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Ask for it. Working through my 22nd season, the uptick in home watch companies and pre-existing companies from cleaners to painters and everyone in between offering home watch services, has spiked over the past 5-6 years. Before banging on the State Police Watch License drum, I would digress briefly to explain that for a better part of the last decade, my annual customer turnover is about 8-12 properties. My base has been established for some time affording me the luxury to micro target back-fills if they don’t find me first. In addition, I have mentored an area start up and not a week goes by where I’m not referring business away based on my unflappable loyalty to a cap on customer volume. Having dispelled any notions of sour grapes with alleged competition, I’ll now address the license. Between watch, management and real estate scopes, I maintain 12 forms of license, bond and insurance. For second homeowners seeking to engage a home watch company, ask for a State Police Watch Guard number. As noted in the credential link, this license is required for anyone claiming to engage in the business of home watch. It could be as simple as putting the words on a business card. Anyone can apply for this license and to be sure, the applicant is in no way affiliated with the State Police. The upside for the consumer is knowing that an individual or business has filed the application, pulled together references that are actually interviewed, sit for a live interview with a Trooper and pass a background check. This license is renewed annually and issued based on a passed background check every 12 months. During the watch boom, there have been a handful of rather serious events carried out by some as it turned out that would have never passed a background check. While the State Police Watch Guard license does not assure that your provider knows a single thing about mechanical systems or possesses common sense in general, but it is assuredly a step in the right direction. Anyone without this license is either unaware of the requirements of his or her business, can’t afford the application process or cannot pass the background check. To check a license, call the MA State Police Certification Unit at 978-538-6128.