Interview with Matthew Hargrove – President, Total Home Performance

EEDC: Tell me about your company.

Matthew Hargrove (MH): I started Total Home Performance (THP) at the end of 2009 with a few close friends. Initially, the thought was that we would be providing what is known as an energy audit. We quickly realized that there was an opportunity to offer services to those recommendations that we were making.

EEDC: Are these friends still part of the company?

MH: Yes. Derek Dombroski is my lead estimator, John Holmes, one of our program managers, was a college friend of mine, and Robert Mullikin is our production manager. There is a long list of others who have been with the company for a long time, but the three core guys have been with me since day one and are still a huge part of today’s business. Also, my cousin, Katie, is our CFO.

EEDC: What is Total Home Performance known for?

MH: In recent years due, to the increased demand for crawl space encapsulation, we’ve become known as the experts in that field, but we do much more than that. The primary core services that we offer, aside from energy audits and healthy home assessments, are air sealing insulation, duct sealing, mold mediation, waterproofing, whole-house dehumidification, and ventilation filtration.  We consider ourselves and are known as problem-solvers related to comfort, efficiency, health and safety, and moisture-related issues.

EEDC: What motivated you to establish your business in Talbot County?

MH: There’s never been a question that Talbot County is where I wanted to come back after college. I’m absolutely in love with the Eastern Shore, and I’m genuinely proud that I was able to return to and create a business that nobody else was performing in Talbot County before THP. Our passion for the environment drove our motivation to start this business. I was a geography major focusing on Coastal Marine studies in college, John has a Marketing degree, and Derek was an Environmental major at Washington College.

We felt there was no better way to earn an honest and decent living than helping homeowners not only save money on their energy bills but, in the process, reduce carbon emissions by making homes more energy-efficient. It was a win-win for us. Not only is the work we do good for the environment, but it’s also useful from the standpoint of people’s health and safety while saving money on energy bills and, in the process, making their homes more comfortable.

EEDC: Tell us about your participation with the Weatherization Assistance Program.

MH: Years ago, I had a very close friend who qualified for the program and told me about it. I reached out to them, and it was a conversation that changed THP in an instant. Some say luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and that was very true in this case. We were properly trained, certified, licensed, insured, and had all the necessary equipment to be involved in the program.

Since that day, we have weatherized 3500+ homes across the state of Maryland, helping the low-income residents save money on their utility bills while also making their homes healthier, safer, and more comfortable. It’s a fantastic program that has been around since the late ’70s, and we are proud to be a part of it.

EEDC: Sounds like you’ve been busy!

MH: Since we opened in 2009, out of my parents’ garage in St Michael’s, we have grown the company, moving to a warehouse location and then moving to Easton where we felt we could best serve the Eastern and Western Shore. Even though we have expanded and recently moved from one warehouse on Brooks Drive, into another we’re, yet again, looking to expand and excited about the opportunity to purchase and own a facility.

EEDC: Any thoughts on where?

MH: We were pleased to see that the town of Easton has made steps to expand commercial real estate offerings within the town of Easton, with the Mistletoe Hall Commerce Business Park. And we certainly are considering that as a very viable option for THP moving forward. 

EEDC: Do you envision expanding, not just your space but your workforce as well?

MH: Absolutely! Right now, it’s difficult to work on the things that you want to do to expand and diversify your company while also managing the growth that we’ve been experiencing. We have a very strong emphasis on quality. Our single most significant attribute is our reputation for doing a good job and being a good company. We also don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, even though our schedule may be conducive for adding on additional production staff and what have you. We just need to do it in a wise and timely manner to ensure that we can still do the great work we’ve been doing for the last 12 years. However, we’re always looking forward to ways that we can grow and expand so that everybody can continue to prosper with it.

EEDC: Do you think that people being home during this pandemic made them look around and realize they need your services more than they would have in the past?

MH: A hundred percent, yes. The type of work we provide is not something that people can see and appreciate, like a nice new countertop, but is one they can feel.  Their homes are more comfortable, their energy usage is lower, and their house is healthier.

Also, we have many second-home owners in Talbot County, and we’re finding that a lot of those folks are now spending more time here. They realize things that they didn’t when they were spending shorter periods of time in their homes.

EEDC: What do you do for fun?

MH: I am an avid fisherman and hunter, which is a large part of why I am most interested in Mistletoe Hall Park. I kind of have a strict policy about being within a 15-minute range from office to boat. My wife and I love to travel, and it’s what we most look forward to doing once the pandemic is behind us. I’m a proud new father of a 16-month-old daughter named River Rose.

And that’s the thing: Our lives are changing, myself and my group. We’re in our mid-thirties and have now all recently gotten married, purchased a home, have had our first kid (or about to), or possibly having a second one. Embarking into these next phases of life and watching these kids grow is something we’re all looking forward to doing together.

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