December Newsletter 2023

2023 Review and 2024 Outlook 

How was your 2023?

Ours was fun and eventful but much too short!!! As the years go by, they seem to go faster and faster.

We want to be among the first to wish you an incredibly Happy New Year and hope for a prosperous 2024. 

Before we wave goodbye to 2023, we thought we would reflect on our year and share the good and the bad with you.

For starters, the good. Our clients. We love you. It’s not about the money or the reputation, for us it’s about our relationships. With you and your family, with your pets, and with your home in general.

Angela tells me cute stories all the time about her interactions with you and it truly feels like family to us. Thankfully, we employ a lot of happy people as well and each one that cleans your home feels a bond with you, which we appreciate. In short, it’s way more than housecleaning for us, and for that we are grateful. 

You may not realize that we started back in 1998, so for many of you there are 25 years of relationships. Hard to believe really, but here we are, still chugging along, in many cases cleaning the homes of the young children, now adults, that we met way back then.

We also are thankful for our many partners and contributors, and we feel like those relationships got even stronger in 2023. Coming out of the weird “pandemic times” seems to have brought many of us closer, which is also a wonderful feeling.

So, what could have been better in 2023?

Well, those of you who know us well know that we suffer from painful honesty as we traverse this world of commerce, so we will tell it like it is.

The labor situation across the Front Range is challenging at best. 

You may not be aware that Denver had the third-highest statutory minimum wage in the United States at $17.29. That will be rising in 2024 to $18.29. We absolutely hate raising prices, but with the majority of our costs coming from labor, our fine city has left us no choice. 

If you look at recent history, you can see why local businesses are facing such pressure. 

The citywide minimum wage was $12.85 per hour in 2020, $14.77 per hour in 2021, $15.87 per hour in 2022, and $17.29 per hour in 2023. The 2024 wage represents a 42% increase from 2020. Pretty startling when you see it in print. 

Also startling is that the federal minimum wage is still only $7.25. Wow.

Related to labor in 2023, we have also had difficulty hiring the right people to clean your homes. We will not hire just anyone, as we believe what we do and how we do it is quite different than anyone else, so this was a challenge as well.

Going forward into 2024 we vow to do everything in our power to offset the headwinds that are facing our business (and most others). We will continue to do everything possible to keep our costs down so we can manage our pricing effectively and give you the value we know you desire.

Angela has some pointers about how to keep the cost of your cleans down going forward, see this month’s Queen Bee feature below to learn more.

We are committed to remaining consistent and delivering the Front Range’s best housecleaning service. If for any reason you ever feel like we aren’t doing that, please let us know immediately. We stand behind what we do 100% and can’t live with anyone feeling unsatisfied.

So onward into 2024. For those of you who make resolutions, we found some tips about just how to keep them.

We wish you the best for 2024 and hope that it is a wonderful and truly magnificent year for every one of you.

As always, you have our gratitude and our commitment to be the best partner you and your home can ask for.

Happy New Year!!!

Pay Those Red Light Tickets

Ah yes, the old red-light tickets and photo traffic enforcement. For years we weren’t sure about whether or not they had to be paid. 

In fact, in Colorado before June of this year, we technically didn’t have to, unless we were served in person.

In a little-publicized law that was enacted this past June, that is no longer the case.

From the article on Fox News, “The new law passed in June says that when your citation is mailed first class, it’s been served to you. It doesn’t matter if it was sent to an old address, or you claim that you didn’t get it in the mail.”

“As soon as they send it out, you’re affirmed guilty,” said Ramirez. “It doesn’t matter if they have the right address or right anything, it’s on you to make sure that all your information is up to date, make sure all your licensing and information is up to date, at all times. Because if it’s not, that isn’t necessarily going to be an excuse for the fine.”

Looks like another revenue stream for our government indeed.

Should you fail to pay within 30 days, the fine will go up, and ultimately you will be sent to collection, which could negatively impact your credit rating.

The complete article on the law change can be found here.

The bill and all of its juicy details can be found here, in case you want to see the nuts and bolts.

Finally, we found a comprehensive list of all red light and traffic cameras here, in case you want to be on the lookout.

Do be aware though, that there are temporary cameras that are often set up in places not on this list, so keep your guard up!!

2024 Lower Heating Bills 

Not long ago, we covered the increases we have all had to endure with our monthly energy bills.

It appears Xcel has listened and there is good news coming.

From the recent article in the Denver Business Journal, “Xcel said Friday it expects monthly natural gas bills for home heating to drop by 4.5% on average in the first quarter of next year compared to current prices, and the typical monthly bill will drop 28% when compared to what it was in the first quarter of 2023.”

“That’s an average residential savings of $4.87 per month compared to bills for heating this month and represents a typical heating bill reduction of $39.11 per month compared to what the typical homeowner paid Xcel for natural gas heating at the start of 2023, the utility said.”

“For small businesses, the heating bills in January-March will drop 5.14%, saving small companies on average $23.28 per month and making the typical small-business heating bill $429.46. Compared to the first-quarter bills in 2023, the prices will shave $186.45 per month off the $615.91 monthly bill the average small business paid at the start of 2023.”

This is great news for all of us and a fine way to start 2024. 

The complete article from the Denver Business Journal can be found here.

The Denver Post also did a piece today on what we can expect going forward into ’24. For those of you with a Post subscription, that article can be found here.

In this inflationary economy, every bit helps, so we are excited about this development!

Denver’s Best Restaurants New and Old 

It’s been a while since we discussed Denver’s dining scene.

We still love to eat and enjoy Denver’s great culinary scene, so here goes.

Let’s start with 5280’s list of the best new restaurants in our fine city.

