Hiring A Home Remodelling For Home Repair

Tips To Find A Remodeling Contractor You’ll Love

Think, think, think. Before a major project such as redoing a kitchen, get clear about what you (and your partner, if you’re coupled) want. Consider questions like “small kitchen remodel or a complete overhaul?”, “top-of-the-line quartz countertops or easy-on-the-wallet laminate?”, and so on. Besides brainstorming ideas for the kitchen of your dreams, take into account your budget and your timeline. This will allow you to present your contractor with a reasonably organized plan.

Do your homework. Shop around to find out prices and ratings for both typical labor costs and item(s) you’re going to have installed, whether it be plumbing fixtures, flooring, or a new HVAC system. Save remodel inspirations you particularly like to a Pinterest board. Once again, you’ll be preparing yourself to discuss your wants with the contractor you eventually hire

Read contractor reviews. Look for remodeling contractors whose customers have (mostly) glowing reports. When the occasional problem is mentioned, check out how it was dealt with. An unresolved issue – or even worse, one that degenerated into a bout of online name-calling — is an obvious red flag.

Keep it legal. Protect yourself; negotiate only with remodelers who provide proof that they are licensed, bonded, and fully insured. To double check whether a contractor’s license is valid, do a quick search of your state government’s website listings

Get more than one estimate. Request multiple estimates so you can choose the remodeler with the best deal – not necessarily the lowest price, but the one that will give you the most for your money. Make sure important information such as brand names and model numbers of any materials and appliances is included

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A REMODELING CONTRACTOR

Get Recommendations

Word of mouth is the best way to find a trustworthy contractor. If you know someone who has had a good experience with one, start there. Another good source to research a contractor is Angie’s List. Does the company you’re considering hiring have negative reviews – and if so, are they valid? (There are times when a homeowner will give a company a bad review without even hiring them.) How many “A” level reviews does the company have? Has the company received the Angie’s List Super Service Award?

Look at Credentials

Once you have your recommendations, start checking them out. Visit their website or make a phone call. Make sure they have all appropriate licenses and insurance certificates as well as any designations from professional associations like the National Kitchen and Bath Association

Check References

Contact former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the finished product. Better yet, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Are workers courteous and careful with the homeowner’s property? Remember that when you’re hiring a remodeler, you’re buying a service and not a product. Quality of service will determine the quality of the finished project. It’s a good idea to even check with your local Better Business Bureau. If you can’t find any information on them with the BBB then they are most likely complaint free.

interview Candidates

Once you have your list of candidates narrowed down, you can and should start the interview process.

Business Management

Ask the remodeler how much the project will add to the home’s value and attain additional insurance from your provider

 

Tips for Choosing a Remodeling Contractor

Take the time to interview each candidate. This one’s a given. Just as you’d carefully interview a babysitter for your kids or a personal assistant for your business, you should take the time to discuss your prospective contractor’s experience, work philosophy, and vision. In the initial interview, you should ask your contractor to provide you with a portfolio and list of previous clients and projects.

Examine portfolios closely. Your contractor’s portfolio should have plenty of examples of projects in your area that are similar to your own. A contractor with experience in your type of home improvement project will be able to mastermind a remodel that accommodates your needs, complies with local building codes, and anticipate any complications that might arise

Call up references and visit projects in person. While reviewing their resume is a good way to get an initial idea of your prospective contractor’s work and areas of expertise, the only way to truly get a feel for their craftsmanship and skill level is to visit their project in person. Ask your contractor to provide at least three verifiable references to past clients with projects similar to yours. Contact these references, and ask if you can do a walk-through of the remodeled area.

Ask about permitting. Whether you are installing outlets, knocking down a wall, or remodeling a bathroom, the vast majority of home improvement projects will require a permit. Your contractor should take care of the process of obtaining a permit for you, from drawing up permit-ready plans to submitting the necessary documents. Beware of contractors who try to convince you that you don’t need a permit—this is often a red flag that he or she is trying to cut corners.

Ask about staffing. If your project requires any specialty work, such as plumbing, electricity, or structural engineering, you should ask your contractor who will be in charge of these jobs, whether they are staff specialist or hired subcontractors. It is important that specialty jobs are handled by experienced professionals if you want to ensure they will be done right. For example, electrical work should be installed by a licensed electrician—not a carpenter or plumber. Your contractor should also have a foreman on-site who supervises the project and is always available to answer your questions and address your concerns

 

HOME REMODELING COMPANIES- TIPS TO FIND THE RIGHT ONE

Finding reputable home remodeling companies an integral part of a home remodeling project and requires a plan. After the plan, a budget is assessed and then, finding a contractor to carry out your ideas begins. When in the market for a contractor, following these tips is a great way to find good home remodeling companies

Home Remodeling Companies to Suit Your Needs

This means not signing up with the first contractor you speak with, let them earn the job with fair estimates and a desire to give you the valued home improvement project you deserve. Talk materials, time frames and get a feel of whom you want to work with and note any expertise offered. Former customers and license qualifications are important. Every state has boards that govern contractors. Make sure your hired home remodeling firm is registered with the state licensing board.

Estimates

Estimates are important in home remodeling and working with a contractor that cannot estimate cost properly can cost a fortune. The measurements of flooring plumbing and structural renovations are costly and can wreck your budget, leaving your home in shambles if you are unable to meet necessary unexpected expenditures. Working with incompetent or irresponsible home remodeling companies is unacceptable on any scale.

Jobsite Visits

Visit jobsites of home remodeling companies and see for yourself how builders operate. Interaction with workers and the ability to manage a well- organized site goes a long way in evaluating the contractor and his job. Note the work environment and care for property. Working with reputable, reliable home remodeling companies is important to the care of your property and the completion of the job.

 

Hiring a Qualified Contractor

Find a Good Contractor for Large Remodels

Finding a reputable contractor is important when planning any home improvement project, but when dealing with major remodels like room additions, complete renovations of older properties, or basement remodels, those who find a good contractor are likely to get better results and avoid many of the hassles that come with these jobs, too

Finding a Reputable Contractor for Smaller Projects

The quest to find a good contractor is a little easier for smaller projects. Not only will these projects be easier to handle for a greater number of companies (increasing your chances of getting someone capable), the shorter length of small projects means that anyone you hire will have to work pretty quickly to leave you disappointed. Just because finding a reputable contractor is not as difficult with smaller projects doesn’t mean that you should be any less picky with your home improvement dollar!

How to Tell If a Contractor Is Trustworthy

Once you’ve found a few prospective companies, start your research with an introductory call each, asking a series of preliminary questions about work history

In most cases, the responses you get to these three questions will give you a very good idea of which of the contractors you contacted will be the best fit, but the following questions will typically make for a good tie-breaker if you find that you have more than one forerunner

Any good contractor will be happy to answer any one of these questions, and most will appreciate dealing with a client that takes such an active interest in finding quality service. Any contractor that gives you a hard time answering a few questions, on the other hand, is probably not someone you want to trust in your home or with your hard-earned money. Remember: always consider your instincts. If your gut tells you something doesn’t mesh with the contractor, you’re probably right

Tips To Find The Best Tile Roof For Your Roof

Tile Roofing Pros and Cons – Must Read before Buying a Tile Roof

When building a new house or improving an existing property, you may be torn between the many roofing options in the market today. Tile roofing is one of the most popular options you can consider. While it comes with a higher price tag, tile roofing has proven to be an incredible investment. As they say, you get what you invest in; tiles come with amazing benefits that make it ideal for homes and commercial properties. This piece takes a look at concrete roof tiles pros and cons to help you understand more about tile roofing

Long Term Performance

Tiles have been proven to provide the best and the longest track record in terms of durability and performance. Compared to other roofing options such as shingles, tiles are engineered to ensure the best ventilation, natural water shedding and the best resistance to wear and tear elements

An array of colours, designs, and styles

Tiles come in a wide array of colours, designs, and styles. You can choose ceramic tile roof, light shades, multi coloured or settle for a black tile roof based on your personal needs. As a matter of fact, modern concrete tile innovations allow you to explore the most unique roofing designs. From the Mediterranean, historic to contemporary styles, you can find a design that defines your flair.

