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Should You Hire A Contractor For Your Home Remodeling Project?

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Are you considering making some improvements to your home? Before getting started, it would helps to consider all your options. When you get the itch to make one or two improvements to your home, one of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself is whether you’re going to handle the project on your own, or simply hire a professional contractor. The former gives you the opportunity to remodel the space as you deem fit, paying special attention to every detail along the way. On the other hand, hiring a contractor means you won’t have to spend your time on the project. Still, it’s important to know what tasks are best left to professionals, and when you might opt for the DIY route as well. Doing it yourself might save you money, but you must be absolutely sure about your ability to complete the task. And while a DIY home improvement project might look easy on TV, this doesn’t always translate over into reality. It might thus be in your best interest to hire a contractor, but you’ll need to compare several companies before making your final choice.

Being Your Own Contractor

Tackling a home improvement project on your own offers a few benefits — besides saving money on labor costs, it also gives you the chance to enjoy the work of your own hands. That said, it takes more than a can-do, will-do attitude to complete all the tasks involved successfully and on time. Depending on your skills and abilities, you might take the DIY route if:DIY Tools

  • There’s enough time to get familiar with the project: This mostly applies for small renovations, such as painting your deck. As long as your schedule allows, you can watch tutorial videos to learn the steps involved. Remember to consult other homeowners who’ve tackled similar projects for more advice.
  • You’re fine with small mistakes: There’s a good chance that the remodel won’t turn out as well as you’d initially hoped. If you’ll be satisfied with less-than-stellar results, a DIY project could make sense.
  • You view the project as more of a hobby: If you enjoy painting, carpentry or any other activities related to renovation, a DIY project involving those tasks might be worthwhile trying on your own.

Before you can even start planning your DIY remodel, take a good look at your experience and skills. The last thing you want is to discover that you don’t have what it takes right in the middle of the project. It’s easy to look up instructions for certain tasks, but putting them into practice is a whole lot different. If you’re forced to call in a pro to correct your mistakes or finish what you already started, you might actually end up spend more than you’d have paid if you hired them in the first place.

Why Hire a Contractor?

Whether you’re planning to remodel the entire house or just spruce up a few rooms, you’ll want to make the best decision between bringing in a pro and doing it yourself. But there’s a good reason why the majority of homeowners prefer to hire contractors — they can handle complex, time-consuming tasks, and those that are downright unpleasant as well. Working with an established contracting company carries several other benefits, including:

  • Peace of mind: An experienced contractor will be able to coordinate the entire project to ensure everything’s done according to your specifications.
  • Efficiency: A company like VanRossun Contracting will not only figure out the most efficient way to complete your project, but they’ll also have the required materials and tools. Their professional connections will also save you lots of time and money.
  • Handling permits and inspections: Depending on the project, certain building permits and inspections might be required by law. This is perhaps the biggest reason why you’d be better off working with a professional; they’ll know what needs to be done to take care of such things. And when it comes time to sell your home, you’ll be able to provide written proof of compliance.
  • Complete coverage: Since contractors have to be insured, you’ll be glad you chose one if anything goes wrong as the work proceeds. Your contractor will take full responsibility for any liabilities that relate to your project, something you don’t get when you choose the DIY approach.

Kitchen RemodelAll in all, a professional contractor can turn your dreams into reality, but you have to choose the right one. So if you do decide to hire a pro, ask for references from the companies you’re evaluating and obtain written estimates as well. And even after you’ve hired one, you might need to take an active role in the project — your home is a valuable investment, after all. So be ready to spend time following things closely, and put some effort into developing a good working relationship with your contractor.

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Your Fall Car Care Checklist

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If fall is your favorite season, you’re not alone. The skies are clear, the air is crisp, and the leaves are beautiful. The holidays, and cherished get-togethers with family and friends, aren’t far away. Unfortunately, icy weather is also just around the corner. Fall is the time to make sure that you and your car will be ready for winter and much more difficult driving conditions.

