Need a contractor? Where to start?

September 11th, 2009

How many of you have relied on AAA (formerly known as the American Automobile Association)?  AAA has become synonymous with the name of the company who bails you out if your car conks out or you get a flat.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Toll Booth
Image by jimmywayne via Flickr

As a child I remember my mom’s old Pontiac overheating while we waited at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge toll plaza.  Somehow (pre cellphone days), we managed to contact AAA. I was terrified, the 3 BIG A’s were going to come.

Nooooooo!  Not the 3 BIG A’s.  While this was a service who was going to help, as a child I pictured 3 BIG A’s.  We were going to get attacked by the alphabet!!!  Needless to say, AAA sent a service individual to come help us and we were sent on our way. As an adult AAA customer, I learned that AAA does not always have it’s own service trucks. Honestly, I don’t know if they have any of their own trucks anymore. Their service and reputation is handled by contractors who they screen to represent them. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had one stop shopping for all things that cause hiccups in our lives? Boy, wouldn’t that simplify your life?

I recently learned friends had launched a AAA-like home repair service called HOCOA – Home Owners Club of America. Like AAA offers pre-screened automobile repair contractors to their members, HOCOA offers pre-screened home repair/maintenance contractors to their members. You make one phone call to HOCOA. They document your problem and set you up with the contractor who can repair your problem. Members pay a minimal fee to have access to their pre-screened contractors saving members time and aggravation.  While there are other home repair companies who sell memberships, there are some definite differences.

I have invited my friends Michelle and Andy Katon, owners of HOCOA Metro DC to guest post about how a home repair network can simplify your life.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could simplify your life when it comes to home repair.  We discovered a home repair network that can do that, HOCOA. We were so impressed, that we choose to purchase a franchise in the Washington, DC Metro area so we could share this benefit with Washingtonians. Here is how it started….

We noticed an odor in the kitchen.  We did not realize that our dishwasher had broke mid-cycle.  The following day, Sunday we discovered the odor was from the dishwasher.  Once we noticed it was a broken dishwasher causing the odor, we did not know who to call.  We did what most people would do: opened the Yellow Pages, and started making calls, more calls and even more calls.  After 11 calls and a lot of frustration, we knew there must be a better way. We did finally get our dishwasher fixed but decided that it was time to find a universal solution to the household headache of home repair.  After a lot of research, we found a home repair network called HOCOA.  HOCOA had a proven track record of making the process of finding a contractor/service provider easier.  Further investigation showed that all HOCOA contractors are licensed, bonded/insured and pre-screened.  Best of all, they do all of the  leg work for you.

Upon moving to the DC area, we discovered there was no HOCOA location in the area.  In an area like DC where people are always on the go, we knew that there was a need for HOCOA.  Most Washingtonians don’t have the time to make all the calls and screen contractors before hiring them.  Yes, you may have your favorite plumber or electrician but who do you call when the roof leaks, the attic fan dies, or you discover mold in the basement.

So we brought the HOCOA Home Repair Network to DC!  Below are success stories from your DC neighbors.

Image via Wikipedia

A family in Rockville was in the middle of a renovation project. They ran into problems with their contractor, who could not finish the job. What should they do? A friend suggested they call HOCOA. Within an hour, we figured out what type of contractors they needed.  By the next morning, they were back in business and work reconvened using HOCOA contractors. HOCOA was not only able to save them the time and energy of re-interviewing contractors after previously being burned, but the project became stress free because of HOCOA.

Another family had a light that was going in and out. They called an electrician on their own. He came, fixed the light and did what appeared to be a good job. A week later, the light was giving them the same problem. They called the electrician again, and again, and again. They never received a return call. So much time was spent trying to resolve this issue. The problem was that their electrician had already done the job and had been paid. They were no longer on his “priority” list.

Through HOCOA, the contractors are held “accountable” because of the way jobs are dispatched. Since the contractors want referrals, they respond almost immediately when called by a HOCOA representative. If the family had called HOCOA for this project, ONE call would have taken care of this problem with NO frustration.

Joining HOCOA is the way to save time and energy and be able to simplify your life when it comes to home repair.  The value of piece of mind is so much greater than the small yearly HOCOA membership fee.   In addition to the home repair contractors participating with HOCOA, your membership also gives you access to additional resources at wholesale prices.

If you know of anyone moving to the DC area, a HOCOA membership is an incredible gift.  Know a good reliable contractor you feel would benefit from being part of the HOCOA Metro DC network, please pass our information along.  Feel free to give us a call or send us an email with any questions.  We look forward to helping you simplify your life.

Michelle and Andy Katon
Owners, HOCOA Metro DC


Michelle and Andy are extending all Need Another You readers a 15% discount on any HOCOA Metro DC membership.  Use code ORGANIZE when purchasing your membership.   Need to simplify your life?   Be prepared, contact Michelle and Andy today.

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What's New in the Organizing World – Part I

June 1st, 2009

Tonight I attended the National Association of Professional Organizers, Washington, DC (NAPO-WDC) meeting.  The June meeting has always been very popular.  In the past, the June meeting was titled “My Favorite Things”.  NAPO-WDC Chapter members brought their favorite things and shared them in a “show & tell” format.  This year things were changed up a bit and the meeting was renamed “What’s New?”.

The “What’s New?” meeting shared the “show & tell” format.  What made this meeting different is manufacturer’s could share their latest & greatest product or service.  The manufacturers donated a sample(s) to be given away to chapter members as door prizes.

Here is a run-down of the products and services shared tonight, Part I.

Who doesn’t like roll out shelving?  Shelf Improvement states only four screws are needed to install a Shelf Improvement roll out shelf.    Their roll out shelving comes in various sizes.  The cost is $79 +$10 shipping regardless of the size ordered.  One roll out shelf was given away = $89 value.

ClearlynotedClearly Noted – A new line of greeting cards designed by Pittsburgh Certified Professional Organizer®, Jill Revitsky.  I met Jill in 2005 and was very impressed with her.  That is why I was not surprised by the premier product Jill recently launched, Clearly Noted. Clearly Noted Cards are meant to encourage, motivate and congratulate anyone who is on a journey to a simpler and more organized lifestyle.  Great product for every professional organizer to keep on hand.  Jill donated a six pack of Clearly Noted cards as a door prize = $15.30 value.

OK, admit it.  We all have a shoe box of photos, at least one.  Oh, so yours is in a pretty ‘photo box’.  Most of the boxes sold as ‘photo boxes’ do nothing to preserve the quality of your photos.  Philadelphia based, offers economical, professional digital transfers of your precious memories for easy viewing.  They offer scanning of photos, transfer of slides, negatives and video to DVDs.  Owners Maxx & Monica Messinger donated (2) prepaid boxes = $149 value each.

brother-pt-1230Label makers are an organizers best friend.  Brother is a leader in label makers.  Their newest product is the PT1230.  This label maker uses the familiar TZ tape.  It hooks into your PC’s USB port and operates off of Plug & Label technology.  Uses your PC’s keyboard and monitor.   Unlike other label makers in the PT line, the PT1230 enables you to print True Type font and logos.  There is no software to download to your computer.  When you are done, turn the PT1230 off and there is no software left on your computer.  One lucky NAPO-WDC member won a PT1230 as a door prize = up to $49.99 value.

Check out these products and stay tuned for What’s New in the Organizing World – Part II.

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It's here! My eBook 50 Ways to Use Technology to Increase Productivity & Profitability is here! Don't let the name fool you. It actually contains over 80 resources. Check the special pricing for Need Another You readers.

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