Aesthetically Appealing

Tiles are aesthetically appealing. This is attributed to the natural sources of the mixtures and materials used when making tiles. Some of the best sources include clay and iron oxide. These are commonly used in making concrete tiles and they not only make them beautiful but also extremely durable

Quality Protection

Tiles are naturally heavy. This is why they last for long. However, with advancements in technology, you will find lightweight tiles in the market for re-roofing and new construction projects. Therefore, they provide long-lasting protection to your roof. Compared to other roofing materials, tile roof homes are a smart choice for their durability, protection, and ease of maintenance

 

Pros and Cons of Tile Roofing

Tiled roofs are beautiful and durable. They are also expensive and heavy, but that is perhaps to be expected from a roofing material that can last 100 years. Traditionally, most roofing tiles were made from slate or a fired clay or terra cotta product, but today’s roofing titles are very often made from molded, tinted concrete. Roofing tiles can come in many shapes: curved, flat, fluted, or interlocking, and in many styles

Tile roofing is a great choice for roofs that experience hot weather or exposure to salt air. This is why you very often see tile roofs in the Southwest, coastal Florida, and California. They can also be ideal for climates in which infrequent rains dump large amounts of water in a short time, since many styles are excellent at shedding rainfall from cloudbursts. If you’re considering tile roofing for your home, be aware that these roofing systems are very heavy and can break under certain conditions. Roof framing needs to be very sturdy structurally in order to support the weight.

Spanish tiles are the classic Southwest roof, resembling rows of lapping waves with troughs between the rows to carry water away. They are best suited for regions where rains might be infrequent but very heavy when they do occur. Clay, terra cotta, and concrete tiles are all available in this style

Scandia tiles resemble Spanish tiles inverted so they are upside down. Visually, they give the appearance of sharp vertical ridges with wide scallop-shaped troughs. This style is common in architecture based on northern European styles.

Double Roman tiles resemble Spanish tiles, but the rows have distinct ribs that are quite visible. The water troughs are more frequent, though smaller. These tiles are often used in Mediterranean architecture. Often made of concrete, they are also available in clay and terra cotta

 

Tile Roofing

In some areas of the country, tile roofing is quite common. Its distinctive appearance can be seen sparsely in many regions, but in the Southwest, tile roofing is practically a part of the landscape, giving a unique and identifiable look to the area. Tile roofs are initially a lot more costly to install than asphalt shingle, metal, or wood shake roofs, but they also last much longer. Depending on the quality, a tile roof may last 50 to 70 years–or even more! When you compare that kind of longevity to the durability of some asphalt shingles (in some situations, only 10 or 15 years), it’s easy to see how an investment in tile can pay off in the long run.

Characteristics of Tile Roofing

Traditional clay tile roofs are very heavy, and sometimes require more structural reinforcement than other roofing materials. However, tile is now offered in new lightweight versions which can be used on most structures without additional reinforcement

Benefits of Tile Roofs

Aside from the obvious aesthetic appeal and incredibly long life expectancy of tile roofs, there are several other benefits of choosing this material over a less costly one. To start with, tile roofs perform better under harsh conditions than many other roofing materials. They resist damage caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, and other weather extremes better than most other options. Roof tile is also fireproof, and carries a class-A rating

Drawbacks of Tile Roofs

Obviously, the biggest drawback is its initial installation cost. When compared to asphalt shingles or even basic metal roofing, tile roofs can cost several times as much to put up. They are, however, similar in price to slate roofing–the only other kind of material that can hold up as long or surpass the life expectancy of tile. Additionally, tile roofs (and slate roofs, as well) are not only heavy, but brittle. Not only might they require added structural reinforcement to install, but when a problem does occur, they can be difficult to work on since the individual tiles can break under the weight of a worker

 

How to Walk on a Concrete Tile Roof Without Damaging It

Best Places to Step

Most concrete tiles are lifted a little off of your roof and sit on wood batten strips, creating a gap under the tiles for ventilation. When you walk on your roof, make sure you are walking on the reinforced part—the lower third of the visible tile.

Sure, concrete tiles are strong. But they’re not really made to be walked on. Every time you walk on the tiles, you put stress on them that can crack them or loosen them. And that can lead to missing tiles and leaks.

But sometimes you have no choice and you have to walk on the roof. In those cases, here are a few tips that minimize the chance of you breaking tiles

 

Reasons Homeowners Choose Tile Roofs

Tile roofs come in many styles, each with its own preferred applications and intrinsic beauty. But there’s more to them than what meets the eye: Learn about what else makes them so attractive to homeowners

Aesthetic Appeal and Versatility

Most often concrete and clay tiles often feature natural earth tones, a sand-cast or unglazed finish, and a classic curved shape, but their design isn’t limited to such Southwestern and Mediterranean hallmarks. In fact, their casting allows for many style options to suit almost any type of architecture

Durability

Clay, concrete, and slate roofs are impervious to fire and resist rot, insects, and other pests. Most tile roofing can withstand extremes of heat and cold, making it suitable for use in virtually any climate, and clay is particularly resistant to the corrosion of salt air, making it a great choice for homes situated in coastal regions near an ocean. Many types of roofing tiles also boast superior impact resistance, making this a good option for regions that experience hail or high winds

Long Lifespan

A roof constructed of concrete, clay, or slate may be the last roof you will ever need. Clay or slate tiles may last more than 100 years, while most concrete tile comes with a 50-year warranty. Slate is one of the most durable and long-lasting roofing materials, with a lifespan of 100 to 150 years or more

Savings in the Long Run

Tile roofs tend to be the most expensive upfront for both materials and labor; slate, for example, can range from $1,000 to $2,000 per square (a 10-foot-by-10-foot patch of roofing) installed and a roofing contractor who has experience working with the high-end material may also charge more. Over their long lifespan, however, concrete, clay, and slate tiles can offset their initial expense. Due to a high thermal mass, tiles do a better job of regulating the temperature of your home, thereby helping you cut down on heating and cooling bills. The durability and longevity of clay, concrete, and slate also mean that you save money by not replacing your roof multiple times over the decades. And, all of the materials used are environmentally friendly and can be easily recycled.

Tips To Learn About Electrical Installation

What you Should Know About Electrical Installations

Electrical installations can look mysterious. There are some basic requirements for electrical installation, and some things people need to know about them. Quality of workmanship, standards of performance, and possible hazards are some of the more important issues in electrical installation, and it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the basic requirements.

Electrical installations basics

New technology requires a very wide range of new electrical installations. These are very different from the old systems, particularly in communications, media systems and IT areas

Issues, problems, and hazards

Everybody’s seen old or doubtful-looking electrical installations. The rule of thumb is that the worse it looks, the less likely an electrical installation has been professionally done or serviced. These tacky-looking messes are real hazards. Electrical wiring and connections need to be done properly.

How to check out your electrical installation for quality

It’s a good idea to get your electrical contractor to do a general system audit regularly. This is also good practice administratively, as well as for quality checking

Note: Testing of electrical systems is conducted during the maintenance program, and is efficient insofar as safety checking and operational status are involved. Properly conducted maintenance will find and fix faults, but it’s not an audit process

 

Tips for Finding an Electrical Contractor for Your Strata Management

Finding a good electrical contractor for strata management can be a painstaking process, particularly when you really need one. The best approach is to search for a reliable local contractor with a strong emphasis on quality of service, and a good reputation. Master electricians are definitely the preferred option for strata management, because they have both the experience and the good business sense required to ensure good service.

