Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Baltimore Startup EFynch.com Expanding into D.C.
3,000 members, $250k in savings, and strict privacy features, group expands platform to serve the 3.8m households in B/W Corridor.

Baltimore, MD: When homeowners think of Craigslist most have preconceived notions. Some of these may be positive but very few are comfortable when it comes to the security and reliability the site offers.  Baltimore based Startup/ Platform, EFynch.com is offering a product for those with this concern and it is now available in the entire D.C. Metro Area.

By taking a more structured but still open approach to the popular Trading Post, EFynch has several user features that include competitive bid collection with a strict privacy policy. "EFynch privately connects a homeowner with the guy in a flannel shirt and truck, or the commercial contractor that has down time between projects. We look for the opportunity and by being the only Home Improvement site offering the full spectrum of options and our homeowners are saving tremendously" said Teris Pantazes, EFynch Co-Founder who estimates savings have reached over $250,000 in the 10 months since their launch in Baltimore.

Earlier this summer the company announced the hiring of former Ambassador Charles Paul to lead these expansion efforts (Paul was the youngest foreign Ambassador to serve in Washington D.C.). Now with 3,000 members and a following reaching over 10,000 individuals, EFynch is betting the privacy factor will be received favorably in Washington D.C. because sites like Homeadvisor and Thumbtack utilize "pay per lead tactics". Basically, the sale of a homeowners information to willing buyers or contractors as a Lead. A practice that is becoming more common but controversial. **think of Justice Clarence Thomas submitting for a toilet repair and anyone being able to buy his home address for $20?**

EFynch plans to hire several new staff members for this expansion. They currently have an office in Baltimore's City Garage and are in discussions to open a 2nd (regional) office in Arlington. Questions may be directed to Co-Founder Teris Pantazes. Information below:
 
Media Contact:
Teris Pantazes
Co-Founder and CEO
(410) 562-9103

Monday, August 7, 2017

Maryland Residential Electricity: What and Why a 3rd Party Energy Contract.

Homeowner and Handyman Tips from EFynch. 

Baltimore, MD:  The other day I heard from a homeowner who was approached by a door-to-door salesman "selling electricity". Although this sounds odd and I do not necessarily agree with the tactic, it is indeed possible and legitimate (or possibly legitimate).

Maryland Energy is confusing at first but simple to explain.
 

Here is the short version (I am using a Baltimore home as the example).

- BGE is your Distributor. They own and maintain the power lines, and handle the payments (sending you a bill, setting up service, etc.). They do not generate any electricity and are a regulated utility. You receive a bill from BGE then BGE distributes those funds to the various entities involved with getting the electricity to your home. Besides maintaining the power lines, they are like the bookkeeper. 

- The Supplier of electricity is NOT BGE- The supplier is also known as the Generator. Historically the Generator had been "Constellation Energy" (now Exelon). They actually own the power plant and are a separate legal entity than BGE. Today, you can choose your own supplier which can save money or allow you to obtain energy directly from a renewable energy power plant.

How Does this work?

Think of the energy grid as a big water tank with several pipes running up and your water supply pipe coming down. The water in the tank represents the electricity that everyone in your community uses. It does not matter where the water comes from, as long as there is water.

Almost anyone can install a generator if they meet certain guidelines. That means there can be several generators (or water sources) putting energy onto the grid (or water into the "water tank").

The amount of electricity put into the grid by each Generator is recorded and credited to that Generator's account. Our local grid is called "PJM" and spans from here as far west as Illinois. PJM is a neutral party that organizes the entire process and keeps records.
The PJM Operator then takes that information and works with your local distributor to make sure that the energy you use is paid for then gets reimbursed to the supplier/ generator.


What about the salesman or other 3rd parties?

When someone claims they can "sell" you electricity, they are a 3rd party supplier. We are all familiar with names like Constellation Energy (now Exelon), BGE, and Pepco from our bills but in 1999 Maryland De-Regulated electricity which allows for new entities to generate electricity (this also happened as renewable energy took off so it fueled growth).

Because of De-Regulation, competition was allowed to enter the market and now you can actually direct BGE to purchase your electricity from a specific source. The salesman likely has a "source" and is selling you electricity, which will change who BGE pays. The registration process is simpler than the actual explanation- when you switch it takes a few clicks of a button.

Why choose a 3rd party Supplier? 
It is 100% up to you and I am no longer involved in this industry (*this is not an advertisement in any way).

You can choose a 3rd party supplier for many reasons but the most common is to save money- which I recommend!

A 3rd party supplier can typically use their own credit strength or a promise to purchase a large amount of energy from a power plant to get a " discount". They sell that electricity to you and share the savings. 

You can also choose to obtain a renewable energy source like I do. When I purchased energy through whomever BGE set me up with in setting up my account. I found a 3rd party renewable energy supplier that with a 1-year contract, I was able to obtain electricity for 20% below my previous rate. There are different types of renewable energy purchases which include directly from a nearby solar/ wind field or to purchase a "bundle" which is energy produced locally but offset by a wind park somewhere else in the country or even world (another article I should write).

Closing:

Research and review your energy supplier. I am not going to recommend anyone but you can either contact the Maryland Energy Administration or simply google "Maryland energy supplier platform". You should be able to enter you basic information then search and find a contract that meets your desires. Most people save bid on their energy expenses after doing this and when I was in solar I recommended this to ALL of my customers.  

*Disclaimer- EFynch is not a home improvement community but is a platform for home improvement services and advice. All work is completed by a 3rd party and EFynch makes no representations to the work being performed beyond what is discussed in our terms and conditions.  The views expressed above are not that of EFynch but are of the Author: Teris Pantazes. Teris was in the solar energy industry prior to joining EFynch but is no longer involved. The views are his opinions only. Any actions your take shall not be done so based on this information as it is deemed reliable but must be verified by your own research. This information is for discussion purpose ONLY.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Homeowner Tip: Real world ways to beat the heat and save energy.


The next few days can see temperatures over 100 degrees in Baltimore and Washington D.C. This causes a HUGE strain on your home, your pets, and yourself.

Countless articles have been posted with the “best things to do in heat”. Each is with a smile and few plugs for a paid advertisers.

Here are "Real World, you can do it now tips. The key is to keep your home at a "normal" temperature without having your AC work overtime. It is counter-intuitive but raising your thermostat slightly can make a big difference on extremely hot days. Whether you do this or not, the tips below can help no matter what.

HOMEOWNER TIPS:

1. Close your blinds curtains (as discussed previously, here).

2. Close the doors to unused rooms that face the sun (*note- we recommend against fully closing vents in those rooms as the area can get "too hot" and actually radiate adjoining areas).

