HELPING OWNERS: “We provide quality repair, maintenance and management services to owners. We can handle projects of any size, and with our maintenance program we can find things that could become a problem that the owner was unaware of. Jim Baxter, left, co-founder and owner of Total Home Manager (with Ray Disch), is pictured with office manager Pamela S. Beer and project manager Peter Parker.
By Jean Straton
JTired of having to worry about the roof leaking, cleaning the gutters, shoveling the snow, waiting for the plumber or painting the house? Do not worry. Help is at hand – and peace of mind!
Total Home Manager (THM) can make this possible. And you don’t have to move; you can stay in your home and you’re relieved of the stress and tension and all those pesky details that come with home ownership.
As the name suggests, Total Home Manager is ready to take full control of maintenance, repair and management of all issues and needs that arise.
Founded by Baxter Construction owner Jim Baxter and entrepreneur Ray Disch in 2009, it is headquartered at 31 West Broad Street in Hopewell.
“We realized that there weren’t a lot of people out there doing small projects for homeowners — handyman-type jobs,” Baxter says of the company’s origins. “It seemed like a great idea. We were often asked by our customers to do a variety of things, including small jobs, such as fixing steps, window and door locks, broken screens, and other repairs.
“Also, when we started, Ray was in real estate, and clients often asked him to refer people for repairs and other work. As a contractor/builder, Baxter Construction has people working for us who we can call upon. We have carpenters on staff and we know electricians and other people we can contact. We have a network of talented insured and licensed experts in all trades including roofing, painting, masonry, electrical and plumbing.
“They are all experienced and competent people who can be counted on to arrive on time and do the job properly. And, of course, they all meet our standards.
Owners appreciated THM services from the start. Dealing with housekeeping wear and tear and unforeseen issues is a great way to relieve stress, Baxter points out.
“Our first clients were a couple from New York, who had a weekend house in Princeton. They needed help around the house and had an appointment with an electrician, who never showed up. Then, they called us, we came right away and solved the problem, we find solutions for people.
“Another client had an experience with an electrician who finished his job but left a hole in the wall. So she called us, asking us what to do. We went to her place, and at our place it’s all inclusive. We do it all, and we certainly don’t leave holes in the wall. We do it right the first time.”
THM customers come in all ages and lifestyles, he notes. The service is a boon for a wide range of people – from busy professionals to single homeowners, from senior citizens 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 comes from referrals and repeat customers, and we keep 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 repairing wood are in high demand. We see how much this region needs us and our help.
Each job has its own personal project manager, Baxter points out. “There is always someone supervising the work. Also, if people are away, we can monitor the house. We have a checklist and will do weekly inspections for water leaks, storm damage, etc.
During COVID-19, THM was considered an essential business, he adds. “People are staying home more often, they often wanted to make their homes and properties nicer and more appealing, and we were really busy making improvements,” says Baxter.
One of the benefits THM offers to owners is a membership program with various options. Studies have shown that preventive maintenance is far more cost-effective than reactive maintenance after a breakdown or failure, he says.
THM offers three membership plans including Gold, Silver and Handyman Plus at different annual costs. All include rapid response, emergency response, preferred pricing, and consolidated billing. Services in other plans range from property review and inspection to home maintenance records and home scan forecast reports.
“Our plans are flexible and we can customize them to the customer’s needs,” Baxter points out. “We often find that customers become members once they realize the benefits available.”
The company has established a strong sense of trust with its customers and, as Baxter recalls, “one of our customers went to Maine for three months, another to Florida for six months, and yet another to Hong Kong for a year. They gave us the 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 job can be done while they are away.
“Our business is relational. It is the objective. We build lasting relationships with people. They know they can count on us. Once 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 children. We worked for her and she called us. We had the key to the back door and got there in less than an hour.
The services are so comprehensive that just about everything the owner needs is available from THM. Chimney cabinets, duct cleaning and driveway repair, gutters and downspouts, swimming pools and patios, landscaping, lawn cleaning and lighting, television systems and home entertainment internet – the list goes on. And all single-source solutions.
Homeowners in Princeton and area, as well as Somerset, Hunterdon and Bucks counties have all benefited from the THM.
“We really see again and again how much this region needed and wanted our services, and how much they appreciate our help,” notes Peter Parker.
Jim Baxter adds, “It’s very satisfying to fill this need for people. It really is a big help for them: a one-stop-shop solution for complete interior and exterior home repair and management service. With just one phone call, you’ll have the ability to enjoy a seamless home repair system – and that all-important peace of mind.
FFor more information, call (609) 466-3355. Website: www.totalhomemanager.com.