I had the opportunity to meet and offer assistance to a wonderful client recently with regards to issues concerning tile repair work on their Jacuzzi decking and skirt. Upon inspection, there were a number of tiles that had come off the deck and the finishing trim was detached. We came to a mutual agreement that it was best to remove the existing tile and replace the decking and skirt with the same colour and texture of tile to ensure everything matched. This project was started on a Monday and here’s how it went…
Phase 1: Demolition
The first phase of this project was to remove the original ceramic tile from the skirt and decking. When the original builder installed the Jacuzzi deck and skirt, they framed it with “2 X 4” and covered it with 1/2 inch plywood. They then applied mesh onto the plywood and installed the tile on the mesh. A hammer and crowbar was used to remove the original tile.
By taking our time removing the existing tile, this removal process really wasn’t that difficult. The most difficult part was removing the steel mesh. The next step was removing the staples that held the steel mesh onto the plywood. At this stage we had a nice clean surface to start the rebuild as shown in the photo below.
New steel mesh was applied over the entire deck and skirt. NOTE: Always put on safety work gloves to protect your hands when working with steel mesh as this material can cause cuts and other injuries. Staples were applied to secure the mesh onto the plywood, starting with the skirt first then the deck. An unmodified thin-set cement was used to apply a scratch coat on to the surface area. We then let the cement dry for 24 hours.
Tip: When applying a scratch-coat, remember to keep the surface area level. Avoiding uneven surfaces will help prevent issues when you move on to the tiling stage.
My personal preference from past experience, is to keep the surface a little rough to help the new ceramic tiles bond better.
Phase 3: Tiling
With all the prep work now completed, we were ready to start setting new tile. Our client chose a 12×12 ceramic tile for this project. 1/4-in. spacers were used for the tile and White PVC tile edging strip was installed in the location were the deck tiles met the skirt tile.
Photos courtesy Don Of All Trades
Next stage of the project-grout. Remember when applying grout to work a small area at a time and to go over the area with a sponge to prevent the grout from drying on the ceramic.
Phase 4: Finished Product
When looking at the finished product you can see how close we came to matching the existing back-splash, not one hundred percent but pretty close match. Grout lines came out nice and PVC tile edging strips really add the finishing touches.
I cannot stress the importance of providing excellent customer service and providing top-notch work. Below are just a few wonderful comments our clients have to say about our services. Bravo to our team here at Don Of All Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services!
1: I cannot say enough positive things about the work that Don D’Orazio from Don Of All Trades did at my home. Don was professional, prompt, extremely clean and true to his word on the cost of the project. He is honest in all of his business dealings and very trust worthy.
Don is one of the few contractors I have dealt with who does what he says he will do and who shows up when he says he will on time and finishing the work on the day discussed.
Dealing with Don means a job well done with no surprise invoices at the end of the job. The quality of his work was absolutely first-rate and I will continue to use his services and would highly recommend him to anyone.
Mary Anne P | Ajax
2: Actually Dan, I’m the one that’s thankful. You did a great job and you can be sure that I will be calling you back. Both my wife and I are pretty excited to have someone we can call for any job around the house big or small. You provide a valuable service and at a fair price but best of all, you actually care about the quality of your work. Many Thanks again!
Greg | Ajax
3: Don of all Trades was approached to do a bathroom renovation, one designed to accommodate the needs of a 97-year-old veteran. The subsequent renovation became a full-scale reconstruction going far beyond the original. Many contractors might have walked away from what Don was facing, but being a consumer professional, he stayed the course while remaining within the budget, creating a walk-in shower complete in both form and function. I would have no hesitation in recommending Don for any project.
Gorden | Ajax
4: Hi Don:
Just wanted to thank you for the excellent job you did of my kitchen and bathroom floors. Looks great! I know it will make a big difference to me in making it easier for me to keep up without having to bother other people. I also appreciate very much that everything was completely cleaned up when you left. I will be sure to let others know and if I have other work needing done I will most certainly think of you first! Again many thanks
The majority of the public work hard and long hours in this country. The weekends come and go. For some of us the weekends are the days of catching up and getting errands done at home. There’s just never seems to be enough time to get things done and to really enjoy and relax on the weekends. It’s no wonder some of us are tired and seem miserable. For some companies in retail for example, weekends are the 2 days they rely on for the best sales and profits. When I go into a store to shop, I’m not thinking about the store’s sales increases. First thing on my mind as a customer is to get in and get out. I don’t have the patience for long lineups and poor customer service. I know once I’m done I have to load and unload my vehicle once I get home and get everything put away. Been there. Done that. One more thing off the list.