3. Run Fans (typically, ceiling fans should run counter-clockwise).

4. Hang out in lower parts of your home (basement, etc.).

5. Grill or Eat out! (forego using your oven).

6. Use lighweight sheets and a blanket on your bed. "Less is more".

7. Eat Soup! This really works, so does spicy food. Just as in the next tip, it can jump-start your body's internal cooling system (a popular trick in Southeast Asia).

8. (Seriously)- Go Outside! Spend time in the shade but take in the heat. A few minutes outside initiates your body's internal cooling process making the indoors feel cooler and your body continue regulating it's temperature hours after heat exposure.

8.  BUT, drink cold liquids (besides hydrating, it helps keep body temp lower).

9. Take a cold shower.

DO NOT OVER EXERT YOURSELF. Your grass DOES NOT need to be cut today (it will only hurt it anyway).  


Stay Hydrated and keep an eye on Pets (even your neighbor’s pets).



PLEASE be vigilant for kids in cars!!!!!!!
 
*Not a 100% accurate story: The house pictures above was once a 3 story colonial painted a cool "tiffany blue". They didn't take our advice and now you see the remnants.


Hope this helps. For more tips follow this blog and remember to visit EFynch to register for more homeowners tips, discounts, or help in finding the next home repair proffesional or handyman in your area. 

 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hire a Handyman- Risk Identity Theft- The Pay Per Lead Industry you don't know exists


Baltimore, MD: You've seen the ads on TV. By using that service the trusted home repair advisor who has made the "list" is only a click away. Your home improvement/ handyman fears are now diminished and the smiling (sometimes made up) personality is assuring your comfort.

However, there is a glaring problem and it has to do with profits and the security of your personal information. 

*The "Before We Start Disclaimer": Not every online home improvement company does what I am about to describe but, it is prevailant. It generates fast and easy income and even us at EFynch had once been heavily advised to partipcate. But in truth, it is simply sleazy (IMO)- we are not participating in this practice.

Pay Per Lead is the horrible and deceptive practice that even the well-known brands in home improvement use.

They collect your information (often without your knowledge) and then sell it to local contractors. Sometimes for a hefty fee and without your knowledge. *It is rumored that one large group has a 300 person, off-shore call center focused just on this task.

The idea is simple- you go to a website or even answer an add for a local handyman service such as the one below.  Your information is collected, pooled, advertised and then sold to anyone willing to pay the fee ($5 per lead up to $600!)

I have personally called these numbers and spoke with an "answering service" (like it is 1995!) who said someone would call me back. My information was taken and within 20 minutes I began to recieve calls from 3 to 5 different contractors. Through discussion with one of the salesman, I found out they actualy paid a service $60 for my information. By my calculations, when I placed the phone call to the (not) local company, I netted that group at least $200 in fees.

The problem with this is two-fold. 

1. I did not know my information was being "sold". In fact, I was specifically told that I called a local company and that I was speaking to their answering service. There was no privacy policy given or respect for my data (which is now on several lists I am sure).

2. The local contractor I spoke with told me they close 1 in 5 of the leads they recieve (20%). Calculating these numbers, it translates to $300 in acquisition costs which he must then pass onto the owner (myself in this case). The project I was calling for would have been approximately $1,500 therefore 20% of what I pay my local proffesional is actually going into the pocket of a middle man!

This was sent to EFynch.
So, you unsuspectingly provided you name/ phone number/ etc. and it is sold off. You are now payingis  many of these groups DO NOT CARE WHO PURCHASED YOUR INFORMATION and they are not vetted. In fact, even EFynch was soliciated by a competitor because these guys use special tools to "scrape" the internet for data then offer it to the "highest bidder" Let that sink in- my competitor contacted me to sell a "lead"!
higher rates for home improvement services and the most dangerous aspect

EFynch has adds but always clearly states how we work, they approached us because their simplified system thought we were a contractor.


Pay Per Lead is a gross violation of trust and in my opinion tarneshes the experience for both homeowners and contractors alike. As long as I run EFynch I will make sure to work hard and rid the Home Improvement Industry of this practice- it serves no one but the salesman on the other end of the phone.

Please share. . .


Pay Per Lead Examples: Ads taken from Craigslist, only a small mention of "referred by" in the bottom of the ad. Same ads, different cities.





*Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely the views of the author, Teris Pantazes and are meant to be made for discussion purposes and not home improvement work advice. EFynch is a communication system and this article does not represent the thoughts or opinions of EFynch or neccessarily any of the employees or owners of EFynch.  The information presented including images and references to phone calls and discussions were personally made by the author and can be provided upon valid request.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Asking for a Contractor Recommendation via Social Media? What you need to know first and how to avoid pitfalls



Baltimore, MD: We've all encountered it. You open Facebook or another social platform and see someone asking for a recommendation for a service. Typically a handyman, plumber,  etc (we will keep it to Home Improvement for this article).

Over the next few hours your timeline will fill with the posting person's friends and neighbors posting then, passively arguing whose contractor is better. Want to start a real debate? Forget politics, ask for a plumber instead. See below:

Recommendation #1: "Call Tom, his number is 410-555-5555"
Recommendation #2: "Try Jim, his number is 443-555-5555, he did our work last year, he is great"
Recommendation #3: "Hey, last year I used Frank, he did a great job. He was prompt, fair priced, honest, sincere, etc. etc. etc."

Notice a pattern? The first person usually throws the minimum info out, then it progresses with more detail.

*Side note- I once saw a women recommend her roofer with a 5 paragraph dossier. When I had my contracting company I received praises from customers. Something that long may have raised the eyebrow of my wife and I suspect this was not an honest recommendation.


Here is why:
There is a psychology behind online recommendations and more often than not- you're getting what you paid for (which is nothing).

Studies have shown that as much as 85% of online service recommendation are NOT actually made because the recommended person received a great service. The truth is a majority of responses are for "Self Affirmation".  (We've all done, I admit doing it myself).

Why? 33% of American homeowners replied that finding the right handyman or professional is the toughest part of any home improvement projects.  The reason is the conflicting nature and uncertainty of information that can be found in various places.

Once we make a choice, we want to think we found the best deal and since you asked, we are asking you to affirm this by hiring my handyman.

*(let's face it- your local handyman is good- "the best"? probably a stretch because that title goes to Bob Villa and you didn't hire Bob Villa).

They aren't saying "hire my guy because he is (literally) the best". They are figuratively saying "hire my guy. If you do it will prove that I made the right decision before". (Don't believe me, make a recommendation and then see how you feel when your reply is ignored or not chosen- I've done this and it feels like rejection).

