HOMEOWNER HELP: “We provide quality home repair, maintenance, and management services for homeowners. We can handle projects of all sizes, and with our maintenance program, we can find things that could become a problem that the owner didn’t know about.” Jim Baxter, left, co-founder and owner of Total Home Manager (with Ray Disch), is shown with office manager Pamela S. Beer and project manager Peter Parker.
By Jean Stratton
Tired of having to worry about the leak in the roof, cleaning the gutters, shoveling snow, waiting for the plumber, or painting the house? Don’t worry. Help is at hand — and peace of mind!
Total Home Manager (THM) can make this happen. And you don’t have to move; you can stay in your house, and you are relieved of stress and strain and all those pesky details that accompany home ownership.
As its name suggests, Total Home Manager is prepared to take complete control of maintenance, repair, and management of whatever problems and needs arise.
Established by Jim Baxter, owner of Baxter Construction, and entrepreneur Ray Disch in 2009, it is headquartered at 31 West Broad Street in Hopewell.
“We realized that there weren’t many people to do smaller projects for homeowners — handyman-type jobs,” explains Baxter about the origin of the business. “It just seemed like a great idea. We had often been asked to do a variety of things by our customers, including small jobs, such as fixing steps, window and door locks, broken screens, and other repairs.
“Also, when we began, Ray was in real estate, and clients often asked him to suggest people for repairs and other work. As a contractor/builder, Baxter Construction has people working for us, whom we can call upon. We have carpenters on staff, and we know electricians and others we can reach out to. We have a network of talented insured and licensed experts in all trades, including roofing, painting, masonry, electrical, and plumbing.
“These are all people with experience and skill, who can be counted on to come on time and handle the job properly. And, of course, they all meet our standards.”
Homeowners appreciated the THM services from the start. Taking over the wear and tear of household maintenance and unexpected problems is a great stress reliever, points out Baxter.
“Our first clients were a couple from New York City, who had a weekend home in Princeton. They needed help at the house, and had an appointment with an electrician, who never showed up. Then they called us, we came right over, and fixed the problem. We find solutions for people.
“Another client had an experience with an electrician who completed his work, but left a hole in the wall. So, she called us, asking what to do. We went to her house, and with us, it is all-inclusive. We do everything, and we definitely don’t leave holes in the wall. We do it right the first time.”
THM clients are all ages and all lifestyles, he notes. The service is a boon for a wide range of people — from busy professionals, to single homeowners, to older people to those who have never owned a home before. All welcome prompt and reliable help.
Word-of-mouth has been very positive, reports Baxter. “Eighty percent of our business is from referrals and repeat customers, and we are steadily growing.”
Specific projects are often seasonal, adds project manager Peter Parker. “In the summer, there can be a lot of exterior painting and other exterior work. Painting and wood repair are very much in demand. We see how much this area needs us, and our help.”
Each job has its own personal project manager, points out Baxter. “There is always someone overseeing the work. In addition, if people are away, we can watch the house. We have a check list, and we will do weekly inspections to see if water is leaking, if there is storm damage, etc.”
During COVID-19, THM was considered an essential business, he adds. “With people staying home more, they often wanted to make their houses and property nicer and more attractive, and we were really very busy helping with improvements,” says Baxter.
One of the advantages THM offers homeowners is a membership program with various options. Studies have shown that preventive maintenance is many times more cost effective than reactive maintenance after something has broken or failed, he says.
THM offers three membership plans, including Gold, Silver, and Handyman Plus at different annual costs. All include prompt response, emergency response, preferred pricing rates, and consolidated invoicing. Services in other plans range from property review and inspection to home maintenance records and home analyses forecast reports.
“Our plans are flexible, and we can customize them to the client’s needs,” points out Baxter. “We often find that clients become members once they realize the benefits available.”
The company has established a strong sense of trust with its clients, and as Baxter recalls, “One of our customers went to Maine for three months, another to Florida for six months, and still another to Hong Kong for a year. They gave us keys to the house, and we took care of everything for them. In some cases, they might need a new water heater or sump pump or they might decide they want landscaping services, and the work can be done while they are away.
“Our business is relationship-based. This is the focus. We build lasting relationships with people. They know they can count on us. One time, a woman had an incident when her door key broke in the lock. It was raining, and she was alone in the car with her kids. We had been doing work for her, and she called us. We had a key to the back door, and we got there within an hour.”
The services are so all-inclusive that just about anything the homeowner needs is available from THM. Cabinets to chimneys, duct cleaning and driveway repair, gutters and downspouts, pools and patios, landscaping, lawn cleanup, and lighting, home entertainment TV and internet systems — the list goes on. And all single source solutions.
Homeowners from Princeton and the area, as well as Somerset, Hunterdon, and Bucks counties have all benefited from THM.
“We really see again and again how much this area needed and wanted our services, and how appreciative they are of our help,” notes Peter Parker.
Adds Jim Baxter, “It is very satisfying to fill this need for people. It really is a big help for them: a single source solution for complete interior and exterior home repair and management service. With one phone call to us, you will have the opportunity for a seamless home repair system — and that all-important peace of mind.”
For further information, call (609) 466-3355. Website: totalhomemanager.com.