Home Improvement’s 7 Deadly Sins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home Improvement Companies – Helping You Improve Your House

Home improvement is the passion homeowners undertake to maintain the look and value of their property. It is about maintaining the character of your property or creating character for your property. It is a way of putting your signature or stamp of approval on something that belongs to you. For most folks your home is your biggest long term investment. It is important to protect that investment with proper and timely maintenance and repair. A properly appointed home is also an asset to the neighborhood and the community in general. It speaks volumes to those passing through and lets everyone know that we care about our neighborhood.

Clinard can help you define that character and put the right kind of signature on your home for the entire neighborhood to see. From gutters to sun rooms let the licensed professionals of take care of your home improvement needs. Fully licensed and insured Clinard Home Improvement offers workmanship warranties on all their products.They provide the home owner the ability to protect your investment and maintain, and often times increase, the value of your home.

Beginning as a small family business in 1958, the Clinard family mainly sold and installed gutters. Over the years, Clinard Home Improvement has grown into a multi faceted improvement mogul ready to take on most of your how improvement needs. Despite growth, Clinard Home Improvement has maintained a consistent standard of quality workmanship and professional service that has set the industry standard for home improvement.

A Better Business Bureau A+ rated business since 1992; they are sensitive to the needs of its customers and works diligently to build customer confidence in all work they do. With attention to detail and professional service, they provide its customers with reliable, second to none service and quality workmanship. The service representatives work closely with the client and provide a detailed explanation in easy to understand terms of what their project entails. Clinard Home Improvement prides itself on project and customer satisfaction with careful and accurate planning.

They are not only a family oriented business but a Christian based organization dedicated to the betterment of the community through several neighborhood initiatives and professional business associations. Clinard is a responsible business leader as well as an environmentally conscience developer with a sensitive eye to its surroundings.

Home Based Business Considerations

Before you dive head first into a home-based business, it’s essential that you know why you are doing it and how you will do it. To succeed, your business must be based on something greater than a desire to be your own boss: an honest assessment of your own personality, an understanding of what’s involved, and a lot of hard work.

You have to be willing to plan ahead, then make improvements and adjustments along the way. While there are no “best” or “right” reasons for starting a home-based business, it is vital to have a very clear idea of what you are getting into and why.

Working under the same roof that your family lives under may not prove to be as easy as it seems. It is important that you work in a professional environment; if at all possible, you should set up a separate office in your home.

After taking a good look at yourself, it’s time to consider the business side of the venture, i.e., the realities of running a business from your home. As with anything else, it has good points and bad. The advantages are obvious. Desire for independence, convenience, financial gain, low overhead and low risk, decreased commute time, getting out of the rat race, more control over work hours, low business expenses (for example, money saved on commuting, lunches out and a professional wardrobe), and more time with family are positive factors most often cited. You save money on taxes because deductions for automobile expenses, telephone, home improvements, business cards and major purchases, such as a computer, may be available. The issue of quality of life also comes into play as both men and women look for a way to balance the demands of a career with those of a family. A home-based business allows you to do just that.

On the con side, if you were working in an office downtown you wouldn’t have to worry about a neighbor stopping by for a chat or your kids bursting in the door after a day at school. You must be very self-disciplined and goal oriented to create a good working atmosphere despite kids, spouses, neighbors and the telephone.

Without the deadlines imposed by supervisors or peers, it can be hard to do the least appealing jobs on your list. Now it’s your responsibility to set limits and plan your time.

No longer will you have the luxury of submitting requisitions to the supply department when you need a bigger file cabinet, a new copy machine or basic office supplies. It’s up to you to evaluate features and compare prices when you’re considering a major purchase. You’re also the one who must run out to the store when you’re out of ribbons for your computer printer.

There’s also your family to consider. Their lifestyle and privacy may be disturbed, and you may find it difficult to work out a compromise that’s acceptable to everyone. Your teenager may resent having to turn down the stereo because you’re meeting with a client in the next room. Your spouse may complain about having to move his or her hobby to another room so you can use the space for an office.