Then, what happens when 4 friends make a recommendation and you can only choose one? Because of this Self-Affirmation rule, you've basically just told 3 other people that you found a better option-how is that for sour grapes!

Our Advice: Asking for a recommendation is better left for direct contact with someone you know and trust. Blindly turning online to your "nextdoor" community is only an avenue for a sales pitch and in our opinion, this is NOT proper research. Most of that information is unverified.

Online reviews can be valuable but make sure to find out how they were collected (i.e.- we only allow VERIFIED transactions to be rated on EFynch. Many sites  blindly asks  to rate their "trusted pros", they never check if the work was completed and opens the door for fake reviews).

In the end- remember that your neighbor probably did not hire "THE BEST HANDYMAN EVER" so finding an acceptable candidate who meets your expectations (pricing, experience, efficiency, schedule, etc.) is the most important goal.


POST YOUR NEXT HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT FOR FREE AT EFYNCH.COM. Privacy Protected- we never sell your information or give it to 3rd parties and you can save up to 40% on each project plus find the local/ independent pro already working in your neighborhood.  Click here.




This article is being shared by EFynch.com- a Baltimore Based Handyman and Homeowner community. It is meant to provide advice for conversational purposes and is not a solicitation to do physical work to your property. EFynch is your handyman and contractor resource in the Maryland, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia regions. EFynch is a software platform that shares information and we advise you to speak with a licensed contractor or handyman prior to doing any work on your home.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Weatherizing you home: 5 steps to saving cutting your energy bills in half.


Beating the heat and saving money: Tips on reducing your home's energy consumption.


Washington D.C.: Now that we are in the dog days of summer, you have to think about energy usage. Your AC can use the most energy of any appliance in your home. That sweet, satisfying, cool air that keeps your brow from collecting sweat is valuable and MUST be preserved.

Here in Maryland and Washington D.C., we get a dozen or so days over 100 degrees. Regardless of temperature- every day is filled with swampy and muggy air that is swimmingly. . . gross!

Below are a few quick tips on reducing your energy consumption and preserving the cold air. You can literally reduce your summer energy bills by 20% to 40% by following this information.

Summer energy efficiency is often overlooked when compared to the winterization of your home. That is because cold can cause damage and as humans, we fear it. However, when thinking of the wear and tear to your home HVAC and the energy required to run these systems- Summer is just as important (luckily, many of the tips below apply to both seasons):

1. Seal Air Leaks: 
               Caulk windows- also making sure they are all closed.
               Seal Attic Access
         

2. Prevent Heat transfer:
               Close doors and vents in unused rooms
               Invest in heavy drapes or thermal blinds- more info here


3. Insulate:
                Summer is as important as winter
                Insulate attic, crawl spaced (floors are important in summer)
                Again, caulk windows.
              

4. Use energy efficiently:
                 Raise AC temperature when you leave the home
                 Use fans to help cool/ move air
                

5. Change Habits:
                 Keep exterior doors closed
                 Hang out in rooms that tend to be cooler (basement), raise ac
                 Less indoor cooking
                 Take cooler showers

If you'd like more information on any of these items please feel free to contact us.

We'd be happy to recommend a energy audit company or implement many of the items above which have "off the shelf options".

Thank you! For more information visit EFynch- Your Neighborhood Home Improvement App.
 Members receive monthly updates and discounts on many of the services listed above.
Sign up for free here!


*The information above was provided by EFynch.com. This is meant for conversational purposes and we recommend you consult a licensed professional prior to taking any actions within your home. EFynch is a home improvement software company and does not perform any work to residential properties. Our service is available only in areas that are allowed by law.  EFynch currently operated in Maryland, Washinginton D.C., and Virginia.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Homeowners Guide: Copperhead Snakes- Maryland's Venemous Snake.


Copperhead population in the Baltimore and DC area has grown. 
How to identify one and what to do:
Homeowner Tips from EFynch



Baltimore, MD: Copperheads are 1 of 2 Venomous snakes found in the Baltimore and Washington areas (Maryland/ DC and Northern Virginia). *the other is a rattle snake mostly in the mountains. 

They are dangerous for several reasons. When scared, they do not tend to run like most snakes. Instead the Copperhead will "Freeze" in place, making it more likely to step on- then causing a bite.
Although copperheads rarely strike- when they do the bite can often be painful.

  
How to spot one:
Northern Copperhead in Southern Maryland.
- Babies are 8" and up.
- Adults can be 3.5' +/-
- Light brown body with dark brown "diamonds" or polygons on back.


What to do if you see one:

(1) Immediately clear the area of pets, family members, etc. Try to keep an eye on the snake.

(2a) If you are away from populated areas or in the woods- take note of the snake and leave it alone (it's his habitat- you are just a visitor).  Then notify a park ranger (if in a park). 

(2b) If you are near a populated area like your backyard, etc.- take note of the snake and contact an exterminator or animal control. Make sure to remember identifying features. DO NOT APPROACH THE SNAKE TO TAKE A PICTURE UNLESS YOU ARE A SAFE DISTANCE AWAY.

(3) If you need to re- enter the area. First check to see if the the snake has been removed (in a Park), or wear high boots and pants.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PICK UP A COPPERHEAD OR KILL IT YOURSELF. 



What if you are bitten:

For all those who have been bitten- medical attention is necessary:

- Healthy adults usually do not require an anti-venom however monitoring is needed.
- Copperhead snake bites can be very harmful for children and elderly and requires and anti-venom.
- The bite can be deadly to animals or those with pre-existing health issue. (Can we make a political joke here?)

If you should get bitten by a venomous snake, immediately contact the Maryland Poison Center at 800-222-1222. The Maryland Poison Center is open 24 hours a day, and is staffed by Professionals who trained in emergency cases like this.
According to Maryland DNR and the American Red Cross:

1. Wash the area with soap and water.
2. Immobilize the area bitten and keep LOWER than you heart.
3. Immediately seek medical attention. 
                                         DO NOT ICE- DO NOT ICE- DO NOT ICE


How to prevent them:

Just like any wild animal, Copperheads have a very particular environment. Making your yard appear a certain way is a threatening place for them and will keep it clear of snakes.

- Keep lawn mowed
- Avoid landscaping "ground cover", etc.
- Make sure your home is properly sealed with no large gaps.
- Keep food and trash in secure receptacles.
- Keep your yard free of debris, wood piles, trash.
- Do not allow standing water to stay on your property.

If you need help performing any of these tasks, please contact EFynch today.

*When hiking or in the wild, you cannot control these factors however we recommend paying attention to them and exercise caution when present.


