How to hire electricians…and avoid getting shocked!

how to hire electricians

Looking for good information on how to hire skilled and competent electricians? Remember that it doesn’t have to be difficult, but you do need to hire someone that is skilled to protect your safety and the safety of your home. Faulty wiring can cause fires, electric shock or even electrocution.  Here are some questions to ask in order to hire a skilled electrician and some tips to save money in the process:

Are you a licensed electrician?

A license is your guarantee that the electrician has done the necessary training to perform the job safely and correctly. Always ask to see their license and make sure that it is current. Check for any restrictions and that the license covers the type of work you need done.

Does the company carry insurance?

An electrical contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance to protect you in the event of an accident. Ask if they can provide certificates of insurance (workers’ compensation and general liability) before the job is started.

Have you done this particular type of electrical work before?

Make sure they are experienced if the work you need done is at all specialized (e.g. security or communications). Keep in mind that an inexperienced worker with a cheaper hourly rate could cost you more than a skilled electrician that charges more by the hour. The inexperienced worker can take a lot more time, and incur additional costs fixing mistakes.

Can you provide me with some references?

Request a list of 5 names and phone numbers of customers from last 12 months. It is not necessary to check all of them – 2 or 3 picked at random should do the trick.

Do you give a warranty?

This is especially important for bigger projects. Is the quality of work guaranteed? How long is it guaranteed for, and what happens if there is a problem? Ask if they will provide a document that outlines the action they will take to remedy any problems.

How do you charge for your work?

Find out whether there is a call-out charge. Some electricians charge more for the first hour of work, or charge a minimum fee, or add charges for travel time. Professional electricians may charge anywhere from $40 to $100 an hour, depending on the job and the skill level of the electrician. Some electricians may give you a quote for the type of job.

Confirm if all materials are included in the quote. Sometimes electricians do not have all the supplies on hand. Will you be charged if they need to run out to pick up supplies?

Will you provide a written quote?

When looking at how to hire electricians, make sure the electrician gives you a quote with a breakdown of prices as this will make it easier to compare one quote to another. Choosing an electrical contractor on price alone is unwise as there are other important things to consider.

Remember that it is worth paying more for quality when it comes to the electrical wiring in your home. You want to work with someone that gets it right the first time because fixing mistakes is expensive. Choosing the lowest hourly rate can cost you more in the long run.

If you are looking for savings, consider local skilled electricians to lower travel costs. You can also save in the long term by looking for less urgent electrical projects that could be completed at the same time. This saves money because if there is some form of callout charge it will be split between various projects. Some projects may also save you money in the long term by reducing your energy consumption. Light dimmers, Light timers, motion sensor light controllers and energy efficient ceiling fans are some possibilities. Your electrician may be able to suggest others.

hiring a dentist

Top tips for hiring a dentist

Hiring the right dentist may not seem like such an important decision. That is, until you chip your front tooth on a breath mint from a restaurant on a Saturday night, exposing a nerve and sending you into a tailspin of awful tooth pain. When it matters most, having the right dentist on your team can make all the difference.

Here are the questions to ask (and the answers to expect) when hiring a dentist:

At your initial consultation or when on the phone with them for the first time, have a list of questions handy, including those below. A good dentist will appreciate your preparedness and should be able to answer your questions thoroughly in a way you can easily understand.

Suggested questions to ask include:

  1. What are your office hours and do you provide emergency care for things like chipped teeth?  If the dentist won’t book appointments on weekends or evenings and you’re tied to your desk from Monday to Friday, it may not be a good match.
  2. Do you accept my dental insurance and how much will my out-of-pocket expenses. Some dentists will allow non-insured patients, some won’t. Make sure you are comfortable with the fee plan.
  3. What is the dentist’s approach to communication with patients?  Make sure you can communicate easily with the staff and that they listen to your questions and concerns. If they don’t it could be a red flag.
  4. How do you manage patient discomfort and pain during procedures?
    Depending on your sensitivity to pain, ask what the office offers to make treatments more comfortable, such as sedation dentistry and/or other technology such as CEREC® or Waterlase®.
  5. How long have you been practicing as a dentist? [Inquire about the dentist’s experience and training with any specific procedures you may require, including cosmetic dentistry if applicable.] Dentists with more experience, especially over 5 years in practice, have seen a lot of patients and know how to deal with most all dental problems. If you are dealing with a less experienced dentist, make sure they are supervised by an older dentist and/or come highly recommended.