Strata electrical contractor issues

Strata brings with it a degree of difficulty for some contractors. Modern strata units tend to have advanced systems and wiring, and a lot of t. The best electrical contractors have a very high capacity for different types of work, and usually do major building installations as well as residential work. This added capacity adds a layer of efficiency and capability that some local contractors can’t match

The quality of work issue needs to be expanded at this point: If you’ve been having trouble with substandard work by electrical contractors, the best possible remedy is to get a master electrician. Professional electricians have an extremely low opinion of any substandard wiring or shoddy installations they encounter, so if they find them, they’ll fix them before there are any problems

Good service is good business

The good professional electrical services are also good business for strata management, particularly in the long term. The top electrical contractors are also great maintenance people. They know how to ensure the proper upkeep of your systems so there are fewer problems and no expensive, repetitive “faults” which build up to big money

 

Things Your Electrician Wants You to Know

Almost every home uses electric service to one degree or another. And sooner or later, something is going to go wrong with your home’s electrical system. Whether you’re looking to add a light fixture or run rough electric for an addition, here are a few key facts that your electrician wishes you knew

Don’t Ignore Warning Signs

The most important thing any electrician wants you to do is to never, ever ignore the warning signs that indicate problems in your electrical system. Whether it’s a popping noise from an outlet, a light switch that runs extremely hot, or a breaker that won’t reset, when you have an electrical issue, it’s important that you take it seriously.

Understand GFCI

One of the most common service calls electricians get is about what appears to be a failure in a bathroom circuit. By code, all outlets within 6 feet of a water source are required to be protected by a ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI). These are important safety devices that cut off power if a circuit is losing amperage, so GFCIs are most commonly seen in bathrooms and exterior outlets. The thing that your electrician wants you to remember is that a single GFCI device protects everything else “downstream” on that circuit. Because bathrooms are often not on an isolated circuit, that means a triggered GFCI will kill the power to outlets and lights that may seem unrelated. And things can be even more confusing when the GFCI is installed at the electrical breaker box itself.

Overhead Power Lines are Live!

Overhead lines are normally NOT insulated. When you see birds or squirrels on them, they are only alive because they aren’t completing a circuit by touching the ground or offering the current an easier path than following the cable itself.

Know Your DIY limits

The DIY mind-set is wonderful thing. It’s a great way to learn about your home and develop your skills and self-reliance. But, it’s just as important to know the boundaries and limitations of your skills. If you are a DIY newbie, a good rule of thumb is to only work on electrical components that are outside of the wall. As you develop your skills as an amateur electrician, you can do more advanced work, including fishing cable and adding outlets (so long as your local building department allows it). The problem arises when DIY enthusiasts who have more enthusiasm than experience tackle an electrical project, and then bury their less than perfect work behind a layer of drywall.

 

Tips for electrical wiring

Power Tests

Always check & test wires and devices for power inside the box you are working in to prevent electric shock before working on them. Sometimes, even if you shut off power, some wiring may be connected to another circuit & hence may still pose a threat of electric shock

Uncoil Cable

The best way to easily instal cables is to straighten them out first. Pull the cable from the centre of the coil & lift a handful of coils. Next step is to toss them across the floor as if you’re throwing a coiled rope. Once untangled, it helps in easier handling & neater storage.

Amperage Rating

Amperage Rating or Amp needs to be checked for all electrical wiring & devices. Before installing or changing wiring, one must have the appropriate amp rating for all circuits. For example, a 30-amp circuit must have a right-gauge wiring to prevent fire hazard

Grounding Wires

Grounding provides a safe path for extra electric current to pass in case of a fault or any other issue. Follow the manufacturer’s wiring diagrams & understand grounding systems.

Boxes & Clamps

You need to ensure enclosing all wiring connections in appropriate electrical boxes or clamps. Enclosures protect the connection as well as the people from accidental contacts with those connections

 

WHAT MAKES A GOOD ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION?

An electrical installation comprises all the fixed electrical equipment that is supplied through the electricity meter. It includes the cables that are usually hidden in the walls and ceilings, accessories (such as sockets, switches and light fittings), and the consumer unit (fusebox) that contains all the fuses, circuit-breakers and, preferably residual current devices (RCDs)*

Ensuring there are enough sockets for electrical appliances, to minimise the use of multiway socket adapters and trailing leads

Covers are in place to prevent fingers coming into contact with live parts (broken or damaged switches should be replaced without delay)

A Residual Current Device (RCD) protection is installed to provide additional protection against electric shock

Satisfactory earthing arrangements are in place to ensure that a fuse or circuit breaker can quickly clear an electrical fault before it causes an electric shock or fire

Satisfactory protective bonding arrangements are in place where required (so any electric shock risk is minimised until a fault is cleared)

Must Learn To Do Self Deep Cleaning For Your Home

Dazzling Deep Cleaning Tips And Tricks That Will Make Your Home Sparkle

Clean your blinds with a sock

Remove the dust from your window blinds using an old tube sock dipped in a mixture of one part vinegar and one part water. Twist the blinds the other direction and repeat.

Wash your bedding and mattress.

Assuming you already wash your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets regularly, now’s the time to go a bit further and wash your duvet, bedskirt, and even your mattress. (Here’s the full scoop on how to clean and store your bedding).

Use a lint roller to get the dust off lampshades.

Easy and efficient. Go a step further and clean the base of your lamp with a damp microfiber cloth.

Scrub the front of your kitchen cabinets.

Give your kitchen cabinets new life with a quick clean. Just use a fresh dish brush and soap (or go natural with one part vegetable oil and two parts baking soda) to get rid of food stains and fingerprints.

Clean your sink drain with baking soda and lemon.

The kitchen sink is one of the dirtiest areas in the entire home. To properly clean it, pour one cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar down your drain.

 

How to Deep Clean Your House Fast With the Best Expert Cleaning Tips

My house was a disgusting mess.

Toys engulfed the living room floor, spaghetti clung to the wall, piles of laundry found their home spilling off the couch onto the floor, and dust bunny colonies formed in every corner.

I’m Not The Only One

On top of causing me to be short-tempered, our messy house was causing me to feel isolated, be unproductive, struggle to focus, and was triggering allergies

Your Game Plan

Your game plan includes everything from the order you’ll clean your house in, to the cleaning supplies needed and everything in between. This is a vital step in the deep cleaning process and one that should not be skipped over.

The shallow Clean.

A shallow clean is getting rid of obvious trash and out-of-place items in the rooms of your house. A deep clean will take longer the more items you have to clean around

Focusing on Zones

You’ll work through your entire house one zone at a time to ensure no nook or cranny gets missed.

 

Tips to Deep Clean Your House

When you walk into a home, after you notice the furniture arrangement and the decor, your other senses get to work. The floor may be free of clutter, but there are weird smells lingering around. A clean house is more than just what you see; our other senses are just as important. If you truly want a clean home, go beyond just organising your shelves and picking things off the floor.

Clean the Floors

Don’t just pick stuff up off the floor, really dive in and deep clean every surface. With tile or hardwood floors, it’s a little easier. Give it a nice scrub with a good mop, and the floors will look and smell clean. If there are any problem spots, you can usually find tough spot cleaners to dig in and get rid of any smells.