RESOURCES: 
MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Photo Guide of Maryland Snakes

Since we just talked about snakes: 
29 Pictures of puppies who are too cute for words




*** DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE IS FOR CONVERSATION PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED THE ADVICE OF A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL, JUST RESEARCH PERFORMED BY US.  THE INFORMATION LISTED IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND YOU MUST CALL POISON CONTROL FOR EVERY SNAKE BITE. EACH SITUATION IS UNIQUE AND YOUR SCENARIO MAY BE DIFFERENT THEN WHAT WE DISCUSSED HERE.






Monday, June 12, 2017

Want the Uber of Home Services or Home Improvement? Check the Fees to make sure you get aren't blindsided!

The basic and and easy answer to why Baltimore Startup EFynch saves your money.


Baltimore, MD: Previously we have sent out an image which shows the cost to install a TV in Baltimore. When looking at that image (below), it is clear to see that EFynch’s prices are far less than other online options. The reason for this is little known withinin the Online Home Services Industry but, we are changing that.

Other guys- many with the same options we offer Maryland, D.C. and Virginia homeowners- take a S__T ton of money- that is the "easy answer".

Rates Calculated on information collected on 6/12/17. Information on the calculations can be found here.




As a former contractor who still does some handyman work from time to time- this could be one of the biggest problems I have with  guys in our industry. The handyman/ plumber/ contractor/ roofer- those are the guys out there swinging a hammer and risking their health or (even) lives to work on your home. Charging fees to use a service is acceptable (all of our sites cost money to develop and maintain)- but some are just simply absurd.

Below you will find how much those fees are for my fellow “Uber of On-Demand Home Services”.

We calculated each of our competitors fees based on a constant $250 project.



And for reference, here is the original image showing TV installation costs.






No, for the record- Online platforms are expensive to develop and require regular maintenance. They are supposed to bring efficiency to our lives and add convenience.  Uber is successful in the Freelance Economy because the benefits they bring to the table outweigh the costs.

Today- you can spend half a day calling around to get bids, explain/ re-explain your problem and meet with countless contractors BUT- there are better ways. Unfortunately for our competition- we simply do not see them as that alternative.

More information can be found at https://www.efynch.com

Next week we cover "Pay Per Lead"- a popular payment system among sales sites.










Calculations for Home Improvement Services rate calculations. Performed using Maryland/ D.C. Markets where possible.

On June 12th, 2017 EFynch shared a video.  In researching the tech startup wanting to be “next Uber” for Home Services, we found several companies (like us), all with aspirations to go national.

One thing we have a hard time stomaching is the fees that other companies charge. In this video we reference several fees and amounts for a $250 project (our current average project size).

Below is the calculations for  those fees.


Calculations performed by Teris Pantazes


1. Homee: Information provided via home website 855-Go-Homee.

Homee is an on-demand property maintenance service that provides customers with instant access to electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians and handymen from the convenience of their smart phones. The Homee app allows users to find GPS-located service providers and request immediate service. Homee is licensed, bonded, and insured. For more information or to install the Homee app, search for Homee On Demand in the app stores (6/12/17 12:05 PM ghttp://www.homeeondemand.com/news/press-releases/homee-demand-app-connects-nearby-handymen-electricians-hvac-repairmen-plumbers/)


CALCULATIONS:

They charge the homeowner a 30% premium on all jobs. If I am a “skilled” handyman, the homeowner has “agreed” to pay a 30% premium for finding me through homee.

$250 x 30% = $75 


Taskrabbit: Information provided via google.com and task rabbit website

Trusted Handyman Help For Your Home Projects. Low Rates & Reliable Service.
Background checked · Insured up to $1M · Over 1 Million Tasks Done · Cash free payment
Services: Handyman Services, Furniture Assembly, Moving Help, Cleaning Services, General Errands (6/17/17 12:19PM. https://support.taskrabbit.com/hc/en-us/articles/204411610-What-is-the-TaskRabbit-Service-Fee- and https://support.taskrabbit.com/hc/en-us/articles/204940570-The-TaskRabbit-Trust-Safety-Fee)

CALCULATIONS

TaskRabbit collects a 30% of the total transaction when passing the funds from the consumer to the provider. They also charge a 7.5% Trust and Safety Fee which is paid by the consumer. This fee pays for Insurance, Customer Support, and Tasker Vetting.

$250 x 30% = $75
$250 x 7.5%= $18.75

Total Fees $93.75

Round up to $94

TAKL: Information provided via google.com and TAKL website and App.

Find local background checked providers on-demand to check off your chore list- lawn care, handyman services, cleaning services, junk removal & more.

CALCUALTIONS.

Takl charges providers 30% of total preset project fee. There is a blended rate if you are “requested” 20%, Add ons are 10% and providers and handymen keep all of their tips.

Takl charges contractors/ providers/ handyman 30% for jobs. (https://support.takl.com/hc/en-us/articles/217734977-What-are-the-provider-pay-rates- 6/12/17- 12:26pm)

$250 x 30% = $75

When you purchase a service through takl App, they charge an additional 9% service fee- image attached. 6/12/17- 12:26pm

$250 x 9% = $22.50

Total Fees: $97.50



HANDY: Information provided via google.com and conversation with Handy Advisor and GlassDoor

Book Professional Baltimore Cleaners On Demand. Next-Day Availability.
300k 5-Star Ratings · Affordable Pricing · Trusted Professionals · 3.5M+ Cleanings Completed
Services: Home Cleaning, Furniture Assembly, TV Mounting

Handy Charges hourly rates then sends a 1099 cleaner to your home. For home cleaning in Portland Oregon- a cleaner wrote on GlassDoor she makes $20 per hour (https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Handy-2-hours-Reviews-EI_IE680570.0,5_KH6,13.htm 6/12/17 12:37PM- posting was made on 10/22/16)

I then checked Handy for house cleaning. A 3 hour service in Portland Oregon at the time of writing this was $168. Given the hourly rate I calculated that Handy takes $108. However, they did offer a “coupon” making the actual cost $120.60 (which includes a $3 trust fee).

$120.60 / 3 = $40.20 collected per hour.
Contractors makes $20 per hour

$40.20 - $20 = $20.20 (Handy’s hourly fee).

$20.20 x 3= $60.60 for a $120.60 bill or 50.24%.

$250 x 50.25% = $125.63 collected for $250!

To further the calculation on my chart, Handy appears to favor a “subscription model and I chose the 6 month package which is much less expensive for house cleaning.”

With this in mind I did the same math but for the advertised service signing a 6 month agreement. The total cost was $84 for this service (including trust fee- I don’t know if this is a flat fee or percentage).

Since they pay $20 per hour to the cleaner for 3 hours- the cleaner makes (assumed) $60.

84-60= $24 (Handy’s Fee for the cleaning after paying the home service provider).

