Archive for March, 2013

Northern Climates – Spring Home Maintenance

Northern Climates - Spring Home MaintenanceMany areas in the northern half of the USA and most of Canada are just emerging from the annual deep freeze of winter. We posted on our blog a check list covering this subject back in March. We thought that it would be a good idea to repeat this post or at least reference it again.  Consumers all through the northern areas of North America and even northern Europe are just now thinking about all of the home maintenance  things they need to do to get their homes ready for the summer time. Most people focus on their yards and the planting of flowers, trimming some shrubs and cleaning up garden beds. But there are many more things that should be considered as part of the spring home maintenance.

A link to the post is – Spring Home Maintenance.  We have a long list that consumers should find helpful as they go about the job of getting their homes ready for the summer.

If you are the type that does not like to do this type of work, consider hiring someone to do this work for you. Even though it will cost a bit of money, this is a far better thing to do than to let things go. You will eventually have to spend a lot more money repairing various items around your home  than if you just keep everything maintained. This is where you can really save a lot of money in the long run around your home. Small regular maintenance bills are far easier to handle than one large repair job that took place because you did not do the regular maintenance activity.

Spring Home Maintenance – First Steps

The first step that we believe all home owners should consider is to take a walk around their home outdoors and assess if there are any improvements that need to be completed and if there any repairs that need to be completed. Repairs should be at the top of the list to avoid further expense.  For example if there is a piece of siding missing or cracked, it will let water, animals and insects into your home. Take note of these items and repair them as quickly as possible depending on the potential for more damage to your home if they are left un-repaired. In the next paragraph, we discuss an example of what we mean by this statement.

Clearing Eaves Troughs

This is a good example of saving money in the long run. Lets assume that you do not bother with the eaves trough and just leave them full of leaves and other material. The trough will be full of water most of the summer, with the material in the trough rotting away and creating an acidic mixture that over time will eat away at the eaves trough. You will need to replace them far in advance of when they normally should be replaced.

In addition this constant moisture will cause your shingles to deteriorate a little faster in this area. In the fall when it freezes, you now have a heavy weight on the trough due to the snow and ice which over time will cause them to sag. They are now beginning to look ugly and you will have to either replace them or at the very least spend money repairing them.

A few hours a year will avoid this entire cost and aggravation. In addition during a heavy rain, the water coming off your roof will flood your eaves trough and overflow onto the ground below. This totally defeats the purpose of having eaves troughs in the first place. You could even have leakage into your basement if there is a lot of water standing around your basement walls. Water in your basement especially if it is finished, can cause a great deal of damage.

We will keep this post short , but we want to draw your attention to the spring home maintenance list that we prepared a few months ago. A link to the post is – Spring Home Maintenance.

Add your comments. Our readers will appreciate your comments and suggestion of home maintenance that you need to follow-up on.

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Text Messaging for Business

Text Messaging for BusinessText messaging for business has really taken off in the last few years as more and more people have cell phones and smart phones. It is not uncommon to see people texting at all kinds of hours and places. This is one of the reasons that companies offer text messaging service and also use text messaging to enhance the services they offer to their customers. Consumers are texting while they walk along the street and unfortunately in their cars as well. We do not support texting and driving or even looking at your phone while driving. This activity just causes to many accidents when you become distracted and are not watching where you are going with your car.

Text Messaging for Business – Alerts

Text messaging can be used to send alerts to both employees as well as clients.  A text message can alert you that you have a voice mail waiting. They can include weather alerts or sales of stocks, or let people know about confirmation that someone has agreed to your meeting invitation. There are so many text messaging for business applications available that it would be difficult to even begin to list them all.

Traditional text messaging for business has competition. With the introduction of the smart phone and text messaging applications on these smart phones, consumers and business people now have alternative applications that they can use to send sms messages to other smart phones with the same app installed in their phones.

Text Messaging for Business – Competition

These same apps can usually send text messaging messages to cell phones as well. There are literally hundreds of apps that are available or being developed to meet this need for both advertising as well as sending content. Some apps are totally free because they use the internet to send and receive the text messages. These apps have advertising on the app that users see which helps to pay for the development and operational expenses.

We were recently in an Izod store looking at some of the many shirts and pants that they have on sale at ridiculously low prices. I am a member of their IZOD loyalty group and we went to the store on that particular day to take advantage of an additional 30% savings coupon that they had sent to me in the mail.

