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A Happy Update From Our Customer Service Team

We’re so excited to share a letter we received this week praising our wonderful concierge coordinator, Laura Godwin. She went above her call of duty for customer Lydia Smith and we couldn’t be more proud of her!

-OFFICIAL LETTER-

Dear Mr. Noble,

It is with great pleasure and ENTHUSIASM that I contact you regarding Laura Godwin, my coordinator at Utility Concierge!

I had the great fortune of being referred by my realtor to the magnificent Tim Wiersma and UC, so by the time I relocated to Fort Worth in May of last year, I was completely “connected”! Laura immediately took over as (what felt like) my “personal coordinator”, and her gracious “welcome” and marvelous customer service made me feel prepared for ANYTHING!

Alas, what I was NOT prepared for was the contractor NIGHTMARE that shortly ensued, leaving me in a construction FALLOUT and a subsequent lawsuit… I was paying monthly for DIRECTV service for a television that was still in storage (as were MOST of my worldly possessions), and when I explained my distressing situation to Laura last summer (having already paid 3 months of service fees), she immediately rescued me by making arrangements to have my service suspended for six months – a TREMENDOUS relief!

Moreover, as the summer arrived, I ran into a positively SURREAL state of affairs with the original electric company, First Choice – a situation that grew more outrageous by the weekly phone calls I was receiving accusing me of delinquency, threatening to discontinue service, forcing me to involve Chase Bank on several occasions to substantiate my payments with documentation, etc. – hours and hours of wasted time on the telephone! Laura Godwin was my SAVING GRACE throughout it all, patiently listening to my frustrations and determinedly attempting to rectify my predicament with a company employing ignorant (and often aggressive) staff, and an utterly incompetent Accounts Payable department. It was due to Laura’s tireless efforts that my case was finally resolved, and I am now happily allied with Frontier Utilities, and am completely satisfied!

Unfortunately, it is just now that my law suit with that notorious contractor seems to be moving forward, (he has evaded us for months), and I am optimistic that a resolution will be reached in the weeks ahead… Regrettably, I am still residing in a “war zone” until I recover financial means allowing me to hire another contractor. Needless to say, one of my first phone calls was to Laura regarding continued suspension of my DIRECTV account, (god, she had come to my rescue so many times, that I was embarrassed to phone her AGAIN!), but she reassured me wholeheartedly with her solicitous and positive attitude, and summoned her contacts at DIRECTV immediately to plead my pathetic case…
Just this morning, Laura quickly arranged for a conference call with the Customer Service Department at DIRECTV, and I am just delighted to say that they kindly agreed to extend my account suspension, and I am relieved beyond expression! Given all of these regrettable and unforeseen circumstances since I have moved to Texas, I can say without doubt, that Laura Godwin has been nothing short of a CHAMPION for me, and a stellar representative for Utility Concierge! I don’t know what I would have done without her unfailing assistance and genuine good heart…

SHE IS A GEM, Mr. Noble, and I am confident that your organization is continually made better as a result of her employment there! You can be assured that it is because of my happy and enduring relationship with Laura that I will remain a lifelong, loyal customer and promoter of Utility Concierge!!!

Most sincerely and cordially,
Lydia Smith

-END LETTER-

This is what you can expect from your personal concierge at Utility Concierge. We take care of our customers, dealing with all the behind-the-scenes hassles to make sure you’re happy throughout our entire relationship. Our service is complimentary to you. Please contact us if you’d like a personal concierge to help you set up new services, switch utility providers, or perform a utility check-up to make sure you’re getting the exact services that you need and want for your home.



Heavy on the Happy—and Utility Use—During the Holidays

The mesmerizing twinkling lights. The inflatable Santa smiling in the front yard. The roaring timbers in your gas-powered fireplace. Baking marathons to create pies, cookies, and scrumptious treats for extended family visits. Yes, the holiday season is here, bringing with it good food, great times, and often high utility bills. Here are a few tips for keeping your seasonal energy costs manageable, and your spirits merry.

The Brightest Time of the Year
Every holiday light—from the icicle lights hanging off of your roof to the spotlights shining on your candy cane walkway—uses energy. The type of light bulb, as well as the number used and duration they’re lit, will influence your utility spend. For example, this power consumption guide shows you the typical costs for lighted decorations. On the site, you’ll see that if you decorate with just one lit wreath, one garland, two outdoor decorations, about 10 light strings on trees, you can expect to spend $10.87 on power costs for the season when using incandescent bulbs. Switch to LED, and your spend is reduced by about 90 percent. Save on costs by using energy efficient bulbs and limit the amount of time the lights are on.

Watchful Washing
Holiday meals mean loads of dirty dishes. Did you know that you can use more than two gallons of water each minute the tap is running, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Don’t go with the flow—instead, conserve water by manually scraping dishes clean instead of rinsing them before they go in the dishwasher, as recommended by the EPA on its website. And, if the dishwasher is full, the EPA says to soak dishes in the sink with soapy water to save. (Submerge a batch of dishes as one load runs so the next is ready to go.)

