Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast w/ Carie Manzer - Owner, Ace Handyman Services

April 16, 2024 00:22:45
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast w/ Carie Manzer - Owner, Ace Handyman Services
All Things Considered Franchising Podcast
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast w/ Carie Manzer - Owner, Ace Handyman Services

Apr 16 2024 | 00:22:45


Show Notes

In this episode of "All Things Considered: Franchising" podcast, host Scotty Milas interviews
Carie Manzer, a franchisee and multiple territory owner of Ace Handyman Services.
With a background in small business ownership and a passion for entrepreneurship,
Carie and her husband decided to invest in a franchise to achieve a better
work-life balance and build a legacy for their children.

Carie shares with Scotty her franchising journey, discussing how she and her
husband were drawn to Ace Handyman Services due to its strong brand recognition,
customer service focus, and support provided by the corporate team and network of
franchise owners. She tells Scotty, "Ace Handyman is built on customer service and
ingrained in the national culture." She and her husband have successfully built a thriving
business while still being actively involved in their children's lives and the community.
She then highlights to Scotty the importance of knowing your strengths and weaknesses
as a business owner and the value of networking in marketing efforts. Carie also
emphasizes the support and resources provided by Ace Handyman Services, which
have been instrumental in their success. As she states, "Be prepared to lose sleep, but
also enjoy the ride."

Key Takeaways:
-Franchising can provide the opportunity for a better work-life balance and the
ability to build a legacy for future generations.
-When considering a franchise, it is important to choose a brand that aligns with
your values and offers dedicated support and resources.
-Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a business owner is crucial for
-Networking is a valuable marketing strategy for building referral partnerships and
growing your business.

Scotty Milas can be reached at [email protected] and at (860)751-

Carie Manzer can be reached at

#allthingsconsideredfranchising #scottmilas #businessownership #franchiseopportunity
#cariemanzer #acehandymanservices #nationalculture #worklifebalance #enjoytheride