This is a huge savings and we really purchased more than we might have had we not had this coupon which is their objective right. Well we notice a sign in the store that basically said they would give us an additional $5 off our purchase if we sent a text message to their text message service. We did and we immediately received a text message with an additional $5 in savings on our purchases that day!

We now will receive additional alerts by text from time to time. This is a great example of how text messaging can increase customer loyalty.

For more about text messaging, click here.


Tire Repair

Tire Maintenance is CriticalTire repair, is it worth it or not to have your tires repaired when you have a flat? In most cases the answer is yes, however there are some situations where you really have no choice about repairing or not repairing your tire. In these situations, you pretty much have to purchase a new tire instead of repairing the tire and you might have to replace all four tires, not just the one that was flat.

Tire Side Wall Problems

Any time a tire has a sidewall problem; all tire repair garages are going to tell you not to risk trying to repair the tire. In fact they will not repair the tire for you since they cannot repair the tire and provide any kind of warranty for their work. They are doing this for your own safety as well as their protection. Consumers in this situation will pretty much be faced with buying a new tire to replace the one that was damaged. The tire has lost the strength it had in the side walls and could blow out very easily even at low speeds as well as at high speeds which could be catastrophic.

Tire sidewall problems occur from being hit from the side. This can be cause by many situations, but usually it is due to hitting the curb too hard and damaging the rim and or the tire itself. If the rim is damaged, you may have to replace the rim as well. A tire side wall can also be damaged by driving too far on a flat tire. Even a few hundred feet can ruin the tire beyond repair, so take care about how far you travel on a flat tire. There are lots of other situations that can cause tire side walls to give out, but if it happens to you, you can be sure that the tire will need to be replaced.

A friend of ours had a flat on the highway and by the time he was able to slow down, change lanes safely and get to the side of the highway his tire was ruined. He had driven to far on a flat tire.

Tire Repair – Bald Flat Tires

If your tires are well used and you get a flat tire, it may be time to buy new tires for all four wheels instead of trying to repair the tire. If the tire is bald, the tire repair store is not going to repair the tire for you since they cannot warranty the tire for you. This will trigger a new tire purchase as well.

If all of the tires are bald, or nearing the end of their life, you may want to replace all four tires rather than just purchase the single tire. All tires should be roughly the same in terms of mileage and they should all be of the same kind and make to ensure maximum efficiency as well as stability when driving at highway speeds. Do not replace the flat tire with a different kind of tire since it is important to have all four tires exactly the same to provide maximum balance and comfort when you are driving.

Sometimes you can make a deal with the tire store when you are purchasing four tires from a dealer. Don’t hesitate to negotiate the best deal you can.


Property Manager Training

Property ManagementProperty management training can be learned on the job and in the classroom. There is nothing like on the job training for many professions, including property managers; however no one wants to pay for someone to be trained on the job and have to live with their mistakes. Most property managers will take a variety of courses these days to certify them for property management and to ensure that they understand the basics of what it takes to manage a building and all of the associated tenant issues. A well-trained property manager can save you thousands of dollars in better tenants and reduced expenses! Better tenants cause less damage and some will even spend small amounts improving their units in return for great service and good relations with the property manager.

Property Manager Training

Other Aspects of Property Management

Property management is also much more than just dealing with maintenance of various components that are required to keep a building safe and operational. There can be a lot of interaction with clients. This interaction can be with the owners who want status updates, who want see that their money is invested wisely and spent in a manner that makes sense for them and the tenants. Above all they would like the opportunity to continue making a profit going forward in time.

There is also a lot of interaction with tenants as well. In one respect the property manager is representing the owner. They are the interface that the tenants see possibly every day and their frustration etc with owner policies can be taken out on the property manager. The property manage is also the guy who can help the tenants with a lot of minor issues which enhances the reputation of both the owners and management. It is the property manager’s job to interpret the guidelines imposed by the owner and apply them to many different situations that may arise with tenants and with the building he or she is responsible for.

Property Management is a People Job

In many cases property management must also be a people job. With all of the interaction with tenants, owners, various trades that come to the property to do some kind of work and guests of the tenants, property managers need to have excellent people skills as well. Diffusing a situation that could erupt and involve all tenants for example can make for a far more harmonious workplace as well as save everyone a lot to time, energy and emotional distress. Property managers must be good at dealing with and managing people without getting everyone upset.

