CONSUMER BLOG
Follow us:
By : Brendan Mitchell, 09-07-2017
Window Inserts: The Affordable & Efficient Alternative to Window Replacement
Jonathan Hunt from Altair Energy Services recommends this simple alternative to replacing your windows.
Window Inserts: The Affordable & Efficient Alternative to Window Replacement

Recent studies suggest that around 30% of heat loss in your home occurs through your windows. This is a problem in older households especially, as they are more likely to have drafty or energy inefficient windows. While many homeowners opt to replace such windows, this is not always the most practical solution.

One reason for this is that replacing windows can be expensive. HomeAdvisor reports that the average homeowner spends between $2,590 and $7,441 when installing new windows in their home.

We spoke with Jonathan Hunt from Altair Energy Services, an energy consultancy firm serving Westchester County and the Hudson Valley, about effective and affordable alternatives to replacing your windows.

“As buildings age, windows become draftier due to weather and other causes. The sealing mechanisms also deteriorate with age, causing drafts,” Jonathan says.

He recommends window inserts as the most efficient and affordable solution to the problem.

A woman installing an Indow window insert.
A woman installing an Indow window insert, an affordable alternative to window replacement.
“Window inserts are storm windows that are installed from the inside of windows to seal out drafts and provide extra insulation.”

This allows them to save both energy and money for the property owner. However, Jonathan points out, that isn’t the only benefit of investing in window inserts. Just as the windows in older homes are likely to be more drafty than new windows, they are also likely to be nicer.

“Historic windows are of much higher quality than modern replacement windows as they were built by craftsman from old-growth timber instead of being stamped out in a factory,” Jonathan says, explaining the key reason some property owners use inserts.

“In most cases, inserts are used to preserve architectural integrity and the aesthetics of the home or business.”

Despite their drafty drawbacks, old windows are often more beautiful.
Despite their drafty drawbacks, old windows are often more beautiful. 
While maintaining old buildings can be an expensive exercise, window inserts are one of the few methods of structural maintenance that is more affordable than the alternative. Jonathan points out that in addition to keeping the aesthetic of your property consistent, the “historical preservation” of a building can be an important aspect of maintaining the character of your neighborhood or town.

When it comes to the various brands and models of window inserts available, Jonathan recommends Indow. Unlike other brands, Jonathan says they require no “alteration of existing frames, construction, track or magnets to install”, which makes them perfect for the preservation of older windows. Jonathan also cites testing at Portland State University that showed Indow inserts typically save 19% in energy costs over single-pane windows.

“Old windows should always be periodically maintained. Indow window inserts are the premier product in the market-space because they provide the best elimination of drafts and are very hard to tell they are in place.”

Jonathan Hunt is a licensed Indow dealer based in Westchester County, New York. To learn more about the benefits of Indow window inserts, contact Jonathan directly on (845) 439-4074 or visit his website to read the latest Indow window insert reviews and testimonials.
2 COMMENTS
GlobalTech Squad
Thank you for this post.If you are facing any kind of problem related to antivirus,Router,Printer,Browser,NetFlix,Roku,System Mechanic,PC-Optimisation and QuickBooks Support call at GlobalTech Squad where our expert provide voice guidance to the customers.Feel free to call us our Toll Free Numbers :USA/Canada : 1-800-294-5907: 1-844-573-0859 UK : 0-808-189-0272 Australia : 1-300-326-128 Visit Link:https://www.globaltechsquad.com/
Ava Smith
10-06-2017
3
Smith
11-30-2018
Share on
By : HomeSquare, 08-17-2017
Ask These Seven Questions Before You Hire a Handyman
Finding a reputable handyman isn't easy. HomeSquare, a home improvement company in upstate New York, recommends asking any prospective handymen these seven questions to ensure you won't be taken advantage of.
Ask These Seven Questions Before You Hire a Handyman
HomeSquare is a licensed home improvement company that offers hassle-free handyman work, seasonal maintenance, and remodeling services for homeowners and rental property owners in Westchester County, NY, and Fairfield County, CT. They have been in business since 2001 and their license number is HIC WC-27300-H14. You can contact them directly on (914) 670-8100 or by visiting GetHomeSquare.com.

The search for a local handyman isn’t easy, but the work you put in now will save you big-time later.

We’ve all heard tales of incomplete tasks and incorrectly-completed projects that caused significant problems for a homeowner. However, many of those issues can be avoided by knowing what to look for before you start a project.

By asking the following seven questions in the hiring process, you can get a thorough picture of who your potential new handyman is, how they conduct business, and how they treat their customers. Asking these questions reduces the possibility of being stuck at the dead end of a never-ending job or a legal nightmare if things seriously go awry.

Without the answers, you risk falling victim to inferior quality work, out-of-control bills, and unresponsive so-called “professionals,” only to be forced to start the process all over again.


1. "Are you licensed and registered?"

The requirements for licensing and registration differ from state to state. Some locales have statewide requirements, while others rely on local jurisdictions to regulate who can perform home maintenance work. This provides protection for both the handyman and the customer in the event something goes wrong. Without licensing and registration, you could be left holding the bag –and with no way to file a complaint or get your money back. In Westchester County for example, you can quickly check whether a handyman has a valid HIC license on the County website. HomeSquare is licensed, to be sure!

2. “Are you insured?”

Your handyman should always be licensed and insured.
Your handyman should always be licensed and insured. 
A license alone isn’t enough. Insurance is necessary to protect your investment if something goes wrong. Workers’ compensation covers injuries sustained on the job, while liability and other insurance policies provide an extra layer of protection in case something gets damaged while the work is being completed.

3. “Do you take credit cards?”

You might think that’s a weird question to ask, but a cash-only home improvement business can, and should, raise red flags. It’s much harder to prove payment, dispute a charge or challenge work without a secondary paper trail through a credit card statement, even with receipts or a contract in hand. Cash-only businesses are likely not reporting taxable income. And if the business is skirting that law, you might think twice before inviting their workers into your home.

"The best testimonial is glowing feedback from a satisfied customer."

4. “Are you listed on any third-party review sites?”

Holding membership with a home improvement authority such as EZBZ or Home Advisor adds to your handyman’s authority and professionalism. These third-party review sites have their own rigorous process to screen references and comments, so you know that you’re receiving an honest account when reading these reviews.

5. “Can I call your references?”

The best testimonial is glowing feedback from a satisfied customer. This is your time to ask about the qualities you’re seeking in a new handyman, including cleanliness, timeliness and accuracy.

6. “What’s your background?”

Don’t assume every jack-of-all-trades has the exact experience needed for a very specific job. It never hurts to ask, especially if it will save you time researching and negotiating down the line. If you know your project involves wood rot repair, for example, ask if your potential new handyman has had experience with this before.

7. “Can you provide an estimate in writing?”

Don't rely on a word of mouth contract with your handyman.
Don't rely on a word of mouth contract with your handyman.
Any honest and trustworthy handyman would be willing to put their numbers to paper. Committing to pricing in writing is a mark of reliability and integrity, especially in an industry where people may feel like they’re vulnerable to scammers or rip-off artists. If necessary, this will also give you proof of the given price.

By asking these questions, homeowners can cut through the clutter and confusion and identify the core competencies of the home maintenance companies they are vetting. Finding a company like HomeSquare – licensed and insured, has glowing reviews online, and will commit to estimates on paper – will save you time, money, and most importantly, a headache in the long run!

EZBZ is a great way to find and compare local contractors in your area. Download the app today and try it out yourself. It's free, quick, and easy. 

Download the EZBZ app for free

Download the EZBZ app for free
2 COMMENTS
Dominion Group
Very nice, i really love reading this informative post.. You have done great job. We also deals with similar niche and are lading commercial general contractor in Austin. You can visit us here http://dominiongroupllc.com/
Jordan Petrich
09-22-2017
3
Smith
11-30-2018
Share on
By : Brendan Mitchell, 06-29-2017
Things to Consider Before Adding a Room to Your House
If you want to build a home addition, consider the following before starting the process to save yourself some time and money.
Things to Consider Before Adding a Room to Your House


There are numerous reasons why you may want to add another room to your house. You may need another bedroom because your family is growing, or perhaps you want to add a private bathroom to your master bedroom. Whatever you want to build, be sure to consider the following before starting the process to ensure you won’t have regrets during or after the project is complete:

Your Budget

Determining your budget should be your first step.
If you really want an addition to your home, it’s hard not to immediately jump straight into the planning process. Realistically, though, the first thing you should do is ensure you have the funds necessary to complete the project. HomeAdvisor estimates that the average national cost of building an addition is $41,628. Don’t fret if this is beyond your budget, as the cost can vary greatly depending on the type of addition you want and where you live. However, it is likely you will need a minimum of $20,000 regardless of where you live and what you are building.

