How To Avoid Home Improvement Scams

6 Oct , 2016  

Homeowners are often targeted by unscrupulous salesmen offering home improvements. Once they get inside the door, the have an advantage over the homeowner because their sales skills are stronger than most people’s resistance.

A smart salesman will prefer to speak to both husband and wife and will target them when they are together. This salesman will ask leading questions with only one possible response; for example, “You don’t want your home to be the ugliest house on the block, do you?” The couple hardly know that they are in the elaborate process of being conned. Reputable businesses do not send out these kinds of salespeople soliciting sales. The couple who makes the mistake of letting these salesmen into their homes are at a great disadvantage.

Other unscrupulous sales techniques include being notified that the homeowner has won a prize or a vacation and they must listen to a short sales pitch in order to receive their prize. This short sales pitch is loaded with high pressure sales techniques and the homeowners should insist on meeting at the sales office of the company where they have the option to walk out the door.

It is highly advisable to meet at the office of the business promising to do any work on your house if the homeowners are unaware of the reputation of the company in question.

Be aware that unscrupulous home improvement sales people will use subterfuge to get inside the door, but be ready for any request. A saleswoman may start a pitch and then say she needs to take a medicine, and can she come in for a glass of water. Keep her outside and bring a glass to her. If they are too hot or need the use of your bathroom, you must refuse. Use an excuse or a flat denial.

High-pressure salespeople and their employers are not dumb. They will use spotters to canvas your neighborhood to see which houses need repair. They will notice clues about your home and critique your family as possible candidates. They collect information about you from public records and determine the approach to use to part you from your hard-earned money.

People, in general, are honest and gullible. We tend to believe what others tell us. If a new roof is needed and one of these high-pressure salespeople approaches us with a fabulous offer that is too good to be true, we believe that we are lucky. If an offer is too good to be true, walk away. And remember, before hiring anyone to do anything in your home, check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure no complaints have been filed against them.


Working as an Independent Contractor

18 Aug , 2016  

Who is an independent contractor?

An independent contractor is a person who offers his or her professional services to another person without a legal attachment between the two parties. In this case, you may be a doctor, engineer, therapist, investigator or any other expertise. You offer your services to a hospital, an NGO, government, or otherwise, on a consultative basis.

How is an independent contract different from being an employee?

The main difference between working as an independent contractor and an employee is that you are not legally liable to, or under control of, the company you work for. In case of any liability, you take the responsibility for your actions. There is no specified monthly of periodical remuneration in independent contracts. Independent contracts are mostly paid in a lump sum for every service delivered. You may choose your methods in independent contracts, but you must deliver the product or service as specified.

Where can I work?

Once you choose to deliver a service as an independent contractor, you are responsible for finding organizations that may require your services. Sometimes the positions are advertised in relevant media, but ideally you will build up an industry capital and experience that will attract organizations to you.

Independent contracts range from technical and high paying government contracts to small contracts for online gigs. The level of experience differs from one industry to another. It is wrong to purport to offer services in a field you are not qualified or permitted to practice. Engineering, therapy, medical practice, and nursing are some of the areas that you must have formal accreditation before practicing.

How much can I charge?

It all depends on the level of expertise and the nature of work. You can always check updates on the adverts on the expected hourly rates or even lump sum amounts. For those that are not advertised, you can compare advertised positions and how they have offered their pricing. Some independent contracts have fixed budgets while others take into consideration other factors notably experience and expertise.

What are the terms of the contract?

This will differ from job to job. Some terms are specified while others are open for negotiation. While it is important to maintain some standard contractual terms, it is always good to negotiate favorable terms and conditions especially those that relate to the methods, timelines, and payments.

Is there a guaranteed job security?

There is no job security when you are working as an independent contractor. Once the term of the contract is over, unless it is renewed, your services are no longer needed.


