Appliance service calls shoot up as Thanksgiving approaches. Easy to speculate why. A stove is an appliance, and Thanksgiving is hugely about cooking and eating. A busted stove would put a big crimp in the big day.
“I think that’s exactly right,” said Craig Madans. “There’s a burner on the stove top that (the homeowners) have been putting off getting fixed. They didn’t really need that burner. Now, all of a sudden they’ve got 28 people coming for Thanksgiving dinner.”
Madans is the founder of HOCOA, a home repair and service network that links subscribing homeowners with participating contractors. The company (www.hocoa.com) serves 30,000 homes in the Charlotte area. It’s preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary, and now has franchises in other states.
I always seem to be patching and painting as Thanksgiving approaches. I called Madans to see what the holiday looks like from his desk.
Total calls don’t go up much this time of year, he said – but handyman calls rise. “Small jobs that you would expect to be directly related to the holidays go way up.”
He doesn’t know details of every call, mind you – but it’s easy to imagine why some types of calls pick up right before Thanksgiving, and remain high through Christmas and the first of the year.
Those appliance repair calls, for instance.
The stove isn’t the only kitchen appliance, of course. Maybe the microwave has been on the fritz. How in the world are Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner going to heat up the leftovers for that crowd without a microwave? It has to be fixed before everybody pulls into the driveway.
Or, maybe the microwave died after everybody arrived. “All of a sudden, you have all these strange people pushing the buttons,” Madans speculated.
Calls for carpet cleaning and maid service go up as Thanksgiving looms. Those you’d expect, too.
I’m just guessing, but odds are there are mothers-in-law prompting some of those cleaning calls.
The owners might be sprucing up before inviting the neighbors over for a holiday party. If they’re back-door neighbors, though, they’ve probably already seen the house at its messiest.
Madans agreed. He sorted through some recent calls for help and spotted a couple of plumbing service requests. One HOCOA member needs new faucets installed. Holiday related, or just a nagging leak? Hard to tell.
“Here’s one to hook up two vanities – and it’s marked urgent,” Madans said with a laugh. “Mama is coming!”
For some reason, Madans said, requests for computer help and repair go up.
That one is harder to decipher. Maybe lots of homeowners are using their computers more as they get a jump on their online Christmas shopping. Maybe the bug in the modem wasn’t a real problem – until they couldn’t get through to Amazon. Shop online for the perfect gifts for grandkids and you’ll feel real pressure.
There’s another thing in the house that gets overworked and prompts calls during the holidays, Madans said.
He laughed again – so I could guess what he was about to say.
I guessed correctly: the toilet. You can’t do without it when you have 28 guests over for Thanksgiving dinner.