Holiday Heating
This is the time of year when heating costs are at their peak, accounting for about one-third of your utility use. By installing and using a programmable thermostat, you can save up to $100 per year, the EPA reports. If it’s not too cold, building a nice fire is always a good idea. As for relatives fighting over the temperature, you’re on your own. 

family fireplace

Power Plan
How do you know whether or not your utility provider is offering you the best rates possible? Sometimes electricity companies that advertise low rates aren’t telling you the whole story. You may not know which questions to ask or understand the plan details. For example, did you know that the amount of kilowatts you use each month will affect your rate? If you don’t know the amount of power your household consumes, then you may sign up for a plan that doesn’t benefit you at all. This is where Utility Concierge comes in. From utilities and phone service to home security and insurance, we have relationships with all of the best providers, and we read the fine print and know exactly what to question with every service company—all at zero cost to you. In fact, the only money involved is the amount you’ll save by working with us. Contact us today, and let your personal concierge find your cost-effective power plan.



Home Renovations for ROI

Depending on your point of view, your new home is either a canvas on which to create something new and cool… or it represents near-tear anxiety over all of the work that needs to be done.

Home improvements are often met with trepidation, even if there’s excitement or enthusiasm, too. Everyone wonders: How will it look once complete? What will the final price tag be? And, will I get my money back?

Changing a home in both big and small ways provides the most beneficial outcome when you create a plan, stick to it, and make smart and cost-effective choices. Experts agree that the key to successful home renovation is picking projects that will lead to a true return on your investment. What that “return” is will be defined by you. Maybe your ROI is a more calming environment that allows you to chill out. Maybe it’s a brighter kitchen with more space to cook. Perhaps it’s the addition of another bedroom that accommodates your guest list.

Or maybe it’s legitimizing a higher asking price when your house hits the market.

Your friends here at Utility Concierge have a few tips on home improvement projects that are poised to provide the greatest monetary ROI.

Go Big and Go Home
Micro homes are for cartoon people. Those in the real world want space to roam, and plenty of it. Realtor.com’s article, “Top Seven ROI Remodels” says that if you’re going to remodel, add space because square footage equals value. If adding a room or area isn’t on the agenda, the article also provides a dollar amount ROI for specific major renovations. For example, if you’re taking on a minor kitchen remodeling project (new cabinets, countertops, flooring, etc.) that costs roughly $18,000, then you can expect to get about 85.2 percent back when you sell the home, according to the article. If you planned to stay at the address for a couple of years to enjoy the new kitchen amenities, then it could very well be worth the investment.

Remodeling magazine has this helpful tool, which allows you to analyze the cost of a specific renovation in relation to its resale value. You can even get specifics based on your geographic region.

Photo courtesy of freshome.com

Think Functional, Not Fly
Not all home renovations have an aesthetic agenda. Sometimes function is more important than form. (Think Target rather than Neiman Marcus, if you know what we mean.) DIY Network has this list of the top home renovation investments, and all of them are practical solutions. Nope, siding isn’t sexy and windows aren’t wicked cool, but improving both of these can help increase the value of your home—and cut down on utility costs big time. (Read even more about practical renovation ideas here at Home Logic.)

Invest in Sweat Equity
There are dozens of small home renovation projects you can do yourself—even on a budget. Here, Investopedia, provides a long list of inexpensive projects that lead to ROI, from new paint to installing modern fixtures. Repainting is one of the most impactful yet inexpensive improvements on the planet. You can change the feel of an entire room with a new hue. Just remember that not everyone likes It’s a Party Fushia in the kitchen or Go Goth Black in the bedroom, so use non-traditional colors sparingly.

What home improvement have you made that led to a healthy ROI? Share your thoughts in the space below.



5 Ways to Hold On to Your Hard-Earned Cash

If it seems like every dollar you make disappears too quickly, your friends at Utility Concierge have five easy-to-follow home ideas to help you hold on to your greenbacks. The largest expense most individuals have is buying or renting a home. The second largest expense? Maintaining it. It takes a lot of cash to keep your home cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and functioning property day in and day out. This is why we recommend money-saving strategies that address the variables you control on a regular basis. Here’s what we mean:

No. 1: Let Mother Nature Take Care of the Outdoors
Guess what’s the largest expense for most households? The cost for heating and cooling the space. In fact, 56% of your utility cost is associated with your HVAC. One way to curb costs is to install a programmable thermostat to regulate temperatures. Another way is to make sure the windows and doors are sealed with weather stripping so the air you want stays in—and you’re not heating or cooling the front lawn.

No. 2: The Label Matters
When it comes to HDTVs, electronics, and appliances, you can save eons of cash if you choose energy-saving models, which are identified by the ENERGY STAR designation. These products range from washers and dryers to home theater systems. The savings to you and the planet are significant. For example, an ENERGY STAR rated refrigerator is about 20 percent more energy efficient than those that are not rated.

Energy Star

No. 3: The Right Light
Did you know a single light bulb can save you $6 each year in electricity costs? Multiply that times the number of bulbs you have throughout your home, and the savings can be huge. The key is to purchase the right kind of light bulbs. Learn more here.

