Month: July 2016

How to Start a House Cleaning Business on a Tight Budget

"If you use Emotion and Love to drive your sales and your business, you will create Loyalty Beyond Reason. And I promise you, you will build relationships and enjoy a business that exceeds beyond your wildest expectations"

First of all, before you decide to start your cleaning business, make sure this kind of work is right for you. You will need to be in good physical condition. Cleaning is very hard strenuous work. You will need to have good customer relation skills. You will need to have basic office skills and some accounting skills.

If you are planning on leaving your full time position to start a cleaning business, make sure you have at least six months of savings. Or keep your full time job and start out part time.

Research all the aspects of the cleaning service business. From customer service to advertising, taxes, employees, insurance and bonding, what to charge and how to clean a home professionally. Cleaning your own home and cleaning professionally is totally different. Learning how to clean professionally takes a lot of time. When a client pays for your services they expect to come home and find their home spotless.

Getting those first clients takes time, persistence and patience. You will not get a hundred clients overnight.

Obtaining Those First Clients The hardest part of starting your own cleaning service is obtaining those first clients. Most clients want to know how long you have been in business and want references. The best thing to do is let clients know that, yes, you are new to the business but that you have thoroughly reviewed all aspects of the cleaning business and assure them that you know what you are doing and that you are quit capable of cleaning them Home to their specifications. Be confident. I can not stress this enough. Clients love to see confidence. It relieves their worries and lets them know that their home is in good hands.

References: To get a few good references when starting out, ask some friends or family members if you can clean their home for free or at a discounted rate. The sound of working for free may not be appealing but it will be worth it to get some good testimonials.

When cleaning those first homes, go for quality, not how fast you can clean the home. Cleaning efficiently takes a long time, but you will get to the point where you can do a thorough cleaning in a short time. After cleaning make sure you go back and double check all rooms to make sure you did not miss anything. Impress those first clients and word of mouth will spread soon.

Advertising Your company image is everything. Before you start advertising, decide what image you want to portray on your advertising material. Your image is very important. Be consistent with all your advertising. If you have a logo be sure to use it on all your advertising materials. I think it is best to …

How Much Do Builders Make on a House?

After all is said and done, how much does your builder walk away with?

Do you wonder how a builder decides what to charge for a new home? You know that you pay for the lumber, carpet, fixtures and all the details, but how is the final price determined?

Buying a home requires a lot of money. The cost is based on many different factors, including the construction, land and the marketing and administrative costs for the builder. And of course, the net profit.

Does it sound any easier to understand?

Most builders will charge in a similar way. The construction of the house will account for approximately 50% of the base price of the home.

There are several costs within the construction factor. There are direct costs, which are the sticks and bricks. These are all of the materials that go into the home, from the lumber to concrete and windows to carpet.

The work is usually mostly provided by subcontractors hired by the builder.

Then there are construction labor costs. These are the costs associated with work performed by the builder’s employees. These go along with the indirect costs, which are usually performed by the builder’s employees. They include the correction work that is done to fix any mistakes by subcontractors.

You will also be charged the construction interest on the home. To finance the purchase of the lot and the cost of construction before you pay the builder, the builder takes out a bank loan. The cost of the loan, including all interest and fees, will be figured into the base price you pay.

The actual cost of the lot can be between 25% and 40% of the base price. With the cost of land constantly going up, especially near metro areas, the lot portion has increased over the years. Added to your land costs are any off-site improvements, such as water and sewer lines, street developments, curbing and paving and driveways and sidewalks.

Many builders offer a discount on the base price, often by paying for points at settlement, to encourage first-time buyers. A discounted home will often have construction costs that equal 50%, lot costs of 30%, a discount of 3% and a 17% gross profit.

Out of the gross profit, the builder deducts administrative costs, marketing costs and taxes.

If you choose options, you could add 10% to 30% to the base price.

Surprisingly, builders walk away with less profit than you would expect. Net profits on the sale of a home often ranges from 2% to 6%. In general, the larger the home, the higher the net.

You can easily find out the net profits for builders that are publicly traded companies. You simply have to read their annual reports.

