Why Are Clean Gutters So Important?

Every homeowner should have their gutters cleaned regularly.  Remember, clean free flowing gutters all year round is the goal.  Gutter cleaning is one of the most important maintenance items you can do on your home.  If you didn’t do a regular oil change on your vehicle, you would eventually have some very expensive repairs to make.  Keeping your gutters clean is one of the best ways to avoid costly problems down the road.

If you have never hired a  professional gutter cleaner, it is vital that you know exactly why it is so important to have clean gutters.

Gutters that are full of debris and clogged:

  • Are the number 1 cause of water infiltration in basements.
  • Will, if not corrected cause cracking in the foundation over time.
  • Will erode landscaping.
  • Will encourage the breeding of mosquitoes and attract other insects.
  • Will attract birds, squirrels and other animals to the decomposing debris and standing water.
  • Will begin to give off a foul odor when there is standing water.
  • Will begin to pull away from the building from the weight of the water and debris in the gutter exposing the wood behind the gutters.  The wood, when exposed, will begin to rot and weaken.
  • Will cause bricks and mortar to erode when the gutters overflow.   The bricks will also drastically discolor.
  • Will have standing water that will deteriorate the caulking in the joints and corners causing your gutters to leak.
  • Will cause some debris to constantly be going down the down-pipes into your underground drainage system.  Eventually this can become plugged causing more backups into foundations and basements.
  • In the winter are very dangerous.  While the gutters go through the freeze and thaw cycle, clogged gutters will not allow the water to drain.  The gutters become completely frozen solid and then any additional water drops onto driveways and walkways making them icy and dangerous.  Also, this cycle contributes to “ice damming” and icicles which can warp or pull the gutters right off the house from the excessive buildup of ice and water weight on the gutters.
  • Will allow seeds from trees to fall in the gutters and will “root and sprout” in any decomposing debris.  Voila!!  You have a garden growing out of your gutters.

All these problems can be avoided with regular gutter cleanings.  This list is not to scare you, but to warn you of what potential hazards you face by not getting the gutters cleaned.  If you are a do it yourselfer, just remember to be safe.  If you want to be sure a great job is done safely, then hire a professional gutter cleaner.  Your pro will have experience and equipment to ensure the job is done correctly.

With this knowledge, you will be able to see the specific problem that you may be having with your gutters  and even spot potential problems before they occur.

Gutter cleaning is really one of the most inexpensive ways to safeguard your home against potential damages.



5 Great Reasons To Be A Contractor

Tired of the job and the boss?  Do you feel like you have more potential than you get credit for at your 9 to 5?  Do you just need to be able to make more money?  Starting a simple business as a contractor may be the way to go for you.

Let’s start by figuring out what a contractor is.  A contractor is a person or company that undertakes a contract to provide labor to perform a service, or do a job.  What that means in simple terms is just about anyone that you hire to perform a service for you or do some work for you that charges you a fee to perform that service or complete that project is a contractor.

That could be a pretty long list.  That would make not only the guy that built your house a contractor, but the kid that walks your dog for you during the week as well.  Not only the hi rise window cleaner is a contractor, but so is the music teacher that comes to your home for guitar lessons.  Some are licensed, and some are qualified by experience.

Now before you quit your job and start out on your own, one thing to consider is whether there is a need for whatever job or service you want to perform as a business.  For instance, just because you are a blackbelt in Karate doesn’t mean that there is a strong demand in your area for Karate instructors.  There may be too many Karate instructors in your area now and not enough students to go around.  There may not be enough demand for what you are good at.  The idea is to get a great career and if you are struggling to stay afloat due to being in a field that is saturated already, then you are just making it more difficult on your self right out of the gate.

So, provided you have chosen a field where there is a real need for what you do, let’s talk about all the great reasons to be independent and contract our services out to others.

1. Being a self-employed contractor gives you ultimate control over your financial future. One of the benefits of starting your own business is that the sky is the limit when it comes to your earnings potential. Want to make more money? If you’re in a proven industry like house painting, simply increase your ad spending, hire on more employees, and watch your revenue grow. With a larger business comes more headaches, but at least you’ll be seeing the kinds of income jumps that make it worthwhile. Contrast this with a typical job working for someone else where there is a ceiling to how much you can earn, no matter how many headaches you have to deal with on a daily basis.

