Tuesday, July 30 2019
Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish. Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Houzz is a great tool for sash and door dealers to create brand awareness, interact with customers, find leads, and receive reviews from their clients. Navigating a new online social media platform can be intimidating, but with this guide you will be a Houzz expert in no time!
1 | Create a Profile
The first step is to sign up with Houzz and design your profile. You can join Houzz by clicking here and filling in your email address and creating a password. Next you will enter your basic information like company name, industry category, street address, and phone number. Be sure to mark yourself as Window/Door Sales & Installation so that customers can easily find your profile. Write a short business description that explains a little bit about your company and who you are. You should also upload a cover photo and profile picture (normally your company’s logo).
2 | Create Projects on Houzz to Showcase Your Completed Jobs
Houzz is similar to Pinterest in that users save project photos that they like to their Ideabooks, so they can go back later and use these photos as inspiration for their future home remodel projects. A great way to attract users to your page and gain some traffic to your website is by creating “Projects” on your Houzz profile. Creating a new project is easy, simply click on the “New Project” button on your Houzz profile homepage. Here you will name the project, enter information about the job, and choose the style of the space—be sure to be as detailed as possible to ensure your project shows up when clients are searching for specific project types. You are also able to add keywords to each photo to help users discover your projects. Having a rich project gallery is key to gaining success on Houzz.
3 | Follow Customers, Colleagues, and Vendors
If you click on the “Find Professionals” menu, you’ll be directed to this page where you can search for your building professional customers, colleagues, and your door and window suppliers, like AG Millworks. You can follow these professionals, interact with them, save their photos to your Ideabooks, and collaborate on Houzz Projects you both worked on together.
4 | Answer Design Dilemma Questions
As a professional on Houzz, you can answer questions and offer advice to fellow Houzz users. You can visit the “Design Dilemma” page where you should use your sash and door expertise to provide professional advice to answer their design questions.
5 | Get Reviews
Getting reviews for your company will take time, but 5-star recommendations and testimonials are incredibly valuable and will elevate your business and help create trust with potential customers. Requesting reviews on Houzz is easy, simply click the “Get Reviews” button on your Houzz profile homepage and enter in the email address of clients you want to reach out to. Write a short, polite message thanking your customer for their business and requesting they write a quick review on your Houzz profile.
6 | Keep Profile Updated
Once you have a presence on Houzz, it is important to keep your profile up to date. You should regularly upload new project photos, save new photos to Ideabooks, and interact with Houzz users. Always thank people for including your photos in their Ideabooks and respond to your customers’ reviews with enthusiasm. If your company phone number, street address, or website address changes, be sure to update this on your Houzz profile so that clients can always reach you.
7 | Get Some Help to Get Started
Does all this sound great, but seem like a project you just don’t have time to complete? Enlist the help of someone who is social media-savvy, like your children who grew up with technology, a college student looking to make extra money, or a colleague in the industry that has a Houzz profile and can refer you to the person that helped them. Your Houzz.com profile can be under construction before you know it.
Why Ventura County Contractors & Architects are Choosing AG Millworks for Their Large Luxury Door System Needs
Tuesday, July 23 2019
According to the 2019 US Houzz & Home Study, 51% of homeowners planned to continue or begin a home renovation in 2019, with a median spend of $10,000 per renovating homeowner—these numbers fare well for professionals in the design-build industry as they will continue to see more projects in their pipelines. It’s been an especially busy year for architects, contractors, and building professionals in Ventura County as home renovation trends continue to increase and property owners affected by recent wildfires begin to rebuild their homes.
As indoor-outdoor living spaces gain more popularity among homeowners, professionals are designing spaces with large folding and sliding door systems that blur the line between inside and out. Ventura County contractors, builders, and architects are choosing local patio door manufacturing company, AG Millworks, to handcraft luxurious custom Bi-Fold and Multi-Slide door systems for their projects because AG provides the highest-quality products and best customer support in the industry. Below are more reasons why AG Millworks is the best option for large folding, sliding, or swing door systems.
As a privately held company, AG Millworks has been manufacturing handcrafted products in Ventura County since 1986. Local architects and contractors favor AG because they have visited the factory, know where the products are coming from, and like to shop local and support Ventura-based businesses.
Something unique to AG Millworks, that no other company does, is the delivery of door frames completely built-up (CA only). Contractors, builders, and door installers value and appreciate this advantage because it saves them time, space, and money on installation. On Bi-Fold systems, all header installation holes are pre-drilled, and hardware is provided to reduce errors during install.
