Let’s face it! None of us really loves spending money on basic home services. The mundane maintenance or assistance that we turn to because we’re too short on time, skill or interest to take these tasks on ourselves. Snowplowing, mulch, lawn fertilization, etc. Well, today I’m sharing one simple trick for saving money on home services.
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One Simple Trick
We moved into our neighborhood in the fall of 2000. Most of the houses were built a decade earlier and we were the second owners of our home. Part of what drew us to our particular neighborhood was the fact that it’s smaller (just 32 houses) and has good proximity to both our small town and our local park system.
Several years after we moved in, one recently retired neighbor came up with an absolutely brilliant idea! He’d noticed that many homeowners in the neighborhood used snowplowing services in the winter. There were 4 or 5 different companies coming around to service different families. What if, instead, we banded together to negotiate better pricing.
He sent out an email to gauge interest then got competitive bids from several of the most-used current suppliers to our neighborhood. And, sure enough, they were willing to offer a sizeable discount in exchange for a committed block of customers within a small geographic area.
Our neighborhood has done things this way ever since. And it works for more than just snowplow service. Consider banding together with neighbors for things like:
- spring yard clean-up and mulch
- tree trimming
- weekly lawn service (or pool maintenance if you live in an area with pools)
- pressure washing
- lawn fertilization/aeration
- specialized tool rental (post diggers, trenchers, excavators)
- roof replacement *
- HVAC replacement *
* NOTE: Best if in a neighborhood when many houses were built at the same time!
- Determine a coordinator. Great if it’s a retiree or someone who works part-time but really anyone willing can take on the role!
- Have an easy way to communicate with your neighbors. Consider email or a private Facebook group that people can join. I don’t recommend text unless you want your group notifications going off constantly!
- Solicit interest for whatever service seem to be most used in your neighborhood. It’s easiest to start with whatever has the greatest volume of participants and then branch out from there.
- Ask for recommended providers and reach out to 3-5. Make sure terms are similar (i.e., for snowplowing: between Nov.1 and March 31, drives are to be plowed prior to 7 AM and 6 PM whenever more than 2 inches of snow has accumulated).
- Evaluate bids and notify the winning vendor. In our neighborhood, the group coordinator provides the names and addresses of those participating but the vendor sends out individual contracts.
Congratulations! You’re now saving money on home services! 💲💲💲 Gradually add more and, if you think of other uses for this technique, let me know in the comments below.
Until next time…keep cultivating a simple, stylish, and satisfying life!