When you are contemplating the building of a home, sometimes you should shop around a bit. Compare the costs for similar homes offered by different builders. Ask the builder how much of the cost is construction. They may or may not tell you. …

Green Roof Pros and Cons

A green roof is known by several names such as eco-roof or living roof. They have been built on buildings for centuries. Many countries in the world have green roof subsidies or programs that encourage eco-roofs. Scandinavia has long had farm house buildings that have sod covered roofs. Some cities in the US are known for their living roofs such as Chicago’s City Hall building.

Basically a green roof is a roof that has vegetation and a growing medium. It will cost more than a standard asphalt shingle roofing application. Rooftop garden costs also depend on the type of green roof installed. There are several differences among green roofs and some applications that may or may not be defined as a green roof such as a container garden green roof.

The additional costs depend on the substructure of the initial building. They may require additional support as a green roof will weigh more than a traditional asphalt roof. However a roof that already has clay or concrete roofing material may be strong enough to support a heavier roof. The additional cost per square foot has many variables so an accurate cost really cannot be estimated. It could vary by eight to over twenty five dollars per square foot.

Some drawbacks to rooftop gardens are that they cost more to install. Maintenance can also be costly for the more intensive varieties. Some require access for maintenance so that has to be provided which adds to the costs. Of course the weather comes into play. A project in Palm Springs will have different maintenance issues than one in Minnesota that has to endure cold temperatures. An eco-roof is exposed to the seasons just like the garden or lawn, so it won’t stay a stunning shade of green throughout the whole year.

The advantages are much stronger strong. One thing that has been proven is a green roof does reduce heating and cooling costs. They make great insulation. They attract insects and other forms of animals. They help control any water runoff. They also clean up the water that does fall to the ground. They may reduce replacement roofing costs as the green growth protects from the harmful damage of the sun. Of course if covered with sun, they may make the roof very heavy.

There are several different types of living roof. The two basic types are an extensive green roof which does not require as much maintenance. It may need yearly weeding but it is designed to be virtually self sustaining with minimum maintenance.

The second one is an intensive, meaning that it requires more labor and expense to install and maintain. It may weigh more than the extensive roof as it requires a thicker growing medium. They require irrigation, feeding and other maintenance. They are more park like.

If one chooses to build an eco-roof as a new structure or remodeling an existing structure roof you will probably need a building permit in most cities. Some cities encourage roof gardens, …

Completing a Bathroom Remodel? Learn How to Measure For Tile

How to measure for tile when completing a bathroom remodel

Imagine this, you are thinking of remodeling a bathroom and already have an established budget. You are at a tile shop and see a tile sample you like. The price of the tile is $5.00 a square foot. How do you know if this $5.00 a square foot tile is within your budget? In addition to the tile, how much should I budget for the grout and sealer?

In a recent article I provided information on the different types of tiles that are available for your bathroom remodel. Now it is time to learn how to measure for your tiling project and calculate the cost for your tiles and related tiling supplies.

There are different types of tile you will need to tile your bathroom:

  • Field Tile
  • Trim Tile

Field tile is the main body of tile for your remodeling project. For example, if you are tiling your shower, the field tile is the tile on the walls of your shower. The field tile covers the largest area of your tiling project. A common size for field tile is 12 inches by 12 inches. Field tile is sold by square footage, so you need to take the area for the field tile and calculate the square footage.

Trim tile is divided into two categories:

  • Accent trim tile (to be set in with the field tile)
  • Border trim tile (to finish off the field tile)

How to Measure

Let’s go through an example to help you go through the tile measuring process. In this example, we are going to install tile for a bathtub with a shower surround.

For a bathtub with a shower surround, you will need tile for the three walls. The tile will be installed to a height of 6 feet (6′) above the tub deck.

The first wall is 5 feet wide. The two end walls are each 3 feet wide. To determine the tile square footage, you need to measure the width of each of the three walls and multiply it by the height of your shower surround.

Let’s start measuring the first wall:

  • 5′ wide (60 inches) by 6′ feet tall. 5 X 6 = 30 square feet.

Then you need to measure both end walls:

  • 3′ feet deep (36″) X 6′ tall. 3 X 6 = 18 Square feet.
  • 3′ feet deep (36″) X 6′ tall. 3 X 6 = 18 Square feet.

Then, you need to add the measurements of all three walls together:

  • 66 square feet of field tile is needed for the shower surround.

