You’ve just been given the keys to your new 10,000-square foot house. It’s beautiful!
You love the kitchen, with its high-end appliances. The master bathroom, with its fancy his-and-her showers, tubs and whatnot. The pool (and poolhouse!)
The last thing on your mind is how to maintain all that stuff. Not to mention the irrigation, roof and security system.
Plus everything else.
It’s the last thing on your mind because 1) you haven’t even finished unpacking; 2) you are a wizard of Wall Street but not an electrician, plumber, roofer, tile man, lawn guy or locksmith, and 3) you don’t even know what you don’t know.
Who you gonna call?
They’re a brand-new company — as modern as your home. Since moving into their breathtaking space overlooking the Saugatuck River in November (actually, for a while before that), they’ve been preparing to launch a web-based platform that will make Angie’s List look like the Yellow Pages.
And make the Yellow Pages look like the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Tye Schlegelmich — founder and president of EfficientLifestyle — is an ex-hedge fund guy. He moved to Westport in 2010, and is passionate about his new role: making life more efficient, safe and fun for (among others) hedge fund guys.
Bill Green — vice president of operations — is a 1976 Staples High School grad. He’s spent his career building high-end homes in the area (and in similarly upscale locales, like Telluride).
At the heart of EfficientLifestyle is the belief that while everyone talks about the Internet of Things — the system of interrelated computing devices that in theory allows you to manage every aspect of your home digitally — the reality is far different.
You still have to change your air conditioning filters. Winterize your sprinklers. Clean your gutters. (Well, not necessarily “you.” Someone.)
And even if your house can tell you it’s broken, which local service provider around here is knowledgeable — and reliable — enough to fix it?
“Think of EfficientLifestyle as ‘Facebook for your house,'” Green says.
When you log in — after, that is, your address and credit cards have been verified — you see not a photo of you on the beach at Turks and Caicos, but a photo of your house.
You also see photos of your furnace, generator, oven, and many other appliances and pieces of machinery. That’s because the first thing Efficient Lifestyle does is send a “surveyor” to your home.
He takes those images — along with shots of the little plates bearing serial numbers — for 2 reasons. One is to create a database for your home. The other is to make it very easy for service providers to provide service. If they know exactly where the water shutoff valve or control box is, they don’t have to spend valuable time searching for it. Or asking you where it is. (This also saves you from embarrassment, if your answer is, “Um….”)
Schlegelmilch notes another efficiency: Knowing makes and models allows service providers to pre-load trucks. The amount of time saved by not making multiple trips back and forth for 29-cent widgets on clogged I-95 is insane.
In his 90 to 120-minute inspection, the surveyor looks at everything: the roof, siding and interior of your home.
So far, Green notes, nearly every inspection has turned up something the homeowner did not know about, including chimney cracks, wiring problems and leaky pipes.
When you log in, you’ll also see a customized list of scheduled maintenance tasks — everything from exterior maintenance to moving outdoor furniture in for the winter.
There’s another list for unscheduled maintenance (uh oh).
To access a provider for any service — there are 47 categories — you click on the menu. Up comes a short roster of vendors, with pertinent information and reviews.
All have been vetted well. Very well. It’s an A-list for sure.
Once they’re approved — their licenses and certifications checked, their business reviews run — service providers get plenty. There’s full calendar integration. Payment processing. And an email/text system that allows customers and service providers to communicate quickly and efficiently. (No more voicemail, telephone answering services and other 20th-century technology.)
Currently, there is no fee for homeowners. EfficientLifestyle will be rolled out to other communities soon — but even if the firm eventually charges other homeowners for the initial survey, Schlegelmilch promises that Westporters will “never, ever” pay.
The company charges service providers 5% of their fee.
It’s an efficient way to manage your lifestyle. It’s equally efficient for the service providers who make the cut.
And though the first part of this story talked about “your new 10,000-square foot house,” EfficientLifestyle can make life easy for any homeowner.
They know a thing or two about old places.
After all, their headquarters — 49 Riverside Avenue — was once Horace Staples’ lumberyard. Back in the 1860s.
You know — before electricity, Sub-Zero wine cellars and swimming pools that can’t survive a Westport winter on their own.
(To reach the EfficientLifestyle website efficiently, click here.)