2. Contractors typically get to make their own schedules and have greater control over their personal lives. One of the hassles of a typical 9-5 job is that there’s often a certain amount of wrangling with superiors when you need time off, want to take a vacation, or simply need a sick day. You must cater to the company’s needs, and they are quite often reluctant to cater to yours. On the other hand, if you are your own boss you can call the shots in most cases. You can take that two-week vacation to Key West whenever you feel like, simply by scheduling those remodeling jobs around it. Need to be at your kid’s school on a weekday for a teacher meeting? If you’re the master of your own time you can just do it without having to plead with or beg a boss.

3. Contractors get to be physically active. This one might sound hokey, but think about how weak your body gets sitting behind a desk for 40 hours every week. One of the main reasons behind the epidemic of obesity in this country is that most of us live sedentary lifestyles, and office work only contributes to the problem. On the other hand, if you’re out there installing kitchen cabinets or hanging drywall or setting tile you can bet that the calories are burning off at a pretty good clip. Contracting work can help you lose weight and build muscle, both of which can help you lead a healthier and longer life.

4. Contractors have the opportunity to build something that is tangible and lasting. I think one of the big reasons that people get into contracting work is that there is a great sense of accomplishment when a project is complete. You can stand back, look at a kitchen that you just remodeled, and feel good knowing that you’ve made the homeowner happy and that they will get years of memories and enjoyment out of it. It’s a physical creation that you can point to and say, “I did that”. Many corporate jobs simply cannot provide this because they quite often involve providing a service that is temporal or ambiguous.

5. Contractors get to make a mess. Alright, this last one is kind of a fun addition to the list, but there’s something in the human DNA that just makes us want to make a mess of things sometimes (especially boys and men). That’s why you might notice that demolition crews seem to take extra enjoyment in their work! Tearing out an old kitchen or bathroom is always one of the coolest stages of a remodel, in my humble opinion. Of course you have to clean up after yourself to prevent an irate homeowner (!), but it’s so worth it.

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Being a contractor gives you a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.  No matter what it is that you offer the world, when you do a great job, you feel good.  Become the best at what you do and the pay will be great too.

In the comments below, please leave your thoughts and comments about this topic and other great reasons to be a contractor.


Why TradeCompete

I have nearly 3000 customers and I figured that if all my customers are looking for various types of contractors, then so must millions more.  Let’s face it, we have all gone to the yellow pages or done a Google search at one time or another for some type of contractor.  So I had the brilliant idea to create a site where project owners could post there jobs in great detail, and contractors could see those jobs and all the details about the project and really be able to cater to their specialties.

Is it a new idea? No.  But we have made it better than the other services that are doing something similar.

What makes me think we are different?  Here is a list of things that I have noticed.

  1. We are not a directory service with a sign up fee or any type of recurring payment to use our services for the project owner or the contractor.  In fact, we give every contractor there first lead for free.  We do not collect any financial information from our contractors.
  2. We do not assign projects to contractors.  We allow the contractors to go through all the information on hand about the project and decide if they want the project.  No more automatic charges to your credit card for projects that do not match your specialty or is not in an area that you work in.
  3. We guarantee that contractors will not have to pay for bogus leads.  If the project owner can not be contacted through any of the means provided by the project owner within 5 days of when the contractor purchases a lead, we will credit back the contractor upon verification.
  4. All projects are 10 points.  The current cost of a point is between 80 cents and $1.00.   We figure, why complicate it.  Everyone can afford $8 to $10 dollars for a great customer.  It is much cheaper than nearly all other forms of advertising in almost every case and we are putting you right in front of the customer that wants exactly what you do.
  5. We will answer emails and phone calls.  We want to hear from everyone that uses our service, good or bad, and make it the best option for project owners and for contractors.

It is simple and it is straightforward.  No trying to talk anyone into signing up for anything.  Once you are properly registered, then you will be automatically alerted by a single email within a minute of a matching project being posted that there is a potential customer for you.  No obligations at all.  We are determined to keep it simple.  If you have any suggestions to make it easier, we would love to hear from you.  We are here to work for you. Works For You.

Painting In The Summer

Now that summer has arrived and we can open our windows and let the fresh air in, it is a great time to catch up on some of those inside painting projects and touch ups that you have wanted to get at.   Here are a few tips that will really give the DIY’er a great professional look and feel when it is done.

Always use primer before paint.  The primer gives the paint a great surface and brings out the paint’s true colors when you are done.

