Understanding The Dynamic Nature Of House Cleaning

HOUSE CLEANING IS MORE PROFITABLE THAN YOU THOUGHT

Starting your own business will be an amazing way to take control of your life, boost your income and find an occupation which will allow you to support yourself and your family on your own terms. A house cleaning business may be an excellent example of a potentially lucrative, extremely useful business that’s not difficult to get started and has a huge opportunity for growth. Benefits of Owning a Housecleaning Business

Every business has its own advantages. If you’re considering opening a house cleaning business, you must consider potential advantages as compared to the effort required to confirm you make the choice that’s best for you and your family.

  • A house cleaning business doesn’t need many workers. In fact, you’ll be able to start your business completely on your own. Later, once your client base grows or once the homes you’re asked to clean become more difficult, you can consider hiring a lot of people.
  • Because you’re on top of things of your hours and therefore the amount of labor you accept, you’re able to customize the business to fit your lifestyle. this implies that if you wish to only work while your kids are at school, you have this feature.
  • House cleaning is an extremely in-demand service each for people who simply need the occasional help and for those who can need regular house cleaning services.
  • You’ll be able to customize your services using your own abilities to form yourself stand out from different house cleaning services. Not only will this appeal to customers, however it makes the business a lot of interesting and fulfilling.
  • Because house cleaning needs little preparation and no necessary licensing, you’ll be able to begin a small house cleaning business quickly and easily to immediately speak to an income loss or gap.

 

Winning Potential

A house cleaning business can be an incredible method to create pay. There are a few roads that can be taken to amplify benefits and increment your client base.

The house cleaning needs of your customers can go from a one-time requirement for unique occasion or regular cleaning to a customary relationship requiring a few cleanings per month. Filling your calendar with both guarantees predictable work and, consequently, salary.

Offering particular administrations, for example, concoction free cleaning, aroma free cleaning or full range administrations including dishes and clothing can engage a more extensive scope of clients, expanding your business opportunity.

 

 

What to Know Before You Hire a Housekeeper

Finally hiring a housekeeper can bring such a sense of relief, but only if you’ve done your homework. It’s important to find someone who is trustworthy, particularly if they will be cleaning your home while you’re at work or running errands, and will take their time to do the job properly. Ask around for referrals and consider the ins and outs of using a sole proprietor or hiring a larger cleaning company before you commit to a housekeeper.

Independent Workers vs. Cleaning Companies

A number of housekeepers work as sole proprietors of their own business, but you might be more comfortable with a larger cleaning company that hires their own employees. There are pros and cons to both: A benefit to hiring a cleaning company is that they are responsible for screening the employees to ensure that a background check comes up clean. On the other hand, if you want the same person cleaning your house every week, you should choose a sole proprietor—turnover tends to be higher with cleaning companies, and they might send someone different each time.

Find a Referral

The best place to start looking for a great housekeeper is to ask your family and friends if they have a company or person that they use and love. One of the great things about using a cleaning service is that they have multiple people who might work out well for your needs. A lot of services will allow you to try out different housekeepers until you find one that is perfect for your needs.

Interview Candidates

Take some time to come up with real questions, and make sure that you’re thorough with the interview. Ask questions about what they enjoy about their work. Why did they choose housekeeping as a line of work? Check references, work history, and criminal history. A lot of services will do these things in advance, but be thorough and check out the results.

Decide on a flat fee or an hourly fee

When considering hiring a housekeeper, one of the things that you might have to decide is if you’re going to pay by the hour or pay a flat fee, though the housekeeper or company might have their own non-negotiable policies.

 

 

7 Steps to Cleaning Business Success!

If you’ve already opened your cleaning business and bought your house cleaning insurance, you’ve taken a huge step forward and that deserves a big thumbs up. But now, you might be wondering how to make your business grow to become a success in the industry. Your potential clients have plenty of house cleaners to choose from, so you want to make your business stand out from the rest! Here we’ll look at a few tips to help your house cleaning business flourish.

  1. Offer Personalized Service and Fair Prices

Spend some time giving free estimates. This will help you see a potential client’s home to work out how much time it will take to clean. Don’t charge the same price for a large house and for a small apartment. Clients will go running to a cleaner they believe is giving them a fair deal. Sit with the client to find out what they want. According to surveys, customer experience with a company has a huge impact on how likely they are to be repeat customers, and that holds true for you, too. Sitting with your clients to understand what is important to them gives them this personalized service and shows that you care about them and their needs, allowing you to develop a pricing plan that is fair to them and worthwhile for you. And when you need to raise your prices? They’re more likely to understand.

  1. Manage Your Time Carefully

To be a success, you need to fill up your schedule. Working on your time management will benefit both you and the customer, as expectations are clear and match reality. Schedule your jobs in a way that allows you to fit more than one job in each day. Slots starting around 10am won’t leave you enough time for an afternoon customer as well. On the other hand, starting at 8am will allow you to finish by lunchtime and go to another customer afterwards–or even take some much needed time off. It also means that your customer won’t have to have their entire day blocked off. Always be on time and efficient to keep to your schedule and keep your customers satisfied.

  1. Find Your Niche

In a crowded market, it can be difficult to make a place for yourself. Spend some time looking online at reviews and social media to see what clients wants and what competitors are offering. Then, create a niche for yourself. Perhaps you guarantee all of your products will be environmentally friendly. You might be able to offer flexible scheduling, such as evening or weekend time slots. Perhaps you work more on marketing with a weekly newsletter or blog posts with free cleaning tips, introductions to your cleaning staff, and product reviews. Having a niche will give you a unique place in the market.

  1. Use Quality Products

Cheap products may save you money to begin with, but using more expensive quality products will help you attract a unique clientele that will benefit your business in the long-run. Using non-toxic and ecologically friendly products is better for the furniture and doesn’t leave any irritating fumes or smells around the home. These safe and healthy alternatives are better for both your cleaner and the client. Keep learning about new products through suppliers, from industry publications or from trade organizations to stay on top of your game.

  1. Treat Your Employees Well

Your employees are key to the success of your business. To offer a cleaning service that stands out, you need to attract the best and most professional cleaners. Some ways to encourage your employees to stay with you include:

  • Spend time on training; show them how to clean windows, scrub a sink and more
  • Don’t micromanage – show trust and respect once you’ve trained them
  • Offer perks such as paid sick or vacation time to employees have shown their loyalty
  • Provide bonuses for quality work
  1. Spend Time on Marketing

Don’t become complacent once you have a solid client base. You need to spend time on marketing to ensure you always have new clients. There are many ways to advertise your business to the right markets. These include:

  • Networking – Networking may not cost money up-front, but it can lead to business opportunities immediately or down the line. Let people know what you do.
  • Contact real estate agencies or home builders – Make contact with companies who might refer you to others. This gets you right out in front of the competition with a potential client before they are even in their home.
  • Advertise around the community – This is a great way to find local jobs. Put up flyers, pay for ads in local brochures or magazines and get your name out at local community events. This will help you build brand recognition.
  1. Focus on the Business Aspect

Building a successful house cleaning business is not easy, in terms of the cleaning itself or the business aspect. Businesses need to be run professionally to be successful. For your house cleaning business to grow and expand, you need to take care of much more than just cleaning. Make sure you have a business plan in place, that you’re filing taxes as you need to and that you have the insurance you need to grow and thrive.

 

Price Your Cleaning Services for Profit

  1. Let’s talk numbers.

Most cleaning companies base their prices on the market average. They simply look at what their competitors are charging… and charge less.

DON’T DO THIS.

You’ll end up working for pennies – or robbing yourself blind. Your prices need to be based on two things:

What are Your Overheads?

Before you put a dollar-value on your services, you need to figure out what it costs to run your business.

  • Cost of supplies
  • Employee wages
  • Drive time and Fuel

Always factor in your employees – even if you don’t have any. This will help you when you grow.

Also, it’s a good idea to remind yourself that you are an employee of your business. Even the CEO of Amazon is an employee of his own business.

Example: Let’s say you have 2 employees ($22 per hour), with 15 minutes of drive time ($3 to get to the property) and your supplies amount to $3 per hour.

That means you need to charge at least $28 per hour… just to break even!

Why Do Mosquitoes Love Human Blood

How Not to Kill Mosquitoes

First, you need to understand the difference between repelling mosquitoes and killing them. Repellents make a location (like your yard or skin) less attractive to mosquitoes, but don’t kill them. So, citronella, DEET, smoke, lemon eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree oil might keep the insects at bay, but won’t control them or get rid of them in the long run. Repellents vary in effectiveness, too. For example, while citronella may deter mosquitoes from entering a small, enclosed area, it doesn’t really work in a wide open space (like your back yard).

There are a host of methods that actually do kill mosquitoes, but aren’t great solutions. A classic example is a bug zapper, which kills only a few mosquitoes, yet attracts and kills beneficial insects that keep the mozzy population down. Similarly, spraying pesticides is not an ideal solution because mosquitoes can become resistant to them, other animals get poisoned, and the toxins can cause lasting environmental damage.