No. 4: Change Habits
Your shower doesn’t have to last as long as an epic film. An empty room doesn’t need a perpetually running ceiling fan. Your cat doesn’t need a lamp—she can see in the dark. And your espresso maker doesn’t need to stay turned on and plugged in 24-7 just in case you need a fix during your Dallas marathon. Paying attention to everyday habits can actually save you big time. Take shorter showers; turn off lights, fans, and appliances when not in use, and unplug anything that you don’t need in the moment.

No. 5: Go Native
Plants and flowers that are native to a certain area not only have the best chance for surviving your not-so-green thumb, but also save you the greatest amount of water and maintenance. The concept is called xeriscaping, and it refers to using the plants, flowers, and methods that require the least amount of water possible—an important practice since residential landscaping, lawn care, and pool maintenance all consume huge quantities of this precious resource.

Xeriscape

What are some of your money-saving home tips? Share your ideas below to help others save too.



Our Customized Experience Contest Has Been Extended!

As many of you already know, we’ve been running a contest for real estate professionals. Those who refer the most clients will win their own “Customized Experience” package, completely tailored to your wishes. This prize is worth up to $2,500!!

If you haven’t already started referring your clients to us, it’s not too late. We had so much success with this contest that we decided to extend it to December 31! So come on and get those referrals coming through the door. What a great Christmas gift for yourself or someone else if you win!!

Congrats to the Top Referrers so far:

Angela Moseley
Austin Holtzman
Barbara Van Pool
Bev Young
Brian Davis
Christie Cannon
Danny McElroy
Debbie Jeffrey
Fred Jones
Helen Wardle
Jan Kelley
Lucia Bowen
Mark Escue
Mary Wise
Mike Mazyck
Mike Ripperger
Paula Alexander
Scott Wilkinson
Sheila Fejeran
Terri McCoy
Tom May
Victoria Burns


Remember to submit the client information yourself to be sure you’re listed as the referrer and that you get credit for each client. For all contest rules, see the flyer below. Good luck!

Customized Experience_Updated



Utility Concierge

More time for goofing off.

What’s your time worth? What’s the tradeoff for convenience? What does someone have to do around here to avoid mantra chants and binge eating Nutter Butters just to deal with the stressful to-do list that becomes a nagging, pulse-pounding reality for anyone with a new address?

The answers culminated in our company, Utility Concierge, a cleverly pragmatic name to describe our purpose: We take hold of the Web research, phone call data collection, and grassroots efforts you go through with any household or business move to find the right utility providers for your area, need, and price range.

In other words, we give you back hours in your day, your week, your life to do other things you actually like doing. (Soap carving could make a comeback, so hold strong.)

What’s in it for you?
The real value of Utility Concierge is the fact that we have established relationships with utility providers—electricity, cable, movers, etc.—so we can negotiate the best deals on your behalf. Think of us as your agent, your advocate, or even your personal assistant (hold up—we don’t do latte runs, dog walking, or gift shopping). We provide you with a vetted list of possible providers, then you have the power to select the ones you’d like to use. We set the appointments to get the lights turned on, the Internet working, the security system monitoring with eagle eye precision. As for you? Well, your day just opened up to a world of possibilities. With the extra time, you can do anything—everything! Or just goof off more.

You’re welcome.

Our objective view in identifying the best utility providers, promotions, and rates means we don’t play favorites, unless we’re referring to you. You’re our persona grata. Everything we do is to help you save money, time, and hassle. Sign up here, and within a business day, you’ll hear from a real person who knows how to ask the right questions to find your right answers. It’s your very own personal concierge. (You can also work with us by downloading our app for iPhone and Android. It’s free, cool, and easy to use.)

So take control and get back some of that ever-important personal time. What will you do with all of those extra hours? Leave us a quick note in the comment box below and tell us how you spent your newfound free time. We’ll repost your answers on Facebook and Twitter. Inspire others, or make them laugh. We can’t wait to hear what you’re up to.



Utility Concierge Blog Launch

Why hello ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the periodical empirical blogosherical musings of the mind of a Utility Concierge…ical? What can you expect to gain from continuing reading this on a regular basis? The answer to all or your deepest questions. For example, what is the purpose of life? How did we get here? Is Selena Gomez’s newest single really about her and The Biebs rocky romance? What prescription drugs have the most hilarious side effects? And, did that guy just trip over his own foot or was there a change in elevation not visible from my vantage point? How did an American hero like Hulk Hogan loose his wife to a 19 year old? How do service providers choose their hold music? How many questions can fit into one paragraph?

Nine. Nine is the max. Any more and the internet will implode sending us back to 1991. Although judging by the movie The Big Lebowski that seems like a pretty laid back year, and there was a great fusion of grunge music and hair metal going on back then. So enjoy the newblog and let us know what you think! What’s that you say? There were more than nine questions in that last paragraph? Oh no, here we go again…. Quick someone get Kurt Cobain some Prozac!