Use professional tools.  Use a cutting brush or edge pad when painting around ceiling edges, corners or door frames.  These tools will really make your walls look finished and great.  Using a roller instead of brushes will help to speed up your job and give you a great even coat on your walls.

Think ahead.  Being prepared can make a huge difference.  Do wall repairs before you start painting.  Wash each wall as well.  The surface should be clean, and in good condition for best results.

Cover the door knobs.  Use a small plastic bag on the doorknobs to keep paint off of them and be sure to use painter’s tape around the mounting plate for clean edges.

Keeps your eyes ahead.  Looking back in an area while it is drying may make you want to go back over it.  This can lead to marks and streaks in the paint’s surface.  If you need to do touch ups, wait until the end.

Don’t paint the floor.  Using a drop cloth can save you from spilling on the floor and wasting a lot of time cleaning up.

What about the wall plates?  Remove them and tape off light switches and outlets.  This will give you a more professional look when you are finished.  Do not paint over the outlet.  That is a very unsafe habit, and can even cause an electrical fire.

With these easy tips you’ll be painting like the pros and have an amazing looking new room!

Please comment and give us any of your tips that we can use in a future blog post to help others as well.

Am I Hiring A Contractor Or An Employee

Throughout the years, I have had many employees work for me.  On occasion, I found that I was busier than I could handle even with my employees and needed some help.  I have a friend who is in the same business as me, but has only a part time employee since he is a smaller operation.  Oftentimes he wasn’t available to help because he was very busy, but there were times when he had the time to jump in when I was swamped, and I contracted some of our work to him.

Now he essentially did the same work as anyone else working for me, but I considered him a contractor, while everyone else that worked for me was an employee.  After a couple of times I realized that it was sometimes less expensive to pay my friend, than it was to pay my employees and I reasoned that maybe I should just consider all my employees as contractors and save even more money, after all, what was the difference?

Well, being cautious, I investigated the situation with the tax department first, not wanting to create any unforeseen problems down the road, and this was what I learned.  I learned that there is a criteria that determines who is a contractor and who is an employee.  The chief criteria are:


 Does the person you are hiring have the ability to determine when, how and if the work is performed, or does the control rest with you the business owner. Can the person you are hiring accept work from other parties? If you set the hours and are in control of how the work is performed and if the work is performed, then this favors an employee relationship.

Using my own situation as an example, when I gave the work to my friend and I knew that he still had some of his own work to do as well, it was understood that he would schedule it around his jobs to help me out.   Now if one of my employees had said that he was going to do the job that I had given him around his other stuff, I would have had an issue with that because I was the boss and made the decisions about when and how things got done.  Even after just the first criteria on the list I was beginning to question whether I really wanted to have all contractors vs. employees.

Tools & Equipment

Are the tools for the job provided by you the business owner, or the person you are hiring? If you the business owner are providing all the tools, or providing a reimbursement for the use of the tools, then this again favors an employee relationship.

I have always provided the tools that my employees used for work.  That way I always knew that the right tools for the job were being used.  It also went back to item no. 1 on the list because I have the control of when and how the work was to be done.  With my friend that I contracted to, he used his own equipment since he was the business owner and he provided all his own equipment.

The Workers Ability to Subcontract the Work

Can the person you are hiring subcontract the work? If the person you are hiring has to personally perform the services, or you have to approve of any person they hire to perform the services then this favors an employee relationship.

Having contracted the work occasionally to my friend, he always assured me that it would be done on the agreed upon schedule.  On one occasion, that I had contracted him to do a job for me, he suddenly got a rush job and rather than put my work on hold, he contracted another one of his associates to get the job done.   My employees however go to the job they are given and unless I give permission, they certainly are responsible to get it done themselves.

Degree of Financial Risk

Does the person you are hiring incur continuous expenses, and are they at risk of a financial loss. If you cover the person’s expenses and control the pay arrangement then this favors an employee relationship.

I own the business.  Therefore, I pay the expenses for tools, fuel, and hourly wages.  With regards to my contractor friend, I don’t pay for his tools, fuel or any kind of payroll.  He invoices me for the job and I pay him that amount.

Degree of Responsibility for Investment and Management

Does the person you are hiring have to invest personally in the business and are they in control of decisions that affect their own profit and loss? If they are not then this favors an employee relationship.

My friend pays for his own tools, business cards, and phones and I pay for the tools, business cards and work related phone bills for my employees.  That is the price for owning the business.  He owns his and I own mine.  I invest in my business and manage that investment to get the best return that I can.