 

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Inside the House

  • If you live in an area with many mosquitoes, you should use mosquito netting to protect infants less than two months old.
  • Wear clothing from head to toe if possible, as limiting skin exposure will lower the chances of mosquito bites.
  • Avoid wearing black or other dark colors, especially in warm weather, as they keep your body warm. Mosquitoes are attracted to warm bodies, and that’s not a recipe for bite-free success.
  • Avoid wearing perfumes, as mosquitoes are attracted to the scent mixed with our body sweat.
  • Use weather-stripping products to seal any door gaps. Protecting your home entry is an important step to reduce the access mosquitoes have inside.
  • Eat more garlic. If you consume a lot of it, your sweat will smell like garlic. The smell deters mosquitoes and keeps them away naturally.
  • Try using silicone caulk or screen patches to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house. Make sure that no screens have holes or tears. Turn on fans because they can break up carbon dioxide and throw mosquitoes off course.

 

How I Tested The Dish Soap Mosquito Killing Home Remedy

Using my kitchen area as a test center, (to my wife’s dismay but it was her idea), I placed a small saucer on our stove each night. The saucer was filled with water and two to three small squirts of dish soap. I did not stir or aggregate the soap in the water. I simply squirted it in and left it.

I made sure the overhead light on our vent-a-hood was left on over the stove. Although evidence of light attracting mosquitoes has been mostly debunked, it does help them to navigate. I wanted to make sure they could see the saucer of water. All the other lights in the house were turned off.

I also made sure that the sinks in the kitchen were empty and dry. I did not want to offer alternative water areas. By the same token, toilet lids were closed and bathroom doors were shut.

And so, I have a controlled test center. Let the battles begin!

 

Mosquito Predators

Mosquito Predators – what eats mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes have a number of predators that collectively can exert some influence on reducing mosquito populations. However, with a very few exceptions, predators generally have little effect on reducing the mosquito population over a large area. So, what are some animals that are mosquito predators?

Bats

While bats eat mosquitoes, they are far more effective at locating, catching and eating insects other than mosquitoes.

Birds

Many birds will eat mosquitoes. The more important among these are purple martins, swallows, waterfowl (geese, terns, ducks) and migratory songbirds. Bird predators usually eat both the adult and aquatic stages of mosquitoes.

Fish

Goldfish, guppies, bass, bluegill and catfish prey on mosquito larvae. But the most important fish predator, by far, is the Gambusia affinis, commonly known as the mosquito fish. This is probably the most effective predator of mosquito larvae and is used by many mosquito control agencies to augment their control efforts.

Frogs and Tadpoles

Most adult frogs and tadpoles do not include mosquitoes as a large part of their diet. Tadpoles infrequently feed on mosquito larvae and instead generally feed on small, suspended particles of plant-related materials. However, mosquito larvae predation is known for three species of North American tadpoles – the spade foot toad, green tree frog and giant tree frog. While not a direct act of predation, tadpoles may compete with mosquito larvae for food.

Turtles

The red-eared slider turtle is generally thought to be the most voracious turtle that feeds on mosquito larvae.

 

Plants And Animals That Cut Down On Mosquitoes

Of all the pests and bugs that can invade your yard, mosquitoes can be some of the most annoying, especially during the warm summer months. When spending time by the pool or lounging outside for a barbecue, nothing can ruin it more quickly than the constant buzzing, bites, and irritation that mosquitoes bring.

Finding a way to lower the numbers of these pests can be pretty difficult. While several chemicals and sprays have been developed to kill mosquitoes and halt their reproduction, natural solutions also exist. For the best protection, smart homeowners can use natural predators and plant-based deterrents to reduce the mosquito population in their yards without resorting to chemicals.

Here are some of the plants and animals that can help cut down your mosquito problem:

  1. Marigolds

Beyond their beautiful and vibrant coloration, the scent that marigolds release make them a great natural mosquito deterrent. They’re also known to keep away other insects that can damage your other plants, making them especially helpful for gardeners or people who like to grow some of their own food.

Plant some marigolds in your yard, either from a starter plant or from a seed, and start solving your mosquito problem and beautifying your home simultaneously.

  1. Citronella

While largely produced in Asia, the citronella plant is a well-known mosquito solution among southern homeowners. This clumping grass emits a strong scent that’s quite effective for mosquito and other insect control, and its natural properties have made it a common ingredient found in several insect repellants.

The herb has also been used in many other ways, such as a perfume or as a way to calm barking dogs. It has even had success as a spray to keep pests from destroying furniture and other household valuables, meaning that homeowners that invest in citronella plants for mosquito protection may be able to glean several additional benefits.

Citronella can be planted in a large pot, or used as an ingredient in candles or torches.

  1. Catnip

While, as the name implies, catnip is more widely-known for its effect on cats, it nevertheless serves as a potent mosquito repellant. A close relative to the mint plant, catnip, like citronella and marigolds, releases a scent that mosquitoes can’t stand, deterring them from approaching.

Unfortunately, catnip only works well as a repellant if the mosquitoes are in close proximity to the plant, meaning that you probably won’t be able to protect your entire yard with just this plant. However, the oil in catnip can work wonders when applied to the skin, acting as a natural bug spray. Catnip is also very easy to grow and maintain, making it easy to keep a steady supply.

Just remember how intense the effect of catnip is on cats, and how powerfully they are attracted to it. You don’t want to replace one pest with another in the form of unwanted felines on your property.

  1. Dragonflies

Why not use a helpful insect to fight a harmful one? In the realm of animals that help maintain mosquitoes, dragonflies are among the most unique. Dragonflies consume a lot of mosquitoes, but sometimes even with the large amount they ingest, they may not seem to to have a significant impact on the problem.

However, their real strength is less in stopping an existing mosquito infestation and more in preventing them in the future. Dragonflies do consume adult mosquitoes, but they have a much greater impact on mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes lay eggs in bodies of standing water, which dragonflies will happily eat up before they have a chance to grow into adults.

Some Tips To Choose A Veterinarian

The Best Vet for Your Pet

As a pet owner, developing a trusting relationship with your veterinarian is an integral aspect of your dog or cat’s health. Just as we put a great deal of thought into choosing our own doctor, we want to have a competent and knowledgeable person whom we trust to care for our pets. Whether starting from scratch and adopting a new pet or simply moving to a new city or state, there comes a point when every pet owner has to choose a veterinarian. For some people, finding the perfect vet is as simple as searching the internet for the nearest office. For others, there are more factors to consider: the veterinarian, the support staff, cost of services and the location of the veterinary office, to name a few.

It’s up to you to weigh all the factors and decide which are most important to you. Perhaps you have a cat or dog who does not tolerate long car rides; therefore, finding a veterinary office that is close to home might take precedence. Many owners will be willing to travel a little farther for a veterinarian they like and trust will make good decisions for their pet. The friendliness of the staff and comfort level of the office are also important considerations. While it’s true that most pets don’t love going to see the veterinarian, you want to make sure to give your pet the most pleasant experience possible.

So how do you choose? Word of mouth is probably your best bet. Having a trusted friend or even an acquaintance that already has an established relationship with a veterinarian can go a long way. If you’re new to the area, visit a local dog park or pet store and ask other owners where they take their pets. You could end up with a great recommendation. If you’re moving, don’t feel shy about asking your current veterinary office for suggestions for a new clinic. I have had clients do this, and, quite often, I have old classmates in the area to whom I can refer them. At the very least, I can come up with a referral through another veterinarian friend.

What to Look for in a Veterinary Clinic

An ideal veterinary office should be clean, well-organized and comfortable. Every clinic has their share of hectic days, but, overall, the staff should conduct themselves in a friendly, helpful and professional manner. They should be attentive and willing to answer your questions and/or accommodate your pet’s needs

Evaluating a New Veterinarian

When evaluating a new veterinary clinic for the first time, take your pet in for a wellness exam, if possible. Assessing a new veterinary office can be much more difficult when dealing with the emotional stress of having a sick pet. Make sure to go prepared with your pet’s medical records, including a full history of his or her vaccinations and a summary of any past health issues. Most clinics, breeders or adoption agencies should be able to provide you with your pet’s pertinent history upon request. The more information you supply for your new veterinarian, the better equipped he or she will be to give recommendations regarding the best care for your pet.

 

Things to Consider When Choosing a Veterinarian

As pet parents, we take great joy in picking out the perfect collar and matching leash, the most comfy bed, and cutest dishes we can find for our pets. It goes without saying, taking the time to choose your pet’s veterinarian is one of the most important things you can do for your pet

What is their philosophy? Does it coincide with mine?

We believe that pets are truly a part of the family dynamic, and that the human animal bond is important. At The Drake Center, we aim to ensure that every human and animal who walks through our doors receives a one-of-a-kind veterinary experience. This unique level of service is based on a dedication to quality patient care called The Drake Center Difference.

How do the veterinarians and staff treat you and your pet? How many doctors are at the practice?

If you’re in the market for a place to take your pets for their medical needs, we encourage you to come in for a “happy visit” and simply meet our amazing staff.

Vet techs and assistants: Do they seem knowledgeable about and sensitive to animals?

We pride ourselves in staffing amazing vet techs, tech assistants, and receptionists. Many have been working at The Drake Center for over 15 years and have a genuine passion for animals. In addition, we strive to make you feel like you are a part of our family from the moment you walk in the door.

Is your veterinary hospital accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)?

Did you know that only 12% of veterinary practices are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association? AAHA holds animal hospitals to the highest level of care, requiring they pass a 900 point inspection.

