5 Home Repairs You Should Never Do Yourself

Just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean you should. Face it, some jobs call for a professional, especially jobs that may cause injury, void warrantees, and/or compromise insurance claims – and some are just outright illegal. Here are a 5 home repairs you should never do yourself, call a professional and avoid risk and a ton of headaches!

1. Plumbing 

It’s a fact; if there's a way out, water will find it. Even the smallest leak can lead to thousands of dollars worth of damage if it's not caught in time. Yes, a capable do-it-yourselfer can manage minor repairs like changing a shower head or replacing a faucet. Where you can get into trouble, though, is if you try to modify your plumbing system — extending hot water lines or re-routing your sewer pipes. Working with hot water means copper pipes, which will require a blow torch. So, unless you have some serious welding experience, it's best to leave the torch jobs to a professional. While this isn't as dangerous as electric work, plumbing problems can get out of hand fast and lead to a costly (and wet) future.

2. Roofing 

Roof repair isn't recommended for a do-it-yourselfer for one (pretty obvious) reason — it's easy to fall off! Yes, repairing a roof shingle or two sounds simple enough, but it's getting up and down and carrying your tools with you that pose the risk of injury or death. Think it through…t's tiring work, and when you're tired, you're more prone to make a mistake. Just a quick slip is all it takes to send you over the edge of a second-story roof.

Of course, if you live in a one-story home and your slope is less than 20 degrees, you can probably get away with gutter work and minor shingle repair. You may even be low enough to do it from the ladder. But even these minor repairs can still be dangerous, so never attempt any of them when you're home alone. Have a spotter in place to hold the ladder and be there in case of an accident. Always consider the danger involved. Most roofing work requires experience to get it right. If you bite off more than you can chew, the consequences could be more then a leaky roof and expensive water damage.

3. Electrical 

Simple chores like swapping out a light fixture or changing a socket cover are both safe for most homeowners. Beyond that, however, you really should hire a pro. Although it seems easy enough…you just turn off the breaker at the fuse panel and change out the items, right? WRONG. You’ve got to be careful because any miscalculation could burn down a house, and almost any amount of electrical current can kill you.

Another thing to consider is that most municipalities require you to hire a licensed electrician for anything involving rewiring or working with high-voltage lines. A pre-requisite for almost all complex electrical projects involves the city coming out to cut off your power, and they usually won’t turn it back on until you can prove a pro did the work.

4. Wall Removal

So you are hoping to transform your layout to an open floor plan; or maybe just looking for a little more room and removing a wall is the first thing on your to-do list. Picking up a sledgehammer and going to town on some drywall may seem like an easy enough project (it might even be fun!), after all, we see it on those home renovation shows all the time. Think again…what you don’t see on TV is that the experts have to carefully examine the home’s construction. Some cities even require permits if the wall in question is structural and if you don't call in a specialist for a consultation beforehand, you could be doing major damage to the integrity of your house. It is always advised to get professional advice first. It’s a good idea too to have pros on hand when you frame your new wall, since sloppy framing can look bad. 


5. Garage Door Repairs

Over time, garage door springs lose their tension and need to be replaced, but the first and final steps require releasing and returning the tension to the spring. Although there may be a YouTube video on how to do this, that does NOT make it safe. One wrong move and that spring could go hurtling toward your body, resulting in serious, even fatal injury. Even most seasoned handymen would not attempt this project, so to avoid a potentially hazardous accident, call a garage door installation specialist.


Ready to hire a professional? Building Trades Network may have a recommendation for your next project. Feel free to reach out to any of our highly trained professionals for a consultation. Click HERE

BTN is always adding to our team of highly skilled building trade professionals. Do you live & work in Orange County? Find out how you can join our network today! JOIN US

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16 Ways to Maximize Your BTN Membership

16 Strategies you can start using right now! (or just pick and choose a couple to start with…it’s okay – all this can be overwhelming.)