After your meeting or phone call consider carefully the following:

Did you feel comfortable speaking to the dentist or office manager? Did they seem to understand what you’re going through? Is this someone you can trust and that you got a “good feeling” from? Were they a good listener, or did they spend the entire interview singing their praises about what great dentists they are?

We hope this was helpful. Good luck with your decision on hiring a dentist. When you are ready to hire a dentist download the NoProblem app. We can help you hire the right dentist for you or your family so that you can maintain and improve your dental health.

hiring a divorce lawyer

Questions you MUST ask when hiring a divorce lawyer

Don’t be afraid of asking lots of questions of any lawyer you are considering hiring to handle your divorce. The right lawyer can protect your rights and help you get the results you want.  It is worth taking the time to hire the right one.

At your initial consultation, bring a list of questions including those below. A good attorney will appreciate your preparedness and should be able to answer your questions thoroughly in a way you can easily understand.

Suggested questions to ask include:

  1. How long have you practiced family law? Lawyers practicing less than 3 years are relatively new, but should charge less than more experienced counsel. Make sure that at least 50% of their practice is devoted to family or divorce law.
  2. What is your approach to a new case? The lawyer should be able to walk you though the process. You should be able to easily understand their answer. You want to make really sure that the lawyer you choose communicates well with you and the other side and is readily available to answer your questions as they arise. 
  3. What percentage of cases do you settle? If this number is too high, compared to other lawyers you interview, the lawyer may not be aggressive enough to properly protect your rights. 
  4. What is your approach to settling a case? Again, make sure you receive a clear explanation that is easily understood. 
  5. What retainer do you require up front? Although the retainer should be within your price range, keep in mind that cheaper is not always better.
  6. Is any unused portion of the retainer refundable? Don’t hire any attorney who will not refund the unused portion of your retainer.
  7. Who in your firm will work on my case and how much will I pay for their time? Ask to be introduced to others who will work on your case. Hopefully, this lawyer won’t offload you onto less experienced members of the firm. If they do, you should know about it and pay less.
  8. How often will I receive an accounting of my retainer? The answer should be at least once a month.

After your meeting consider carefully the following:

Did you feel comfortable opening up to this lawyer? Did they seem to understand what you’re going through? Is this someone you can trust and that you got a “good feeling” from? Did you feel intimidated by them? Were they a good listener, or did they spend the entire interview talking about fees or about how great a lawyer they are?

We hope this was helpful. Good luck with your decision on hiring a divorce lawyer. When you are ready to hire a divorce lawyer download the NoProblem app. We can help you hire a divorce lawyer you can trust, when it matters the most.

online complaints

How to manage online complaints

No one likes complaints, but if you are doing a lot of business, you are bound to get them. When you invest our heart and soul into your business it can be hard not to react to them. But they can also be an opportunity to build relationships or to fix problems you might not see.  Studies show that there can be as many as 25 unhappy customers for every complaint expressed.  If the complaint is out a systemic problem, then resolving it can help you keep 24 customers down the road! The complaining customer can also transform into one of your most loyal customers.

Here are some tips to help manage online complaints.

1.    Pause. Online complaints give you the luxury of taking a beat before you respond. Unlike in-person complaints, you can take a bit of time if you happen to have an emotional reaction.  Ask yourself if you really understand their perspective. Put yourself in an objective state of mind so you can find the best solution to the problem. 

