Two Litchfield County women have launched Check It Off, a home-based personal assistant and home management company.
Diane Carol, of Torrington, and Susan Smith, of Harwinton, started a business that’s more common on Connecticut’s Gold Coast or in Manhattan, where higher income earners enlist help for everyday activities.
Though it’s not mainstream for residents of Litchfield County, they see an opportunity for growth in an untapped market.
They are offering to be the “right-hand women” for busy professionals, families and the elderly in many facets of their daily lives.
The services offered are broad from shopping to home management services, including checking on properties while homeowners are away or coordinating service visits with contractors. They will do just about anything for their clients, the business partners said.
Carol and Smith have a combined background in customer service, real estate and sales.
Smith has been in direct sales for 30 years, which she said has given her “invaluable experience in customer service and sales.”
Carol has been a real estate agent for 11 years and she’s knowledgeable about the real estate market. She prides herself in giving clients great customer service and “brings a vast knowledge of the Litchfield County area and knows the people who service it,” she said.
Check It Off charges $30 an hour, $100 for a half day, or $200 for a full day of service. The company also specializes in closing estates for the elderly who can’t do it themselves, or for their grown children who can’t manage the process from another state.
The two entrepreneurs met at a networking group years ago and have been good friends since. They often would brainstorm together about business ideas prompting their venture. “It’s something we always talked about doing and one day we just said, ‘let’s do it,’” they said.
Smith said they worked with the Women’s Enterprise Initiative in Litchfield to get started. The small group of retired businesswomen offers free advice to other women business owners.
“We went to them and told them our idea,” Smith said. “They were instrumental in getting us started and this is how we evolved into a company.”
Torrington Mayor Elinor C. Carbone, who is enthusiastic about their vision, said both are competent professionals who understand the value of time.
“At a time when families are finding that life is so hectic and hurried that it is simply impossible to do everything on their checklists, two very innovated, service-oriented women have developed a way to provide the most valuable resource – time,” she said.
Anthea Disney and Carole St. Mark, Women’s Enterprise Initiative partners, said the business partners have the drive, focus and determination to succeed.
“Our role has been to help them shape their concept and develop a strategy which they are now implementing,” Disney and St. Mark said. “Because of their determination and business experience, our expectation is that they will be successful. We continue to counsel them as they go forward with their plan.”
Among their first clients are a Torrington couple who spend their winters in Florida.
The business makes their home look occupied and visits regularly to check on the property for potential maintenance issues, watering plants and bringing in the mail.
This article written by Alicia Sakal originally appeared online as premium content and on the Business front page in the April 7, 2017 edition of Republican-American, a regional daily newspaper in Connecticut. Photos: Contributed