 

How To Pick The Best Vet

I once got in a fight with a veterinarian while my dog, Sereno, lay in agony on an exam table. He had “bloated”—his stomach had twisted and filled with air. It was a deadly problem I’d seen many times as a vet tech, and I knew that if we didn’t release some of the air with a stomach tube or get him into surgery pronto, he was going to die.

I was on vacation in rural West Virginia and had just driven 45 miles at top speed looking for a vet. This was the first clinic I saw: tiny, with a broken screen door and a hand-painted sign that said veterinarian. Sereno looked like he’d swallowed a beach ball, and when I tapped his stomach, it made the telltale pinging sound of a bloated dog. But the vet suggested a blood test to rule out kidney failure. I asked her to take an X-ray. She did—I saw what looked like unequivocal bloat on the film, but she wasn’t sure.

That’s when I lost it. I’d helped pump countless dogs’ stomachs as a tech—it’s tricky and takes more than one person, but at that point I was desperate. “Can I just have a stomach tube?” I snapped. “I’ll do it myself.”

First, I asked myself, What do all good vets I know have in common? They didn’t stop learning after vet school—they did internships and took continuing education classes. Most work at clinics accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). So I searched online for AAHA hospitals. I visited each clinic’s website to look at its vets’ educational backgrounds: Multiple internships got bonus points; so did residencies. I also looked for the abbreviation ABVP after the vets’ names, because it means they did extra work to be certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. That narrowed my list of clinics from 170 to 3. Only then did I check what is often people’s first criterion: location.

I made appointments with each clinic, starting with the closest one. I planned to try all three. But then I walked into the first clinic and told the vet—as I always do—that I’m a pain because I’m a former vet tech who asks a lot of questions. He laughed, then spent 45 minutes examining my dogs and talking with me. He referred me to a board-certified dermatologist for my young dog’s allergies and mentioned a new treatment he wanted to try for a problem my older dog’s had for years. I went home and canceled my other appointments.

 

Choosing a vet

How do vet practices work?

Some veterinary practices operate with just one veterinary surgeon and one member of staff. Others may have 15 of more vets with a similar number of nursing and support staff.

Practices may operate on more than one site – the main practice being supported by 3 or more branch surgeries. The branch surgeries may have limited on-site facilities and equipment, but they allow you to see a vet without having to travel long distances.

Facilities do vary between practices. Some may have extensive equipment and facilities on-site, while others contract some services out to specialist firms or labs. Similarly, veterinary surgeons may refer unusual or complicated cases to veterinary surgeons who specialise in a particular species or discipline.

What is 24-hour cover?

Whatever the size of the premises, veterinary surgeons have to make sure that 24-hour emergency cover is available for their clients every day of the week.

They can do this in several ways; a practice may provide this themselves, or some practices get together locally to provide this service, which may mean that you have to travel to a different practice in a emergency

 

How to Choose a Good Vet

Veterinary care is mandatory in your pet’s life. Whether it’s a cat, a dog, a parrot, rabbit, or an iguana. From the moment a new family member of any species arrives home, we should give them all the conditions they need to live happily beside us. Periodic visits to the vet are one of the key points of any animal’s health.

Each species requires specific care that can include de-worming, vaccinations or only periodic visits as preventative measures to ensure that all is well. Many carers only take their pet to the vet when the animal becomes sick. Don’t make this mistake. Even before adopting an animal you should look for a veterinarian

Legalization of the clinic

This is undoubtedly point number 1. Unfortunately, there are many ‘fake vets”and clinics that are not legalized. The role of Justice is to detect these cases of fraud but all carers should be aware and conscious that these cases exist and may be closer than you think.

Only a veterinary doctor that has had the required training and practice needed can perform medical acts with animals. Don’t take your dog to be vaccinated by the worker of the Pet shop, nor to your neighbor to get “cheap shots”. Cheap ends up being expensive and your animal’s health is priceless!

Location

The question of the location of the clinic or veterinary hospital is relative. Ideally, a clinic near your home is the most indicated to avoid the stress of travelling with the animal and the time it takes to get to the clinic in case of emergency. However, driving a few extra miles may be worth it to receive better services. You will always have to assess the pros and cons.

Factors Influencing Bathroom Remodelling

Picking Materials for a Bath Remodel

Before you shop for vanities and choose the material for your countertops, make sure you have a well-thought-out plan for your bathroom renovation. You should identify goals and priorities, with the help of your completed Day in the Life of Your Bathroom Questionnaire and Bathroom Goals Worksheet. You also should have a clear vision of what your new bathroom will look like, after exploring various bathroom designs and layouts.

Now it’s time to drill down to the details of your bathroom remodel. It’s best to choose all of the fixtures, materials and finishes down to the hardware before the project begins. That way, you will have a truly realistic idea of how much the project will cost.(Allowances can quickly get out of hand.)

As you choose among fixtures and materials, visit specialty design showrooms for plumbing, lighting, flooring, cabinets, etc. You’ll get a real feel for what’s available in the market, and you can talk to the professionals who work there about your ideas and what products will achieve your goals.

Choosing Bathroom Flooring

Tile is the surface of choice in the bathroom—natural stone or porcelains and ceramic that mimic natural stone. Floor tile is larger—12×12 or 18×18 inches—and color schemes are neutral. “Rather than putting a lot of color on the floor and drawing your eye down, we’re incorporating subtle designs to complement the room,” says Rick Miller, president, Miller’s Fancy Bath & Kitchen, Louisville, Ky. In general, Miller likes to keep contrast at countertop level, at the sight line.

Ceramic tile floors are designed with more texture than ceramic wall tile to prevent slippage. Honed natural stone will also provide traction when floors get wet—that’s when the surface is ground flat but not polished. Natural stone also can be sandblasted.

 

Choosing a Contractor for a Bathroom Remodel

Ask for Referrals

Word of mouth — hands down, it’s the best way to find a qualified professional to tackle the job. Ask relatives, friends and neighbors whom they have had good experiences with. Also 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 that’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 the state and local municipalities, as well as designations from any professional associations like the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) or the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). Look for contractors who have invested in coursework and passed rigorous tests in order to earn a particular certification. Be aware, however, that all certifications are not created equal. “I would find out what the certification is and what it took to get it,” says Sara Ann Busby, NKBA president-elect and owner of Sara Busby Designs in Elk Rapids, Mich.

Interview Candidates

Narrow down the list of contenders, and set up meetings. What is the magic number of contractors to interview? “Ultimately, the right amount could be one,” says Al Pattison, past president of NKBA, but he recommends talking with no more than three. “With too many quotes, it gets too confusing trying to make a decision.” NARI offers a list of questions to ask potential contractors on its website.

Check References

Once rapport has been established, ask to see some of the contractor’s projects. If they meet with approval, request references and then actually call the contractor’s former customers to check up on them. Ask how the contractor did at executing the project. Was it on-time and on-budget? Were they pleased with the outcome? Was there anything that could have been done differently?

Get it in Writing

After zeroing in on one contractor who seems right for the job, 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 Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

Remodeling a bathroom can be one of the most satisfying home improvement projects of all. Results are immediate and personal—a sparkling new shower or bathtub, a cheerful paint scheme, a bathroom vanity with a beautiful countertop, and more storage than ever. A high-quality bathroom remodel can also pay you back by boosting resale value. One way to ensure the best bathroom remodel is to hire a bathroom contractor with experience who can see your project through to its successful completion.

Interview Three or More Bathroom Contractors

When you speak to just one or two bathroom contractors, you gain only a limited set of viewpoints. If you go ahead and solicit bids from these contractors, the bids might be higher than expected. By increasing the number of contractors that you interview, it is easier to find the contractor who is the perfect fit for your job. Plus, you’ll have a greater range of bids to choose from.

Review the Contractor’s Previous Work

Bathroom contractors typically show up for the interview with a picture gallery of the previous bathroom remodels, either in a picture book or on a screen. You can also view the contractor’s portfolio on their website or on contractor-matching sites that they belong to. Aim to look past the pretty pictures and decide if this bathroom contractor does the type of work that is right for you.

Get Estimates in Writing

Verbal estimates are worth little—for either the homeowner or the bathroom contractor. Numbers get forgotten or misinterpreted or misheard, even if everyone has good intentions. Well-written estimates are understood by all. It is perfectly fine to ask a bathroom contractor for a verbal ballpark figure. Just understand that no one is being held to that figure, and that you should follow up with a written estimate of costs.

Pin Down the Schedule

Before signing the contract, be sure to clarify with the bathroom contractor the date that the remodel can start and the overall duration of the project. Scheduling matters both to you and to the contractor. When both of you are in agreement, then you can proceed with the contract. “Time is of the essence” is a familiar contract clause that defines the amount of time the contractor has to work on the project, along with a payment schedule by the homeowner.

 

MUST-KNOW BATHROOM REMODELING TIPS

Getting ready to start a new bathroom remodeling project? Is this your first time going through a home renovation? It’s an exciting chapter of your life and one that should be approached the right way. We compiled our favorite tips and tricks to help you learn the perfect balance between your creative customization needs and functional design ideas that can help you tie the whole bathroom together.

We all want a bathroom that would be a reflection of our personal style and be able to deliver the comfort we need at the same time. However, aside from that, it’s also important that it has the right fixtures and amenities that are capable of providing function and value as well. Fortunately, through careful planning, finding the right contractors, and choosing the right design, you can have it all.  Here are some of the best tips that could turn your bathroom remodeling dream into reality.