Brakes – Here in central Virginia, late fall will usher in cold weather and icy roads. You’ll want your brakes to be working at their best – even more so when winter arrives. If you’ve been hearing squeaking or screeching when you apply your brakes, then its time to schedule an inspection from a professional. Same if your brakes have haven’t been stopping you as well lately. Another worthwhile check is to inspect the brake pads; if your pads are less than ¼” deep, then you should bring your car in for some new ones.

Tire tread – Like your brakes, your tires need to be at their best to perform well in poor conditions. So, before winter arrives, be sure to check the tread on your tires. It’s easy to do – even if you’re not a mechanic. Simply take a penny and insert it into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you’ve got enough tread to drive safely, Lincoln’s head will disappear into the groove; if you can still see Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.

Tire pressure – Air condenses when it becomes cold, and that includes the air inside your tires. So a tire that was inflated to perfect pressure in summer may become dangerously low in the winter. Fall is the perfect time to pick up a tire pressure gauge if you don’t already have one; it’s also a great time to get in the habit of checking your tires before you drive, to make sure they’re properly inflated. Not sure what the right pressure is? Look up your tire’s brand and number online.

Heater/defroster – In summer, you can probably get by without having a properly-functioning heater or defroster. In winter, you can’t. In winter, you and your car will have to contend with rain, frost, ice, and perhaps even snow. Without defrosting, keeping your windows clear will be difficult; driving safely may be impossible. Fall is the time to make sure that your heater/defroster works properly, and is able to keep you and your family safe.

Battery – When the weather gets cold, gasoline can be harder to burn and oil can be cold and gooey. As a result, your engine might need a bigger jolt to get moving. If your battery isn’t fully charged, it might not be up to the challenge. The smart play is to have your battery inspected by a local technician before it gets too cold, and before you start running the risk of being stranded when your car doesn’t start. I trust Richmond’s Aarrow Transmissionmy go-to car repair shop – to perform thorough inspections and provide effective solutions for my car.

Antifreeze – No fall car care checklist would be complete without checking your antifreeze. While oil can get gooey in the cold, water can become… you guessed it: ice. If the water in your engine freezes, your engine will freeze, too. Antifreeze lowers the freezing point of the water in your engine to a much lower temperature, greatly decreasing the chance that freezing will occur. Checking antifreeze is easy, and so is adding it. If you have a few free minutes, you can do it on your own. Or ask your local mechanic to do it when you bring your car in for a check this fall.

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Implementing Digital Solutions For Your Local Business

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In today’s fast paced world, filled to the brim with hustle and bustle individuals who are contributing to the dog-eat-dog environment, it’s absolutely vital that you stay on top of innovations and technology solutions to maintain your business and continue to grow successfully. When you are building a company, and your competitors begin to transition to more online and digital-focused innovations, take notice! Using a company that specializes in implementing digital solutions such as Cobb Technologies can be a great way to get started on the right path.

There are many different aspects of digital solutions that can be implemented for your local business, such as:

  • Information technology solutions to help manage your internet, servers, online-based documents, and provide customer support or other work-related assistance any time you are undergoing issues with your network. This is one of the first things you should get started, because with today’s society and the way it is heading, nearly everything will be cloud-based in the future, so get on it while the going is hot!

 

  • Document management solutions can be implemented to help your team stay on the same page when it comes to processes and procedures, and contributing to company projects. Utilizing an online-based document management service such as Microsoft 365 can help you stay updated with all of your employees. With support for e-mail, spreadsheets, and text documents, plus all media files such as videos and images, an online-based service can be a huge help to your entire staff.

 

  • Managed workflow solutions are yet another aspect of different innovations you can implement into the workplace. When it comes to developing processes and procedures for your company, keeping the entire aspect of the work environment streamlined and seamless is absolutely vital to staying organized and providing a great foundation for employees.

When it comes to starting, growing, and maintaining a local business, there are constantly streams of competitors coming into the field, in the hopes of knocking out your business and taking your spot. If you aren’t staying up to date on the various aspects related to the growing digital-age, then it’s time to start! Taking the next step into the cloud-based world will provide nothing but benefits for your local business. There are many differences between a local, thriving, successful business and one that sticks to their roots and traditional procedures.