Renovate Or Design Your Home With Helpful Design Magazines

11 Aug , 2016  

You’re looking at your house and you can’t avoid thinking of all the projects you have in mind. There are at least a handful of small jobs or possible improvements that you have been considering or procrastinating for some time. The best way to get a jump start on some home renovation or remodeling tasks is to grab a great magazine such as one of the five below. These home remodeling magazines are among the most popular with homeowners who like to see their own designs come to life, rather than always hiring interior designers to make the fun choices for them.

1. House Beautiful: Primarily covering interior design and garden design topics, this newsstand favorite is popular among DIY home remodelers. You’ll find a lot of classic ideas here that fit well with victorian and turn-of-the-century architecture. While some modern design elements are covered here, it will be primarily classic touches.
2. Better Homes and Gardens: This mag is best known for having action-oriented steps that homeowners can take to spruce up a drab interior design as well as suggestions for garden and kitchen projects. You’ll find projects such as “Build Your Own Gazebo” or “DIY Fall Paint Themes,” just to name a few.
3. Architectural Digest: This magazine is notorious for it’s high-end design inspiration and top-of-the-line brands. If you have a budget for the finer things in life and if you have a home with a moderate to large floorplan, this will be a great magazine for you.
4. Good Housekeeping: This is more of a lifestyle publication geared at mothers but it’s great if that sounds like you. It’s going to cover less hammer-swinging and more family-centered activities that not only make the home a warmer environment but also bring smiles to children and guests as well.
5. Martha Stewart Living: Everybody can easily identify Marth’s name, and with that comes an extremely popular magazine catering to design, decoration, and lifestyle. Martha is notorious for bringing interesting and creative solutions to her readers and fans through affordable, do-it-yourself projects.

Whether you’re just looking for some creative decoration ideas or planning on building a new wing onto your home — you’ll need a guide of some sort. These home remodeling magazines are a great start for getting ideas, material suggestions or even finding that centerpiece to an already charming interior setting. Whether your interest is in decoration, remodeling or simple and fun household ideas, one of these magazines is sure to get the job done for you.


Choosing The Right Utility Contractor Safety Training Program

14 Jul , 2016  

Embarking on a career in the utility industry requires that individuals undergo safety training programs in order to protect themselves, remain qualified for work, and keep the clients that they are serving safe. When entering the utility contractor work force, it is essential that you are able to be competitive with the hundreds of other contractors that are also trained with the same skills. The more safety training you have completed, the more employable and experienced you are.

Investing in the best contractor safety programs means that you are giving yourselfan advantage over other employable contractors. As with any other investment, you want to ensure that the money you spend on your training is being best spent, so you’ll need to do some research into the types of training there is, the goals and areas each will cover, and how you can use the training to promote your skill set. Initially though, you want to ensure that the company you are completing your training through is qualified, up to date on industry standards, and teaches the information in the best possible way for you to quickly and easily master the material.

Among the most many safety training programs that are offered, there are ones that are required in order to work in most states and others that are only necessary for certain types of work. The most common training programs include electrical clearances, excavations, bucket rescue, and working in enclosed spaces. All of these are concerned with your safety, and have several technically safety skills that need to be remembered and practiced in order to perform each job in the safest way possible. Also standard are programs that go over the general use of power tools, the working on and around precarious structures, and with various types of mechanical equipment. All of these things need to be taught in order to ensure that you are able to perform the tasks needed around the many utility contractor jobs that you will be expected to perform.

In addition to safety training that will help you use and work around the many tools and operations that are occurring, you need to learn general safety techniques. Courses in dog attack prevention, grounding the materials you will be working with to prevent electrocution, basic first aid and first aid training that is specific to the type of work you will be performing, and sling, bucket, and hazardous material safety is all essential to ensuring that you are not hurt while working in your position. All of these types of safety training programs can help reduce the amount of injuries, or prevent accidents from become a dangerous situation.

