ACE Handyman Services Northshore
ACE Handyman Services Northshore
Your To-Do List Done Now. Handyman Services in Chicagoland

Meet the Colorado couple whose handyman franchise boomed during the pandemic

10.26.2022 11:21 AM

Ace Hardware acquired Colette and Andy Bell's Colorado handyman business at just the right time.

Colette and Andy Bell started their home repair service business from their basement in 1998. Now, the company has more than 300 franchises across the country. 

After Illinois-based Ace Hardware acquired the Bells’ Handyman Matters in 2019, the franchise exploded after becoming part of the nationally known Ace brand. 

“Those three little letters: boy do they make a big difference,” Colette Bell said. 

The Bells began franchising their handyman business in 2001. When Ace purchased the Lakewood-based Handyman Matters in September 2019, the business had 119 franchisees across the country. Now, after rebranding to Ace Handyman Services, the company has 325. Bell said the pandemic helped fuel the growth of the franchises.

“It was great for all the service industries because people were home and they had nothing better to do than invite us to work on their houses,” she said. 

When the Bells started their handyman business, neither had a background in the trades or construction. Andy Bell worked with former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper at Wynkoop Brewing Company, while Colette Bell was a school teacher. The pair started Handyman Matters in 1998 after realizing the restaurant life was not as conducive to raising a family. Hickenlooper even invested in their company at first. 

When Ace decided to buy the Bells' business, the time was ripe for the skilled household trades to take off, according to Bell. She thinks the DIY (Do It Yourself) trend has morphed into more of a DIFM (Do It For Me) attitude. On one end of the generational spectrum, Ace customers who know how to repair their homes are getting older. On the end, younger homeowners can YouTube any number of home repairs or tasks, but they’d still rather pay someone to do it. 

“They’re the generation that made Uber Eats a real thing,” Bell said. 

Ace recognized the need to add a service to its retail to meet the needs of customers who would rather have a knowledgeable person come work on their homes, and reached out to the Bells about joining the company. 

“When Ace called us, you can imagine it was worth taking the call,” Bell said. 

Bell declined to disclose the price for the Ace purchase of Handyman Matters. 

Ace Handyman Services sells different service packages, including a half-day package that costs around $650, which Bell said is very popular. The most common requests from customers include drywall repair, carpentry and custom tile projects. The company avoids plumbing, electrical and HVAC projects. 

“We are focusing on the niche market of very small projects, the ones that would be really hard to get a contractor to come out and do,” Bell said.

Ace Handyman Services has a headquarters in Lakewood at 12567 W. Cedar Drive. The company had 24 employees before the Ace acquisition; now, it has 44 employees to help accommodate the growth of franchises, and is looking for 5,800 square feet of new office space in Lower Downtown or West Denver.