Seattle startup offers weekly neighborhood deals to simplify and streamline maintenance tasks
Weekly deals on various home maintenance chores can be scheduled effortlessly with just a few clicks, according to a Seattle-based start-up whose co-founder and CEO is an experienced real estate professional.
Ashley Hayes Michael ("UrbanAsh") partnered with Patrick Opie, a tech consultant with a background in mathematics and physics, to launch "WelcomeHome."
Unlike similar services that offer to match home maintenance vendors with homeowners who identify a need for particular services, WelcomeHome bills itself as a predictive and more proactive service, rather than being reactive. They use algorithms for anticipating needs and organizing contractors to offer next-day, discounted services. Instead of building an app, they simply communicate via text messaging.
Based on their experience, research and proof-of-concept pilot tests, Michael and Opie believe homeowners want to avoid the hassle of finding reputable contractors, researching costs, coordinating schedules, and micromanaging tasks. Homeowners are also inclined to postpone routine chores, like raking leaves, or defer maintenance, such as cleaning chimneys or vents.
Recent deal alerts, which are texted on Tuesdays, have included yard cleaning (at $40/hour, discounted from $60/hour); car detailing (at $260/car, reduced from $320), and window washing (for $8/pane, reduced from $15).
One early user of WelcomeHome's services touted both the online interface, describing it as intuitive and easy to use, and the "hassle-free" invoicing and payment options.
Opie said they constructed their initial algorithms by scouring public databases to compile homes' histories and neighborhood maintenance patterns. Seasonal needs and types of homes in a neighborhood were also considered. WelcomeHome promises to bring needed maintenance services to homeowners in a "convenient, fun, and economical way," with no signup costs and no recurring fees.
As they build a pool of vetted contractors, Welcome Home is not currently charging vendors any fees to be associated with the company and its weekly deals. Vendors are paid by homeowners on completion of the job, with WelcomeHome earning a fraction of the fees paid.
The company's website lists more than two dozen services it can handle, ranging from appliances to vents. Along with its weekly alerts of deals, the founders say they can facilitate special requests or tasks, such as installations of security or entertainment systems.
Ideally, at least 20 neighbors who would regularly opt-in to a weekly deal are needed. Homeowners can sign up for their neighborhood's "waiting list" until a minimum threshold is met.
The startup plans to expand to Phoenix and Denver.
Co-founder Michael is managing broker at Pointe3 Real Estate, with offices in Washington and Oregon, and a leasing specialist and chief operating officer at Seattle Rental Group. Co-founder Opie is also co-founder and CEO at Scout9, an app in limited release (beta) that intends to "provide the best tools, information, and data to deliver the best insights for your pet." His experience also includes positions at BCG (Boston Consulting Group) and Accenture.