I recommend to my clients to account for a 20% waste factor when setting tile. Keep in mind the tile could be discontinued, the tile could be on back order for numerous weeks, or many other problems could arise if you run short of tile when remodeling your bathroom. An additional 20% of tile for 66 square feet equals an additional 13.2 square feet of tile. I …

Useful Tips And Ideas For Landscaping Along The Fence Line

Having a beautiful, manicured, and healthy lawn means not just working on certain areas of your yard. Your outdoor space will look more appealing and organized if every area looks designed, tidy, and nothing is barren or disregarded.

As such, if you want to have the perfect lawn, you also have to work on beautifying some areas that you normally wouldn’t pay attention to such as the fence line. Many property owners think that their fence would be enough as an additional enhancing outdoor feature. But with the right plants and some landscaping tips, you can have an even lovelier fence line.

Below are some landscaping tips and ideas you can consider for improving your fence line:

• Before starting to plant along fence the line, make sure you remove any brush and debris on the area. This means removing weeds growing along the privacy fence. You can use a weed trimmer to cut down weeds and grass next to the fence.

• Aside from planting ornamental plants, the area along the fence is the ideal location to grow long, narrow vegetable garden beds. The edible garden will decorate and improve the look of the area while making the space functional to produce your own food.

• If you want to cover some of the wooden fence’s parts (especially the old, rotten ones) plant vines, like bougainvillea or trumpet vine along the base of the fence. These vines will naturally grow up the fence to add color to your fence and at the same time, soften the look of the wood.

• If you want to grow plants along the fence line, grow tall ornamental grasses, such as cape thatching reed or muhly grass, along the area. When they grow, they will fill out to cover a large area of the fence while adding movement and texture to your outdoor space.

• To have blooming flowers near your fence, plant ornamental grasses with flowering perennials such as poppies or hydrangeas. You can also consider growing flowering herbs like chives and lavender since they work great for different types of border gardens.

• You can also consider planting pots. Place large, decorative pots along the fence line. Make sure you pace the pots evenly along the privacy structure. To add color and boost visual interest to the area, grow a variety of plants in one pot.

• Lastly, to improve the look of your fence and outdoor space, you can also hang decorative garden fixtures such as metal lanterns as accent pieces. However, make sure you choose only lightweight garden decorations that won’t cause the fence to sag or lean and screw the pieces into the wood securely.…

What Material Is Best for A Bathroom Sink?

Sink materials

Most pedestal and wall-hung sinks are made from vitreous china, and the same qualities that make this material a good choice for toilets work well for sinks too: a durable, abrasion-resistant, easy-to-clean surface that maintains its luster year after year.Choose vitreous-china sinks-particularly pedestal sinks-with care, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the brand, because any ceramic manufacturing process produces a high number of seconds that may have defects ranging from minor blemishes or depressions in the surface to hairline cracking and out-of-plumb or warped mating surfaces. This can mean drop-in self-rimming sinks that don’t sit flat (particularly larger ones) and two-piece pedestals that just don’t quite go together correctly.

Enameled cast iron has most of vitreous china’s good qualities, and it is much less prone to cracking. Cast iron is strong, rigid, and quiet when water is running into it, although it can chip if mishandled during shipping or if a hammer gets dropped on it during installation. Cast-iron sinks are very heavy, which may not make that much of a difference with smaller vanity bowls, but can make handling larger sinks hard on the back.

Enameled steel is similar to enameled cast iron but considerably lighter and less expensive. It is much more likely to chip than enameled cast iron because its porcelain coating is thinner and the steel is more flexible. Water running into it makes more noise, too, and cools down more rapidly because the thin steel walls tend to dissipate heat pretty quickly. Formerly a low-budget alternative to porcelain and cast iron, enameled steel seems to be rapidly losing ground to synthetic materials that are competitively priced and that perform just as well, if not better. I’ve removed a few of these sinks in remodels, but I haven’t put any new ones back in lately.

Cultured marble is one of those synthetic materials, and it’s been around for a long time. Cultured marble, like cultured onyx and cultured granite, is technically a cast polymer, created by mixing crushed minerals like marble, onyx, or limestone with a polyester resin. This mixture is then poured into a mold and cured at room temperature. Like fiberglass, the surface is usually then gel-coated with the actual sink color and pattern, so some cast-polymer sinks are prone to scratching and damage. One problem often associated with cast-polymer sinks is “crazing,” or cracks and blisters in the gel coat. This typically occurs around the drain opening and is caused by the thermal shock of alternating hot and cold water, by abrasion from cleaning, and/or by a gel coat that is too thin or thick. Much of the do-it-yourself and lower-end sink market has been dominated by these sinks, in part because they’re relatively inexpensive and look good on the shelf. Some of the newer and more expensive cast polymers have a higher percentage of materials like quartz, which is very hard, and aren’t gel-coated. These cast polymers are much more heat and impact resistant and are sandable, making damage easier to …

What Benefits Can a Range Hood Bring to a Kitchen?

