Why a Home Watch “Side Hustle” Has to be Legit
Over the last 10 years, I have spoken with at least a couple of thousand people kicking around the idea of starting a Home Watch company. People who had recently retired, people looking to change careers, and people who wanted to add Home Watch as a service to their existing businesses. From time to time, I would speak with someone planning their exit from their life-long profession or career, who wanted to “finally work for themselves” when they did retire in a few years – so they thought that starting a business now made sense. Not a huge investment to start, and they could build it slowly by working their Home Watch business as a part-time job… until it wasn’t. And of course, they would be supplementing their income all the while. Makes sense, doesn’t it? When I founded the NHWA in 2009, based on the average age of the members at that time, it was pretty obvious that the majority of Home Watch companies were made up of these types of people – recent retirees, realtors, some property managers, and even some associated with the building trades. And, I would guess that the average age of a member was between 55 and 65 years old. But this began to change – in a big way. I began to see new companies being led by much younger people joining our group, men and women who saw the long-term possibilities of the Home Watch industry. Yes, the other folks were still joining up, but more “corporate types” with more diverse backgrounds were getting involved. These people weren’t looking to supplement their incomes – Home Watch was their income! I could appreciate this, as I was 45 years old when I began my company, and it too was my full-time job; my future depended on its growth.
But now I’d like to talk about a popular catch-phrase – one that has a lot of “buzz” around it. Let’s talk about the “side hustle.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a side hustle as “work performed for income supplementary to one’s primary job.” The “side hustle.” Now, I know that there are a whole lot of people performing Home Watch as a side hustle. They call me. They pick my brain and then they are never heard from again. They’ll study your websites and try to glean as much information as possible, and then plagiarize them by cutting and pasting what they like. How many of these people are carrying insurance? How many follow the Best Practices of the NHWA? How many have any clue what they are doing? Your guess is as good as mine. And for those of you who advertise ridiculously low pricing on your websites? These people are pricing even lower. And prices that are too low do not equate to a professional Home Watch Company! How can it? It costs to be legitimate. It costs to provide protection for your clients; that is, after all, the reason we do what we do. Now, I don’t mean to imply that all part-time Home Watchers are of this ilk. Many, including some NHWA members, are growing their businesses the correct way – legitimately. They carry insurance and bonding and try to do best by their clients. My point is that if you are doing business, you need to provide recourse to your clients in the event you cause damage or injuries – both physical and financial. That said, anyone who has access to a homeowner’s keys, home, and sometimes even their vehicle, should be accountable to someone.
Over the past 10 years, the NHWA has grown to accommodate all types of Home Watch businesses, and we continue to work on addressing the growing needs of our still-unclassified industry: training, certification, continuing education, best practices, and moving the industry forward with the goal of the recognition that this industry so truly deserves.
Thanks for reading.
A little about the National Home Watch Association: The NHWA was formed in 2009 in order to establish and maintain the highest industry standards for Home Watch and absentee homeowner services throughout the United States and Canada (www.nationalhomewatchassociation.org).