working properly before spring rains arrive. If you live in a storm-prone area, experts recommend a battery backup system to cover you if you lose power. Now is also the time to apply lawn fertilizer to get a jump on weed control.

Beauty tip: Spruce up your landscaping. Wet soil makes for easy planting of bushes, shrubs and trees.
April: Now that the rainy season has arrived, check downspouts around the outside the house to be sure water is flowing freely and away from the foundation. Water gathering at edges of the house can damage the foundation.

Beauty tip: Check for winter-damaged surfaces, such as shutters, gutters and landscape lighting. Some touch ups here and there will invigorate the exterior look again.

May: Service air conditioning compressor and blower unit when temperatures are at least 70 F to ensure normal Freon performance. Schedule biannual visits with HVAC provider "so they call you, and you don't have to remember to call them," Miehlke said.

Beauty tip: Mild weather is perfect for more significant jobs such as laying a brick paver path or building a gazebo. It's also a good time to plant perennials.

June: Now that somewhat drier weather is here, it's a good time to clean and seal your wooden deck. Our experts recommended pressure washing the entire surface, allowing it to dry for two days and then coating it with a high quality water-resistant stain or seal. Well kept decks add tremendous value to homes, but poorly maintained ones can wipe out that same value.

Beauty tip: Make your home inviting to guests by considering new deck furniture or chairs for your porch.

July: In the heat of the summer, it might be wise to find inside chores such as simple appliance maintenance. Dusting the refrigerator condenser and cleansing its fan of debris increases its efficiency and lowers energy consumption. Same for washing or replacing the filters in your range hood. If you have a down-draft exhaust system, request a professional service visit to check the vent pipe.

Beauty tip: Sometimes deconstruction, such as removing an old swing set, will serve as a facelift for the property. If you have fences, it's a great time to paint them.

August: Traditionally this is the hottest and driest month of the summer, which means it's a good time to seal asphalt driveways. Sealing reduces the chance of water seepage into cracks, which can feed roots under the drive and, just as damaging, allow ice to form and expand.

Beauty tip: Your lawn is growing again, which means it's a great time to aerate and fertilize. You'll love the boost of green the lawn will get.

September: Take a good look at your roof to ensure all shingles or tiles are in place. According to Rimmer, a small number of loose shingles can be repaired easily by a pro, but if left unfixed, the result could be water damage and further loss of shingles. The milder weather provides a good chance to restore door gaskets to before the cold sets in—and don't forget the bottom of the garage door! And speaking of those, take the time to grease its bearings and adjust chains that do loosen over time.

Beauty tip: Plant fall flowers, such as mums, to brighten your landscaping.

October: Have your furnace and humidifier serviced by a professional to ensure optimal combustion and air flow. Ask the service tech if it might be time to get your vents cleaned as well. Now that the air in the attic is cooler, visit the space to see if it could use some more insulation. Examine your windows closely to see if they need recaulking.

Beauty tip: Now that the sun is setting earlier, consider landscape lighting to add a dramatic appearance to your home.

November: Remove all leaves from lawn to reduce grass kill, and to avoid ice buildup, remove all hoses from outside faucets and shut off their valves inside. Rimmer said frost-free "bibs" placed on outside faucets can help as well, but that hose removal and water shut-off are best.

December: Guests are coming for the holidays, so make sure your toilets, showers and sinks and garbage disposals are all functioning properly. Clean lime from clogged shower heads, and replace toilet flappers if leaking.

Beauty tip: Take the plunge and join your neighborhood decorating contest. But no need to be this year's Clark Griswald. Sometimes less is more when lights are smartly strung to accent the house's features rather than wash them out.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

House Doctors listed by Business News Daily as 1 of 8 Low-Cost Franchise Opportunities for 2011

The New Year is the time for a fresh look on life and many people take it as a time to reevaluate their career paths since it’s such a huge component to anyone’s life. BusinessNewsDaily just published an article about 8 Low-Cost Franchise Opportunities for 2011 and House Doctors was featured for their low initial investments and being home-based franchises. Check out a portion of the story below or read the full article here:

8 Low-Cost Franchise Opportunities for 2011

If you’re thinking 2011 is the year you’re going to start your own business, you might consider the thousands of franchise opportunities available. The International Franchise Association (IFA) web site is a good place to start pursuing your franchise ownership dream.