Property management training does not always cover these practical aspects of managing a building. Really this is more about interactions with customers and management. It is about dealing with problems and solving them. It is about people management, conflict management and communications. Not all property management courses cover these areas or provide training in communications for example

Local Bylaws and City or State Laws

Another area that property managers must pay attention to is local laws and bylaws that might affect the day-to-day decision-making when it comes to dealing with tenants, trades and city inspectors. Most people do not even realize that in some cities there are bylaws covering a multitude of issues and as a property manager it is your job to be aware of those that may affect your job and the building you are responsible to manage. If you decide to move to a new city to take a property management job, some time should be spent getting to know all of the local bylaws that might impact your new job.

At the very least, spend some time reviewing the major ones that could get you or your owners in a spot of trouble.


LED Lights Return on Your Investment

LED LightLED Light bulbs are very expensive and we were wondering how can a consumer possible justify spending $35 per bulb when an incandescent bulb costs less than a dollar and fluorescent bulbs cost around $4? With such a difference in price we did not think that the ROI would be very good and if these bulbs did save you money, it would take a long time for the payback to work. In fact, I might not even own the house by the time they pay for themselves!

I discussed this with a friend of ours and he had the same concern. In fact he said that the LED bulbs will last many years before they stop working and he would be long dead, so why would you invest in these kinds of bulbs. A bit of stark reality, but this is another perspective to take into account.

How Long Do LED Light Bulbs Last

Regular incandescent bulbs will last about 1200 hours on average, while a fluorescent bulb will last 10,000 hours and a LED Light is supposed to last 50,000 hours. We have 3 lights at the front of our house which are on all night long. On average they may be on for 10 hours a night which means the incandescent bulbs will only last 120 days, the fluorescent will last a long longer up to 1000 day or 2.7 years, while the LED’s will last 14 years.

What is My ROI

We plugged these numbers into a ROI calculator which assumed the cost of electricity was $.09 / Kwh, the lights were on for 10 hours per day, there were 3 lights, and the cost of the LED Lights were $35 a piece.  The results were quite interesting over a period of 1 year.

Incandescent bulbs are going to cost $121 to operate the bulbs while the LED Light would cost $7.72 which is a huge savings. Over a 10 year period this amounts to $1113 in cost savings taking into account the cost to operate and to purchase replacement bulbs.

florescent bulbs cost a little more to operate on an annual basis at $14.58, while the savings over 10 years is lower around $900. LED’s are shatter proof and do not contain mercury which is a huge concern for pollution issues and safety.

Switching To LED Lights

Most stores still sell incandescent bulbs, however they are reducing stock significantly as time moves on. There is a gradual shift from fluorescent bulbs as well to the LED’s/ Fluorescent have come down in price a great deal over the last few years and we expect that LED’s will  also come down in price as they are mass produced.

I would consider switching to LED’s even with the high cost, for my outdoor lights since we keep them on all night long. They will cost more initially, however they will last much longer as well and no maintenance is needed and they do not generate heat.

For rooms inside our home, I would only switch from fluorescent lights for lights that we use a lot in rooms were the lights may be on for more than 5 hours a day. This eliminates most rooms except for the family room and kitchen. Next time I need to replace some lights, which are all fluorescent lights now, I will strongly consider the LED lights. As they come down in cost, I will reconsider this approach. Right now it would cost far too much to replace the bulbs I already have.

Another calculator looked at the cost to light a room for 50,000 hours which is the length of time a LED is supposed to last. They compared the operating cost, plus the cost of the bulb with the same operating costs for the fluorescent and incandescent bulbs for 50,000 hours. The cost of replacement bulbs were factored in since they only last 10,000 and 1,200 hours respectively.

The cost to operate these bulbs over 50,000 hours including the cost of the bulbs was:

  • Incandescent : $352.50
  • fluorescent : $89.75
  • LED : $85.75

These are significant savings and one that consumers should look at if you still have regular incandescent bulbs. It just makes so much sense to switch now to the more energy efficient bulbs.

Comments and thoughts are welcome. Spam comments are auto deleted.


Dustless Hardwood FloorRefinishing

Dustless Hardwood FloorRefinishingSanding a hardwood floor using an industrial sander is going to produce unbelievable amounts of dust. This dust will find it’s way into every nook and cranny of your home. The contractor or the homeowner  could use an industrial vacuum while sanding with a vacuum attachment. In addition the dust floats through the air and while it will permeate the home, it also stays in the room you are sanding. Obtaining a perfect finish to the floor while you are apply a protective urethane or whatever finish you use is almost impossible.

