Kara Bartelt is no stranger to a hard hat. Before starting as the Director of Engineering and Property Operations at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, (one of the city’s hippest and most historical spots) Kara was a practicing architect with a studio of her own. So when it comes to getting projects done, Kara knows a thing or two—and she knows when to turn to Thumbtack for help.
We sat down with Kara to get the scoop on how she uses Thumbtack to maintain one of the most glamorous spots on the west coast, most recently to renovate the hotel’s (olympic-size!) 1920’s swimming pool.
What would you say is your favorite thing about your job?
Everyday on the job is different. I never know what’s going to come up—good or bad, and that can be really nerve-racking or really exciting. I particularly love working at this hotel. It has such an incredible history with the United Artists Theater downstairs, and the people I come to work with are so smart and fierce and just a joy to be around.
When did you start using Thumbtack at the Ace Hotel?
When established vendors fell through on us, the whole staff would be in a bind. That’s when I started turning to Thumbtack. Rather than going through the process of cold calling and asking for references, I would create a request on Thumbtack and find a pro who was ready to work with us on the same day.
We’ve done everything from last-minute floor replacements to hiring a pro for an odor removal project just a couple hours before a guest was set to check into the room. Capital improvements to the hotel require a three bid minimum. Before Thumbtack I was cold-calling to find three competitive bids, and it took a lot of time and energy. Now, when I send a request, I automatically get five. That’s huge.
How did you find the pro who renovated the hotel’s pool?
The pro we found to fix the hotel’s pool literally saved my life. I was about to pay $9,000 to for renovations when we called him from Thumbtack. He came by to see the pool and recommended a different way to work with the space that would save us $6,000. His proposal was clear and it made a lot of sense and saved us a lot of material.
We used the savings from that job to work with the pro again, this time to transfer the pool from a standard chemical cleaner to a whole new salt pool system.
Do you work regularly with the pros you’ve found on Thumbtack?
I manage all of our vendor relationships and contracts, and Thumbtack has been a great tool for finding high-quality vendors that we can keep coming back to for new projects. When you manage a hotel’s building systems and maintenance, there is rarely a slow moment. Having these quality pros available when something pops up—and something always pops up—is a necessity of my job.
Favorite things about my job. Every day is different – I never know what’s going to come up either good or bad. I particularly love working at the hotel – people are great to work with.
What’s your secret to finding such great pros?
See what the pro has to offer and what other people have said about them. The reviews do 80 percent of the work for you. If a pro is both well-reviewed and highly-reviewed you know that person will be competent, and because you can set your price in your request, you know they’ll be competent too.
See why Kara calls Thumbtack her favorite app in this interview with the Career Contessa.