Workers Opportunity for Profit

Is the person you are hiring in control of their revenue and expenses? Is there a chance for them to realise a loss? If not then this favors an employee relationship.

My friend is my friend, but business is still business. When he quotes me a price for a job of mine, and cannot complete it for the agreed upon price, then he is the one who takes the loss, which is the difference between the quoted price and the cost to complete, unless we renegotiate the deal. If I underbid a job, then the loss is mine.
It seems to me that a contractor is a business owner and an employee is a part of that business. After careful consideration, I felt that it was definitely a better choice for me and the way I do business to have employees over contractors. Because I want to control the way my business is run then the people that I hire are going to be employees. If however, I need help, I can always contract my extra work out to other business owners.

Use the criteria above to determine what the correct classification is for the people you choose to have work for you. One of the reasons that it is important to get this correct is for the correct payroll and worker’s compensation deductions to be made. If you classify your workers incorrectly, you may be liable for any deductions not made on the behalf of any employees and be penalized.

I hope this information helps you as much as it has helped me over the years.

Please add any comments or thoughts in the comment section below.




How To Ensure A Great Roofing Experience

It’s time to replace that roof.  Joe just did down the street and it looks great.  It has been on for about a month and now I want to get mine done.  What should I do?  Should I use Joe’s guy?  It is a lot of money. Should I go with the cheapest quote I can get?  After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Depending on what choices you make at this step will determine if you have a great new roof or a possible disaster on your hands.  Since there are so many things to consider when getting a new roof, let’s start with the very first step.

  1. Start your search for a roofing contractor locally.  Getting bids from local roofing companies means that you are more likely to get a better deal then if the contractor is from out of the area.  After all, the less the materials and workers have to drive to your site, the less they will charge.   Going local also helps because local roofing organizations will have a better grasp on the local building codes and and accepted practices.
  2. References, references, references.  This is your next step.  Find out the background of all your contractors before you accept any bids.  Ask for multiple references.  Ask for local references, recent references and at least one year old references.  If you can’t find at least 3 favorable referrals for that contractor, then that contractor is probably not the best guy for the job.  References can also come from friends and neighbors like Joe, who have worked with previous roofing contractors in the past and have enjoyed their work.
  3. Check on credentials and insurance coverage.  You need to know if your contractor is up to date with state or provincial or municipal licencing and codes.  Usually a quick call to your local building department can tell you if your prospective roofing contractor is licensed and insured to work in your area.  Be sure to confirm Worker’s Compensation coverage for all employees that will be working on your site.  When you get proof of insurance, it should come from the insurance company as well.
  4. Do not take the first bid.  Always, always get multiple bids.  Large differences in the price can be a great warning sign that maybe the cheapest bid is forgetting an important step in the project.  Get a cost breakdown of labor and materials so you can easily compare bids to ensure that you are getting exactly what you pay for.
  5. Always get any warranty or guarantee in writing and signed by both you and the roofing contractor.  A warranty or a guarantee on materials and labor can help to ensure your roofing systems lifespan will be as long as the contractor claimed.

These may seem like small things, but doing them will alleviate much and many of the problems that homeowners have with their contractors.  There is a reason that roofing contractors are one of the top five industries that get the most complaints with reporting services.  Take these simple steps and you can be assured that you won’t fall into one of those that has complaints for not getting what you paid for.

If anyone has a roofing horror story, let us know at and we will collect a number of them and run a series on how to avoid those situations.  Love to hear if anyone has anymore suggestions to add as well.

Reasons To Get A New Roof Now

Well, it is the middle of the summer for most of us.  Depending on where you are, you have either been baked or soaked for the better part of the year already.  Your saving grace has been the roof over your head.  It has kept you dry in the downpours and shaded on the scorchers.   After all that, your roof deserves to be looked after.  If you get an annual roof inspection, then it will be no surprise when your trusted roof is nearing the end of its life cycle.  With that in mind a little planning can go a long way.

Planning for a summer repair or replacement is easier in so many ways then an emergency or off season roofing job.  Here are some of the reasons for a summer roof renew:

  • Weather – The summer weather allows for much better working conditions and less concerns of rain and slop to get in your home
  •  Safer – The dryer conditions make it a safer place for your roofer to work.
  • Daylight – With the longer summer days, your roofers can start earlier and work later which lessens the time and inconvenience to you and your family.
  • Less Cost – In many cases the cost of roofing is less expensive than in the winter months because it can be done in less time.
  • Easier – Removal of the old roof is much easier without any snow or frost.