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Newport Beach BTN

1.     Everything starts with a goal, so set a few and figure out how to meet them.

Just like anything else in business, if you don’t clearly understand where you’re going or why you doing something, it is bound to fail.  Every time you go to a networking event, meeting, social, etc. you should have a clear goal in mind.

Examples of some great networking goals:

–       “I want to meet three people who share similar clients with me”

–       “I want to give 2 referrals this month.”

–       “I want to introduce 3 members of my chapter to other business owners I think they may benefit from knowing.”

–       “I want to set a coffee break with at least 2 people within the next 3 weeks.”

 *Notice, most of these goals are in reference of how you can connect others, rather than simply wanting something directly for yourself.

Just like any other goals, your networking goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely).

 2.     Become the “Hub”

This should be everyone’s #1 goal.  The more people call you for referrals, the more business you will get.  If you become the go-to for information (the new 411 if you will), ultimately you will remain connected with more people, and that will lead to more business.

 3.     What can you do for others?

Networking is not about you.  It’s about what you can do for everyone else in the room.  Just like any relationship, if you do not care about the people in the room as much as you care about yourself, then you are a doomed networker.  Those networkers who earn the most referrals in the long term, are those who help the most people in the short term.  On average, expects that you will need to give at least 5 referrals for every referral you receive.  People respond and want to help those they see helping others.

 In addition, you can stand out by being extra helpful, not just by giving referrals.  Helping people by email out your notes from a workshop, or reminding them about an upcoming event, will help keep you in their thoughts, and because you did something noce, they will want to do something nice in return.

 4.     Community Service Activities

If you are not already, become involved in BTN’s community service activities.  Not only will you feel good because you helped someone else, but your fellow BTN members will take notice.  Those people most involved in our community service efforts, enjoy the most referrals.  It’s a great way for members to get to know each other both personally and professionally.  It’s also, albeit less importantly, a potential great marketing story for your business.  And of course, let’s not forget, community service is a mandatory component of your BTN membership.

Furnishing Hope San Diego Installation, Thank You Ken Sisneros (Altrumedia), Tom Schulze (Listwell Realty), and Jeff Hart (Creative Tile Designs) for your tireless efforts on behalf of our Wounded Warriors!

Furnishing Hope San Diego Installation, Thank You Ken Sisneros (Altrumedia), Tom Schulze (Listwell Realty), and Jeff Hart (Creative Tile Designs) for your tireless efforts on behalf of our Wounded Warriors!

 5.     It’s not what you said, but how you said it.

Be careful about your tone of voice when talking to others in a group setting, and be very aware of your body language.  People who attend networking events are there to meet people, so if you appear unfriendly, or in a bad mood, you will not receive the benefits of being in the group.

Also, make sure you pay attention to the tone of voice others are using.  It’s amazing how little miscommunications (especially at 7AM) can damage what was otherwise a great working relationship.

Prior to walking in the door, or getting out of your car, you need to put on your networking “game face.”  If you had a tough morning or a bad day, forget about it for the time of the meeting, put on a big smile, and walk into the meeting as though there is no place you would rather be.  There may be tons of places you would rather be, but the people at your meeting don’t need to know that.  Make them feel special and act like you’re happy to be there.  You are expecting them, after all, to help improve your business.

 6.     Clearly define your expectations of others, and be aware that they have expectations of you.

Define exactly what it is you want and need from the members of your BTN chapter, and then share it with them.  Most people want to meet your expectations, but can’t if they don’t know what they are.  In addition, be aware that others have expectations of you, so ask them their expectations in return.  From there you should be able to create a solid understanding and working relationship.

 7.     Show up – people can’t refer you if you’re not in the room.

If you are absent two or more weeks in a row, count on the number of referrals you receive to plummet.  If you’re not in the room every week (except in cases of emergency or planned vacation), people will literally forget about you, or worse, become irritated that you are not showing the same level of commitment to the group as them, and therefore they will stop giving your referrals.  Once you lose this trust, it is very difficult to gain it back.  In other words, don’t be absent.  Make your meeting part of your weekly routine and you will benefit.