Spec’s of dust will land on the floor before it has a chance to dry. Suddenly you have all of these dust marks that have now dried into the finish. Use a vacuum attached to the sander to remove over 90% of the dust to an outside dust collector. Then use a tact cloth to capture the remaining dust on the floor and the walls.

Dustless Hardwood FloorRefinishing

Even if you sand by hand, which is very hard work, dust will be stirred up as you walk around and although not as messy you are still going to find dust in all of the wrong places. The dust adheres to clothes and is picked up by the least bit of draft and spreads throughout the house in no time at all.

If you have a forced air furnace, make sure that you always turn the furnace off before you begin dusting. With the fan on or when the furnace comes on to heat the house, the dust from sanding is literally going to be picked up and blown throughout the house. The filter on your furnace will catch some of it, but the finer particles will get through and be blown throughout your home. If you do not mind dusting, I guess it would be ok, but that is not what we are looking to spend our time doing.

Use a Dustless Floor Sander When Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Attaching an industrial vacuum to your sander is by far the best approach to sanding hardwood floors. These vacuums will suck almost 100% of the dust out of the room and collect it in a canister outside your home. There will be very little dust remaining inside your home and no dusting needed. In addition with no suspended particles in the air to fall on a wet floor while it is being coated with whatever finish you plan to use, there will be an almost perfect finish to the floor.

Always make sure that the vacuum that is being used with the sander is vented outside of your home. If you do not do this, you are really defeating the purpose of using a vacuum in the first place. Although the filter in the vacuum will capture many of the dust particles, some of the micro particles are going to get through and be distributed inside your home. Venting the vacuum outside will make sure that this dust goes outside and stays outside.

Still Need to Clean

The work you avoid in terms of cleaning and dusting after words will also be appreciated by your spouse. No one wants to have to dust everything and we mean absolutely everything, including the curtains or blinds and even the walls. Avoiding this kind of work is by far a superior approach. It might cost a bit more to use a dustless sander, but compared to doing all of the cleaning after words, the extra cost will be well worth it.

The amount of dust is significantly reduced, however consumers should be aware that there still may be a fine dusting of wood particles on your furniture etc, so be prepared to do some dusting after the floor is finished.

Most people will have to do some dusting in their homes after sanding, but the more steps you take to limit the dust generation and distribution, the less you will have to work afterwords to clean everything up.

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Property Management Maintenance

Property Manager OnlineProperty management maintenance is so important for owners as well as renters and most of the time neither is completely happy. Renters never feel that the maintenance that is done on their building that they live in is fast enough and it is never good enough. Owners feel that the maintenance costs too much, that renters are damaging their property and just do not care enough to take good care of the building they live in.  It is a fine line and at the end of the day, there must be enough money to pay for everything and still make a profit for the owner without totally gauging the tenant.

Caught in between is the property manager who must work to find a balance between both parties without spending more money than what they need to. Sometimes he or she will assess the tenant for obvious damages, sometimes they will delay minor repairs to group several together and save money by only having one service call. And sometimes they will delay major maintenance by using temporary measures simply because there is not enough money to cover everything when it is needed. But the property manager ultimately works for the owner and is the owners representative on the property. It is the property managers responsibility to implement the policies and guidelines of the owners at all times using their best judgement in many different situations.

Making matters worse is the government which regulates how quickly you can raise rental rates to pay for increasing taxes, interest rates and property management maintenance which goes up almost every year. Building a budget that factors in these increases and the rent increases sometimes will help property managers and the owners keep a building looking great for many years. In fact budgeting for repairs and building up a fund to handle emergencies and major repairs is just sound business practice.

Property Management Maintenance – Budgeting

Rental properties are some of the most difficult buildings to manage from a maintenance perspective for many of the reasons mentioned above. In addiction, for rental buildings there usually must be two separate and distinct budgets.

One budget must be set up to manage and pay for all tenant related expenses associated with the units that are being rented.  This would include any repainting, carpet cleaning and repairs after a tenant moves out. If the repairs are normal wear and tear, then the owner must absorb these costs out of the general revenue for the property. Appliances only last so long and carpets need to be replaced every so many years. Damages must be repaired for and paid, prior to collecting anything from the tenant. This all must be accounted for and included in a budget so that there is money available to cover these expenses. If damages are being assessed against a tenant, the owner must make the repairs and pay for them prior to collecting from the tenant.

