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Getting It Done

Play ball! How great it is to hear those words again. Hopefully, Mother Nature will flip the switch, and the weather will be more suited for the boys and girls of Summer. Before we leave March Madness in the rearview mirror, I’m sure most college basketball fans will agree it was one of the best tournaments ever. I don’t know how anyone could have picked that final four on their bracket. I must also add it was great to see Penn State win the NIT Tournament. After not receiving an NCAA bid to the big dance, the Nittany Lions definitely made the most of their opportunity. Not many teams finish the season with a win. Hopefully, the program can build upon this momentum next season. I would never expect them to reach the level of success the Nittany Lion wrestling program has achieved, but it would be great for them to reach those brackets we all fill out each year.

The beginning of April has grown to mean two things at Webb Weekly. That first pitch of the baseball season and our annual Spring Home Improvement guide. It’s hard to believe we have been bringing you everything you need to have the living space you want for 15 years. You can find the right contractor for whatever project needs to be done, and maybe some you haven’t even thought about within its pages.

Our area is very fortunate to have so many professional folks available for your service. There has become a real shortage nationwide for good contractors. No matter the trade.

There’s great opportunity out there for young people that want to learn a vocational skill. More importantly, there are plenty of jobs available no matter what field they choose. I think we have done the students of today a disservice by painting the picture that a four-year college degree is what’s right for everyone. What the world needs today are more young people skilled with their hands and mind. This is not only true in reference to the everyday hard-working folks needed to make sure you have heat and electricity. There’s a shortage of mechanics, welders — you name it. Pretty much anything that requires you to get a little dirty during your workday.

As I often do, I have sort of gotten off the beaten path here. The conversation about all the college debt so many young people and their parents are incurring is an article for another day. It is definitely a serious issue. Did I mention how many young men and women receive that college degree and have those college loans to pay for, but cannot find a job based on the course of studies?

Jumping back to our topic of home improvement or repair. I have a few thoughts to help make your life a little easier. We all know the stress that can be created when your home is torn apart, and the job goes well, let alone the misery created when there is a problem. And we’ve all experienced that at some point.

Like most things in life, it begins with communication. Before contacting a contractor make sure you have a plan and can clearly communicate what you’d like to have done. In talking to those that do the work, this is the most common problem. Remember, most want to do the job you want in the most timely fashion and have you as a repeat customer. The trust that is built will only make their next visit to your home that much easier.

Next, is another often talked about, but often forgotten practice when it comes time to do the project. Make sure you look into who you’re hiring, that they are the best person for the job. Simple enough. Take the time to ask questions and investigate who they are. Please don’t fall victim just because they drive a nice truck with their name on it or tell you how great they are. I often think this goes overlooked because we just want to get the job done fast and hiring the right person takes a little planning. I’m sure you can relate.

Last, but definitely not least, clearly know the cost of the job going in. Again, this comes back to communication. You want a firm estimate on the work you are contracting out. If someone begins a job, and you add to the original plan, of course, it’s going to cost more money. So please, at the time you do so, ask how much more is this going to cost? Never assume anything. Put the burden on the contractor to come in at the quote, and if he runs into any issues to communicate the problem with you, so you know any additional costs. There’s nothing worse than when it’s time to write that check and settle up, and you get that sticker shock of a job gone overboard. Again, most want to do exactly what you want and not have the discrepancy over anything. That’s the way they build their business through repeat business.

I have learned those three simple things can help you avoid those homeowner headaches none of us want. My last thought is sometimes the most difficult — make sure you and your spouse are on the same page. No matter if it’s the color of the paint or size of the room, make sure it’s understood. You don’t want to have the contractor building you a doghouse to live in because someone is upset. I’m sure many of you reading this I know exactly what I mean.

So good luck with whatever needs fixing up or building. One thing I’ve learned, it never seems to end.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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