Dr Fix-it makes house calls
When things go bump in the night, you might be tempted to call the Ghostbusters. But who should you call before things ‘go bum’ in your home?
Chetwyn Henry hopes that you will be calling him.
The young entrepreneur started his Ultra Care Home Maintenance (UCHM) business a few months ago, specialising in preventative home maintenance.
Speaking to BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY recently, the “house doctor” explained that this is something a bit new for Barbadians.
“The average middle class home can cost about $300 000. That is a major investment that too few Barbadians are maintaining as well as they should. That’s where I come in . . . . This is basically a preventative maintenance schedule for your home. I go in, look for any mistakes in the house, find and correct them and maintain the house,” he explained.
Henry said that very often, poor materials and poor workmanship resulted in many homes needing serious care and attention much sooner and more regularly than the average householder might like to admit.
“A lot of the times, people wait until there is a serious problem to do something about it and then that can cost a whole lot of money. It is better to take a preventative approach to things,” he said.
UCHM offers a monthly maintenance service and specialised packages that include annual home inspections.
“I assess the situation and if it is in my scope, I’ll do the work. If not, I can source the professionals, get an estimate of the work and the homeowner can decide how to proceed. Most homeowners don’t have the time or don’t really know how to source those things, so I am providing one complete service. So I can assess it, get the necessary people to come in as sub-contractors and get the job done. This can all be tedious sometimes for the homeowner, but I can get it done.”
Henry spent ten years in construction with a small company, working his way up from clerk of works to a construction site manager. His old job saw him working on homes, villas and commercial properties across the island.
When business slowed down there, he took a job at another company installing windows. It was then that the idea sparked that there could be potential for someone with the know-how to assess homes for maintenance needs, and, where possible, do the work, before bigger problems occurred. Eventually, his desire to be his own boss and to creatively use all the experience he had amassed during his years in construction drove him to start the business.
Henry, who was also trained in Building and Civil Engineering at the Barbados Community College, said he has been getting referrals from satisfied customers. He is hoping more Barbadians will eventually get on board.
“In these tough times it is difficult to pitch to homeowners how important this is, but hopefully more people will buy into it as the name gets out there. It is really about prolonging the life of your investment,” he said.
He’s already planning for future divisions of the business.
“I’d like to get into maintenance of those big home appliances as well – refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, dryers. How often do people check their washing machines or dryers? Clean them? Check the filters? You can have someone come in once a year and check all those things for you and do any necessary maintenance work to prolong the life of those major appliances.” (Green Bananas Media)