New outlets of advertising a businesses is always changing. Avenues like social media, internet and you tube for example are just a few tools to name to get your brand out there to the world. Bottom line though, Customer Service will always remain the same and should be considered a #1 priority on your list in any business. How you practice Customer Service skills can create a positive or negative impact on your business. Below are a few tips and ideas on how to improve your customer service skills to get the best results in your business.
Always Greet Your Customers
So at 8am in the morning, your customers are the first person they see to the start of their day. You as an employee or store owner could just make that customer’s day so much better and take some of the anxiety away by just simply greeting your customers. Nothing makes someone feel better than actually being noticed with a pleasant “Good Morning!” or “How are you today?” I’ve experienced customers getting actually “thrown off guard” and looking behind them thinking you’re talking to someone else, when in fact you’re talking to them! It makes a person feel comfortable and important. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that your organization was a truly great experience for them and will come back over and over again.
Treat Your Customers With Respect
Always remember to treat your customers with respect. These are the people who pay you, your employees and the bills! Treat them like they are your guests. Provide great customer service. Make them feel that they can come to you if they need any assistance, have any questions or concerns about a product or service. There is never such a thing as a bad question. If you don’t have an answer for them, let them know that you will find someone who can! Go above and beyond.
Talk and Chat With Your Customers
Over the years I’ve made it a mission to get to know our customers by name. Building a relationship with our customers is one of my top priorities. You’d be amazed how much a customer is willing to tell you about themselves. Hey, they are human beings too just like everyone else. Your customers will come back to you time and time again and refer your business to others because that special relationship and pleasant experience. Wouldn’t you want to be somewhere where everyone knows your name? Doing a simple gesture as chatting with a customer can be a very powerful tool. It can let an owner know about how well their businesses is doing and or any improvements and suggestions that can be made to improve it.
Interact With Customers In A Related Way
Again interacting with your customer can give an owner important information about their organization. Your customers are the best critics of your business. Every day in the land of running a business presents its own and unique challenges. Invite positive or negative feedback. Putting up a “suggestion” box in an area of your business is a great way to get your customers involved. This can give them a sense of involvement in your organization. Sure you may find some negative feedback but use this as an avenue on how you can improve your business. This is what’s going to make your business stand out from the competition. Act on them in a timely fashion. Deal with complaints in a quick and professional manner. There’s always going to be an unhappy customer in any organization but it’s how you deal with them and their issues that can make the difference of getting that customer’s issues resolved with a positive conclusion at the end of the day. Learn how to listen to your customers concerns or bad experience. Then act on them. It’s all about doing the “right thing.”
Turn Up To Work With A Positive Attitude
Customers pick on your attitude. Leave your personal issues at home. We all have bad days at work but no one will notice it more than your customers. If you are a business owner, learn to treat your employees with respect and acknowledge their accomplishments. Letting them know what a great job they are doing will uplift their spirits and make them feel appreciated and will work harder for you. When your staff are happy, they’ll come to work with a positive attitude and the customers will see this. Issues at work should be dealt in a professional matter in the appropriate place like your supervisor’s office or Human Resources Department. There’s nothing worse than hearing staff complain about issues while your customers are shopping or using your services. It makes it a negative impact on the business and bad experience for the customer. People don’t want to be around miserable people and it’s not professional.
Understand Your Customers Needs
Every customer is unique and important. If you are in the grocery retail chain business, you may have a client that has a peanut allergy and requires peanut free products that you don’t carry but the competition does. What would you do? Here’s a great example of understanding your customers needs. If it’s possible, perhaps you could possibly find out where these particular products are sold and see if you could find a supplier that can carry them in your store. This suites your customers needs and will ensure they will be coming to your location for this particular product. Simple little solutions like this can make a customer feel important and give them reassurance knowing that you are there for “them.”
Discover The Impact You Have Around Customers
I remember a situation where I had a regular customer come in one morning. He came in to buy a particular bread that we baked every morning for his wife who was at home extremely sick. He was anxious to get home. I couldn’t give him the bread as it was still baking and would require some time to cool down before I could place them in plastic bags along with the label. Really there was nothing I could do. He was so persistent and getting upset. Because I have such strong customer service skills, I asked him if he lived very far. He was surprised I asked this question. He replied about 5 minutes away. I offered a solution. I made a deal with him. Once the bread was ready I would personally purchase the bread come to the house on my break and deliver it to him and his wife. He was shocked that I would do something like this. He thanked me so much and said he would come back later. 2 weeks later he came back to the store with his wife and other family members. He introduced me to his wife and wanted to personally thank me for the nice gesture I offered. It was a wonderful feeling and whenever they came in to shop they always came to see me or request for me to help them with any assistance. Sadly to say, his wife passed away. To this day I will always remember the opportunity of meeting this wonderful man and his wife. So as the title says: Discover The Impact You Have Around Customers. In this case I feel these customers had more of an impact on me that day then the other way around.
