Mike Iwicki is the owner of Eyes & Ears, LLC. His goal is to help remote property owners protect their investment by keeping their properties secure, safe, and sound. For owners who can’t just pop down to check on things, meet with vendors, or do repairs, Eyes & Ears is their trusted onsite resource.
How long have you been in business in Currituck County?
Incorporated (LLC) in March 2017 but was in test marketing for 6 months before that.
Can you describe your business?
We begin a relationship by doing a complete assessment of the property and then visit the property at least once each week. We strive to meet the rental guests and provide direct feedback to the owner.
Eyes & Ears does advanced DIY work, but if the job requires a licensed professional we will make all arrangements on behalf of the owner. We also help owners figure out how to tackle new projects and will manage the progress of vendors doing major work and report to the owner on a frequent basis.
Most Eyes & Ears customers offer their properties for rent, either during the summer season or year-round, and enjoy the added attention and reporting we bring beyond what they feel their rental companies can provide. We service full VRBO customers, mixed-program customers, and those who deal only with a rental company.
Why did you start the business?
After moving back into my newly-rebuilt home (first one lost to fire), I noted an odd sound coming from a neighbor's outside HVAC unit. The neighbors, who don't live on the OBX, appreciated that my noting the strange noises saved them a lot of money since it was caught early. Other remote neighbors began to ask me to "check on things," and at some point I figured out this might be a billable service to offer.
Why do you do what you do?
I love helping people. Simple as that. I love fixing things; diagnosing issues; and representing people's needs and concerns when they can't easily do it themselves.
Why did you locate your business in Currituck County?
My family relocated here, mostly at my insistence, to escape the crazy life we were engaged in after living in the DC area for 14 years. The Currituck Outer Banks offered a quiet, community setting we did not find in other OBX towns.
What are your biggest challenges as a business owner?
The biggest challenge, at the outset, was trying to figure out how to reach my prospects. Not more than five lived in the same zip code anywhere in the US. I mined the Currituck County property owner database and got excellent help from the County on a special download of data. After that, the ongoing challenge is bandwidth and resources. My business growth is limited to what I can do myself until I can find reliable, responsible and skilled help that can get up here.
What are the biggest rewards?
I've received many calls and emails from customers who tell me that they now can sleep well at night knowing Eyes & Ears is watching out for their Currituck OBX property needs. That, and the "we could not do this without you!" messages give me the energy and determination to do my very best.
What sets you apart from other similar businesses?
I live in Corolla. All my customers are in Corolla. I visit each customer property at least once per week, year-round, and I'm never more than 10 minutes away from any property that needs immediate attention. I will get to know the owner's needs, and their property, better than anyone else on Earth.
What's one piece of advice you would give to someone starting a business in Currituck County?
Leverage the County resources! Benji at the Corolla water plant; Nick at the Permits Office in Corolla; guys from the Waste Treatment plant; the IT folks -- there are dozens of Currituck County employees who are able and willing to help a new business get started and provide info as needed. They understand the nature of the business here, and the needs of the tax payers and residents.
This Currituck Small Business Spotlight first appeared in COAST OBX.
Eyes & Ears, LLC is located in Corolla, NC.