From Basement to Boardroom: How One Couple Built the Handyman Service That Became a 200-Territory Franchise Empire

Free Agent Podcast
Colette Bell

Have you ever had a business idea you didn’t act on? We all have!

But this week’s guest took action, and I’m excited to share her story with you.

Over the course of 23 years, Colette Bell and her husband took a handyman business that started in their basement and built it into an attractive franchise system other entrepreneurs wanted to invest in.

When their success caught the attention of Ace Hardware Corporation, an unstoppable partnership and a bigger opportunity was born.

In this week’s episode, Colette shares the whole story, from the early wins, to the discoveries and pivots that took them from basement to boardroom.

Watch the Full Episode:

When you become a franchisor, you have a fiscal responsibility to the people who were willing to risk their own money to invest in your business idea and hopefully see the rewards.

You'll Learn:

  • How your choice of franchisee impacts the results of the entire organization and how you can set everyone up for success.

  • How to keep your carefully-cultivated culture and intellectual capital intact as you expand

  • What makes a larger company the perfect vehicle for impact, opportunity and market domination.

  • The key shift that helped the business survive both the recession and the pandemic

I love the passion Colette has for her role as a franchisor, and her perspectives on this will be valuable to anyone interested in the franchise world.

You’ll enjoy this rare and delightful insight into the life of a franchisor, and get inspired to start seeing more entrepreneurship opportunities around you!

Guest Bio

Colette Bell is the VP of Franchise Development at Ace Handyman Services, and her husband Andy is the CEO. The first Ace Handyman Services office was in the basement of Andy and Colette’s Denver home, where they conducted business from a sheet of plywood placed atop an unused pool table. In the two decades since they started, The Ace Handyman Services Franchise Organization has expanded from coast to coast in 200 territories while continuing to embrace the same values and concepts. For more information, visit


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