Many people nowadays are considering investing in a range hood – whether an aluminium one or a stylish copper hood – as a design element in their kitchen area; these features can look stunning and really add to the ambience and feel of a kitchen space. With many different designs available too, it is easier than ever to find a perfect match for your interior decor.

There are several other key advantages, however, to having an aluminium or copper hood in your kitchen, extending well beyond just style. Here are some of the benefits that a range hood can bring to your kitchen space that you may never have even considered.

The first benefit of having a copper hood in your kitchen is that it drastically improves air quality. This may seem like an obvious point – after all, many people invest in these items as they are a way of ventilating a space that would otherwise be hard to do. Grease, smoke and steam are all extracted by a range hood, meaning the environment gets less saturated with pollutants.

The extent of this benefit, however, is often underestimated – all the by-products of cooking mentioned above can actually have a detriment to human health. Hot grease inhaled and on the skin is unpleasant at the very least, causing nasty burns in a worst case scenario. Steam and smoke can also case major eye, nose and throat irritation as well as lung damage.

It is also worth mentioning that your aluminium or copper hood also rids the area of carbon monoxide. This noxious gas in very present in kitchen areas, with serious health consequences for people who are exposed to a high level of it in the short and long term.

A range hood will also protect the user of the cooker from excess heat. As any amateur chef knows, it can often get very steamy in the kitchen, especially when preparing a meal for a large dinner party for family or friends. An aluminium or copper hood can provide a great deal of relief when preparing food, sucking the excess heat out of the kitchen and therefore giving you fresher air to breathe.

In this way, a copper hood cannot only be a health benefit, but improve comfort in the kitchen. This is especially true in an area that is not exceptionally well ventilated with windows or doors to provide a refreshing through draught. Those with smaller kitchen spaces would therefore be well off considering investing a range hood for this very reason.

In addition to making working the kitchen a lot more pleasant and making the environment safer to work in, a range hood also has the added benefit of making for a cleaner space. As mentioned previously, grease and other pollutants can make your cooking environment grimy, so proper ventilation provided by a copper hood can minimize how much cleaning you have to do.

It is also worth noting that many ranges themselves are actually very simple …

What Is Shop Fitting?

Shop fitting is the profession involved with the process of preparing (fitting out) the inside and exterior of commercial and retail units, with equipment, fixtures and fittings.

In the past, shop fitting mainly consisted of installing shelves, counters and other basic fixtures that were necessary to store and display the retailer’s merchandise and was considered much less important to businesses. However, nowadays, most retail businesses understand the importance of modern, smart and attractive presentation, and therefore to keep it fresh and modern, change the layout and style of their retail shop on quite a regular basis.

Shop fitting and the emphasis on good interior design has also been identified by other types of business such as:

  • Retail shops
  • Bars, Restaurants and Leisure Centres
  • Hotels
  • Libraries and museums
  • Offices

Shop fitting is very complex process, and it will start with the planning of the business shop floor in accordance to what the space is being used for as this is a key requirement to ensure all the space is used to its maximum potential. Advice and guidance on store planning applications will also be important.

The next step will involve all the design work and layout of the retail outlet. Innovative design is even more important in today’s market if you are to stand out from your competitors, another reason for employing a shop fitting company with specialist designers and contractors.

Fixtures and fittings such as shelving, display cabinets, refrigeration units for supermarkets, will be carefully designed and planned. Air conditioning systems will be installed for a pleasant environment for your potential customers and workers. This will make the working conditions and the whole shopping experience a lot more pleasant.

Retail equipment will be sourced and installed. Shop fitting companies will design counters accordingly to their client’s requirements, incorporating friendly ergonomic design, that’s fit for purpose ensuring a professional image and a check-out that is an easy pleasant experience.

Lighting will better present your merchandise. It will show them in a fresh and bright visual appeal. Shop fitting contractors will assess the lighting requirements and provide the best and most cost effective lighting solutions tailored to your retail outlet.

