— Moving can be a pain. There’s an endless list of
tasks, such as making sure you have electricity, cable,
Internet and other utilities that make a house hum.
North Texas, consumers can turn to a budding industry of
utility personal shoppers who do the work of finding the
best deals for free. Customers do not pay for the
service; providers such as Verizon and AT&T pay the
companies when they sign up customers.
want to make sure we give you the best rates," said
Gabe Abshire, founder and CEO of Dallas-based Utility
Concierge. "We’ll save you time, money and
estimates that the average consumer could deal with 36
different people and nine companies when moving into a
Concierge is one of the bigger local players in the
industry. Founded in 2009, Utility Concierge operates
mainly in the Dallas-Fort Worth region with about 8
percent of the marketplace, Abshire said. The 25-person
firm also operates in Houston, San Antonio and Austin.
company focuses on the residential market, partnering
with real estate agents, mortgage brokers, insurance
agents and others to find clients. Abshire wants to
eventually branch out to the commercial sector.
Russell, a real estate agent, said she began referring
homebuyers to Utility Concierge eight months ago.
who is not paid for making referrals, said Utility
Concierge is an additional service that she can market
to her clients. So far, Russell said she has gotten
positive feedback from clients who have used the
saves them a lot of time and effort of not having to
make all those phone calls," she said.
Concierge got its start when Abshire started a satellite
television installation company in 2004. Three years
later, he bought a security company.
said he saw an opportunity to provide a full array of
utility services and offer a seamless experience for
have doubled annually for the last four years, Abshire
said, noting that Utility Concierge is profitable.
company faces several competitors, including WhiteFence,
a Houston-based company that provides online tools for
consumers to compare prices for home services.
WhiteFence was acquired last year by competitor
Allconnect Inc. in Atlanta.
Connect, based in Colony, Texas, began by helping
customers find electricity providers and has expanded
into cable, Internet, telephone, insurance and city
Connect CEO and President Nate Steele said sales have
increased 400 percent in the last year and a half as
residents have become more aware of the service.
service providers offer similar fees for signing up new
customers, Steele said the company does not promote one
provider over another.
work with our customers and we make sure they know
everything upfront and what they’re getting
into," Steele said.
Abshire said Utility Concierge is "agnostic"
Utility Concierge and Utility Connect have received an A
rating from the Better Business Bureau serving Dallas
and northeast Texas.
the service is free, consumers should still ask
questions, read any agreement and understand policies
related to resolving complaints against service
providers that the companies recommend, said Jeannette
Kopko, senior vice president of communications at BBB in
resident Rachel Allen used Utility Concierge on a friend’s
referral when she moved into a new home in January.
she had a short three-day window to move, Allen needed
to quickly set up electricity, gas, Internet and cable,
she said. Within hours of calling for help, Allen
received an email detailing appointment times as well as
Monday when we were moving in, we had everything we
needed in terms of lights, A/C and gas," Allen
said. "If you don’t want to use the service they
find for you, you could do your own thing. It takes them
no time at all to punch in your address and find the
best rates. I would rather them do it than me."