The organization relaunched its web site yesterday, adding functionality that makes it easier to access information about its 1,100 franchise members. (Read More)

Friday, December 10, 2010

House Doctors Featured in Washington Business Journal

The Washington Business Journal just published an article about franchisee Hugh Sutherland of House Doctors in Alexandria, VA. The article discusses why Hugh decided to start his own professional handyman service, House Doctors, which was a result of a lack of professionalism of handyman services in his market. Now, Hugh’s business has grown substantially since he started, expecting about a 25% sales increasing this year, where he has successfully created and provided a professional handyman service in his region. Check out the full article here.

House Doctors of Northern Virginia takes regular pulse of the region’s home improvement sector
by Tierney Plumb

Hugh Sutherland went from horror story to problem solver with his home repair and improvement business, which expects a 25 percent jump in revenue this year. The key, he says, is being extra choosy when it comes to hiring.

Hugh Sutherland used to hire handymen to work on his rental properties in Alexandria, Charlottesville, Va., and the Outer Banks, N.C.

One handyman he hired to pour a concrete slab showed up a week and a half late. Others were completely unresponsive. “They were terrible. They wouldn’t show up on time or return phone calls,” he says. “It was a bunch of ‘Chuck in a truck’ guys. I just sort of tolerated it and put up with it.”

Until, that is, he opened up his own home repair franchise. Fed up with the poor service, Sutherland, president and founder of ...

(Read More)

Monday, December 6, 2010

House Doctors Franchisee Used as an Expert Source in Green Bay Press Gazette

Mike Harrison’s House Doctors location in Green Bay was recently featured in the Green Bay Press Gazette in an article about childproofing for the holidays in which Mike was used as an expert source. Below is a portion of the article and it can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

Kid friendly: Get ready to host families during the holidays by childproofing your house
By Sarah Ludeman

Christmas Chaos
To ensure your house is toddler-friendly this Christmas, Collier recommends keeping poisonous plants such as mistletoe and poinsettias out of children's reach and blocking off the Christmas tree.

"Children are fixated by the bright bulbs and glass ornaments, so the tree itself is always a problem," Collier said. "The best thing to do is make sure the child does not have access to the tree. I usually recommend blocking the room off or putting up some sort of gate."

Another area of concern during the Christmas season is the fireplace.

"If you use a fireplace, you have to have something around it to keep the kids away," said Mike Harrison, owner of House Doctors. "Otherwise they could fall into it, burn a hand or a number of other things. Putting a gate around the fireplace is a good way to avoid this."

Electrical Outlets
When it comes to electrical outlets, Harrison recommends purchasing outlet caps and cord covers.

"There are a number of plastic outlet covers and electrical cord covers to choose from," Harrison said. "If you're having people with children over for the holidays, this is a simple and inexpensive step you can take to help protect kids from receiving unwanted shocks or worse."

(Read More)

Deck the House and Let it Shine: Holiday Light-Hanging 101

Decorating Tips from a Professional Handyman; How to Light Up Your House Like an Expert

It’s that time again! Time for presents, family bonding, holiday cheer, and of course, the often dreaded and death-defying task of decorating the house for the season. Hanging holiday lights on the outside of your house can be not only difficult, but downright dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Luckily, Jarid Kossen, Franchise Development Manager for House Doctors Professional Handyman Services and all-around home improvement expert, is here to give some much needed advice to those who’d like to avoid broken bulbs and broken bones this holiday season.

Now it’s time to make some big decisions: what kind of lights do you want to hang? This is important because the right style for your home depends not only on the look you want to create, but also your budget. This includes the cost of the lights themselves, as well as the amount of electricity they require to operate.

