I’m not suggesting you or your employees are driving away sales, but you’re certainly not attracting new ones. If your LinkedIn profile isn’t up to date and professional, you may be missing some opportunities for sales growth.
In 2013, I made some small changes to the way I use LinkedIn, and can attribute at least $100,000 in sales to those changes. How do I know the sales came from LinkedIn? I know because I received requests, from within the LinkedIn platform, to quote projects and work with many companies. These interactions resulted in real cash in the register.
Are you doing everything you can to attract new business on LinkedIn? Are you on LinkedIn at all?
Here are 5 things you can change on your LinkedIn page. Careful, the results could shock you.
1. No Profile Picture or a Not So Professional Photo
I currently have over 1,750 connections on LinkedIn. When I am looking for new connections, I will only reach out to those who share a photo. The reason I do this is seeing your photo gives me a feeling you understand how to use this valuable social network.
LinkedIn is not Facebook. No one wants to see your fishing trip photos nor the weekend you spent at the beach, on this platform. In other words, it should portray a professional image.
2. Complete Profile Information
An incomplete profile is frustrating when I want to connect with you. Where have you worked? How many years of experience do you have? Where are you located?
If we meet at an industry event would you hand me a business card with only your name listed?
These questions are easily answered in the “Edit Profile” area of your LinkedIn page. Take 15 minutes and knock it out already.
3. Link To Your Website
Another disappointing experience is when I click on the “Contact Info” tab and it is blank.
Your company is constantly trying to get traffic to your website, but you miss the mark completely by not listing your website links. This is easy…Fix It.
Why make it difficult for me to find out information about you and your company? If you do, chances are good that I’m moving on.
4. Links to Professional Proof
Not everyone is a writer, but you don’t need to be an author to be perceived as an expert. How about compiling a top 10 list, or a few questions and answers for a few of your products?
A great place to add this information is under the project tabs on LinkedIn. You can easily add your professional proof by following three simple steps.
- Click on the edit profile link
- Click on the add project link
- Add the information and click save
When you get comfortable with these smaller writing projects try something bigger like this Deck Buyers Ebook I created this year.
Become the expert and the people you want to attract will flock to your door step.
5. Connecting is Key
If you’ve implemented the four tips above, you’re well on your way, but not quite done. It’s time to get some connections.
- Start with your current email list. Reach out to your entire list to start the building process.
- List out 5 trades that serve the same customer base as you do. My example would be landscapers, realtors, home inspectors, electricians, and architects.
- Now list out 5 potential connections for each trade above and reach out to connect.
- Join LinkedIn Groups to find professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content and establish yourself as a building industry expert.
Just Get Started!
Put these tips to use and share them with your employees today.
How many employees do you have? If they all got the same results that I experienced, what would that add to your companies bottom line?
Why do you want a new entry door?
Does your current door let the cold air inside?
Can you see daylight around the edges of the door?
Are you noticing rot at the bottom of the door?
Is it just time to restore your home’s curb appeal?
Is replacing my entry door a good investment?
Before we get into the real cost of replacing your door, we should look at the return on investment of this home improvement project.
- The National Association of Realtors says that improving curb appeal is one of the top 5 most valuable upgrades you can make.
- HGTV lists updating your home’s entry door as one of the best investments you could make on a budget to increase the value of your home.
- Better Homes and Gardens lists upgrading your front door as the first thing you can do to increase your home’s resale value.
- Select an ENERGY STAR® certified doors to reduce your energy bills by up to 15%.
Watch the video below to see how a new entry door can increase your home’s perceived value.
What is all involved in pricing a door?
When you begin looking for someone to replace your door you will need to make sure that everyone is on the same page. You need to verify that you are comparing apples to apples, so nothing gets missed.
- Door Unit – Of course the first thing you need to do is choose a door style. I recommend homeowner’s look at Masonite and ThermaTru fiberglass doors. These two companies represent the majority of fiberglass door sales in the Cincinnati market, and both have a great selection.
- Door Glass – The decorative glass in these doors drive the price. Pick a glass that compliments your home and door style. Make sure that you are okay with the visibility through the glass. Imagine your home at night and how easy (or hard) it will be to see into the home.
- Pre-finishing – For best results, I highly recommend that you have the entry unit pre-finished at the factory. Most companies off this service and you have unlimited color options. Factory staining or painting can carry 5 to 10-year warranties, so make sure you know what you’re getting. One important thing to consider is most companies will not warranty the paint on any wooden surface, (like the door frame) or exterior trim.
- Installation – This is probably the biggest challenge when purchasing a new entry door. Who is going to install the door? You do proper vetting of any individual that will install a door. The whole future of the unit will be decided by this person. The door must be square and plumb, but also proper flashing will be a must. The installer must be help responsible to follow the manufactures installation instructions to a T.
- Entry Hardware – Don’t forget your lock set. You can expect to pay between $150 – $250 for most entry handle sets. Of course, this amount can go higher based on your taste. Make sure you have the lock set ready to go at the time of installation.
Here is a video that covers the selection and installation of a ThermaTru door.
How much is my door going to cost?