From Chilean food to two new French restaurants, Denver has us covered. That dish in the photo is courtesy of LeFrench, and it looks delicious to us.

The complete list of newcomers to our dining scene can be found here, thanks to 5280 Magazine.

We love novel places, but we also love our staples.

So, what are the best 25 restaurants across the Front Range?

Well, avid reader, you might recognize some of the staples on this list. Frasca (Boulder) for example, is a perennial member of the list.

Uchi has also made this list before, but we also found many establishments that we haven’t tried yet that look fascinating. 

We can, however, recommend A5 as one of the best steaks we have ever had, including a bavette and tri-tip cut one rarely sees in restaurants. 

The complete list of the top 25 restaurants in Denver can be found here.

Unfortunately, they aren’t ranked in any order, so we will have to try them all and see for ourselves.

Hope to see you out there, fellow diners.

Home Downsizing for Seniors

By Guest Writer Max Stevens, National Contractors Association

You’re embarking on an exciting new chapter, transitioning into a smaller, more manageable living space that will ensure both your continued safety and a reduction in expenses. However, this journey requires careful planning and consideration, especially when it involves leaving a home filled with memories and possessions. In this article, courtesy of Denver Concierge, we’ll offer a comprehensive guide to help you navigate through this significant life change efficiently and thoughtfully.

Estate Planning Insights

As you consider selling your cherished home, it’s crucial to understand the estate planning implications. Consulting with an estate planner ensures that decisions about property ownership and inheritance are well-informed. They will guide you through potential tax impacts, helping you preserve your financial legacy for your loved ones. This step is vital for peace of mind and financial clarity.

Tech-Savvy Home Prep

In preparing your current home for sale, technology can be your ally. Home management apps are invaluable, connecting you with reliable contractors for necessary updates or repairs. For instance, if your home requires appliance repair, these apps can be a quick, efficient solution that allow you to find the best service for your budget. Leveraging technology streamlines the process, making your transition smoother and more efficient.

Evaluating Care Options

For some, the best downsizing option might be a skilled nursing facility, offering specialized care and support. Thoroughly research facilities online, examining each one’s services, reputation, and care quality. This decision is deeply personal and requires thoughtful consideration of your health, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Making an informed choice will ensure comfort and peace of mind in your new home.

Refinancing Strategies

Consider the financial benefits of refinancing your existing home. In an ever-changing economic landscape, refinancing might offer more favorable interest rates or access to additional funds, aiding your downsizing transition. This financial move could provide you with more liquidity or better mortgage terms, aligning with your current needs and future plans.

Declutter with Expertise

Downsizing often means parting with possessions that won’t fit in your new space. Hiring a professional organizer can transform this daunting task into an achievable, even enjoyable, process. They’ll help you sort through belongings, decide what to keep, donate, or discard, making your move smoother and less overwhelming. Their expertise can turn a challenging task into a liberating experience. You can also hire a professional cleaning crew to come in and help you prepare your home for sale, which will cut down on potential trip-and-fall hazards and ensure that the space is ready for your buyers.

Market Timing Mastery

Understanding the real estate market’s current state is essential before selling your home. The market’s condition significantly influences sale prices and the ease of finding a buyer. Conduct thorough research or consult a real estate expert to determine the best time to sell. Timing your move right could lead to a more profitable and stress-free selling experience.

Tax-Savvy Moving

Investigating potential tax exemptions or deductions related to downsizing is a crucial step in optimizing your financial strategy. A consultation with a tax professional could uncover opportunities to maximize the financial benefits of your move, which might otherwise be overlooked. Understanding these tax implications can lead to significant savings, directly impacting your financial health during this transition.

Your journey to downsizing is a multi-faceted process that involves more than just moving to a smaller space; it’s about making informed, strategic decisions for a comfortable and secure future. By thoroughly considering key aspects and utilizing tools such as a home maintenance repair app, you lay the foundation for a smooth transition. Embracing this change with confidence comes from knowing that you are well-prepared and have considered all angles of this life shift. This new chapter in your life, filled with potential and promise, is a testament to your thoughtful planning and readiness for change.

Ready to get some help with cleaning your home? Get in touch with the team at Denver Concierge today to learn more about the services you can choose from.

Monthly Award Winners

Our monthly award winners for November were Maria Zapata, Mary Moreno, Josefina Quinonez, Haydee Espinosa, and Patricia Rodriguez.

In the Team Leader ranks, it was Brenda Garcia and Isela Mendoza.

We are so proud of our winners, and of all the folks that are in and out of your homes each week.

We are also very appreciative to be a part of your lives and your homes. You provide the platform for our teams to perform, and for that we are grateful.

Please join me in congratulating our best performers for the month of November.

Be on the lookout next month as we announce our annual winners for 2023!

Queen Bee Corner

by Angela

Recently I have been receiving client texts asking what you can do as clients to make your housecleaning day more efficient, i.e., more timely and less costly, without forgoing the quality.

The following scenario, while likely unattainable in its entirety,  will illustrate the various traits that go into creating the optimum clean. 

On the clean day, the best scenario; a team arrives, parks next to the house, uses a code or key to enter.  Clients are not home.  Pets are corralled in a pet area, surfaces are uncluttered, and floors are free of clothing and toys.

Instructions have been relayed via text to the Team Leader at the time of dispatch so each team member knows her specific task.  Starting at the top of the house the team works its way down to the bottom, like clockwork, no hindrances. Orderly, efficient, detailed, and timely.

Obviously, individual family lifestyles, size, furnishings, and schedules all go into what aspects of the above scenario could be adopted on any given clean day.

More clients now work from home, unexpected workers or guests show up, science or craft projects need to remain in place; however, even managing one or two small aspects from the above will help with the overall efficiency.

And keep in mind, I am just a text away for any questions.