WESTPORT, Conn. — Your home is probably your largest asset. So when you need repairs, why do you post open-ended questions on Facebook — "Can anyone recommend a good plumber, TIA" — or tear phone numbers off fliers at the grocery store?
Westport's Tye Schlegelmilch says there is a better way. He is the co-founder and CEO of the new startup Hinged LLC, an online tool that makes it easier for a homeowner to maintain their property.
Schlegelmilch, an MIT grad and finance exec turned tech entrepreneur, learned first-hand how time-consuming home repairs are when he moved to Westport in 2010: locating good contractors, scheduling their work, paying them, and more.
"Unlike a car, homes don’t come with an owner's manual," Schlegelmilch said in an email. "There were no prescribed steps for maintaining the house and finding the right service professionals to work on it was always a challenge."
His cloud-based management platform allows homeowners to easily find, hire and schedule licensed contractors — and pay with a credit card. And it is free to homeowners across across all of Fairfield County and Westchester County, N.Y.
Need to schedule the pool opening or spring planting? Hinged also reminds homeowners what work needs to be done, when it needs to be done and recommends the best qualified local providers to do the work, he said.
Hinged also tracks all the expenses, for home budgeting and planning. And maintains the records and information needed when a property is sold.
"By building the Hinged platform in the way we have, we are not dependent on signing up more and more service providers to drive our revenue," Schlegelmilch said. "We can truly say that our service providers on the Hinged platform are fully vetted, insured, and second-to-none, and the tech tools that we provide them and the homeowners is also unlike anything else available today."
The first step after signup is a free home inspection to gather all home data and place on the cloud platform. Then the homeowner match with the right vendor for any needed job with just a click.
Schlegelmilch, who is involved with his three sons' schools and coaches soccer and Little League baseball, works at Hinged's new offices at 49 Riverside Ave. with his co-founder, longtime Westport homebuilder Bill Green. Click here for more information.