Take the steps to become more digital focused and your company’s results will be sure to follow!

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Carpet Cleaning In Texas Homes

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EliteGreenTeamChemDryCarpetCleaning

The hot and muggy Texas summers can be simply unbearable sometimes, and make you not want to do absolutely anything around your home. This can cause tons of chores to become backlogged, whether they take place indoors or outdoors, because the heat just overpowers you.

Time and time again, no matter what part of Texas we lived in, filth would somehow manage to find its way into our home. No matter how often we vacuumed, or how stringent we were on taking our shoes off when we came home, there was always a somewhat dull look to our carpeting.

When the weather gets horrible, and your home starts to become dirtier and dirtier as you continue to track in dirt, mud, and other types of grime, it’s important that you get an annual carpet clean to ensure that your entire home stays healthy, vibrant, and fresh.

Because of the constant dirt floating around Texas, it is extremely easy to bring all of that directly into your home, where it is then lodged into your carpet. While many of us may vacuum fairly consistently, that alone isn’t enough to truly clean your carpets when they begin to get soiled and dirty. That’s where it’s vital that you choose a premier carpet cleaning company that uses non-toxic, eco-friendly products. There are dozens of different companies that are able to come out and clean your soiled carpet, but the process that goes behind it is just as important as the company you choose.

Whatever your budget may be, and regardless of the size of your carpet that needs cleaning, doing a thorough research and review of the company you choose is vital. Elite Green Team Chem-Dry, who is based out of Friendswood, was one of our top recommendations from friends and family when we were asking around for referrals for a thorough, in-depth, detailed carpet clean. We had just moved into a new home, and the carpets were in dire need of help. There was staining all over the home, and any time we walked across the carpet, we would kick up tons of dust and dirt into the air, which began making us sneeze and have trouble sleeping. You can see their website here, http://www.elitegreenteamchemdry.com/, and see exactly why we chose them. They were quick to respond and the customer service representative on the other line was very informative and answered all of the questions we had about the toxicity of the product, what different cleaners they use, and how they went about the cleaning process.

EliteGreenTeamChemDryCarpetCleaning

We decided to go with an official Chem-Dry franchise because of their use of an all-natural cleaning product. They utilize a water-carbonation process that basically forces air bubbles into the fabric of the carpet, pulling out deeply-ingrained grime. The process was even able to remove extremely troublesome dark red stains.

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7 predictions about e-commerce this year

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The e-commerce is moving at forward at a great speed. It is a very prospective area and people are getting involved in this sector. E-commerce is updating with better technology, discovery, logistics, etc. Here are some predictions about e-commerce this year.

Chat bots

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Google Allo are coming up with integrated bots. It will help them in shopping and book things. It will also provide good customer service. So, consumers will start to communicate with machines. There are 1100 chatbots available in Facebook.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is now useful in our daily lives. Digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana have made it possible for people to talk to machines. These assistants respond in various ways. For example, Alexa will default to product pages and reviews on Amazon.

Mobile

The mobile traffic is now more than the desktop traffic on the web. Google is trying to find out a mobile-first web index. So, it is important to make the mobile experience good. So, the mobile should be your priority.

Mobile payment and loyalty apps

The smartphone users can now make mobile payments. Starbucks has tried it. The mobile payment system has streamlined the payments system. A loyalty program is also added. The loyalty apps have helped to generate 12% increase in revenue. If you can do it the right way then people will have a relationship with the brand.

The retail report

You will be able to see the right data at the right time with the retail report. E-commerce will continue to show customization this year.Personalization is important. It is important to differentiate between competitors.

More same day delivery

You might see drones delivering products this year. Many people are willing to pay extra for same day delivery. So, we will see more of this in the year 2017.

Social selling

Social selling will be a big part of e-commerce. Ad load will become less effective. It won’t play many roles in driving revenue this year. Facebook should diversify their revenue streams.