Once you have a clear budget, it will make every subsequent decision related to the project easier, for example, when deciding on a contractor. Keep in mind that you should hire the company that is most likely to be reliable or do high quality work. Don’t let their quote be your single deciding factor. Hiring an unlicensed contractor because they are more affordable could end up being far more expensive for you in the long-term.

If you’re worried about the cost, you may be able to save money by thinking about what you really want from the project. For example, remodeling an existing room is typically far less expensive than building a new one, if that’s an option. Ask yourself objective questions to confirm that the addition is a smart investment. Will it add value to your home? Will you still be living there in five years?

Local Zoning Laws

Be sure to research your local zoning restrictions and regulations.
Almost every residential area in the United States has their own set of zoning regulations and restrictions. These rules dictate where and what you can build, including additions to your home. While the nature of these laws can be controversial – restricting what you can do with your own property – they are typically not arbitrary. Often, they exist to protect public health, safety, and comfort.

Most residential areas restrict homeowners from building anything within 20 feet of the front of their property, 7.5 feet on the sides, or 15 feet from the back.

The best way to learn what zoning restrictions you must adhere to is to contact your local municipal planning or building department. A real estate attorney would also be able to answer any questions you have, and can even help you fight some restrictions. Of course, this is another expense that your budget will need to cover.

The Design

An architect can be extremely helpful when planning a home addition.
Thinking critically about the design of your new room can help you save time and money, not to mention ensuring that you will get what you want out of the project. Will the addition be detached or built in? Will you use new materials or attempt to blend the addition in with the rest of your home?

For medium to large scale additions, it is recommended that you consult an architect. An architect will help you confirm the addition will add value to your home and can be integrated seamlessly. They will help you make important decisions and can work in collaboration with your construction company to get the best results.

A Contingency Plan

Construction can have a huge impact on your daily life.
Construction is inevitably loud, messy, and long. If it’s happening within your home while you live there, it will likely be extremely inconvenient to you and your family. If you start thinking about the impact the project will have on your daily life in advance, it will be easier for you to make the construction process as stress-free as possible. For instance, if you know it will be hard to live in your home while the construction is underway, you can include temporary accommodation in your budget.

Looking for a reliable local contractor or architect? Try using EZBZ – the free concierge service. Our team of local business experts can help you find and compare reputable professionals in your area. Simply post a request online or through the EZBZ app, or call us on 1-855-46-8619 for a local recommendation.

Download the EZBZ App for free

Download the EZBZ App for free


0 COMMENTS
Share on
By : Kayla Goldstein, 02-21-2017
Australia
Architecture and interior design professional Kayla Goldstein shares some insight in to the unique architecture and design practices of her country of birth, Australia.
Australia

Kayla  Kayla Goldstein is a home remodeling and design professional. Her firm, Kayla LLC, specializes in small scale architecture projects and large scale interior design projects.


Samantha Fox, an English singer and model from the 1980s, once said, “It’s different cultures that make the world go ‘round.”

Although she is not a typical role model for me, this quote stood out as something I identify strongly with. As an architect and interior designer, I am always looking to find new design ideas or unique projects. The most interesting designs are usually found in the farthest places you would look. For example, in Australia. 

I was born in Australia, and have always felt a connection to this country. In my opinion, Australia is a truly beautiful place, and boasts many architectural marvels and beautiful designs.

While looking at design and architecture in Australia, I noticed that besides being modern and very up to date with the trends of the day, it is also a very traditional country rich with history. Many people that live there are enriched with a culture some would find fascinating. Take the Aborigines for example; no matter how modern their buildings are, they still always manage to keep something from their culture in every aspect of design. There is even a design firm dedicated to keeping this culture alive in Australia. Iredale Pederson Hook have worked for years to create buildings that blend Indigenous culture with the modern world of design.

Indigenous School in Australia

While the Aboriginal Australian community has suffered some horrendous setbacks as a result of European settlement, their culture still plays a vital role in modern day Australia. The building shown above is a school for Aboriginal children. It is heartwarming to see how much thought went into making sure these children feel comfortable and at ease.

Indigenous School in Australia

In addition to making sure culture and tradition is preserved, many Australian designers also know how to make a room up-to-date and gorgeous. While reading about design awards and famous Australian architects, I stumbled across a picture of the room featured below. Now, I fully intended to write about an architect that I liked, or a famous building in Sydney. However, I could not get this room out of my mind, I decided if it was that great it was worth writing about and I dived in.

The room below was designed by Mim Design, An Australian company that strives to provide inspiring and new designs that surprise the senses. In my opinion they have completely succeeded.

Room by Mim Design

 I think the first thing that captured me in this space was the painting. The room is so minimalistic and white, and then this painting just arrives and splashes color into the room so perfectly that it’s as if it was there to begin with. One of the base lessons taught in interior design is that a color themed room should have a 60-30-10 split. There should be the base, the compliment, and the surprise. What I love about this room is that the surprise takes over the color scheme perfectly keeping it at 10% yet grabbing focus as if it was 90% of the room.

I also really like the chair found on the opposite side of the room. In a way, it keeps the eye balanced so we are not just focused on one side. The chair draws attention with its furry plush seat while keeping in the theme of the room with its minimalistic base. It manages to be different and the same all at once with the different textures and the throw pillow matching the painting. Surprising indeed, yet still so calming and harmoniously beautiful.

I think this room is so perfect and attention grabbing because the designer really put thought into making sure it is comfortable for the mind, as well as the body. While white is relaxing, and minimalistic design can open the brain to creativity, we all still need something to ground us in this world. The frame on the table and door, and the design on the throw pillows does just that. It throws in a little bit of metal and black so that it does not feel like you are sitting on a cloud.

I, for one, was really impressed with Australian designers for keeping culture a part of their design process and still managing to make up to date modern designs. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all tried to implement our backgrounds and history into our homes? What better way to make our house a unique place for us to call home? One can accomplish this by placing small trinkets around the house that come from your hometown, or by using a certain style design that is used in the country you were born. There really is no limit to what you can do. 

Looking for a reputable architect in your area that can emulate Australian design? Try asking on EZBZ - the free concierge service. You can post a request through our website or app, or simply call us for a local recommendation on 1-855-461-8619. 

3 COMMENTS
This looks so cool!
Waqqas Anwar
03-10-2017
Very interesting
Waqqas Anwar
03-10-2017
I love this
Waqqas Anwar
03-10-2017
Share on
By : A.E. Hart, 02-15-2017
Six Signs of a Great Contractor (and Six Signs of a Bad One)
"There are a lot of good contractors out there,” says Karl Bagwell, owner of southeastern Connecticut’s Yankee Remodeler. We spoke with him about how to tell the difference between a good contractor and a bad one. Click here to learn more.
Six Signs of a Great Contractor (and Six Signs of a Bad One)

Yankee Remodeler We spoke with Karl Bagwell, owner of southeastern Connecticut’s Yankee Remodeler, about how to tell the difference between a good contractor and a bad one. 

Everyone knows someone who has a bad contractor story, and even more bad contractor stories can be found online. A quick Google search for “bad contractor stories” brings up over two million hits, including the Home and Garden DIY site, which has 25 bad contracting stories ranging from an electrician who did not install an on/off switch for a light because the homeowner had not requested one, to a contractor who ignored a homeowner’s request to cover a workspace then claimed the workspace was dirty before they started, to contractors taking deposits and never returning. Stories of people scammed by contractors make good TV news stories. Good contracting stories are much harder to find, but it is not hard to find a great contractor as long as you follow a few simple guidelines.

Six Signs of a Great Contractor:

Reliable Contractor


They Give You an Estimate In Writing

A great contractor will give you an estimate in writing. They say a verbal contract is not worth the paper it’s printed on. A great contractor will put their quote in black and white. It’s not just a matter of trustworthiness either. Sometimes putting things on paper can reveal a miscommunication before it’s too late. If you expect them to install four windows, and the quote says two, then you can clear things up right off the bat.

They Are Easy to Communicate With

A great contractor should be easy to communicate with, and that means that they are more than a P.O. Box. Yankee Remodeler is more than just a website, and Bagwell explains the advantage of that. “It helps if you have a brick and mortar building. If there’s a physical location, then you could just come down and knock on our door. We’re more accessible.” You should be able to reach them by phone as well. You should be able to talk with them, not leave a message with an answering service.

They Sign a Contract

A great contractor will sign a contract with you. Bagwell explains that the contract “should have a start and completion date.” This gives all parties involved a timetable to work on and an expectation of when work will be finished. The contract also states what you want and what the contractor will do. According to findlaw.com, other items in the contract should include the specific materials to be used, when equipment will be used as well as where equipment and supplies will be stored when not in use, whose responsibility it is if there is theft of or damage to equipment or supplies, a provision or amendments in case changes need to be made or unforeseen circumstances affect the stated completion time of the project, guarantees and warranties related to the project, payment plans, information on subcontractors and suppliers, and provisions for any potential disputes that may arise.