Lights designated “C-7” and ”C-9” have 5- or 10-watt bulbs similar to those used in conventional nightlights, whereas the more common “mini-lights” utilize tiny 1.5 or 2.5-volt bulbs that burn cool and are both cheaper to buy and cheaper to operate, since they use much less energy than the C-bulbs.

The one benefit to the heavy-duty C-lights is that they are more durable and reliable—so you won’t have that domino effect of one broken or missing bulb causing the entire string to go out.

“Note, however, that with the mini-lights, a burnt-out bulb should not affect the rest of the string,” says Kossen. “The domino effect only happens when the chain is physically broken.”

However, this happens more often than you’d think. So, while you may be tempted to go for the long strings, which can include up to 200 bulbs, Kossen recommends buying the shorter, 50-light strings and just plugging them together end to end. This way, if one string is defective, you can just unplug and replace it, rather than having to take down and rewire your entire design.

“Successful light-hanging is all about proper preparation,” says Kossen. “So be sure to make thorough measurements beforehand. The last thing you want to discover when you’re teetering 10 feet off the ground with your ladder planted in a precarious-looking snow bank is that your extension cord is too short to reach the outlet!”

That is, if you need an outlet at all. The newest option in holiday lighting requires no electricity at all: Solar-powered LED lights are powered by a single solar panel, which is connected to a ground spike and powered by the sun. These lights come with a higher purchase price, but are likely to save money in the long run since they won’t affect your electric bill. Plus they’ll give you some good karma—a valuable commodity during the holiday season, to be sure!

“Regardless of the type of lights you buy, be sure to choose lights that are UL-approved for outdoor use, and always follow all of the manufacturer’s cautionary directions on the package,” says Kossen. “Also, be sure to test out your lights before you hang them.”
You will also need something to hang your lights on, such as plastic S-clips that are made specifically for hanging from gutters. Steer clear of the adhesive hooks unless they’re specially designed for outdoor use, otherwise they’ll likely come unstuck in inclement weather, warns Kossen. Also, steer clear of staples or nails when you’re attaching lights directly to the house—they can pierce or wear away at your house’s protective insulation, creating an electrical hazard.

Now it’s time to start hanging. If your home’s eaves are low, you may be able to use a stepladder; otherwise, an extension ladder is your best bet. Place it firmly on flat ground and lean it against the eaves, extended well above your eye line and leaning at an angle that will be comfortable and safe to climb—neither too steep nor too flat. Always have a spotter stand below to hold the ladder steady and monitor in case of an unforeseen accident. If you must lean the ladder against the gutter, Kossen suggests placing a short piece of 2 by 4 inside the gutter to reinforce it.

For attaching lights to window trim and similar vertical surfaces, you can use tube light clips or nail-on plastic clips, because they won’t be puncturing the house itself. Space your clips about 12 inches apart if you’re expecting snow, and up to 24 inches apart if you’re not.

“Above all, be careful and go slowly to avoid careless errors, which can lead to serious injuries,” says Kossen. “And when in doubt, you can always call in the professionals! House Doctor’s professional handymen are holiday light-hanging experts, so if you’d like to ease your burden this holiday season, just give us a call, and we’ll take care of it.”

You can leave the plate of cookies and glass of milk on the front stoop.

Monday, November 29, 2010

House Doctors featured in the Dover Post

House Doctors was recently featured in the Dover Post in an article called “New Service Builds a Bathroom in a Day,” which Erik Reichelt offers at his location in Delaware. Reichelt discusses the new service in depth with the Dover Post reporter and takes a potential customer through the entire process of installing a bathroom in a day. Check out the entire article here.

New service builds a bathroom in a day

Since House Doctors opened in Dover more than two years ago, it has always been looking for ways to expand what it can offer the community.

For instance, franchise owner Erik Reichelt recently started installing egress windows, a service that’s become more popular with changing building codes.