Focus on the Bathroom and Kitchen

Guests may not spend a lot of time in these areas, but the bathroom and kitchen are the areas where cleanliness most matters. When you’re doing a major cleaning session, spend extra time in these rooms. Make sure you clean behind the toilet as much as you can, and scrub the shower down even if you can’t immediately see dirt. Toilets aren’t the only thing that can hold a scent; be sure to check for mildew or mould near the shower to be safe.

Don’t Forget Dust

Dust is essentially a buildup of particles, such as dead skin, pet dander, and other nasty things. If left unchecked, dust can cause some health issues and be unsightly for guests. Plus, dust does have a smell, so it is important to get rid of it all. When you dust, make sure you don’t just skim over the areas that are visible to guests. Dust any place you suspect there could be a buildup, especially in the hidden or hard to reach spots. You don’t have to dust every time you clean, but bi-weekly is a great schedule.

Get Underneath

The empty space under your sofa and fridge can get very dirty very quickly. Cleaning underneath these areas once every few months is never a bad idea. You never know what kind of particles or food has gotten under these areas. There could be lingering smells, and you wouldn’t even notice because you’re used to it. Be thorough and check in these spaces every few weeks.

 

Deep Cleaning Tips Every Obsessive Clean Freak Should Know

Hang your brooms and mops instead of storing them on the floor.

Use slow cooker liners.

Make the steel plate on your iron smooth and shiny again

Remove any carpet stain (and anything off a mattress as well).

Use an iron to remove REALLY stubborn stains from carpet

Use Pledge to really clean your stainless steel

Invest in a “Purifying Light Sanitizing Cutting Board System.”

 

How To Deep Clean Your House

Melting snow and budding trees are right around the corner which means it’s time to start preparing for spring cleaning. But what’s the difference between this annual housekeeping event and maintaining a tidy home throughout the year? Well, routine maintenance is lighter cleaning that helps keep your house orderly week by week. A spring clean, on the other hand, is a deeper, more detailed process that sets you up for success the rest of the year.

How to Deep Clean Your House

The key to deep cleaning your house is setting a schedule. This isn’t a chore you can conquer one day after work, so plan accordingly. Make a list of each of the rooms you’ll need to deep clean and the tasks you’ll need to complete as you go. It may be best to give yourself several weekends to complete your deep cleaning; it all depends on the size of your home.

Pro Tips for Deep Cleaning Your Home

When you’re deep cleaning your house, you want to make certain you’re working from the top of the room to the bottom. That way any dust or dirt that you knock down as you clean can be vacuumed once you’ve finished in each room

Does Merry Maids Provide Deep Cleans?

Merry Maids typically conducts a detailed clean of your home that lasts several hours during your initial cleaning visit. Afterwards, Merry Maids professionals build detailed cleaning into their scheduled visits

Just looking for a fresh start so you can pick up where a professional housecleaner left off? We also offer a one-time detailed cleaning service that can get your house ready for routine maintenance.

Must Learn How To Make Home Renovation

Tips for Finding a Contractor for Your Home Remodel

Clearly Define Your Home Remodeling Project

Before you begin reaching out to contractors, know what type of work you would like performed. This may sound obvious, but many homeowners attempt to hire a single contractor to perform a wide variety of renovations — something that generally isn’t a good idea.

Ask Homeowners in Your Neighborhood

It’s always a good idea to ask others for references. You may naturally turn to friends and family members, but why not ask a few neighbors, too? Did the family down the street just replace their home’s windows? If the end result looks great, ask them who did the work and if they’re happy with the final product. Take a drive around your neighborhood and look for homes that have undergone recent upgrades. Most homeowners are happy to share their opinion of contractors, especially if they’re pleased with the project.

Look at Online Reviews

The internet has revolutionized the way consumers shop for products and services, with 81 percent of people researching online before they buy. Sites like GuildQuality provide consumers with independent, third-party reviews from real homeowners who have used a contractor’s services.

Don’t Set a Minimum (or Maximum) Number of Estimates

When you’re looking for a contractor for any type of home improvement project, one of the first things you’ll hear is “get three estimates.” The problem with limiting yourself to three is that you really can’t be sure you’re getting a good representation of the options available.

Busy Can Be a Good Sign

When you’re ready to say “go” on a home remodel, it’s easy to go with the first contractor with an opening in their schedule. After all, you’re ready to get started, and you want the job done as soon as possible. However, a contractor with a lot of time on their hands isn’t always a good sign. A reputable, experienced contractor is likely to be in high demand, which means you might have to wait a few weeks or even a couple months to get on their schedule. When you consider that you’re making a significant investment in your home, however, isn’t it worth waiting for a contractor you trust to do an exceptional job?

 

How to choose a home remodeling contractor

Get recommendations

The first step in finding the right home improvement contractor is to create a list of 10–15 local contractors who have the right expertise. You’ll gradually narrow down this list to the top contenders and ultimately use it to select your contractor, so it’s best to include more names than you’ll need at this point.

Compare each contractor’s portfolio

Choose a contractor who specializes in the type of remodel you need; someone who specializes in remodeling kitchens might not be ideal for your bathroom renovation. A home improvement contractor with a creative eye can also be helpful for certain projects. For instance, if you want to lay a tile entryway with a detailed mosaic or paint a room with a faux finish, you’ll need a contractor who does that type of work well.

Ask for licensing and certification

At this point, your list should have around six to eight names. One easy way to narrow it further is to ask for contractors’ licensing and certification. The specific licenses or certifications your home improvement contractor should carry will depend on the project. Since legal requirements vary by state, call the licensing division for your community to ask for specific requirements.

Check references

Now that you’ve narrowed your long list down to five or six top contenders, it’s time to start checking references. This is a common practice, so any reputable contractor will expect you to ask for a list of references.  A typical contractor reference list includes ten or more jobs with the name, address and telephone number of each customer. It helps if there are dates for each job; if dates aren’t on the list, ask for them.

Review an example of the finished project

After you’ve called your contractors’ references, cross out any contractors who received poor reviews. Then decide which of the remaining references to visit in person to see their contractor’s completed project. Choose people who seem open and forthcoming, whose projects are similar to yours and, ideally, who live close to you. It’s particularly helpful if the work was completed at least a few years ago so you can see how it has held up. Visit at least one finished project from each of your remaining top contenders.

 

How to Find a Reliable Home Contractor

For most homeowners, the hardest part of any home renovation project isn’t the work itself – it’s finding a competent and reliable contractor to do the job. Installing kitchen cabinets, knocking down walls or retiling floors are straightforward tasks compared with the struggle of hiring a quality contractor who will perform at a high level from start to finish.

Everyone knows stories of horrendous contractors who tore apart the kitchen and never returned or projects that ended up costing three times the contractor’s original estimate.

“Those are the nightmare kind of stories I hear all the time,” says Angie Hicks, who in 1995 started the company that would become Angie’s List, a go-to resource for reviews of contractors and other service providers.

Even with a good contractor, home renovation can be stressful, expensive and involve unpleasant surprises, such as rotted subfloors that are revealed when tile is removed or dangerous electrical wiring or leaking pipes behind walls.

Know What You Want Before You Get Estimates

First things first: “Start with a plan and some ideas,” Hicks says. “Don’t start by talking to contractors.” You’ll get a more accurate estimate if you can be specific about what you want done and the materials you would like to use to make it happen.

 

How to Choose a Remodeling Contractor

Ask for Referrals

Word of mouth-hands down, is the best way to find a qualified professional to tackle the job. Ask relatives, friends and neighbors whom they’ve had good experiences with. And ask what made it a positive experience, how the contractor handled problems and whether he or she would use the same contractor again.

Look at Credentials

With recommendations in hand, do some preliminary research, whether it’s with a phone call or a visit to the contractor’s website. Find out whether he or she holds all the required licenses from state and local municipalities, along with designations from any professional associations such as the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Association of Homebuilders. Look for contractors who have invested in course work and passed rigorous tests to earn particular certifications. Be aware, however, that not all certifications are created equal. Do some homework and find out the requirements.