Factory Installed Screens
Another benefit enjoyed by building professionals is the factory installed screens. AG Millworks is the only company that installs the optional retractable accordion screen directly into the door jamb for its clients—this saves time and money on the jobsite and ensures a perfect install by experienced craftsmen.
Superior Customer Service
Most contractors and builders are aware of the poor customer service provided by many patio door manufacturers, but AG Millworks is different. With AG, contractors receive support with ease, and can reach the customer service department by phone Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. The customer service department is superior to any other brand, with a friendly and knowledgeable staff who is eager to help. Requesting a service appointment is easy and pain free, and most often comes with short lead times. Ventura County contractors choose AG over other brands because of how well the company treats its customers. Their exceptional service was recognized by Houzz.com, when AG Millworks was awarded the Best of Houzz for Client Satisfaction in 2019.
Pairs Well with Other Brands
AG Millworks has custom color matching capabilities, and can match the exterior clad color of other window brands like Marvin and Jeldwen. Because AG Millworks provides a superior door system, contractors and architects pair AG products with other window brands to complete their fenestration package.
Custom Sizes without Upcharges
Another reason AG is so favored by building and design professionals is because it offers custom sizes without an extra charge for odd sizes. Because there are no standard sizes, each patio door is handcrafted to fit the rough opening provided.
In California, AG Millworks offers jobsite delivery for a nominal charge. Contractors and builders value this option, as it saves time and eliminates the need for handling.
Building professionals in Ventura, California rely on AG Millworks Energy Solutions product line to fulfill all their energy efficiency requirements. The Energy Solutions Bi-folds, Multi-Slides, and French Swing Patio Door Systems are Title 24 prescriptive compliant and have excellent NFRC ratings.
Because every door is custom made, AG offers full customization of each door system. With standard or custom color options, unlimited divided lite configurations, 18 different wood species, and numerous hardware styles, architects and contractors trust AG Millworks to create a completely custom accordion or sliding door for their client’s homes.
Thursday, July 18 2019
If you’re halfway through summer and realizing that maybe you need a pool to fully enjoy the hot weather and long days, there are some important things to remember about pools. Pools can be a fun and entertaining backyard feature, but there are some downsides of owning a pool that you’ll want to consider before making any permanent decisions.
PRO: Swimming Whenever You Want
Having access to your own pool is a nice perk, especially during the summer. You don’t have to go to the neighborhood or community pool, or burden friends and family by asking to use their pool every week. You can go for early morning or late-night swims, and not be restricted by limited hours or holidays.
CON: Expensive Upkeep
Pools are a literal money pit—not only are they expensive to install (think upwards of $50k), but once they are installed, they are expensive to maintain. Money will be spent on chlorine, heating, cleaning, increased electricity costs, pool accessories, and other maintenance, with no end in sight.
PRO: Upgraded Entertainment Space
A new pool will enhance your entertainment space and allow you to host pool parties for any occasion (birthdays, barbecues, holidays). With your new indoor-outdoor space, you can open your bi-fold door system and connect your home to the outdoor pool and living area.
CON: No Lifeguard on Duty
At home, you won’t have a lifeguard on duty which means you’ll have to pay close attention to swimming children. You can’t stray too far from the pool area or take a nap under the sun.
PRO: Home Access
A perk to having your own pool is having access to your home—whether you want to call the kids in and make lunch, take a break from the sun and head into the air conditioning, or use your own CLEAN bathroom (we all know public restrooms can be less than spotless).
CON: Regular Maintenance Required
The regular maintenance of a pool can be tedious. Cleaning, adding chemicals, testing the water, and fixing any malfunctioning systems takes time. Whether you’re doing it yourself, or paying someone to do it, it can be a burden.
Having a backyard pool is great for maintaining privacy. You won’t have to deal with other pool-goers gawking at you. You can be comfortable in the privacy of your own space.
CON: Dangerous for Small Children
A pool could be considered a hazard. Even if you don’t have small children, a surrounding safety fence may be necessary; and if gates are left open, accidents can still happen. Visit the Pool Safely Website for more information.
PRO: Can Increase Home Value
It is possible for a pool to increase your home value, however it’s not a guarantee. If your home is located in a warmer climate and can be used for most of the year then it could add value to your home. If most of the neighbors have pools in the area, then a pool could also be a smart investment.