They Ask for a Reasonable Deposit

A great contractor will ask for a deposit, but they don’t ask for the majority of the money upfront. “Never pay the bill until you’re satisfied,” advises Bagwell. “It’s okay to wait a week to look over the work.”

They are Licensed and Insured

A great contractor is licensed and insured for the state they’re working in and have that state’s required insurances and are willing to show you these documents. They also follow your state’s requirements for permits and don’t try to talk you out of getting one when it is required by your city or town.

They Are Safe

A great contractor follows OSHA guidelines on the worksite and their workers are properly dressed for their jobs and create a safe environment.


Five Ways to Identify a Bad Contractor (or even a scammer)

Bad Contractor

They Refuse to Put Their Estimate In Writing

Be suspicious of a contractor who will not put their estimate in black and white for you. It either means that they are trying to hide something or that they are not organized enough to be able to effectively estimate the cost of the job. Either way, they are probably not the right choice to take care of your job.

They Approach You

They approach you, usually door to door, and offer to do the work for a substantially lower price in exchange for using your home in an ad or for exposure. Another door-to-door scam is to approach you and tell you that they’re working in the area and have left over materials or extra time and can do some inexpensive work for you right then and there. Every contractor is trying to find more business, but it is quite uncommon for one to be out knocking on doors.

Bad Paperwork and Process

Beware of a contractor that doesn’t dot their i’s and cross their t’s, or, worse, doesn’t even have any i’s to dot because nothing is on paper. If they refuse to sign a contract or tell you that you don’t need one, that’s a red flag. Another is if they request that you get any needed permits, instead of them taking care of it. Even worse is if they try to get you to let them do the work without permits at all. They may charge you to do work they should have done when hired. This recently happened to Jig Sprocket, of New Jersey: “Initially one radiator was leaking at an elbow on the inlet. This was charged about $180… Possibly the water supply got stuck. It was a lot of water or some other steam venting problem. Plumber replaced it but never bled the system. He leaves but the steam radiators fail to heat up. He then asks for $500 to replace the vent valves on the radiator.”

They Ask For A Excessive Deposit

You should be suspicious if they request the majority or all of the payment upfront. This is especially true if they ask for payment via cash or a check made out to a person instead of a company.

Poor References or No References

They have poor references or no references at all. Be sure to check online at sites like EZBZ, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau and to ask friends and family. The sites where the reviews are linked to the user’s identity are more reliable, which is why an EZBZ user must have their account linked to Facebook to Vouch for a business. A great contractor will be able to provide you with references from former clients. Don’t hesitate to ask.

High Pressure Sales

Beware if a contractor pressures you to make a decision immediately and discourages you from getting estimates from other businesses or from seeing their license and insurance information.

Other Tips to Help You Find a Great Contractor:

Helpful Contractor

1. Get multiple estimates and you'll quickly realize that the lowest bid is not always the best bid. Check out what’s in the estimate, what isn’t in the estimate, and what your contributions to the project will be as presented in the estimate. That’s why EZBZ business replies do not focus on the dollar quote, instead letting you see the business’ entire reply.

2. They usually have a waiting list. Good contractors are in demand, so you may need to look for one well before you intend to start remodeling. 

3. They’ve been in business for at least three years. According to an article by marketwatch.com, about 30% of businesses go out of business every year. Some independent contractors join firms and some may fail due to the economic environment, but some may change their names often “ to dodge business problems and irate clients.”

4. Look for a contractor who’s right for your project. A contractor who specializes in industrial work will not be familiar with residential work, and one who specializes in plumbing may not have the background to fix your shingles. Be sure to ask what experience they have with your particular type of project.

5. Check out YouTube. Many contractors and some insurance companies, like Travelers, have videos giving advice on finding and working with contractors as well as red flags that may come up while searching for a contractor.

If you need to find a reputable contractor for a commercial or residential project, try EZBZ’s free concierge service. You can post a request through our website or app, or call us toll-free on 1-855-461-8619 for a local recommendation. Visit the EZBZ website to learn more: www.myezbz.com

0 COMMENTS
Share on
By : Michael Whitehouse, 12-30-2016
Why Can

A question I get quite often is "Why do I need EZBZ? Can't I just use Google?" Most people do not realize that they spend nearly a week out of every year looking for businesses to provide the products and services that they need. That's right, you can spend 3 hours looking to fill a single need, and if you find you have a need every week, then you're looking at 156 hours a year. A week is 168 hours.

What would it mean to you to have an extra week of free time every year?

Why Can

A question I get quite often is "Why do I need EZBZ? Can't I just use Google?" Most people do not realize that they spend nearly a week out of every year looking for businesses to provide the products and services that they need. That's right, you can spend 3 hours looking to fill a single need, and if you find you have a need every week, then you're looking at 156 hours a year. A week is 168 hours.

What would it mean to you to have an extra week of free time every year?

OK, so how does it work? Let’s consider a few different industries that you might be searching in, because EZBZ is a highly versatile platform. You can find almost anything on EZBZ, but we’re going to talk specifically about home improvement and finding a car.

Although we are focusing on these two areas, EZBZ can be a powerful tool to help you save time finding any number of things from business services like printing, web design, and professionals to personal services like massage therapy, magicians, and movers.

Home Improvement

When we first talk to people about EZBZ, they often think about home improvement services because there are a few other web sites that are dedicated those specific searches.

If you are looking for a general contractor without EZBZ, you have three options. You could use Google or some other general search tool like Yellow Pages; you could use a home improvement services site; or you could ask your friends.

Google

Google is a great service. You can find any information that you want there. Airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? Answer in seconds. Why is the sky blue? It can answer that with ease.

But what if you need a contractor? You can ask Google, and it will give you an answer. It looks like this:

Google response to contractor search

Business name. category, phone number, what town their office is in. All good stuff, but you don’t have a contractor. You have a list of contractors who you can now begin to call. Your three hours begins now. You start calling, maybe you get someone who can help you. More likely, you get someone who can take a message and have the foreman or sales manager or whoever get back to you. Or, maybe you just get an answering machine. Alternatively, you can visit their web site and fill out the contact forms. I’m sure that you’ve seen the forms I’m talking about. If you have ever tried to get quotes for a major project like this, you probably still see these forms in your dreams.

Contact form

When I was looking for the screen shot for this blog, it actually took my 5 minutes just to find a contact form that I could use. You fill out the contact form with your information, sharing your name, contact information, maybe address, and the nature of the job. You pass the test at the bottom to prove that you are a human and not a robot, and you hit send.

Your data zooms off at the speed of light to their server, and instantly, faster than the blink of an eye, one very important thing happens. Your email address is immediately added to their customer newsletter list. You will now start to receive emails and newsletters from this business. You may or may not receive a quote, but you will definitely get their emails.

Fill out 10 contact forms? Now you are on 10 email lists.
You are now on all the email lists

And after all this, you haven’t gotten a quote yet. You’ve spent time on the phone, spent time on web sites, and spent time unsubscribing from newsletters, but still have not found what you are looking for.

Home Improvement Sites

But there’s an alternative. There are web sites that are built just for your need. They can help, right? Absolutely! They can help to make sure that your phone number, email address, and home address get to a dozen or so firms with large enough marketing budgets to pay them for your contact information. Most of these services follow a pay to play model. The business pays for leads or for a subscription service. Most are paying between $25 and $75 per lead. This means that the service is selling your contact information to these companies for an average of $60, and they will sell it to as many companies as they can. That’s their business model.

Of course, if a business pays $60 for your phone number, they’re going to call you. All 10 of the businesses that buy your number will definitely want to call you, and they will want to keep calling because they spent a lot of money to get your number.

Everyone will call you. Forever.

Are you getting calls from the best companies for your job? Maybe. Remember that the selection process is that you are connected with the businesses willing to pay the price of admission to get your number. That’s the qualification. Most of these services do have some kind of vetting process, but that generally means that they have checked to make sure the business has proper insurance and licensing and that their credit card clears the charges for their subscription.

Remember, now, that the businesses paid about $60 to get your number and email. Think you’re going on their email list? You bet you are. Think they’ll hold onto that phone number to give you a call next year and the year after to see if you might need anything else? It’s quite possible.

Friend Recommendations

You could ask your friends. The average person knows 250 people, and a few of them probably know a business that you are looking for. Thanks to Facebook and social media, it’s easier than ever. You can post to Facebook what you are looking for and you will probably get some responses.

But, where do those responses come from.

Your friend from high school that you haven’t seen in 7 years refers a contractor, who just so happens to be owned by her brother-in-law.

Your co-worker’s cousin suggests a business owned by a guy that she met at a party last year. She hasn’t actually worked with them, but she thinks she has a friend who did and is pretty sure he was happy with them.

Your former neighbor who moved away last year suggests a place that was good. Or he thinks it was good. It might have been the other one who was good? Who can remember.

