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"Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will."

Please note that all renovations are money losers. You will never recover your money.... do it for enjoyment but not to increase the house value.

- Never pay cash upfront for home improvements....make progressive payment instead. 
-Always check with Better Business Bureau: Start With Trust . Get references from other people, ask questions like... did they stay on budget? were they on time?, etc.) Get to see other home improvements they have done before. Do all this before you hire.
-If you need any kind of services (car repair, change tires, fix house) do not google it. There are many scams on the internet that look legitimate ... use Yelp, call family and neighbors for references or use websites like Angie's list.

Log on to any criminal searches website and type the name of the person you want to hire as a babysitter, handyman, tutor or anyone you want to check up on. If he/she  has committed a crime that is in the public records it will show up

www.angieslist.com rates contractors and other service providers by customers who have done business with them. The website collects reports from members in more than 250 categories that pertain to home, yard, auto and personal services such as roofers, electricians, hairstylists and computer repair companies. You will have to pay a yearly membership fee to use this site.

Make sure your contractor is reputable when remodeling your home by checking the Better Business Bureau website www.bbb.org. Also look for customer’s reviews at www.servicemagic.com ; Yelp (local services); Yahoo local; Kudzu.  Find 10 or more references or ratings before you trust.

Join a “time bank” where you can trade skills for “time dollars”. Then you can trade your “time dollars” for other services like computer repair, babysitting and even yoga classes. Visit www.timebanks.org to find one near you.

Tech schools offer many deals like having your hair styled for less than going to a salon. Other may offer free dental checkups, pet vaccinations, computer repairs or even wedding flowers for half price. Many tech schools charge the public just the cost of materials. Find one near you by logging on to www.khake.com and click on schools.

Tackle all levels of DIY projects with this excellent resource. Includes overview articles and how to tips: www.doityourself.com

Just type a question you may have in the form of a sentence at www.answers.com and you might get the answer you are looking for.

Need how-to tips? Log on to www.ehow.com and you will find advice on anything from cooking, decorating, computers, party planning, relationships and much more.

Thinking about a major kitchen remodel? Call a professional designer. Go to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (www.nkba.org) for listings of certified designers.

Find out about any product recall by going to this government run website at www.recalls.gov


At www.repairclinic.com you can find step by step solutions to common appliance problems. If you cannot find the answer you can e-mail the repair guru for appliance assistance.

Home Depot and Lowe’s offer free do it yourself workshops were you can learn the tricks of the trade that will help you with any home improvement project. Find out a schedule of workshops or clinics by going to www.homedepot.com or www.lowes.com

 www.youtube.com ,www.homedepot.com  and www.monkeysee.com also offer videos online ranging from how to stop running toilets to fix a flickering light.

Before hiring a babysitter, handyman or tutor do a background check, you can check their criminal history for free at www.criminalsearches.com and www.brbpub.com


Before You Call the Repair Service

If you have an issue with your appliances, like washing machine or even the coffee maker, you can often save a service call by doing the following: go to a search engine and type in the appliance name and the symptoms. Many times, you will find that it is a common problem, and people have offered simple instructions on how to fix it. In some cases, it is a simple adjustment that you just need to know where to find the screw to tighten or the panel to take off and clean behind. Other times, you may find that you can fix it by replacing a part that costs less than $50. Many times, this has even included detailed instructions on where to order the part and how to install it. Occasionally you will find that it is a complex problem that costs more to fix than to replace the item, or it is a complicated or delicate repair that requires an expert and well worth the service call charge. Sometimes, it doesn't give you any help, but since it takes only a minute and doesn't cost anything, you will not be any worse off for doing it! You can even do this with your computer when you start getting weird messages. Type in the message and find that it is a simple fix or that it is a complex fix you don't want to mess with, or find nothing at all.



At www.repairpal.com you can see if you are getting a fair estimate or price for fixing your car. You can compare a quote for any mechanic repair to industry standards. Just enter the make and model of your car as well as your location and the free site gives you a fee range breaking it by parts and labor so you can make sure your mechanic is giving you a fair estimate.