PLAN YOUR BATHROOM

Before you even call a remodeling company for your bathroom remodel, you should first talk with everyone who will be using the space. Try to have a discussion about the fixtures and finishes you are supposed to use and how much of a budget you’re willing to shell out. As you plan for your budget, it’s important to have a little extra, because you never know if there will be some unexpected problems that will increase the cost later on.

This planning would be very helpful and go a long way toward keeping with your bathroom renovation plan as you move along with the project. Once you start with the renovation, you have to know that the process could take around 30-90 days. No matter how long it is going to take, try to resist the temptation of changing your plans unless financial constraints or problems arise. Changing your plans can create more hidden expenses by delaying contractors, ordering new items, and pushing your end date out further and further

How to Design Your Bathroom?

A lot of homes usually have at least one bathroom with a sink, toilet, and bathtub. Then, there are optional extras, such as the shower, and in some cases, a bidet. An extra sink is also a popular choice for most people, especially in households where the bathroom is often used by more than one person.  A master bathroom should especially take into consideration the space required for two sinks, two vanities, and even two medicine cabinets

 

How To Choose a Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

What is the biggest mistake people make when choosing a  contractor? Is the old saying is really true, you get what you pay for?! We see this so often in the home remodeling business. If you want quality construction, it’s important to learn how to choose a bathroom remodeling contractor because of the value you will receive, not simply because they have provided the lowest bid. It is impossible for any company in any industry to offer the cheapest price, have the highest quality, and provide the best service all at the same time. You can get high quality and superior service, but rarely will you get both and still get the lowest price. Keep reading to learn a few of the keys about how to choose a bathroom remodeling contractor

Quality

A contractor who always offers the lowest price tends to also offer the lowest quality. You’ve worked too hard and spent too much money on your home. Why throw it away for the few pennies you might save on a contractor? The result could be lower quality materials and or lower quality of service and expertise because of their cheaper price. This often costs you more money and is a false sense of savings

Service

Cheaper contractors can’t and don’t usually stand behind their work if there is a mistake. Sure, other home improvement contractors might do the same project for a little less money, but how will they treat you when there is a mistake? To give you the cheapest price, they usually have inexperienced, lower-wage employees that are not been adequately trained and cannot provide the best craftsmanship of their specific trade.

Is A Family Law Attorney Right For You

Tips For Choosing The Best Family Lawyer

How Do You Find The Best Family Lawyer

Choosing the best family lawyer during your divorce is very important, helping you reach the best outcome, understand the process and make the most appropriate decisions.

Not many people facing a marriage break-up have previous experience in legal matters of any kind, much less in the legal aspects of a divorce, so it can be difficult to know exactly how to go about finding the right person to guide you through the process.

Start Looking As Early As Possible

Deciding which lawyer you want to help you through this significant and often difficult life change is not something you want to do in a rush. As soon as you think you might need a family lawyer, start searching for one that suits your needs.

Ask Around or Check Reviews

Approach the search for the best family lawyer as you would the search for any other professional: ask friends and family members whether they know any lawyers that they can recommend.

Choose An Expert

Family law is complex and constantly changing, with new cases that can set precedents and change how judges respond to other cases in the future.

 

Family Law: Selecting a Good Lawyer

Your divorce or custody battle is as unique as your family’s circumstances. It’s important to find the right lawyer for your particular case. A good lawyer can help you navigate the murky waters of divorce and can help you feel confident about your decisions. By contrast, an ill-equipped or inexperienced lawyer may end up complicating your case. But what kind of lawyer should you hire and where do you start?

What Type of Legal Assistance Do I Need?

If you’re filing for divorce, it’s obvious that you’ll want to hire an attorney who’s experienced in family law rather than personal injury or probate matters. In other words, you’ll want someone who knows how to handle your divorce case and can speak from experience. Yet it’s still important to decide why you want to hire an attorney in the first place. Your reasons for hiring a lawyers will factor into the type of attorney that’s best equipped to handle your case

These are all very different reasons for wanting an attorney on your side, and a different type of attorney will fit each of these circumstances. Once you’ve decided what you’re looking for in an attorney, you’re ready to begin the search.

How Do I Narrow My Search?

While an online search engine or your local bar association are both great places to begin looking, you may need to do more research to find the right attorney for your case. Many online search tools will group attorneys by practice areas and location. Once you’ve found a family law attorney in your area, check out the prospective attorneys’ websites. Do you think the website is tasteful? Does the attorney look professional? It can also be helpful to ask around and see if anyone in your network knows a prospective divorce attorney.

Interviewing Potential Attorneys

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a handful of attorneys, you’ll want to meet with each lawyer in person. Be aware that some attorneys charge an initial consultation fee. You should bring relevant divorce paperwork and information to your first meeting with a lawyer. An attorney needs to understand your circumstances to make an accurate assessment of your case

 

TIPS TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT FAMILY LAWYER

Finding a family lawyer can be difficult because few people have experience with the legal process. Doing your homework will pay off in the long run when you find a lawyer that is the best fit for your family. Here’s some information to help you get started.

Be Realistic

Your attorney’s role is to represent you in a legal process, not be your therapist.

Stay Focused

Understand your goal, whether it’s divorce, division of property, or adopting a child. Focus on the goal and find a Calgary family lawyer who can help you achieve it.

Consider Your Options

Depending on your goal, there may be other options besides traditional litigation. Mediation and arbitration are a couple other options that are more private.

Identity Potential Lawyers

Ask for recommendations and go online to find a few potential Calgary divorce lawyers to consider.

 

How to Choose a Family Law Attorney

If you are getting a divorce or preparing for a custody hearing, then an experienced family law attorney can be an invaluable asset. Family law attorneys represent clients in court for a variety of reasons. They also draft legal documents, such as parenting plans, prenuptial agreements, and surrogacy contracts. If you need a family law attorney, then you should gather referrals and research the prospective attorneys before scheduling a consultation.

Ask friends or colleagues for recommendations. You should ask people you know if they have needed a family law attorney and if they would recommend their lawyer. Personal referrals are often the best way to get leads

Request a referral from another attorney. A lawyer who does not practice family law is another great source of referrals. He or she should be familiar with the reputations of lawyers in the local community and can point you in the direction of a lawyer who is sufficiently qualified to handle your case

Contact your state’s bar association. Many state bar associations run referral programs. You can search the referral programs for lawyers based on areas of expertise and location. In states where the bar association does not run a referral program, county-wide referral programs are often available

Look at websites. Most lawyers now have websites. You should find the website by doing a web search. For attorneys with common names, you should search “the name” and “lawyer” plus the county or city where the attorney practices

 

Tips on How To Choose the Right Family Lawyer

Family law matters can be some of the most stressful and emotional experiences we go through in our lives. This makes the task of choosing the right family lawyer one which demands careful thought and research.

According to the old adage, “you can’t choose your family.” You can however choose the lawyer or solicitors in family matters. In fact, your choice can determine how smoothly such proceedings can go and can be a critical factor in achieving a successful outcome.

Even for those who have experience in dealing with complex legal matters, family law can be a whole new kettle of fish. As someone who has gone through the family law ‘adventure’ I know what can happen.  For those who have thus far managed to avoid legal matters in their life may panic, hitting search engines with multiple “family law manchester,” or “solicitors newcastle,” or some such search that sees them often too stressed to even capitalise their searches.

Finding the right family lawyer can be a nightmare due to the emotion of what is being dealt with quite apart from sifting through legal profiles and information about ‘great’ family lawyers. When looking for the right firm, patience is truly a virtue. It may also save the hassle of making a rash decision in a panic.

Know exactly what you are looking for: Why do you need a family lawyer? Are you getting a divorce or is there a dispute over child access with your former spouse? If you cannot clearly communicate to a professional what you need, the process may be one which is drawn out more than it has to be.

Outdoor Holiday Light Removal And Roof Inspection Go Hand In Hand

Tips for Choosing the Right Roofer for Roof Repair and Inspection

Your roof is simply one of the most significant components of your home because it offers shelter and security from the outside disturbances and constructs a barrier for sun rays. If you do require a roof repair or inspection, one of the most exhausting parts of the process is choosing the best contractor who can perform the right and quick job

Client Testimonials and Referrals

Explore client testimonials and reviews on websites like Google and Yelp! If an owner attempts to publish a review, then you can be sure that the roofing contractor you are considering will deliver superior roofing system! Check out their website and know if they have a client testimonial section!

Knowledge About Specific Roof Types

Search for roofers that are skilled in the type of work you need. You need to select a roofer with hands-on experience in setting up the specific roofing system that you need to install in your home. Discuss with the prospective roofer to confirm if they are familiar with installing your desired roofing system.

Knowledge in Roofing Construction

Unfortunately, not all roofers are knowledgeable in roofing construction

Work Portfolio on Website

Ask if they have a website and try to browse through their certifications. A professional website will provide you with full information on the various services and credentials that the company holds besides a portfolio that will divulge multiple samples of their work! A roofer lacking a website in today’s market scenario is not the greatest roofing professional in your area!