We will be seeing these trends in e-commerce this year. So, if you are in the e-commerce business, you should e aware of these trends and match your marketing strategy along this line. You should adopt the above-mentioned strategies in order to stay ahead of the competitors and win more customers. These will be the future of e-commerce, so you should adopt these tools and techniques in order to move forward.

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Top 5 startups to watch this year

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Every year we see some new companies starting their business and doing incredibly well. These companies motivate others to do well as well. Here are some of the best startups to watch this year.

STEMI Hexapod Robot Kit

It is a great DIY robot and it’s a teaching tool. The kit has all the pieces that you need to make your walking, dancing, etc. With the smartphone-controlled integration, anyone can learn various aspects of STEM programming.

Revols Custom Earbuds

It is a custom-fit earbud that you can form in 60 seconds. All you need to do is insert the base in the ears and hit the Start button on the app. After a minute the custom earbud will be made for you. Thes earbuds won’t fall out.

BlazeTorch Night-Vision Goggles

It is a headset designed for night vision. It is useful for night sports like biking, skiing, etc. You need to activate only the built-in IR illuminator. You can see things that are not visible to the naked eye at night.

Magic Instruments Digital Guitar

When you push the button on the neck of the guitar musical notes will be emited. The strings don’t need to be replaced or tuned. The app has a big music library, so you can learn various songs.

BrainCo Mind-Training Technology

With this, you can control things in your mind. The headset is packed with EEG-monitoring technology. It uses neuro-feedback in order to train your brain.  There is a focus-training app that is good for the classroom. Teachers can determine how well the students can retain information.

These startups show how advanced technology has become. It also shows that there is no limit to people’s imagination. They are coming up with products to make our lives even more comfortable. These startups are expected to be very successful.

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4 ways to beat your retail competitors

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The retail industry has become very competitive. You shouldn’t take the competition to be something negative. You should be inspired by competition as you will be able to do things better. Here are some of the ways you can beat your competitors.

Reduce your expenses

You should look at your profit and loss statement and itemize all the expenses. You should then find out how you can reduce the expenses. If you cut a little here and there then it will soon add up. However, you shouldn’t reduce your advertising expense.

Get creative

Don’t use same marketing methods used by other companies. Try to be creative. You should use unconventional methods of advertising to make yourself different from the customers. It will attract more attention and increase your sales. You should look for a market segment not touched by your competitors.

Provide outstanding customer service

If you can go that extra mile to offer great customer service, then people will shop in your store instead of that of the competitors. They will also tell other people to shop at your store. People like shopping in places where they are comfortable. So, they will visit your shop.

Offer exciting promo

People love a good promo. People want you to excite them by doing something different. They will keep on talking about you if you do so. It is a very innovative way of attracting customers.

Use these tips to beat your competitors. The bottom line is to stand out from the rest and you can do it by being creative, providing promo, providing good customer service and reducing expenses.

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3 reasons why business blog is needed for marketing

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Blog is a very important tool for the marketing of a business. It is used as by many successful businesses today. Here are the reasons why you should write blogs for your business as well.

1) It helps drive traffic

Blogging will drive traffic to your site. Every time you write a blog post it becomes indexed. So, you have an opportunity to show up on the search engine and so it will drive traffic to your site. It tells Google and other search engines that your site is active. They will check in to view the new content. Social media can find you if you blog regularly. When you write a blog post, there is a chance that it will get shared by people on social media. You can keep your social media active by blogging.

2) It converts traffic into leads

Once traffic comes to your blog, there is a chance that the traffic will convert to leads. Every time you write a post there is an opportunity to generate new leads.

3) It establishes authority

When you create contents consistently that is helpful for the audience, you get established as an authority. It is a very powerful thing and can help to increase your rank in the search engine results pages.

Photo Courtesy of http://visual.ly/whats-and-whys-blogging

Blogging can get you long term results. If you write good posts consistently then people will read it and share it on social media. Search engines will start to rank you higher. So, you should start blogging today!