$24/ $84 = .285 or 29%

29% x $250= $72.50- total fee collected.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The price for mounting a TV in Baltimore Maryland: how to get the best price.

Making sure you get a fair deal and keep your TV Protected: When there is a wide price gap for services- how do you insure a proper deal.  
(The "skinny" on discount installers vs retail)


Baltimore, MD: Having a TV mounted can be stressful. You just spent the better part of a paycheck on a new device and now it begs to be mounted, admired. . . hanging from a wall. . .  and ofcourse "staying there"!

But you read online that the job can be easy however, after a few holes you decide to hire a pro.

Anyone who has ever gone through this process knows a few things.

1. The actual mounts are ridiculously expensive. $80 for a piece of metal!
2. Install prices are all over the place, but why? (*see price list at bottom of article)

Not getting into the mounting prices too much , they are connected to the price of installs in certain circumstances.  The only important part: a good single tilt mount should not be more than $40- anything over is marked up.

Now, why are install prices so "wild" (see the chart below)?

Simply put- they are because the person providing those prices sets them according to their "market". If you are a retail purchaser they assume you will pay retail prices. In a large store the prices can be the highest because they just sold you a TV and with that relationship they can to scare you into "local services". In reality- they hire the local guys, markup the price and you have the same mount mounted to the same wall. If you can break the price down to it's simplest form- mounting a TV is a semi- skilled job which should take a professional under 1 hour. It is NOT a $300+ project.

EFynch has helped with over 1 dozen installs in Baltimore in the past 2 months (about $50 or less in labor). In order to participate in this deal we ask the installer the following questions. We think you should always consider the following as well (explanations below).

1. How many TV have you installed in the past?
2. What methods do you use to find and verify you are hitting (and centered) on the stud?
3. Will you guarantee the TV is level?
4. For smaller TV' where only 1 stud is used- what type of drywall anchors are you using and is that included in the price?
5. If I decided hide the wires after you hung the tv, can you perform this and at what price?

So for the "discount guys" offering services for half the cost, don't hesitate- just ask the right questions.  Like many jobs that run through large national chains or websites- the installation process ends up feeding a few people along the way and you end up paying. In the end you still have the same local, independent guy doing the work.

With proper research the work can be done without an issue. That is our philosophy which is why groups like Baltimore TV Mounting and other groups are great users of EFynch.

It's not that our guys are charging a "cheap" rate to mount your TV, it's that they are giving a fair price.

That is my two cents. Thanks for reading!
Explanation for each question:

1. How many TV have you installed in the past?
     Just because the installer has not been doing this for 10+ years doesn't make him any less skilled then the next guy. Ask about his background and how the pro started installing and mounting flat screen TV's. As long as he has done 20 or so in the past, he should be able to encounter anything that may come his way. ** Also ask them to bring extra bolts, etc- I ask the homeowner if I can keep all extra hardware after a job, you never know when it might come in handy.


2. What methods do you use to find and verify you are hitting (and centered) on the stud?
     You want to hear that multiple methods are used and verify that the installer will drill a pilot hole for each bolt. Acceptable actions should include measuring, stud sensor and a pilot hole. I do not accept using a magnet or "knocking" as the primary method- it is not exact enough.

3. Will you guarantee the TV is level?
     Self explanatory but so often not verified! Asking this questions also alerts the installer that you will expect a proper and clean job. It sets expectations for his quality of work.

4. For smaller TV' where only 1 stud is used- what type of drywall anchors are you using and is that included in the price?
      This is an important factor and happens often. Make sure at least 2 bolts are secured into a stud. The TV should be as balanced as possible and drywall anchors should be tested. If there was previous water damage to the drywall there will be virtually no strength and an alternative anchor may be required (addition of a post behind the wall).

5. If I decided I want the wires hidden or more options, can you provide this and at what price?
     You want flexibility. This also shows that the handyman is capable of doing deeper work and (at the very least) will be confident in the TV mounting and understanding what goes on behind a wall.  Would you hire someone to mix the batter if they didn't know how to bake the cake after? (stretch of an example, I know- but you want to make sure their skills go beyond the specific project you are performing).

So for the "discount guys" offering service for half the cost, don't hesitate- just ask the right questions.  Like many jobs that run through large national chains or websites- the installation process ends up feeding a few people along the way and you end up paying. In the end you still have the same local, independent guy doing the work.

With proper research the work can be done without an issue. That is our philosophy which is why groups like Baltimore TV Mounting and other groups are great users of EFynch.

It's not that our guys are charging a "cheap" rate to mount your TV, it's that they are giving a fair price.


Article written by Teris Pantazes. The opinions and discussion of work performed do not necessarily reflect those of EFynch and this article was written by him as an individual, not on behalf of EFynch.com. This is all opinion and should be taken for discussion purposes only.
EFynch- $45.00 to mount a TV.
Takl- $141.70 to mount a TV
Angie's List- $213
HomeAdvisor- $287 (which just bought Angie's list- luckily the parent company also owns Tindr so hopefully they can swipe right and meet somewhere in the middle).


Home Improvement information and handyman work in Baltimore, Annapolis, Washington D.C., Maryland, etc.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Worth The Read: The Paint Every Homeowner Should Have.




(BALTIMORE, MD) I know the fact I got you to click on this story should be triumph enough. It's hard to get jazzed over a paint color but if you own a home this is something you need to consider. 

To most, Eggshell white is just “white paint”- but to those in the know; Eggshell White is the standard for rental properties or the basic “I will get to it later” room paint. It is durable, readily available and does not look cheap like flat paint often does.

This basic white is used in everywhere from dorm rooms, basements, new homes, apartment building and probably in your office building right now. You will even find it in restaurants, dining rooms, and foyers within some of the most extravagant homes in the U.S.

There reasons for this (and why you should always have a gallon on hand):

- It is textured and hides imperfections.
- It does not fade and repainting can be done partially (not entire room).
- It virtually matches joint compound so the missed spot from your last DIY will be overlooked.
- It is DURABLE and can be cleaned better than flat.
- Readily Available for future work.
- If a bad stain/ mark cannot be cleaned, you just cover it with new Eggshell.

One of my first jobs out of college was to working for a very intelligent person who owned several great rental properties. There were times I wondered if he actually drank Eggshell white because he loved it so much. After my first week of working with him, my love grew just as fond.
It is like the duct tape of the painter’s world!

Keep a gallon of Eggshell White in your home you are right on par with some of the most knowledgeable and property owners and landlords around. There is no other shortcut you can take that never ever looks like like one.