 

How to Choose a Contractor

This article series provides a simple, step-by-step guide designed to help you find the roofing contractor who’s right for you. When you need to repair your roof or replace roof coverings on a building, this article gives advice to assist in choosing a roofing contractor – by Jessie Srader, with edits and additions by DJF. We also discuss how to negotiate the roofing contract, when to leave the roofer alone to do the job, and how to resolve roofing job disputes

Workmanship:The best assurance that your new roof will not leak and that it will have a long life is to select a quality shingle product and to be certain that the shingles are installed absolutely correctly – good workmanship is what makes a roof shed water.

Shingle quality: we would not hesitate to buy a quality shingle product from any of the current roofing shingle manufacturers, including GAF, but

Shingle installation standards we would want to be sure that my installer applied them according to the best practices in the industry since otherwise any warranty will be voided anyway. The principal sources of asphalt shingle roofing installation standards are the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA’s Roofing and Waterproofing Manual), and the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer’s Association (ARMA). There are also ASTM standards for roofing products

Roofing contractor reputation and experience: Before hiring ANY roofing contractor we would check with the local better business bureau and would ask for references from local customers of the contractor.

 

What to Expect During a Roof Inspection

The importance of your home’s roof really can’t be overstated. Without a solid, functioning roof, a house quickly turns into an uncomfortable place to live—not something any homeowner wants to endure. To protect your investment and your health, prioritize keeping your home’s roof in good shape.

How do you do that?

Well, as is the case with your home’s other systems, preventative maintenance is key. If they’re caught early, problems such as failed flashing, missing or torn shingles, and broken tiles are easier to fix and less likely to have already caused major problems to the structure or interior of the house.

Getting up on your roof by yourself is never a good idea. (Really—don’t do it. It’s not worth the risk.) And would you know what to look for or how to make necessary repairs? Probably not. That’s why you should always leave roof inspections to the pros.

Do I Need a Roof Inspection?

There are four main reasons you might need to have your roof looked at by a professional, says Louis.

Roof leaks and ceiling stains

In most homes, roof leaks aren’t quite as dramatic as they’re sometimes portrayed on television and in movies. Instead of racing around your house placing buckets and coffee cans under streams of water coming from the ceiling, it’s far more likely that you’ll begin to notice dark stains slowly spreading across the ceiling

 

Buying a New Home? A Roof Inspection Will Save You Money

Buying a new home is a huge life decision. Prospective buyers know they need to make sure their new dream home has a sound foundation and safe electrical wiring, but inspecting the roof is often overlooked. This is surprising, considering how integral roofs are to protecting a home, and how expensive a new roof can be.

First Impressions: Inspecting the Roof Yourself

You can start to get an idea of the condition of a roof from the moment you go to view a potential home. Look for damaged or missing shingles on the roof, dry rot, and the condition of the gutters. Can you see moss growing on the roof? Is the roof sagging on one side?

When you can spot major problems from the ground, then you know there are likely to be costly repairs needed in the new future. If you know you won’t have the capital to buy the home and repair or even replace the roof, then you’ll know right off the bat that this home is not for you, before you spend money on a home inspection and roof certification

How Much Will This Cost?

We know you’ll be wanting to save your pennies when you’re just about to shell out a lot of money on a new home, so you are probably wondering how much this will cost you. The average cost for a roof inspection is $650 and the average cost of a home inspection is between $500 to $700

How to Choose a Home Inspector and Roofing Contractor

Your real estate agent will often be able to recommend inspectors they have worked with but. But, as with all recommendations,a lot depends on how you feel about the recommender.

 

Roof Inspections – Are They Necessary?

In many states, especially those that see a higher amount of snow and hail, when buying a home it is usually requisite to have the roof certified from inspection. Matter of fact, many lenders required this to be done before they will cut a check. In most states, a properly ventilated roof can last 20 years or more. In states where the snow is heavy, they often have to be replaced every five years. While having a secure roof is one of the most important parts of a home, it can also be a very expensive investment, especially if you bought a home under the guise that everything was on the up and up.

Roofing Inspections

Roof inspections are simply inspections that determine the integrity of a roof, how long it may last, and when it will need to be replaced. Roof inspectors are not going to climb up on your roof or the roof of a home you are thinking of buying and pull up shingles or tiles. Roof inspectors have special procedures wherein they can determine the lifespan of a given roof without tearing into it. At first glance it might seem that roofing inspectors would have to pull up part of the roof to do a thorough examination, but if you consider your own roof, you would not want anyone tearing holes in it just to see if it was in good shape.

Are Roof Inspectors Different From Home Inspectors?

Roof inspectors also have super-technical techniques like infrared roof inspections where they don’t even have to touch the surface of the roof itself to determine a roof’s integrity. This process uses infrared rays to locate parts of a roof that are at higher or lower temperatures than the rest of the roof. These “hot spots” can show a roof inspector just exactly where heat is escaping.

Play it Safe

Because replacing a roof can be quite an investment, insurance companies and lenders require that this has been checked off. It makes sense for these companies to protect their investments, but you as the homeowner should want this to be secured as well. You don’t want to be stuck with a bill that you weren’t expecting, and you also don’t want to sell a home to a family and put them in the same spot.

Roof inspections are not all that expensive, and these roofing inspections can give you and your lenders and insurance carriers peace of mind. Because when the rain is coming down or there is a foot of snow weighing down your roof, you want to sleep comfortably knowing that you are secure from above.

How To Choose The Best Exterior Painting Color

Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors for Your House

Picking house paint colors isn’t just difficult; it can be terrifying! If you choose colors that are boring and blah, your house will seem flat and featureless, but if the paint colors are too bold, they can overwhelm the architecture or might even infuriate the neighbors. The potential rewards are substantial, though. Getting it just right by choosing the perfect exterior house color and trim combinations can change your life.

As you consider paint colors for you home’s exterior, keep in mind that the best paint colors are those that highlight the most beautiful features of your home. That’s one reason to know a little bit about residential architecture since history can tell you a lot about what colors have worked for various house styles over the years. Also remember that skillful use of color can sometimes disguise design flaws, boosting the curb appeal and market value of your home.

Honor History

If you’re planning to paint an older home, you’ll probably want to use a historically accurate color scheme. One way to do this is by a simple form of archeology—you can hire a pro to dig down to old paint layers on your siding and trim to analyze them and recreate the original color of your house. Or, you can refer to a historic color chart and select shades that were common at the time your home was built.

Consider Jazzing Up the Past

In some neighborhoods, it’s common for homeowners to fly in the face of history. Instead of choosing historically accurate colors, they paint with modern colors to dramatize architectural details. Using bright colors on old architectural details can produce startling and exciting results—if your local historic commission approves. But before you buy 10 gallons of bubblegum pink, it’s a good idea to look at what your neighbors are doing. A fluorescent colored Victorian that looks splendid in San Francisco can seem wildly out of place in more conservative neighborhoods of the Northeast. The bright pink stucco that is common in Florida might truly startle neighbors in Washington State—which can be either good or bad. Remember that what’s deemed as an acceptable color scheme may be dictated by region and neighborhood, not just historic architectural style.

Consider Your Neighbors

The house next door can give you paint color ideas, but it’s a bad idea to copy your neighbor exactly. Choose colors that set your house apart but that don’t clash with nearby buildings. Look around your neighborhood. Does your house’s architecture look like the house next door? Are you in a suburban development with houses all around, or are your neighbors the trees? Or does your house stand apart within the neighborhood, like an original large farmhouse now surrounded by newer ranch- style mid-century homes?

 

How to Choose the Right Exterior Paint Colors

Are you struggling with choosing the right exterior paint color for your home? I’m here to help and walk you through each step for choosing the right paint color combination for the exterior of your home.  I’m going to make this real easy for you guys, I promise!

The number one paint question I have received over the years is about choosing exterior paint colors because it’s one of the most difficult paint decisions you can make for your home.    You want your home to have beautiful curb appeal and you don’t want to make any color mistakes. If you follow my seven steps below, I promise you will avoid the common mistakes and will be able to make exterior paint color decisions that will be beautiful! Stick with me on this!

CHOOSE YOUR SHADE FIRST

The first thing you will want to do when deciding what color you want to paint the exterior of your home is to choose the shade of a color first. When I say “shade”, I mean do you want a light, mid-tone or dark color on the body of your home? At this point, you don’t have to consider anything else except to make a decision if you want a light or white color, a mid-tone or medium shade, or do you want a dark color.

For most of you, choosing a shade is an instant easy decision and you immediately know that you want a light or dark colored home.  However, some of you may not be sure and are open to any shade and need a little help making that decision. It will help if you search Pinterest for exterior homes for inspiration to determine what shade would look best for your home. For example, if you have a ranch style home, search “ranch style home exteriors” in Pinterest search to see all the different color options to inspire you.

CONSIDER YOUR ROOF COLOR (AND OTHER ACCENT COLORS)

Before you can go much further in your color decision-making, you will need to consider the color of your roof.  If you have a black or neutral gray, you don’t have to worry as much about color clashing. Unfortunately, I have a dark brown roof with slight red undertones, so colors like shades of green or blues wouldn’t work for me and would clash.  For those of you that have a roof with red, tan, green or blue gray undertones in your shingles, you will for sure need to factor in your roof color as you choose your exterior paint color palette

 

How to Pick Exterior Paint Colors

Inevitably, when the weather warms we turn our attention to the outside of our homes, sprucing up the yard and porches and generally looking for ways to turn up the curb appeal. One of the biggest exterior changes you can make for the most impact is painting your home. It’s also one of the most daunting

To help you choose the right palette, we got in touch with color consultant and designer, Jennifer Ott of Jennifer Ott Design. “It’s good timing,” Jennifer told us when we contacted her at her office in San Francisco. “With everyone heading outside, now is the best time to paint the exterior of your house.”