2.    Respond to every complaint on a social media channels and respond quickly. It shows you value all of your customers, are responsive, and care about your business. No one likes to be ignored. If you appear to ignore complaints, unsatisfied customers will take their business elsewhere instead of giving you the opportunity to turn things around.  Choosing not to respond is like telling everyone “We’re OK with that” or “We just don’t care”. Respond and help everyone including new business leads understand what your company is really about.

Your posting frequency (including posts made by automated services like Hootsuite) determines just how quickly you need to respond. The complaint may be unread, but if there are a number of scheduled posts after a complaint, many clients will perceive that your company has read the and rudely chosen not to respond.  Make sure your channels are monitored with a frequency that makes sense for your posting frequency. If you are posting a few times a day, you should respond within 24 hours.

3.    Move the conversation to a private forum.  Conflict can get messy, and you don’t need the world to see that. Move the conversation to the phone, email, direct or private message. Don’t forget the phone is an excellent option. It’s amazing how a voice on the phone can help people connect where the same words on a screen can fail.

If there is a simple resolution, decide if you want that resolution to be public.  Will it be a relevant solution for other clients? It can be efficient, and showcase your responsiveness. Keep in mind that if the response it is out there for the public to read, others will expect the same treatment for what they consider a similar problem. Even if you delete it, someone may have captured it with a screen shot. With all online marketing, remember that anything you post online can live forever.

4.    Let them know you are listening, empathetic, and accountable. Write the way you would speak to them to help your genuine response come across as genuine instead of patronizing. Validate their concern and answer specific complaints. “We are sorry your sweater was delivered with a rip in the arm” does this better than “We care about our product’s quality”. Write so that your client knows you actually considered their situation and are not just giving them a formulaic response. Ask questions to clarify. If you are not in the wrong, still show them empathy. Sometimes people just need their voice to be heard, and this is especially true online.

5.    Propose a solution. Once you are sure you fully understand, propose a solution. It is helpful to involve them in the process. You can give them options, ask them what they need, or suggest a solution and ask them if it is acceptable. Demonstrate that you are interested in getting to a resolution. If you are at an impasse, remain empathetic and agree to disagree.

6.    Accept that you can’t make everyone happy. Not every complaint will have a satisfactory resolution. Difficult complaints can transform into loyal relationships but sometimes trolls are just trolls. Reasonable business leads understand this, so it’s not the end of the world if you have one nasty complaint.


Don’t fall for their traps if you have encountered a troll or someone with unreasonable expectations. Always keep your communication respectful, no matter what. Resist the urge to delete their posts or stoop to their level. As mentioned earlier, screenshots mean that words can live forever. Deleting the post can make them angrier, and they will take their screenshots and angry comments to other forums. Know that you have done everything reasonable and then get back to growing your business. 

how to hire a good plumber

How to Hire a Good Plumber? What you need to know (Part 1)

How to Hire a Good Plumber?

Know that a Running Toilet Shouldn’t Cost You More than $5 to Fix

You know those toilets that run and make noise until you jiggle the handle just the right way? The truth is, in 95% of cases, this problem is due to one of two things and neither should cost you more than five bucks to fix. The easiest-fix scenario is that your toilet handle is sticking. Just spray a little WD-40 or other lubricant where the handle meets the porcelain and your running should stop. The other option is that the flap valve in the toilet tank that needs replacing because it is no longer making a good seal. This is also something that shouldn’t cost more than $5, and even a beginner DIYer should be able to do it. If you are unlucky enough to call the wrong plumber this easy fix could cost you over a hundred of your hard earned dollars. Before you call the plumber, see if you can fix that running toilet yourself.

If you were to ask the wrong plumber about your running toilet, they may try to get you to pay a lot of money for something that is easy to fix. Having a little bit of the right kind of  knowledge can show the service professional you are hiring, that  you can’t be taken advantage of. This can save you a lot of money and frustration in the long run. NoProblem is developing an app which saves you time and money by helping you make smarter decisions when hiring service professionals.