These are just a few reasons why it is smart to consider reroofing in the summer rather than waiting for old man winter to come around.  So next time you go out to the curb to get the paper, stop and take a look at your roof and think whether it would be a smart decision to have someone come look at it while we still enjoy the beautiful weather.

Window Cleaning In 2012

Working For The Weekend

There Goes The Weekend

I just got home from work. It has been a long hard week. The sun is shining, and lo and behold the windows look awful. Is it going to be the whole weekend cleaning windows or am I going to call someone else to do it?


My mom would have said to do it myself, but I just can’t see myself on top of a ladder when I spend my week behind a desk. I don’t have the patience or the know how to get it done safely and still have time to enjoy my weekend.


I called someone. I called a professional window cleaner. I made sure he had insurance and worker’s coverage and I checked his references. It was one of the best things I ever did. For the few dollars that I spent, I got a fantastic job done and now I have him come in twice a year and wash all the windows in and out. I can spend my time being productive doing something else or doing nothing. Life is so busy and so complicated; it just makes sense to get someone who specializes in window cleaning to take care of that job for me. It turns out that he also cleans gutters. Another job that is dangerous that I can trust to a professional.



5 Reasons To Hire A Professional Window Cleaning Company

Not A Professional Window Cleaner

Living in Vancouver, you get used to going weeks at a time without ever seeing the sun. In the spring, when there is a rare appearance, it can certainly be a little disheartening to see all the grime on the windows and know that there is a whole weekend in that glorious sun that is going to be given up to knees knocking together as the old ladder is pulled out to get those second floor windows that are so hard to reach.

All that misery can certainly be avoided by getting regular professional quality cleaning from your local window cleaning company. Back in the day, Mom would not have approved of hiring someone else to do that kind of work around the home, but times have changed.

  1. House Construction has changed. Houses have much more complicated rooflines and overhangs making it downright dangerous to clean your own windows. A professional window washer will have all the right tools and safety gear to get the job done right.


  2. Professional window cleaners have insurance. Don’t ever let anyone work on your home without proper insurance and proof of that insurance. That being said, a professional window washer will have insurance to protect himself, his business, and his family in case of injury and proper insurance to protect your home in case of damage or injury to you.


  3. Dirty, grimy windows cannot be cleaned properly with some glass cleaner and a rag. Have you ever seen a professional do it that way? The reason he doesn’t, is because he has invested in the proper tools to do the best job possible. If you hire someone who wants to use a spray and a rag, you hired the wrong person.


  4. Having professionally cleaned windows will improve the amount and quality of light coming into your home. Windows that are not cleaned regularly and properly are often hidden behind shears or blinds of some sort. Diminishing your daily dose of sun and natural light can contribute to feelings of depression and even worse can lead to medical conditions such as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).


  5. Cleaning your own windows can take days in some cases, whereas a professional window washer can often take care of the same job in a very short time. This frees you up to do other projects or activities that you actually want to do and enjoy.

Window cleaning is not one of those tasks that people want to undertake. But, windows cleaned properly and regularly look fantastic and can really set your home apart. Paying for a professional to clean windows for you is an investment, not an expense. Over time it will cost you less. Also you will get to enjoy the added benefits of a nice clean home.

Welcome To TradeCompete… So Happy You Could Come!!

Well, we finally got here.  It was a lot of work, but I think it was all worth it.  I hope in time, you will feel the same.

TradeCompete started as an idea.  Like most ideas, I got a starry glaze in my eye and envisioned a future world where everything was perfect.  Contractors all completed the projects they worked on a day earlier than they had put on the work order and they were always under budget.  Deficiency lists were a thing of the past and everyone agreed that it was all due to TradeCompete.

Upon waking up I realized I might have taken it a little far.

But, let me let you in on what I do see for the future after 15 months of planning.

Often, when I was working at one of my customers houses, I would be asked, “Do you know anyone that can…(fill in the blank)?”  I was asked about roofers, painters, landscapers, electricians, plumbers…. You get the idea.  It finally came to me that everyone is looking for a good contractor at some point to do some project.

That is what is.  It is that place you can go and leave your information about exactly what you need and are looking for and we will send you those people or businesses that specializes in what you need.

That is who we are.  A Company devoted to getting you what you need.

Thanks for checking us out.