I think people tend to overdo it when it comes to exterior colors. Unless you have a very finely architecturally detailed Victorian, it’s best to limit the palette to two to three colors. And if you’ve got brick or stone or some kind of fixed element that’s not going to be painted, then that counts as a color, especially if it’s a colorful brick or stone. In that case, I would recommend using just two colors. But if your entire home is being painted — say you’ve got wood siding, trim and a front door that you want to stand out — then that is when you go up to three colors.

People can get overwhelmed when they have to pick paint colors, because there are so many factors. I generally love to push clients to be creative. However, when it comes to exterior colors, I think it’s a good thing to immediately rule out some of your options. The best way to do that is to look at the architectural style of your home. If you have a Colonial or a Cape Cod, you’re going to be looking at a different palette than if you have a super modern stucco home. So start with looking at the style of your home and then those fixed elements you’re not going to change, like stone, brick or a specific color of roof.

Next, I would say look at the climate that you live in. If you’re in a hot climate, you’ll want to look at lighter colors, because they absorb much less light and heat, so it’s an energy efficient choice. There’s also the neighborhood you live in, which is a huge factor. Some people live in a neighborhood where an HOA dictates the colors, which is automatically limiting right there. But if you don’t, then look around at the houses in your neighborhood. It’s not that you have to blend in or match your neighbor’s houses — I wouldn’t want people to do that — but you don’t want to veer off too far from the rest of the homes. So if you live in a neighborhood with mostly light colored homes or mostly dark colored homes and especially if you live kind of close to your neighbors, then do let that be a guide. If you’re more spread out and don’t have a lot of close neighbors, then those rules can be loosened a bit. Lastly, I’d say it comes down to colors you like. It’s pretty easy to get to a limited selection if you take all of those into account

 

Best Exterior Color Schemes

Boost your home’s curb appeal with inspiration from these tips and tricks for creating perfect exterior color schemes. Learn how to figure out what exterior colors go together and how to pick hues that work for your home’s style and architecture.

Rely on the Classics

When it comes to exterior color schemes, there’s something to be said for tried-and-true combinations. This classic abode might look out of place with any palette other than warm beige for the siding and bright white around windows and on rails. Another good accent piece to pay attention to: exterior light fixtures. These are wonderful for adding complementary materials or colors. On this exterior, the lantern-type fixtures balance the home’s symmetry, with a pair flanking the doors on all three floors.

Some of the best exterior house paint ideas are those that turn tradition on its head. Take, for example, Colonial-style homes: Often these are painted in a single color, many times white. While that’s a great solution, there are ways to update and modernize that choice, too. The accent shades chosen here—a dusty lavender-gray and a bright turquoise—would normally not be used in the same . Here, though, the grayish-purple offers a refined accent on the shutters, while the turquoise—a brighter spin-off of some of those same blue-purple tones—directs foot traffic to the front door. Plus, if you’re looking for easy exterior paint ideas, adding color to just your shutters and front door is the way to go

Judicious use of an accent color can lend your home a more . It’s a choice that works well with classic home styles, particularly because it doesn’t overpower their traditional forms. This home—which deftly matches a deep green-gray with a lighter tone—also relies on an orange-red hue found in the copper roof accents and repeated on the wood front door. That tone carries over onto rooflines and side doors to provide a continuing color line for the eye to follow.

Red, yellow, and blue—the primary colors—are the basis of all other hues; as such, they’re naturally complementary. But very few of us would consider painting a home in red, yellow, and blue, as represented in the original . However, when given rich depth or startling brightness, the hues provide an exterior color scheme that’s at once distinctive and deeply satisfying. The  is to select one color that pops—here, yellow—and another that’s used sparingly—. The rich, almost neutral shade of blue offers a base outside house paint color.

 

Must-Know Tips for Choosing House Paint Colors

Painting a room can be stressful, but choosing house paint colors for an exterior facade is downright intimidating. In all aspects—time, money, and curb presence—it’s a big task. Luckily, some carefully considered steps can help you successfully navigate the job of choosing house paint colors.

Identify Your Home’s Style and Neighborhood

Although you need not be hidebound by tradition, a home’s style does lend some guidance when choosing house paint colors. An exuberant collection of pastels may not be the best fit for a ranch-style home, while very bold hues may feel out of place on a Victorian house. It’s advice that Maria Killam, a color expert, design blogger, author, decorator and stylist, uses, especially when working on those classic home designs. “I love the symmetrical look of a Colonial with shutters,” she says. “White with black shutters and a green front door is what I would do if I had one.”

Become a House Color Copycat

As you’re trying to narrow down your house paint colors, drive around neighborhoods and snap photos of exterior color palettes that you like or homes that look like yours. In addition, if something looks out of place, there’s a reason for it. “One of the biggest mistakes I see every day is with vinyl windows,” Killam says. “The standard colors are generally bright white and beige. White belongs with crisper, cleaner color schemes, like turquoise or a straw yellow for example, or grays and blacks.”

Don’t Get Caught Up in Trends

Clothing, shoes, sofas, home colors: They’re all subject to the same hot-hue-of-the-moment but not-cool-tomorrow trends. “Just like most people aren’t interested in painting their house brown right now because that trend is over, don’t do the same thing with charcoal,” Killam says. “You might love it now, but as soon as the gray trend is over, you’ll wish it was the next trendy neutral.”

Look to Your Home for Guidance

Your home likely already has some hues that you should include as part of your color scheme: brick or stone on the foundation, window trim, even the roof. Those should serve as the base to build on. “A lot of people don’t understand how much influence existing fixed colors have when selecting paint colors,” Killam says. “You can’t ignore what’s already on the house and go for a current trendy color that in no way relates to what’s already there. One of my clients painted stucco gray with her gold/yellow stone, and she contacted me for a consultation. She was not thrilled, and the color I gave her coordinated much better with her existing stone and was very happy with the result.”

The Many Uses Of A Drinking Water Testing

How to test water quality? Chemical tests for limited budgets

Thanks to modern chemistry, we can detect thousands of chemicals in water, even at extremely low concentrations.  The ever-growing list of tests that are available can feel overwhelming, and the vast majority of methods require state-of-the art lab facilities. Fortunately, we don’t need to test for everything! A much smaller and more practical set of tests can provide a good sense of chemical water quality for monitoring purposes.  The good news is that there are low-tech versions of these tests for situations when budgets are limited.

Test strips – These are small, single-use strips that change color to indicate the concentration of a specific chemical. Depending on the particular test, the user “activates” the paper or plastic strip by dipping it into the water sample and swishing it around, or by holding the strip in a stream of water. After waiting for a short time, the user compares the test strip color with a color chart to read the concentration of the chemical. These kits are extremely simple, but they are less accurate than other methods, especially if users don’t follow the instructions.

Color disk kits – Color disk test kits are available for a wide range of chemical tests.  In a typical set-up, the user adds a powder packet or a few drops of a liquid reagent to a water sample in a reusable plastic tube.  The user then places the sample tube in a small plastic viewing box.  This viewing box contains a plastic disk with a color gradient printed on it.  The user rotates the color disk to find the part that best matches the color of the sample, and then reads the concentration of the chemical from the disk.  Color disk kits typically have multiple steps and often include prescribed wait times, so they’re a little more complicated and costly, but generally more accurate.

Hand-held digital instruments – Lightweight and portable digital meters, colorimeters, and photometers are available for water testing.  They provide the most accurate results of these three testing methods, but they are also more expensive and delicate than the previous options.  These instruments require batteries and calibration.  While digital instruments are helpful to field technicians and are an essential part of any continuous or remote monitoring network, they are unlikely to be suitable for “citizen science” or crowdsourced water quality testing.

hemical water quality parameters

Having identified various test formats, the next question is: What do we test for?  UNICEF recommends prioritizing fluoride, arsenic, and nitrate for chemical monitoring.  In areas where the earth is naturally rich in minerals that contain fluorine and arsenic, levels in well water can be high enough that chronic exposure is dangerous to human health

 

Which Water Test Kit?

Multi-pack options

We offer a range of multi-packs, the kits vary in content, please see the table below for details. These simple, affordable one-of-a-kind kits test are ideal to screen water samples for many different elements. These can include up to 12 of the most common and potentially hazardous contaminants found in drinking water e.g Bacteria, Lead, Pesticides, Nitrates, Nitrites, Chlorine, pH and Hardness. Fast & accurate results are available on the spot.

The type of water testing kit, which is required, depends on what water should be tested and if there is any suspected contamination (also see Unusual colours, smells and taste of your water). All of the kits below are suitable for fresh & potable water, this includes water from taps, springs, aquariums, lakes, ponds, streams, wells, boreholes, puddles and leaks as well as water stored in tanks

Water Test Kits for a single contaminant

Enables users to identify levels or precence of a single contaminant in drinking water with instant results

Digital Water Test Kits for single & multiple tests

These easy-to-use photometers do not need calibrating and have a manufacturers warranty of 2 years

Further Free Resources:

Got a question about water testing? Try our complete list of Free Water Testing Resources.

