Last week, I wrote about The Happy Home Company, a startup that helps home owners manage their repairs and maintenance. Well, after the recent storms in the San Francisco Bay Area (which, yes, generated lots of amusing commentary on social media, but also caused real damage), the company says it will be waiving all fees for customers who were affected.
To be clear, The Happy Home Company doesn’t do the repairs for you. Instead, it helps you figure out what’s broken and who you need to talk to, and it makes the booking for you. So the costs fall into two buckets — there’s the money that’s going to the startup itself (basically a $9.99 monthly subscription fee, plus processing fees for the payments), and the money charged by the repair company or handyman that they book. In this case, The Happy Home Company is waiving the fees that it receives — it’s not promising free repairs.
Still, it’s a nice gesture, and one that co-founder and CEO Doug Ludlow told me could end up costing the startup somewhere in the six figures. But if the costs go that high, he argued that even from a business perspective, it will be money well spent.
“Helping people when they need it the most is the best marketing we can do,” he said.
If you use the code “storm2014” while signing up, your fees will be waived. And while there will be some basic verification (so my Brooklyn neighbors probably won’t get a discount for their remodeling work), Ludlow said the company is ultimately taking “a trusting approach” with its customers.