NISSWA -- For weekly security checks at your seasonal home, $80 per month;
For someone to shut your windows because you forgot, $40;
To have peace of mind, priceless.
These are a few of the many services One Call Home Management Service of Nisswa provides. Kenny Oaks started the business in 2000. Oaks and Tiffany Wicklow, part owner and office manager, work with 26 clients in the Brainerd lakes area.
Kenny Oaks and Tiffany Wicklow of One Call Home Management Service in Nisswa help their clients with many home project, as well as home maintenance, such as plowing snow in the winter. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood
Oaks, who owned Oaks Plumbing and Heating for more than 20 years in the Brainerd area, said he has made close relationships with many of his clients through the years. He said they would give him the key to their house and ask him to check on their home or ask for other favors. Oaks said so many people trusted him and wanted him to provide different services that he started the business to test the water.
When he started the business he had about a dozen clients. Oaks' goal is to have 60 clients by next summer. A majority of One Call's clients are people who have seasonal homes on Gull Lake, Trout Lake and Pelican Lake. Oaks said another market they have are the elderly, who need help with different home management chores, such as mowing the lawn or need their driveway plowed in the winter.
Oaks and Wicklow said once a person becomes a member of One Call they only need to make one call.
"People call several different people before they usually find the right person to get something done," said Oaks. "If they are a member of One Call they just have to call us and we'll take care of the matter and save the client time.
"There is no need to spend your valuable weekend time waiting for service contractors or performing maintenance on your home. We not only save you headaches, we often save you money by finding the right people for the job."
Oaks works with several contractors in the community that he has known for years. Oaks said one of his clients last week had his furnace go out and he could not reach anyone to fix it. Oaks said the client called him and he called his contractor and met with them at his client's home that same day.
Oaks said this service also is convenient for people who own cabins who are unable to check on their place. One Call conducts weekly home inspections for $80 per month and bi-weekly inspections for $50 per month.
Clients also can have One Call's phone number used on their home security system so if something would happen and they are not home, authorities would call One Call instead.
If a client forgot to lock their doors at their home, left their windows open or forgot to unplug their curling irons, they can call One Call to do it for them. These services, which come up and are not scheduled, cost $40 per trip. If a service is needed and is scheduled, such as turning the heat down in a home, the cost is $20.
One Call also charges for clients to be members. People can sign up for a 12-month subscription for $240 or a seasonal subscription from October to April for $180.
Oaks said they do basically anything the client wants when it comes to their home management needs. A few of the services include remodeling projects, housekeeping, landscaping, dock services and storm damage clean-up. They also will change furnace filters, add salt to water softeners and clean gutters.
One Call also provides personal pampering services, such as home decorating and grocery shopping.
Clients learn how to trust One Call with the keys to their house, step by step, said Oaks. He said a lot of his clients were referred to him or knew him when he was in the plumbing business. He also said he has a relationship with established real estate agents in Nisswa who offer One Call memberships to their clients when they close on their home.
Wicklow said it usually is not hard for people to trust them because by the time they call for the services they are at a point where they are ready to trust someone to help them with their home management needs.
"They are a godsend," said Barbara Haugen of Minneapolis, who has used One Call's services since it opened. "If it weren't for them I would have never purchased a seasonal home on Lake Hubert."
Haugen said if it wasn't for One Call she and her husband, Gary, would have had to make more trips to the home. She also would not feel comfortable leaving the home without anyone watching the place.
"They (Oaks and Wicklow) give us peace of mind," said Haugen. "We are out of town and Kenny is there so if something were to happen we don't have to run there. We're not handy and it is nice to know we have someone to call."
Haugen said One Call lets the cleaning lady in, supervised a landscaping project, cleaned up after storm damaged the property and monitored their dock.
"No matter what happens, he (Oaks) knows who to call," Haugen said.
When asked why people should trust One Call, Haugen said, "They (Oaks and Wicklow) are genuine, down to earth people, the people you tend to trust."
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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