Tag Archives: RENOVATIONS

New Look For An Old Porch By: Don Of All Trades

Finished Product
Finished Product

We are very pleased at the end result of giving this old porch an new look. With a little hard work, patience, concrete and skill anyone can have this cleaned and finished look!

 

 

Front Porch Before

This home owner had upgraded this front porch years before over the existing concrete porch with cedar wood.  Every year the spindles, handrails, base, pillars and steps had to be re-stained as part of their maintenance.  Well we decided to get rid of it and to our surprise we had an opportunity to work with the original steps and base since they were in good enough condition.

Original Concrete Base

Condition of the porch base, steps and pillars after all the cedar was removed.

New  Formed Steps

A new wider step was formed from concrete to give a more even look to the form of the steps and the porch.

Brick Pillars

These pillars were in very good condition considering the age of this  75 year old home.

Resurfacing Pillars

Concrete was incorporated to the pillars which defined the accents on them. This gives off a new, fresh clean look  and more character to the entire porch.

Concrete Resurfaced Pillars

Finished Product. Front porch is more inviting, has more curb appeal and value to this home.

Finished Product

 

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$50 Refrigerator Ice & Water Filter Can Save You $$$$ Thousands!!!

 

refrigerator

A previous client of mine hired Don Of All Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services to restore damage to their hardwood, carpeting and drywall on the first and lower level of their home caused by their refrigerator that had an ice and water system.  So what caused all this damage? Neglect of changing their Refrigerator Ice & Water Filter. In fact, they had never changed it since they purchased a side by side door model similar to the one in the photo below. When I asked why they never changed it, their response was they never even realized they had to!

My clients explained that the plastic line was located behind the fridge,  so visually, they  couldn’t see it leaking. They later noticed their hardwood floors located  several feet away from the fridge began buckling. It didn’t clue in at this point that it was related to the fridge. 4 days passed when the wife went to the laundry room located in the basement and noticed that floor was completely flooded due to  line being  backed up  and it had completely saturated through the first floor and right through the basement ceiling. Water had run thought the joist that ended up causing thousands of dollars in damage. Carpeting in the basement had to be replaced including damaged drywall as the water had penetrated it as well.

 

Moral of this story?

Change Your Refrigerator’s Ice Water & Filter Regularly before you choke on the next ice-cold glass of water!

 

 

 

side by side fridge

This was the side by side Whirlpool Fridge with Water and Ice Dispenser Model my client currently own.

photo of filter 2

It is recommended that you replace your disposable filter every 6 month. According to the manufacturer information on the label, this filter model 4396508 reduces 6 contaminants which include: Lead & Mercury, Chlorine Taste & Odor, Particles, Benzene and Toxaphene. I replace our filter   every 6 months OR when the indicator light comes on.

Tip: Where ever you purchase your new filter from, please be sure to doublecheck the product inside before you purchase it. Why? Last time I purchased a new one I got home to find out the box I got from the shelf (I thought was brand new) was actually a used one some had placed inside the box! I had to go back and explain it to the  customer service desk at my local hardware store.

 

 

Excellent Installation Instructions Video By:  from whirpool.ca

 

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Read For Yourself!

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!

 

read for yourself

 

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

Sue | Oshawa

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Gardens By: Don Of All Trades Tips-Part 2

danny working in garden 5

 

Woodchips are basically a medium sized material made up of cut or chipped larger pieces of wood.  A machine called a wood chipper is used for transforming large pieces of wood into smaller pieces. Wood chipping has a variety of uses. This product can be used in landscaping and garden mulch. It’s used for playground surfaces, mulch and in some places even fuel.  Woodchips is a great way to keep weeds under control, water conservation, prevention of soil erosion and supporting the germination of seeds.

 

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Wood Chips  as shown in the figure above come in a multitude of colour, shapes and sizes.  Depending on what your next project requires, you can certainly bring any garden to life just by using this simple product. If you’re thinking of taking on the challenge of Dying Wood Chips yourself, here’s a great link that will take you step by step through the process. http://www.ehow.com/how_7726828_color-wood-chips.html

Personally, I like to purchase my woodchips from a local company called Durham Top Soil & Garden Supplies http://www.durhamtopsoil.com/ right here in the Durham  Region.

woodchip delivery 2

I choose shades of black in wood chips. I like the way it brings out the colour and beauty  of my plants.