But it’s the business’s new Bathroom in a Day service that’s the most recent addition to House Doctors, which will be moving to its new location at 25 Maggies Way, Suite 1, Jan. 1.

Reichelt spoke with the Dover Post on Nov. 19 to talk about the new product.

Q What is the Bathroom in a Day service?
A The Bathroom in a Day is an acrylic lining system for your tub and shower unit, or just a shower unit, so you don’t have to go through the tear-out process where you tear out the tub unit and walls, which can be a several day process. We can provide these acrylic panels and tub liner and install it in one day.

Q So you just put the liners over the existing tub or shower?
A We measure the tub, and the lining system is a glove fit to line over a steel tub or cast iron tub. There’s a 14-step measuring process where we can ensure with certain, specialty tools that you get a glove fit.

(Read More)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Franchisee Profile: Doug Coyle, Owner of House Doctors Andover, MA

Location: Andover, MA

Q: Before franchising with House Doctors, what were you involved with?
A: Before getting involved with House Doctors, I worked as a sales manager at an auto dealership. After twenty years in the car business, I got a little tired of it and started looking for an opportunity to own my own business. I had experience in the franchising industry from owning a Ski-Doo Snowmobile franchise, so I decided to start looking for a new venture there.

Q: What attracted you to House Doctors?
A: Not many people have a service like House Doctor, but it’s one I think a lot of people need. House Doctors’ highly professional approach to handyman service is uncommon in the industry and made it stand out as a brand. Being on time or communicating with clients when that’s not possible, those small things done right build a very professional image.

Q: Why was House Doctors the right business opportunity for you?
A: House Doctors provided a prefabricated business venture that was exactly what I was looking for. The members from corporate I met with were very down to earth and willing to work with you. That, in addition to reasonable franchising fees and royalties, made House Doctors very attractive.

Q: How do you connect with the local community?
A: I’m a member of the local chamber of commerce. I also sponsor high school silent auctions and sports teams. Most of my business comes from young parents, so I try to help out with community events benefiting kids.

Q: What are some of your recent accomplishments?
A: Last year our location was named one of the top 10 House Doctors franchises in the nation. This year is set to be our best yet for sales.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

House Doctors featured in Tips & Quips from the Working World

House Doctors was recently featured in an article in a national blog called Tips & Quips from the Working World, entitled, “Home Handyman Services – How a Home Improvement Franchise Works.” The article discusses what it’s like to be the owner/operator of a professional handyman franchise. It includes interesting and useful information about how the franchise works, daily tasks, ups and downs of the job, and tips for potential handyman franchisees. A portion of the article is included below and can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

Home Handyman Services – How a Home Improvement Franchise Works

Home handyman services can be a profitable, interesting job! Here’s how a home improvement franchise works, plus job tips from a small business owner and operator.

“You have to like what you do,” says John Driesse, who is the franchise owner of House Doctors of North Jersey. “Running a business – not to mention starting one – consumes a lot of your time. There’s always something to do. You’re behind most of the time, and you have to be good at prioritizing things. Everything is important, but some things must be done before others.”

Driesse’s business is part of a large US-based handyman franchise company called House Doctors. Here, this professional handyman describes his job and offers career tips for aspiring small business owners…

Home Handyman Services – What Does a Professional Home Handyman Do?

A professional handyman’s job includes both residential repairs (eg, cleaning gutters, doing carpentry, installing pet doors, remodeling, etc) to commercial repairs (eg, fixing doors and windows, installing new carpets or floors, performing maintenance services, etc).

“Most people are surprised that we respond to their calls quickly, arrive when we say we are going to, and complete the work in a professional manner,” says Driesse. “The ‘professional handyman’ name carries somewhat of a negative connotation, and we’re working hard to change that.”

Owning and operating a home improvement franchise is different than working as a professional handyman.