We eliminate the hassle of hiring pros by empowering you to:

Ask the right questions 
We provide you the key questions to ask and equip you with the knowledge to show professionals you can’t be taken advantage of.
Protect yourself 
Our app allows you to easily record and play-back your call with the professional so that all details and agreements are documented. No more back-tracking on promises made.
Simplify the process 
We connect you in real-time to motivated local service professionals interested in your job. Tell us what you need, lean back and relax – speak to available contractors within minutes.

Check back often for news on app details and release dates.

Tips are adapted from How Stuff Works.

Small business blog

Do I need a small business blog?

Have you been hearing that you should start a small business blog for your business, but not sure why? Here are four important reasons why incorporating blogs in your online marketing can make a huge difference for your business.

Blogging Increases your  web traffic

According to Imbue Marketing, companies that blog get 55% more web traffic. How does this happen?  The main reason is that blogs help search engines direct people to your website. Each blog post is one more indexed entry on your website, which means the search engines are following more pages related to your business. Each new blog post also show the search engines that your website is current and active. These are good things for increasing your web traffic.

When you share current and valuable information you will be rewarded by the search engines. Your page rank will increase and the engines will send more traffic to your site. Social media will also reward you. It’s easy to share blog posts through social media and when a network picks up your blog content it can share your information widely.

Why do you want more web traffic? It is a very cost effective way to reach your clients. Bringing clients to your website lets you direct them to your landing page, invite them to take action (like buy now), or sign up for your newsletter so you can grow your client lists legally and organically. This online marketing translates to more qualified business leads and more sales.

Blogging develops trust

Clients buy from trustworthy sources. When you write about something, you demonstrate that you care about it. When you take the time to write your blog in a way that is helpful to your reader, you demonstrate that you have empathy for your clients and understand their needs. Your words also shape your brand, humanizing it and giving it character. Your business becomes much more than just price tag on a service or product, and that is appealing to prospects.

Sharing valuable information also gives you credibility and demonstrates your expertise. Your blog can become the source of information for people curious about your industry. It can also create free PR because journalists will often interview business bloggers when they need an industry expert. And of course, being a media resource also increases your trustworthiness.

Blogging develops a community and gives you information about your business leads

If you allow people to comment on your blog you can get real time information about how your prospects respond to your message. You can see how well your message is getting across and adjust to fill the gaps. The blog can also connect prospects and help them build their network. Your blog will be a trustworthy source in this growing network, and they can develop into your biggest promoters.

You can also use your blog to find out about your clients with your blog’s analytics. When are they accessing your website? How long do they visit the page? What are they interested in? Where are they from? This will help you refine and tailor how you are meeting your client’s needs and how you position other internet marketing efforts.

Blogging is efficient

Blogging is a great investment of your resources. Giving clients a wealth of valuable information will increase the amount qualified leads. Prospects that are not a good fit will abandon your website without using up your resources to field their questions.Bad leads will be filtered out with minimal effort from your business. You will spend fewer resources educating potential clients because prospects can be directed to the appropriate post.

Creating the content takes a little bit of time now, but will save significantly more time over the long term. A blog works for you all day, every day. Once a post is up, it will continue to attract and educate visitors. 70% of HubSpot’s traffic each month comes from posts that weren’t published that month. That is an excellent long term investment.

Creating content also gives you the opportunity to refine your thoughts on specific topics in your field. It develops your delivery of complex ideas to people who are not in your field. This is an extremely valuable tool when you are interacting with prospects or even just delivering your elevator pitch. It will refine how you talk about your business and may even inspire you in new ways. Blogging templates are easily accessible and not technically difficult to use. With so many benefits, you should definitely consider adding a blog to your marketing plan.

