One of the most dreaded items for Homeowners is dealing with all the Maintenance tasks aka chores that need to be done around the house. Lets be honest, it is easy to let them slide as even I do it myself sometimes. (Cobblers kid anyone?) Yes that is even though we know it may cost us later.
For many the car gets serviced more often because it is easier – bring it into the dealership, enjoy their free Wi-Fi & coffee for a bit & then pay the bill. Shoot if you got a good dealership they will even wash the car for you for free… (well sort of, its in the price)
For those of you that are pretty handy & don’t mind spending an hour or more around the house, we created our Monthly Maintenance series to help make sure you got everything done with links to many pieces on how to do things yourself. Shoot we even planned tasks around typically busy months so you could enjoy the Holidays &/or Summer trips. For those though not so handy or lacking the time, there is another option out there that you may wish to consider & that is companies that offer home maintenance packages. (For more see: Should I do it myself or hire a contractor)
The devil is in the details:
Like many things, the devil can be in the details for what is covered, isn’t covered, do you supply the items required or do they, etc… So before you spend a small fortune hoping to save time & money do a careful review of what they include or might not do or include. For example, the light at the top of the stairway is that included in their “normal” price?
Another interesting one I saw is a site that doesn’t list any services but for a low price of $395.00 you get credit for 3 hours worth of work done… well minus the 1/2 hour for trip charges & material gathering… “Your labor credit hours can be applied towards any work you have performed on your home – home repairs, maintenance or even household chores. Your Labor credit hours are deducted only when actual work is performed.” Hmmm that sounds like a prepaid Handyman service and not an actual maintenance plan…
A well laid out plan:
There are numerous well laid out plans like I have talked about before like DaVinci’s Remodeling in Denver & even some higher end companies that offer complete concierge plans where they will even take care of groceries & dry-cleaning. Just like many things, the more you want done, the more it runs.
One catch many companies face though is people stealing their ideas & basically copying them so they are a little loathe to put all the information out. So with that here is one I used to offer & it shows some of the basics of items you should look for. I used to have an A’ La Carte option along with 3 basic packages. With that here is our Home Safety, Energy Efficiency, & Maintenance (SEEM) packages…
- Bronze: The bronze package is primarily our base package that deals primarily with home safety. From maintenance inspections and checks to replacing bulbs, from maintaining means of egress, smoke detectors & fire extinguishers to cleaning out dryer vents, safety is where it starts with two visits a year
- Silver: Adding onto the bronze package we include many of the common items found in our Monthly Maintenance Checklists including gutter cleaning to help improve the longevity of your house and its systems
- Gold: Includes everything in the above packages along with two more site visits to help prepare one for summer & ol’ man winter. From changing out storm windows & screens to having your HVAC unit serviced the name of the game is energy efficiency & comfort.
One item many people who do their own maintenance might notice is a lack of caulking. Well in the full description we checked these items & if they need to be done we would generally take care of it with the included “free” hour. As for all the items required, with the exception of materials needed for their free hour (minus caulk) it was included in the price.
Prices vary across the board & one way we helped keep our prices down was we required an initial inspection. During this initial inspection we would find out what filters & bulbs were required, if certain things simply needed to be replaced & we created a package based on that house. There is no sense charging someone that lives in a small cottage style house what we would normally charge for someone in a 3,000 SF home. One other item we also did was we planned on replacing certain items every 5 years (washing machine lines, smoke & CO detectors) so that when it came time they were already accounted for.
How to find someone reputable:
Ooh this can be tough but it is getting easier as many remodelers are starting to offer this type of system along with numerous handyman & specialty companies. The easiest way to see who might be offering this service is by Googleing or BINGing Home Maintenance Plans & your location. You may also wish to see if any coworkers know of a great handyman company or remodeler & seeing if they offer these types of services. As for the interview portion, well there is plenty of advice out there on that. The biggest one is making sure you feel comfortable with who will be going into every room of the house – if you are not comfortable, well then you probably ought to skip them…
So why are so many remodelers offering this type of service – well there are a few reasons like they can use this to fill in gaps between projects & it gives them a foot in the door. For example if they do a good job doing this you wont have any other reason to call another company to talk about your next remodel. On the flip side if you are planning a remodel, this can give you an idea of how well they might do on your project – if they do poorly, seemed pushed or have poor time management skills, do you really want them doing your bath?
Will it work for you?
In many cases it will if you find a good company, but like we pointed out above – you need to know what you want. If you know exactly what you need most companies can & will tailor a plan around it.