 8.     Don’t make excuses; everybody is busy!

Whenever I talk to networkers about things that bother them about networking, the number one irritation they have is when people tell them they can’t come to a meeting because they’re too busy.  I usually hear something along the lines of, “You know, I’m not saying they’re not busy, but I also am basically a 1-man band and I still manage to come to the meetings.”

If you have to miss a meeting for reasons other than an emergency, make sure you have a substitute on-hand that can go in your place. 

 The point of belonging to a networking group is to get referrals and increase business.  This necessarily means that as your business grows, you will get busier.  Missing meetings and neglecting those that helped get you the extra business will only end up hurting you, and momentum you were building, in the long run.

Our BTN 2013 CANstruction OC Team!!

Our BTN 2013 CANstruction OC Team!!

 9.     Find your power team.

Who are the people/types of businesses that you work with most regularly?  Find them and have regular coffee breaks.  By doing so, you will be in a better position to give, and get, referrals.

 10.   Get advice regularly.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.  If you are not getting everything you want out of your membership, then meet with your Membership Foreman, Training Foreman, or another member and ask how they think you can improve the results you are getting from your BTN membership.

 11.   Wear your nametag.

There will always be new people attending your chapter meetings.  Make it easy on them and wear your nametag.  It makes it easier for new people to come into a room of strangers, and it makes it easier for them to remember your name and business name later.

 12.   Ask for a specific referral.  Then ask for it again, and again, and again.

First, be very specific about the referrals you want.  The more specific you can be, the more likely you are to receive a meaningful connection.  Second, don’t expect to ask for something once and have it magically appear as a referral slip in front of you.  You have to ask for the same thing multiple times before people will be able to provide it to you.  It is, after all, 7AM and sometimes even multiple cups of coffee are enough for our brains to be fully functioning, especially when there is constant amounts of information coming at us the entire meeting.

 13.   Have coffee (or iced tea if you’re like you know who…)

 14.   Invite…everybody. 

Bring as many visitors as you can to your chapter meetings.  Whether it is other business owners, your best clients, your friends, or other business associates, a visitor is a referral for the chapter.

 Visitors can do 2 amazing things: (1) buy from your members, and (2) become a member.  If they don’t do either of those things (then they’re dumb…duh…just kidding), visitors bring new energy to the room, and this is always a good thing.

 15.   Make sure your profile is completely filled out on BTN’s website, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Your online presence is as important as your in-person presence.  Many of our members get calls from people who found them on the BTN website.  If your profile is not complete, then you are unable to compete against the other members in your category whose profiles are complete.  Also, if you do not have a website (I will talk to you later about that missy!), then your BTN profile is the next best thing to give your business credibility on the web.

 16.   Come to your chapter meetings prepared.

Make sure you show up smiling, with plenty of business cards, your nametag, and your commercial already written.  If you give a commercial from the top of your head, you will not get the kind of referrals you actually want.  Remember, you commercial should include:

    1. Your name, business name, and a 1 sentence summary of what you do
    2. Ask for a very specific referral
    3. End with a memory hook or tagline
Irvine BTN

Irvine BTN

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Newport Beach Visitor’s Day

We had a great time this morning at our Newport Beach BTN Chapter! With more than 25 visitors and BTN members, the room was bustling with positive energy (and donuts!). Thank you to the members of NB for all of their efforts to put this wonderful meeting together!

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New BTN Resource Center – Warehouse – Storage – Office – Fleet Parking!


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DE-CANstruction OC 2013


Thank you to Tom and Norma Benton, Melinda Shriver, Paul McKelvey, and Rebecca Kaminsky for volunteering to help tear down the walls!

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Top 10 Ways to Maximize Your BTN Membership

by Tom Schulze (Laguna Hills Morning BTN)

  1. Make Face-to-Face Time – Coffee breaks, and just getting to meetings early, or staying late, helps people to get to know you, and build trust.

  2. Regularly Attend Meetings – Show Up!  Trust is built by demonstrating commitment, and attending  your chapter meeting each week instills that trust.