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:06] Speaker A: Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of All Things considered. Franchising, powered by Scott I am your host, Scott. Scotty Milos. We are all things considered. Franchising is a podcast dedicated to the entrepreneur people who are looking at or exploring business ownership, looking to invest in a franchise, kind of looking for that roadmap. We're sharing stories of franchisees, franchisors brands in our segment. Scott is a consulting organization I started many, many years ago after being on the franchisor side, and it helps people build that business model and introducing them to opportunities that potentially fit. So today, I'm pretty excited to have on board the show today Carrie Manzer out of the Myrtle beach area, who is a franchisee, a multiple territory franchisee, along with her husband with ace Handyman services. Carrie, welcome to the show. [00:01:08] Speaker B: Thank you for having me. [00:01:09] Speaker A: It's great to have you. You know, you and I were chit chatting before we hit the record button. And your background or have, and how you're looking at franchising is kind of this enterprise. You're looking to build something bigger. You're not looking for the single territory, the one van. You're really looking at the big picture. So before we get into that story and how you're visioning this, walk the audience through how you came about deciding franchising. I mean, let's forget about Ace handyman for a second. And why Ace? Because there are a lot of great features about Ace, but why business ownership? Where were you? Was it this, you know, was somebody displaced from corporate America? Did you decide, hey, I had enough of corporate America, you know, share your story a little bit with the audience. All right. [00:02:01] Speaker B: Yeah, no, we, I was raised in a small business ownership household. My mom and dad ran small businesses, so I saw the benefits of it. I also saw the downfalls of it, though, too. And then when my husband and I met, we started looking at businesses to purchase, and he at the time, worked in a steel mill. We actually lived up in the Pittsburgh area, and we had had kids, and he was working shifts, and it just was not conducive to a good family life. So we were looking at businesses, and he, he was very active in searching for companies. And I know you told me to not mention Ace handyman, but as soon as we saw them and started talking to them, they are, it's such a fantastic company. Everyone there is down to earth, family oriented, community oriented. And once we started talking to Ace Handyman, we saw the benefits of going with an established company and a franchise. We actually ended up upping our family from the Pittsburgh area and moving here to South Carolina, where I had gone to college and my interesting lived here. So it was just kind of a natural move. This is a really great market. The support at corporate is just awesome. [00:03:45] Speaker A: That's interesting that that's a, you know, let's just stay with the story for a second because it's interesting because, you know, there's always that, okay, let's look at a business. Let's think about a business. And that's always a discussion in itself, especially when it's a husband and wife, a couple. Because when I'm coaching couples, it's really a strong possibility that this could end up in a shouting match, so to speak. In a good way. No, there's no way I would invest in that type of business. No, I want this type of business or no way I'm doing that. When you made that decision or you decided that, okay, we want to investigate business ownership. You mentioned that you were looking at buying a business, which means that you were looking for potential resale, something that was turnkey. And I probably would think that in that resale category, you probably saw the good, the bad and the ugly. Were you kind of in different categories and businesses? I mean, were you looking at service based, but also looking at retail? Tell us a little bit about that story about how you decided on moving away from a resale into considering a franchise. [00:05:05] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean, it really came down to what we felt in our heart, to be perfectly honest with you. The places that we were looking into, to purchasing companies were things like fitness centers or we. So things like that. And it was not something that we felt really personally invested in. Okay. And I am good with directions. [00:05:42] Speaker A: Processes. In franchising terms, you can follow a process, you're really good. If the outline is there, I can read between the lines, but just give me the outline. There you go. [00:05:55] Speaker B: Yes. Yeah. During our onboarding process, we're given a, you know, twelve week process to open. And it allowed me the ability to focus and it gave me directives as to what needs done, when it needs done, how it needs done, and that was invaluable. And even still owning, owning a franchise is awesome because you not only have the support of corporate, but you have the support of 250 more owners, many who have done it before us. Some, you know, many now have come after us already. And that's just, I mean, you know, for our day to day operations, for sure. [00:06:46] Speaker A: Before I take a deeper dive into Ace and why you selected Ace. One of the questions I'd like to ask, and I know the audience would like to hear this, that in your opinion, if you are going to give somebody some guidance, some education on how to start the process, at least to start thinking about a business, ownership, at least starting to think about it, how to go about looking at it, obviously, you can work with a consultant, somebody like me, but how do you get past that initial stage of the excitement? Yes, I want to be a business owner, but when it really comes down to reality, I got to make the right decision. I got to fit a business into what's good for us, meaning you and your husband or a couple or a family. So what words of wisdom can you pass on to someone who's really thinking about it, to kind of get off the chair, take that first step and start really kind of investigating it and researching it? [00:07:48] Speaker B: Yeah. My number one piece of advice, which I saw my dad go through it growing up, and I've taken it to heart, is be prepared to lose sleep. [00:08:01] Speaker A: That's a good. I like that. I like that. [00:08:04] Speaker B: But also enjoy the ride. You know, I actually do quite a bit of calls for prospective owners in Ace Handyman, and my couple