This story was sent out by EFynch and EFynch.com. EFynch does not endorse any specific products. To get free, no obligation paint quotes (for when Eggshell doesn't cut it)- use EFynch (web and app). Simply post a picture and get competitive bids without any sales or making sales calls.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Energy Efficiency Ideas for Summer: Window Coverings by EFynch Home Improvement App.

The Home Energy Saver We All Overlook:

How Window Treatments can reduce your energy bids.


Baltimore, MD- EFynch.com: Windows are one of the most overlooked energy monsters in your home. Although great advances have been made with increasing insulation value (yes, insulation is equally important for HOT as it is for COLD), the hot summer sun pummels your windows all day long.

That heat literally turns anything it touches into a radiator which can cause your AC to run constantly as some indoor surfaces can top 130 degrees Fahrenheit!

To battle this, a few years ago I spent time studying Passive Solar. The idea is you design your home to block out the summer sun but let it in during the winter (has to do with shutters and angles, besides the point). In this practice you use certain finishes in your home to capture the right heat .etc. etc.etc. . This is great but, it requires work and planning.

If you are looking for changes that can have an effect right away- tomorrow- literally.

Imagine sitting in the hot sun all summer day and feeling the heat and sunburn. Now imagine being under a tree, and since you have AC in your home you bring a fan with you that day. This is only a loose example of the effect but it is literally what good shades accomplish- SHADE!

You have to consider window treatments. In our opinion there is simply no easier way to increase your home’s efficiency than a quick trip to a local retailer for good set of blinds.
There are several types to choose from ranging from cellular shades to full on drapes- the thicker the better- use your judgement- True energy savers will be labeled.

So before the summer sun begins consider which windows could benefit from the additional love. Windows facing south should be the first, then consider those which are in front of hard surfaces that can retain heat (stone, slate, marble, brick, wood, etc.). These are the windows that let in the most heat which then falls on the surfaces that gather and hold heat- releasing it through the day and into the night.

Energy efficient blinds and covering can reduce energy transfer by up to 45% and in some cases have lowered energy bills by 20% according to the Department of Energy.

To get more information feel free to contact us. We can help you find the right blind and installer.

Examples of energy saving blinds:

Top of article- windows with blue drapes and pull down privacy blinds.
This article was written by Sotereas (Teris) Pantazes of EFynch.com. The information contained above is not the opinion of EFynch and should not constitute advice for your particular situation. EFynch does now to the physical work and  only provides a venue for the exchange of information.  The reader agrees that this information is for conversation purposes only and is a generalization of steps which can be taken. The reader agrees to consult a professional within the jurisdiction that work is to be performed who is licensed when required and they will not partake in ANY actions based on this article alone, seeking advice prior to doing any work either through a professional, themselves, or through the EFynch platform.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Late Spring Freeze: The Handyman and Homeowner Guide to Protecting Outdoor Landscaping

Late Spring Freeze: The Handyman and Homeowner Guide to Protecting Outdoor Landscaping in Maryland.

What the homeowner should do with a late Spring Freeze/ Frost.

 

Baltimore, MD: Tonight (April 7th, 2017) and into Saturday morning, forecasters are calling for freezing temperatures possible throughout Central Maryland*. With the warm weather the past few days, many of us in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. have already begun outdoors landscaping for Spring. With a semi-rare Freeze Watch in place, there are a few measures that homeowners should take to help plants survive.

The issue with a cold freeze and some plants is the inability for vegetable and flowers to withstand freezing water on a cellular level. As we know, when water freezes it expands and can break the sensitive cell structures. For certain plants, this is irreparable damage.

Here is a quick reference on what you can do to prevent damage:

1: Sensitive plants in pots: Bring indoors.

2. Sensitive plants/ bushes/ seedlings in the ground: 

          - Water plant base thoroughly during daylight hours, DO NOT let water rest on leaves.
                 The (above freezing) water and dirt will act as an insulator and allow the plants to absorb
                 water before freezing which makes them more durable.
          - Cover heartier bushes/ plants with a towels. Use a bed sheet for those that are weaker.
                 DO NOT USE PLASTIC.
          - Seedlings or extremely delicate foliage can be semi-protected by building a tent around
                 the plant or even using stakes and creating a barrier (think castle walls).

3. Sensitive Seedlings: For seedlings that are extremely weak and vulnerable. Water the ground thoroughly (to act as an insulator, not wetting the plant), then cover with an inverted bucket or flower pot.

4. Seeds/ Bulbs: If the seed has not yet sprouted, water thoroughly then cover with a towel, bed sheet, or blanket.

Remember: DO NOT water after dark or once temperatures drop below 37 - 40 degrees. By this point, the sensitive plants have already begun "emergency mode" and the water will not provide the boost in protection. In some cases you may have seen orange growers in Florida water the entire plant. This is an entirely different practice which involves constant watering during the event. Do not try this unless you are confident and have researched that method specifically.

After the risk of cold has passed, remove covering to allow the sun to start working. Assess the damage and if pruning is possible (depends on plant), you can cut any damaged area to stimulate new growth.

For more information or regular updates and tips like this- visit www.efynch.com or like us on Facebook. 

EFynch provides tips, tricks, weekly home improvement and landscaping deals for homeowners throughout Maryland. 


Covered Vegetable garden Pre-Frost

Ghosts! Or covered and wrapped plants, Pre-Frost.


The Late Spring Freeze Warning for Landscaping and outdoor gardening includes: 
Carroll-Northern Baltimore-Northwest Montgomery-Northwest Howard-
Northwest Harford-Nelson-Albemarle-Greene-Madison-Rappahannock-
Orange-Culpeper-Northern Fauquier-Southern Fauquier-
Western Loudoun-

Including the cities of Eldersburg, Westminster, Reisterstown,
Cockeysville, Germantown, Damascus, Laurel, Lisbon, Jarrettsville,
Lovingston, Charlottesville, Stanardsville, Madison, Washington,
Orange, Gordonsville, Culpeper, Warrenton, Turnbull, Towson, Timonium, White Marsh, Reistertown, Columbia, Ellicott City, Frederick,
and Purcellville.  

Precaution areas include: Rockville, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, College park, Takoma Park, Hyattsville, Washington D.C. and Gaithersburg.


EFynch.com
City Garage
101 W. Dickman St
Suite 300
Baltimore, MD 21230

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Maryland Ticks and Lyme Disease: A Homeowner Guide to Removing them from the Yard.

How to Prevent/ Rid/ and take care of Ticks.

Maryland Tricks for Homeowners

Baltimore, MD: I grew up around farms in Southern Maryland. Ticks were a normal part of life but now in suburban Baltimore (Timonium) I have a growing family and my opinion has changed. The population of Lyme Disease carrying, Deer Tick has exploded and the harmless “Dog Tick” I grew up burning with a match head is nowhere to be found (just my observation).

