Wealthy expectant parents in New York are paying this couple hundreds of dollars to baby-proof their homes
Fred and Courtney Ilarraza are the founders of Baby Bodyguards, a New York City-based company that offers "babyproofing" services to expectant parents.
After having their first child in 2008, they realized that babyproofing their home was a big task, and decided to launch Baby Bodyguards to meet the needs of local parents.
Their services include everything from full-home babyproofing to in-home child and infant CPR, and expert instruction on car seat installation.
Since the pandemic, Fred Ilarraza says more clients want the $700 two-story babyproofing package, as many New York families have upsized or moved to larger homes outside of the city.
The company's most elaborate job to date was for a client renting a home in the Hamptons for just a month — the fee was $10,000 and it involved adding a removable pool fence.
Here's their story, as told to freelance author Jenny Powers.
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It was 2008 and my wife Courtney and I had just had our first child. As first-time parents, we began thinking about all the ways we needed to safeguard our home and since we had a lot of experts in our circle we reached out to them for advice. We wound up getting recommendations from pediatricians, child psychologists, and first responders, as well as other safety professionals.
During this process, we found there were no New York City-based babyproofing services.
So, we decided to launch our own, called Baby Bodyguards (BBG).
At the time, I was the owner of a title insurance company and Courtney was the deputy bureau chief for the Brooklyn District Attorney's office. Those first few months when I was holding down both jobs and leading a double life were difficult. I would leave the house in my BBG attire, do an installation then race to my car to change into a suit and tie and head off to a multi-million dollar closing.
BBG was profitable from its first week but not in the same way a title insurance company is. That was our first real hurdle. We had this moment of 'How far do we take this?' and 'Can we afford to do this?' because at that point it wasn't profitable unless I was doing everything. We had to choose whether to continue offering a service we believed in, or stick with just making money at our jobs.
We decided to go all-in with BBG right before the market imploded. The beginning was rough, and thankfully Courtney still had a job with benefits. It took over a year before we needed employees but from there, it took off and Courtney was in a position to leave her job and work for BBG full-time.
Twelve years later, we've babyproofed nearly 12,000 homes.
We've got three children now, and are still the only New York City-based babyproofing business around. You need an insane amount of storage and a ton of inventory to do this type of business, and most New Yorkers just don't have that kind of space. We live in Brooklyn and have a basement, garage, driveway, and a backyard where we can store bulk supplies and pallets of product.
Every job begins with a comprehensive home evaluation where me or one of our five employees does a room-by-room walk-through.
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