Big Story- Holmes is where the heart is
The set of hit television show, Holmes Inspection, can be a chaotic place. The home is full of drilling, hammering and discussions of building plans. But amongst the construction there is a father who smiles watching his children grow as his family and as his employees.
Mike Holmes, 49, has successfully founded a business phenomenon in the construction industry over the past decade. While the company was growing, his three children: Michael, 22, Sherry, 24, and Amanda, 26, were offered the opportunity to work one summer and the family business was born.
“I believe in having a business that the whole business is our family…that everyone gets treated like we’re related,” Mike Holmes said. “Having my kids here is just an extra added bonus.”
Mike Holmes Jr. learned that he shares his father’s passion for helping people when he started working construction at 15.
“We do change peoples lives,” Mike Holmes Jr. said. “(My dad) isn’t just saying it, he believes it…that’s why the company is a success. And that’s why I do it too.”
“We’re all very dedicated in what we do,” his sister, Amanda Holmes, said.
Mike Holmes has expectations of his children, not only as their father, but as their boss. He expects a good performance and attitude of his employees, and for his family to be respectful and make good decisions. The children also feel the weight of being “the boss’s kid”.
“There’s the stigma of being the boss’s child, it’s just something you can’t shake,” Amanda Holmes said. “You have to work harder to be respected.”
“A lot is expected of me because I’m Mike’s kid,” Mike Holmes Jr. said. “When people see me they expect me to know a lot as well and fill his shoes a bit…and I’m doing the best I can at that. It’s pretty nerve-racking sometimes.”
Mike Holmes says that one of the hardest issues is maintaining a balanced system within the company between co-workers and his children, but he believes he has accomplished that.
Mike Holmes says mistakes are allowed on set, but the rule is that no mistake is made twice, and his children do not receive any preferential treatment. On a past roofing job in L.A., Mike Holmes asked his crew to not touch the structure until he returned to lead the construction. At the time, the crew lacked experience with pitching frames for roofs, which is why Mike Holmes felt that he needed to be present. Without his consent, the crew finished the frames improperly, and what was a planned surprise ended up being a costly mistake.
“They’re all employees and I’m not going to treat anyone different and I think that’s why my kids respect me,” Mike Holmes said.
“We’re all treated as a team,” Mike Holmes Jr. said, “When I was younger I established that I didn’t want to be treated different than anyone else otherwise I wouldn’t be able to gain anyone’s respect. (It’s) frustrating sometimes but it’s good.”
Carl Pavlovic, 38, is another member of Mike Holmes’s contracting crew and has been working alongside Mike Holmes and his children since 2005.
“I find myself being with people that actually care about me,” Pavlovic said. “We’re learning together…their whole family always encourages me (and) always accepted me. I don’t ever feel out of place here.”
Mike Holmes has the rare joy of feeling pride in his children as a father and as their boss. Mike Holmes Jr., recalls a moment when he said he entered his father’s office to kindly ask for a raise.
“I basically told him…I’m not here to get a raise because I’m your son, I’m here to get a raise because I deserve one,” Mike Holmes Jr. said.
His father’s reaction was positive.
“I had a frog in my throat and that’s when I realized my son was becoming an adult and that he loves doing it,” Mike Holmes said. “It showed me that I have a smart son, I have a good son and I have a son that is proud of his dad and is working hard. Where’s a negative there?”
Mike Holmes and his three children both say, there are moments when they bump heads like any family, but the importance lies in their dedication to the business and their love for one another. It is these elements that have created an incredible and infamous business that Mike Holmes says he hopes his children will one day take over.
“They are going to have to stick together and follow their father’s dreams and add to their father’s dreams of this corporation,” Pavlovic said. “I want to see them grow in the company.”
Regardless of future plans, mistakes, arguments and expectations, Mike Holmes says there is one thing that will always remain true for the family business he created.
“No matter what I’m dad and there’s no changing that,” Mike Holmes said.
By: Rebecca Steckham
Published: The Toronto Observer online edition
Centennial College Journalism 2013