I don’t have a lot of time to blog today because we are really hopping around here. Hurricane Irene is starting to make her presence known here in the Myrtle Beach area of SC. My crews and I have been out for the last couple of days, preparing homes for the storm. Even though the National Weather Service is not expecting anything more than 50-60 mile per hour winds and a whole lot of rain for this area, I prefer to err on the side of caution and be prepared. Many of my customers want to take a “wait and see” approach. I try to dissuade of this attitude. In my opinion, it is a very risky proposition. Absentee homeowners need to keep in mind that they are not your only client. You, as a Home Watch professional, should have a pre-determined plan for storms. This has to include a schedule to perform whatever tasks each home needs in order to protect it properly.  Storm shutter installation and the securing of outdoor furniture and pool/spa equipment (to name a few) must be planned out based upon the amount of warning you are given by the weather authorities. Whether you are performing these services yourself or subbing the work out, you need to make allowances for time, gathering materials, and travel … and let’s not forget the inevitable “surprises” that can throw the proverbial monkey wrench into your well thought-out plan.

I always reach out to customers a few days before the storm is due to inform them of my plans. I will set a day and time for their final response or decision on preparations. If they decline preparations, I make it clear that if they do change their mind close to the anticipated arrival of the storm, there are no guarantees that preparations can actually get done. My team was out doing storm prep when power lines came down nearby during a very heavy downpour. I had them quickly finish what they were doing, and got them back to the office. Safety first … every time. This particular job was a last-minute request by a homeowner who had originally decided not to take precautions. We were not able to complete the job, and his home is not fully protected. I wish we could have finished, but the homeowner made up his mind too late.

Our business is based on trust and communication. If you feel strongly enough to suggest a plan of action, then make sure you make your opinion known. If the homeowner chooses not to take your advice, document the conversation to cover yourself and your company. Do not accept responsibility for inaction on their part.

Every event should be a learning experience for all involved. I hope to learn better and more efficient ways to perform the task, and hopefully my client will want to be more proactive the next time (if there is a next time).

Be safe out there. And as always…

Much success,