 

 

wooschip delivery 4

 

You can save  some money by purchasing wood  chips and picking them up yourself from a garden centre  but I prefer to have them delivered due the large amounts my gardens require.

danny working in garden 5

If the weather isn’t cooperating. You can protect your woodchips by covering them with a large tarp until you are ready to begin working on transferring them into your gardens.

danny working in garden 2

 

danny working in garden 1

 

danny working in garden 4

I usually stick to the rule of putting a 3 inch layer of woodchips in my gardens.  This ensures that water will be retained, weeding will be kept to a minimum and a decent layer for plant protection is there to keep the plants warm in case of frost.  If you have a concern about  perennials below that haven’t come up or sprouted  yet, don’t. They should be fine. I haven’t had  any issues with my perennials.

danny working in garden 3

I love the way woodchips give off a character and curb appeal to any garden. It’s just another way to add a finish touch to your home or office. To me, wood chips are like a  base canvass for a multitude of colour and beauty that can be enjoyed and admired all summer long!


 

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Kitchen Tips: Before the Remodelling Begins

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So you’ve finally decided that’s  it’s time for a long well deserved change. Good For You!  You are now ready to  move forward with a kitchen remodel. So exciting!!! After doing all your homework on finding that right contractor and the best of designers that are all local in your area, choosing  your  paint, flooring, sinks, countertops, fixtures,  cabinetry, appliances, kitchen design layout and so on, you feel you can sit back, take a breath and relax. Your job is now done. Well guess what? Hold off on the thought of that glass of wine because there are quite a few things on your list that you should be doing to ensure your remodelling process runs smoothly. Don’t worry. It’s not too much work, but this preparation will help everyone involved.

Declutter & Get Organized:

Now is one of those great opportunities that you may have been holding off for quite a while to get right into those cupboards and cleaning them out. Get rid of those items that you keep telling yourself “I can use this one day.” If you’re like me, well it’s been 2 years and that day has never come. I love to donate items in my home that I know someone could use. There’s always someone who knows someone needing something! Just make sure that you’re items aren’t chipped or broken or not functioning anymore. Remember your donating them so they can be re used, not giving away garbage. Besides, it keeps our  landfills a little less filled and recycling is great for our environment and the planet. Keep what you really want and be realistic about what items you will really use in your kitchen whether its everyday use of  items to your tools for entertaining. You’ll feel so much better when your project is done and it’s one less stressful thing to worry about afterwards.

Kitchen Packing:

If you’re fortunate enough to live in a one story home where everything is on one floor, then bedrooms are a great place for you dishes. Other spaces located in basements, garages or cellars are  great too but you’ll be having to transport everything from the kitchen up and down stairs and then back up again. Well, look on the Brightside, you’ll be getting lots of exercise! Going to a local grocery store and collecting  sturdy, heavy-duty  empty boxes like apple or banana boxes is a good idea to help start your process. These can be brought home a bit at a time everyday and can be used to start packing your kitchen items like dishes, cups, coffee mugs, utensils etc. Make sure to mark what’s in them once you fill them so you know where your items are easily when putting them back in your new kitchen. Boxes keep everything hidden, organized and less hazardous. To simplify things, start packing the kitchen items you know you will definitely not be using for a while, like blenders, mixers, certain pots and pans, coffee mugs, glasses etc. a little everyday. In reality, by the day before your project begins, you should only have a limited number of items left like dishes, a few cups, at few utensils etc. to remove out of the kitchen cabinets.  Keep in mind, once your kitchen is complete is a good idea to wash all your kitchen items before putting them back in their new home.

