CORNWALL, P.E.I. - It was a last-minute trip to Toronto in 2017 that gave Rick Milsom a business idea to provide a professional service for homeowners while travelling.
Milsom, a retired Toronto Police Service officer of 35 years, needed someone to watch his home and two cats while he was away for about a week. Milsom, a relatively new Cornwall resident, eventually found a neighbour to help out, but it was a struggle.
That experience led Milsom to start P.E.I. Home Check in April.
The focus of the business is to meet the expectations of most home insurance providers by checking the inside and outside of a home for weather damage, sewage backup, water leaks, vandalism and break-ins, as well as maintain the heat to prevent frozen pipes and remove newspapers and flyers to give the home a “lived in” look when a homeowner is away for more than a few days.
“What people have done traditionally is relied on their friends, relatives and neighbours. But, I’m of the opinion that there must be a segment of the population that either doesn’t have those connections – maybe some newcomers to the Island that don’t have those networks in place,” said Milsom.
“There is also the fact that, do you necessarily want to ask your relative or friend to come in and check on your home. And, if you do, how diligent are they at doing it?”
Milsom will also take care of pets and water plants for an additional fee, but the main focus is providing a service for insurance purposes.
Milsom joined the Toronto Police Service when he was 18, and retired in 2013. He moved to the Island about three years ago on the advice of a co-worker. Milsom worked for Red Shores Racetrack and Casino in the surveillance department, but recently left to devote his time to the business.
In his new role, Milsom is providing year-round service for Charlottetown, Cornwall and Stratford.
Before leaving on a vacation, clients provide an emergency contact list, which includes at least one person living on the Island. Other contacts include the homeowner’s heating provider, preferred plumber, electrician and veterinarian.
For the homeowner’s insurance records, Milsom emails them an interior and an exterior image of the home with a date and time stamp to verify he attended the home. He also keeps a checklist of the services provided and carries a copy of his criminal record check for clients to view.
Pricing and other information can be obtained at peihomecheck.ca.