Archive for October, 2008

How to Identify Cowboy Builders

October 17th, 2008


When you are about to embark on a large construction or renovation project from small maintenance jobs to major renovation projects like basement conversions, obviously you want the best and most qualified tradesmen to do the job. Construction projects are extremely costly; for this reason and many others you will want to be sure you are getting the finest quality work that you can.

The one thing you will want to avoid when you undertake a new construction or remodeling project is the cowboy builder. Though most tradesmen or honest, it is not unheard of to come across some who will lie, and cheat you out of money. At the same time, a cowboy builder may not necessarily be a liar and a cheat; they may simply be unable to perform the job sufficiently to your standards.

One way you can avoid the cowboy builder is to always ask to see credentials before allowing work to begin. A quality tradesman will have training in their specific field of expertise, no matter if they are in plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, etc. Many cowboy builders may claim to have expertise in all, or most construction trades, though they rarely do. This is why it is important to ask to see credentials when you hire someone to do a job.

A busy tradesman may indicate the quality of the builder’s work. Most highly trained tradesmen will be very busy, as they will likely have many clients, while at the same time a cowboy builder may have a completely open calendar. Though this will not always indicate quality, it is something to look for when deciding on a contractor for your construction project.

Another method you may use to identify a cowboy builder is to ask them about their liability insurance, and what their contract terms are. Many cowboy builders will not bother with insurance, nor do they like to deal in written contracts.

Unfortunately, because many cowboy builders run their business in this way, every year a lot of people who set out to have a construction project completed, end up with shoddy, substandard work that they are unable to do anything about.

Some steps you can take to protect yourself from the cowboy builder include,

  • Don’t be fooled by a friendly manner. Though the tradesman may seem like the most likable and trustworthy person in the world, do not go by this alone. Cowboy builders are well known for having a friendly manner that encourages trust.
  • Ask for references. If they are reputable tradesmen they will likely have a long list of references that you can check. Always check these references, and ask about the builder’s quality of work, as well as their ability to keep to the contract terms.
  • Get quotes! Before deciding to hire a specific tradesman for your project, be sure that you have looked around, and received quotes from a few different builders. In this way you will not only get a better price, but also you will have the opportunity to hire the tradesman who is best qualified for the job.
  • Ask for a contract. A reputable tradesman will nearly always have a contract that should be signed by both parties. Beware of those tradesmen that say they do not require a written contract.
  • Always ask about warranty and liability insurance. When you hire a builder, especially if it is a large project, you will want to be sure that they have an insurance backed warranty to cover their work. In addition to this, ask for verification that they carry liability insurance. Both of these are important for your protection, as well as the protection of others incase an accident should occur during construction – a good builder cares about the wellbeing of his employees and will responsible for supplying adequate safety equipment. This will also protect you if you are not satisfied with the quality of work. Cowboy builders will usually not offer either a warranty, nor proof that they are covered by liability insurance.
  • Don’t agree to a cash deal. Some cowboy builders will ask you if you’d like to deal in cash in order to avoid VAT; this is not a good idea, as you will have no record of how much money you have paid them, or how much the agreed upon price is. Dealing in cash will also open the door for them to skip out on the work and take your money with them.
  • Do not pay in advance. You should never agree to pay for work in advance, even if you have been offered a discount to do so. Most reputable builders will have a schedule that outlines when each, agreed upon payment is due, and in most cases at least some of the work has been completed before you make the first payment. If you agree to pay for the work before it is done, you may end up with a substandard job, or possibly not getting any of the job completed.
  • Only hire builders who belong to a trade association. Though some cowboy builders may go as far as showing you a false card that identifies them with a particular trade organization, you should always verify a member’s standing yourself by calling the trade organization.
  • Don’t be pressured into a decision. Any reputable tradesman will understand that you will want some time to come to a decision, if they appear to be pushing you into deciding now, you may want to step back and consider your options carefully. Cowboy builders are notorious for being pushy.
  • Ask who supplies their materials. Not only do you want your builder to be highly qualified for the job, but you will also want them to use high quality materials. Ask them who their supplier is, and who manufactures the materials they use. For example, for concrete you will want them to use only the best construction chemicals supplier and construction chemicals manufacturer.


If you want the highest quality work for your construction or remodeling project, know how to recognize and avoid the cowboy builder. For a quality job, you will only want to hire the most qualified builders to complete your project.

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October 16th, 2008

For business throughout the years, marketing has been quoted to be as important as the product or service itself that they are offering. When international or global business has begun to develop, the more emphasis was put on marketing.

During the time when internet started, it was basically used for information until businesses saw the possibilities that it can offer for their ventures.

And just like any other business, online business would benefit from online marketing.

Inside internet marketing, a sub classification can then be seen through the form of advertising. Commonly known in the internet world as webvertising, these are advertising mediums that cater specifically to online users, and has studied its market. There are indeed a lot of differences between the habits and behaviors of online and ‘real consumers’.

The primary benefit these businesses consider, compared to the standard media, is the low expense of dissemination of information to a wider or rather global market. This is a unique benefit since the channel and wide reach of these medium is usually expected to be higher in the conventional media. Media in internet is interactive. Customers and potential buyers can immediately give a reaction whether to decline or to buy. This benefit is particularly exciting, enticing, and gives the buyer and the seller the opportunity to learn more about each other’s wants. Through internet, email and faster media, interactive media, quick responses and actually conversations can be done. Conversations are actually considered a strong turning point in most transactions.

Management of data, analysis, and electronic data keeping, which are actually instantaneous also provide more information to sellers and company information that they can use to further better their product and service, learn more about their market and increase their potential to turn-around sales.