  3. Attend Social Activities – Participate in mixers, volunteer for community service activities, and go to other BTN meetings to meet, and get to know, more BTN members. Doing more than the bare minimum shows commitment to your fellow members, and helps increase your sphere of influence.

  4. Get Plugged In – Complete your profile on BTN’s website and join us on Meetup.com. This allows other BTN members to find and refer you with the least amount of effort on their part. Meetup.com also helps grow the group, and increase your potential referrals as well (a visitor is a referral to the chapter!).

  5. Refer to Get Referred – Giving referrals is the best way to keep getting referrals.

  6. Don’t Be Shy – Just Ask! Ask for Referrals. You will never get referred if members are not clear on how they can refer you. Be very specific on what type of referral you are looking for so you get what you need from the group.

  7. Create a Powerful Commercial – Your message must be clear and memorable. A good “commercial” contains the following characteristics:

    1. It’s no longer than 30-60 seconds.

    2. It’s clear and asks for something specific (i.e. “A good referral for me this week is…”

    3. It includes a memorable hook. Remember: people are more likely to remember a catchy rhyme or funny phrase than they are likely to remember your name or business name, especially if you’re new to the group.

  8. Only You Give Power to the Rings – Handing out a ring without your card on it, without you telling the story of BTN and its members, or without you following up with your client or prospect, limits its effectiveness.

  9. Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk – Your word and your honor are your most valuable possessions. Follow up on the referrals you receive, and the referrals you give.

  10. Make Face-to-Face Time (Yes, it is that important!) – Nothing can happen until trust is established with your fellow members. They will never understand your expertise unless they hear it from you, and see it on your face on a regular basis.

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Tips for Creating Your Personal Commercial

Thank you to Cari Heimos, Irvine BTN Training Foreman, for putting this information together for us!

At a networking meeting, because there is such limited time, a commercial needs to be 1 thing: Memorable. Apart from the need to exchange pleasantries, you tell other people what you do for two reasons: (1) they might have a need for your services, or (2) they might know someone else who has a need for your services. In either case, they should remember enough of what you told them so that they think of you when the need arises. To make your personal commercial memorable:

– Use an energetic group of words that leaves them wanting more!

– Avoid using industry jargon unless it’s absolutely necessary.

– Talk about benefits…what is in it for them—Ex.-“I help lawyers find ways to win more business from existing clients.”

– Speak slowly, audibly and clearly.

– Be yourself, be sincere and let your personality shine.

– Can they tell that you are truly passionate about what you do and how you help other.

– Practice the basics to perfection.

– Keep it simple. Test your personal commercial on a seven-year-old. If they can’t understand what you do, then you need to do some editing.

– Be prepared with at least two or three versions of your 30-second commercial. And change it up over time to keep interesting.

– Have a memorable tagline at the end.

And remember the primary goal of the 30-second commercial is to share how you add value to your customer’s business and life.

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The BTN Vision

By Dominick Giambona

What is BTN?

Helping others,  that is how this whole thing got started. Laura, Paul McKelvey’s sister, would be asked, “Do you know a good window washer? A Rain gutter guy? A plumber?” She didn’t but she knew Paul did.

It got to the point they had a list of people they were calling upon. Then it hit them, “you know, we got something here, let’s figure out how to market this. ” They created their list put it on the internet and marketed it to various HOA’s
Back then, it was called the World Wide Web, it was nothing like it is now. Websites were pretty mundane, and everywhere you looked there was a list. List of jokes, list of saying’s, list of restaurants, celebrity lists, you name it.
Here is the interesting part, the internet changed and as it evolved so did Paul. It evolved to the Ganahl Contractor Directory, and eventually to Building Trades Network. He knew he would have to change or be left behind.
When he went to a BNI (Business Networking International) meeting. He looked around and said that format would work great if it were only trades people. So he took the basic business plan of BNI and tweaked it a little to accommodate contractors.
Why somebody hadn’t thought of it sooner is beyond me. But I am glad he did. We have all been going through some tough times, yet as I look back I can honestly say that BTN and all the friends I have made at BTN helped pull me through.
Helping others is what BTN is all about. We have been helping , Veterans First, Furnishing Hope, Canstruction and number of other organizations in our community. It is in our charter it is in our mindset, it is what makes BTN work.
We are here to lift each other, with the help of BTN, even Paul. He is always asking what’s next, he listens to our suggestions, he is looking for ways to improve, he is not satisfied with good enough if he knows it can be better.
That kind of leadership attracts more of the same. We are not looking for any contractors. We are looking for BTN contractors.