Excite Your Customers About Your Products
It’s always exciting when a business has a new product or service that a customer can benefit from. Don’t keep it a secret. Let everyone know about it. Do research and education your staff on it so that they all have a better understanding. This way they can communicate back to the customer. Whenever we have a special offer, I can’t wait to tell the world about it. You’re customers pick up on that excitement and interest and will want to know more about it and tell their friends and family about it. Great deals or campaigns can be advertised via so many avenues today. Social Media, Campaigns, Emails, Flyers , Newspapers or Store Front Signs are some great ways to advertise. Customers can’t wait to tell others about a New Product they benefited from!
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Here’s some great tips and tricks you can use almost anywhere around the home and some of them may surprise you!
Vinegar For Removing Paint on Nylon Brushes
1- Soak gunked-up nylon brushes in hot vinegar for up to 30 minutes to remove paint and soften the bristles. Afterward, wash them in hot, soapy water, brushing off paint as needed, then rinse and let dry—good as new.
Lemons For Removing Mold
2- Take a lemon wedge, rub it in the corner where tile meets the porcelain tub, and run it up and down over the caulking. Let it sit about 15 minutes, checking it about halfway through (at which time you can reapply). Rinse the tub then clean it as usual.
How To Protect Your Fingers While Hammering A Nail
3- Hardware and hair products can live in harmony and come to your rescue when you least expect it. For example, when it comes to keeping a nail steady on the wall, sometimes, especially if you are driving it from an awkward position, there’s nothing better than to hold it steady with a wide-tooth comb.
Using Caulk On Baseboard
4- Always have a bucket of water with a rag in it. Cut the tip at an angle as small as you can and still fill the joint. Wet your finger and press as you run your finger down. Do a small section at a time maybe 4-6″ and wipe your finger on the rag. Trick is to use only as much caulk as needed. When the correct amount if applied your finger will just flatten the caulk and not remove much. It takes time to master but worth it in the end. If you have white baseboard and white walls there is no need to paint. If your walls are dark you may need to paint. The wet rag and wet finger are key. Along with not too much caulk.
Keeping The Mess To A Minimum When Drilling
5- Fold a Post It- Note to catch dust when drilling. The Post It-Note holds the dust!
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COMMUNICATION AND BUILDING PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
In any business Communication Is Key. Again, this moment begins as soon as I meet with my clients personally for the first time at their pre booked “Free One on One Consultation”. As I am in the business of home improvements and maintenance service, miss communication can be a costly expense for both my business and my client. I take the extra time to listen, understand, do the research and work out a resolution to make the experience not only a successful one but also a memorable one for both of us. Keeping clients up to date with how a project is coming along is also a good thing. Think of it this way, renovations can be a temporary life disrupting time. You are there doing drywall work, making the least amount of mess as possible in the kitchen, while mom the clean freak is trying to get dinner ready for the kids before you take them soccer practice. You are actually part of their personal life, in their home and are in the way. It’s stressful enough for both of you and this is why communication is so important. Listen to their concerns, questions and issues about what the plan is in their home. Building a professional relationship with your client will go a long way. Get to know them. Let them know that they can contact you with any other questions or concerns in future. Your services shouldn’t just end because the job is done. Your client may require more services or know someone who does in the future. Guess who they’re going to call?
Every project I come across is unique and individual with its own set of challenges, problem solving, completion deadlines and unexpected surprises. I take extra steps to communicate with my clients to make sure they are satisfied from the moment I meet with them at a “free one on one consultation” to the end of the finished project. I encourage our clients to inform us on how the Don Of All Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services experience was for them and how we can improve. It’s important to get your clients involved in the entire process. Bottom line is they are paying for it.
