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Home Improvement  /  January 12, 2021

Franchisee Spotlight – Interview with Illean Durkin – Building a Handyman Legacy in Mason, OH

Illean Durkin, owner of Handyman Connection of Mason is building a legacy for the Handyman Connection Brand through focused, personalized customer service and exceptional craftsmanship.

Interview By:  Angelique McMillan

Illean has been the proud owner of Handyman Connection of Mason since 2008.  Many of you don’t know this, but Illean got her start with the Handyman Connection brand as a member of the Home Office Team from 2000-2008.  After serving her brand for eight years, she began the exciting journey of Handyman Connection ownership.

Prior to joining Handyman Connection, Illean held a 17-year career in outside sales for Hallmark Cards.  It was her time at Hallmark that she believes really taught her how to run and grow a successful business helping her perfect the art of managing customer experience.  Illean is known for being meticulous and customer service focused, which has trickled down into her company culture.  After more than 12 years in business, Illean is proud to still be able to maintain a 4.9-star rating on Google.

Handyman Connection Marketing: 2020 has been a tough year for many owners; how have you and your team found ways to thrive?

Illean Durkin: Yes, 2020 has been a hard year and honestly, I believe it has been our persistence that has allowed us to still achieve growth this year.  One thing we did was increase our customer communication and the level or personalized service we provided.  We checked in with customers prior to sending a craftsman out to complete work, asking them what they needed from us to feel safe having a craftsman work in their home.  This was done to show we cared and to instill additional trust and put the customers mind at ease.  For my team, I provided them with masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to ensure they had what they needed to keep our customers and themselves safe.

Handyman Connection Marketing: How many members does your team consist of?

Illean Durkin:  My team consists of a full time CSR, 6 full time independent Craftsman and myself.  Last year, our CM, Scott Horrigan won craftsman of the year.  We have a seasoned roster with CM’s averaging 2+ years history with me.  Having a seasoned CSR and craftsmen, you know you can trust and can rely on is a huge part of our success.  Having a smaller team allows our craftsmen to reach a higher income earning potential which also helps with retention.

Handyman Connection Marketing:  Outside of your team, what else do you contribute to your success this year?

Illean Durkin: This year especially I have been paying closer attention to our monthly goals and what work we have lined up for the month and what will still need to be booked to reach our goal.  I have relied heavily on the CM calendar and have considered always having it up so we can get a clearer picture of where the holes are in our schedule.  Reviewing the schedule more closely allows us to focus lead gen efforts on the skill sets of those craftsmen with gaps in their schedule.  My goal for next year is lofty and in reviewing the numbers it’s easy to see how small changes can make huge impacts on craftsmen earnings and office profitability.  For instance, if we were able to increase our SR by 5 or even 10%, it would almost put us at next years goal with the team we have now.    

Handyman Connection Marketing: What are some of your 2020 goals?

Illean Durkin: My primary goals are to increase revenue, increase profitability and shift my job responsibilities.  I do not think I will ever be able to totally relinquish control, but it would be nice to spend less time working in the business and more time focusing on the business.  Ultimately this is my retirement money and focusing on these goals will help me long-term.

Handyman Connection Marketing: How do you plan to meet these goals in 2021?

Illean Durkin:  I have set these goals for myself because they are important to my end result.  I’ve learned you must be active in this business, if you want to grow in these areas.  For our revenue goal, continuing our customer service focus will allow us to achieve this goal.  I believe a key selling point for our business is that we pick up the phone and communicate with our customers, building relationships with them is key to our long-term success.  Focusing and know the numbers will ensure I reach my profitability goals.  Making sure my craftsman are pricing jobs correctly and not selling themselves or our brand short.  The last one, I must learn to walk away and trust in my team more.  

In talking with Illean, it is clear she is passionate about her business, her team, and their future success!

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