A few more CONS to consider:
1 | Can increase the number of events you’re asked to host.
2 | Extra laundry plus wear and tear on floors leading to indoor bathroom.
3 | Added home insurance premiums/liability for accidents, etc.
Once you’ve considered all of the pros, cons, and cost involved, you will be able to make a smart and knowledgeable decision. In the end, a pool addition could really add value to your life and home.
Tuesday, July 16 2019
How Contractors Can Provide a Better Client Experience
As a contractor or building professional, you strive for client satisfaction. Providing quality work, innovative design, and superior customer service is how you can exceed client expectations and differentiate yourself from other companies. The recipe for success isn’t always obvious, but with these tips, you can ensure your clients will experience the best customer service in the business!
Provide Speedy Project Estimates
When you meet with a potential client requesting a proposal, it is important that you gather all the details of the project so you can provide an accurate estimate. You can create a generic form that has the basic requirements of various projects (ie. kitchen remodel, bath remodel, addition, etc.) to help you record and organize project specifics for use during the quoting process. A project proposal is one of the first impressions your potential clients receive and can be telling of your entire work ethic, which is why quick and accurate estimates are crucial in this industry.
Communicate with Clients
It’s important to maintain an open line of communication with your clients throughout the project. Ask your customers if they prefer contact via phone calls, texts, or emails, and then use that method whenever possible. Provide regular updates regarding schedule, deliveries, and job progress. Send them pictures when something big is accomplished, like cabinet installation or completed flooring so they can get excited about the completion of their new space.
Managing your client’s expectations and educating them on any project limitations is imperative. Remind them that changes in a construction project are normal and that you will inform them immediately of any necessary modifications. Make reasonable promises and then over-deliver and exceed your customer’s expectations.
Remain on Schedule
Develop a project schedule and try your hardest to follow it. Budget some extra time for any unexpected project delays when creating your schedule. We know projects can sometimes be delayed due to weather, permits, and longer than expected material lead times, so be sure to let your client know about any occurrence that will delay project completion.
Make Their Lives Easier
As a contractor, you were hired to manage and execute your client’s home renovation, and to make their lives easier through this process. You can do this by helping indecisive customers choose design materials or helping them create and maintain a functional living space while living through a renovation. Little things you can do to help them out will boost their client satisfaction.
Follow Up with Customers
Once a client is settled into their new space, follow up with them for feedback. See how they are liking the storage and functionality of their new kitchen, or how their new accordion doors illuminate their space with natural light. This follow up will show that you care about them and value their feedback, which equals higher customer satisfaction and more referrals from your happy clients.
Thursday, July 11 2019
If you own and run a restaurant, bar, brewery, winery, etc., you know that this business isn’t for the faint of heart. This industry requires hard work and lots of planning, and if you’re just getting started, the idea of attracting customers to your establishment and creating a loyal customer base can be daunting. The food, drink, and service you provide are all important factors to attracting the right customer, however the atmosphere in your space will also determine your success.
The latest trend in the dining industry is an open-air atmosphere. Customers want the option to bring their dog along and sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while socializing with friends. The al fresco dining experience creates a relaxed, fun environment where customers can enjoy the views and spend time outdoors. These days, a restaurant or bar isn’t relevant without that indoor-outdoor experience that restaurant goers yearn for.
Pictured above: Robert Young Estate Winery – Geyserville, CA
Use Folding Doors to Connect Inside Space to Outdoor Patio Area
If you’re prepared to remodel or upgrade one or all of your locations, you can invest in custom bi-fold doors to create a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor entertainment spaces. Accordion doors can eliminate walls, and leave a wide-open space, turning your restaurant, bar, or winery into an indoor-outdoor venue. Doors fold neatly out of the way to one or both sides, and leave plenty of room for tables, chairs, and mingling while creating unobstructed views of the boardwalk, cityscape, or surrounding nature. With an ADA sill and 10” bottom rail, folding doors will meet ADA requirements.
To learn more about folding door features and customization, visit our Bi-Fold Patio Door Product Page.
Pictured above: Waterbar – Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA
Use Folding Windows to Create Al Fresco Bar-Style Seating
If your establishment is on the second floor, or lacks a patio area to open up to, you can use folding windows to create an al fresco space. Bi-fold windows will let plenty of light into your restaurant and can create that open-air vibe that guests look for when choosing a spot for food and drink. Organize seating along the accordion windows to give customers the ultimate indoor-outdoor experience, with fresh air and expansive views. Depending on your setup, you may also consider using bi-fold windows to provide a second access point to the bar via a passthrough window from indoor bar to outdoor patio.
