A Five Dollar Part Saves Us from Having to Buy a New Washer

I wish I didn’t know who to contact when I am in need of a major appliance repair in Sacramento, because that would mean I have never had a major appliance break down on me before. I also wish I could say it has only happened once, but I have had to call the same company twice, once for my washing machine and once for my upright freezer. My upright was the first to need fixed, and I contacted the same major appliance repair company that my neighbor had used about six months prior because I remembered how satisfied she was with them.

I was really happy when he came out within hours and had my freezer working again in under an hour. Read more

Best Prices for Plastic Decking

I am going to try to get some plastic decking put in at my house in the near future, because I am tired of dealing with all of the hassles that are associated with having a wooden deck. In particular, I am interested in seeing some prices for having Timberteck plastic decking. I would imagine that it is probably more expensive than wood, but at the same time, I know that it is going to last longer. I have had to have my deck replaced twice in the last 30 years, and I have also had to do a lot of work to keep it from needing to be replaced even more often. Read more

Be Shrewd in Doing Home Improvements

Wear and tear, chipped floor tiles, leaking lavatories and sinks, peeled off paints and wallpapers, out-of-fashion furniture and furnishings, cracked walls and ceilings and other unsightly physical breakdowns are too great a deal to not be noticed by any home owners that go home everyday. For those who have already thought of a remedy for this predicament, the next thing to do is plan the home improvements to-do list based on the financial budget that has been set aside for this kind of home make-over project.

The proven and tested philosophy of getting quality for a higher price is still observed by practical householders who do not want to keep renovating their homes every year. That is why for those who have a fair budget for the household overhauling, it is an expected actuation that they resort to materials and products that are not only well-known but also those that are more expensive than their counterparts.

Before deciding to improve the condition of your house, try to make a well thought list of the areas that need urgent attention and are essential for the proper functionality of the house. In doing this, you can determine which one to fix and which one to set aside for the time being especially if you are constrained financially. Next, make an inventory of needed materials and if possible, consult a professional to get a comprehensive advice on how to ensure that this endeavor will not flop. It is money down the drain if this home improvement project will not be executed with proper care.

Many companies offer a package deal kind of services that target not just one aspect of home improvements but also take care of secondary details essential for the maintenance of the home’s safety, comfort, and even luxury. There are home improvement services that are very in demand for homeowners such as wall and ceiling painting, renovation of flooring (e.g. tiles, carpets), kitchen make over, plumbing and changing of bathroom implements such as shower heads, faucets, lavatories, and bathtubs, fixing and replacement of electrical wirings, upgrading of the heating and cooling system, and minimization of garage and attic clutter. Home improvements are made safer due to the new safety regulations and practices that these company observe in accordance to the law.

For those individuals who want to be hands on in their home improvements project, then reading a sufficient dose of home improvement literature would lead to a disaster free renovation and home overhauling. For example, one should familiarize oneself to the correct process of mixing paint. If done incorrectly, this will result to an unpleasant smudge of color on your wall and a big waste of money. Also, for those who decided to be a self-made electrician, handling wires and electrical materials demand a great deal of caution not only because you might hurt yourself in the process but a careless execution of an electrical fixing may result to the burning down of your own house. Remember, an ounce of caution is much better than a liter of tears and regret.

Black Homeowners Paying The Most For Home Improvements?

Despite large strides in home purchases by blacks, they still lag way behind other races in home ownership. However, there is another area black homeowners place at the top of the list. According to the latest HUD (U.S Housing and Urban Development) Study, black homeowners pay the most for home improvements and repairs.

They pay up to 36% more than whites and 23% more than Latinos for the same or similar repairs or improvements.

This article will suggest ways to overcome this problem. Although discrimination, racial bias and redlining still exist, there are specific actions black homeowners can take to make sure they’re getting the lowest price possible for home improvement and repairs.

President Bush pledged $50 million to fight abuses. In that speech he revealed a 2002 study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that showed as a whole minorities get less information, less assistance and less favorable terms.

Here are Tips To Help You Get The Lowest Price On Home Improvement and Repairs

Many Black Homeowners Hate To Negotiate.

For many reasons black homeowners are less likely to negotiate, bargain or comparison-shop. Failing to negotiate and comparison shop is a formula for paying the highest prices when it comes to purchasing home improvements and repairs.

According to the study, black homeowners who settled for the higher price wanted to get the job done as quick, convenient and affordable as possible.