The second budget that must be set up is for the building itself. This would include all common expenses and may include cleaning, window washing, common lighting, snow removal, garbage removal, repairs to the roof or windows and so on. Some of these expenses are operational in nature in that they occur on a regular basis weekly or monthly, while others should be accounted for over a longer term. A roof replacement is a good example and ideally money should be set aside every year to handle all major repairs such as this. In some locations, budgeting for these expenses is in fact part of the bylaws of the building particularly if the building is a condo and all expenses are shared by multiple owners.

There is a lot of responsibility for property managers. They are accountable for everything that goes on at the building they are managing. Hiring an excellent property manager who has experience and a good relationship with all parties will make a huge difference with everyone.


Yike Bike Review

Would you ride around on a Yike Bike? The picture on the left shows a man in Paris France riding or rather sitting on this electric bike traveling around the city. It does not look really that comfortable to sit on, never the less it could be useful for traveling around the city. When you are finished using it or get to where you want to go, it folds into a small space easy for carrying and storing. In our research we did not come across the weight of the Yike Bike so do not know just how heavy this is to carry around. You certainly would not want to have to carry it very far if you are out shopping or going to work. I think they should find something that is more comfortable to ride on as well. We have listed the specs below for the Yike Bike and comments we found from several people to give you a perspective on what people think about the bike who have actually tried it. If you have comments on the Yike Bike from personal experience, we would love to hear about it. Let us know if you think this will be something that will catch on!

The Technical Specs for the Yike Bike

The specs for this bike at the time of writing this post were as follows:

  • 10 km range for the battery, extra batteries can take you further
  • Battery recharge in 50 minutes with optional fast charger
  • Top speed is 23 km/hour
  • Electric brushless DC motor
  • Brakes are electric, anti skid and regenerative
  • Power is 450 watts
  • Wheel size is 20 inch font and 8 inch back
  • Hi visibility built in LED
  • Folds to a compact 43 liters in size
  • Fold time can be done in 15 to 20 seconds

We actually saw this bike on a program called storage wars where one of the buyers found a Yike bike in a storage locker that he bought. When he had it evaluated, the value was estimated to be approximately $4000, which seemed pretty high. A quick search on the web found prices to range from $2500 to $3500 depending on the bike and the accessories that were purchased with it.

Feedback from Users

On the company’s web site there were glowing reports from users who absolutely love their bikes and find them easy to use and to be perfect for getting around town including folding them down and going on public transit systems. Regular bikes are pretty difficult to use and  travel on public transit systems. Other reviews mentioned that there is no kick stand so you have to basically lay the machine down when it is not being used or lean it against something when not in use. Also there was no mention of how easy or difficult it is to clock this bike to something. They would be easy to walk away with and you really need to make sure that you lock them up adequately.

Learning to ride is a bit difficult since you are essentially sitting on a seat that is located on the handlebars. Balancing takes a bit of getting used to. Users report that it might take 30 minutes to get used to the idea of riding on a yike bike. The maximum speed one user was able to get to was 13.5 km’s and not the full speed of 15 km’s.

Like a regular bike there is no cushioning when you go over bumps etc. in fact with smaller wheels you may even feel the bumps even more so. You will need to carry the charger with you or purchase a second one to keep at another location if you use it for commuting.

All in all it is a neat piece of technology and will appeal to a specific set of people and application. We are not sure that it will catch on as a means of transportation. Perhaps more in Europe where bikes in general are more accepted particularly as a commuter vehicle but not so much in North America where the car is still king. If you have one let us know what you think.


Text Messaging Business

Text Messaging AdvertisingThere are literally thousands of text messaging business opportunities available and many companies have got on the bandwagon. Services such as sending weather alerts, flight status updates, sports scores or even stock alerts have all been offered by many third party companies. We are using the term third party here to differentiate between the carrier who carries the message and the company who originates the message. These companies are all struggling to compete with free sms or text messaging over the internet. everything seems to be free online, however at some point these services must generate a positive cash flow business model and this is what the old style text messaging companies still have.

Text Messaging Business – Subscription

When a consumer subscribes to a text messaging business advertisement, they often do not realize the cost of these subscriptions. In some cases the cost of the subscriptions can be as high as $40 a month. The carrier will receive upwards of 60% of the fee and the business originating the message will receive the remainder.