(Image via Panda Blogger)

business leads - know your audience

Want to get great business leads from online marketing – Know your audience!

One of the most important basic components of business leads generation  is knowing your audience. This basic concept is so simple that it is easy to skip over without much thought. Putting time into thinking about your audience will greatly improve the quality of your communication with business leads. This is true in the offline world, but especially true in online marketing. When you are talking to someone in person, or on the phone, you have the luxury of observing your audience’s reaction and adjusting your message.  In contrast, online marketing usually means you have one short opportunity to capture your audience’s interest before they delete your email or click on competitor’s site instead. One of the best ways of getting to know your audience is to speak to them. Pay-per-call advertising allows you to speak to your audience and find out first hand what their problems are and how you can best help them.

The reality is there are no “tough crowds” in internet marketing. If it seems like you are talking to a “tough crowd” then one of two things are happening. Either you are wasting resources talking to the wrong crowd, or you have found the right crowd but are not delivering the message in the way your audience needs to hear it.

If you are reaching the wrong crowd, think about who you want to target, and where those prospects will be online. The different forms of digital marketing are just tools that can help you get your message out, so pick the tools that are efficient for reaching your crowd. Imagine you have a product for senior citizens. You might find that pay per click (PPC) ads, an excellent website, and pay per call ads are the right mix of marketing channels. Maybe you add Twitter or Facebook to reach seniors and their children if they would buy this product for their parents.  Of course, you would choose different internet marketing tools if the product happened to be designed for tech savvy seniors. The unique marketing mix for every product and every business depends on its unique target audience.

Don’t assume your audience thinks the way you do and don’t assume they know what you know.  Avoid or explain technical terms if your business lead won’t understand them. Are your word choices right for the region your client is from? Are you using the right tone? Your results will reflect the extent to which you place yourself in your prospect’s shoes, address their pain points, and focus on how you can solve their problems.

pay per call

Pay Per Click (PPC) vs. Pay Per Call – Which boosts Small Business better?

Google AdWords has dominated the PPC (pay per click) game and has helped to drive a lot of internet traffic. However, clicks have their limitations. While a consumer will click on an AdWords ad when they have an real interest in the offering, they also often click out of curiosity, or while doing research, etc. ( i.e. with very little actual interest in completing a transaction). Even with expertly written ad copy, killer keywords, smart keyword pricing and management, and a landing page from heaven, the vast majority of clicks will not result in a sale.

Pay per call is entirely different. Phone calls allow the consumer to leave the low stakes digital world  and experience the reality of a live voice connection with a person who can meet their needs. While clicks keep consumers online by directing them to more information on a landing page, pay per call transports them to the physical world of human interaction. The effect on the sales process and conversion rates is profound.

While clicks require virtually no commitment, most customers are not going to spend time on a phone call unless they have a fairly pressing need and a well-developed intention to buy. Once on the call, the voice connection offers a highly efficient and powerful way to connect buyers with sellers and convert sales. For that reason, according to research conducted by BIA/Kelsey, pay per call is 9 times more valuable to an advertiser than a click. Pay per call provides the advertiser with the opportunity to have that live voice connection with an interested consumer, at their exact time of need.

Another advantage of pay per call concerns timing. Leads have a very short life. By the time an advertiser responds to a text message or e-mail, the consumer may well have found someone else. An immediate live voice connection between consumer and service provider, on the other hand, leads to a much higher probability of conversion.

If you are interested in seeing for yourself the benefits or pay per call marketing, NO PROBLEM’s pay per call platform, with its multiple call-back functionality, takes pay per call to the next level. It allows consumers to enter a search query and then request that a specified number of service providers call them back immediately, or at a specified time. Here’s how it works.  By forcing a live voice connection, NO PROBLEM pay per call  converts in a way that clicks can only dream of.

