How Do Women Build a Bright Career in Contracting?

The Handyma’am; Woman Contractor

Part of my goal in building my investment real estate advisor’s business is to launch an investment real estate podcast and blog. I am always in search of people in the investment real estate business who are inspirational, fascinating and can bring “The Investment Real Estate Know How and the How To” information to my listeners and readers.

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of crossing paths with a Blast from the Past (we had worked together at the same company).

Shelley Collins is a woman contractor who founded a business and created a brand that captures the essence of Shelley’s passion. (

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, you can listen to Shelley in her own words on the podcast show on

I asked; Shelley why this love affair with real estate and being a contractor?

Shelley in her early adult life moved five times in eight years.  Shelley calls this the Staged part of her life; because of her husband’s career, continually moving.  Shelley learned to keep her eye on all details of her homes as she knew they might have to sell at a moment’s notice.  Marketing her homes required Shelley to be aware of the interior and exterior details of her houses; one misstep could put her family’s finances at risk.  She wanted to ensure each move they were able to see a positive cash gain from the sale of their homes.

Shelley’s life has not been without challenges; now a single mom with two young daughters.  Shelley has had to pick up the pieces to her personal and career constructing a new life for herself and her family.

Shelley Collins has transformed her career and followed a path she is hoping more women will follow her into.

“The Handyma’am” is a home improvement business dedicated to two things – taking their clients’ visions and turning them into brilliant realities and forming their contracting team to consist of females exclusively.  The Handyma’am is a registered trademark as of Feb 2016.

Asking; Shelley why women only? Her answer was obvious and broke into three parts:


  1. When having someone you do not know very well come into your personal space, it can be uncomfortable. If you are a female client or even a senior, it’s been shared that it is a much more comfortable feeling having a skilled female laborer in the home rather than men, as our team is seen as confident, trustworthy, and respectful of peoples need to be comfortable in their living space.


  1. Why not? We love to surround ourselves with strong-minded, and bodied and skilled teammates. The idea of training, mentoring apprenticing and empowering other women is truly inspiring. The more work that comes in, the more opportunity for team growth and expansion.


  1. Did you know? As it has been predicted that there will be a shortage of skilled laborers shortly, this is an opportunity for women to potentially realize longer-term and likely higher paying income as other career paths dwindle.

In interviewing Shelley for Vault to Investment Real Estate Success podcast, you can hear her passion for contracting runs deep but to have women be a part of the contracting business runs deeper.

Shelley is on a mission to show women they can be part of an industry that is male-dominated.  Shelley wants women to know that physical stature should never be a barrier to entering the contracting field or even lack of education in the contracting area.

Shelley has a couple of great mentors in her life; both in the construction business.  Being a mentor is what Shelley wants to share now and in the future.

Technology and social media have also opened the door for a career in contracting; giving Shelley access to education, business, and marketing tools to build her skills and business.

Shelley talks about how Instagram has been a real asset to learning and marketing of her business.  Recently Trade Women of Instagram reached out to Shelley. They have asked her to be the first Canadian Woman tradeswoman they would like to feature and follow around for the day.  Shelley’s goal is to use this opportunity on Instagram to showcase the day in the life of a woman contractor building a house.

Shelley talks to recently selling her residence to strategically purchase a property that will help her get a much higher return on her capital and build her financial future. Shelley on December 7, 2017, moved into the new property she is going to develop.

The drawings of the design are very close to being completed which will give Shelley the ability to submit to the City to get permits.

Working with an architect and Shelley was able to design an approximately 1900 + square foot (excluding basement) 3+2, 3 1/2 bath) one room and full bathroom in the basement) home with detached garage.

Shelley has built “The Handyma’am” into a full service contracting business that specializes in both exterior and interior work. Their services include Landscaping, Landscape Maintenance, Deck refresh, exterior painting, hardware and fixture installation, backyard makeovers including pool and deck installations, Interior:renovations, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, tile installations, plumbing, interior door installations, flooring installations hardwood and carpet, electrical fixture replacement, appliance installations, Painting, hardwood floor refinishing, Furniture Refurbishing, toilets, and faucets.  Wow; what an extensive list.

The Handyma’am is fully insured and guarantees project result, or you do not pay.

Shelley knows that as she builds her contracting and intellectual intelligence and a network of like-minded and skilled women she can take on more of a leadership role to develop her business and mentorship role.

Shelley is building her business around quality work for a fair price and through her actions of caring and adding value to every facet of her business not only is she attracting women as clients but also men.

It is the actions of a few that help lead the way for many; Much Success to Shelley Collins, The Handyma’am.



About the author, W. Rick

Dynamic entrepreneur and sales management strategist; with over 20 years of experience in his field. Rick has achieved multimillion-dollar sales growth while providing award-winning sales leadership and coaching in highly competitive markets.

An active real estate investor since 2002, Rick has developed his purchasing strategies and processes specializing in vacation and recreational properties, single-family homes and condo rentals.

In 2005, Rick re-financed his first rental property to fund the purchase of more positive cash flowing rental properties.

Rick sits on the Board of Directors for several condominium associations and is an active President and Treasurer. Sitting on these boards has given him a wealth of experience and insight into working with property management companies.

Rick has partnered with several joint venture associates and is committed to creating a positive investing experience for his associates by finding the properties, developing the investment, securing the financing and executing a proven positive cash flow system.

Why should you choose Rick as your Online Vault to Investment Real Estate Success Advisor?

An outstanding mentor and coach, Rick will work with you to build your investment real estate business starting from the foundation. From guiding you through the market research and critical drivers, building your team of trades, realtors, and lenders to attracting the investment real estate properties right for your portfolio and the joint venture partners to help you grow.

Through direction and training, Rick will help you develop your investment real estate goals and be a catalyst for you to purchase your first investment real estate property so you can build a strong financial foundation unlocking sustainable wealth and a living legacy for you and many generations to come.

Thank you for taking the only asset that gives us so much through life, but we can never get back our time.

Please join Rick on living his mantra:

” Prosperity for all aspects of your life forever.” W. Rick Harris

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