 

Best Water Test Kit

There are lots of different brands to choose from. How do they compare with each other? Do homeowners’ water testing results match up with those from a professional lab? Which is the best home water test kit?

I had the same questions. So I decided to get my hands on some and try some water testing myself. Keep reading to find out how I conducted my experiment, and what I found out.

How I Tested the Water Test Kits

The water at my house comes from a 185 foot deep drilled well. It’s cold and clear and tastes fantastic. But taste alone doesn’t tell you the true state of your water quality.

When my husband and I bought the house a few years ago, we were told that our well water quality was fine. But we never had any water testing done ourselves. It was always in the back of my mind that I really should get it checked, just to be sure.

So, I finally stopped thinking about it and ordered six different water test kits from Amazon. I decided to go with kits that are well known and that are affordable for most people.

 

How to Test Your Tap Water

How safe is your tap water? Finding out can take some time, effort, and money, but it’s worth doing.

Most people on municipal water who pay their own bill should receive an annual water quality report called a CCR, or Consumer Confidence Report. If you don’t receive yours, call your local water supplier. And if you rent, contact your landlord.

If you’re on well water, you won’t get a CCR, so you should get your water tested. That’s also a good idea if your home was built before lead-free pipes were mandated in 1986: Even if your CCR says that the municipality’s water is free of lead, it can leach into your water from the pipes in or leading to your house.

Many kits are available for do-it-yourself tap testing, but it’s not always clear what they test for or how accurate they are. The EPA recommends using a certified lab. Find one on the EPA’s website. Testing typically costs $20 to $150; your community might provide test kits free of charge

For multiple or high levels of contaminants, reverse osmosis filters are often best. They can remove lead, arsenic, bacteria, and other contaminants. But they take up a lot of space (typically under your sink), require additional plumbing, and often go through several gallons of water for every gallon of filtered water. They’re pricey, too, some costing $1,000 or more. You might also have to pay a professional to periodically service the system.

 

The Best Water Quality Test Kit for Your Home

If you’re worried about your home’s water quality—as many Americans justifiably are, in the wake of water scares in Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey—a home water quality test can ease your fears. After 50 hours of reporting, and after testing 11 different home water quality test kits, we’ve found that the SimpleWater Tap Score Advanced City Water Test is the best water quality test kit for your home. It measures a wide range of more than 100 potential contaminants and delivers the results in an easy-to-read, richly detailed report. If you’re worried only about lead, we recommend the much cheaper Safe Home Do-It-Yourself Lead in Drinking Water Test Kit.

The SimpleWater Tap Score Advanced City Water Test is a send-away kit: You take samples of your water, put them into a handful of bottles, and ship them off (using an included mailing label) to a certified laboratory. There, your water is tested for more than 100 compounds, including metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic; volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like chloroform; bacteria; and industrial and agricultural compounds like pesticides and nitrates. Tap Score is not the only highly accurate send-away kit, but no other kit we tested delivered nearly as useful a report. Tap Score not only tells you, in plain language, exactly which compounds are in your water (and the amount) but also explains their potential health risks and suggests ways of addressing any concerns. Tap Score also offers unmatched online support. You can chat with a representative, and if your questions go beyond their knowledge, the questions are passed on to experts, who follow up with a detailed email. All of this makes Tap Score by far the most user-friendly and informative home water quality test kit we found.

If for some reason you are unable to use Tap Score, we recommend two runners-up: the WaterCheck CityCheck Deluxe and the Safe Home Ultimate Drinking Water Test Kit. Like Tap Score, these are send-away kits; you put samples into bottles and ship them to a certified lab. We found that the testing was just as accurate as Tap Score’s (and, in fact, National Testing Laboratories, which makes the CityCheck Deluxe kit, is among the more than 60 labs Tap Score partners with). But both of these kits are more expensive than Tap Score, and their reports aren’t as easy to understand. The reports are still much more readable than those of some other send-away kits: They’re color-coded, so you can quickly see contaminant levels of concern. But they lack Tap Score’s clear explanations, actionable advice, and robust online support. The CityCheck kit also lacks an included mailing label, so you’ll have to take a trip to the post office or another shipper.

Our budget pick, the Safe Home Do-It-Yourself Lead in Drinking Water Test Kit, doesn’t have to be sent away—you can get the results at home yourself. It tests only for lead, but if that’s your sole concern, this DIY test is a great option. The Safe Home Do-It-Yourself kit is widely available, inexpensive, and fast (the test takes a total of 10 minutes and less than 30 seconds of active work). And it delivers a clear positive or negative result: Your lead levels are either below the EPA standard or above it. You simply dip a strip of test paper into a sample of your water, and the presence or absence of a blue line tells you whether you have a lead problem. If you don’t, you’ll have peace of mind. If you do, you’ll know it’s time to enlist a professional plumber or an environmental service to help you find and address the source of the problem.

We do not recommend any of the more-comprehensive DIY test kits that are available. We tested six of them and found that the tests were so rushed and the results so subjective (you’re asked to match the color of your test sample to a chart by eye, with only seconds to do so) that we didn’t trust our ability to interpret them. If you want a complete picture of what’s in your water, we strongly recommend that you go with one of the send-away kits and let a professional lab do the testing.

What to Do If Your System Plays Possums

Effective Solutions to Keep Possums Away from Your Home

A possum may look like a cute and cuddly creature. However, in reality it can wreak havoc on your home. Unfortunately for property owners, possums are plentiful in and around the Melbourne area, making it necessary for people to possum-proof their buildings to keep out these nocturnal creatures.

Even if possums pose no real physical danger to you or your family, it can tear up your residence and office and cause an overall nuisance that could disturb the quality your life. These possum removal tips can help you keep possums off your property and away from your garden and trees in your yards.

But first, here’s an important piece of information you should take into consideration. As native animals, the Australian law protects possums. So now matter how much of a nuisance they are to you, there is a very detailed and thorough way of ridding your property of them that only the professionals would know

We strongly urge you to have possum control done at the hands of a professional to avoid any legal issues or getting clamped down with a fine of $5.000.

Having said that, let’s clear the air around a common confusion that most home-owners have. Not all noises in the roof indicate a possum invasion. Often it may just be a rodent or wildcat situation. The key to discerning whether you have a possum problem at hand is realizing the exact time of the noise. Being nocturnal they’re generally quiet while heading out.

 

Tips for Removing Possums from Your Property

Possums are not the most dangerous and destructive creature you’ll spot in your yard, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying. Possums are typically 4-15 lbs. in size and play “possum,” or, mimic a dead animal, when they feel threatened. This makes them particularly distressing for homeowners, who can’t tell whether or not a possum is actually sick or just trying to be left alone. If you have possums on your property you want to get rid of, here’s where you should start.

Remove Enticing Elements

Like raccoons, possums are looking for a quick meal and shelter. They are very resourceful and not picky eaters, so they will eat any plant or animal matter that is readily available. Possums will also find shelter wherever possible, whether that means an attic or a brush pile. It can take humane animal control services to get them out sometimes!

Remove Entrances

Most of the damage caused by possums happens when they can get inside of your home or barn. Once they take up residence, they will excrete waste, destroy insulation, eat whatever food is available, and be bad house guests. Taking away any potential entrances to your home is essential. Trim any tree branches that hang within 10 feet of your roof, as possums are excellent tree climbers. Close off any entrances to basements, garages, barns, etc. Fix any broken screens or vents that could be used by possums to gain access to your home

Pick the Right Removal Method

If there is a possum inside of your home that shouldn’t be there, you need to choose the right control method for the job

 

Strategies To Sort Out Pest Possums

Know Your Enemy: The Possum

While it is technically possible for any mammal to get rabies, it’s extremely rare for a possum to have rabies. This is largely due to the possum’s low body temperature, which makes it difficult for the rabies virus to survive. This doesn’t mean getting bit by a possum is necessarily a positive experience, and if you are bitten you should still consult medical attention.

Seal The Entry Points

If you are hearing little foot steps and clawing in your attic, garage, shed, or crawl space underneath your house, chances are you’ve got some sort of animal that’s made it it’s home. No matter what type of critter it is, this preventative measure works for all. Low decks are especially susceptible to be breached by possums if not adequately sealed. Thoroughly inspect your home to identify any possible entry points and close them off to prevent any re-entry.

Get Rid of Any Possible Meals

While you may be excellent company to hang around with, possums are likely only after your food and garbage. Getting rid of any potential food sources won’t give them a reason to hang around your backyard. If they’ve found comfort in your home, however, they are likely searching for food elsewhere and relying on your home or shed for a dwelling.

Rage in the Cage

Since possums are fairly slow, they are very easy to trap in a cage. One must be wary of their tendency to get aggressive when cornered (like any animal), and it’s best to leave this to a professional who can humanely capture and transport the possums.

Scare Them Away

This is one of the most basic pest control tips out there because it works. The vast majority of possums are incredibly aversive to human interaction, so if you see one of them waddling around your backyard, simply making your presence known and warding them off with a stick is enough to get rid of them. If they’ve settled in your home, however, that’s a different story.

 

How to Get Rid of Oppossums?