Small Business Tips

Small Business Tips – How to Hang on to Great Staff

Keeping good staff is one of the most critical skills to your small business success…

After all, your staff is the front-line and face of your business responsible for  ensuring that your customers receive the best customer service experience possible. As customer service guru John DiJulius would say, staff that deliver excellent service are in a position to “make price irrelevant”.  When you add to the equation just  how much employee turnover really costs you, it is extremely worthwhile to give some thought to how to keep your staff happily at work. It is truly one small business success factor you can’t afford to ignore.

But what really matters to your staff? What motivates them and keeps them satisfied?  Many business owners mistakenly believe that all that their staff really cares about is their paycheck.

Surprisingly, the small business research on retaining staff shows it’s not about the money after all. Rather, it’s the “little things” other than their hourly rate, that mean more to them. A survey by hourly employment website found that the biggest factor in job happiness was “personal satisfaction”, followed by “relief at having a job”, the job’s “flexibility”, and then, lastly, “pay”.

It’s not that pay doesn’t matter to employees. It does matter and you’d better make sure that you are not paying good staff less than your competition. But it turns out ensuring your staff enjoys their work, feels valued, and has the flexibility they need, is more important in building loyalty than how much you pay them.

How then do you increase the personal satisfaction of your employees? It’s all about spending the time necessary to make them feel heard and making sure they know how much you value their contribution.

Do you meet with staff regularly? In those meetings, how much time do you listen and how much time do you lecture? Are you giving them one-on-one time and thanking them when you see a job being done well? There are countless ways to make your employees feel valued. Here are four simple ones. Which specific tools you use is less important than that you make it an intrinsic and regular part of your management toolbox. Hanging on to good staff can make a huge difference and is one of the most important small business success factors.

In the comments below, let us know your tips and tricks for retaining great staff. We’d love to hear from you.

Does social media work?

social media for business

Social Media For Business

Do you think time spent tweeting, posting on Facebook, Instagramming and Pinning is effective when it comes to small business marketing? If you don’t think so, you are not alone.  In fact, as you can see at, some people strongly believe it is a complete waste of time.

And yet, there seem to be many examples out there of small business social media success. Companies reaching new audiences, improving customer service, and  increasing their profits, all through the power of social media. So what gives?

It becomes obvious very quickly when you begin trying to familiarize yourself with the various social media platforms, create engaging content, and interact with Fans and Followers, that social media marketing takes time, and to do it well,  likely a lot more time that one hour a day.  Given the resources required (time is money after all) it is worth giving some thought to how to increase the chances that social media will pay off for your small business. What makes the difference between success and failure when it comes to marketing your small business using social media?

These 3 tips will allow you to make the most of social media and not waste hours that could be spent on direct marketing, time with family and friends, or learning to joggle:

    1. Choose one social media channel and stick with it. Trying to be great on more than one social media channel takes a ton of time. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Give some thought to which social media channel is right for your business and learn about it. Once you have gotten really good at engaging with your audience on that channel, you can start thinking about expanding your efforts out to other channels. Putting in a little effort on a dozen different channels will not likely yield good results.
    2. Focus on great shareable content If no one interacts, comments, or shares your content, your social media efforts are akin to airing a commercial in a country where there is no television or internet. Basically, no one is going to hear what you have to say. It is the engagement that gets your message broadcast, as every interaction by your Fans with your content gets broadcast on their Friends’ micro-feeds. So it is really important to learn what social media content people share and why and then create as much of that kind of content as possible. Always focus on relevance and context.
    1. Be patient Social media doesn’t usually pay off in a huge hurry.  Like learning to do anything well, it takes some time. As Gary Vaynerchuck, the gagillionaire wine marketer and social media expert will tell you, in social media, patience is a virtue that can pay big dividends.

So get out there and start connecting with your potential audience on social media. If you’ve already got some social media experience trying to promote your business, let us know whether it’s paying off for you. What’s working well and what doesn’t seem to be connecting with your audience? We look forward to hearing from you.