For as long as he can remember, Mark Bomba has been the handyman of his family. The youngest of six siblings, he was the only one to show any interest in tools.
Bomba’s talent with tools became his livelihood as the owner of MB Remodeling in Darien.
Bomba’s family moved from Burbank to Darien in 1985. He soon began doing work for his neighbors.
“When I was 12, 13 years old, I was cutting 10 lawns in the neighborhood,” he said. “I was always doing something in the neighborhood, constantly doing stuff for people, even to this day. There’s constantly someone who wants something done.”
Bomba’s willingness to help his neighbors opened opportunities for him.
“Some neighbors saw some stuff I was doing for my parents when I was living with them,” he said. “And it started with that.”
Bomba also found other ways to apply his technical abilities, working on cars.
“A friend’s father owned several body shops,” he said. “I did mechanical work there, and body work. Before you knew it, I was the frame technician there for 12 years. I was building decks on the side and finishing basements.”
Eight years ago, Bomba was seriously injured while working on a car. His recovery made him pause and reconsider his path.
“When you spend five weeks in the hospital, you have time to think about the next phase of your life,” Bomba explained. “I decided that if I’m going to kill myself doing something workwise, it’s going to be something I want to do, not something I feel obligated to do.”
What he wanted was to have his own remodeling business. How did he know that he'd be able to make it on his own? “If you don’t try it, you don’t know,” he said.
Bomba’s brother, Bryan Bomba, is a realtor. For awhile, the brothers went into business together with their own company – Homes of Distinction.
“My brother and I were buying (homes) and flipping (them),” he said. “That market really no longer exists. That’s when I decided to start doing renovations on my own.”
Word-of-mouth continues to be his best form of advertising.
“There are a few people in the Elmhurst area who have taken my number from my brother and call me when they have something they need taken care of on a home they have for sale or something under contract,” he said. “So there are a few realtors that I deal with in Elmhurst and Villa Park that will call me if they want something done ASAP. If we take care of them, they’re going to keep calling.”
Most of Bomba’s clients are local. In addition to Elmhurst and Villa Park, his clients are found in Darien, Downers Grove, Westmont, Woodridge and Willowbrook. He’s also worked on projects in Hinsdale, Western Springs and Oak Brook.
Bomba has a helper who has worked for him for more than five years. They’ve found flexibility to be the key to a successful business relationship.
“It’s hard to really find someone that you can keep on with you because sometimes you don’t have a ton of work,” he explained. “He has other people (whom) he can work for as well (who) don’t have a ton of work. He’s reliable, and if Friday we don’t have any work because it’s small job and I’m doing it myself, he makes a phone call and goes work for some other guy who needs help. It works out for both of us then because he can supplement his income working for somebody else.”
Bomba has also developed a list of subcontractors to help with specific types of projects.
“If I have a countertop job to be done, I have a sub that I use for countertops,” he said. “I have a couple of subs that I use for some stuff, but most of the work is done exclusively by myself and my helper.”
Over the years, Bomba has seen changes to the types of projects he’s asked to take on. But his business model continues to work for him.
“When I first started out, it was a lot of exterior stuff – decks, covered porches,” he said. “In the past couple years, it’s more focused on kitchens and baths. There’s less competition because a lot of guys can’t do all the plumbing, all the electrical, drywall, all the cabinetry. They don’t have a subcontractor for granite tops. They don’t have all the necessary pieces to put it together in a timely fashion. (When) we rip a kitchen apart, it’s the center of the house. When it’s torn up for two months, it’s ridiculous. So if you get in there, tear it up and put it all back together in a timely fashion, at a reasonable price, then you’re getting the job.”
Bomba appreciates the trust that his clients place in him.
“There are points in time where I’ll have four or five keys to houses, or garage codes,” he said. “It’s kind of nice that people trust you to go in their house when they’re not home, clean up, not leave a mess for them, and lock up. And they’ll call you back for something else too.”
For more information, contact Mark Bomba at 630-745-7454 or Mark7613@comcast.net.