IMPORTANCE OF A JOB WELL DONE
If you are a business owner then you can understand and appreciate the value of referrals. As a I am in the field of renovations and home improvements here in the Durham Region, my finished product represents my company. I cannot stress enough how a “JOB WELL DONE” with my clients will go beyond the finished project. A happy customer will do the advertising for you. Beware: A dissatisfied customer will also do advertising for you if their experience with your services or product did not meet their standards and will have no problems telling their friends and family members NOT to consider using your services from bad personal experiences
Word of Mouth is a “Good Thing”. Happy clients will do free advertising for you! People that have had a great experience with a service will want to let others know. This is a good opportunity to ask your clients for Testimonials. Websites and social media are another form of word of mouth. If your clients are willing, ask them for comments so others can see. Some neighbours are nosy and are always keeping an eye on what’s going on in the neighbourhood. When they see your company vehicle in the driveway or sign posted on the lawn, chances are they will ask their neighbour what they got done and want to see the work. There’s always someone who knows someone who needs something done in their home or apartment. Your clients will also call you back for more work to be done around the house. Treat your clients like Gold. Thank them often for choosing you for their services. These people are your bosses and without them you wouldn’t be where you are today. Just remember to keep this in your mind-always!
“Want to showcase your product to our audience? Then check our advertising options.”
You may or may not know this, but one of my most favourite personal interests is working and tending to my gardens. Although some people may not understand the concept of how gardening is a “relaxing” hobby, I absolutely love it and look forward once the Spring season arrives here in Canada so I can get started.
This may sound a little absurd, but I often refer to my plants as my “children” due the amount of care, careful nurturing, planning and daily maintenance involved from the beginning steps of preparation with the introduction of a new species all the way up to appreciating and enjoying them for years to come.
Last year was a little disappointing to come home after working to notice some of the neglect as I was too busy to look after my “Children.” This year I plan on devoting more time to make sure my gardens are in “top-notch” shape as I do personally consider gardening to be a responsibility. There’s something deep inside that is upsetting, disturbing almost “heart breaking” to me to just cut the grass and just walk away knowing that my “Children” plants, shrubs, water features etc. need to be tended to.
One key element to a successful and beautiful garden is to make sure you keep on top of the maintenance involved. If you’re planning on creating a garden in your home, remember that the investment of your time and commitment will show your efforts through the beauty or neglect of your plants. Regular weeding, watering, fertilizing, and pruning will make your garden easier to maintain and will keep your plants healthier, happier, and more enjoyable through the spring, summer and fall seasons.
Everyone loves beautiful, well-kept, vibrant blooming gardens. What some people don’t see behind the picture is the amount of time and care involved in order to keep them looking their best. It’s not just about planting something in the ground and walking away. If your plans include designing a garden and you are a fist time gardener, planning, understanding your soil type, choosing the correct plants that work for your busy lifestyle are just a few things to consider. Think of it as a “custom” garden that suites you as an individual. Creating that backyard “oasis” is attainable and can give you a lifetime of enjoyment and beauty if it’s done right.
I have included some of the photos of my garden for your enjoyment.
Hey!!! We want your comments and feedback. Let us know what you think!
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Do it yourself interior painting is by far the most affordable way to freshen up any room in your home. The advantage of painting is that it’s not terribly difficult and doesn’t require “military” training. All you need is a little patience, practice, and some helpful advice.
These painting tips can help even first time Do It Your Selfer’s achieve professional results. Follow these tips and you’ll not only paint better, you’ll work faster and neater, too.
It’s very important to take the time to properly prepare the walls and other surfaces BEFORE you start to paint. This means cleaning them with a solution of detergent and water, after which they should be rinsed and allowed to dry. If there are any cracks or holes in the walls, this is the time to repair them with spackle compound or a good-quality acrylic caulk.
Spend the extra money on the best tools that will give you the results you want, the first time you paint. Using high quality brushes and rollers will help you apply the paint more evenly to get professional looking results, even if this is your first time painting.
Be sure to use brushes and rollers with synthetic bristles and covers when applying latex paints. These brushes should maintain the proper stiffness and the rollers will maintain their shape even when exposed to a lot of water.
I cannot stress enough to my clients about how important it is to purchase only top quality 100% acrylic latex interior paints. It’ll make every Do It Your Selfer’s job so much easier and give you the quality results you’re looking to achieve.
Bottom line is, if you’re going to spend time and effort doing your own interior painting, you’ll want the job to last, and that’s where these paints really pay off. Top quality 100% acrylic latex paints are extremely durable, plus they resist fading, so your paint job will look great for years to come.
Taking on the challenge of doing it yourself interior painting can be such a rewarding experience. You’ll not only save money, you’ll be amazed and satisfied of a job well done!
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