Who are the Good Guys?

My friend, Ron West, has operated his roofing company, Ronald West Roofing, LLC (www.ronwestroofing.com) since 1991. Like myself and a handful of other friends, Ron’s a native of Central Florida. We all grew up and supported our families in the construction and building services industries, and we all learned about Quality and Best Practices a long time before they were corporate buzzwords.

In the weeks since Hurricane Irma swept through Central Florida I have been assisting Ron with an avalanche of calls for roof replacements and repairs. It’s a privilege to help people with a service they desperately need, and I am enjoying the creative dawn-to-dusk environment we live in to serve our customers.

Because I’m an industry participant now I am naturally inclined to listen more closely to every commercial I hear, or read more closely every article I see, about roofing.  What I find most interesting is how these articles and radio talk show infomercials go long on helping consumers steer clear of purported scammers (generally described using adjectives or business practices that somehow describe everyone EXCEPT themselves) but never address specific questions and answers that describe the basic elements of quality installations.

I have met a lot of people lately who are looking for a “good deal” on a new roof or repair.  If you are in that group then you might appreciate this short checklist to help ease uncertainty and simplify your decision-making process.  It will serve you well every time.

  1. Good estimators will spend enough time on and around your roof to accurately capture all costs necessary to do you a good job.  This is the first sign that you’re talking with a quality contractor.
  2. You should be presented with materials that are manufactured by name brand companies that have been around for a while; chances are they’ll be here if they need to honor their warranty;
  3. Work with contractors that are licensed and insured and who place supervisors on all jobs daily;
  4. Ask how the crews are managed and compensated.  Well-paid tradesmen possess greater skills; that’s why they make more.  Never hesitate to pay a fair price for great craftsmanship; the extra years of roof life will more than offset any nominal amount paid over lowest bids;
  5. Trust your gut.  Too many soft or evasive answers to your questions (and you should ask questions) should raise red flags.  Heed them!

I will be writing more about what I see over the coming weeks.  Next up will most likely be a piece on how the insurance industry is responding to insureds’ claims requests.  Until then, please feel free to contact me with your thoughts.

 

What a great idea!

Have you ever looked up to see water dripping from your ceiling because an AC condensate drain line got clogged? That gets expensive fast!  Or maybe your tenant called you to say there’s water pooling in her light fixture; you subsequently learn that the garbage disposal drain in your tenant apartment upstairs became clogged and water overflowed when he ran his dishwasher.

Now there’s an INEXPENSIVE (as low as $5.00!), EFFECTIVE way to help prevent that ever happening again.  Flood Buzz is a simple, stand-alone device that can be placed inside air handlers, behind washing machines, on water heaters, under sinks, or just about anywhere else a potentially damaging leak might occur. The moment a leak develops, Flood Buzz emits a 110-decibel alarm. This can be all it takes to catch a leak before it turns into a mess.

How Flood Buzz Works

The Flood Buzz™ Pro has two metal prongs on the bottom of each unit. When water comes in contact with the metal prongs, it closes the circuit and sounds an up to 110 dB alarm. Since the Flood Buzz™ Pro comes with an integral battery that lasts for up to three years, all you have to do is place the unit next to any potential leak source. The unit is maintenance free until you replace it. For best performance, Flood Buzz™ Pro should be replaced before the “Replace by” date printed on the chimney.

I REALLY LIKE this product and have decided to add it to my growing list of Good Ideas for Commercial Building Owners. Hit me on my Contact Me page or give me a call to learn more.

Wallet a Little Lighter than You Like it?

 

Over the summer I’ve been looking for ways to bring a few extra bucks into the house to cover improvement projects we want to complete. Along the way I’ve come across everything from legit ways to earn a few hundred bucks a month, to career-change opportunities that hold real promise.  It’s been an interesting little research exercise and I figured that some folks might find value in what I turned up.

Rather than specific gigs, I am listing some of the sources I found that seem to present the best (most realistic) opportunities.  The only ones listed here are those that I’ve looked into personally and have validated as worth considering.  For this reason there are only three listed (so far).  If reader interest warrants I will update this post as I discover more.

Results Preview…I have begun executing at least one opportunity found within these resources and it is paying off!

Side Hustle Nation – www.sidehustlenation.com Check out Nick Loper’s cool website and podcast for some great ideas on how to start a side gig that can go to full-tilt if you want it to.  One of many ‘Lifestyle” bloggers on the scene today, Nick is producing some great stuff, and his work has had a positive effect on my own side gigs.  Check him out!

Manufacturers Representatives – http://www.manufacturers-representatives.com/ If you’re a salesperson and want to start your own gig, take a look at this website that is full of manufacturer listings seeking good salespeople.  Read up a little on becoming a manufacturer’s representative to gain a greater understanding of the risks and rewards associated with this line of work.  Depending on your background, there are some cool and lucrative opportunities to be found here.

Craigslist Gigs – http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites  Yeah, I know; everyone knows about Craigslist.  I agree there can be a lot of junk there.  That said, I can also tell you that I uncovered a really cool part-time gig there that gives me upwards of $1,500 per-month for just a few hours worth of honest work, all completed from my study at home.  Not a bad gig!

New ventures can be challenging; for this reason I have also included a couple of helpful sites, one discovered recently while the other I’ve used for years, that are geared towards helping position one’s self for greater success.  Check these out:

Live Your Legend  – https://liveyourlegend.net/ If you’re trying to figure out what it’s all about, there are scores of books and people (most of them good) that can help you.  I recently came across Scott Dinsmore’s site and have to tell you there’s a lot to be found here.  If you’re not quite there yet on what you want to do for your next act, definitely check this guy out.