Recommendations from friends feel good because they have a personal connection, but you know how much attention you spend when you are on social media. You shoot off whatever is at the top of your mind, and you move on. And even when you do have the recommendations, you are not in touch with the business. You just have a link to their web site, or maybe a phone number. Now the process of calls and contact forms begins. You’re not busy for the next three hours, are you?

EZBZ

How is EZBZ different? The first step of the process is just as simple as a Google search. You just type what you need into the concierge box that you find at www.myezbz.com. You can even upload an image of what you are looking for if needed.

One easy online request

EZBZ then sends out your request, along with your town and first name, to all the businesses that serve your area that might be able to help you. No pay to play here. Every business in the area gets to see your request. That means that depending on your location and the nature of the request, it could be sent to over 500 businesses, giving you the best possible chance to find the right business for you.

If a company feels that they are a match for the job, they can reply by paying between $1 and $3. That’s not a typo. We only charge them one to three dollars to respond. This lets them respond through the EZBZ system. The business does not get your contact information until you decide to give it to them. No email lists. No endless phone calls. Just a message through the EZBZ messaging system, which you’ll be notified of by text or email or by app notification.

For simpler jobs, that first message can include a quote. For something more complex, like building an expansion on your house, they’ll probably have to come out and give an estimate, but either way, you are much further along in the process, and all you had to do was type what you need into the concierge box.

When you get responses, the response will show the company’s information as well as reviews aggregated from 9 web sites, plus reviews posted on EZBZ. Users can also vouch for businesses, a system which is linked to their Facebook account, so no anonymous vouching. Only real people, and very soon we will add the functionality to be able to show you businesses that your friends have vouched for, giving you that personal connection.

As you can see, it’s a lot easier to type a request once than to have to make dozens of phone calls.

Car Shopping

I talked about what happens when your contact information gets into the hands of businesses around town in terms of home improvement, but controlling your information is much more important when car shopping.

I sold cars for a number of years when I was younger, and I learned two very important things. First, most people are not looking for a specific car like a 2012 Honda Civic LX with 22,000 miles. They are looking for a car under 4 years old, with less than 25,000 miles and more than 30 MPG for less than $12,000. Second, once a car dealership gets their hands on your email and phone number, they will reach out to you until they receive notarized confirmation of your death, and maybe they’ll still call a couple more times.

I don’t blame car dealerships for being tenacious. It’s a difficult and highly competitive business, and those leads cost money.

Most of the car search sites give you the ability to specify exactly what you are looking for, right down to colors and accessories. This lets the dealership know exactly what kind of car to tell you they just sold yesterday before they sell you the car that is in stock right now.

You don't always walk out with what you walked in to find

When you spec out that car, the site will ask you for your contact information. Phone, email, address, and all the rest. They will then take this contact information and the kind of vehicle you are looking for and sell it to every car dealership in town who is willing to pay for it. Usually between $20 and $40 per lead. The email goes onto the email list, and the phone number goes to the Business Development Center, or Internet sales guy.

They will get in touch, you will buy a car from someone.

A year later, your number is floating around at about a dozen dealerships. Maybe it’s a little slow on a quiet Tuesday in June at Larry Motors, and the sales manager wants to get some action going, so he prints out a list of old leads and distributes it to the sales people. Larry Motors didn’t have the car you were looking for last year, and they certainly don’t now, but that’s not going to stop them from calling and seeing if you might have a need now.

If you thought an elephant never forgot, you will learn that the elephant has nothing on the car dealership contact database.

EZBZ

How is EZBZ different? Just like the car web sites, it lets you specify the kind of car you want. Like the car sites, it sends your requests out to many dealerships.

Unlike the car web sites, it sends your request to every dealership in your area to find a match. Most importantly, unlike the car web sites, EZBZ does not give your contact information to anyone unless you want to. You may choose to give your number to one or two who seem promising, or you might just call them and not let them call you. They can respond to you through the EZBZ system, giving you links to inventory, specs of cars in stock and other information you are seeking, but they can only communicate through the EZBZ portal, not through your personal number and email, unless you want them to.

You are totally in control. The power is yours.

You still get to communicate with dealers who can help you, but on your terms, not theirs.

Conclusion

EZBZ makes your life easier. You certainly can find the businesses that you find through EZBZ with other services, but EZBZ makes it faster, easier, and more convenient.

Could you just Google it. Sure, if you don’t mind spending an extra week finding everything you are looking for. That’s what EZBZ does for you. It saves you time and an effort, leaving you energy for the things that are really important in your life like family, hobbies, and work.


EZBZ is a free service, so why would you go anywhere else?

1 COMMENTS
I agree
This is very true! I love this post
Waqqas Anwar
03-10-2017
Share on
By : Brendan Mitchell, 12-12-2016
Third Floor Corporation - Westchester

Third Floor Corporation is a full-service construction company in New York’s Hudson Valley. Started by master builder, Ben Fiering, in 1993, the company specializes in the restoration of classic and modern architecture. Click here to learn more.

Third Floor Corporation - Westchester


Ben “Doctor Structure” Fiering, the master builder at Third Floor Corporation, knows better than most that good things take time. 

“We try to be mindful of the time, but…” says Ben, before trailing off. He chooses his next words carefully.

“The things we build are going to last forever.”

After five minutes of speaking with Ben, it’s clear that he’s passionate about the construction and restoration work his company does every day. He’s not shy about admitting that high quality work is their number one priority.

Ben started Third Floor Corporation in 1993, but he’s been in the industry since the early eighties, when he started working construction while studying social history at college. His passion for building things had been kindled even earlier than that by his father, Norman Fiering, a skilled carpentry hobbyist.

Remodeling by Third Floor Corporation
A recent project completed by Third Floor Corporation. Architecture by David Wallance.

Third Floor Corporation was started in Manhattan, and their first project was converting old warehouse space in to a three-unit live/work space for artists. Today, they are a full-service construction and general contracting company serving private residential clients in New York’s Hudson Valley.

“I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Ben says of the Valley. In his spare time, Ben enjoys exploring the area's abundance of nature, photography, playing guitar, and studying the history of art, craft, and architecture.

 Ben
Ben "Doctor Structure" Fiering at work. 

From the way Ben talks about his line of work, it’s clear that Third Floor Corporation are not your average construction company. They specialize in structural repair, and the restoration of both classic and modern architecture.

“[We have] an intimate understanding of the challenges involved in the restoration of antique buildings,” Ben says, when describing what separates his company from others. He speaks with pride and admiration when talking about his staff, the trademark of a business owner that treats his employees with respect.

With over thirty years in the workforce, though, Ben is the first to admit he’s faced some challenges.

“Maintaining a stable workflow depending on changes in the economy is a challenge.”

While 2017 is sure to hold some challenges of its own, Ben does not seem fazed. Perhaps it’s because building things is more than a job, for Ben; it’s a passion he inherited from his father.

“I grew up doing this work… I’ve always enjoyed making things.” 

If you’re interested in discussing a project with Ben from Third Floor Corporation you can reach him on (914) 263 6148 or at ben@thirdfloorllc.com. You can also follow Ben on Twitter as @Dr_Structure

Looking for something else? Submit a free request on EZBZ for what you need and where you need it, and we’ll get you quotes from providers in your area. Try it out today at myezbz.com.
0 COMMENTS
Share on
By : Brendan Mitchell, 12-01-2016
The Westchester Family Business Painting with Passion
In Westchester County, New York, family-owned business Metro Painting have been helping locals with their painting needs for over 25 years. Click here to learn more about their story.
The Westchester Family Business Painting with Passion


Westchester County in upstate New York is renowned for its aesthetically pleasing scenery, its quaint villages and towns, and the strong community of families and local businesses that call it home. Many of the businesses that reside there are family-owned companies that have operated out of Westchester for decades.

One such business is Metro Painting, founded by White Plains local Josh Glass over 25 years ago.  Josh still owns and manages the company today, assisted by his wife, Kerry, and their three children.

Josh started painting homes when he was in high school, and at first it was nothing more than a fun summer job. He kept it up while in college, and the demand for his skills helped Josh pay off his tuition.

“After graduating I decided it was something I was passionate about,” Josh said when reflecting on why he started Metro Painting. The rest, as they say, is history.

Josh Glass and Family
Owner of Metro Painting, Josh Glass, and his family. 


Today, Josh is still passionate about painting and his business is flourishing. Metro Painting regularly complete both residential and commercial projects and they are a featured partner of the local community group, Westchester NY Moms. However, Josh admits they still hit the occasional bump in the road.

“Every day is a new challenge and a new client… I get to bring their vision to life.”

Josh says that the biggest challenge Metro Painting faces is meeting client demand without a sacrifice in craftmanship.

“The quality comes from the attention, and putting in the extra effort,” Josh said, on how they approach each project.