main pieces of advice to them are know your area. You know, make sure that whatever you plan to do or purchase or open is sustainable in that market. You know, that's. I think that's, you know, just with real estate, it's about location, location, location. [00:08:36] Speaker A: Yep, absolutely. Yeah. [00:08:38] Speaker B: And make. And if you don't know, if you don't know the business, have somebody in a critical role who does. You know, there's no way that I would do this business without my husband. And I think he would say the same thing. [00:08:55] Speaker A: Same thing. Yep. That's interesting. That's interesting. So you rely on each other, and this is a good segment into actually Ace Handyman as a brand because it's a legendary type brand. It's been around for a while. The validation, the success is there, but there are a lot of options out there. And in your due diligence, going through researching different things, looking at different things, and then, of course, narrowing it down to ace. What were some of the things that really kind of got you over the top? Because you just mentioned something that's really important, that you don't necessarily have to have full blown experience about being a handyman, so to speak, but understanding how a business works. You know, it's funny, my father used to tell me, numbers don't lie. Just because you have money in your checking account doesn't mean that you actually have money to spend. Matter of fact, that money already may be spent. You're just waiting for the clear. But what was it that kind of got you, or at least you were paying attention to as far as what was good for you would make a great business potential for you. Because a lot of people go into this, say, I want to buy a job, and that's really not the way to go about this. So what were some of the things that you were looking for that you were dotting the I's and crossing the t's that kind of caught your attention. [00:10:22] Speaker B: You know, at the. When. When we started talking to Ace Handyman, we had, you know, three and a six year old or four and a seven year old. So, you know, what was critical for us was family, family, work, you know, life, work balance, you know, about being able to grow something for our children if it's something that we do. You know, we. My husband had very little work life balance because of the type of industry that he had worked in, and he was missing out on things, you know, Ace. Ace Handyman, as soon as we started talking to them, and, I mean, who in the heck doesn't love Ace hardware? You know, it's instant brand recognition. They are built on customer service. They are ingrained in the national culture. You know, very early on, it became not if we were going to buy in, but where. Right, because it was a strong, up and coming company. It was the national people are getting older, and they either don't want to do it for themselves or they can't do it for themselves. And for every four people that leave the trades, there's only one coming in. [00:11:57] Speaker A: So you're right. [00:12:01] Speaker B: Across the entire country, so. [00:12:03] Speaker A: Well, who doesn't need a good handyman? I mean, that's. I mean, you know, it's kind of like that, you know, sitting around the card table, you know, when you're having friends over and you're playing cards and, you know, hey, did anybody know a good handyman? I gotta fix this or I gotta get this done. But you touched on a couple things that I think that are very critical, and we're talking to Carrie Manzer, who is, her and her husband are owner of multiple territories with ace Handyman. I'm your host of all things considered, franchising Scott. Scotty Miles. There are two things that you just mentioned that I think are critical in the sense of looking at business ownership. And for your husband, it really boiled down to a work life balance as well, the things that he was missing and that, yes, he wanted to still work hard, but the thing that was really more important to him is that if I could give up a little of something to get more time with my family, but at the same time build a potential legacy, introducing my kids to a business when they're ready, that was something and you and him decided and had discussions on, but those were some of the important things that you were looking for that you could do that, that you weren't marrying another job and spending seven days a week going from one boiling pot of water to another. Is that right? [00:13:23] Speaker B: I mean, that was absolutely, you know, absolutely. It's, it's not uncommon now for us to be the coach of our kids baseball league, you know, or, you know, softball league because we know that we can cut out at 431 day and go, you know, sling some baseballs and, you know, and be a part of the community also, you know, that, that's, that is super important to me. You know, we are trying to make our children's lives better and, you know, that's, that's really what it's about. I mean, I, I loved the way that I grew up because my, my parents had that flexibility. [00:14:08] Speaker A: Right. [00:14:08] Speaker B: You know, and, and that's not something you can always get when you work for somebody when. [00:14:14] Speaker A: Right. [00:14:14] Speaker B: When somebody else assigns your paycheck, so. [00:14:17] Speaker A: Right, right. And I think there's some adjustment. You know, you're coming from a corporate environment much like you're your husband did, and there are certain things that you're getting. And in the initial shock of opening your own business and moving, it's like, oh, did I make the right decision? Make the right decision. But it takes time. It takes some effort to build it. But once you get to a certain point, then you can take that deep breath and say, hey, look, this was the right decision. It's funny because I tell people, I said, I have people that come to me and say I'm earning x dollars a year and this is what I got to make in order for me to leave corporate America. I want to get out. And my first question back to people is usually, well, how long did it take you to get to where you are right now? I mean, if it took you eight years to get to X, what makes you think that you're just going to invest some money and then all of a sudden you're going to be at X in 30 days? So I think there's a lot of thought process that you put into this as far as the work life balance, but you also look at the end zone as far as the financial rewards, and that came through your validation. Talking to franchisees, I would imagine. Correct. [00:15:27] Speaker B: And honestly, Scotty, there's