Choosing a Credible Home Improvement Contractor

If you are a home or property owner it is certain that eventually you will need to hire a home improvement contractor for one reason or another. Whether its for an emergency situation such as a roof leak, or simply for the purpose of modernizing an element of your home; such as installing new kitchen cabinets and counter tops, upgrading your bathroom, or a major project like converting your basement into a living and recreation area.

Whatever the case may be, hiring a credible home improvement expert is most vital to your home improvement investment, and to achieve this there are certain facts that you should know and be aware of when choosing a home improvement contractor for your home or property investment.

A carpenter by trade with a newly started business, I am writing to provide some helpful tips for homeowners so they can choose a credible contractor and evade the scam artists when exploring their home improvement options. The term home improvement is an ambiguous term because there are so many elements to your home: the roof, deck, porch, kitchen, basement, bathroom, etc. In essence there could be a thousand tips to discuss, but I will contain this article to the two primary things to watch for if and when you find the need to choose a contractor to work on your home.

First and foremost is the fact that generally most credible home improvement contractors fall into a specific category of expertise and have a reputation based on that expertise. As such, in your initial search, don’t just pick the first home improvement advertiser because maybe they offer a better price or have fancy ads. Instead, make your choice from the contractors who advertise under the specific project you are interested in.

For example, if you need a new roof, choose from roofing contractors — preferably one that has long-standing reputation in your community. If you come across someone advertising that they provide a litany of services, be wary of their credibility and the quality of their work. Despite the fact that there are talented individuals who have the skills to cover all the facets of home improvement, generally even these individuals will choose to specialize in a targeted area and will not cover the “Jack of all Trades” title. Most, but not all, “Jack Of All Trades” contractors are bad news, so you may wish to stay away from them.

The second tip I offer is choosing a contractor who offers a warranty coverage package that protects you and your property investment. Although many contractors allege to offer warranty coverage, many of their warranties offer very little protection for the consumer whatsoever! The fact is that the best warranty coverage is a “Non-prorated” warranty because this contract policy covers all costs should there be ANY defect in the workmanship and/or product(s), and there is NO cost to the consumer.

Although some warranties appear to look good because they have a long coverage period like 20 – 30 years, the cold hard truth is that they may only be a “prorated” warranty. A prorated warranty clearly states that it ONLY covers a certain dollar amount of any defect! Anything beyond that specified dollar amount is then paid for by the homeowner, even if the product was installed incorrectly by the contractor! Needless to say, most prorated warranties are useless, and home and property owners need to be aware of this! Remember, you get what you pay for, so read the warranty contract terms.

In conclusion I can only state that I hope this article finds its way to homeowners who are soon to do some remodeling projects,and that the facts I have provided were able to help save you from a hard lesson learned.

Why New Patio Doors Should Be Your First Home Improvement

Sliding glass doors should be very, very, very close to the top of your home improvements wish list, if it’s not consider the following facts.

1. You lose a lot of heat in the winter and gain a lot of heat during the summer through glass. Most likely your sliding glass door is the biggest piece of glass in your home., so I want to tell you specific things about sliding glass doors that you may or may not know that will help you in your purchase decision. There are three things I want to talk about, energy efficiency, security and quality.

2. Your patio door is the most likely target for intruders, burglars or anyone who wants to get in your house that doesn’t belong there. I actually know a window and door consultant that upon visiting a prospective customer, walks directly to their sliding glass door, hands the customer a stop watch, opens the door(most times not very easily) walks outside, instructs the homeowner to lock the door and start the timer. The consultant then proceeds to wiggle, twist and push on the patio door until it opens, without breaking the glass. Usually in under a minute.

3. Due to high gas prices, the economy and other reasons people are staying home more. If you are staying home for Labor Day weekend, inviting some friends and family over for a barbecue, what door (besides the refrigerator door) do you think will get used the most? Especially if you are doing upgrades in the hopes of one day moving to another house and selling your current home; realize that home buyers are looking for elegant patio doors more than ever. They know they are going to stay home more often than before and they want to enjoy their backyard.

Now all of that being said lets address each topic one by one.

Energy efficiency – if you have an old, drafty, rickety single pane sliding glass door you are losing A LOT OF MONEY everyday. Many people can’t even sit by their sliding glass because it is so drafty. Bugs, dust, allergens and of course the weather strolls through your old sliding glass door like its not even there!

You really need to replace that old sliding glass door right away. You will notice immediate energy savings. You will help the environment, reduce your power bills, have a more comfortable home and most importantly you will save money so you can afford Rib-Eye’s instead of hot dogs at your next barbecue.

Security – If you have an old sliding glass door, your home is not secure. You can not put a price tag on security. Your door will pay for itself from energy savings in a few years, but the lost of family heirlooms, jewelry and such are irreplaceable and you cannot put a price on that. Even homes that have alarms do not deter burglars. That sign in front of your home that says, Alert One Alarm, Armed response, just lets the burglar know they only have 20 minutes to rob you instead of 40 minutes. No, they won’t get the big screen TV, but anything they can fit in their pockets or a small bag will be gone in less that 60 seconds.