The work they put in to every job means that almost every Metro Painting customer is blown away by the results. However, this can make it harder for them to fit in more customers - they often have a tight schedule. It’s this dedication to every client, along with their passion for the work, that separates Metro Paiting from their competitors.

Josh also has some critical advice for homeowners that want professional painting help: “Sharing inspirational material with the contractor is vital to delivering the results.”

Inspirational material could be anything from a pinterest board, to images cut out from a magazine… anything that will help the contractor understand exactly what you want. Josh loves working with clients that can provide materials like this, and he says they are often more satisfied than customers who don’t.

“The results for them become so much more exciting and real as they got exactly what they want.”

Metro Painting are currently offering $250 off any job over $1500. If you’re interested in discussing a project with Metro Painting, you can contact them on (888) 276-1505 or by emailing them at info@metropainting.biz. Visit their EZBZ profile  for more information.

Looking for a painter somewhere else? Submit a free request on EZBZ for what you need and where you need it, and we’ll get you quotes from providers in your area. Try it out today at myezbz.com.

2 COMMENTS
Great Story
I also own my own business so I really appreciated this article. As a matter of fact, I'm also from Upstate NY. Here's my info if you're ever in Southern California, look me up :) Fullerton Concrete 1350 E Chapman Ave #3911 Fullerton, CA 92834 (714) 701-8376 web: http://www.fullertonconcrete.com/ email: fullertonconcrete@gmail.com
Fank Meyers
12-04-2016
3
Smith
11-30-2018
Share on
By : Brendan Mitchell, 02-18-2016
A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Driveway
A driveway is like the welcome mat to your entire home. Before you think about hiring a contractor to repair or install your driveway, make sure you've decided what type of material and design you would like.  Click here to learn more.
A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Driveway


A driveway is like the welcome mat to your entire home, so it’s no surprise that many homeowners are extremely precautious when choosing the design and type of material they want. Before you speak to a contractor, it's a good idea to research your options. We’ve put together a short guide to help homeowners learn more about the various types of driveway available today:

Concrete

Concrete is one of the first things people think of when they consider their paving options. A concrete driveway can be stamped with different designs and colors, so it’s a popular choice for homeowners that want their driveway to match the exterior design of their house. Popular paving materials such as cobblestone, brick, and field stone can also be simulated in concrete at a fraction of the cost. The average cost per square foot is around $5.

Asphalt

The affordability of asphalt makes it another popular choice. The average cost per square foot is around $2.20. Asphalt is strong, does not show stains like concrete does, and only needs a minimal amount of maintenance. A long dark driveway can look impressive in a well-landscaped yard. Asphalt also retains more heat from the sun than concrete, which means snow will melt faster on an asphalt driveway, making it a smart choice for households that will have a frosty winter. 

Brick

A brick driveway is more expensive than asphalt and concrete, but it has a timeless elegance that will add another level to the aesthetic of your home. Various patterns can be created with the bricks, from a classic herringbone to basket weave. A foundation bed of sand helps to give a brick driveway stability. Another plus is that if a brick cracks it can be replaced without interfering with the whole driveway. The average cost per square foot can range from $5-15.

Cobblestone

Cobblestone is a costly but long-lasting choice. Cobblestones are typically made of granite, which is stain resistant and less likely to crack than other driveway materials. However, it can also be a lot more expensive. The average cost per square foot can range from $10-20. A cobblestone driveway can give your home a classic look and feel that will make any old home look charming. For many homeowners, installing a cobblestone driveway is a DIY project, which is a great way to cut some of the costs.

Gravel

When you are struggling to find the budget for a brick or even concrete driveway, you may wish to consider gravel. The crushed stone can be eco-friendly, and requires little maintenance. While you will have to replace the stones every few years, cracks will never be an issue. Gravel driveways are a popular choice for rural homes. The average cost per square foot is around $1.40.

Whatever your budget or design preference, there are multiple options for homeowners considering installing or replacing a driveway. To find a driveway contractor in your area that can help you install the driveway of your dreams, consider using EZBZ. It’s a free, quick, and easy way to find and hire contractors.
0 COMMENTS
Share on
By : Kyle Gerien, 02-12-2016
Things to Consider Before you Renovate
Before renovating your home, there are some preemptive steps you can take to ensure the process is safe, affordable, and stress-free. Click here to learn more.
Things to Consider Before you Renovate

It doesn’t take much for a homeowner to consider renovating their home. But while wear and tear are inevitable, renovations are typically a choice, and can bring unwanted stress and tricky surprises. It’s essential that you are prepared. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your home renovation is a success:

Determine Your Budget

Even if you’re only just starting to consider renovating your home, take a look at your expenses and savings. Map out how much you can afford to spend on renovations. Forward thinking is critical – will you have any other large expenditures in the foreseeable future? Remember to take in to account an estimate of how much you will be spending on everyday essentials during the actual renovation. Save enough money so you have a safety net in the event of an accident or unexpected expense.

Figure Out What You Want

Having a clear vision of what you want before beginning the process of renovation will help you save time and money. Make a list of the mandatory things you want, and the renovations you could live without. Of course, while a clear vision is important, it’s also necessary to have some flexibility. Surprises during renovation aren’t just common, they should be expected. Moldy baseboards or faulty wiring can cause serious delays and incur additional costs. This is where your list of essential and non-essential renovations can help you make a quick decision about how to proceed.

Hire a Licensed Contractor

Now that you have determined your budget and have a vision for what you want your home to look like, it’s time to start researching contractors that can complete the renovation. A licensed contractor is always recommended. When you hire a licensed contractor, they are legally required to follow certain safety codes and standards. An unlicensed contractor may not be familiar with the latest industry standards, and could be uninsured. Ultimately, hiring an unlicensed contractor could result in more expenses down the road. The risk is not worth the lower quote. To find a reputable contractor in your area, consider submitting a free request through EZBZ. Local contractors will reply to you directly through EZBZ with their information, availability, and estimates, allowing you to compare your options and make an informed decision about who to hire.  

Book Temporary Accommodation

If you’re planning to renovate your entire home, the best option is to stay out of the house. Construction sites can be dangerous, loud, and stressful, not to mention that renovations can sometimes take weeks or even months to complete. Staying with friends or family is an option, however this can also be conducive to a stressful situation for both you, and your host. Investing in temporary accommodation may also be an investment in your mental health. Credible accommodation companies will provide you with necessities like clean linens, cable, Wi-Fi, and an inviting and clean living space while having representatives on standby at all times in the event of any issues.

Take an Inventory

Before leaving your home, be sure to do a sweep and keep record of any expensive or important items you are leaving behind. It may be a good time to clear your house of old furniture or anything else you no longer need, while storing the items you want to keep in your basement, attic, or a storage unit.

Following these steps will help you ensure that your home renovation goes smoothly. While some preparation efforts can seem tiresome or even futile at the time, their value becomes apparent once the renovation begins and you are stress-free.

When looking for quality, temporary accommodation for the duration of your renovation, consider visiting TempApts.com. If you’re looking to hire a contractor, construction company, or find any other product or service, request it through EZBZ. It’s free, quick, and easy.
0 COMMENTS
Share on
By : Brendan Mitchell, 02-09-2016
To Hire or Not To Hire - Unlicensed Contractors
All homeowners need to hire a contractor at some point. The question is, does it matter if they're licensed? Click here to find out.
To Hire or Not To Hire - Unlicensed Contractors

At some point or other, all homeowners need to hire a contractor to help repair or renovate their property. While some maintenance tasks can be handled by a layman, there are certain jobs that are better left to a professional.

But what is the difference between a layman and a professional? Is it a license? Is ‘unlicensed professional’ an oxymoron?

The reality is, a license can’t guarantee that you will be happy with the work of a contractor, just as the lack of a license doesn’t mean you will definitely be taken advantage of. But when it comes to insurance and safety, exclusively hiring licensed professionals is the logical choice. Hiring an unlicensed professional can expose you to risks that just aren’t worth the short term savings.

A licensed contractor is insured, and can be expected to follow safety codes and procedures. For example, the national electrical code is the standard for safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment, and is revised every three years. To become a licensed electrician, a contractor must demonstrate they are capable of following the code.

An unlicensed contractor may not be familiar with the latest version of the code, and could produce shoddy work, not to mention that even a minor mistake could result in serious injury or death. You could also be liable for medical fees if an unlicensed worker injures themselves while working on your property.

While it may seem more affordable to hire an unlicensed contractor in the short-term, you must always take in to account the potential long term costs when getting repairs or renovation. Un-doing the mistakes of an unlicensed contractor can be very costly, not to mention the fees associated with any legal action you or your ex-employee undertake.  

And how do you ensure you’re hiring a licensed contractor? Simple – ask. While this can be harder than it sounds, it’s extremely important to verify you are hiring someone qualified to repair or renovate your home. The earlier you can ask, the better. Something along the lines of: “While you set everything up, could I please see your contractor’s license and your General Liability Insurance card?”