Interview Candidates

Narrow down the list of contenders and set up meetings. Try to keep it to three contractors, because things can get confusing beyond that. How a contractor answers questions is extremely important, but communication goes both ways. Candidates should ask plenty of questions, too.

Check References

Ask to see some of the contractors’ projects. If you approve of them, request references and call contractors’ former customers to check up on them. Ask how the contractors did at executing the projects. Were they on time and on budget? Were the customers pleased with the outcome? Was there anything that could have been done differently?

Get It in Writing

After selecting a contractor, take a look at the documents he or she has prepared. Do they look professional? Scrutinize the contract. Does it seem fair and balanced

 

Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor

Connect with your contractor

The right person for the job will be easy to talk to. Make sure you see eye to eye by hiring a contractor that understands your goals and has experience in the type of job you are looking for. Communication is key for all projects, so insist on regular contact by email, phone or text messages. Allow the work crew to manage their day-to-day work, but set up a weekly face-to-face update from the foreman.

Understand that price reflects quality

Ask your contractor for his or her recommendations on how the project should take place. In the long run, is it worth cutting corners for a temporary fix? The lowest bid is not always the best. Request a written description of the materials necessary for the job. A low bid may indicate that a contractor uses sub-par materials or is desperate for work. The more accurate bid is likely somewhere in the middle.

Know a contractor’s credentials

Abbreviations behind your contractor’s name can represent certifications from national trade organizations. These indicate that the company belongs to certain organizations that bind them to a strict code of ethics. Such memberships, titles and abbreviations include certified graduate remodeler (CGR), certified aging in place specialist (CAPS), local Building Industry Association membership (BIA) and National Association of Home Builders membership (NAHB).  Also, insist on hiring a licensed, bonded and insured contractor. This is a must. Otherwise, as the property owner you are liable if a member of the work crew gets injured on the job.

Get your home improvement contract in writing

Your contract should include: detailed time frames, the total cost, payment arrangements, your contractor’s license number, project description, names of parties involved and how to handle additional costs if necessary. Be cautious; if you are not given a timeline for the job to be completed, this may indicate the contractor has several current jobs and may not complete your job in a timely manner. Keep track of all-important information as well by keeping job-related documents such as contracts, payments and receipts in one place.  Record key contact information for everyone working on your project.

Be upfront about your home improvement budget

If necessary, break the project down into multiple phases. Although this may increase the total cost due to repetitious start-up expenses and inflation, it may also be a better option for you to spread out the cost over time. Homeowners can often save money by doing somel tasks on their own, such as cleaning and painting.

Must Learn About Electrical Panel Upgrades

How To Know When It Is Time To Replace Your Home’s Electric Panel

Does My Home’s Electrical Service Panel Need to be Replaced?

We do a lot of work for realtors and home owners in Northampton and Lehigh Counties and from time to time we get asked; “When is it time to upgrade an electrical panel?” So, we thought we should share with you the following advice from our experience.

It may seem a bit long, but it’s what we think you need to know to make your own good decisions about keeping you, your family and your home safe!

First, what IS your electrical panel?

The electrical service panel is the component of your house’s electrical system where the electricity is brought in to the house from your power company. The electricalwiring that runs throughoutHow To Know When It Is Time To Replace Your Home’s Electric Panel 1 your home starts at the service panel and is used to separately feed the different areas and appliances at your home that require electricity.  Each separate wire leaving the panel and feeding your home is called a circuit.  This panel is like the “heart” of the electrical system of your entire home.  Like veins and arteries, any and all wiring going throughout the walls and ceilings of your home all originate at this location! Keeping this in mind, there are several reason it may be necessary to upgrade your electrical panel.

 

WHY DO I NEED TO UPGRADE MY ELECTRIC PANEL?

As a rule of thumb, electric panels need replacing every 25-40 years, so if your home is that age, there’s a likelihood that you will need to upgrade. However, there are other key signs to look out for that will tell you when your existing system is becoming outdated.

 

5 Signs it’s Time to Upgrade Your Home’s Electrical Panel

Your home’s electrical service panel consists of a series of circuit breakers and fuses that allow you to control all the electrical components of your home. The electrical panel divides all the electrical power into different circuits, each of which is protected by a circuit breaker.

Circuit breakers can be quite fickle and sensitive to various factors. Here are five signs that your home’s electrical service panel might need an upgrade.

  1. Faulty wiring issues

Faulty wiring is one of the leading causes of residential fires in the United States. The risk of a fire caused by faulty wiring dramatically increases based on how old your house is. Older wiring may not meet code, and wire insulation and other materials tend to deteriorate over time. Have a professional electrician inspect the wiring in your electrical panel and throughout your home. Warning signs of faulty wiring include:

  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Slight shock or tingling sensation when you touch appliances
  • A persistent burning smell
  • Sparking or discolored power outlets
  1. Installing new appliances

We’re not talking about a new blender or toaster here. If you plan on installing a new hot tub, air conditioner, refrigerator, or other machine that consumes lots of energy, your electrical panel may not have enough power to keep those appliances going.

Standard electrical panels provide 100, 150, 200, and 400 amps of power. Anything less than that is actually illegal. If your amps don’t meet your electrical needs, your circuit breakers will trip any time you try to turn on that air conditioner or hot tub, so it’s a good idea to upgrade to a higher amperage. This also applies to any large remodeling projects (e.g. adding a new room or story).

  1. Replacing fuses with circuit breakers

Fuses and circuit breakers both essentially perform the same function: they prevent short circuit or overload by disrupting (or breaking) electrical currents that channel to any connected devices. Fuses, however, are one-time use. When they detect that a current is running at too high of a level, the fuse will melt, interrupting the flow of electricity. Circuit breakers simply have to be reset.

While there’s nothing particularly wrong with fuses, they are outdated; designed for an age when homes didn’t have so many things plugged into the electrical outlets. These days, fuses can actually pose a fire hazard, and many insurance companies will actually refuse to insure homes that still use fuses.

  1. Excessive use of extension cords and power strips

If you find yourself plugging nearly everything into one power outlet via power strips and extension cords, it’s a good idea to upgrade your electrical panel. You can allow each circuit to run straight from the panel or install a new electrical outlet and circuit, minimizing the fire hazard.

  1. Planning ahead

Who knows the types of devices and appliances we’ll be using ten or twenty years from now? If you’re already remodeling or upgrading your home, it’s a good idea to invest in some quality wiring, namely structured wiring, which consists of heavy-duty cables that enable the latest features in all your electrical devices. Structured wiring will also increase your home’s value.

 

What Should I Expect from a Service Upgrade or Panel Change?

Bear the following in mind before you hire an Electrical Contractor for this project:

  • The power will be out for a minimum of four hours. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
  • Unplug all electronics. The power will be turned on and off repetitively and may cause problems.
  • The workers will stay working on the panel (and surrounding area), which could be outside. But, they may need to get to the water meter and water tank to do other work.
  • Since the power will be off, the worksite will be dark. Please keep the areas clear for them.
  • The EC will need power. Please try to arrange a power source that the EC can plug an extension cord into that is always helpful. Asking your neighbour is a great option.
  • The EC may have to go to other rooms in the home to test and identify receptacles, or lights etc. They will use generic terms like “master bathroom”, “SE bedroom”, etc. Use the same lingo you are talking to your EC about your home (they don’t know where “Bob’s Room” is, for example).

 

Questions to Ask Electricians You’re Considering

You should not assume that someone who self-identifies as an electrician actually has the experience and credentials needed to do the job. There are a lot of amateurs out there seeking work these days! So be sure to check them out.

