When Darrell Babboni started a small business out of his mom’s house in 1997 doing home repairs, he had no idea it would grow to the size it is today. It’s now a multi-million-dollar business with 38 employees and 21 trucks. They complete over 1,000 jobs each year.
His company, Honey-Do-Men, a home improvement and repair company, has a brick-and-mortar headquarters in Carmel where Babboni spends most of his days focusing on customer service, the one thing he said is missing most in this industry.
Babboni says his pillars of success are five simple things; 1) Answer the phone when it rings. 2) Show up on time. 3) Give a written estimate, not a number on the back of a business card. 4) Do the job right, don’t cut corners. 5) If there is a problem, go back and fix it, no questions asked.
Honey-Do-Men services all of Westchester and Putnam counties. However, Babboni is now in the process of developing a franchise model that will take it national as early as next year and will be filming a pilot for a possible series on cable TV this fall.
To simply call Honey-Do-Men a repair and remodeling company is somewhat of a disservice. It would probably be easier to list what they don’t do than what they can do, but let’s give it a try. Exterior services include roofing, gutters, siding, windows, doors, driveways, deck, patios, and fencing, to name a few. Interior services include bathroom and kitchen remodeling, flooring installation, tiling, painting, refinishing, custom carpentry, plumbing, electric, diagnostic repairs, new additions, and a full array of small handyman services. Babboni calls it one-stop shopping for homeowners.
But it’s not just about the quantity of the work or the quality of the jobs it performs; it’s mostly about customer service. Maybe that’s why more than 68 percent of the jobs they do each year come from repeat customers and direct referrals. If you talk to Babboni, who also aspires to become a motivational speaker, you can feel his passion for the work, his company, and for the industry he works in.
Babboni, who graduated from Somers High School in 1996, and then Westchester Community College in 1998, was raised by a single mom. He began by doing simple home repairs to help out around the house because his mom couldn’t afford to pay someone to make home repairs.
“I probably broke more things than I fixed,” he said with a laugh. But that struggle would lead to the creation of Honey-Do-Men and several programs Babboni would create such as the Good Samaritan Program, which gives home repair and improvement jobs away for free to a homeowner who can’t afford it and to nonprofit organizations that show extensive goodwill in supporting the local community, as well as the Honey-Do-Men Entrepreneurial Scholarship Program, which awards up to four graduates $1,000 each who show an entrepreneurial spirit.
Babboni also created the Holiday Light Show, which is an event he does every year at his office with over 40,000 LED lights all timed to music just to raise the spirits of the local community.
Babboni went to college and got a degree in the performing arts. He was acting and singing, but quickly discovered people were willing to pay more for those self-taught home-improvement skills than the ones he learned in school.
“It was the late ’90s, and I was working out of a Honda Civic stripped-down hatchback with the seats folded down, a milk crate full of tools, gutter parts, and a backpack blower,” he said. “I was working out of my mom’s house, using her computer and my ladder was strapped to the roof of my car with no roof rack because I couldn’t afford one. But I was working outdoors; I was my own boss, and I loved it.”
Babboni was the typical one-man shop until a horrific accident where he broke his neck and back in 2004, followed by another traumatizing accident only two years later where he broke both his legs, which forced him to start hiring people to do the work he couldn’t. Over the next 14 years, Babboni started hiring people, bought more trucks, and started building an office staff, and began winning awards. He was named one of the Top 500 Qualified Remodelers in America, Top 3 Percent of Roofing Contractors, Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner, and named Business of the Year by the Somers Chamber of Commerce.
“There was a hole in the market, we found it, and filled it,” Babboni said. “My goal was to become a one-stop-shop for homeowners to call for anything they need. And that’s what we have done.”
In addition to providing an extensive selection of remodeling, repair, and maintenance services, Honey-Do-Men also ensures each customer has an outstanding experience.
“I stand behind my work and every job my company does,” Babboni said. “I think it’s that commitment to the job and to the customer that has ultimately propelled the success of the company.”
Babboni says diagnostics is his strong suit, noting it doesn’t help to fix something if you don’t know what caused it to break in the first place. “It seems [other contractors] just want to replace everything; they don’t want to fix it,” he explained. “They just want to tear it all out, charge a ton of money, and put in all new instead of taking the time to see what the problem is and if it can be repaired.”
In fact, the company’s mission statement is, “Raising the expectation level between the homeowner and their contractor.”
“I also have a personal motto, ‘Think fast, move faster,’” Babboni adds. “Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Call 914-837-0411 to find out more or to get a free estimate. | 1995 Route 6, Carmel NY | 914-837-0411 | www.honeydomen.com
Article provided by Darrell Babboni/Honey-Do-Men