So what are you paying for when you pay hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars more for a licensed contractor? Peace of mind. And it’s totally worth it.

The next time you need to hire a licensed contractor, consider submitting a request through EZBZ. We will connect you with the contractors in your area, so you can compare your options and hire the business that’s best for you. It’s free, quick, and easy.
0 COMMENTS
Share on
By : D. More, 01-29-2016
Kitchen Cabinets: Replace or Reface?
Kitchen cabinets do more than just hold your cups, plates, and pasta – they give your kitchen a funky, fresh look. However, worn-out cabinets can ruin the appearance of your kitchen. What's the solution? You have two choices...
Kitchen Cabinets: Replace or Reface?

Kitchen cabinets do more than just hold your cups, plates, and pasta – they give your kitchen a funky, fresh look. Besides your countertops and appliances, the cabinets really define the appeal of your kitchen. Worn-out and outdated cabinet can ruin the appearance of your kitchen, even when all the other elements are updated in the space. One great way of adding an instant update is by replacing them, but refacing them can also be a great option depending on the budget and condition of your cabinets.

Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets

Refacing involves installation of new drawer fronts and cabinet doors, as well as covering the cabinets' exposed face frames with plastic or wood veneer. The process can take 2 to 4 days depending on kitchen size. All the drawer fronts and doors must be removed when refacing and the old finish roughed up to ready the surface for a new coating. The new coating is either nailed or glued over the old finish to achieve the desired look.

Replacing cabinets can be quite involving and it could take much longer if the ordering and planning of the new cabinets is taken into consideration. Keep in mind that the old cabinets have to be removed and their contents packed away. Although some homeowners can replace the cabinets by themselves, hiring a professional contractor is ideal, since they have the experience in measuring and planning to ensure that your cabinets fit in your kitchen perfectly.

Designing your Cabinets

You typically have 3 options for finish when refacing your cabinets - wood veneer, rigid thermo-foils (RTF), and plastic laminates. You can find laminates in a wide array of colors, although their use is limited to plain cabinet styles due to their rigidity. RTFs can be shaped into a variety of styles as they are made by flexible vinyl foil on medium density fiberboard (MDF). With wood veneer, you can easily get the warm, natural wood look on your cabinets, but you will pay more compared to RTF and laminates.

Replacing your cabinets has expanded options when it comes to cabinet designs, depending on your kitchen size, home decor, and your budget. You can have your cabinets in a wide variety of colors, sizes, styles, and materials.

Cost Comparisons

When you opt to reface your kitchen cabinets, you will notice that it is considerably cheaper than replacing them. Depending on the materials you want and the size of your kitchen, you can save almost half of what you would have spent replacing them, even at the high cost range. Replacing your cabinets includes several hidden costs that must be accounted for in a full remodel. For instance, you need to add the costs of molding, door handles, trim, and delivery charges. Moreover, any walls that were damaged or left exposed after the replacement need to be refinished, which adds on to the total cost.

Quality

A few decades ago, most kitchen cabinets were custom-made with high quality solid wood, constructed in place with excellent construction. The actual construction materials of the cabinets - including the sides, shelves, and surfaces - were stronger and more durable compared to new assembly line made cabinets. They might tend to look great in the store, but don't hold up as well for daily use.

Lead Paint

Despite the several benefits of refacing over replacing your cabinets, sometimes refacing may not be ideal. If your entire kitchen cabinetry was constructed and painted before 1978, the paint is likely to have lead on it. Disturbing or sanding this paint could lead to lead permeating your kitchen if it is not done properly. Although a professional who understands lead abatement can reface the cabinetry effectively, replacing it is the only way to be sure.

Limited Modification Options

Some older houses might have sagging or bowing cabinetry if they were not designed or built well in the first place. Refacing won't fix bad design or poor construction. In such cases, replacing your cabinetry is the best option.

You now have the pros and cons and it is up to you to make an informed decision to begin building your dream kitchen. 

D. More is a home improvement specialist and successful business owner. Check out his site, HouseRemodelingCenter.com for the best in home remodeling.

To get connected with a kitchen cabinet professional or contractor in your area, consider submitting a request through EZBZ. It's free, and takes just thirty seconds. 
1 COMMENTS
Thank you, for the information.
For replacements, remodeling and repairs, a must advisable fact is to get a professional hired for well done output. Recently, my uncle got a similar refurnished kitchen and living room, with a beautified outlook. He even went on some official websites like http://stbremodeling.com and got into clear view conclusion. Preferably you can go with the same. Good luck!
Michael Kuhn
09-13-2016
Share on
By : Amanda Court, 01-24-2016
Tips for Remodeling Your Kitchen

Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Make sure you’re prepared. Remodeling can be a risky and costly process, so it’s important to feel informed and ready. Click here for some tips on how to prepare.

Tips for Remodeling Your Kitchen

When looking to increase the value of their property, many homeowners choose to remodel their kitchen. A fully renovated kitchen can improve the day-to-day functionality of your home, and can improve the overall aesthetic. A modern kitchen can help instill a fresh, clean atmosphere for your entire home.

Of course, any home renovation comes with its list of potential risks. Ensuring your kitchen remodel is not expensive or botched can be a grueling process. Here are some guidelines to help you feel prepared and informed about remodeling your kitchen:

Build Your Budget First  

While this may seem obvious, it’s important to do more than just save a few thousand dollars. Take the time to research different price points for each material you plan to use. Whether you are performing a repair on a preexisting surface, or building out new structures, it is essential that you understand the potential total cost. Use this time to decide if you are willing to splurge on the materials that you really want, and if you’re willing to cut costs for less important decisions. Make sure you to compare quotes when working with contractors and material providers.  

Consider D.I.Y.

A large portion of the total cost of home renovation comes from labor fees. While contractors are a worthwhile investment, you may be able to save on the cost by handling some of the work yourself.  If you’re good with your hands, laying tile and painting can be easy and even fun jobs to do with a friend or family member. Of course, it’s also important not to attempt work that you are not qualified or prepared to do. A licensed contractor should always be hired when doing electrical, structural, or foundation work. While it may seem expensive to hire a professional, hiring a contractor can help you save in the long-term by reducing damage or repair costs.

Don’t Forget the Small Things

If your kitchen remodel is stressing you out, it’s easy to forget some of the small, yet integral, aspects of the renovation. When installing a new, high-end stove, ensure it has proper ventilation and exhaust. If you’re changing the landscape of your kitchen, the lighting will probably need to be upgraded as well. Planning ahead and ensuring you’re financially prepared for any setbacks mean that you can minimize worry and stress, and think things through clearly and sensibly.

Start From Scratch

If you’re planning on remodeling your kitchen, many contractors will recommend that you gut your current kitchen and start from scratch. This advice isn’t just so you’ll pay them for more work – it’s actually a logical decision. If your kitchen is old, there is a chance that there are problems with the electrical wiring, plumbing, or foundation – issues that may not necessarily be in plain sight.  Tearing your kitchen apart and starting from scratch is a great way to make sure there aren’t any urgent issues with the internal framework of your kitchen that could be very costly later on. Why risk having to tear apart your brand new kitchen in six months because of mold or a burst pipe, when you could address and prevent these issues at the start of your renovation?

Ultimately, it’s easy to have a successful and affordable kitchen remodel provided you put in the time to research and brainstorm all the potential costs and risks. EZBZ is a great tool for homeowners who are considering a renovation. Simply visit www.myezbz.com/category/kitchen-remodeling, and submit a request for anything you need. It’s a great way to compare quotes for contractors, materials, even appliances for your completed kitchen.  EZBZ is determined to help homeowners have the kitchen of their dreams, as quickly and affordably as possible.

1 COMMENTS
Need moving services while remodeling.
Sometimes a little help is needed with remodelling that involves moving furniture out of the way. If that's is your case, it's best to let professional moving companies handle. You won't regret it.
Colonial Van Lines
11-25-2016
Share on
By : Brendan Mitchell, 01-12-2016
Adding an Awning or Canopy
Spring is finally on its way and with it, warmth and sunshine. A great way to protect yourself from the heat – while still enjoying all that spring has to offer – is by investing in an awning or canopy. Click here to learn more.
Adding an Awning or Canopy

Spring is finally on its way, and with it, warmth and sunshine. Almost everything is nicer in spring. The sun is shining, the birds are whistling, the flowers are blooming… Even the people seem nicer! It’s certainly the best time of year to enjoy the outdoors. A great way to protect yourself from the heat – while still enjoying all that spring has to offer – is by investing in an awning or canopy.

