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Winter-Time Property Management: An Interview with Lisa Cook of Island Service Company

By Lisa Cook

Tell us about your company and its foundation

Island Service Company was founded in the early 1980's by Paul Smith of Meredith, NH. It started out as a small seasonal company with a couple of boats trying to gain a foothold into the maintenance needs of the summer folks on the islands of Lake Winnipesauke. In 1995 Paul Smith sold the company to Paul Borders who shortly afterwards took on two partners, Marc Lacasse and Buddy Long. In the years since, Paul, Buddy and Marc have worked hard to expand the company into what it is today, a year round, high grossing, multifaceted marine construction company. They employ a number of skilled carpenters and laborers and have a client base extending over 4 bodies of water in the Lakes Region.

What are some of the services you offer?

Island Service Company specializes in all forms of custom home building, including renovations and additions as well as dock construction and repair. They are also state certified for septic installation and pump most of the systems on the islands via their 15' x 40' barge with a holding tank capacity of 1800 gallons. With their fleet of work boats, two barges, their 308 Caterpillar excavator, Caterpillar Back hoe, skid steer and large capacity storage building they can handle any and all of their client's needs.

For clients who do not live in their homes during the winter, how can you assure them peace of mind when it comes to their property?

Island Service Company contracts with a number of their clients to assist them with their off season needs. They patrol their homes and property throughout the winter as well as install and monitor the ice eaters that protect permanent docks from damaging ice flow. During heavy snowfall winters they shovel roofs and walkways and repair as necessary any storm related damage.

How much contact do you have with the homeowners during the winter?

Island Service Company contacts the homeowners immediately with any visual signs of disturbances to their property while out doing routine patrols. As well, oftentimes the winter is when a lot of the spring work gets lined up and so they have a lot of preconstruction conversations with clients over the winter months. This insures both parties that once the ice is out the work can begin.

What is your basic routine for maintaining a home during the winter?

Many clients of ISC contract with them to close down their homes after they have left for the season. This may include any or all of the following services: shutting off and winterizing all water supplies, taking in outdoor furniture, pulling the dock from the water or installing an ice eater if it's a permanent dock, taking smaller boats out of the water, i.e., canoes and kayaks, cleaning gutters, removing boat canopies and securing windows and doors. Once the home is shut down and secure, ISC does weekly maintenance checks via snowmobiles throughout the winter.

What challenges do you face when it comes to maintaining a winter home?

The challenges of maintaining a seasonal home on an island during the winter can be minimal. You do your best to secure the home, drain the pipes, protect the dock and just be ready to fix whatever winter storm damage may come.

What's the best way to contact you and your company?

There are a couple of easily accessible avenues to reach us. Our phone number (603-279-4937) is manned almost 24 hours a day and any messages are generally returned within a couple of hours. We also have an email address (info@islandservicecompany.com) which is monitored and responded to almost immediately.

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Phone: 603-279-4937

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