We recommend talking with at least three electricians before hiring. Ask them things such as:

  • Are you licensed?
  • Are you insured?
  • What kind of work do you do most?
  • What special training/experience do you have for this kind of work?
  • Can you provide references (for past jobs similar to mine)?
  • What does your estimate include?
  • Do I need a permit for the work I’m requesting? Will you obtain it?
  • Who (all) will perform the work?
  • When would you be able to do this work?
  • (How) do you guarantee your services?

Be sure to take notes on their answers. That way, you will have points of comparison for the different candidates and won’t lose track of important details between the interview and the hire.

Tips To Make Loading Services

Quick Guide to Loading Your Belongings

How Much Help Will I Need

Depending on the size of the home and how much time you want to spend, you’ll want to have 1-3 extra people on hand to help load. Not only will it take some of the work off your shoulders, but it will also make the process more efficient. Ask a few people to remain on the truck while others are carrying items. These people can work on stacking everything, and nobody has to stop bringing things from the house

What Should I do Before the Equipment Arrives

There are a few things you’ll need to take care of before the big day. One of the biggest is to measure large pieces of furniture and find the best door to use when moving them. You’ll also need to clear an obstacle-free route from the door to the moving equipment, and put protective covering on the floors. Finally, be sure to set aside any items you’re taking with you, so they don’t get loaded by mistake

How Do I Set Up U-Pack® Equipment

The ReloCube® won’t require any prep work, but you’ll need to do a few things in the trailer before you load. Start by setting up the loading ramp, and then lay a tarp or plastic wrap on the floor of the trailer to protect against dust and dirt

What Should I Wear

Safety is a big factor when choosing what to wear while loading belongings. Avoid clothing that may get snagged while carrying furniture out of doorways, and always wear durable, supportive footwear with a good grip. You’ll also want to put on leather gloves when handling large, heavy objects with sharp edges.

How Do I Move Heavy Items

Whether you’re carrying an item or using a moving dolly, there are a few rules to follow. Prevent injury by lifting with your legs, not your back. And don’t be afraid to ask for help! A good rule of thumb is to keep boxes under 40 pounds so they can be lifted safely. Use this guide for more tips on lifting boxes and other heavy items

 

 

Safe lifting tips

Think before you lift

Plan the lift. Where is the load going to be placed? Will help be needed with the load? Is there equipment you could use, such as a hoist, that could help with the lift

Keep the load close to the waist

Keep the load close to the waist for as long as possible while lifting to reduce the amount of pressure on the back

Adopt a stable position

Your feet should be apart with 1 leg slightly forward to maintain balance (alongside the load, if it’s on the ground).

Ensure a good hold on the load

Where possible, hug the load close to the body. This should help you make a stronger and more solid lift than gripping the load tightly with the hands only.

Do not bend your back when lifting

A slight bending of the back, hips and knees at the start of the lift is preferable to either fully flexing the back (stooping) or fully flexing the hips and knees – in other words, fully squatting.

 

Tips for loading a moving truck like a pro

Preparing for loading a moving truck like a pro

Every task is done better with proper preparation. And it’s the same if you want to be loading a moving truck like a pro. First, you need to prepare all your belongings. That means that you’ve finished packing. And that everything is packed in appropriate packing materials. That way, you will be able to proceed much faster. And without wasting any time. You will also know exactly what you will be loading. Which will make organizing space in a moving truck that much easier.

Find the moving truck for your relocation

The first step of loading a moving truck like a pro is to find the truck that suits your unique situation. You don’t want to rent a truck that is soo small or too big. That will just make things more complicated. You need just the right size of a truck. And there are many ways in which you can rent one. Many long-distance movers Newark offer trucks for rent. That way you can move on your own without having to pay any extra costs associated with movers. And you will be free to move at your own pace. You would have to take care of some other expenses, though.

Gather moving supplies for easier loading

After you’ve secured a truck for your relocation, it’s time to gather all the supplies that you will need. Loading a moving truck like a pro requires certain tools and equipment. First, you should start by buying sturdy boxes and crates. That will allow you to store any items that aren’t already boxed. But, besides that, you will also need some other things.

Disassemble your furniture if you want to be loading a moving truck like a pro

Trucks have very limited space. And the bigger the truck, the bigger the expenses are. So, to save some money and adequately protect your furniture, you should disassemble it. You can use an electric screwdriver for that. Just make sure to sort all the pieces properly. Or at least label them. It will allow you to assemble all the pieces back together easily. You can also take photos during disassembly to serve as your guide later on.

Find help for loading a moving truck

Even if loading a moving truck like a pro is your second nature, you still can’t do it alone. Many items need to be loaded. And you can’t lift everything all by yourself. So, finding help is significant. And you can go with this in two ways. You can hire local movers to help you load a moving truck. Or you can call your friends to help you. Either way, you will have the help that you need. And you will be able to load a moving truck in no time.

 

PODS PACKING AND LOADING TIPS

PACKING TIPS

As you’re packing, take a few extra minutes to write an inventory of your items. If you have more than one container or are using a PODS container in combination with a rental truck, be sure to document what goes where.

PREPPING FURNITURE & APPLIANCES

Use moving bands (giant rubber bands) or shrink wrap to keep the moving blanket in position. These options are much easier to remove than tape.

LOADING TIPS

Avoid loading items in the rain whenever possible, and make sure none of your items have any moisture or mildew before loading them. Loose items should be individually wrapped to maximize protection.

 

Exclusive Tips How To Find Good Loads

Dispatchers Have Important Role

Everything in trucking begins and ends with dispatch. They are the biggest factor in company success. Dispatchers are taking care of everything and everyone included in the transportation process.

Have The Best Customer Service You Can Get

Customer service is the most important department of every company that has communication with the clients, because the people who work in this department are your company representatives.

Watch Your Safety Rating and Get the Best you Can

Safety rating is an evaluation of the motor carriers, having a good safety rating means that you will deliver the load safe and on time. Freight brokers have to find the best trucking company because they want their customers to be happy with the final outcome. Brokers will not hire the company with bad safety rating.

Must Know How To Take Care Silverfish

Home Pest Control: Silverfish Identification, Prevention, and Removal Tips

Finding Silverfish at HomeSilverfish are small, wingless insects found throughout the U.S., often in residences. They are thought to be one of the oldest insects in existence. These bugs have been around for 400 million years, which is altogether 100 million years before the existence of dinosaurs. Although harmless to humans, silverfish can damage many starchy materials and items within the home. Learning how to prevent and get rid of silverfish is important information for all homeowners to know.

The best way to avoid a silverfish problem is through prevention. If your home becomes infested, making lifestyle changes and eliminating food sources can be helpful. It’s important to act quickly and be thorough in your elimination tactics. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself from silverfish.

 

How To Prevent Silverfish Infestations Inside

To prevent silverfish inside infestations, eliminate sources of excessive moisture in places like faulty plumbing and areas of condensation. Silverfish love the humidity. The use of a dehumidifier will reduce moisture content in the air that is essential to silverfish survival. Silverfish can not survive inside buildings in low relative humidity If the relative humidity is above 50% year-round in an air-tight house, silverfish infestations may be difficult to control.

Other dehumidfy methods include:

  • Ventilate closed rooms and attics
  • Eliminate standing water
  • Run an air conditioner
  • Consider a bathroom fan in the shower area

 

How to Help Get Rid of Silverfish

If you’re looking to help prevent a silverfish infestation or help get rid of an existing one, try these tips and techniques:

Reduce moisture

Repair any leaky pipes and faucets. Use a dehumidifier in damp areas to help reduce water condensation and humidity, and use a ventilation fan when you take a shower or are cooking. Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris, and grade your landscaping so water drains away from your house.