(Read More)

Friday, October 29, 2010

House Doctors featured in Washington Examiner

House Doctors was recently featured in an article in The Washington Examiner entitled, “There are still a lot of properties available to rehabilitate – but finding them can be a challenge.” The article discusses the difficulty of finding a “fixer-upper” to live in or fix up and then resell, and gives advice to first-time home buyers looking to avoid bad investments. Hugh Sutherland weighs in as owner/operator of House Doctors in Northern Virginia and an investor in rehab properties, explaining that foreclosures and short sales need love and attention in order to become liveable for families on a budget. He explains the drop in house-flippers and investors like himself, and says that instead, families are moving into these homes. This article will provide some great exposure for House Doctors in metro DC, and should generate some local interest in fixing up homes, and who to call when one wants to take on these kinds of projects. A portion of the article is included below and it can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

There are still a lot of properties available to rehabilitate – but finding them can be a challenge
By: Deborah Huso

Finding a fixer-upper to flip, or to live in for a time and then resell later for a profit, is not as easy as scanning the real estate listings.

“Some properties may fit fixer-upper categories in the buyer’s eye, but not be listed that way by the seller,” said Jonathan Hill, president of RealEstate Business Intelligence in Rockville, a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems.

The seller or the seller’s agent may want to avoid what they perceive as a negative moniker.

That said, it is not surprising there are more of these properties on the market in the D.C. metro area these days — and that more of them are selling. RBI’s figures from April to September this year show 997 fixer homes sold in the District and surrounding areas, including the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland. That’s a jump from the 650 to 750 sold during the same periods from 2005 to 2008.

(Read More)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

House Doctors featured in Atlanta Home Improvement

House Doctors' Jarid Kossen was recently featured in Atlanta Home Improvement’s Expert Q&A in October. The Q&A is over the topic of winterizing the home and Jarid give’s some tips on how homeowners can do simple things to make sure their home is weatherized for the winter. The article can be seen in PDF format below:


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

House Doctors' Fast Start Program: What You Need to Know Before Opening

You buy into the concept, you go through the discover process, then you sign a franchise agreement, what’s next?

Many new franchisees can be intimidated about exactly how to get the ball rolling. They’ve bought the rights to their very own franchise and now it’s up to them to open up shop and be successful doing it.House Doctors understands this can be an overwhelming process and has spent many years perfecting the system, processes and procedures required for getting franchisees up and running without missing a beat.

Through their Fast Start program, House Doctors provides as much of a turnkey operation as possible and partners with each new franchisee through opening their new location and throughout the first year (The Academy to be discussed in a later post). With the support of their Franchise Support Manager, and everyone at the House Doctors home office, franchisees complete a 125-point checklist of items necessary to accomplish to ensure success, but not only complete the checklist, complete it in the right order. This support includes Business Planning, Budgeting, Market Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Securing Business Licenses and more. House Doctors takes a vested interest in each one of its franchisees careers.

House Doctors also provides new franchisees what’s called an “Initial Package.” As part of a franchisee’s investment into House Doctors, they receive an initial package which includes everything they need to have a complete, professional brand image right off the bat including uniforms, the appropriate technology and software, marketing materials, website development and maintenance.

So although you may be off to the races, the benefit of working with House Doctors is that you won’t be alone. You’ll benefit from House Doctors’ 15+ years of experience operating 175+ locations nationwide to back you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

House Doctors tells how to winterize homes

House Doctors was featured in an article and slideshow on entitled, “How to Winterize Your Home.” The article discusses different ways to winterize your home and provided very useful tips for people at home looking to make these changes and cut costs. Check out a portion of the article below or read the full story here.

How to Winterize Your Home
By Jeanine Skowronski

With Halloween approaching and Thanksgiving not far behind, homeowners need to start preparing their houses for winter weather. After all, advance preparations can save money, preserve energy and increase safety as you transition into the winter months.To help you and your home weather the inevitable storms, MainStreet consulted the experts to find out what homeowners should do before the temperature drops drastically.

(Read More)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Academy: Support through Your First Year

By Jarid Kossen, Manager of Franchise Development

It’s been proven by our business model that the first year of proper operation should set up your business to double in size. That’s great growth potential if you do things right! House Doctors has been in business for 12 years so we are confident that our processes and procedures will help franchisees grow to their fullest potential. We’ve established benchmarks and best practices that will lead new franchisees to success.