Text messaging for businesses is a very lucrative opportunity, however we fear that the real money is going to the phone company and that the company using text messaging to get to their customers is not gaining that much.

The carrier delivers the message and does all of the billing and collection for the service. After taking their share they transfer the remainder to the 3rd party company. Many consumers are appalled at the cost of this level of premium text messaging and question their bills at the end of each month.

This is really not a good long term business strategy for small business to send premium messages in this manner. Customers simply have too many other free alternatives. If you are not paying attention to your bills and reviewing them in detail, you may end up with a high bill each month, much higher than you need to be paying.

Who is to blame for these high costs? The carrier is certainly getting the lion’s share of the revenue. They also do the lion’s share of the work to deliver the message and to collect the revenue. Does this make them any more responsible or not.

The competition bureau certainly thinks so has taken several of the carriers to court over the issue. Most people who experience this problem can get their money back if the follow through with their carrier and complain. Also ask for a stop order to be placed so that you do not receive any more of these messages.

You can control these messages and your costs as well simply by blocking these text messages. Call your carrier and get these messages stopped today if you do not want them. You can control your costs and do not need to put up with this type of spam.

For more about text messaging, click here.


Reducing Your Home Phone Bill

Home Phone BillConsumers are getting rid of their traditional phones and moving to new technology that provides more services as well as flexibility. There are many solutions available and we felt that it was time to review some of them on this blog as a means of saving some money while embracing all of these new technologies.

In our own home we have tried to keep our communications cost down to a minimum, but as hard as we try they have crept up over the years and now it is time to try to do something about it. For example 15 years ago we did not have internet and we now pay $50 a month for high speed internet. We did not have cell phones and we now pay another $50 for two phones with local air time, long distance and text messaging without data capability.

If we added data for our smart phones this would cost another $30 or $40 or even more. In addition we still have a land line which we have kept to a minimum in terms of features and it costs us about $45. All told we are paying about $150 for communications which is a lot more than what we used to pay for just the phone.

Home Phone Bill – Use Cell Phone Only

Many family s now just use their cell phones for communications plus high speed internet. Right away they save $45 a month on that. If you have not already got rid of a land line and have a cell phone, then I suggest that you do that. Cell phones are so much more flexible and have all of the features that you could ever want. Smart phones can handle data over the network or WiFi which in turn can get you onto the internet to do email etc.

Use WiFi whenever you can to minimize your data requirements. The phone companies have realized that this is huge money for them and are charging a great deal for this service. Using Wifi is one way of keeping this cost to a minimum since it is free and most coffee shops and bars now have WiFi available at no cost.

Should you get rid of your land line? Most of us will eventually so why not now? Our cell phones companies charge a lot for long distance, however there are ways around this as well which can save money. Using services such as Skype or Google’s G Phone is virtually free for most calls. Calls between skype users is free and calls to regular phones are so inexpensive, pennies a minute that it they might as well be free. These systems can be used for outgoing calls and anyone can reach you on your cell phone.

IP Phones

IP phone calls can also be made using a regular phone by installing VoIP as well. This service can be purchased from the regular phone companies as well as startup companies and the cable companies as well who offer IP service. We are not sure why you would do this since it ends up being the same thing as a regular phone service at a lower cost. Just use your cell phone for all calls including local and long distance calls.

Before making any decisions regarding these services, you must really take into account the type of calling that you do. If there is a lot of long distance calls, to another country, and your land line is inexpensive for this service, then you may want to keep your land line and only use your cell phone for local calls for example. This is unfortunately the situation we are in.

My cell phone carrier charges a great deal for calls to the US and other countries. My land line calls are free up to 500 minutes, anywhere in Canada and the US. Since we make a lot of calls to the US, we will keep the landline. Our daughters call us all of the time using a call me card which reverses the long distance charges to us when they call. These calls are also included in the 500 minutes as well so they save money as well. Based on all of this, I guess we will keep the land line and the cell phones for a while longer.


Tire Dealers

.There are literally thousands of tire dealers available and for good reason. Lot’s of money can be made from selling tires to consumers. Dealers make money when they sell tires, specialized rims, summer tires, winter tires, all season tires and specialty tires. If they are a multipurpose place, they will also repair muffler and may even complete auto repairs as well. Should you go to a specialty tire store who only focuses on tires or should you go to a dealer that you have faith in and provides maintenance repair services as well?