The BTN Vision
So what’s next?… The BTN Resource Center.

Why?…. Because a lot of us are small contractors, working out of our homes, because we can’t afford the overhead of an office. How many times have you had to meet a client at Starbuck’s or you always had to meet them at their home or their office, because you didn’t want them to hear the kids or the dog in the background.
Don’t laugh! You big contractors, I guaranty, you remember those days.
So what is a resource center?… It is your place of business.
Why do you need to pay for an office, utilities, insurance, internet, phone and all that overhead when you only need it for a 5, 6 or 10 days out of the month?  What do you do when business is dead in December and January but those bills keep coming in?
You go to BTN, that’s what you do. You pay for a conference room when you need a conference.  There will be computer terminals there, printers, staplers and punches. There will be a take-off room for you to go over plans.
If you have an extra truck parked in front of your house, there will be a limited Fleet parking.
If you have machinery or tools in your garage, there will be storage units for rent. Yes, for rent, not down the road or across town, but right at the place where you do business.
Your wife & kids will love you because now she can park in the garage and the kids can park in the driveway.
The BTN resource center is a place where big contractors and small contractors can meet with clients and other contractors and collaborate on projects. There will be Seminars for Marketing, Business Coaching to help your business grow.
Some of you need a showroom, or have a staff and need an office 50 weeks out of the year. But, I bet you wished that BTN was around when you started your business.   The BTN resource center may not be for everyone, it’s there for everyone.
Your place of business shouldn’t be the anchor that slows you down. What we have with BTN is a place with energy and opportunity for those with the BTN spirit.

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Types of Referrals

Types of Referrals
by Dominick Giambona
There are many different kinds of referrals. They vary in quality according to how much of a rapport or relationship a person (that wants to refer you) has cultivated with your new prospect. Here are a few good examples.
A) The simplest referral: “I Know _______. They do great work. I know you will like them”. This is the most common type of referral. You know someone and you leave a name and number, and you are on your way. You can feel fairly certain that they have established a good level of credibility with the prospective client. You can leverage your credibility depending on the rapport between the new client and the party that referred you.
B) A stronger referral: A meeting is arranged. They have taken it one step further, taking the responsibility of working out the details of getting you and the prospective client together to discuss business. This is a strong referral. For example, they picked up the cell phone and called you directly and may have even handed the phone over to your new prospect.
C) “Slam Dunk”: The sale is closed before you even contact the prospective client. This is networking at its best. This is indicative of a strong relationship between not only the person referring you to your future prospect, but also a strong relationship between you and the person referring you. They have expressed confidence in your abilities and trust you with their own customer. The customer will pick-up on this. They feel secure. From the customer’s point of view, that means a lot.
Every week, like a broken record, I say “Networking is about building relationships”. This is another example of how those relationships can impact your business. The weekly meeting is just the tip of the iceberg. It is critical, and necessary that you attend. But we only have a 30 or 40 seconds for each of us to talk of our businesses.
Being a Guest Speaker now and then, the ‘Coffee Breaks” or luncheon meeting or scheduling a “Face to Face” or “One on One” gives you time to explain you and your business at length.
That is why BTN offers each and every one a chance to be a guest speaker. I implore you, grab your 10 minutes of fame and start building your sales force, pick a spot on the schedule to be a Guest speaker. Believe me when I say, “Each of us want to hear about more about you and your business.”
That is a great start; to really get rolling you can start scheduling “coffee’s” to really get your message across.
BTN is the enabler. Its goal is to lift your business, to show you a better way to network, a proper way to network. Your business deserves that. All of our businesses do
The best nurturers make the best networkers, who incidentally, make the most slam dunks. Who wouldn’t like to see more “slam dunks?”

