It’s that time of year — when year-round homeowners and rental property owners take a look around and decide what needs to be spruced up for the summer season.

But getting things "ship-shape doesn’t have to cost a fortune," says Ryan Jorgensen, owner of The Captain’s Home, a new home maintenance business on the Outer Banks.

“The off-season is always a tough one for locals because business is slower than the summer months, and Christmas takes a bite out of everyone’s budgets,” says Jorgensen, who has spent the past two decades captaining a fleet of scallop boats off the Atlantic Seaboard. “But after a winter of gale force winds, lashing rain, and sand whipping around, most homes could use a good pressure washing, carpets have sand and dirt ground into them and need to be cleaned, grimy and scratched flooring need to be stripped and re-stained or replaced, decks could use a fresh coat of paint or stain, and yards look like, well, like winter crushed the life out of them — but it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to get a place looking great.”

Jorgensen says he runs his business on a simple principle: Treat customers the way he’d like to be treated.

“I think a person is only as good as his word, and how you treat other people reflects the kind of person you are,” he says. “That goes for the way someone runs a business. My motto is, ‘I’ve got the time for half the dime.’ I live here, I work here, and I believe it’s my civic duty to help keep the Outer Banks looking ship-shape and Bristol fashion.”

Jorgensen says he’s always enjoyed home maintenance, and he’d done a lot of it when he lived in his native New Jersey before relocating to the Outer Banks. His handiwork can be seen both inside and outside Higher Grounds Coffee & Ice Cream, a Colington Island business he co-owns with his wife Traci, and his sister-in-law, Kristi Jones.

“I’ve done floor installation, painting, remodeling, wood-plank and tongue-in-groove ceilings. You name it, I’ve done it — and, like they say, no job is too big or too small.”

Natalie Morrison said she hired Jorgensen to install a tongue-in-groove ceiling in her home, “and it changed the whole look of the house. It seemed to go up in no time, and it was just so gorgeous when Ryan was done,” Morrison says. “I’ve been looking around and making a list of other projects for him to do — and the list is getting pretty long.”

Jorgensen says his motivation is a simple one: He wants to find a way to make a living that allows him to spend more time with his growing family.

“Traci is due to give birth to our first child in March, and I’d really like to stay here, on the Outer Banks, and watch my son or daughter grow,” he says. “I’ve spent more than 20 years shipping out for weeks, even months, at a time as a scalloper. I’m ready to be home.”

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