Remove food sources

Store cereal, flour, pasta, pet food and pet treats in plastic airtight containers.

Eliminate openings.

Limit access to your home by properly using caulk to seal cracks and crevices under and behind baseboards, around windows and door trim. You can also seal holes in walls and floors where pipes pass.

Vacuum carpet, floors and upholstered furniture regularly

Silverfish hide and lay their eggs in cracks and crevices, so target these areas when you’re cleaning. Empty the vacuum contents outside so the bugs can’t escape inside your home.

A silverfish infestation is fairly uncommon. If you do wind up with a silverfish infestation, however, contact a pest control professional at Terminix. They’ll help you get silverfish and other insect infestations under control.

 

​Dry Out Your Home

The best way to eliminate excess moisture is through the use of a dehumidifier.

Silverfish are common household pests that thrive in damp places. And in one way or another, your home will produce a significant amount of domestic moisture, which is considered as an open invitation for silverfish. They love high humidity.

This technique works best by placing dehumidifier units in key areas of your home that simultaneously produce and disperse significant amounts of moisture.

Best places to put a dehumidifier:

  • Laundry room
  • Kitchen
  • Basement
  • Bathroom

In order to help your dehumidifier units work more efficiently, make sure that the aforementioned areas are well ventilated, such as a bathroom fan in your shower room.

More importantly, fix all leaky pipes in your home and redo necessary caulking.

 

Tips to prevent silverfish

Here are some tips to keep silverfish from becoming a problem in your home:

  • Keep all dry food in your cupboards in sealed containers. This will keep them free of moisture.
  • Dust your home often. This will keep silverfish from particles that may contain starches or saccharides that they like to eat.
  • Remove items with adhesive from your home. This includes stacksof paper, laundry, cardboard boxes, or other items that silverfish could be attracted to.
  • Store clothes in a dry environment. Store clothes you won’t wear for a while in containers that silverfish can’t get into.
  • Clean up any food particles around your home. This is especially important right after a meal. Use a HEPA vacuum that can also suck up silverfish eggs and keep them from reproducing and multiplying.
  • Use caulking. Cover up cracks, holes, or openings to keep silverfish out and stop them from laying eggs.
  • Get a dehumidifier. Live in a moist climate? Reduce the humidity in your indoor air to 60 percent or lowerTrusted Source to stop silverfish from living and thriving in your home.
  • Ventilate any rooms that get warm and moist. This includes your bathroom or your kitchen. Open windows and doors and turn on fans to clear moisture from the air.
  • Get rid of piles of brush, dead plants, wood, and leaves. Clear the perimeter around your home of leaves and other damp debris.

Use Good House Cleaning To Maintain Your House Cleaning

Hiring Maid Easy: How to Find a Good House Cleaner

Check their references

Member Marian Smith of King, North Carolina, says she’s hired several cleaning companies over the years, but always reads reviews on Angie’s List first. “I check to see if any complaints have been lodged, and I always ask if the company is bonded and insured,” she says.

Ask about rates and how they’ll clean your house

If it’s important to you that the cleaners only use environmentally friendly products, find out if that’s an option and if it costs more.

Set a schedule

Professional cleaners typically offer flexible schedules, including weekly, biweekly, monthly or even one-time cleanings, which can be handy when moving or before a big party. “We also do every three weeks if that suits the client’s needs best,” says Kim Condon, vice president of Godsend Cleaning in Lynchburg, Virginia. “We also offer evening and weekend cleanings to accommodate all of our client schedules.”

 

How to Hire a House Cleaning Service

Decide what you want cleaned. You may only choose to have the service tackle particularly tough spots in your home, such as the kitchen and main bathroom. Some families will want the house cleaned from top to bottom. You’ll also need to decide whether you expect services that may go beyond standard cleanings, such as wiping down the baseboards or washing the windows.

Estimate how long it will take to clean your house. Most cleaning services will ask you how big your house is, how many bedrooms and bathrooms it contains, and what kind of routine cleaning you usually do. One bedroom and one bathroom usually takes about two and a half hours to clean, and kitchens take another 1-2 hours. If you haven’t cleaned in a while, these numbers may go up. Preparing this information for the service will help you both decide what you can afford.

Decide how often you want your service to clean. Depending on your family’s needs, you may only need the service to come once or twice a month. If you have a bigger budget and a busier schedule, you might opt for more frequent visits. You can also create an alternating weekly schedule that directs the cleaners to clean different rooms every other time they visit.

Buy your own cleaning supplies if you have a preference. Because they’re more expensive, most cleaners will not clean with natural cleaning solutions. If you don’t want chemical cleaners used in your home, or if you have special cleaners you prefer, you’ll likely need to provide these to the service.

Define your budget. Before you start calling potential cleaning services, examine your finances. Make sure you know exactly how much you’re able and willing to pay companies. This will help you say no to companies that are out of your price range while also allowing you to make informed decisions about which services you can afford.

 

Need a house cleaner? Here are hiring tips to ensure your home is both tidy and secure.

Decide what kind of cleaning service you want. Do you want a professional cleaning service? Or will you be happier with an individual? A professional cleaning company ensures someone always shows up to clean your home. You aren’t responsible for screening employees, handling paperwork or carrying insurance. On the other hand, turnover tends to be high, so you may not get the same crew every time.

Get recommendations. Your best resources are family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Personal recommendations are really the best way to get a sense of a potential employee’s work ethic, level of responsibility and trustworthiness. Put social media to work by posting on Facebook or Nextdoor. I found my latest housekeeper by asking members of my Pilates class for referrals. One classmate had gone through the same hunt about six months before and found a reliable cleaner who was willing to take on another client.

Make a list of needs in advance. Even if you’ve had a house cleaner before, now’s the time to evaluate or reevaluate your needs. Perhaps your situation has changed, and you require more or fewer cleanings per month. Perhaps certain rooms need only a quick dusting instead of a full-blown cleaning during each visit. Children and pets might have arrived or departed. Was there something your previous cleaner didn’t do to your liking but didn’t seem worth mentioning? Write it down so you don’t forget to bring it up.

Schedule a meet-and-greet. Whether you’re hiring an individual or a service, you need to meet with the provider for a frank conversation. Ask them to describe what services they do and don’t provide. Spell out your expectations and explain any problems or issues with previous housekeepers. Do a complete room-by-room walk-through. Point out any problem areas. It’s vital that you detail what you are picky about. If you want every knickknack picked up, dusted and put back in place, say so. Ask for references and contact those employers.

Stick around for the first few cleanings. “You don’t have to follow them around the house, but this gives cleaners the chance to say, ‘This is more than I expected,’ and you the opportunity to make sure they understand what’s important, especially if you have any items you deem precious,” Brasler said.

 

Maid For You: How to Choose the Right Maid Service

Start with referrals.

Hiring a good cleaning service is easy if one comes recommended by friends, neighbors, or coworkers. While every home, family, and budget is different, starting the selection list with referrals is a great way to begin the process.

Ask the right questions.

Most reputable cleaning services will offer a free estimate of services over the phone or in person. Before you get to this point, use the initial phone call to ask them the questions that are important to you. Things like the number of people on the cleaning team, the length of time required per housecleaning, the type of products used, their license and insurance information—all of this information is important not only in making sure you are comfortable with the company, but also to outline your expectations for the services provided.

Stick with the professionals.

We don’t just say this because we’re the professionals. Using a cleaning company that is bonded, insured, dedicated to quality service, and held to those standards is beneficial for a number of reasons, including a personalized cleaning plan, an always-available team, consistent quality standards, thorough yet efficient cleaning, and a trusted reputation.