I want to give homeowner’s enough information to at least have a budgeted dollar amount for their new entry door. Many variables will factor into the price of your door, but I have compiled a few examples that should provide you with a better idea of cost.
My examples are priced using Masonite doors. I have only quoted fiberglass doors and I intentionally have selected a full composite frame. The composite frame will allow you to have the best warranty on all painted or stained surfaces.
- Example #1 – This door is a standard 36″ x 80″ stained fiberglass door with glass. Here is the detailed quote for Example #1. The total price for this unit, pre-finishing, installation and lock set is $3104.00 plus tax.
- Example #2 – This door is the same style and glass as example #1 but is a painted door. Here is the detailed quote for Example #2. The total price for this unit, pre-finishing, installation and lock set is $2727.00 plus tax.
- Example #3 – This door is stained fiberglass 36″ x 80″ door with two side lights. Here is the detailed quote for Example #3. The total price for this unit, pre-finishing, installation and lock set is $6799.00 plus tax.
- Example #4 – This door is the same as example #3 but is a painted door. Here is the detailed quote for Example #4. The total price for this unit, pre-finishing, installation and lock set is $5839.00 plus tax.
What one step can you take today?
If you are planning on replacing your entry door and need my assistance, please reach out through my contact page.
You’ve already picked out your decking surface and rail. Now it’s time to take your outdoor living area to the next level. I have compiled some great options to finish off your project.
1. Outdoor Cabinets:
The picture above is from the Trex Outdoor Kitchens product line. You can bring the comforts and organization from inside your home to the outside. Cabinets, boxes, and benches will make your outdoor space look as put together as the inside of your home.
2. Deck and Rail Lighting:
Life doesn’t have to end just because the sun goes down. By adding lighting to your outdoor space you can extend the party into the evening. Most major deck brands have their own lighting programs that can be incorporated into your deck.
3. Curved Decking and Railing:
Curved decking and rail is an expensive upgrade, but it really can give your deck the wow factor. If you are interested in a curved deck design you will need a contractor who specializes in the bending process.
- Trex Custom Curve
- Dr Decks – This deck contractor is out of Washington State, but visit his website for some really great ideas.
Keep your children and pets safe with a gate for your railing. You will find that the color selections for gates are limited and most only come with a 5 year warranty. Expect to pay between $500 – $700 for a single gate.
5. Under Deck Drainage:
Do you have a walk out basement or maybe just want to add some extra space for sitting in the shade? If your deck is high enough off the ground you can create usable living space under the deck. I will list two options below, but Trex Rain Escape is my favorite. One important note about RainEscape, it must be installed before you decking goes down.
6. Foundation Stucco:
Does your home’s foundation look like crap?
Do you have annoying things like foundation tar, rust marks, pitted surfaces, poorly formed corners, etc? These can be eyesores and detract from the beautiful deck you built.
I recommend you have Tri-State Stucco come and truly finish off your outdoor space. The home on the left in the image above was done for around $2500. That was 800 square feet of foundation wall.
What one step can you take today?
If you are planning a deck project and need my assistance, please reach out through my contact page. If you are looking for a contractor, you will want to read my article on the best deck contractors in Cincinnati.
If the deck boards and the railing on your existing deck are looking a bit worn – and the foundation and deck framing system are sound – you can simply replace the walking surfaces and deck railings with new composite decking and railing. It’s an ideal way to save time and money while enjoying all of the benefits of composite over wood.
Is replanking a good option for you?
First, we need to verify that the current substructure is sound. You can begin by doing your inspection using the Simpson Strong-tie Deck Connection Infographic. Click on the infographic below to see the areas you need to inspect. This will give you an early indication of whether a resurface is an option or not. If you do discover issues with your existing framing, it doesn’t mean it can’t be reused. An experienced deck contractor can retrofit the frame with new hardware to bring the structure into current code compliance.
If you would prefer to have your deck professionally inspected, All Decked Out located in West Chester, Ohio offers a 40 point deck inspection and report. The report will list the problem areas and the pricing to repair the substructure. The regular 40 point deck inspection for existing homeowners are $80.00 and is applied towards any work performed.
For best results when resurfacing your deck
- Before installation, check to make sure all joists are level, structurally sound, no nails or screws protruding.
- Ensure that all joists are crowned correctly and are level across the top as composite decking will conform to the surface contour of the substructure.
- Proper joist spacing is required for proper installation. Joist spacing should not exceed 16” on center, or for a more rigid feel, 12” may be preferred.
- Install solid wood blocking between each joist, placed every 4’ – 6’ within the structure to help reduce movement of the joists, excessive gapping, and give you a more uniform finished surface for your new composite deck.
You are going to invest a large amount money in the surface of your deck. It is strongly advised to level the joist and add blocking before the deck surface is installed. Composite decking is way too expensive to put on top of a poorly built substructure. Your existing frame may be 15 -20 years old. You are replacing the surface with a product that will last for 25 – 30 years. Make sure the frame underneath will last as long as the decking.
Whether you do this project yourself or you hire a professional, take a look at this article from Professional Deck Builder magazine. The article addresses the very real issue of uneven joist and squeaky floor systems. The best deck builders in Cincinnati would practice this blocking and leveling method in this article.
