If you’ve never used a Home Watch service, or if you’ve never heard of a Home Watch service, know that there is no one type or style. As independent businesses, each owner may offer a different range of services, and have a wide variation in background and training. Not all Home Watch companies are the same, so to help you choose the right one, here are some of the questions to ask.
Questions to Ask A Home Watch Service
What is your range of Home Watch Services?
- Does your company just watch residential homes, or does it also watch commercial properties? While most Home Watch services are performed on residential properties, business owners can use these services as well.
- Does your Home Watch service include vehicles? People often leave their vehicles at home when they travel overseas or on an extended absence, but like a home, vehicles need to be looked after to minimize damage from extended idle periods. See our blog post: What Happens to Your Car When it Sits?
What hours are you available?
Your Home Watch company should be available 24/7 for emergencies. Otherwise, the company should operate under normal office hours. Once you have engaged a Home Watch service, your visits will be scheduled to accommodate your schedule.
What levels and price ranges of Home Watch services do you offer?
Since not all Home Watch services are the same, ask if your company offers a range of package options where you can opt for a full-service Home Watch with scheduled visits all the way to simply entrusting your Home Watch service with the keys to your home. With a KeyWatch service, you have someone to rely on when your home requires a service person to be let in and monitored, when a friend or relative needs access, or if the police or fire company need to be involved. A good Home Watch company will offer cost-saving packages, or let you customize a program that works for you.
Is your company licensed, bonded and insured?
Make sure the Home Watch company you hire is licensed, bonded and insured. Ask for copies of their documents and ensure that they are up to date and current. You can call their providers to double check, or check online for licensing in Virginia at the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR).
- Ask to see confirmation that the company is licensed to do business in your jurisdiction. To protect yourself and your property, do not do business with a company that is operating without a license. The license proves that the company is reputable and has demonstrated the training and education to obtain and maintain the license.
- A company that is bonded has bought a surety bond that ensures a promise and guarantee that the work they agree to do will be performed according to the rules and regulations of the industry. This offers you an extra level of security. If something should happen and you need to seek compensation, you can make a claim against the bond, which would be paid by the surety company if the claim is successful. The Home Watch company would then have to pay back the surety company.
- Insurance should cover not just the Home Watch company; it should cover the Home Watch visit as well. Good insurance coverage includes workers compensation and general liability insurance. If a Home Watch employee became injured in your home and their company was not insured, you, as the homeowner, could potentially be sued for damages. To make matters worse, if you hired the company, knowing that it was not insured or licensed, your homeowner’s policy would not cover damages.
Have you background checked your employees?
With concerns about security for your property, it makes sense that a background check has been performed on any Home Watch employee (including the owner) in whom you trust.
Are you a member of the National Home Watch Association?
As an added level of comfort, check if your Home Watch company is an accredited member of the National Home Watch Association. This organization requires its members to live and operate by specific standards. Members are vetted though a criminal background check, and must have proper insurance and bonding. See our blog post: Why We Belong to the National Home Watch Association. How it Benefits You.
Can you accommodate a special Home Watch need?
Since each client is so unique in their needs, Golden Rule Home Watch offers Concierge Services wherein you can customize the items we look after in your absence. Need us to fill your pool, feed your fish, or prepare your home for your return? We can do that. But we don’t do everything. Let us know what your special requests are and we’ll work them into our scheduled visits.
Not all Home Watch Services are the Same. Golden Rule Home Watch Covers You in Northern Virginia
As our company has grown, so has the range of our services. We strive to offer comprehensive coverage options that provide what you need to feel secure. Since not all Home Watch Services are the same, we are glad to hold a free initial consultation where you can ask these questions and get a sense of how we can help you find peace of mind when you’re away from home. When you want to learn more about Home Watch, contact Golden Rule Home Watch.