In addition, the cost resulted in a higher price for the home improvement and/repair.

Another factor revealed many black homeowners assume all contractors and repairman’s prices are the same.

This causes many black homeowners to settle for the first person that gives them an estimate that’s reasonably affordable. Especially, if the repair is an emergency, such as busted pipes, clogged toilet faulty wiring.

That’s why it’s a good idea to think ahead by keeping up on the cost of various home repairs primarily plumbing and electrical. For example, the charges per hour? Free estimates or not? Overtime for weekends or after PM or not?

It’s a good idea to keep a file of at least 3 plumbers, 3 electricians, and 3 carpenters and any other repair or home improvement service in a file where you get to them in an instant if you need to.

An added tip would be to check there rates and prices before you need them list each price on a card so you can see it at a glance. You’ll thank yourself for doing this when you have your next repair emergency. You’ll save time and money.

Negotiation: The Difference Between Overpaying and Saving Money.

Many people dread the thought of negotiating. They find it intimidating, confusing and unkind to participate in. This is an attitude real estate agents, lending officers, car salesmen, and insurance salesmen use to fatten their pockets.

Because many black homeowners have a fear or reluctance to negotiate, they often pay higher prices than whites, Latinos and Asians. Why? Because they’re more willing to negotiate, bargain and comparison shop before making a buying decision according to research.

Here are 7 steps Black homeowners can use to negotiate down the price of home repairs and improvements:

1. To become a confident negotiator, you must do your homework. What is the going labor rate for the home repair or improvement? What’s the cost of the item or materials (wholesale and retail)? Advance preparation is the key.

2. Remember to negotiate effectively you must always be willing to walk away if the price is too high. If you have to have it now, your negotiation power shrinks drastically.

3. Generally speaking, the higher the price of the home improvement or repair the more negotiable the price.

4. Price is not the only factor when negotiating. Size, color, material, quantity, service, warranty length and other similar items can be included or traded as well.

5. Always make sure the person you’re negotiating with has the power to make the final decision. This is a key mistake of beginners, negotiating with a worker or salesperson who doesn’t have the authority to change the price, terms or service. Resulting in wasted time.

6. Always try to have other options. The more options you have, the better and more effective your negotiations. Always have a plan B and plan C.

7. If after reading the previous 6 steps you’re still wary of negotiating, find a relative, friend or associate who is good at negotiating to help you. And continue to learn how to negotiate. It’s the key to getting the lowest prices.

Now that you’ve read some of the key factors of why black homeowners pay the highest prices for home repairs and improvements use them to find better bargains.

Why it is Better to Do Home Improvement Projects

The great influx of people from all over the country and the rest of the world wanting to take a shot at becoming a part of the Big Apple – New York City, have long since caused a problem in the housing market. Today, this issue is faced by NYC homeowners together with the general condition of the economy of the United States; with the growing unemployment and retrenchments, instability in the Wall Street, and the decline in consumer buying. But even so, this time may be just the perfect opportunity to take advantage of and make a reality out f your dream home through home improvement projects.

In the slowing economy, it pays to be able to maximize whatever amount that you allot into your home improvement project. The assurance of success in home improvement does not lie in spending more. Even with less, you can avail of the best value for your money’s worth by spending it wisely.

The key to the success of any home improvement project to boost return on investment is product selection and quality. To achieve the highest quality, it is crucial that whoever works on the project has the right skills and experience. So if you are not a contractor yourself better let a qualified professional take over and not only bring about success of the project but also make the whole experience a great one for you.

As the old adage goes, we should be able to see the light in every situation. In the case of a slowing economy, why is it better to do your home improvement projects now?

1. Now is high time to be getting the best offers and services from a certified New York contractor.

The slow economy has been affecting every business and trade and this includes the contracting industry. To keep their services more attractive, contractors are now offering home improvement services at a much lower price with several promotional benefits.

Thinking that DIY would save them more; many homeowners tend to avoid hiring contractors. But eventually they are faced with more problems and cost. This flawed idea keeps many contractors idle for a time and more than available to answer to your needs. By hiring a qualified contractor now, you would be doing both your home improvement project and yourself a favor. Without a long list of client to attend to, the contractor would be able to focus more on the job at hand going through every stage in the most efficient and timely manner with more attention to details.

