Entrepreneur’s ‘360Butler’ venture offers homeowners concierge service


A businessman who has moved here from Miami with a background in packaging rental properties for purchase by private investors has come up with a bright idea to help homeowners.

Fabrizio Santoro’s venture, called 360Butler, is operating in beta mode now, and is set to go county-wide next month serving homeowners on the island and in mainland Vero and Sebastian.

“We won’t be going to Fort Pierce or Melbourne,” he says. “I want to keep the geographical area small and make sure we can handle the workload before expanding.”

360Butler aims to provide homeowners with the equivalent of an estate manager who takes over all the hassles – research, phone calls, appointments, evaluating bids, waiting for contractors to show up – for the full spectrum of home maintenance, repair and remodeling.

Oh, and the service is free.

“When you become a client, you are assigned a personal butler who comes out to your home and introduces himself,” says Santoro, who sold his South Florida business and moved here three years ago to extricate his family from escalating urban intensity in Miami Beach.

“There is no switching around. You keep the same butler as long as you have the service, and they manage any work you want done, consulting with you about projects, getting and reviewing bids, and making recommendations about who to hire.

“There is no cost to the homeowner. We make money by taking a referral fee from vendors, who love the program because it makes their lives simpler, too. We thoroughly vet vendors and are able to get wholesale prices because of the scope of the business and because we know what a fair cost is for any service.”

Island realtors like the concept.

“I think it is a great idea,” says ONE Sotheby’s agent Janice Jolly. “I am sure there will be customers I will recommend it to.”

“It’s a brilliant concept,” says Premier Estate Properties estate agent Lange Sykes. “So much so, you ask yourself why something like this doesn’t already exist on a large scale.

“Saving homeowners all the time and hassle of dealing with the trades is very valuable. To my knowledge, there isn’t anything else out there like this, and I think the idea has huge potential and real legs to be a major disruptor in the industry.”

“We and the investors we’re networked with think that no one will be calling vendors directly 10 years from now,” says Santoro. “I don’t know if it will be my company that makes that happen. There may have been 10 Ubers before Uber that we never heard of, and I might be one of those. But we believe it will happen.”

“I love the service. It has been the best thing ever for me,” says Tareek Beasley, a longtime agent at Keller Williams island office who is participating in the beta phase of the business.

“I was Fabrizio’s agent on a couple of deals after he moved here, and he told me about his idea back then. It is great to see it come to fruition.

“It has relieved me of all the big headaches I’ve had as a homeowner over the years. I am the one who tends to procrastinate when something needs to be done around the house, partly because I don’t want to be taken advantage of by contractors, and those headaches are gone.

“I’ve had eight or 10 things taken care of through 360Butler at my old house and at my new house I bought four months ago, everything from a loose gutter to installing an outdoor kitchen, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Santoro was born in Montreal and moved to Miami with his family when he was 10 years old, growing up there before it became a high-velocity world city.

“Believe it or not, 40 years ago, Miami was a lot like Vero Beach is now,” he says.

Santoro got his start in real estate in that earlier Miami, flipping rental properties as part of his business.

Operating as Alto Investments, which included both a real estate brokerage and a general contracting firm, he transitioned after the housing crash into amalgamating groups of fixed-up rental properties for sale to big investors such as FiveTen Capital, FirstKey Homes and Blackstone.

“We typically sold them 100 to 300 homes at a time,” Santoro says.

Over a short period of time, a major part of the business shifted to maintaining the sprawling echelons of rental homes owned by private equity firms and other investors.

“As quickly as hedge funds got into the business of buying up distressed properties and renting them out, they hit a big bump in the road. They couldn’t control maintenance costs the same way they could in an apartment complex with an employee driving around on a golf cart or going up and down an elevator,” Santoro continues.

“They were at the mercy of contractors they didn’t know coming in and scrawling something on a piece of paper and putting a number at the bottom, and the uncontrolled maintenance costs were hurting their cap rate.

“That’s when they came to us and asked us to handle that part of the business for them. We were maintaining 3,000 single-family homes. We had a reliable pool of vendors who did the work under our supervision as general contractors. We provided investors with the paperwork to show what was done when and why and they paid us to maintain and repair the properties. That was the genesis of 360Butler concept.”

Business was good for the Miami Beach resident, but crime, overcrowding and traffic were on the rise during the pandemic migration, and in 2021 Santoro and his Lorena Santoro decided they wanted to raise their four young children in a less urban environment.

“My wife and I are avid campers and we had camped at Sebastian Inlet, so we knew the area, and I like buying and selling waterfront properties, so we decided to move here and ended up buying a home in Sebastian.

“We have a small portfolio of rental homes we’ve purchased here but I found there was too much competition for the waterfront properties that looked like profitable flips, so I decided to focus my efforts on the butler idea, which my wife and I have been talking about since 2016.”

The Santoros’ business model leverages technology and expertise in dealing with tradesmen and other vendors to create efficiencies and economies of scale that carve out space for a profit margin while making life simpler for both homeowners and vendors.

“People may not realize it, but there is a right price for every part and service in home maintenance and repair,” Santoro says. “Of course, vendors need to markup parts and labor, but not in an excessive way.

“When a vendor wants to sign up with us, we ask them what they charge for emergency service or whatever and if it’s too much, we tell them they can’t charge that and work with us.

They have to charge a fair prevailing rate.

“They are happy to do it because we take care of their marketing and collections and create a steady stream of work.”

Santoro has proprietary software to facilitate every aspect of each transaction via phone app – including estimates, invoices and payments – whether it’s repairing a screen door in Johns Island or building a home addition on the mainland.

“I love the way it works,” says Vanessa Rizio, president of IRC Leak Detection and Plumbing, whose family has been in the plumbing business since the 1970s. “All the information you need is right there in the app and the butler meets you at the site. They send a work order and I reply to it and then we send an invoice and get paid. Everything operates efficiently and we get paid quickly.”

According to Santoro, tradesmen take a photo of the home address when they arrive and when they leave to show their time on the job and take pictures of each old part they remove and new part they install to further document the job.

Estimates, work orders, invoices and payments all flow through the app and are recorded there.

“If you wanted to sell your home at some point, you would be able to download the entire list of everything you’ve done to the home in the past five or 10 years, with costs, to show buyers, which might get you a slight premium on your price, similar to a certified vehicle,” says Santoro.

“This is a service for everyone – the person who has a $300,000 house in Sebastian and the person who has a $30 million estate on the ocean,” Santoro adds.

“People are consumed with their own lives, with work and family and recreation, and often don’t have the time or the expertise to manage home projects.

“I recently got three estimates for electrical work on the dock at my home and they came in at $5,000, $7,800 and $11,000 for the exact same scope of work,” Santoro says. “That kind of delta between bids is confusing and frustrating for the average homeowner. Who has the time to research and figure out which contractor to hire?

“Everything we are doing now is self-funded, but we have had lots of discussions with private equity investors we know or have worked with in the past who are very excited about the concept.

“As soon as this kicks, if it is the success we expect, they are ready put in the funds to take it national.”

Santoro says a private equity play could be in the form of an acquisition or an investment partnership, with company-owned or independent franchises.

“Right now, my goal is, when you call, we want to make sure we can take care of you,” Santoro says. “Longer term, I have a larger vision.

“Our clients, especially people moving to town, are always asking for referrals and good tradespeople and this is an obvious thing to offer them,” says Sykes.

“I think it’s a winning formula,” says Santoro. “I know it sounds almost too good to be true, but it works. It’s simple for homeowners and doesn’t cost them anything.”

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