Then there are the tire repairs that are often needed. Rebalance tires, fixing flat tires and so on. It never seems to end and they make a lot of money off these services.  The question a lot of consumers ask themselves is where should I purchase my tires and how can I get the best deal for tires?

Compare Tire Dealers

The old answer is just the same as always. Do your homework, shop around, compare prices and negotiate if you can. Take into account services that are provided and if they are valuable to you, then add these services into the equation while making your decision.

Services might include tire rotation included in the price, tire repairs, tire inflation with nitrogen and so on.  Some consumers will obtain a great deal for their tires from a tire dealer, but then they have to pay $15 a tire to have the tires balanced and rotated after so many miles. That is a total cost of $60 which can add up to a large number over a few years if you drive a lot. Paying at bit more with tire rotation and balancing included might be a better deal.

Tire Dealers – Clean Reception Areas

Some consumers also value being able to go into clean comfortable and warm dealerships when they have their tires replaced. They want to be dealing with what they consider a professional company and a clean tire dealer is one way of getting the impression that the dealership is professional and doing a good job at providing service to their customers.

Personally we have found that Costco has the best tire prices. They have the best service for replacing tires, rotating tires and generally looking after everything to do with tires regarding your car. They have stores all over the country including Canada and the US and Mexico. As well as in many other countries depending on where you’re driving. You can have tire maintenance done at any of the stores as long as you have a receipt for your tires that you purchased at Costco.

Costco will rotate your tires, balance and check the air pressure  for as long as you own the car. If your tires are filled with nitrogen, they will also refill or top up your tires as needed with nitrogen.


Hardwood Floor Cleaning Service

Hardwood Floor Cleaning ServiceA clean shiny hardwood floor will make your home beautiful and stand out to friends and colleagues that come to visit. A clean hardwood floor adds value to your home when you are trying to sell your home. Buyers look at the floor and see how beautiful, clean and immaculate it is and love it. This floor can literally sell your home for you, even if there other negatives. Prospective home owners will over look these things if their first impression is a strong positive one.

There are a number of steps that home owners can consider to keep their floors looking fantastic without the need for a hardwood floor cleaning service. There are companies that provide professional hardwood floor cleaning services, however if home owners can do this work themselves, they will save money and their homes hardwood floor will always be glistening and looking great.

Hardwood Floor Cleaning Service

If you decide to hire a Hardwood Floor Cleaning Service, use the following steps as a guide to interview these companies regarding the process they use, the chemicals if any that they use and the machines they use to ensure that they will deliver the results that you desire.

Preparing to Clean Your Hardwood Floor

There are several steps that homeowners can consider. Take a look at these and apply those that make sense for your flooring:

Step One – determine the type of finish that is on your floor. If there is a protective urethane or polyurethane finish to your floor, there is already a thin protective layer on the floor. Other floors may be natural wood with an oil based finish, varnish or even floors with no finish on them. Check with the original owners or with the store that the flooring was purchased from to determine what finish is on your floor.

Step Two – floors that are sealed need only vacuuming and mopping with a mild soap and water solution. Never leave water on the floor and usually a damp mop is preferred rather than a wet mop.  Oil treat floors need to be vacuumed and then an application of paste wax to protect them from stains and water. For all other floors depending on the finish there are several cleaners available on the market.

Step Three – avoid water on your floors. Water causes the wood to expand and even crack in places. It may also leave water marks. If you must use water on an unfinished floor, just use a damp mop and never leave water droplets on the floor or allow water to go between the cracks.

Step Four – even protective covers will wear down over time, especially in high traffic areas. This protective cover may need to be sanded at some point and the floor recoated with whatever protective cover you are using. For sanding tips, refer to several of our other posts on hardwood floor refinishing.

Step Five – keep your floors clean and free of grit that is tracked in from outside. Remove your shoes at the entry to your home and vacuum on a regular basis, even every day in high traffic areas if there is a lot of grit being tracked into the home.

Step Six – install area mats to protect entrance areas and other high traffic areas. Vacuum these mats regularly each time you vacuum the rest of the home. The rugs will add to your overall décor and also capture any grit that is attached to the bottom of your shoes. This is the main reason that the rug should be vacuumed often.

At some point you may decide that a hardwood floor cleaning service might be a better choice. Consumers may want to hire a floor cleaning service once a month to keep their floors looking pristine and vacuuming every couple of days to avoid in long term damage. The cleaning service may also vacuum as well before they actually clean the floor.


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