2. Buying high quality materials for an affordable price is possible.

As was mentioned, many businesses, if not all, are greatly affected by the slowing economy. Among the most popular strategies to keep the customers coming and buying is through staging sale after sale. This could be the smartest time for homeowners to buy materials and supplies needed for the completion of their home improvement projects.

The slowing economy opens the door to the easier achievement of the key factors to a successful and valuable home improvement project and these are quality and product selection. And by taking advantage of the situation, you would be able to enhance the quality of living of your family as well as add value to your home. Successful home improvement projects would let you live in beauty and comfort even at tough times.

Home Improvement Sales Leads

If you are looking to make money selling improvement products or services for the home, you are looking for home improvement sales leads. You can easily find these leads by searching the internet or using a desktop leads generator, but what type of individuals should you target? For starters, it all depends on whether you are selling a product or service. Keep reading on for more information.

Selling Products

If you run a home improvement store (online or offline) or if you sell construction supplies, there are three types of sales leads you are looking for. These individuals are construction companies, construction workers who do side projects, and homeowners. All of these individuals are someone are within your targeted market because they might be interested in buying the products you have available for sale.

Selling Services

If you run a home improvement service, that might include general construction work or remodeling, you are looking at one large group of individuals; homeowners. To narrow down your results, focus on those who are attempting to sell their homes, those who are advertising they want to buy a home, and those who outright state online “I am looking for someone with home remodeling experience.” These are the individuals most likely to use and pay for your services.

Now that you know what type of home improvement sales leads you should be looking for, how can you find them? Instead of paying a professional to generate leads for you, do it yourself with a desktop leads generator. Many of these programs let you search thousands of websites with one search. Use a related keyword or keyword phrase (home improvement, remodeling, construction, repair, and so forth). Your program will let you see the entire posts online. At this time determine if they are a “good” sales leads and the make contact. Most programs will let you send an email right from the program!

Carpenter Services For Home Improvement

Are you starting to get bored with how your house looks inside and out? Do you have an idea or a plan brewing in your mind for a few months now, even for a year, with how you can bring new life to your home? If you say yes but unfortunately you do not have the carpentry skills to turn your ideas into reality, then it is time to look for some carpenter services to help you out.

In every city and every town there are a good number of contractors offering their carpenter services. And these carpenters have a wide range of skills level, usually depending on their experience and also the size of the company. For example, a lone carpenter who has been in his trade for only a couple of years must just be specializing in home repairs. That is for things like fixing your door and window, fixing a creaking floor or building a nice tree house for your kids.

There are also the big time guys, carpenters who can work on every carpentry and construction project and for the usual homeowner customer, they are offering home improvement services. These are the guys that you would want to contact if your home remodeling ideas consist of putting up an addition to your house, re-roofing, or completely remodeling the inside of your home.

When projects as big as these are part of your home improvement plan, then you should put much effort in finding and hiring the right carpenter for the job. You can start by asking a friend who recently had a home improvement project of his own if he can recommend the carpenter that worked for him. That is the best kind of recommendation that you can get because not only is your friend a reliable source, but you can actually see the work of that carpenter.

If that does not work for you, then simply make some phone calls and individually interview these carpenters. Look for the amount of experience that they have and most importantly, ask for a portfolio of their previous carpentry projects so that you can have a good idea if they are the right people to do your home improvement.

However, if all you want is a set of new kitchen cabinets then you will have to look for carpenters who specialize on cabinetry. Some carpenters would prefer to just work on one specialization than to spread their services too thinly. Because in this way they can master the art of cabinetry and be looked upon as the expert or authority on that kind of carpenter services.

And there are the multitude of carpenters who call themselves the handymen and who can do all the minor home repairs including some electrical and plumbing repairs. These are the people that you will call when all you want are some minor repair jobs.

Therefore the important thing is to assess how complicated or big your home improvement or whatever home repair that you want. Then narrow down your list of likely contractors who you think can actually do the job.

Internet Marketing For Home Improvement

Home improvement contractors are slowly opening up and embracing the possibilities that going online has to offer. In the not so distant past, contracting businesses especially those operating locally had doubts whether or not an online presence was still important. And as we are living in a technologically driven age, time has soon erased the doubts away as the majority who wanted to achieve competitive advantage has acknowledged what having a website has to offer and greatly benefited from the power of the Internet.

Internet marketing has been of great use to home improvement contractors in terms of promoting their services as well as growing their contracting business. This online strategy not only comprise of the business-to-customer methods where you make each contact and process easier for your clients and visitors, but also of business-to-business methods enabling your business to easily communicate with business partners or other essential industries such the banks and others.