New sliding glass doors are more secure than ever. They have limit stops in the header track to stop the vent or sliding panel from being raised and removed. Many feature double locks that protrude up and down into the strike plate. Even if the door is raised, pried, bowed or whatever it still remains locked.

There are also a variety of relatively cheap add-ons that can make a door virtually impossible to open without breaking the glass. There are foot operated secondary locks and Charlie bars that cost less than $50 and add an extra level of security. You can even get laminated glass, or security films applied to the glass, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes to try and bust through even with a baseball bat. Laminated glass can be expensive but like I said you cannot put a price on security.

Home Beauty – A new sliding glass door will beautify your home like nothing else. Old glass gets scratched from pets and kids constantly scratching at it. The old aluminum tracks are the epitome of an eyesore and unfortunately most of the old sliding glass doors are mill finish aluminum! Ugh. No amount of cleaner, polish or interior decorating can make that look nice.

A new sliding glass door will be a focal point to a room, not an eyesore. There are options available that create equal sight lines with the glass or even a French style door that looks like a French door even though it is a sliding glass door. There are other decorative options like grilles, glass designs and in some cases wood veneer interiors.

If you replace your sliding glass door, not only will you love the looks and feel of it, it will also increase the value of your home. If you go to sell your home, it will sell faster than your neighbors home who has the old rickety eyesore. But I think the best part of your new sliding glass door in it will actually work! No screeching sounds when you slide it, no loud clank when you shut it, and it doesn’t take a team of furniture movers to get it open and shut. It slides nice and easy, opens and shuts quietly and effortlessly.

So in conclusion if I haven’t convinced you to replace your sliding glass door, I don’t know what else to say, maybe some of these other points will help.

o Reduced Noise – The neighbors barking dog will actually be almost ignorable.
o Reduced Glare
o Available with blinds between the glass (get rid of verticals that constantly fall off and twist up)
o Improved view to the outside. New glass is clear and free from years of pitting and fading. Enjoy the view of your backyard.
o Brings cool light into a room! You don’t have to hide the door with solar screens, drapes and aluminum foil; you can open the drapes and let the light in. New sliding glass doors let the light in without the heat.

The fact of the matter is no other improvement will have as dramatic effect on your home than replacing your sliding glass door. It’s the one improvement that you can be sure will pay for itself with energy savings, make you home more secure and definitely a more beautiful place to reside.

How to Identify Good Home Improvement Leads

Identifying good Home Improvement Leads doesn’t have to be difficult. Despite the misleading advertisers and scams to provide exclusive Leads, there is hope. People in your local area are looking for Home Improvement companies that perform quality work for services needed on their homes. The key to identifying the best source for these customers is to find a unique system for delivering the most exclusive leads available at the prices contractors and home improvement specialists are looking for.

It is not necessary to develop a high ranking website or to even have a website at all. Spending the time, energy, and money required to develop a highly optimized site is one method. Actually, one doesn’t need a website at all.

Look for a company located in your area that specializes in building search engine optimized pages specifically designed to gather leads from people looking for services today. If you have an existing website continue building it with lots of content rich information related to your business. Let the lead gathering company get your customers through their pages and make sure they automatically forward you the information. The single most important item is to make sure the lead provider gives you Customer Lead Information that is not shared with any other contractor or service provider. This is the only way to be sure your lead is truly an exclusive one.

The key component of your success with home improvement leads is having expertly written content describing your product or service. The advantage of utilizing a local company is that they will have ties to the community in which you work. It is in their best interest to provide you with a quality experience as bad reputations travel faster than good ones. You want local support so that local people looking for home improvements will find the page. If you are doing home improvement work in Fort Worth, Texas, it is a safe bet that you won’t get nearly the local flavor from someone in New York. You want that local customer who found the information to visit, read, and either fill out a form that is instantly emailed or call on a special phone number created and forwarded to your number. Having a unique phone number different from your regular business number is part of another technique for optimizing a leads page so be sure to look for this feature. Another important consideration is to notice if other companies’ information is shown on the page. Many of the so called lead suppliers are only looking for pay per click traffic through their site to your competitor pages. Find a service with these qualities and your competitors will be left eating your dust.

There are some other key ingredients to providing you exclusive leads. Does the lead provider strategically place videos and other readable media all over the web? Don’t be afraid to ask! A few choice spots with content rich media will get the search engine’s attention and drive incredible amounts of traffic to your lead forms. Don’t be surprised if your lead provider suddenly shows up with 3 or 4 spots on the first page of your favorite search engine. Get excited, because when that happens, you are about to be inundated with local home improvement leads.

Home Improvement Leads don’t have to be expensive when you utilize the services of a local area leads supplier. These companies should be committed to helping you be more successful by delivering the most exclusive leads at the best prices obtainable. By using multiple tactics to deliver the traffic, you can focus on providing the quality product or service you are best at. Allow the search engine experts to concentrate on finding potential customers while you do the professional work you love to do. Isn’t that why you are in business for yourself?