For the past couple of years, some clever folks in Maplewood and South Orange have been working to put a concierge service for home repairs and maintenance in your phone.
The result is Homeowners Hub, a concierge-style, one-stop-shop for those in need of a variety of home services.
Homeowners Hub has now left the “beta” stage behind and celebrated its official full-blown launch with a ribbon cutting earlier on May 7 at its office at 468 Irvington Avenue in South Orange. (Homeowners Hub also sponsored Seton Village’s “Clean Up Green Up” that same day.)
Homeowners Hub founders are Monica Merel, Sandi Goodman, Marc Stern and Kavell Taylor. 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 Homeowners Hub was built.
“After so many years of developing relationships with tradespeople, we know who to go to for whichever skill set is required,” explained 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. Homeowners Hub analyzes and diagnoses the problem then dispatches 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,” said Stern. “If you have a problem, it can be nearly impossible to get them back again. That doesn’t happen with Homeowners 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 Homeowners 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 Homeowners 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.
“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, Homeowners 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.”
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