The Frazzled Traveler’s Secret to a Well-Kept Home
Preparing for a trip can be daunting no matter what pleasure or adventure awaits you on the other side. A new on-demand service aims to relieve some of the stress—and the hassle of getting a neighbor to water the plants or pick up packages.
Alfred, a subscription service that launched in September 2014, visits customers’ homes once a week, tending to everything from dry cleaning to gardens to an empty fridge. It started out as a way for people to take care of their errands while they were at work, but almost a third of early clients began asking for help related to upcoming travel.
For example, Colin Nagy, a New York-based marketing executive whose job requires frequent trips to the Middle East and Asia, was an early adopter of the service. He used Alfred to keep his apartment clean and, when he went on a trip, have it primed for his return with fresh flowers and a stocked fridge.
The service has expanded to assist travelers who want to rent out their homes while they’re away. Alfred’s staff will coordinate key drop-offs, clean up, and prepare the house for the homeowner’s arrival.
Alfred’s pricing varies, with weekly and monthly subscriptions available. Users, for example, can pay $89 per month for one weekly visit and an unlimited number of services per trip. An Alfred assistant could coordinate cleanings, water the plants, and unload groceries (you still have to pay for the food, dry cleaning and other stuff you’d normally shell out for). Extra visits cost up to $35 each per week. Full in-home service is available in New York City and Boston and remote assistance, which could include coordinating dry cleaning at your hotel or package delivery, is available throughout the United States.