Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Presgrave and Dana Hubchen.
Hi Kelly and Dana, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
We founded Work With Your Handz in 2018 while with family members at a residential services industry event. The predominant topic of conversation was a lack of skilled trades talent. The business owners at the event were in unison that they could grow their businesses with no problem except for the lack of talent. During the event, Dana and I were convinced that if we started a recruiting agency, we could not only perform the job well but we would also have fun doing it. By the end of the trip, we started brainstorming company names. Work With Your Handz was born a month later! We struggled with the name but surveyed multiple industry leaders, and it stuck. The company name has been an essential part of our success. Our tagline, Skilled Recruitment for Skilled Trades, came several years later.
We started slowly and grew organically. Our first client was a family members’ business, and we cut our teeth, learning everything we could about recruiting. Luckily for us, having been surrounded by the trades for 30 years with family members in the residential service industry, we already knew the attributes of a great technician. Whether a Plumber, HVAC Tech, or Electrician, we already had a very informed idea of the ideal candidate. It was recruiting that we needed to nail down. We both have outgoing personalities, and honestly, recruiting came naturally to us. From there, we had to define what we each liked and wanted to do daily as the company grew. Dana is process driven and is a fantastic recruiter; we took what worked for her and scaled it. She has moved to be our CPO (Chief People Officer), working on training and managing our staff. Kelly has intuitive business acumen and strengths in marketing and analytics, taking the reins there. She is the CEO and concentrates on growing the business and making sure all the moving parts are working in continuity. We are where we are today because we had vastly different assets to contribute and maximized that.
From inception, we already had a solid background in the business model for home service companies. We were very in tune with the technicians’ contributions to the bottom line. We partnered with a contracting group two years after being founded, which put us on the map. From there, we have continued our client growth and have formed other strategic alliances. As a result, we grew 293% in 2021. While other recruiting companies were on shaky ground during the pandemic, all our clients were essential, continuing to hire and expand throughout COVID. That is the beauty of the residential service industry – it is considered recession-proof.
We fine-tuned our processes and procedures and have grown our staff to six recruiters, one HR administrator, and a team of sourcers. In addition, we are hiring more recruiters as the demand for our services grows exponentially by the day, which is an excellent problem!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
We have encountered numerous obstacles over the years. In the beginning, our biggest challenge was working together to develop a shared vision. Our personalities are opposites, which works well in many instances, but the vision and mission of the company were not areas for any discrepancy. Fortunately, we reached an agreement quickly, which helped us tremendously when we started to scale up and grow. We still occasionally have obstacles with me dreaming BIG and Dana’s more cautious nature. Truthfully, it works to have the opposite voices if it doesn’t hamper growth or conversely, take us off course.
Another challenge was setting ourselves apart from other recruiting companies. The saying, “what you don’t know, you don’t know,” held. It is counterintuitive, but it helped us that we did not have a preconceived notion of how recruiting was supposed to be done. We’ve heard time and again how our approach is different and refreshing. The result of our unique way of doing business is that we have incredible long-term partnerships with our clients, and we are very successful in finding the talent they need.
The next most significant challenge for us was the same as our clients face, finding the right talent and keeping them. We can relate to our clients in the staffing challenges and maintaining a workforce level when business coming in the door is fluctuating. As we grew and could offer better benefits, including 401k with a match, health, vision, dental insurance, and PTO, we have been able to draw in better talent. In addition, we are fully remote, which also helps. It has been a challenge managing a virtual team, but during the pandemic, so many new and brilliant solutions were built with the remote workforce in mind that it has been less of a challenge as of late.
We want to provide a great place to work for our staff, and we will work to improve continuously. Whether providing training, implementing their suggestions, or adding benefits, we take their pulse daily. We have an incredible team, and they are integral to our success. We envision atmospheric growth in the next decade and want them to be there for the journey, rising with us.
We have weathered our challenges with grit, determination, and hard work. We lean on other business owners and industry leaders when we need to and find that large or small, most companies share the same challenges and want to help each other.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next, you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Work With Your Handz is a recruiting agency specializing in recruiting skilled trades, as well as the office staff and leadership positions that are required for residential service businesses. Our recruiters are well versed in headhunting that talent and vetting them for our clients. Our clients want workers who fit their company cultures, not just a warm body that can do the work. One of the biggest differentiators for us is that we get to know our clients. We understand what sets them apart in their markets and why someone would want to work for them over a competitor. We learn their core values, cultures, and management styles. Then, we can share that information with a candidate and get them excited about the opportunity.
Another thing that is unique to us is our guarantees. Our base pricing package guarantees our hires for 90 days; very few recruiting agencies do that. We also only take one client per market area. We promote our clients as the company of choice and the industry leader in their geographic location. Our average time to fill for 2022 is 23 days, far below the industry standard, and we are proud of that. Time is of the essence for our clients, so we strive to work with a sense of urgency. Through our almost five years in business, we have become an industry leader in recruiting for the trades. We have filled hundreds of roles, including tradesmen and women, administrative staff, and executive leadership. We pride ourselves on providing top-notch service and meeting all our client’s hiring needs.
We are continuing to grow and expand our reach. The residential service industry is currently our main niche, but we are always looking toward the future and expect to add recruiting for all industries that need skilled trades in 2023-24. There are so many industries that require trades talent; it is just a matter of time before we will have multiple verticals. Facilities maintenance, construction, commercial services, etc. the possibilities are boundless. Our processes work across industries and are incredibly scalable.
Alright, so before we go, can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
We love to work with anyone who needs skilled trades talent and collaborate with all kinds of companies. Within the residential service space, we have found that collaboration with marketing companies is essential since marketing and recruiting go hand in hand. Really though, the opportunities for collaboration are endless. Any company that does business in the residential service industry is someone we would want to speak with about possible ways to partner together.
If anyone wants to know more about apprenticeship positions or how to get into the trades, we can point them in the right direction; that includes those transitioning out of the military. In addition, we would love to collaborate with trade schools and anyone that supports learning the trades.
We sponsor Women in HVAC and Explore the Trades, two incredible organizations.