100 Day Challenge – http://100daychallenge.com/ Need a little kick in the pants to get you moving?  Check out Goals Guy, Gary Ryan Blair for some can’t-miss methodologies that will get you on track and keep you there, IF YOU’RE READY FOR IT.

Whether you’re trying to boost income, find a new career or fight boredom, I hope you find something that will work for you too!   When you do, please post an update and let us all know how it’s going for you.

From My Orlando BOMA Posts – Interview with CBRE Engineer Paul Carter

July 27, 2015

A driving force in commercial real estate around the world, CBRE is helping its corporate real estate clients achieve improved performance and competitive advantage through sustainability measures that include LEED certification.  Here in Central Florida, CBRE Lead Engineer, Paul Carter, is pushing that effort even further, demonstrating on a daily basis that small efforts can yield great results.  In a recent interview Paul shared a couple of ideas that are not only very effective, but also cost almost nothing to get started:

  • One device at a time – Paul knows that thermostats controlling buildings’ heating and air conditioning systems can be off by as much as several degrees.  By placing a reliable thermometer next to thermostats, one device at a time, Paul identifies controls that are not reading correct temperatures.  After recalibrating he’s seeing reductions, sometimes significant, in energy consumption.
  • Stagger your start times – When an entire building’s air conditioning system energizes all at once it consumes far more power than if separate zones are started one or more at a time. Paul staggers start times for each floor in every one of his buildings to easily prevent these large immediate power demands.

It’s instructive to note that Paul has achieved ENERGY STAR ratings at four buildings to-date by executing these simple steps, and he’s currently working on his fifth.

Once savings start occurring they can be reinvested in energy-saving equipment to further improve performance and reduce energy costs.  Three examples include:

  • Better lighting – Replace inefficient lamps with higher efficiency models.
  • Install variable speed drives – This is a great project to capitalize with savings from initial sustainability efforts. According to one well-known manufacturer, energy savings of up to 60% are possible through use of these relatively inexpensive components.
  • Building management systems – Higher on the cost scale, these systems enable further savings through greater regulation of heating and cooling systems.

Paul is making good progress, but he’s not done yet.  His next steps include exploring LEED certification for as many of his buildings as possible, as well as achieving LEED credentials for himself.  In doing so he is leveraging the largest organized effort in the world at promoting sustainability (LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) while further reducing his buildings’ energy consumption and operating costs, all through smarter management.

There are lots of ways to save money, reduce our carbon footprint and run our facilities more intelligently.  What ideas do you want to share?!

From My BOMA Orlando Posts – Interview with KMP Lexington Engineer Tim Arwood

June 8, 2015

Tim Arwood serves as Chief Engineer for Lexington MKP at their 6277 Sea Harbor Dr. facility. This Class A, 359,000-plus square-foot building is cooled by two 600-ton chillers.  The building was paying sewer charges on between 7,000 and 30,000 gallons of water per-day being used in its two cooling towers. Water costs an average of $1.43 per 1,000 gallons consumed, and the sewer fee charged to process that same 1,000 gallons averages an additional $3.47.  Since cooling tower water is consumed mostly through evaporation, the building was paying sewer charges every month for water that was not making its way back into the sewer system.

Tim asked his water purveyor to provide some relief on sewer charges for water consumed by his cooling towers, arguing that since this water was not going back into the sewer system his building should not be charged for that service.  The purveyor installed a device known as a Deduct Meter, which enables them to measure volumes of water passing into the cooling towers.  They are now using this data to deduct cooling tower water from total monthly sewer charges.  In Tim’s case that will possibly result an in immediate savings of between $200 and $1,800 per month!

There are lots of ways to save money, reduce our carbon footprint, and run our facilities more intelligently.  What ideas do you want to share?!

 

From my BOMA Orlando Posts – Interview with Luci Smith, EastGroup Properties, Inc.

July 14, 2015

EastGroup Properties, Inc. is a $3-billion owner/operator of industrial properties located in major Sunbelt markets including Florida, Texas, Arizona and California.  One of the company’s key attributes is a sharp focus on efficiency.  This is evidenced by the fact that the entire organization is run by a team of only 72 associates.  Senior Property Manager Luci Smith is well-known across the company and all of Central Florida as a property manager with deep experience in energy efficiency and sustainability.

In a recent interview Luci shared a few ways that EastGroup is reducing consumption to increase savings and efficiency.  As a starting point she noted that common sense can lead to significant savings.  Examples she cited include replacing inefficient exterior and interior lamps with more energy efficient models; re-roofing (when it becomes necessary) with white TPO (Thermoplastic polyolefin) materials that reflect heat more effectively, and requiring audits of irrigation systems every two years by her landscape contractors to ensure water waste is being kept to a minimum.

Reduced consumption results in lower operating costs.  One example given was lighting retrofits that are paying for themselves within 24 to 36 months.  Ratings for sustainability awareness also add value.  Luci stated that nine of 12 buildings at their Southridge Commerce Park development are currently ENERGY STAR rated, and they expect the remaining three to achieve that goal by end of this year.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website www.energystar.gov, ENERGY STAR certified buildings are more marketable, command higher rental rates and thus have increased asset value.

Luci noted that rebates and incentives are additional, important benefits of sustainability-oriented thinking.  For example, Duke Energy offers incentives ranging from rebates for annual recommissioning (servicing) of HVAC systems, to subsidies for re-roofing when energy-efficient materials are used.

There are lots of ways to save money, reduce our carbon footprint and run our facilities more intelligently.  What ideas do you want to share?!