Q + A

the voice of nick karas

The typical approach for home improvements and maintenance is “fix and forget” — however, when a home’s systems fail or the finishes begin to show signs of cosmetic wear, these problems likely began long before they were spotted. The solution? Proactive Home Maintenance, a service introduced by the local pros at GageHome.

Nick Karas, the owner of GageHome, identified the need to reset the standards when it came to home handiwork and founded the company based on the lack of this concierge-level service. The son of a carpenter, Nick’s purpose for home improvement runs through his blood — even if the path to entrepreneurship was winding.

What’s your story?  

Growing up in New England, I was immersed in the trades since my father was a contractor. Rushing off to the job site after my last period in high school just felt right. Building and working with my hands felt natural and creative — but I was pushed to give it up and go to college when many told me that it’s “an industry that will beat you up”.

I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship and creating value-based businesses. From experience in consulting to tech and academia, I was surrounded by highly motivated, intelligent and inspiring people who were working on some really interesting projects.

However, no one was talking about the home improvement space that was still operating the same way it was 100 years ago. I knew that, since the bar was set low, there was a lot of opportunity to rewrite what a home service company could be. I started with the question “What could a home service company look like if run like a tech start-up?”

Homes don’t come with owners’ manuals and trying to find reliable vendors can be difficult. GageHome is built upon transparency, customer service and re-envisioning a new standard for proactive home care.

The home concierge service is a monthly subscription that includes a personalized home evaluation and care plan, a single point of contact, project management, access to our vetted vendor network and our in-house handyman service to knock out even the smallest to-do’s.

Our homeowners have found great value in knowing that they just have to make one call to us, no matter what the request.

To what do you attribute your success?

I attribute my success to both a collective set of experiences of living just outside “the typical career path” and an incredible team who share a similar passion of building and innovating. I’ve learned my most valuable lessons from my worst job experiences, bad bosses, taking time off to bike through Patagonia and everything in between. Never be too proud to dig a hole and always embrace the obstacle.

How did you go about building your team of carpenters, entrepreneurs and educators?

Since we spend most of our time with the people we work with, I set out to be around people who inspire me, challenge me to be better and are ultimately talented carpenters, educators or tinkerers. I wanted to build a team of people that my clients would enjoy sitting down with for a coffee, and that includes dynamic people who understand the value of relationships and can handle hard problems while working hard for our successes.

We come together to build systems to support our collective goal — to innovate and create a new standard of home care to make home maintenance invisible.  

How does your team dynamic contribute to your vision for the future of GageHome?

It’s so important to find people who think differently than you. It’s hard to hire without bumping into your subconscious biases, so I always enjoy finding someone who can support my blind spots. Our group’s collective background ranges from the tech sector and consulting to custom home building and project management for high-end builds. We come together to build systems to support our collective goal — to innovate and create a new standard of home care to make home maintenance invisible.  

Describe how you overcome the challenges of your work.

Every project has its own set of challenges, big or small. One of the main reasons I love this work is that we’re always learning and adapting. You can truly appreciate the craft and knowledge of the master carpenters who have been doing this work for decades. We will do pretty much anything to get the job done, from getting the right people in at the right times to being constantly ready to jump in ourselves. 

On a personal note, in what ways do you manage a work/life balance? 

I used to work every weekend, but I found that while I loved serving my clients, I was generally a bit more on edge. We all enjoy getting out of the office, mountain biking, climbing, hiking and being with family.

In your opinion, what makes a house a home? 

I’ve always believed that home is a feeling; a sense of belonging, history and memories from shared experiences with family or close relationships and friends. A home takes commitment and time. What’s important is how you live in the space.

If you could recommend any pivotal books, podcasts, leaders, etc., what would you recommend?

Take your home building book, put it down, then go outside and try to build or fix  something. You may be surprised at how good it feels and how approachable it can be.