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‘Starting Over’: How one Dawson County couple quit their jobs and started a handyman company
Five years ago, Eric and Ashley Safier quit their jobs and started their own company, Freedom Painting and Handyman Services. Since then they've built a huge following through customer word of mouth. - photo by Alexander Popp

We all know the moment of walking through the front door after a long day of work, sprawling out on the couch and muttering about how we wish we could just quit our job and do what we love. 

After another night of watching his wife do just that, Eric Safier said he had enough. 

Eric and Ashley Safier, owners of Freedom Painting and Handyman Services, pose for a photo with their daughter. - photo by Alexander Popp

“That was the thing from the beginning for us to do this together,” Eric said. “I walked in and told her to quit her job and let’s go work.”

Both he and his wife, Ashley Safier, liked doing things with their hands. He had his residential building license until the 2008 recession when he let it expire. 

“He’s the one who had the idea of starting the handyman business,” Ashley said. “It started out that it was just painting and then we started inching our way into everything else.”

So Ashley quit her job with an exterminating company and Eric quit his job in construction and together they started Freedom Painting and Handyman Services. Eric said the name is a nod to his family and friends serving in the military.

This story continues below. 

According to Ashley Safier, she and her husband Eric work as a "dream team" running Freedom Painting and Handyman Services. - photo by Alexander Popp

At their first job, it was just the two of them. They were nervous and not too confident, but their first client, Mike Jason, handed them the keys before they even gave him their estimate. 

“It made us feel like ‘Woah, we can really do this,’” Ashley said. “So, we did that job and then he referred us and the rest was word of mouth.”

From that point on, Freedom Painting and Handyman Services became a staple in Dawsonville and its surrounding areas without having to put much money into advertising, according to Eric. Eric being native to Dawsonville and Ashley to Dahlonega made the people they knew and grew up with more than happy to request their services. 

Whenever they are not doing a painting job, Eric said he likes working on renovation projects that have a big before-and-after effect, like a bathroom. While Eric and his assistant work on smaller projects together throughout the week, Ashley runs and operates the two crews of teams that fulfill Freedom’s larger orders. Eric said that Ashley is definitely the brains of the operation and he “guesses” he’s the brawn. 

“We really are like a dream team though,” Ashley said. “We work well together and we don’t really argue. Everyone always says ‘How can you be married, work together and run a business together?’” It just works for us.” 

Eric said the only time business has ever slowed down was right at the beginning of COVID-19, when people began postponing or canceling projects. However, the couple said that 2020 ended up being their most profitable year to date and they said they only have their customers to thank for that. 

“It means a lot to be able to work locally in Dawsonville and Dahlonega,” Ashley said. “It’s very amazing. We are beyond blessed. It’s exciting to know that we get to stay within the community and not have to venture too far out. I really think 2021 is our year. I project us from here going up.”

See this month's issue of Dawson Living here.