More specialized training, such as working with meters and energized parts, can be arranged if you know that you will be taking a certain position. Taking these types of safety courses from the start can set you up in the best position possible, so if they are offered comprehensively, save time and money to fit them into your program.

, ,


Utility Contractor: What It Is And How To Become One

14 Jan , 2016  

So you want to become a utility contractor? First, what is a utility contractor? A utility contractor is a person who gets paid to install, service or repair any utility-related work such as potable water, storm sewer system, sanitary sewer and service lines.

What types of jobs are available?

There is a variety of utility contractor jobs available: From underground fiber construction crews, underground utility (Gas, water, electric, fiber, telephone, etc.), underground construction, energy technicians and much more.

What is the average salary for this industry?

According to, a utility contractor can make from $60,000 – $110,000 approximately depending on the type of position available. For example, a project manager (construction) makes $78,611 in average; construction estimator makes around $67,407; electrical engineer makes approximately $63,402, and a safety manager makes $80,000. The two positions paying over $100,000 are a senior project manager and a director of operations.

Some other job options include an hourly rate from $23 – $78 per hour. Depending on your background and your skills you might qualify for a variety of jobs available.

How can I get a utility contractor job?

The first thing you need to do is to prepare a resume showing your skills, previous experience, training and all relevant information for the job you have interested in.
Then, you need to review the jobs postings under “Utility contractor jobs”, “Underground utility contractor jobs” and so on.

Make a list of all the different options available and look for the different locations and requirements. Some websites specialize in utility contractor jobs and you can quickly browse the different options available for you.

What should I do if I don’t have the skills required to get the job I want?

To answer this question in a best possible way, you might consider your personal goals. Are you looking to do the same job for an extended period? Or are you seeking to become a manager or director of operations sometime in the future?

If you answer yes to the first question is important to review the training options for your field. You might want to get enrolled in utility contractor related training, license to operate a certain type of tools and equipment, etc.

But if you want to become a manager or director, you might consider getting a bachelor’s degree in management.

, ,


The 7 Most Important Tools For Utility Contractors

14 Sep , 2015  

If you are a utility contractor of any kind, you should know that having certain tools is absolutely essential in doing a good job, no matter what type you may be doing. This is especially important when planning and performing all the work yourself; plan ahead and have a complete basic tool set with you on the job site.

The seven most important tools or specific type of equipment a utility contractor should have on hand are as follows: a tool belt (preferably with suspenders), a steel measuring tape, a powder actuated nail gun set, step ladders, sanders, push andsweep brooms, and a socket wrench set.

First and foremost, a proper tool belt is essential for completing the various needs of labor on jobsites. A good example can be found on and is called the DEWALT Electrician tool belt. It has many pockets, for all of your various tools, and is made with high quality padding around the waist, along with a roller style buckle and two clips, to remain comfortable all day long while wearing. It’s also important to invest in the suspenders to help distribute weight evenly and prevent any injuries. A steel measuring tape is going to be something you want on any job site with you, and can be carried with you in your tool belt. More reasons explaining this can be found on this site:

Something else you are going to make sure you have accessible with you is something called a powder actuated nail gun set Powder actuated tools are very important and both a powerful and efficient way in attaching wood to concrete, concrete blocks, and so on. A set of various socket wrenches, is something you will always want with you on the job weather doing either commercial or industrial jobs to make sure you’re not ever stuck with a bolt you can’t turn.

Step ladders of various sizes are needed, mainly because much of the work given to an electrician is found above both floor and ground levels. They are also named essential on this site listing the main and basic tools a utility contractor will want. Obviously, the sturdier the better is important to keep in mind when finding the proper ladders that will work for you.

Both new and old utility contractors will want both push and sweep brooms with them on jobsites so that cleanup is both quick and simple. Finally, various types of sanders are a very important tool to have with you to speed up the process to any type of labor on the job you are facing. More information on the importance of various types of portable sanders can be found on this website:

, ,