An awning can be attached to the exterior wall of a building, and is a good way to provide additional shade to the perimeter of your home. It’s a great option for homeowners that like to enjoy the outdoors without venturing too far from the house. A retractable awning also allows you to have the best of both worlds. That is, soaking up the sunshine or relaxing in the shade depending on how you feel. An awning can also help you save energy -  installing awnings above windows can help prevent heat entering your home, reducing the need for air conditioning or a fan. There are retractable awnings on the market from as little as $500, and some top-shelf brands available for over $2000. Either way, if you’re considering installing an awning, you can probably find one that fits your budget. Concierge services like EZBZ are a great way to compare the options in your local area, and find a company that can install the right awning for the right price.

Canopies are great for providing shade for outdoor events and activities. Canopies can dramatically vary in size, providing shade for anything from a small picnic between friends, to a wedding reception for eighty guests. For this reason, it’s important to consider some things before purchasing a canopy. What size canopy do you need? How difficult is it to assemble? Does it need to be able to endure certain weather conditions?

Of course, research like this is important when purchasing any product, and can easily be done online. Determining your budget, and what you can expect to pay, can be a little more difficult.  Just like an awning, a canopy price can vary from several hundred dollars, to several thousand.

EZBZ is a great way to expedite the research process, and find the awning or canopy right for you. All you have to do is go to www.myezbz.com/category/awnings-canopies and submit a free request. Local providers and installation companies will reply to you directly with their information, availability and estimates. It’s a great way to compare your options and find a fair price, while avoiding hours of research and phone calls.

0 COMMENTS
Share on
By : Deborah Belancourt, 12-01-2015
Design Considerations for a Kitchen Remodel
You don’t have to be a top chef to have a well-designed kitchen. With today’s growing foodie demographic and more consumers worried about increasing allergy and food safety concerns the kitchen is once again becoming a well-used room in the home. Whether you’re a new cook or seasoned chef you have a few things to consider when designing your dream kitchen to avoid throwing your whisk in defeat and running to your stack of menus for satiety.
Design Considerations for a Kitchen Remodel

You don’t have to be a top chef to have a well-designed kitchen. With today’s growing foodie demographic and more consumers worried about increasing allergy and food safety concerns the kitchen is once again becoming a well-used room in the home. Whether you’re a new cook or seasoned chef you have a few things to consider when designing your dream kitchen to avoid throwing your whisk in defeat and running to your stack of menus for satiety.

First, take a few minutes and think of how you use your kitchen. Do you rush home in the evening itching to wear your apron and increase your knife and sauté skills or are you running out of storage for all the reusable take out containers. A kitchen remodel can get pretty pricey if you are only basing it on a vision rather than its actual use. To a chef size does matter, if you will be bumping elbows with one or several sous chef you may want to reconsider that island.

Now that you’ve determined your kitchen needs, pick a budget and stick to it. The bigger the remodel the bigger the bite to your savings. Aesthetics matter just as much as the appliances so consider the cost of paint, flooring, a back splash and lighting as well. You may need to upgrade your electrical, plumbing, insulation and windows especially when renovating an older home or adding fun kitchen gadgets. Always make sure you keep emergency funds for anything that may pop up.

Depending on your budget you have a pretty wide range of appliances to choose from. You have your essential refrigerator and oven, your useful microwave and dishwasher and a long list of kitchen gadgets, always a great addition to any kitchen, such as slow cookers and electric pressure cookers. There are many stylish appliances that won’t break the bank, just refer to your budget to determine how much you can spend.

Make sure your kitchen has enough storage by adding cabinets, shelves or better yet a pantry. Cluttered counters are enough to irritate the most patient of home cooks. For better accessibility you can add drawers and Lazy Susans.

Windows and skylights placed appropriately are a cost effective way to bring more light into your kitchen. Nothing brings out your dishes like natural light. In case of nightfall remember to invest appropriate lighting. Because of the cabinets and appliances a kitchen may be enveloped with shadows, this is why it’s great to invest in different forms of lighting such as under cabinet lighting, island lighting and cook-top lighting.

Now that you’ve got all your ducks in a row it’s time to hire a professional to take care of the remodel. You might find the perfect contractor after your first interview but it’s generally recommended that you interview 3-4. Show them the kitchen, your list of needs and budget. Get all costs itemized and in writing, agree on a down payment. Visit an existing work site and get the names of suppliers and a few references. You can also ask family and friends who’ve had a recent kitchen remodel about their experience with their General Contractor. Take a look at the finished product and get as much detail on the before and after.

Should you need assistance finding the right contractor, simply EZBZ it by going to www.myezbz.com and posting a request.

0 COMMENTS
Share on
By : Elizabeth Humbal, 11-06-2015
Modifications and Repairs for Aging Safely at Home
Modifying homes and making them safer and more accessible allows the elderly to stay independently in their homes during their twilight years. There are a variety of remodeling ideas for aging in place since most homes are not set up well for living independently as we grow older. To successfully age in your own home it must be aligned with both your physical and mental capabilities to ensure safety at all times. This article features important tips for preparing a home for elderly independent living.
Modifications and Repairs for Aging Safely at Home

Modifying homes and making them safer and more accessible allows the elderly to stay independently in their homes during their twilight years. There are a variety of remodeling ideas for aging in place since most homes are not set up well for living independently as we grow older. To successfully age in your own home it must be aligned with both your physical and mental capabilities to ensure safety at all times. Here are important features for a great home prepared for retirement:  

House Cleaning Services
A recent survey of people over the age of 75 revealed that 95% of them planned to stay in their homes indefinitely. Although some have little or no trouble performing basic household chores most seniors find such tasks gradually more difficult as they age which increases the likelihood of serious injury. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), each year approximately one in three adults over 65 suffers from a fall related injury each year. Falls are not only the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma, but also the leading cause of injury death in adults over the age of 65.

One way to help prevent injuries and provide some relief to seniors living at home is to hire a regular cleaning service to help with chores they are no longer able to do themselves. In addition to helping a senior keep their home clean and improving a senior's quality of life, a house cleaning service also provides seniors an opportunity for social interaction. Often seniors become less able to leave their homes as they get older, leading to loneliness and depression. Regular interaction with others, even occasional visits from a house cleaning service, can help to reduce these feelings of loneliness. 

Bedroom and Bathroom Entry Level Access
With growing older, comes a fair share of physical challenges. Therefore, the potential for engaging in activities like sleeping, bathing, and eating on a home's entry level is important to the elderly interested in independent living. 

Wheelchair Accessible Kitchen
It's also important to lower the wall and floor cabinets to have easier access and visibility to their contents. It may also be helpful to install pullout shelves. Have an open space beneath the stovetop and the sink to give you an access to these amenities without having a wide gap. 

Raised Toilet Seats
A raised toilet seat or addition of a riser or lifter offers a solution if the height of the toilets in the home create a challenge. Risers or lifters can add about three to five inches to your toilet seat's height, making it easier for you to sit down and get up. It can be difficult to realize how important extra height is until you're in need of assistance due to a disability or a temporary injury.

Walk-in Bathtubs
Many injuries happen in the bathroom when an elderly person is trying to navigate a bath or shower. The required physical strength and movement required to navigate standard basins can be underestimated, resulting in falls that can be devastating to a persons health. This can easily be remedied with the installation of a walk-in bathtub.

Door Handles
Doorknobs are best replaced them with lever style door handles as they are easier to turn to open a door. With a lever door handle, only a little downward pressure is necessary to easily unlatch a door. This hardware is especially valuable for persons suffering from reduced strength, movement or arthritis. 

Wide Doorways and Hallways
For those who are in, or anticipate needing a wheelchair, it’s best to widen doorways to ensure ease of access. Make sure there is at least 2 inches on each side of a standard wheelchair when entering a doorway or hallway, to ensure there will be enough space for turning around. When looking at a wheelchair's dimensions, also consider the wheels because several wheelchair specifications may pertain to the wheelchair seat's width and not the entire chair. 

Home modifications can help ease the physical challenges that senior loved ones may face without turning the home into a clinical setting. By adapting our living environment for aging in place through modifications, it can make our homes safer, more comfortable and user friendly. If you need help with making modifications, you can always submit a free request to find a home modification expert.

1 COMMENTS
Nice article. It's our duty to take care of our parents thanks for the tips. Recently my brother had remodeled our master bathroom by installing vinyl tiles which are the popular choices for safety and comfort. He had also installed a walk-in bathtub with an extra feature of hydrotherapy jet, which provide effective results for the health issues that our mother was suffering from arthritis. So by getting in contact with the professionals like (http://www.spinlife.com) he had installed the walk-in shower, which not only provided a safety but also enhance our bathroom.
Cynthia McCree
05-18-2017
Share on
By : Samantha Dimm, 10-26-2015
Giving New Life to a Cast-Iron Bath Tub
We are renovating some parts of the house including the guest bathroom. It is one of the only places in the house that has not been yet been refurbished. It has always seemed like a daunting task for us, with its old fixtures and fittings. The entire bathroom is very big and it has an old claw foot style bath in there. It’s a wonderful big soaker! But, it has seen significantly better days. In truth, when I take my rose colored glasses off, it’s more disgusting than romantic. The enamel on it has chips that are beyond vintage chic and the rust of the cast-iron is also visible.
Giving New Life to a Cast-Iron Bath Tub

My husband and I live in our family home in historic Virginia. It is an old house and has been in my family for quite some time now, passed down from generation to generation. I inherited it from my aunt who didn’t have any children of her own. We are renovating some parts of the house including the guest bathroom. It is one of the only places in the house that has not been yet been refurbished. It has always seemed like a daunting task for us, with its old fixtures and fittings. The entire bathroom is very big and it has an old claw foot style bath in there. It’s a wonderful big soaker! But, it has seen significantly better days. In truth, when I take my rose colored glasses off, it’s more disgusting than romantic. The enamel on it has chips that are beyond vintage chic and the rust of the cast-iron is also visible.

