Our Company Story: How HoneyDoMen Came to Be
My name is Darrell Babboni, and I am the founder, president and CEO of
HoneyDoMen. I was born right here in Westchester County NY in 1979. I
graduated from Somers High school in 96', got a degree in the Performing
Arts and in 2001 decided to officially license, insure and incorporate
Honey-Do-Men. The three questions I get asked the most is, "What
does Honey Do Men" mean?", "Where did you come up with
the name Honey-Do-Men?", and "Is HoneyDoMen a franchise?"
Well there is the short version, the long version, and the one line answer.
I will start with the quick and the fast. "Honey Do Men" comes
from a phrase used a lot by wives who put together lists for their husbands
to do around the house, the "Honey-Do-List" or "Honey Do
This, Honey Do That". As for who came up with the name for our company,
that would be my mom. In 1997 she suggested the name HoneyDoMen, and it
has stuck ever since. As for the franchise thing, no, it's not a franchise.
All the trucks and signs, the ads and the articles, all fall under one
roof. For better or worse, the buck stops here.
The Background of the owner and CEO, Darrell Babboni:
Before I can really get into the story of how HoneyDoMen came to be, I
need to give you a little background on who I am. I was born and raised
in Somers NY, my parents were divorced when I was three, dad disappeared
when I was five, and we had little to no money. We couldn't afford
to pay someone to fix things around the house, so I had to learn. Our
church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, helped to put
food on the table when we couldn't and the men in the church helped
fill a father's role in my life when mine couldn't. I thank God
for those people and for the mother he gave me. It was because of them
and my mother who instilled the ethics, values and morals that help drive
me and this company to where it is today. I thank God for that and for
my wife and my two beautiful children.
Because we couldn't afford to pay people to fix things, I had to try
myself. I probably broke more things than I fixed and made my mom cry
more than I did make her laugh, but that is how a kid learns. By the time
I was 12 years old I was already knocking doors asking neighbors if they
needed their grass cut, driveways shoveled or hedges clipped. By the time
I hit high school, I hooked up with a company called the "Somer's
Job Mart" which was run by one of the student's parents, Bethany
Serrano, which matched up high school kids with local homeowners looking
for things like a kid with a strong back and arms to lift and move things
and do manual labor around the house. By the time I hit college I was
starting to build my own client base and buying my own tools. I would
work for anyone that needed anything done. Whether it was babysitting
or washing windows, fixing a broken door or painting a railing, I was
a Handyman for Hire. It was then that I got a call from my mom saying,
"You're a Honey Do". I didn't know what that meant,
but after she explained it, it made perfect sense. All my customers were
women whose husbands either worked in the city; commuted all day or just
weren't handy. Someone had to take care of the Honey-Do-List. From
then on I was Darrell Babboni of The Honey-Do-Men, The Handyman Extraordinaire,
and the name stuck.
I graduated from Westchester Community College in 1998 with an associated
degree in the performing arts and a pretty steady and loyal customer base.
Although I dabbled in the arts a little, there is a big difference between
doing it as a hobby and depending on it to put food on the table. Construction
always paid the bills, I was good at it and I loved it with all my heart,
and still do. I don't know many people that can get up day after day
and say, "I love my job". I do.
I would say the story has to start back in the late 90's. I was working
out of my Honda Civic DX stripped down hatchback with the seats folded
down, a milk crate full of tools, a back pack blower, and a folding ladder.
I was living with and working out of my mom's house using her computer.
I had a ladder strapped to the roof of the car, but no ladder rack because
I couldn't afford the $200 to buy one.
It was in the fall of 2001 that I was up on a roof pointing a guy's
chimney when I looked down and saw that his gutters needed to be cleaned.
I told him "You know, for $50 I can clean your gutters". He
said no, but I got to thinking, "I bet a lot of people would pay
$50 to have their gutters cleaned". So, later that week I went to
the Penny Saver in Yorktown NY and took out an ad, "$50 to clean
your gutters, any house with a walkable roof". I got about 20 calls,
sold all 20 jobs. So the next week I went and took out another add, got
another 20 calls, sold another 20 job…and then thought, Hmmm, this
wasn't just a good idea, it was good business. So over the next year
or so I started phasing out the handyman part of my business and focusing
sticky on gutters.
Over the next 5 years I hired more people, bought more trucks, started
building the office staff and started winning awards. I found the best
Gutter guys were Roofers. They would get off the ladder and work from
the roof. The jobs went faster and were more profitable. The problem with
roofers is that its' something that is in your blood and so the new
staff pushed for us to go into roofing. Finely in 2005 I caved and said,
"If we are going to do this than we are going to go all the way and
do it right just like we did with the gutters".
I then contacted Pete Smyth, the regional rep for GAF, the largest roofing
manufacture in the United States and set up a meeting. From that meeting
I found out about the Master Elite program which was an invitation only
program for the top 3% of roofers across the country. Will it was all
or nothing, so I kept in touch with Pete and he kept an eye on us till
2 years later we got the invitations. Since then, we never looked back
and are now on track to win almost every award you can think off.
In 2010, after reaching the top of that industry I decided to back into
Handyman work, my first true love. Since then we have dabbled in solar,
and for 2014, started a General Contracting Division to the company. We
now can pretty much fix, repair, install, or replace almost anything on
There are several spin off stories, like when I also worked at Home Depot,
the United States Census Bureau and the USPS as a mail carrier. What happened
with the performing arts and do I still perform today. Stories about the
people and organizations we donate to and the ways we give back to the
community, like the HoneyDoMen Entrepreneurial Scholarship, Holiday Miracle,
and our Good Samaritan Truck and more. ..Maybe I will start a blog on
it or write a book one day.
Not only to my mom and to my Church, but to:
Bob Benjamin : My first business partner and best friend
Johnny Layola: A God fearing man that taught me it was ok to bring the values and moral
I learned at church with me to work.
The first business man I really ever knew. A man who was inspirational
to me as a young man, as a spiritual leader, a father figure, and a business
mentor. Truly inspired by god to be in my life at that time.
My first insurance agent who also became a dear friend. One might say
the real true story of how HoneyDoMen came to be started at his desk in
1996 when a very young and naive kid walked in off the street, sat at
his desk, looked him straight in the eye and said "I want to start
a company, what do I need to do?"
If you would like to know more about Honey Do Men and its founder Darrell Babboni,
please click here to read his blog.