While it seems exciting for business to thrive on internet marketing, it is really a complex and diverse aspect of business. While for most people, advertising on the internet could mean placing a banner or put pop-ups and sending emails, an advertising and marketing campaign on the internet requires vast knowledge and professionalism in marketing.

There has to be a strategy where companies can promote their product properly aligned with the vision of the team. There should be wider options for mediums best suited for the image of the product and company. Sales targets have to be studied and be in consonance with the marketing plan through the internet. While it is a given fact that these advertisers are competing for a global market, internet marketing strategies should have a global approach also.

This entails research, studies, and an analysis on how to brand your item for a global market. .

While it is true that ‘real’ or three dimensional marketing in the real world is more beneficial, what is important to note is that there are still a lot people around the world who are yet to experience being online. And these people are those that can be tapped in to future potential customers, if I may say.

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Tile and Grout Cleaning – Pro Services

October 14th, 2008

You have probably enjoyed the beauty of your tile for some time but recently you’ve noticed a change. While the tile surface benefits from your routine surface cleaning, your grout seems to be getting worse. This is an unfortunate side-effect of tile flooring. You’ve probably tried to scrub the discoloration away only to get off your hands and knees tired and discouraged. The good news is that there are alternatives to endless afternoons scrubbing the floor. Here are a few tips to try on your own to help prevent tile and grout grime.

The first step is to get your existing tile and grout cleaned professionally. A trained professional can make your tile floor shine like new by using special equipment and chemicals. While professional tile and grout cleaners will cost more than purchasing cleaning supplies, think of the time you save yourself and the quality of the finished product. A small investment in your floor pays dividends in the end.

Now that your floor shines like new, you can now practice smart cleaning techniques. Start with a tile and grout seal. Seals can be purchased at any home improvement store and applied by the consumer. Better yet, seals can be applied after the cleaning process by your professional tile and grout cleaner. Seals act as a barrier to dirt and liquids preventing the tile and grout from absorbing them. Seals not only protect the tile and grout from discoloration, they also extend the life of the floor. Think of floor sealant like car wax. It protects your floor finish like car wax protects yur car finish.

With a properly sealed tile floor, your cleanup steps are much more effective and faster. Simply dry mop the floor daily and apply a mild detergent mixed with water semi-weekly dependent upon floor traffic. A house with two dogs and two toddles will definitely have to wet mop more frequently. The great news it that your newly sealed floors repel the dirt and mud rather than soak it in making cleaning a snap!

To enjoy the new found benefits of your sealed floor, re-applications of sealant are necessary. The frequency of applications vary based upon tile type and the level of foot traffic in the household. Regardless of traffic, seal should be reapplied at least yearly. Consult your floor cleaning professional for more information.

Following these simple steps will guarantee your tile floor will remain clean and vibrant for years to come.

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Trade Show Truss Systems To Boost Your Business

October 10th, 2008

Marketing is an inescapable part of business, for without it, you cannot reach potential customers with your products or services. You would not be able to acquire new customers for your business. That is why advertising is so common these days, whether it is through television, radio, in print or through trade show truss systems. Advertisement causes interest to arise in potential customers, at the very least, it leaves an impression in a person.

Trade show booth truss can be used when you want to give consumers an opportunity to get a feel of your products or services. In fact, in a trade show exhibit, there are so many businesses promoting their products, that it is rather convenient for consumers who can find it all under one roof.

A tradeshow truss system is convenient to use when you want to display your products or services in graphic from. This way, your products and services can be presented on large screens and projectors. This serves to enhance what you offer and therefore, leaves a good image in the consumers. This is especially true when high impact as well as unique graphics are used. These certainly are attention grabbers, making you stand out from the competition.

Trade show truss systems have sides made of metal that are flat in order to display large graphic panels. Magnets may be put on the panels so that these can stick onto flat surfaces. The result is catchy displays and all it takes are a few minutes.

It is best to find a Trade show booth truss system that packages and ships conveniently, in order to lower the costs of both. Retractable banner stands can help in portability. Portability is important as trusses need to be stored a great deal of the time. For example, a basic wall with a width of no more than six inches is light enough in terms of portability without compromising on stability. The tradeshow truss system should also be easy to set-up and remove.

If you can get 10′ trade show exhibits (or bigger if necessary) with customized designs, all the better. A customized design can better meet consumers’ needs. Convention truss may not be so conventional after all. When it comes to uniqueness of trusses, it may be in a straight, wavy, curved or zigzag line. Go simple or not so simple as you see fit for the effectiveness of marketing your business. A customized trade show booth may consist of the following:

1. Brackets
2. Base plates
3. Walls
4. Shelves

The above may be assembled quickly and the shelves may be used for laptops, books, etc. Heavier items such as plasmas, projectors and LCDs may be put on additional mounts if so you require. As well, foldable furniture such as chairs and circular tables can be had. As you can imagine, the entire set-up is quite a neat and useful one.

If trade show booth truss systems are going to be a long term investment for you, you may want to purchase instead of rent. If so, you need to design the system. Ready-made kits are available from suppliers for you to use and the shapes are commonly squares, octagons, ‘x’ configurations, etc. You can optionally have circles, arches and center bars with ‘x’ configurations.

Consider mounting spot-lights on the trusses. These serve to highlight what you especially want consumers to notice. These are flexible enough for you to manipulate as well, because you can turn the lights to wherever you need to.

As you can see, there are a lot of advantages in setting up a truss system to display your products or services. You do need to show what you have to offer to the consumers, so why not do it tastefully? If buying is not feasible at this time, you can rent. Besides, there are options for you to choose from to best suit your needs and budget. You don’t have to go for a customized design yet if you are not ready. You may try quicker solutions and see the results that you get. Then, if you are confident, you may be ready to invest more in this area.

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