What are the steps for a deck resurface?
- Check joists spacing and overall condition of framing to determine if the substructure is sound.
- After obtaining any necessary building permits, carefully remove and discard the old decking and railing, leaving the substructure and framing in place.
- Inspect all framing/framing hardware for code compliance, structural integrity and compliance with the current composite manufacturer’s Installation Guide.
- To ensure a level surface for the composite boards, make sure that the joists are level and even with each other.
- You may need to shim or shave the joists to make them level and even. Strongly suggest using the method from the Pro Deck Builder Magazine above.
It may help to see a deck resurface from start to finish. Trex Decking has created a good video showing the process for resurfacing a deck and replacing the railing. This method could be used with any decking manufacture and railing.
What one step can you take today?
If you are planning on a deck resurface project and need my assistance, please reach out through my contact page. If you are looking for a contractor, you will want to read my article on the best deck contractors in Cincinnati.
Have you heard the rumors that say composite decks are expensive? Well, the rumors are true. But it’s all relative, what’s expensive to one person is not expensive to another. The question remains, how much will it cost you and does the investment make sense?
How much will a composite deck cost? Of course, many variables will affect the final price of your composite deck, but I am giving you the basic formulas to estimate your new deck.
Before we dive in, ask yourself these two questions.
Are you building the deck yourself?
Are you hiring a deck contractor?
Are you handy or have a friend that has built their deck? Before you answer this to quickly, I must caution you; there is a big difference between building a treated and composite deck. A treated deck leaves a lot of room for error. If you do mess up with treated the costs to fix are minimal. Composite, on the other hand, can cost hundreds or thousands if you make mistakes. If I haven’t scared you off, then go ahead and get the sketch of your deck and figure up the square footage.
Take the square footage of your deck and multiply that number by $25 – $30. The range in price will account for different types of deck and rail. If you tend to have expensive taste, then multiply by the higher dollar amount. This figure will give you the material cost for concrete, framing, composite deck surface and composite railing. This number will not include the stairs or stair railing. When using the example sketch above, you will find the cost to be $8,000.
Stairs must be estimated separately, and you will need to know the number of stair treads required for your project. If you need help figuring the number of stair treads visit this stair calculator on Decks.com. I have added an image below to show you how I used the calculator for the example deck. Once you have determined the number of stair treads, just multiply that number by $188 per stair riser. This dollar amount will cover the lumber, hardware, composite decking, risers, fascia, and composite railing for your stairs. The example deck above has 8 risers for the steps. If you take 8 x $188, you arrive at $1504.
Now just take the two numbers from above and add them together. This is the approximate material cost for your project. When using our example above (and using the $25 square footage figure), the cost for all materials is $9,504.
Is there anything that can throw the formula off?
- I based this formula on using products like Trex, Timbertech, Azek, Fiberon or Dekorators composite decking. If you are looking at a less expensive alternative, then the formula won’t work.
- This formula is based on your deck height being no more than five feet off the ground. When using a longer 6×6 post, you will see a slightly higher per square foot dollar amount.
- The formula also was anticipating the deck being fastened to your home by a ledger board and joist hangers. If you are opposed to attaching the deck to your home, you will require more concrete, posts, beams and hardware. Not connecting to your home will result in a higher cost per square foot.
Should I hire a professional deck contractor?
If you are seriously committed to a composite deck, I believe hiring a professional is the only way to go.
Now when I say professional, I am not just referring to someone that knows how to build your deck. My definition of professional is a deck contractor that pays taxes, insurance, and workman’s compensation. In a nutshell, a contractor who runs a legitimate business.
If you are considering hiring an individual that doesn’t represent my definition of a professional than my formula will be flawed. I strongly suggest using a professional if you have determined the Do-It-Yourself plan is not for you.
So how much will a professional charge me?
Take the square footage of your flat deck area with no stairs. In the sketch above the 16×20 deck is 320 square feet. A professional deck contractor in the Cincinnati market will charge between $45 and $55 per square foot. So from our example above you take 320 square feet times $45. This deck would run approximately $14,400. Once again that would include the concrete, framing, hardware, deck surface and level railing. It does not include the stairs or stair railing. The is not an exact science and is to only provide you with an idea of what a composite deck will cost by having it built professionally. Some variables could lower or higher the total square foot pricing.
We determined from the online calculator that the stairs on our example above would require eight risers. To find out what the stairs and stair railing will cost, just take 8 X $253 for a total of $2,024. This figure will cover the labor and material for your stairs.
Based on the formula and adding the stairs, you could expect to pay between $16,424 and $19,624 for a 16×20 composite deck.
What other costs should I consider?
- You should expect to pay for a building permit.
- Landscaping is often overlooked but is needed to finish off your deck properly.
- Be sure to budget for new chairs and tables to give your deck that finished look.
What one step can you take today?
If you are planning on a Do-It-Yourself deck project and need my assistance, please reach out through my contact page. If you are looking for a contractor, you will want to read my article on the best deck contractors in Cincinnati.