Be honest about what you need.

When doing the initial walk through, many people make the mistake of cleaning their homes before The Maids gets there. Commit to your “normal” so that the cleaning team knows exactly what to expect every time they walk in, and they can budget their time and staffs accordingly. (This also lets you get the full-service treatment you want in a cleaning service. You don’t want to have to get into the habit of always cleaning before they come because that kind of defeats the purpose).

Go with your gut.

In the end, your instincts will guide you to how comfortable you are with a cleaning service. Keep asking questions until you are satisfied. Be honest in your assessment and concerns. The purpose of hiring a maids service is to give you back your time, energy, and peace of mind. Do not hire a cleaning service if one of these aspects is out of place.

 

Tips For Hiring a House Cleaning Service

Interview more than one potential service. If you are interviewing individuals, you need to be comfortable with that person (people). If you are hiring from a large company, ask if they will send the same person consistently, or if they rotate staff. There are pros and cons to both: the same person is familiar with your house, but I have noticed the longer the same person cleans for me, the more places that should be cleaned, are missed. The downside to a new crew weekly: there is a learning curve that I am paying for as they familiarize themselves with my home.

Make certain the individual or agency (and their employees) are licensed and insured. If they break something, will it be replaced? Repaired? If someone if hurt in your home, who will pay the medical bills?

Define the scope. Are you looking for a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or a one-time clean. Make certain that everything you want done, will be done. If the cleaning crew needs to use a stepladder to get to the top shelf and dust, are they willing to do so? Will your furniture and lampshades regularly be vacuumed? What about under cushions? Is cleaning out the refrigerator extra? Are baseboards regularly dusted? Door and window casements? Will the dog-snot be washed from the front door? Are nicknacks dusted? How much to clean a finished-basement? How is the kitchen floor washed? Mop or hands and knees? Ask about OSHA restrictions. I once had a cleaning service tell me it was against OSHA rules for them to use ammonia in my house.

Make sure pricing is explicit! If you are hiring an agency, make certain that there are no hidden fees. If you are hiring an individual, make certain they are paying their taxes and social security. Definitely consult an accountant to make certain you are not hiring that person as an employee, but as an independent contractor. The tax implications for you of one versus the other are great, so make certain your accountant fully explains the ramifications of hiring an individual to you.

Don’t forget to inform the agency/individual of any pets you may have for allergy and phobia considerations. You may think a white rat allowed to roam loose about the house is perfectly normal. The house cleaner may freak and beat Whitey with a broom. The cleaning service may also schedule more time for a dog that sheds copious amounts of fur, may not be willing to change the litter box or the lining of a bird cage. Or, those services may come with an additional cost.

Find Good Bookkeeping For Your New Company

tips for choosing the right bookkeeper

Organised, process driven and efficient

A good bookkeeper must understand your industry, your business processes and your requirements so they can hit the road running.

Ethics and trust

This is paramount. Both parties need to feel comfortable with one another in order to build a relationship based on trust. It is important to provide all the correct information to your bookkeeper so they can keep accurate up to date records for you. It would make good business sense to protect yourself by having a confidentiality agreement in place.

Up-to-date technical knowledge

Up-to-date software knowledge is a must. Bookkeepers who are familiar in using online accounting software can automate many processes and reduce the amount of time spent on data entry.

Communication skills

This is essential to keep the lines of communication. Your bookkeeper must be aware of the business operations, goals and issues to do their job correctly. The ideal must have the ability to enhance relationships with managers, customers, suppliers and staff alike.

Ask questions

A great bookkeeper asks relevant questions. He or she will also share ideas with the business owner regarding financial-planning strategies, ways of increasing revenue, cash flow, budgeting and many other cost-saving strategies they can come up with to increase business performance and growth. With a good understanding of the business and financial position they can help grow the business while keeping costs to a minimum.

 

Tips to choose the Best Bookkeeping Services for Small Businesses

  1. Online or offline: You can choose a cloud-based software or an offline software depending upon your business requirements.
  2. Data Security: This aspect is important if you choose virtual bookkeeping services for your small business.
  3. Features provided by the software: You must check for the features that are relevant to you and your business.
  4. User interface and complexity: You must choose a bookkeeping service that has a friendly user interface and is not too complex to use. Even if you have an accountant for the job, you should be able to browse and check things sometimes.
  5. Scalability: The chosen small business bookkeeping company should be able to grow as your business grows. It would be very difficult to migrate from one accounting software to another.

 

Tips for Selecting Business Accounting Software

Make the decision with the help of your accountant

Your accountant may prefer that you choose an application that is compatible with the ones she uses. Every business is different; your accountant is in the best position to offer an educated opinion about which one is best choice for your particular enterprise. Your accountant may even be able to help you set up the software you choose.

Pay attention to add-on features

Add-ons bring extra functionality to a business accounting application. For example, they may allow you to access the software remotely, accept payments online, and integrate the accounting software with your ecommerce software. There are also add-ons that make accounting software compatible with tax software.

Keep your budget in mind

There is business accounting software available to suit all budgets. General applications for a broader user base may be downloaded free or bought off the shelf at a lower price.

Look at cloud applications

With cloud computing becoming a more prominent influence in modern business, it is important not to dismiss the many online accounting applications available.

Consider both your needs and your accounting skills

Your best bet for finding the right accounting software is to look at how your business operates, and then take careful stock of the different types of software on the market. If your business makes several million dollars a year, it will have very different accounting needs than one that makes less than $50,000. You have a variety of options when it comes accounting software products, including those designed specifically for small- and medium-sized businesses.

 

How to Choose the Right Bookkeeping Software for Your Startup

Consider your business requirements, and accounting skills

The business processes and how it operates, influence your choice of bookkeeping software. You must choose the software with features which complements the cash flow and business process of your company best. Your accounting skills is another factor that must be taken into consideration when you are choosing a software. Without the minimum layout of accounts, understanding the operation of the software and overseeing the reports can be difficult.

Know about the types of products available

There are different types of software for bookkeeping business available for small and medium-scale businesses. While some are free, others are paid packages available for small business accounting and payroll management, full-service business management, and online web-hosted software.

Consider your budget

As a small business owner, this is a primary concern for many who are looking for virtual bookkeeping services that are cost-effective. The price varies depending on several factors.

Consult your bookkeepers and accountants

Since the bookkeepers and the accountants will be using the software, consulting them beforehand is necessary to ensure it is compatible with their requirements. They have the necessary education for understanding the intricacies of the software and hence can help you regarding choosing the packages, customization, and add-ons that cover the financial requirements related to your business.

Compare and finalize your choices

Now that you have all the information you need regarding the top accounting and bookkeeping software, compare the pros and cons of each to shortlist which are the most suitable option for your business. You can even opt for the trial versions of different software.

 

Tips for Selecting A Qualified Bookkeeping Service

Look for someone with relevant experience

As a business owner, whether you have one employee or one hundred, you’re going to need someone with experience in the following areas.

Talk to government and local business associations

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, both the state and federal government encourage their growth. Use government and local business associations like the Chamber of Commerce to help you find and decide on the right bookkeeping service for your business.

Tap into your network

When searching for an accounting pro who knows how to balance the books, the ideal solution might be closer than you think. Start by asking any friends & family members who own small businesses if they would recommend the bookkeeping services they use.

Reach out on social media

LinkedIn is a great place to start, it is widely considered the number one social media site for professional networking. You most likely have a profile on LinkedIn already, reach out to your connections and search for bookkeeping professionals that are recommended by your network.

Find a bookkeeper who is all about saving you money

Some bookkeeping services offer little more than simply reconciling your accounts and maintaining your payroll. But your business deserves better than that.

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