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Visitors Day – A Message to Those Visiting Us Today

Visitors Day – A Message to Those Visiting Us Today
By Dominick Giambona
First, I want to thank each and everyone the visitors for joining us today. I would especially like to thank all of our BTN members for doing such a fine job in making our visitor’s day a big success. If you look around the room you can get a little feel for what we do. We understand when we work together beautiful things can happen.
Everyone here has a preconceived notion of what networking is about. We all did. But when we came to BTN we saw something different, we saw something we liked, and we joined.
What makes BTN different than other business networks? In your typical network, two plus two equals four. At BTN, two plus two equals ten! Why no one thought of it before is beyond me. We are building trades and trade related services. We fit together. Each one of us is a piece of a puzzle, and we understand each other’s businesses.
I don’t know about you, but I have to make better use of my time. Meeting every Tuesday with hairdressers, car salesmen and caterers is not going to produce the synergy that a plumber or roofer, electrician or even construction lawyer could produce for my little business.
Many of us have worked on Projects or Remodels together. We have seen each other’s work. We know each other’s work ethic. We hold each other accountable.
I know that when I give a referral I will not have to worry about that customer. In fact it is nice sharing the texts and emails I get from my customers, praising the work of my fellow BTN Member, just as I did last week with Jay.
That is what we do. We are professional, we take pride in what we do, we do our best to satisfy the customer and we always keep an ear open for that chance to refer a fellow BTN member.
Beyond that, there are the friendships that develop. When you spend a weekend furnishing a home for a disabled veteran, or remodeling one of the facilities for the homeless, or helping the Orange County Food Bank, you learn a lot about the quality and character of that person next to you. It comes across in your voice and in your eyes when your customers ask you, “by the way I am looking for a good landscaper, or cabinet maker.”
These will always be our core values.
Talk about great things happening… what you see here all started with an address book. Paul’s sister had people asking her, “do you know a good window washer, do you know a good handyman, I need a gardener”. She would call, Paul he would check the rol-a-dex. (You remember those?) Soon it increased.
They figured that they had something there, and produced a contractor’s directory selling internet advertizing for the contractors. Back then internet consisted mainly of lists and directories. As the internet evolved so did the directory. Later they had an association with Ganahl Lumber and their website. It added brand name significance and value to the directory.
Then came a time when Paul went to a BNI meeting he looked at that business plan and said, “We can apply this model to just contractors. “ That was how BTN Evolved.
He had a vision of what he wanted to do. He set-out to do it. But he knew as BTN would grow that it would also have to adapt and evolve. He took in suggestions and added features. We (the members) pooled our marketing dollars and came up with the Key ring cards we had a booth in the home show.
Later, he got an office and conference room. Now he offers free seminars from a business coach on ‘how to grow your businesses’ and ‘make better use of your time’ and ‘social networking as it applies to businesses’ and more.
History is good, but that is not why you are here. You want to know where is BTN headed and how I can benefit. Fair enough.
Most of us are small businesses. We may work out of the house. Why? Because we can’t afford the overhead, but, do you really need an office for the 4 or five times a month you have to meet with a client.
BTN is opening a New Resource Center. It will be available around the end of the summer It is a way to level the playing field for the small business man.
BTN offers a conference room to meet with your clients and do your presentations. BTN encourages collaboration, there is a room for doing your take-offs, there will be Wi-Fi and workstations.
There will be a limited amount of parking in a locked yard for you to park the trucks that are in front of your home. There will be storage and racking for your equipment, so now your wife can park in the garage again. All of this will be available at a fraction of the cost of having your own office.
Building Trades Network certainly is a beautiful thing because we all work together.

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