Plumbing and electrical work will be carried to compliment all the designs and to ensure every aspect of the work is finished to the highest regulation, standards as well as quality. Suspended Ceilings or custom designed ceilings will be planned to meet the needs of the building design.

Finally, all types of Flooring, from vinyl to wood, will be discussed to ensure the correct suitability for a busy commercial environment.…

How to Plant Tomato Plants Without Tilling Your Soil

It’s springtime and you, like many people, find yourself wanting to raise some homegrown tomatoes at home. There are two primary ways to do this. One way is to plant your plants directly into the ground. Another way is to plant your tomato plants in any of various types of containers designed for that purpose.

In this article, I will be looking specifically at the option of planting your plants directly into the ground and whether or not you should have to till your ground with a machine tiller or not.

Most people tend to think that if you are going to have a garden of any type that it is best to purchase or rent or borrow a tiller and till up the soil in the area that is to be your garden. Many people have taken this approach over the years, but recently it has become the subject of controversy. There are some agriculturalists that are now saying that tilling your soil right before planting is not a good idea and that it actually does damage to the structure of the soil.

Many of us don’t have the time or the money to get a tiller and till up a part of our yard. So how do we deal with this situation if we don’t want to till, but have very hard, dense, and compacted soil?

The answer to this is relatively simple and is one that I have used with successful results. What you can do is dig a hole in the ground with a shovel where you want to plant your tomato plant. Make the hole approximately 15 inches around and anywhere from 18 to 24 inches deep. This hole in the ground essentially becomes your “pot” for your plant.

Next what you should do is fill the hole with a planting mix that you create. What I have done is used a mixture of potting mix, peat moss, organic humus, and vermiculite. All of these items can be purchased at your local home store. You can add some of the original soil back into your mix if you want, but make sure that the original soil content in your mix is less than 50 percent. If you prefer, it is perfectly acceptable to put all of your original soil elsewhere in your landscape and fill the hole completely with your new mix.

Fill the hole up with the mix flush to the ground and plant your tomato plant or seedling in the middle. At this point, it is helpful to put some mulch around the plant that will cover all of your planting mix. I prefer to use a black colored mulch purchased from my local home store. The reason for this is because tomato plant roots like to be in warm soil, and the black colored mulch will absorb the sun and help your new planting mix to warm up quicker. When your soil is warm, your tomato plant will grow at a more …

Pros and Cons of Bamboo Roman Shades

Bamboo roman window shades are extremely attractive sunshades for your windows. They are available in different kinds of bamboo wood, and are manufactured in different designs, to suit just about any style in interior decoration. They are available in different price ranges as well, and are often extremely affordable. They are efficient at blocking out the sun – and these shades also help to cool the interiors of your home. This lowers the temperature inside your house and helps you save energy and money that you would have otherwise spent on the electricity.

The Advantages of Bamboo Roman Shades

Firstly, bamboo shades come in a variety of different styles, colors and textures for different looks. These shades are extremely attractive and you can find a shade to match any style of interior decoration whatsoever. The simple shades usually go extremely well with tropical themes but you can usually find a bamboo shade for just about any kind of interior.

Bamboo roman shades combine the relaxing coolness of bamboo wood with the elegance of roman pleats. This gives them an edge over ordinary fabric shades, because they look much more interesting and attractive. With the right sort of lighting, one can create gorgeous effects with his or her bamboo roman shades.

Bamboo shades are extremely effective in controlling the amount of sunlight that is allowed in the room. Because the wood is opaque, these shades also help to keep prying eyes out. Some shades are quite transparent, however, and one needs to choose the kind of shades one specifically wants for the room.

These shades can be individually manufactured to fit your window, if you should require them to be. Getting customized shades helps to ensure that the fit of the shades is exactly right for your window. This, in turn, helps to give better control over the amount of light that is allowed in the room. It also improves the look of the shades.

Disadvantages of Bamboo Roman Shades

While one is buying these shades, he or she needs to be careful about the product he or she ultimately chooses. Bamboo is not as durable as plastic, and does not last long. Some manufacturers, however, coat the bamboo with protective substances to protect it.

The way of operating the shades is usually with the help of a cord. This might be dangerous for pets and young children. This is why one should ask about the safety of the shades one selects as well.…