Another con for some people is that the buck stops with you. One former home-based business owner has returned to corporate life because “being the boss means taking ultimate responsibility for all decisions. You get the credit when things go right but you get the blame when things go wrong.”

Keeping your business environment professional at home also takes persistence and control. Don’t let the relaxed environment of working at home make you any less disciplined. A professional image is an important part of building credibility with customers and also contributes to your self-esteem.

Create a specific and proper professional mood. Have a business-like office or showroom if you meet customers face to face. A clean and organized environment enhances both your image and customer perception of your product or service. The decor of your home office should be carefully considered. Determine what image and theme you want to create before spending any money remodeling.

Pay attention to what you wear. You are your company. The psychological power of your work clothes will convince customers and clients that you are serious about your business and tell your subconscious that it’s time to get down to business. No matter what you have scheduled for your day, always dress for work.

The identity your business presents to the professional world is also important. Design a logo or have one created, and print business cards and stationery. Set regular business hours and use an answering machine or service. Consider referring to your apartment number as your suite number or rent a post office box rather than using your street address.

When you work at home, it’s often difficult to prevent your personal life from encroaching on your business. Here are a few tips for keeping both under control.

1. Start your day as if heading for the office. Dress appropriately, but comfortably.

2. Commit to routine work hours. Establish a schedule that works for you.

3. Make personal phone calls on your own time. Get an answering machine so you can screen any after-hours business calls.

4. Keep a log of all the hours you devote to work. It will help you manage your day more efficiently.

5. Try to plan your work schedule at least a week in advance. You’ll be better able to gauge your progress and maximize your productivity.

6. Never combine household and business errands, even when the drug store is “on the way.” Always leave and return to your business at designated times.

7. Avoid doing household tasks during work hours. Learn to discipline yourself to stay within your time schedule.

Learning how to persuade and influence will make the difference between hoping for a better income and having a better income. Beware of the common mistakes presenters and persuaders commit that cause them to lose the deal. Get your free report 10 Mistakes That Continue Costing You Thousands and explode your income today.

Do a Lot of Checking Prior to Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor

You’ve been planning all winter for the home improvements you want to make this spring, and you’re itching to get outside and take advantage of warmer temperatures. You’ve already figured out what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it, and how to pay for the renovations, and you can’t wait to get started. Unless you have a contractor who you’ve worked with before, you’re going to want to use some caution and not pick the first one listed in the phone book. Too many stories abound telling of price gouging, false low quotes, contractors who don’t finish the jobs they start, and others who spend weeks prolonging simple jobs. There are several rules of thumb you need to pay attention to when choosing a new contractor.

Never hire an itinerant contractor who comes knocking at your door soliciting business or one who demands cash up front. No legitimate professional works that way. Instead, you need to look for someone who has been in business in your neighborhood long enough to have established a reputation. If you have to hire someone you know nothing about, do some checking on him before signing on the dotted line. Look for a contractor who specializes in the type of work you want done. For instance, if you want to have a gazebo built, don’t hire a plumber. Naturally, this only makes sense.

A contractor’s credentials can be checked online to make sure that he is operating with enough of a cash cushion to be able to buy the materials he will need to do your project. These sites will also provide you with other information, such as business address, license, bonding and insurance information, and the length of time the business has been in operation. A credit review will tell you if he has had any financial problems in past business dealings.

As in any profession, there are unscrupulous people working in home contracting jobs. The Federal Trade Commission warns homeowners to avoid any dealings that don’t seem quite right to you. For instance, don’t trust a door-to-door salesman who claims he will give you a discount if you allow him to use materials he had left over from a previous job. Another red flag would be if he fails to give you an address and telephone number. And don’t allow any contractor to put you to work. If he says it will be your responsibility to get the necessary permits or expects you to recommend him to your friends, show him the door immediately.