still times where we both say, did we make a mistake? But no, I mean, this was, this was a decision that we didn't take lightly and it was because we did. We upped our kids and moved and bought a house and sold a house and opened the business all within six weeks. [00:15:51] Speaker A: Wow. [00:15:52] Speaker B: You know, it was, it was definitely not something that we did lightly. But in the end, we are better parents for it, we are a stronger family for it, and we are grateful that Ace handyman took the chance on us because we were such a risk. [00:16:13] Speaker A: Well, it's interesting, you know, there's always a risk reward for both sides. You know, in everyday life, relationships, you know, there is a risk reward, but the bottom line is, is that the more you put in and it's equal back and forth, there's going to be a reward. And, you know, you say they took a risk. I mean, they, I trust me as being in this industry for a long time, it wasn't a risk in the sense that they were kind of hoping the dart stuck against the dartboard. They had a sense that you guys had the war with all to put all this together and not that you would encourage everybody just to drop everything, sell everything and move and start a business. And that's rare. A lot of people don't do that. But one of the reasons that you've become successful so far is the validation you did in regards to the support that you are going to get from Ace Handyman and as a brand. So talk about to our audience if they are investigating or have narrowed down their search or looking to ask questions, how important is it to take a deeper dive into the support mechanisms, the marketing support, the operational support that the brand is going to give you. Because a lot of people kind of come in with the ambition that all I want to hear about is the validation, the money side. But I try to tell people, and I coach people that, yes, the financial side is important, but more importantly is the operational and marketing support, the software and the tools that this brand is going to give you to invest in when you invest to be successful. How important is that, do you think? I mean, do you find that important? [00:17:55] Speaker B: Absolutely. It's critical. We combed through the franchise contract front to back, over and over, and peppered our, our person with questions left and right, and the majority of it did surround marketing, for sure. You know, Ace Handyman has now, their marketing department's kind of now been pulled into the Ace hardware marketing department and it has proven to be such a great partnership, you know, if there's anything. But at the same time, they, as a corporation, Ace handyman allows us to make, make the day to day decisions, you know. [00:18:41] Speaker A: Right. Yeah. You're running the bit. Yeah, you're absolutely, you're running the business, but they're, you know, they're giving you the tools to be successful. And that's what I'm talking about. It's, you know, it's kind of like I tell people, you know, somebody could have a great marketing department, but if you're not going out and meeting with the clients and you're not returning phone calls and you're not going to appointments or making appointments, you know, what's the difference? I mean, you know, you could have, you know, it just not going to work out. So it's a partnership. You're, while you're in your own business, you still have somebody that's helping you as a partner running the business, and that's good. [00:19:16] Speaker B: Yeah. And honestly, their big thing in marketing is networking, you know, which is nothing that they can really help you with. It is get out there, learn, learn, learn your referral partners. Learn, learn. You know, meet, meet those critical people which, you know, is such a smart, basic, free networking, you know, marketing advice. So, yeah, it's, they are, they are wonderful, for sure. [00:19:51] Speaker A: Yeah. So refer, yeah, you're absolutely right. Yeah. No, no, the referral network is very important. And it's not that you have to be a willy Loman where you're knocking on doors or cold calling or dialing for dowers, it's, you know, if you're, you know, at a networking event, a chamber event, a BNI meeting or whatever, it's just telling people what you do, feeling comfortable. You know, if you don't have those skill sets, then I would second, I would second guess whether you should be in a service based business. And maybe retail is more like it, but you have that, that ability to network, but carry any last minute advice, any guidance you can share with us, you know, running out of time here, sadly, because this has been a great conversation, it's always great to have success stories. As I mentioned earlier, you are looking at this as building out an enterprise. Your husband, you now are multi territory owners. You're really building out. What's nice is that you're dealing in multiple states. So you're kind of seeing this big picture grow and grow and grow. But any last, any last minute advice for our audience, people, like I said, that may want to think about business ownership? [00:20:59] Speaker B: No. I mean, I would think it's really important to know your strength, strengths and weaknesses as a person and as a business owner. You know, that's why I didn't hesitate to take this jump with my husband, because we absolutely complement each other and enjoy the ride. [00:21:20] Speaker A: It's a lot of fun. Yeah, it is. [00:21:23] Speaker B: It is. There's rarely a dull moment now, so that's interesting. [00:21:30] Speaker A: Well, we've been talking to Carrie Manzer, who is, her and her husband are owner, multi territory owners with Ace Handyman. Carrie, we appreciate your time. You can connect with Carrie on LinkedIn. It's m a n z e r. Message her some questions. If you have anything specific on Ace Handyman or just maybe franchising in general, you can also reach out to me at Scott Milo's franchise. If you have any additional questions on Ace Handyman as well, feel free to listen to all our episodes on all things considered franchising. We're on all of the podcast channels. We are now well over 70 episodes, and we were recently ranked as one of the top ten franchise podcasts. So hats off to my marketing team and everybody that's been participating. So again, you could visit our website,, or all things considered for all the episodes that we've recorded over the last year and a half. But this is Scott, Scotty Miles, appreciate your time, and thank you again, Carrie. And until next time, until next time, we'll see you.

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