As any homeowner knows, keeping up with repairs and maintenance can be not only costly but also time-consuming and confusing. Anyone who’s spent half a day trying to find a plumber and then the other half waiting for him to show up has probably thought, There has to be a better way!
That premise is exactly what inspired Moncia Merel, Sandi Goodman, Marc Stern, and Kavell Taylor to start Homeowners Hub. The founders describe their new South Orange subscription-based venture as a concierge-style, one-stop-shop for those in need of a variety of home services.
During their years in the electrical contracting business, Goodman and Merel developed strong relationships with homeowners who often said they wished the pair’s high standard of service could be replicated throughout other industries.
As they began recommending other trustworthy professionals to their residential clients, the foundation for Homeowner’s Hub was built.
“After so many years of developing relationships with tradespeople, we know who to go to for whichever skill set is required,” explains Goodman.
For example: a homeowner has a plumbing issue and calls a plumber, only to find out they actually need a specialist to clean the sewage line. Homeowner’s Hub will analyze and diagnose the problem then dispatch a “pre-vetted professional who’s best suited to the task and the highest caliber available.”
A Homeowner’s Hub concierge will then see that the job is completed to the homeowner’s satisfaction. The customer does not pay unless the issue is fully resolved.
“It most cases, you hand a contractor a check and they disappear,” says Stern. “If you have a problem, it can be nearly impossible to get them back again. That doesn’t happen with Homeowner’s Hub.”
“We’re communicating on the customer’s behalf so they can focus on their work or family, the professional can focus on what they do best, and we can focus on making sure the customer is happy,” adds Goodman. “It’s a win-win-win.”
Stern also notes out that in areas with more mature homes, maintenance issues may arise more frequently. But rather than simply contact Homeowner’s Hub in an emergency, the founders want their subscribers — or “Hubsters” — to feel “taken care of” all year-round.
“We want to make it a verb, as in ‘Is your home Hubbed?'” he says. “It’s all-inclusive…you’re not alone, you’re not calling everyone [looking for a a referral]. We speak the language of the contractor so there’s no room for misunderstanding.”
As Taylor points out, buying a home is often an emotional purchase — but unlike with a car, there’s no instruction manual. To help homeowners prevent issues before they arise, Taylor says Homeowner’s Hub intends to educate customers as well, and will remind subscribers of routine maintenances items such as gutter or chimney cleanings.
Because the company purchases services in bulk, the founders are able to pass the discounts they receive on to subscribers. Ultimately, they say, the money saved over the course of the year will more than make up for the subscription fee.
As an introductory offer, Homeowner’s Hub is welcoming subscribers with three months of free membership. After that period, discounted rates will apply until the end of 2015. In 2016, Stern points out, the monthly fee will still be on par with an average Netflix subscription.
So far the founders say feedback has been extremely positive, with customers calling the service as “great, easy, and efficient.”
“We want people to think of their home as a sanctuary, not a headache,” Goodman says. “When you’re a first-time homebuyer no one talks about the things you need to do to maintain your house. You make it pretty and then weeks or months later, things start to show up and require repairs and you don’t know how to handle it. That’s where we come in.”
In order to best serve their customers, Homeowner’s Hub is always looking for skilled tradespeople who are business-minded and responsive.
“We’re fun to work with,” says Goodman, “and we’ll do our very best every time.”