Because of this, a general concern to rid our yards of Deer Ticks is valid (and recommended). Nearly 2% of Deer Ticks actually carry Lyme Disease in certain areas.

Although not foolproof, here are some quick tips you can take and prevent ticks or tick nests from taking a residence around your yard.

*Ticks love shade, moisture and places to hide. Keep this in mind and do the following to create a tick Hell!

1. Keep grass mowed and cut short: Tall grass is ideal for ticks, mice and other animals. It hold moisture, allows for a place to hide (i.e. mice from prey, ticks from birds).

2. Keep your yard debris free: See reasons above. Piles of leaves, trash, unkept wood piles (chopped or sticks) provide refuge.

3. If you do have a wood pile, keep it in a sunny area. This recommendation keeps the wood dry (“a tick desert”).

4. Discourage wildlife from spending time in your yard. Deer, mice, raccoons carry ticks and can bring them around.

5. Install a Tick Barrier: Ticks HATE walking on gravel or wood chips. This is like broken glass under their feet. Install a 1’ to 3’ barrier separating your yard from the forest or other tick prone areas.

BONUS: There are some plants which may repel ticks such as the American Beauty Berry Bush. You can also get CHICKENS as they eat ticks!

In closing, ticks are a part of nature. There are some risks but generally you are more likely to get an infection from a cut or tick bite than a disease like Lyme. Both should be reason enough to spend some time taking preventative measures.

HOW TO REMOVE A TICK: If you find a tick that has already started feeding- before pulling it out, use rubbing alcohol to clean the area and help pull the head out of your skin. Then with tweezers gently pull. Keep the area clean, circle with a pen and watch for a forming “bulls-eye” within 48 hours.

Oh, the old “match on the butt trick” I used as a kid- only works on dog ticks- deer ticks are stubborn little blood suckers!

For more tips and home improvement tricks from our Handymen.
Register at http://www.efynch.com
Written by Teris Pantazes




Thursday, March 30, 2017

Baltimore Home Improvement deal and how EFynch puts these together.


How EFynch Weekly Deals Help the Homeowner:
By: EFynch.com (Baltimore, MD)

Each week EFynch works hard to bring relevant, money saving deals for our Maryland Homeowner Members.

These deals typically include normal services like:

- Power Washing
- Handyman 3 hour packages
- Gutter Cleaning
- Snow Removal
- Mulch Delivery
- etc.

We also try to provide some unique services which may go overlooked like:

- Mailbox Post Replacement
- Flower and Garden Box Install- coming soon :)
- Smoke Alarm Battery Replacement
- Dryer Vent Cleaning

These are all common things us homeowners need and are things we should consider.

So how do we get these deals?

The truth is we sometimes just “wing it”. For the most part we pay attention to our own homes and speak with our professionals. They recommend services that are starting to trend because of seasonality. These take priority but we also look for unique ideas. What can make your home more enjoyable or something we see on TV that is awesome, but not very common (i.e. the flower box garden).

Pricing is a little harder. Right now we have close to 1,000 members. We use these membership statistics and the success of previous deals as leverage- sometimes guaranteeing a pro a certain amount of work if a deal is offered.

Once we get a deal lined up. EFynch then scours the internet for similar deals to make sure our offering is the best. There is haggling and negotiations involved- it’s a lot of work. This is the reason why our deals are not always open to non-members (if you aren’t part of the group, why should you get the benefits?).

In the end, we work hard to provide the best deals available. Often you will see gimmicks from other sites like “$39 for a waterproofing inspection” (real deal offered by a large national group). To us, that offer is bogus- an inspection should be free, not an opportunity for a service pro to sit at your table with a drawn out sales pitch (which is what those other deals are).

EFynch has it’s benefits. It should always provide a value for our members. Take a look at our deals which can be found here (http://www.fynchnest.com/contact-us2.html). Let us know if you have any questions or if you want to see a specific deal offered?

One thing we would like you to do is present us with ideas. Who knows, maybe you have the next “hit” and with a few of your neighbors we can turn that into a home run!
Thanks,

Teris Pantazes
EFynch Co-Founder


Monday, March 13, 2017

*do not be this guy and approach a downed power line.

What to do during power outages:

Baltimore, Maryland: It is the dead of winter and your power goes out. What are you supposed to do?

Depending on the length that the power is off and the time of day- you should prepare for the worst. Once night falls, weather always tends to worsen plus repair work will move slower. You can expect being without power for the long haul.

In modern times it is hard to think about shelter and surviving but cut the power to your home with a blizzard outside, I promise the primitive concerns we take for granted become front and center. (PLEASE TAKE THIS AS A SERIOUS MESSAGE).

In the event the power is off and you do not foresee an immediate return. We recommend you do the following:

1. Monitor the temperature inside your home. If it goes below 50 degrees, you should immediately perform a “quick winterize”- information on this will be posted soon.

2. If you have not already done so- prepare a fire if you have an operational fireplace.
Close off unused rooms to conserve and focus heat (continue to monitor the temperature in those rooms not letting it go below freezing.

3. Food in the Fridge should stay at temperature for 24 hours. You can always move food outside but remember to keep secure from animals (use a cooler).

4. Turn off any electronics with an on/off switch.

5. Put all faucets on a “drip”. Even if you home is above freezing- walls may drop below.

6. Know how to manually operate your electric garage door (usually a red handle on string).

7. Dress in layers- avoid sweating and stay dry.

8. Try to check on neighbors as much as possible.

9. If it gets too cold and it is safe- move to better shelter. Ask a neighbor or relative for help.

10.  DO NOT USE APPLIANCES to heat your home (ovens, stove). Keep watch and make sure your Smoke and CO2 alarms remain operational.

The key during a power outage is for all persons and pets to stay warm then make sure your pipes do not freeze.

This is a quick guide and we recommend consulting with a professional to develop a detailed and personalized plan. As this current storm approached the Baltimore Area, we hope you stay safe!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Winter Starm Warning for Homeowners- Maryland and Washington D.C. Advice


Hey Fynches!

Here in Baltimore/ Washington we are expecting an old fashion Nor’Easter on Tuesday with accumulations upwards of 12”.  We are not one to panic BUT, a snow this late in winter typically is WET and HEAVY. Forecasters are also expecting strong winds and potential for structural damage, downed trees, and power outages will be present.

Below are some tips that we recommend every homeowner take before Tuesday.

Before the storm, we recommend you do the following:

        - Inspect the underside of your roof (check attic): Any damage or signs of leaking should be treated as an emergency and repaired immediately. Do a visual inspection outside: Gutters, deck, etc.

