Seattle startup unveils predictable home maintenance service with once-a-week deals – GeekWire

From left: Ashley Michael and Patrick Opie, co-founders of Welcome Home. (Welcome home pictures)

A new Seattle startup wants you to put down the hammer, rake, or whatever other tool you might be using to get work done at home, and instead pick up your phone and send a text.

Coming out of stealth mode, Welcome Home is a predictive home maintenance service that helps organize contractors and schedule neighborhood deals. Every Tuesday, users are alerted to an appointment available the next day, such as yard cleaning, window polishing, car detailing, and more. The company can also facilitate odd jobs, such as hanging a television.

Welcome Home’s co-founders are Ashley Michael, a longtime real estate and property management professional who serves as CEO, and Patrick Opie, a tech veteran who previously started Scout9, a platform that helps guide users through the various stages of pet ownership.

“Everyone is just so busy,” Michael said of the inspiration to start his own company.

Tackling a to-do list or figuring out who to contact for help can be overwhelming for homeowners, she said. Welcome Home bases its predictive maintenance model on seasons, geographic location, neighborhoods, housing types in those neighborhoods, and more.

Welcome Home holds weekly home maintenance offers and facilitates communication with a “house manager” via SMS.

The company recently completed a test pilot in the Seattle neighborhoods of Magnolia, Queen Anne and Madison Park, where they learned, among other things, that homeowners often put off even the simplest maintenance tasks. The startup wants to be the middleman whose job it is to find the best contractors at the best price.

“It would be ideal to have 20 homes in a neighborhood regularly subscribing to the various deals,” Michael said, “and also helping them with tasks that might not be on the deal circuit.”

Instead of building an app, Welcome Home facilitates communication with its “house managers” via text. For example, are leaves piling up? Text this manager to start the process of getting them cleaned up.

Welcome Home makes money by taking a small percentage of the price customers pay to contractors for any service. Right now, the company does not charge contractors any fee to be associated with its weekly offer, as it seeks to incentivize these contractors to provide the best service at the best price.

A number of tech companies have tried to tackle home repairs and services. Welcome Home says it takes what it calls a “more predictable and proactive approach” to home maintenance than companies like Porch, TaskRabbit or Thumbtack. Michael called the competitors’ approach “reactive,” meaning that when homeowners have a need, they seek out a service provider.

“WelcomeHome brings home services to the doorsteps of homeowners in a very convenient, fun and economical way,” she said.

Michael called Seattle a tough market to start a home service company because of the cost of labor and materials. But even as other startups and tech companies face the financial uncertainty of a downturn, she’s optimistic about getting up and running in Seattle.

“I think a lot of people are pulling projects or not choosing to do home remodeling or there’s just a little bit of a shift going on in that industry,” Michael said. “So it’s a good time for us to have a lot of service providers to choose from and bring better deals.”

Welcome Home, which only employs Michael and Opie, has raised some pre-seed funding from investor Tihan Seale, but it did not share specific numbers. Aside from Seattle, the startup plans to operate in Phoenix and then Denver.

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