Because operation in the first year of business sets the mold for everything thereafter, House Doctors takes this first year extremely seriously and partners with franchisees to guide them through in a program called “The Academy."

The House Doctors home office ensures all checks and balances are in place by doing monthly financial reviews with new franchisees, comparisons of budgets, reviews customer comments, etc. The They use system-wide benchmarks from top performing franchisees to ensure that new franchisees ramp up quickly and generate the highest return on investment. The Academy Program is designed to ensure that new franchisees lay a strong foundation in their first 12-18 months so that can build a solid profitable business from the start and ultimately yield the highest return when they wish to sell the business.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Franchisee Profile: Steve Cranford

Franchisee Since: 2002
Franchise Location: The Triad area of Greensboro, Winston and High Point

How Steve Cranford Got Started With House Doctors…

Steve’s experience in the home improvement industry goes back to the 1970’s to help work his way through college. Even as a kid, he got some experience in handyman work when he helped his dad’s cousin who was a professional handyman do a variety of jobs. Shortly after college graduation, Steve went to work in the construction industry for the next 20+ years. He got a broad view of the construction industry and noticed that there was more service repair work than true construction. He loved the pace of that niche. In the early 2000’s, the economy took a dip and Steve had to find a new career opportunity. Surveying his past experience and understanding more about his passions, he knew entrepreneurship was something he wanted to pursue and the time was now. The only thing holding him back was getting started, finding the customers, having to market the business, etc. So he looked into franchising to find support that would help him get up and running quicker. After doing research across the industry, Steve landed on House Doctors and opened up in 2002.

Over the past eight years, Steve's franchise has shown consistent and steady growth, and that has been by design. He is committed to growing the business to be the premier handyman and home improvement business in the Triad area. However, as the business grows, he wants to be sure that the company is always able to meet the customer's demands with a team of qualified people. He is constantly looking for new team members that are dedicated to providing the exceptional service and professionalism that defines House Doctors. His approach appears to be working, as he expects 2010 to be a record year despite the national economic downturn.

What Intrigued Steve Cranford about House Doctors …

Steve appreciates the vision of House Doctors’ executive team and the desire to make House Doctors the #1 franchise in its industry segment. Over the years, House Doctors has implemented great improvements and changes. The support is also top-notch. Steve says that the team is always there when you need them; they are willing to help out and put together all the information or materials you may need.

Something Interesting About Steve Cranford ‘s Story…

Steve is married and has three daughters and one granddaughter with a grandson on the way. His wife works at the local hospital. Steve is very active within his community: with his church and on the board of the local YMCA chapter. In his free time, there’s nothing more Steve would rather do they play golf.

Where specifically did Steve Cranford learn about House Doctors?

Steve learned initially of the franchise through an ad in a local magazine. In 2002 the Internet was not as robust as it is now, so although he checked out the Web, it wasn’t a huge aid to him. After seeing the ad and doing some initial research, he made a call to House Doctors, and eventually made a trip to Cincinnati to meet with the executive team and see the operations first hand. He talked with several franchisees for validation. Finally, Steve studied the demographics in his area to evaluate what would be possible.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

House Doctors Brand Manager Wins National Creative Award for Talents

Just this month we have the pleasure of celebrating not only our growth (signing three new franchisees within two weeks), but we also get to celebrate the accomplishments of our Brand Manager, Michelle Southworth.

Michelle has just won a national award for her creative talents in a competition to seek out the next design for Marshall’s 2010 football t-shirt. That’s not the only place that Michelle’s graphic design talents are utilized. Michelle is the creative brains behind all marketing and advertising collateral for House Doctors.

In a Q&A with Michelle she gives an inside glimpse into the insights behind the creative.

When did you start with House Doctors?

I started in July 2007.

What is the strategy behind House Doctors creative?