        - Organize shovels and winter clothing: If you power goes out- sleeping bags, and blankets by the fireplace are key.

        - Cooking: Lighters, bbq grill or camp stove (with full tank of fuel) are useful if power goes out, even if you have a gas stove.

        - Fuel: Make sure your car and any power equipment (generator, snow blower) have full tanks and are operational.

        - Food: If the power goes out, move food outside. You still want to use a cooler to protect the food from animals.

        - Water: If you are on a well, fill a bathtub with water to use for toilets or drinking.

        - Batteries: Check batteries in smoke and CO2 alarms.

During/ after the storm:

        - Keep your cell phone on the charger. If the power goes out most cell networks still work. Communication is always important.

        - Clear driveway in case of an emergencies so you will be able to leave.

        - Clear around Fire hydrants and make sure your house numbers are visible (i.e. mailbox).

        - If you go outside, let someone know where you are going. Check in regularly.

        - If you are not used to shoveling, do not be embarrassed if clearing your driveway is too strenuous. A $50 driveway clear is much better than hurting yourself.

The above information is just a short overview. The best way to prepare is to look around your house and develop a plan. The most important things for you before/ during a storm is Food, shelter, heat, and communication. Look at each and think of any possible circumstance. Develop a plan, sit back and catch up on Netflix!

What about if the power does go out?  That story will be posted soon on our Facebook Page. Follow us other updates!

Thanks for reading. Let us know what EFynch can do to make your next home improvement project go smoother. We are here with your next handyman, plumber, electrician, roofer, etc. Service everywhere from Baltimore Maryland through Washington D.C.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Early March Gardening Tips



Baltimore, Maryland- In the spring, we all tend to turn our focus from the local Handyman and repairs over to Landscaping around your house. Here in Baltimore and Washington D.C. we have certainly started to see glimmers of Spring.

Behold- as I look at the weather forecast there is not one,,, but TWO potential winter storm events in the forecast. One for Friday (3/8/17) and one early next week. We don't know if these will be significant but it does prove the need for us to hold off on planting in our gardens just yet.

For now- here are EFynch recommendations for outdoor related project:

- Mulch Flowerbeds: If no new planting is being considered, go ahead and mulch now. Landscapers are mostly still on "winter rates" and you can save a bundle. In fact- utilize the EFynch Mulch/ landscape Deal which provides Mulch Delivery in Baltimore County for a limited time and as low as $50.

-  Pick up Sticks!: Clean that yard of downed limbs and debris. If you are meticulous or fertilized in the fall, lawn mowing may start in 2 to 3 weeks. If raking be gentle- new grass sprouts may be growing and the ground is still very soft.

- Decide if you are going to seed. If so, do not use a pre-emergent week control.

- Test Soil: If you have problems with growing grass, now is a good time to take a soil sample to your local nursery for PH testing (usually free, and on the spot). Early spring is a good time to apply Lime or other additives to balance poor soil quality.

- Plan for Vegetable or flowers Gardens: Building a new flower box, vegetable garden and planning to go all out? Now is the time to plan, and start building if needed. We LOVE box gardens and will be posting something about this later. Start looking around your yard and make a plan. Take advantage of this slow time around the yard to perform cleaning, edging, and building. *Still a little early to till.

DO NOT: Trim bushes, mow, fertilize, seed, aerate just yet.

Hold off on planting until (at least) March 25th, but even then- check with guides for each individual plant. If you are planting a garden, some seeds can be sewn indoors so you can get a head start on those.

For more tips, please feel free to follow EFynch on Facebook.

Don't forget- you can sign up to be an EFynch Member for free at Signup. With this you get access to more information plus great group deals.

Thanks! 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine's Day and Home Improvement, our argument for the romance of it all!

Valentine’s Day ideas for the Home:

Home is where the heart is. Below are some home improvement projects to upgrade your castle and set the mood


Baltimore, Maryland- For many of us at EFynch, Valentine’s day is more than just trying to impress someone. The Holiday is about the mutual enjoyment of spending time with that person. We spend most of our time together in our homes so why now take the opportunity to work together and improve it?

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to splurge and add a few accessories around your home that will add to the year-round ambience. Talk to your partner about this- instead of buying each other a small gift- maybe a “gift for the house” could be a great addition? Maybe the Valentine’s night can last a little longer with the right upgrades!

Below are some ideas which we think are relatively easy and add to home comfort.


Sound:

For many, sound is one of the ultimate ways to stir up emotions. Whether you want to reminisce about a past vacation or create that ultimate comfort zone- music instantly transforms the mood of any room. The key is quality of the sound, not volume.

For single rooms we recommend a quality music player such as the Bose Wave Radio System. This does not require tough installations and as easy to install as an alarm clock (because that is what it “technically” is).

There are other options around but with the Bose system you can purchase auxiliary equipment like a charger for your smart phone, etc.

You can even pick a decent used system on Ebay for $150 because they typically retail for well over $400!

Lighting:

Is there anything more inviting than the glow of a dimly lit room filled with candles? But candles are a pain and dangerous. Try installing dimmers or purchase a mood changing LED light bulb which can change variation of color!

$150

** Just in case you decide to stick with old fashion candles- consider a Smart Smoke Detector like the Nest, which can sense the difference between steam and smoke, be programmed as a night lite, give different levels of warnings depending on the threat and (of course) notify you of an alarm via smartphone!

$100

Shower Head:

Have fun with this one. What says “love” more than a successful trip to the local hardware store!!!!!

But in seriousness, spend some time in the plumbing section and look at the various shower heads. Share your preferences and pick one out that suits both your desires. Rush home, install, feel the sense of accomplishment then enjoy!

$25 to $80 is a good range.


Fireplace:

Pick up firewood, upgrade the accessories and get the home fires burning!

Better yet- find a few logs and split the wood yourself.

Fireplace accessories we like include:

Best Made Co. Axe Starting $180
Saddleback Leather Log Carrier $179
Or hand made wrought Iron Tools- many options.

Upgrade your drink:

A nice bottle of wine or a good bottle of Bourbon- pick out something you both like and get a great set of glasses or old school tumblers!


Other ideas:

Fondue Set: under $100
New Area Rug or Cowhide Rug from Ikea $160
Cast Iron Pan for cooking French Chicken in a Pot (google it!!)
Dewalt 20V MAX XR High Torque 3/4” Impact Wrench (. . . okay, we tried!!)


We were not paid for any of these listing- which is why we did not include links. This is meant to just spur ideas- but have fun with it. If you and your Partner decided to “share” the gift- half the fun could be picking something out.

If you have any further ideas be sure to share them on our EFynch Community Forum- found here!