Anyone who has done a similar home renovation or, at least the research, knows it is difficult to find durable oversized baths such as this on a reasonable budget. When once they were a standard in homes, they are now a luxury item. Given this, we decided that we would quest to preserve it, rather than sell it as salvage. I myself am a lover of old things, I think they were made better and more durable than what we use now. But, we are going to have to do a lot to this tub if it is to be a part of our updated home decor. 

There are shops that offer the service of refinishing old tubs and sinks. With an item as big and heavy as this, the work is typically done on site, however with smaller sinks, pedestals and other fixtures, the restorations can also be done at their repair shops.

The restoration process includes spraying the fixture with a resin coating made of acrylic urethane. This is the perfect remedy for getting the antique porcelain looking like new. From what I’ve found, the work costs $350-500 on average, though I suspect this will vary based on geography too. Nonetheless, that is significantly less than buying a tub like this brand new! 

There are three steps involved in the cast-iron tub restoration process:

  • The first is sanding down the fixture. A skilled company will do this by sandblasting to powerfully and evenly clean and smooth the surface. The old finish is removed to make way for the new one. Depending on the degree of damage, it may not be necessary to bring the item down to the full metal. It is also possible just to remove a top layer of finish.
  • The second step is repairing cracks and chips. All the imperfections in that are found are fixed before the final step commences
  • The last step is the adding of primer then the new layers and the top coat.

The length of time the entire refinishing process varies according to the company that undertakes the job. On average however, I’ve been told it takes from two to four weeks before the fixture is ready for use. I can’t wait until this is done!

If you need help finding someone to repair your vintage tub, or if you want to search for claw foot tub to work with, you can always submit a free inquiry to www.myezbz.com

0 COMMENTS
Share on
By : Kristen Glehan, 05-04-2015
Choosing the Right Type of Wood for Your Custom Projects

Natural wood is one of the warmest and most versatile elements used in interior design. It can be utilized as an accent or as anchor point and transform a space into virtually any style. Interested in a rugged rustic look? Or, more drawn by French country style? Both are easy to accomplish with wood. As is old-time sophistication, or the uber masculine style Ernest Hemingway was known for. Even a sleek contemporary edge can be had with wood!

Choosing the Right Type of Wood for Your Custom Projects

Natural wood is one of the warmest and most versatile elements used in interior design. It can be utilized as an accent or as anchor point and transform a space into virtually any style. Interested in a rugged rustic look? Or, more drawn by French country style? Both are easy to accomplish with wood. As is old-time sophistication, or the uber masculine style Ernest Hemingway was known for. Even a sleek contemporary edge can be had with wood!

Many home owners enjoy the look of natural wood, but are unfamiliar with the differences between one type or another. This brief guide will provide a quick summary of the most popular and readily available options! In future posts, we’ll make recommendations for how to achieve some of the styles mentioned above, so check back!

HARDWOODS:

OAK

Oak is one of the most commonly utilized woods in home projects, primarily due to its durability and availability. While there are several dozen species of oak, it is most simply considered in two basic varieties, white and black (also known as red). The primary difference between the two will be the shade of the wood. White oaks tend to have more of a blonde appearance, while black or red oaks have more of a reddish hue.

Oak is a popular choice for furnishings, floors and cabinets. Many homeowners elect not to stain oak, opting for a gloss finish. Over time natural oak will darken slightly, with white oak taking on more of a yellowish hue. The grain of oak tends to be straight and the texture of the wood coarse and uneven. Even with glossed woods, you can often feel a slight roughness beneath the surface, unless it has been heavily buffed in the finishing process.

MAPLE

Maple is one of the most recognizable woods to anyone who is familiar with American colonial furnishings. It has been a popular choice within contemporary furniture designs also, given its versatility and ability to be stained to shades closer to more expensive cherry wood. It is a highly durable and beautiful wood, known for its ability to resist considerable impact. For this reason, it is an excellent choice for kitchen areas such as center aisles and butcher blocks, as well flooring and furnishings in other parts of the home!

Perhaps one of the best features of maple is the obvious non-toxic advantage. It’s hard to resist a wood that also brings us the wonderful sweet syrup used at breakfast. Yes, those same trees that are tapped when young for sap, grow gracefully into the source we rely upon for home building and design!

CHERRY

Cherry, also known as fruitwood is another favorite wood for making furniture items. It is a moderately hard, closed-grain wood that starts as light brown with a few small knots. It slowly darkens after exposure to light and change can be seen within the first couple of weeks. After a few months, it usually turns into rich light brown. If both new and old pieces are left unstained, their colors tend to become progressively similar. Quite a good number of people prefer to use it for making furniture because of its appealing color and strength. Its relatively hard nature makes it resistant to common dings.

Cherry can be a costly wood, although there is no mistaking its rich color when entering a room. It is a beautiful choice for cabinetry and also flooring, especially in small spaces where it can be the star! Bother cherry veneers and solids make fine choices, depending on budget.

MAHOGANY

Mahogany is considered a traditional furniture wood which is popular for its rich color and straight and smooth grain. This unique feature enables it to have a good quality finish. Mahogany can withstand moisture, which makes it a popular choice among carpenters and designers for making doors and other outdoor woodwork projects.

It’s important to know the origins of Mahogany, to avoid finding yourself with a wood that is called mahogany, but isn’t actually mahogany at all! True mahogany is indigenous to Africa, South America and Central America, with African mahogany typically being the lowest grade. When coming across mahogany from the Phillipines, buyer beware, it is most typically a much less expensive hardwood similar in appearance to mahogany, but not related to mahogany at all.

WALNUT

Walnut is a beautiful, strong and versatile wood with a warm, nutty color to it. It is strong and durable, yet not excessively heavy, which makes it great for a range of projects from flooring to cabinetry and furnishings. It handles finishes quiet well, which is great for emphasizing or evolving the natural beauty. Walnut, more than many other types of wood shows a rich grain, burls, mottles and striping. It ranges from light to dark in color.

SOFTWOODS

PINE

Pine is a soft and affordable wood, most commonly used in country designs. Uses ranger from cabinetry to flooring, paneling and furnishings, with the end-user aware the wood will show considerable wear over time. Although, that wear is often what gives pine its charm. Barn wood and broad board floors made of pine have been appealing to designers for years, due to the authentic rustic look each brings to a space. Pine furniture can also be purchased unfinished, for painting and staining to the desired end result.

CEDAR

Although cedar is categorized as soft wood, it is still considered somewhat durable and weather resistant. For this reason cedar is preferred for outdoor furniture and living spaces. When utilized in this manner, it is important to treat it, or protect it from the harshest elements, to extend its life.

Cedar starts off with a red-tan hue, which dulls to a medium grey when exposed to the elements. It is a light-weight wood, with some knots that is easy to work with. Cedar is also highly fragrant, with natural essential oils known for keeping moths and other insects at bay. Given this, cedar makes a great choice for closet construction.

CYPRESS

Similar to cedar, cypress is a soft wood that is considered durable and weather resistant. It is sort of a little sibling to hardwood, often grown alongside, harvested and processed at the same time. This, is a testament to its strength! This silver-grey wood is a popular choice for building decks, siding and outdoor furniture given its appealing look and resistance to insects and decay. Cypress contains a natural preservative that helps it stay durable over time. When given a choice, old growth is always preferable over new growth. The newer growth can still contain sap and bleed out at times.

Now what?

If you've done your research and are ready to act, consider submitting a request through EZBZ to find the service providers or suppliers to complete your design project! Whether it's finding a supplier of a specific type of wood, an interior designer to help guide you in the selection process or a contractor to build or install your dream cabinet and floors, we can help!

Submit a request via EZBZ

1 COMMENTS
Thank you, for the information. White oak could be the most beautifying and wonderful choice for for use. Recently one of my friend used the same and the kitchen just gloomed the house. So an advice to use white oak in woods could be preferred. Good luck!
Michael Kuhn
09-13-2016
Share on
Close

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice

Message: Undefined variable: box

Filename: blogs/blog.php

Line Number: 284