Like traditional marketing methods, online advertising could also deal with information management, customer service, communication, public relations and promotion of your home improvement services and contracting company. In comparison, having a contractor website and doing Internet marketing can have benefits over offline methods like:

Gain More Visibility. Majority of homeowners would turn to the Internet when searching for the right contractor to attend to their needs. Because your website runs 24/7, information about your contracting company and services would be available no matter the hour making it possible for Internet users to get information as well as contact you even if it is past the business hours. By going online, you will not only be making things easier for customers but prospective clients as well.

With your Internet presence, you are also improving brand awareness making specializations advertised directly to certain markets appropriate for your home improvement business.

Cost Effective Medium. Internet marketing is probably the cheapest form of advertising that you could ever utilize and the best thing about it is, with an efficiently designed contractor website and the right advertising techniques, the return on your investment would be evident in the shortest possible time. Aside from its low cost compared to traditional forms of marketing, you also have the power to target your efforts to a specific market and that is the groups interested in your home improvement services. For a little effort from you, you can have your advertisements posted for a long time throughout the World Wide Web.

For home improvement contractors wanting to expand their serviced area or who want to go national, Internet Marketing would be the best tool to take advantage of. Because of its world-wide reach, you can easily spread the word. You even get the chance to diversify your stream of income and also earn from the contractor website itself. Many Internet Marketing methods can also earn you money while you reap the fruitful seed of your promotional efforts.

Improve Customer Service. Internet Marketing is not only great at creating new ties and gaining new clients but maintaining the contracting business’s existing clients as well. By implementing such techniques as newsletters, you can let homeowners know of the new developments in your business, and home improvement services.

Home Improvement’s 7 Deadly Sins

After speaking and working with thousands of homeowners regarding home improvement projects, I’ve noticed a pattern of unhealthy behavior when approaching a home repair or remodeling project. Often times these homeowners have come to our company in search of rescue from a previous contractor or simply want to avoid repeating a bad experience from the past.

All good consumers and business owners want each party to act in good faith during any home improvement project. Unfortunately, however, home improvement is one of the top industries for fraud and consumer dissatisfaction. Why? While much of the blame is the fault of the home improvement industry, there are common mistakes I see homeowners commit that contribute to their own dissatisfaction. Avoiding these 7 mistakes can mean the difference between a delightful home improvement project and disastrous bad dream.

1. Falling In Love With the Salesperson: Since most homeowners aren’t experts in home repair, they rely heavily on the likability and apparent credibility of the salesperson to define the competence of those performing the project. Client dissatisfaction is a certainty when the employees or subcontractors don’t live up to the expectations the homeowner had of the salesperson. When you invite someone to your home for a home repair or remodeling project, make sure this individual is skilled at home improvement projects, not simply a commissioned salesperson whose interest is selling you more than you need.

2. Neglecting Your Family’s Safety: Most homeowners would be appalled to learn of the felony record, drug convictions, sex offenses, domestic violence or financial irresponsibility of the common worker in the construction, trade and home services industry. While prior criminals have every right to work, they have no business in your home-where your family’s safety and your property’s security are at stake. Demand to see a company’s employee screening and background check process to ensure your safety and comfort with those working in your home.

3. Hoping to Receive Excellence Without Paying For It: From toothpaste to gasoline, shopping for the cheapest price might not be a bad idea-for many consumer goods are truly non-differentiable commodities. In this case, quality or performance of the product isn’t typically affected by price. Home improvement, however, can’t be commoditized, since every home is a unique creation, every project is a custom solution, and every client holds a unique set of expectations. Instead of focusing on price, look for the greatest value. For most people I meet, value equates to uncompromising craftsmanship, timely service, backed with a solid guarantee, delivered by a company who cares about them and their home and has the integrity to operate their business with transparency. Be clear on what you value in a company and don’t compromise your standards.

4. Asking the Wrong Questions: How long have you been in business? Where are you located? How many technicians do you have? These questions are all aimed at answering a homeowner’s basic fear: namely, “Are you out to take advantage of me?” Unfortunately, they do not reveal the facts a homeowner needs to make an informed decision. Better questions to ask concern worker’s compensation and liability insurance, hiring practices for their workers (employees vs. subcontractors) and questions concerning the background screening and drug testing of such representatives of the company. In addition, checking third party review sites and state/local agencies for complaints and corporate legitimacy or good standing are critical before any hiring decision is made. Any service company or contractor who doesn’t welcome the “tough questions” is not worth your patronage.

