The thing I like so much about Florida is the slower lifestyle. Nobody is in a hurry here and life is a lot more relaxed. People enjoy life but they do it at their pace – they walk slowly, they drive slowly, they enjoy slowly!
The only people who do hurry are the home watch companies. They need to. People come and go in Florida and often their homes need taking care of. If a home watch company gets a call to come out to a house, or if an alarm is going off, they need to be at the property in a hurry.
I did a lot of research before settling on which home watch company to use. Home watch and security are BIG BUSINESSes, all over the USA, which means there is a lot of choices.
For me to choose a decent home watch company in Florida meant that I had to chat with a lot of people, ask questions, do research and get references. Here are my top 7 ways to find the best home watch company in Florida.
1. Do You Need a Home Watch Company?
First of all, don’t fall into the trap of just presuming you need a home watch company. Security companies often prey on your fears – they tell you that you are going to get burgled, that there are criminals out there, that you need a home watch. Do you?
I know I definitely do because I live in a house in the suburbs with a low outer wall and when I’m away I like somebody to keep an eye out, but – if you’re in a secure complex, maybe you don’t. It’s possible your neighbors may be very happy to watch your home for you.
2. Chat to your neighbors.
I have a theory that you and your neighbors, or your street, should all be using the same home watch company in Florida. This actually applies to any state. If you all use the same home watch company, it’s easier for the home watch company to keep an eye on all your houses at the same time.
While they’re checking if Number 10 is okay, they may as well check in Number 14 is fine. The more of you that use the same company also means you can negotiate rates. My street now has about 12 homes that use the same company and it’s totally marvelous.
3. Make sure your home watch company is registered and insured.
Use a company that follows the law. You don’t want someone watching your house who may well be a little dodgy himself. Your home watch company must be licensed and insured and also bonded, so check out their credentials.
If you get an offer that seems unbelievably low, the person may well just be riding by on his bicycle every couple of days. Do your research and get references. And stay away from the guys on bikes is my personal opinion!
4. Be clear about your expectations.
If you are employing a home watch company in Florida, be very clear about what you expect. You may want them to go by once or twice a day just to check on things. They may only come if the alarm is sounding. Be sure that the company can meet your expectations and be clear about what you expect them to do.
You can also ask a home watch company to send you a daily update about your home. If the cannot do this, you may just want to employ somebody else.
5. Ask them to do the little things.
It’s a great idea to get a home watch company that will go the extra mile. The first time I was away from my home, I didn’t think about the mail. When I got home, I had tons in my mailbox and also lying all around the floor.
A good home watch company will pick up your mail for you, slip it under the door or keep it safe. A good home watch company will also willingly buy you a few groceries so when you come home, there’s cheese and milk in the fridge. They’ll also let your gardening or pool service in and out if you arrange this in advance.
6. Always meet in advance.
My bad, but the first time I arranged a home watch company in Florida I did it on the phone. Yes, I checked their references and insurances, but I never met them in advance. It was okay and nothing bad happened but in retrospect, always know who you are working with.
This particular company had assured me of a few things which they didn’t quite deliver on! So, meet in advance, ask questions and you will be able to tell by the answers if they actually know what they’re doing. And if you have pets, do not employ a home watch company that is scared of them!
Number 7, which is a kind of bonus is – just don’t go away! Florida is fantastic and I am so happy living here with the wonderful climate, a way of life, no stress and brilliant people. I’m pretty sure I could stay here forever. I have the best neighbors and we’re all happy to look out for one another.
Let me know what you think. Do you use home watch companies or do you just lock up and go? Perhaps you arrange house sitters or house swaps. There are a lot of alternatives out there, although I do think a good home watch is the way to go. Let me know what you do and maybe other readers will get some good ideas. House swaps do interest me, although I’ve done so much work on mine I don’t think I ever want to leave it!