Your Kitchen Floors: Protecting Them:

If your  kitchen floor has already been redone before the Kitchen Remodeling process, then now is a good time to consider a few steps on protecting them. Consider scraps of carpeting which you can purchase, and lay them  down all over the kitchen floor securing them by  taping them down with duct tape so that they won’t slide, but be careful doing this on hardwood flooring as the adhesive might damage to the finish.  Don’t be too concerned or picky about the colour or the look of the these carpet scraps, they’re not a permanent fixture. Their purpose is purely functional not permanent.

Carpet padding is another option of added protection under the carpet  to help keep your tile or hardwood flooring from the least minimal damage during the remodeling process. Remember, your contractors will be working in this area. They will be moving and using heavy objects needed to do their job that might scratch, crack, dent,  chip, or otherwise cause damage to your finished floor.

Contractor Parking:

So it’s  day 1 of the kitchen remodel. Have I mentioned this is so exciting? 4 different contractor vehicles pull onto your street. They need to park  close by to the house or maybe on your property. What do you do? To make things run a little smoother, try parking your own vehicle somewhere on the street where permitted or ask your neighbours if you can park your vehicle in  their driveway for a while during the day until they go home for the day. Then you can move  your vehicle back into your own driveway again.

Special Items:

Don’t forget about those “special” items like school photos, A+ school test scores, birthday cards from family, invitations, calendars and just about anything else of vale you have out in the open. It’s a good idea to remove theses items. There may be a situation where the contractors will have to move your appliances into another room in order to get the work  done.  Clearing out you plants and any collections of items along your window sills is another great idea to keep them from getting damaged.

Summary:

Why Do All This? Well, remodelling, especially a kitchen is stressful enough. By preparing yourself in advance you can reduce the risk of having your personal valued items damaged and enjoy peace of mind knowing that they are stored in a safe and secure place. Making your contractors environment accessible to work in without them having to worry  about damaging anything  is a good thing. They’ll be happy knowing that they  can focus clearly on the task at hand. By incorporating some of these tips along with your own ideas, you will ensure a smooth start to the remodelling process.

 

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Customer Service-Powerful Tool

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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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Is There Such A Thing As A “Complimentary Consultation?” And Does “Complimentary” Mean Free?

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Free Complimentary Consultations-Advantages:

Providing a complimentary consultation is a huge advantage  not only to the company offering this service but to the client as well. In the industry of Home Improvement/Home Maintenance Services, complimentary consultations are viewed favorably by our customers.  In most cases the general public is always looking for a bargain and at the best price possible for any product or service offered. Satisfied clients with a particular service or product  will spread the word about the incredible value they received. This could result in an increase in sales for any company. By implementing an offer as simple as a complimentary consultation,  you could see a potential  increase in the number of  interested prospects  contacting Home Improvement/Maintenance Services in search of a good deal. This could be even more beneficial than positive word of mouth from satisfied clients.

Free Complimentary Consultations-Disadvantages:

The advantages of providing free consultations must be weighed against the disadvantages. First, the potential client seeking a complimentary consultation may be Renovation or Home Improvement shopping—contacting many  contractors and meeting with them to determine who would be the best fit or perhaps the “cheapest”. Even if the contractor devotes substantial time to the complimentary consultation and answers all of the potential client’s questions, the potential client might still comment along the lines of, “I need to think about it, I have 2 more contractors coming to give an estimate—I’ll contact you at a later date.” Beware. Potential clients who look for the “cheapest” quote  may in fact not be getting the best deal in the end.  In these cases, the  contractor will not recoup the lost income for time spent during the free consultation.

Conclusion:

Remember, the commodity that contractors  sell is experience and knowledge—their opinion and expertise regarding a client’s project. Contractors  who offer complimentary consultations are giving away their commodity to that potential client.

And even if the complimentary  consultation does result in a new client, it might not be the type of client that the contractor wants. All Home Improvement and Home Maintenance Organizations want their companies to succeed  and make a profit. If a client contacts a contractor  based on the complimentary consultation, will the client be willing to pay for the contractors future work and time? And if the client is willing to pay for the initial retainer fee, will the client pay fees exceeding that retainer? These questions are difficult to answer—but contractors need to consider them all the same.