Archive for the ‘tools’ Category

We recently set up several appointments with local companies to get estimates for a home project. Long story short, we have a couple outdated bathrooms that need to be gutted and brought into the new millennium.

After deciding exactly what jobs we wanted the contractors to complete, we met with two companies last weekend. And buddy let me tell you, it became crystal clear that first impressions make the difference — no matter what you do in life.

Estimator/contractor No. 1 arrived 15 minutes late. She was friendly, but a disheveled mess. What’s worse, she refused (or couldn’t) stay on track with our project, continually explaining projects her firm routinely does that were totally unrelated to ours. After repeatedly explaining exactly what we wanted, she took a few measurements then sat us down for a one-hour discussion about materials. While the products she offered were in line with what we wanted, the rabbit holes she kept running into were frustrating to us. At the end of two hours we had to cut her off and asked her to email or mail us a bid on the project, which she refused to do.

Estimator/contractor No. 2 arrived on time wearing a clean jacket with his company logo. He spent 10 minutes asking questions about what we wanted to accomplish and took measurements. Andy was friendly, knowledgeable about the capabilities and services his company provides and he listened to our needs. He worked up cost estimates and walked us through the project costs, pricing and time frames needed to complete the work.

Guess who gets the job?

The lesson in this story for anyone working with people/providing a service is to focus on the consumer and represent your business as if your livelihood depends on it. After all, when you make the wrong impression, you’re taking yourself out of consideration.

And business owners: Pay attention to the people you send out to meet with customers. Know them. Set expectations. Train them well. Above all, never allow someone represent your business who you wouldn’t “buy” from yourself.



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Grumpy Old Man

I’m grumpy.

Maybe it’s me, but lately I seem more irritable. This is not a good thing given we’re entering the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons.

My mood exudes foulness for various reasons.

First, I’m getting old. At 45 I’m definitely in the middle-age-phase of life. Perhaps I’ve recognized my time is short on this earth. So little things like traffic jams and waiting in line at a retail store check out make my fuse burn faster. Plus, my body is breaking down in areas that mystify me. Twinges in my cervical vertebra; a plantar wart on my right foot thanks to the fitness center shower at work; a sty on my eyelid that refused to go away for months (sounds like I belong in a belltower, doesn’t it?). These medical issues never occurred to the old, young me and if they did, they didn’t last for weeks on end. Apparently reaching 45 also means maladies and conditions that, in many cases, should not be mentioned in writing. Thank God for WebMed.com so I can self-diagnose myself better than my Aunt Martha did back in the ’70s.

Secondly, my gorgeous wife and I are remodeling a bathroom in full DIY mode. We’re both competent, but we’re also learning that days quickly turn to weeks and suddenly the little master bedroom bath project is already a month old and we’re behind schedule. Add to it the war wounds of remodeling – cuts, bruises, sheetrock dust everywhere, and working in a small space with large power tools and only one tiny window for ventilation – and the thought of the project now makes me frown. Fortunately, my wife is my mood counter balancer. We’ve yet to have short words with each other over that little project. We just want to get ‘er done.

The other thing making me angry (at the present moment) is all the Christmas advertising that is invading my space. It’s not yet Thanksgiving, but every retailer in town began airing their TV spots in early November. As if I’m not aging fast enough, the Best Buys and Targets of the world want to rush past Thanksgiving and head long into the Christmas shopping season to make me older, faster. Ummm. No thanks. I’ll wait until after Thanskgiving before I start my Christmas shopping or break out the decorations. Why rush a good thing?

There. Now you know. I’m angry. Don’t cross me.

Or at the very least, don’t ride your brakes in traffic and make me curse you. After all, it’ll be Christmas…soon.


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Guys, whether you’re handy or not, there are certain power tools you should definitely have on hand.

While asking for that bottle of 20-year-old scotch or case of cigars may seem like a prudent “guy” gift request, when the significant other asks you this year, “Honey, what do you want for Christmas?” be prepared with a list of ideas that includes a decent tool or two. You’ll raise her eyebrows and simplify her shopping experience.

Cordless Drill: A cordless drill is especially useful if you need to drill holes in an ongoing project. It can also help with those hard-to-manage pivot holes you need when screwing, and you won’t need to change out the screws between using the screwdriver and cordless drill. Home use drills are usually three-eighth inch, while anything larger is usually considered commercial size.

Cordless Screwdriver: A cordless screwdriver will help you finish small tasks that need a bit of power. Like screwing furniture from IKEA together or drilling small holes for picture frame hanging. Look for a cordless screwdrivers with reverse action, which allows you to back out a screw if needed.

Power Circular Saw: Power circular saws do come in cordless models, but be sure to get one with plenty of power if you go that direction. Electric models offer the juice you need to slice through all kinds of materials and are much easier and faster than regular hand saws. If you need to cut large 2x4s or other lumber, such as particle board, the circular saw is your tool. Usually, a power circular saw can cut up to three inches in depth and have multiple blade options.

Jig Saw: The jig saw will help you complete more intricate work, such as cutting around edges, for example. Jig saws give you the ability to make those tough, tight cuts with simplicity.

Cordless Finish Nail Gun: Cordless finish nail guns provide the speed, durability, and power that you’ll come to expect and appreciate. The key benefit of a finish nailer is how it provides you with the readiness to fire and deliver consistency with each nail penetration that traditional nailing can’t provide.

Two other tools for good measure:

  • Four foot level: A man with a four foot level will be able to make just about anything…well…level. Plus you’ll look like you know what you’re doing standing outside facing that “project.”
  • Belt sander: At some point you simply must be able to make rough objects smooth. A good belt sander will deliver.


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