Man with aircraft background opens Mr. Handyman franchise

After 31 years in the aircraft industry, Bob Skidmore is now trying to build a successful Mr. Handyman franchise.
After 31 years in the aircraft industry, Bob Skidmore is now trying to build a successful Mr. Handyman franchise. Eagle correspondent

After 31 years in the aircraft industry, Bob Skidmore could have retired, except for one problem.

“I’m just not wired that way,” he said. “I still want to build something, create something.”

What he’s trying to build now is a successful Mr. Handyman franchise, performing maintenance, repair, carpentry and odd jobs for area residents.

People, he says, are focused on their jobs and family and don’t necessarily have the time, skills or tools to tackle work that’s needed around the home.

“They just can’t get to it all,” he said.

At the same time, most are smart enough to know that “they have to maintain their biggest investment – their home” – in good shape.

At least he’s hoping they are.

An engineer by training, Skidmore said he worked as a director of operations and in other leadership roles for Cessna. He spent 27 years there and another four at Learjet.

“I’d been in corporate America some 30 years, worked with a lot of great people. When (Learjet) paused the L85 program, that was a transitional time. I always wanted to do my own business, and this was the time to do it.”

Skidmore said he looked at several franchise operations before settling on Mr. Handyman, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company. His training included a week at company headquarters and three days with another franchisee, in Maryland.

Skidmore said the optimism and willingness of other Mr. Handyman franchisees to share knowledge helped convince him. He also has always done most of the handyman-type work around his own home.

“I love the work,” he said. “It’s a hobby, a passion of mine.”

As a franchisee, though, he’s primarily involved in running the business, from marketing to personnel to payroll. He currently has two handymen and one customer representative on staff. He said he would like to grow to eight handymen.

In fact, providing “good, steady jobs” for craftsmen who often struggle to find 40 hours of work a week is one of his goals.

Skidmore’s franchise covers Wichita and surrounding towns from Cheney to El Dorado.

With winter approaching, he said, “We’re replacing a lot of doors, sealing windows, fixing dripping faucets, cleaning gutters. There are a lot of holes in drywall that need repaired.

“It’s just a wide variety of skilled and odd jobs.”

Recently, one of his handymen found and replaced unsafe outlets in an elderly woman’s home. “So she was thankful for that,” Skidmore said.

Skidmore said the stories about what it takes to start a small business are true. “There are a lot of little different things to do,” he said.

“But it’s rewarding. That’s the thrill of getting up in the morning, how you deal with challenges.”

Now you know

Mr. Handyman

Address: 7920 W. Kellogg

Phone: 316-768-5151

Owner: Bob Skidmore