To learn more about using folding windows to upgrade your place of business, visit our Bi-Fold Window Product Page.
Pictured below: Wonderland Ocean Pub – Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA
Final Tips for a Great Restaurant/Bar/Brewery/Winery Atmosphere
Thursday, July 04 2019
If you haven’t yet gotten around to that bathroom or kitchen remodel, there’s still plenty of time to tackle it this summer. The hardest part about a remodel is getting started, especially if this is your first remodel experience—for first time remodelers, starting your project can be daunting because you’re unsure where to begin. Below are five tips for getting a jump on your home renovation project before summer is over.
You can use Houzz, Pinterest, or HGTV to find inspiration for your remodel project. It’s easy to search for home design projects on Houzz and Pinterest, and to create Houzz Ideabooks or Pinterest Boards with the ideas you love and want to replicate in your home. If you’ll be replacing any doors or windows in your home, look to AG Millworks Luxury Patio Door Systems for inspiring photos of accordion doors and windows that create an indoor-outdoor kitchen or living space.
Hire a Contractor
The best thing you can do for yourself is hire a contractor/builder to manage and execute your renovation. This will help reduce the stress of a DIY remodel, and let you oversee the project from afar. A contractor will help you solve any design dilemmas, know what upgrades require permits, and can help you create the home of your dreams. Find a contractor in your area is easy—ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations or search for local contractors on Houzz. Be sure to check reviews, past projects, and the Contractors State License Board to confirm their license and bond are in good standing, to ensure you’re getting the best professional for your job.
Consult a Sash and Door Expert
If door and window replacement is part of the project, ask your contractor to recommend a trusted door and window dealer that you can visit to look at displays, test products, and learn more about the features and benefits of the doors and windows you are interested in. Visit the dealer with your contractor so he or she can help guide you through the process and let you know what design limitations exist in your space. To visit an AG Millworks Certified Dealer, please contact customer service at 806-644-4494 to find a dealer near you or click here.
Pick Out Materials
When you have a design plan, and you’re working with a sash and door expert, it’s time to select the materials for your project. Visit local building material specialty shops, or head to your nearest Home Depot to choose your favorite combination of flooring, backsplash, countertops, and cabinetry for your project. If you’d prefer to hire a design professional to guide the project, you can show them your inspiration boards and they can create something that will fit your tastes.
Take a Vacation
Once your project is in full swing, consider taking a break from the renovation zone and heading on a relaxing vacation—it is summer after all. Home remodels can be messy and stressful, especially if you’re tackling a kitchen renovation that will leave you without a proper kitchen for weeks. You can escape the construction chaos for a week or two and travel to a new place you’ve been wanting to explore. When it’s time to finally head home, you’ll (hopefully) return to a completely transformed space. And if you chose to expand your home and connect it to the outdoors with an AG Millworks Folding Patio Door, when you return home it will feel like you’re still on vacation!
Tuesday, July 02 2019
Will you be heading to the coast and staying in a beach house this summer? Week or month-long oceanfront getaways are a great way to escape the heat, relax, recharge, and enjoy quality time with friends and family. Packing for your beach house vacation can be stressful, and it’s easy to forget important things you’ll need on this holiday. See below for the ultimate beach house vacay checklist!
Packing clothes is always the easiest part because you know you need the basics to get by. Pack the following for each family member so you are prepared for your waterfront vacation:
If your accommodations have a washer and dryer, try not to overpack but instead pack enough to last a week and then do some laundry when necessary.
Focusing on your toiletries now means not worrying about it later when its 11pm and you realize you forgot to pack a toothbrush.
Your beach house may already be fully equipped with all the toys and games you need, but if it’s not, here is a short list that will keep you and the family fully entertained throughout the vacation:
It’s easiest to wait until you arrive at your destination to stock up on groceries, but when you do, choose ingredients for easy, healthy meals. You can find 30-minute dinner recipes on the Woman’s Day Website, Delish.com, and the Food Network.
Once you’re all settled into your cozy beach house, open your Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, or French Swing Door Systems and enjoy the fresh ocean breeze and salty air! Learn how to bring that beach house lifestyle home with you using Bi-Fold, Multi-Slide, or French Swing Patio Doors.