After serving for 20 years in the Marine Corps Infantry, completing deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, John Holland returned home and began working as a contractor for the U.S. Department of State. By Jessica Petrucelli
After serving for 20 years in the Marine Corps Infantry, completing deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, John Holland returned home and began working as a contractor for the U.S. Department of State. The work was interesting, and the pay was good, but he traveled extensively and was away from his family for four months at a time with only 30 days off then another four months overseas. Sometimes these travels for work would last longer than four months, so he decided a change was needed. After talking with his wife, he decided to pursue franchise ownership.
“She said, ‘If you can help move a battalion overseas to a combat area of operation with an infantry unit, you can certainly run a business of 10 employees,’” Holland said. “She was right.”
Holland interviewed with a lot of different companies and visited several vet-based job fairs but still came up empty-handed. When he found Ace Handyman Services, he immediately knew it was the right fit.
“There’s a family atmosphere here,” he said. “There was no pressure, no questionable tactics to get you to sign. I never felt pushed in. Instead, I felt like I belonged.”
He opened his Jacksonville, North Carolina, franchise in August 2020. Just over a year later, he opened another Ace Handyman Services in New Bern, North Carolina.
“When we first opened up, we met and exceeded a lot of the corporation’s expectations, so we decided to expand,” Holland said. “It was definitely the right move.”
Founded by Andy Bell in 1998 after identifying that there was a vastly underserved market in the home repair field, and then acquired by Ace Hardware in 2019, Ace Handyman Services is a coast-to-coast franchise organization that employs experienced and reliable multi-skilled craftsmen – all background-checked, bonded, and insured – who are trained to complete more than 1,000 different home improvement projects.
“Quality craftsmanship, superior service and pride in our work is what drives Ace Handyman Services,” the company notes on its website. “Our guarantee is if there is ever an issue or problem, we’ll return and make sure it’s done to your satisfaction.”
For Holland, who worked for a masonry company before enlisting in the military, Ace Handyman Services is a great match.
“Ace has a large population of veterans working for them, and I have a lot of respect for that,” Holland said. “The military fosters a culture of hard work and dedication, so with a staff full of veterans, you know this is a company you can trust and rely on.”
Holland has seven veterans on his staff and five of those seven are retired from the military. He is always looking to hire more veterans.
“I love what I do. We have a great bunch of guys here,” he concluded. “Being a small-business owner is not easy, but when you have a great corporate support system and surround yourself with employees who are like family, it makes the job a breeze.”