The strategy behind all of our creative is to appeal to our target audience. All of the House Doctors creative is very much focused toward the woman of the household. We like to use imagery that is appealing to women, and also portrays a feeling of trust. People are ultimately calling House Doctors and inviting them into their homes; this in itself requires a certain amount of trust. We want someone to be able to look at a House Doctors advertisement or website and feel comfortable with our brand and service before they even pick up the phone to call.

Have you ever given the House Doctors brand a creative refresh? If so, when and why?

When I started with House Doctors, we were in the process of launching a new logo. During this transition, my main responsibility was to re-create all of the marketing collateral with the new logo, and create a new brand image. In the past 3 years, that image has evolved, and will continue to evolve in efforts to keep our brand image relevant and appealing to our target audience.

What messages do you want to convey in the creative?

The most important message that we want to convey in our marketing pieces for House Doctors is creating a professional brand image that our customers will trust. In the professional handyman industry, there are a lot of people who will operate the business on their own who are not certified and do not provide professional service. Our franchisees for House Doctors provide licensed and insured employees. Creating a professional image really helps set us apart from our competition who cannot provide the same quality service as we can.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

House Doctors Franchisee featured in The Phoenix

The Phoenix has recently published an article on the new legislation regarding lead-based paint. Ron Galipeau, House Doctors franchisee and EPA-certified lead-based paint renovator, spoke with reporter Justin Finneran about the issue and how consumers can check to see if they may be affected. Check out the article here to read more:

Visibility of EPA Lead-Based Paint Standards Still Lacking
By Justin Finneran

Ron Galipeau is the owner/operator of Chester Springs’ House Doctors, a professional handyman franchise serving Chester, Montgomery and Delaware counties. He is an EPA-certified lead-based paint renovator, and has a second certified renovator on his staff. They make sure that each job is set up properly and safe to work in, and oversee the cleanup phase and final safety testing. The certification requires eight hours of initial renovator training, two of which must be “hands-on training”, conducted by an EPA accredited trainer. Once complete, the certification lasts for five years. (Read More)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Franchisee Profile: Hugh Sutherland

Franchisee Since: 2005

Franchise Location: Alexandria, DC, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax Co.

How Hugh Sutherland Got Started With House Doctor…

Hugh Sutherland has a history of entrepreneurship. He founded a company called Washington Courier, a package delivery company based in Washington DC. He developed the concept and grew the business. About 7 years ago, he sold it to pursue other career interests. In the interim before becoming a House Doctor franchisee, Hugh continued his involvement in real estate, fixing up and selling homes. It was at this time that Hugh started to notice a trend in the professionalism of handymen in his area. Whenever Hugh needed repairs done to his home, he called local handymen to come and fix the problems and most the time, those professionals turned out to be unprofessional, unreliable and inefficient. That’s when Hugh got the idea to look into business ownership in the handyman field.

Hugh was faced with two options. The first, start his own independent business or second, become a franchisee of an already-existing business. He chose the latter because he could use the knowledge of the support staff already in place to help him develop his business quicker than he could on his own.

What Intrigued Hugh Sutherland about House Doctor…

Out of all the franchises in this field that Hugh researched, House Doctors was by far the most ambitious, serious and professional according to Hugh. He was delighted and impressed by their ability to balance priorities and support his individual efforts through marketing, website development and management, SEM, and negotiation of contracts with vendors.

Something Interesting About Hugh Sutherland’s Business…

Despite economic conditions, Hugh has seen a 25% increase in his business this year. He equates the uptick in his business to a solid influx of repeat customers, people keeping their homes and fixing them up, people working harder, staying busier and still needing those repairs done, as well as the economy starting to pick up.

Hugh has 10 years of experience in the home improvement industry behind him, and realizes that customer retention is the key to growing a business. In order to do so, he provides superior customer service, including 24/7 support to answer calls and schedule appointments; he hires handymen in his territory in order to ensure reliability and calls his customers to give him updates on their repair services.
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