5. Placing Faith in Bogus References: Would any contractor, ethical or not, intentionally provide you with references other than those who he or she thought would provide a glowing recommendation? Consequently, a homeowner will never get an objective reference on a contractor unless they know to ask for a list of trade references-parties that have no vested interest in telling you anything but the truth. Examples include commercial vendors, materials suppliers, banks, accounting and legal associates or third-party reporting agencies like the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and Service Magic.

6. Ignoring Insurance Coverage: Companies should provide proof of both liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage to protect you from both property damage and injuries sustained by workers on the project. Homeowner’s policies generally do not cover such claims and you, as the homeowner, may be held liable if the company you hire doesn’t have such coverage. Legitimate companies are proud to show proof of coverage because it is extremely costly to them. Avoid any contractor who doesn’t carry such coverage.

7. Allocating an Insufficient Budget: Savvy consumers never initiate a discussion about a home repair project with a price inquiry. Rather, they’ve researched what a project should roughly cost and remain focused on finding the company who will deliver that project within their expectations and budget. Instead of shopping for home improvement services by price, first spend some time finding a contractor who you can trust.

Then, share your budget with that trusted adviser so they can help you devise a plan to achieve your project goals within your financial constraints. In the end, if a project is done poorly or the experience in completing it was miserable, any cost savings by shopping for the cheapest price proves irrelevant.

Don Kennedy is President of ProMaster Home Repair and Handyman of Cincinnati, a locally-owned and operated Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. ProMaster’s mission is to be a professional, hospitality-level service company leading the restoration of integrity, service and excellence in the home and commercial repair industry. Unique to the home repair industry, they arrive at your home or business at a specific time convenient for you, not a range of time convenient for them.

Home Improvement Marketing Companies

As a home improvement business, you might find it difficult to expand outside your local market and reach the number of customers that you are capable of serving. Newspapers, magazines, placing flyers, road signs, and other local ads is a great way to expand your reach, but it generally isn’t enough.

There have been many home improvement businesses that simply weren’t able to adapt and stay afloat financially. If you’re looking to increase your revenue, you have to seek out home improvement marketing companies and explore the online options that are available to you. The majority of people now use their cell phone, tablet or laptop to look for local businesses, and this applies to the home improvement industry as well. Whether you’re a small business, retail store, or local service provider, there’s an opportunity for you to expand your reach and increase revenue through internet marketing. Below, you will find reasons why home improvement marketing companies are so important to your success in the industry.

Search engine optimization for your website

Home improvement marketing companies will commonly provide search engine optimization services for your website. If you don’t have a website yet, they may even include web development services for a reduced cost, knowing you have an interest in optimizing the site thereafter. Search engine optimization is a great investment and it’s something that can’t be overlooked even as a small business owner in a local environment. SEO allows you to expand online and get ranked on search engines for keywords that are directly related to your home improvement services. For instance, as a Seattle based business, you could rank on Google for a term like “Seattle home improvement.” Large cities often have keywords like this that are searched thousands of times per month. Just imagine the income potential having thousands of extra eyes on your website every month. Better yet, these are targeted visitors that previously searched on Google to find the exact services you offer, making each visitor a very legitimate lead opportunity. Search engine optimization can help your business dominate the local market and center yourself as an authority in the area.

Complete web development solutions

SEO services can only be effective when you already have a great website to drive these visitors to. Home improvement marketing companies will be able to build you a professional website that makes your visitors feel at ease and comfortable with hiring you. The site should also be search engine optimized and the keywords that are related to your business and its location should be incorporated into the content of each page on the website. This helps search engines recognize what your website is about and understand which phrases the site should be ranked for. It also means that content writing plays a significant role when building a website. The more pages of high quality content your site has, the better its chances of ranking on search engines like Google.

Lead generation

Some home improvement marketing companies will provide lead generation services. This is a unique service that is exclusive to the more popular industries. Essentially, it means that you’ll be provided with leads in the home improvement industry that could potentially convert to a sale. These are leads that the business selling them to you probably got through their own website, by driving traffic through search engine optimization. Unfortunately, that means you’ll pay a high price for the leads since it takes an investment from the business just to provide them. However, if you’d like a simple way to get in touch with potential clients, lead generation services can help.