Possums are excellent to have around the house. They clear out garbage, feed on harmful insects and have charming, rat-like tails. Not impressed? You’re not alone. While many people have an appreciation for wildlife, it’s best for wildlife to stay in the wild. Having possums lurk around your home in the middle of the night is not the most pleasant thought. So how do you get rid of possums that have become all too eager to call you neighbor? There are a few ways to solve this dilemma.

Regions and identification

“The Virginia opossum (Dedeliphis virginiana) is North America’s only marsupial (“pouched”) mammal. It is found often very abundantly throughout the eastern and midwestern United States westward into Colorado and Texas. It is also found in the western coastal states of California, Oregon, and Washington and in the southern regions of British Columbia. It is not typically found in mountainous regions, in extreme deserts, or in the high northern sections of the United States.”

Disease

Your main reason for questioning how to get rid of possums may stem from a concern about disease. Many people fear that possums are rabid creatures. However, while possums do carry certain diseases, they appear to have a certain resistance to rabies.

Benefit to ecosystem

It is important to get rid of possums that are causing havoc in your home, but not all possums are bad. According to the Wildlife Rescue League, “Opossums are excellent at rodent and insect control, and being carrion eaters, they help keep roadways and neighborhoods clean.”

Opossum control

Opossum removal can be a challenging task. The best method for controlling an opossum population is prevention. The Wildlife Rescue League recommends the following:

Do not leave pet food or trash outdoors at night. This is always an invitation to dinner.

Pick fruit and garden crops when they are ripe to discourage opossums, and do not leave rotten fruit or crops on the ground.

Eliminate brush piles, dilapidated buildings, and holes under concrete slabs – you will eliminate opossum hotels. Opossums use the abandoned burrows of other animals rather than digging their own.

Secure pet doors at night, as opossums occasionally enter homes through pet doors. Once inside, they can generally be coaxed outside with a broom. Opossums seldom stay in one area for more than a few nights, so fear of them “taking over” an area should not be a concern. Occasionally a mother with babies might stay longer, but will leave after a brief period as well.

 

Live Animal Trapping: Opossums

The Opossum is commonly called the Possum.  However, it’s proper name is Opossum, and can be pronounced either uh-possum or just possum.  The Opossum is the only living Marsupial found in North America naturally.  The adult Opossum’s body found in and around Southern California measure around about 20 inches long and their tail adds another 10-20 inches more.  They look similar to a very large rat with a long skinny tail.  They are typically furry animals with white or beige fur and usually a white face.  Their eyes are typically pink and cannot see well during the daylight.  They are nocturnal, nighttime, creatures. The Opossum can eat just about anything, and that means they can live among humans quite well.  They are typically nocturnal scavengers that eat our trash, dog and cat food, rodents, dead carcasses of dead animals, insects, our fruits and vegetables, and anything else they can find.

Habitat of the Possum in Santa Barbara County

Opossum are commonly found living in and around residential and commercial areas.  We find them living beneath crawlspaces, in burrows, but most commonly we find them occupying sheds, garages, attics and other areas around the home.

Opossum Problems

Opossums found in Santa Barbara County commonly have fleas, lice and ticks, but that’s just the start of it.  They are also a very smelly animal that can cause some unpleasant odors around your home.  They are also common carriers of all sorts of diseases.  This can include diseases like Tuberculosis, Salmonella, Spotted and Yellow Fevers.  Because they often live quietly among us, they may infect areas around our house that can cause disease to travel to our domesticated animals and even ourselves.  Eating contaminated fruits, vegetables and herbs without a good washing can infect us.

Clean up after live animal trapping

Because Opossum can often be found living in and around your home, such as the garage, crawlspace or attic, clean up is needed of the affected areas.  Our live animal clean up services get your residential areas free of the diseases and insects that can be found with the Opossum.  Our objective is to give you the comfortable feeling of your home back to you.

Admittance To Any Pain Management Center Will Offer Multi Discipline Comprehensive Care

Joint Pain Relief: What You Can Do to Feel Better Now

Why joints hurt

Pain in your joints can have many different causes. For many people, joint pain is caused by arthritis, a group of conditions marked by inflammation in the joints.

About 23 percentTrusted Source of adults in the United States have arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. This type is caused by a breakdown of cartilage as you age.

For others, joint pain may be caused by an injury or infection of the joints, or another condition, such as fibromyalgia or even depression. It can also be the result of poor posture or long periods of inactivity.

Treatment options for joint pain

If you’re experiencing joint pain and don’t know why, make an appointment to see a doctor to determine the cause.

Medications for joint pain

Your doctor may first suggest that you treat the joint pain caused by arthritis with anti-inflammatory and pain medications.

 

Pain and pain management

Pain is a very common condition. The occurrence of pain rises as people get older, and women are more likely to experience pain than men

Pain may be anything from a dull ache to a sharp stab and can range from mild to extreme. You may feel pain in one part of your body or it may be widespread.

How pain affects the body

Pain is a complex protective mechanism. It is an essential part of evolution that protects the body from danger and harm.

The body has pain receptors that are attached to two main types of nerves that detect danger. One nerve type relays messages quickly, causing a sharp, sudden pain. The other relays messages slowly, causing a dull, throbbing pain.

Some areas of the body have more pain receptors than others. For example, the skin has lots of receptors so it is easy to tell the exact location and type of pain. There are far fewer receptors in the gut, so it is harder to pinpoint the precise location of a stomach ache.

 

Savvy Shopping Tips for OTC Medicines

Overuse of acetaminophen, a common over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller, can result in liver failure and even death. Because of this, the FDA is considering recommendations to place new restrictions on the drug. But this is only the latest in a long string of stories that call the safety of various OTC pain relievers, allergy medicines, and other drugs into question.

How can you be sure that what you are taking is safe or even effective? What’s more, how can you know for sure if the generic you buy is the same medicine as the brand-name drug? And how do all those formerly prescription drugs that are now available without a prescription fit in? With all these concerns and choices, a trip to the local drugstore can be overwhelming.

“The key,” says Norman Tomaka, a certified consultant pharmacist, in Melbourne, Fla., “is to know what you want and need before you go into the store.” Tomaka is also a spokesman for the American Pharmacists Association. “When you’re walking along the medicine aisle is no time to window shop or impulse buy.”

Read the Medicine’s Label — Carefully

“Reading the label on an over-the-counter drug is the single most important thing,” says Tomaka. The FDA mandates that each OTC drug label must clearly list the active ingredient and the amount of the active ingredient. Labels also need to state what the medicine’s intended use is. “Educate yourself,” Tomaka says, “even if you can’t pronounce the active ingredient’s name. Look at the drug ingredient and look at the indications to find out what it is used for.”

The information on the label can also help you decide between a generic and a brand-name OTC drug product. If you are considering saving money by buying a generic drug, Tomaka says, compare the active ingredient and amounts in the generic vs. the brand name OTC product. “For example, if you are purchasing an antihistamine, read the ingredient and amount. If the store brand or generic brand is identical to the trade brand, it will likely have the same effects on your symptoms.”

 

Pain Management: How to Choose a Painkiller

For Headaches

Best OTC options Start with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or an NSAID (ibuprofen or aspirin). For a killer headache, try a med that contains caffeine.

For Chronic Pain

Best OTC options Acetaminophen or NSAIDs are good for flare-ups, but NSAIDs can irritate the stomach, and acetaminophen is potentially toxic to the liver.

For Fever, Sore Throat, Flu

Best OTC options Acetaminophen or NSAIDs. Start with acetaminophen; NSAIDs can irritate your stomach.

For Menstrual Cramps

Best OTC options NSAIDs, especially naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen; they cut the production of cramp-causing prostaglandins.

For PMS

Best OTC options Naproxen or ibuprofen. They short-circuit the production of prostaglandins.

 

Pain clinic – how to choose the right one

Choosing a pain clinic

Choosing a pain clinic can be a challenge, especially if you have moved to a new community. It is always a good idea to ask for recommendations. If you have a chronic or disabling condition, you will likely need a specialist who understands your particular health needs. Asking friends, neighbors, and coworkers is a good way to start, but ultimately you will have to decide which pain management doctor is best suited to your individual needs and situation.

Finding the best pain clinic – is the doctor Board Certified?

Most practicing physicians in the U.S. are board certified. Before scheduling the appointment make sure that a specialist you want to see has indeed the necessary credentials to run his or her medical practice. For example, Dr. Escobar is Board Certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology, the American Board of Pain Medicine and Diplomat of the American Academy of Pain Management. He has been practicing in the area for over fifteen years. He has lectured in the community as well as mass media on various topics in Pain Management. That’s why Pain Care Specialists of Florida is a pain clinic is considered to be one of the leading pain management practices in South Florida and is so respected in the community. For further information about the practice, here is the link to the clinic’s website.

Insurance plans – do they cover this pain clinic?

Keep in mind, that your insurance plan may restrict your choices to a group of plan-approved physicians or sometimes offer financial incentives to use one of the doctors on the plan. It is prudent to always check the terms of your insurance coverage to find out whether the plan will cover visits to the specialist you are considering. How much will you have to pay out-of-pocket for visits to this provider if they do not participate in your health plan? It is worth doing your research to find out which pain clinic accepts your insurance plan. Some of the clinics, including the Pain Care Specialists of Florida accept all PPO insurances. Find out more about insurance plans

Convenient locations of the pain clinic

The location does matter especially if your condition requires initial frequent visits for consultation and treatments. In order to meet their patients’ needs