A Harwinton resident’s home repair franchise “a business with a purpose for me”


HARWINTON — For aging homeowners, even small jobs can get tough: changing a light bulb, replacing screens or fixing a squeaky door. Family members can help, but not always; they can live away from their parents.

The next step is to find a handyman, someone who will come and take care of those little things. But that’s easier said than done — the pandemic and rising business costs have left a void, according to Harwinton resident Craig Henry.

Henry opened a Litchfield County franchise in June of TruBlue Total Home Carewhich provides these types of services on-demand or on a contract basis in which a trained and certified TruBlue staff member comes to assist in the home.

The company has locations in more than 25 states.

Henry worked for an elevator company for 23 years, he said, and fell 13ft on the job in 2018. He did his rehabilitation at Valerie Manor in Torrington. “I spent months there,” he said. “I broke my ankle, my knee, my back bones. …I couldn’t walk or drive for months. I’ve had surgeries and reconstruction, and I feel great now. But when I was in rehab, I had plenty of time to think about what I wanted to do next.

During his recovery, Henry and his wife, Heather, realized that their home needed to be equipped for his physical needs.

“I had problems doing anything at home,” Henry said. “The handyman had to intervene because my house was not suited to my needs. I started thinking about the fact that there must be a lot of people who want to stay at home, but they can’t because they can’t keep up with maintenance and repairs.

He also noticed that for “little things”, like replacing an electrical switch or a small paint job, it was not easy to find someone to do the job. “I had a contractor doing our dream kitchen here in Harwinton, but it took time,” he said. “It’s hard to get people to call you back; contractors didn’t call back, or they didn’t give quotes, or they just didn’t show up.

“And that’s for big jobs,” Henry said. “There is a void for small jobs – the everyday things that help run the house.”

Clients may be a widow or a widower living alone in the family home. It may be a couple living in their longtime residence, where the “little things” have overwhelmed them, and the house is falling apart.

With his company, “we do maintenance programs, where we go out every month with a checklist, and we do things like replace light bulbs and do repairs,” he said.

“Our customers are very grateful,” said Henry. “We provide top notch service, and they are so happy and willing to pay what we charge. The guys we send on these jobs have had a background check, and if the client has any questions, we’ll respond immediately with a phone call. We don’t leave and don’t get paid until they are satisfied.

Since launching TruBlue from NW Connecticut, he has had many repeat customers. “There is definitely a need,” he said. “I deal with the business side of the business, and for me, that’s a personal connection. I have mobility issues, and so do they. I can help them age in place.

“You don’t want to tell them, ‘You need a wheelchair ramp,’ or grab bars, things like that,” he said. “But if you show customers options to make their homes more accessible, you can help them maintain their dignity and they can stay in their homes.

“It’s a business with a purpose for me,” Henry said. “I give back and help people.”

Sean Fitzgerald, president of TruBlue, said the company was founded in 2011; he joined the company as president in 2020. “TruBlue was born after its founders realized that home maintenance was a challenge for older people,” he said.

“I have a background in franchising and eldercare, and learned about that industry as well as the challenges people face with aging parents,” he said. “At the time, I was looking for a solution like TruBlue, and when I heard about it, I wanted to get involved. It’s such a great concept and so much needed. It has grown rapidly ever since.

The company has owners in Washington State, Florida, California and Arizona, and is new to Connecticut with the Henry franchise. “We try to grow in any major market,” Fitzgerald said.

The home repair business can include a lot of things, and TruBlue doesn’t do a lot of remodeling, he said.

“We can make bathroom coolers and bathtubs for the elderly, things like that, but our main customers need help around their homes, especially busy families and elderly people,” a- he declared. “If it’s something bigger or more complex, we can bid on projects for the client. … Our owners are certified to help people age in place.

Fitzgerald said a well-maintained home is important for the safety of those who live there and also contributes to home value.

“By investing in routine maintenance, the owner retains more value,” he said. “So when they sell it, that maintenance will pay for itself.”

To learn more about TruBlue Total House Care, visit https://trubluehousecare.com/nw-connecticut or call 475-316-1645.


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