Gautam Thadhani is a mover and shaker. His energy, flexible mindset, and strong work ethic well positioned him for franchise ownership, and his Miami-based Mr. Handyman business has broken franchise growth records since he started it in December 2020. I very much enjoyed sitting down with Gautam to reflect on his success – as well as the impactful time we spent together in his early days of decision-making.

What inspired you to start investigating franchises?

Even before the pandemic, I had been wanting to get out of Corporate America and start my own business. For five years, I had been considering a wide range of opportunities – buying a business or starting a new one. 

Full disclosure…franchise ownership didn’t really blip my radar during those early years of looking. But right after the pandemic, my company went through a downsizing, and it was time to add a big dose of speed to the search for my next chapter. And that’s where you came into the picture! My company offered a range of support options for downsized employees, and that’s when I heard you talk at a seminar. All of a sudden, franchising was definitely on my radar. Before that, I just hadn’t realized how diverse the options are!

What I did know at the time was that I’m good at running a business, and I was already of the mindset that I was flexible on what kind of businesses I would consider. When you have a good plan and a good product or service, it doesn’t matter if you’re selling lemonade or cleaning services. That said, you really helped me narrow down my choices to find the best fit for me.

And what a good fit Mr. Handyman has been for you! Tell me what you like best about the business and your growth over the past few years. 

Mr. Handyman is a one-call solution for a wide range of home maintenance and repair needs. In this industry, expertise and reliability aren’t always a given, and I really like that our technicians are highly skilled craftspeople with an average of 10 years’ experience in the trades. They have expertise across a range of home repair and improvement projects, and we’re known for the quality of our workmanship and professional reliability. That’s what keeps clients coming back and referring us to others!

And those commitments have definitely fueled our growth since we started. My Mr. Handyman franchise was a brand new one in Miami – built from scratch – and we broke the franchise’s record for growth, reaching $1MM in sales in only 10 months. And the best part? We’re continuing to grow at a very fast pace, so the path ahead definitely looks bright for our team.

What were your biggest challenges in getting started?

Even though I mentioned that a business is a business, there’s always challenges to face when you’re learning a new industry. I’ve been known to fix a thing or two in my life, but I am far from a home improvement expert. So, I’ve been very lucky to find people who know way more than I do in the different trades, from concrete to drywall to tiling.

That said, I made a point to go on jobs with my team, because I wanted to learn as much as possible. I like to say that I didn’t have all the answers, but I do have all the questions – and that’s a big part of getting up to speed and building a team.

Hiring is really hard, and it took time to find the right people – but what an incredible team we have now! We have four full-time experts and one part-time expert, plus three office support personnel, my wife, and myself. 

What’s been the most rewarding aspect of franchise ownership?

I love running a well-performing business – and managing all the moving pieces, from hiring to budgets to sales. I also find great satisfaction in helping my team grow and provide for their families. 

In addition, I appreciate the creativity in this line of work. There’s more than one way to solve a problem for a homeowner – or make their vision a reality. What matters most is that they’re happy with the end result, and that’s always our aim.

And on the personal front, I’m grateful every day for the work-life balance this career provides for me. In my previous role, I worked for a major car rental company – overseeing 10 branches and 50 employees – and those responsibilities were very demanding on my time. I still work hard in this chapter of my career, but now it’s on my own terms. So that means I get to spend more time with my kids, who are 10 and 12 – and with my wife, who now works with me. (I like how much time we get to spend together as a couple, but she might have a different opinion on the matter!)

What did you like best about our time exploring potential opportunities?

Your role in my exploration process was clear and much appreciated: be a guide to help me navigate to the best choices. I was always holding the reins, but I had more confidence in doing so because I knew I was getting good advice from someone who had my back.

What advice would you give to someone interested in franchise exploration?

Be the rein-holder in the process – from beginning to end – but find support and guidance from people who have your best interests at heart. The path to business ownership is daunting, but it’s so worth it if you decide it’s for you. And since that path will have many twists and turns – from early decisions to launch to growth – be sure to grow your network of support to set yourself up for long-term success.

This is my top advice because I know one more thing that’s true across businesses and industries: no matter how cool the product or service, success always comes down to people – so find the right ones!