Lifestyles Of The Rich And Efficient

Congratulations!

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?

EfficientLifestyle!

It's tough to maintain a home like this on your own. Right?

It’s tough to maintain a home like this on your own. Right?

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).

Tye Schlegelmilch (left) and Bill Green, in their sun-filled riverside office.

Tye Schlegelmilch and Bill Green, in their sun-filled (and very efficient) riverside office.

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.

The "home page" for your home.

The “home page” for your home.

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).

Efficient Lifestyle also tracks major projects.

Efficient Lifestyle also tracks major projects.

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 list of repairs includes

The list of services you can access is long and comprehensive. It includes exterminators, generators — even garage doors.

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.)

18 responses to “Lifestyles Of The Rich And Efficient

  1. Seems as though the tail is wagging the dog here. Why should the wealthy homeowner (assumed wealthy if house big enough to need this silly service)pay nothing and the guy who saves ’em pay the vig.
    I’d swim in a flooded basement before signing on.

    • Jean Whitehead

      Was wondering about that, too.

    • Seems very backward to me. The small business service provider gets stuck paying to be part of something where they will likely be haggled with by a rich home owner who has no concept of the value of their service? Eh hem.

  2. Fascinating concept. They are reinventing the property manager (if you could find one in 06880).

  3. I’d hate to have a business model relying on people who own 10,000 SF houses. For one thing, there are only a handful of them. For another, would YOU like to have these kinds of people as your clients?

    • Peter, Peter,
      I’m certain there are many nice folks who live in “10,000 sq ft houses.” Why paint ’em all with one brush?
      It’s the fact that nice or not, the home owner(at least in Westport) does not pay for the “service” of getting a list of vetted repair people and the bill for the priviledge of gettting the job in that 10,000 sq ft house falls to the journeyman. It’s a shitty concept from the get go.

      • Relax, I was saying this in jest…as was Dan in his breathless intro about the 10,000 SF house. In reality, very, very few houses are this large — Imus’ was, Donahue’s wasn’t — so it makes no sense to stereotype their owners. To quote Mr. Trump: “…some, I assume, are good people.”

        But funny to see people on this page worry about “mansion shaming.” As I recall, there are frequent complaints here about wasteful shops leaving their doors open with the A/C on, and one recent one about shoppers who are so callous as not to carry reusable bags.

        I think I could leave my door open for a lifetime of hot summer days, and throw away plastic shopping bags to my heart’s content, before I approached the environmental impact of a 10,000 SF house.

        • Hmmmmm; for most of America, Peter, the 10,000 sq ft house IS a joke. In Westport, New Canaan, Darien and Greenwich, not so much.

  4. We appreciate all of the comments on Dan’s article and thought we would chime in to explain the benefits of the system to homeowners and service providers in a bit more detail. EfficientLifestyle was created to disrupt the currently inefficient way homes are managed. Our platform was designed for ALL homeowners that rely upon high quality, reputable service professionals for their maintenance and repairs. Today, there is a tremendous amount of wasted time, effort and money on both the part of the homeowner and service providers involved in scheduling and performing services.

    We spent countless hours working with service providers to create a system with features that improves their productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profitability. Our platform allows our service providers to better and more efficiently manage their schedules, seamlessly interact with homeowners, and reduce administrative expenses.

    We are thrilled to be launching in Westport and look forward to assisting homeowners and our truly outstanding group of service providers.

    Matt Keefe
    VP of Business Development

    • And why, Mr. Mitchell, does it make sense for the home owner to get the list of service providers for nothing, but the journeyman is charged?
      For sure, that charge will be passed on to the home owner but that, too, is an issue with which one could find fault.
      Oh, and, yeah, I know where to shut of the electric.

  5. I think it’s a good thing that Matt responded now to the few early responders to this article since some of the early feedback was bordering on nasty. To the guy who would rather swim in a flooded basement, I hope you know exactly where to shut off your electricity before diving in for your cellar swim. To the guy who said, ” who wants THESE people as your clients” ,you should just go back under your rock. A-holes live in every sized house, and nice people also live in every sized house.
    Regarding the important stuff though, if i was a vendor I would be happy to be on this list and would gladly give up 5% for helping me get new business, calendar set-up, payment processing, communications…….if it turns out to be as reliable and professional as they paint it to be.
    The article should not have been slanted towards the massive homes though; that I believe was a mistake by the company, but they straightened it out with their response.

  6. DK , why not look at it positively from the “journeyman’s” perspective ?
    He ( or she) is potentially getting business that they might not be getting otherwise. They might be gaining a new customer for years to come…5%
    seems like a pretty small price to pay for that, yet you deem it a “shitty” concept ? Hopefully this new company won’t reach out to you about their service, or you could email them and let them know that you would like to opt out ?
    Let the public decide if this company has any value……..

  7. I normally enjoy your posts – this one not so much.

  8. Bobbi Essagof

    Great idea, Great guy! Best of luck Tye. Hope to hear more about this.Shark Tank perhaps?

  9. Great idea guys. Best of luck with it all!

  10. Exclusive: Two executives leave Fortress after losses in macro fund

    https://www.google.com/amp/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN0L12L720150129

  11. Wow. Isn’t it great that some people think to research before snowboarding in avalanche country!