web design viewing platformsWow.  I wish there was a “6 Star”  because that’s how I feel about CitrusKiwi and their entire team.  I recently started a company with a business partner.  I’m a firm believer in the old adage “first impressions are the most lasting ones” and wanted our company to have a very professional feel, but of course as a 2-person startup, we didn’t have the $10,000 to spend on website, graphic design, business cards, brochures.  I looked online (as I do for EVERYTHING) to start my search.  I called the 3 top-rated online reviewed companies to get bids and more information. CitrusKiwi was not only the MOST professional, but also the best price!  They were just on the ball with communication and setting up meetings, but most importantly, they were able to not only understand the design vision my partner and I had, but they have executed flawlessly–and when there have been minor mistakes, web design Phoenix have owned up to and fixed it immediately (at no charge).  I am an extremely meticulous and detail-oriented person (some would use the term “OCD”) and the CitrusKiwi team have completely exceeded every expectation I had.  We used them to: redesign an existing website of ours, come up with our new logo, business cards, and brochures.  We have received so many complements on the logo and business cards–you wouldn’t believe it.  They have made our small startup feel like a legit corporation.  I have told all my friends and colleagues about them.

One friend hired them to create his law firm website and said it was one of the best business decisions he made.

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When my friend decided to start his own business, he knew he needed a good website but didn’t know where to turn for a designer. He knew that for this kind of thing you need a personal referral for. So he asked me who  designed my website, so I referred my friend to CitrusKiwi “Yeah, I have a pretty good web designer”. My friend still went online to search for reviews about CitrusKiwi. He saw that CitrusKiwi had great reviews, and decided to check them out.  He said he really liked the company’s portfolio so he got a quote (which he also liked) and hired them.

Citrus Kiwi logoMy friend is glad he did.  He wanted something that looked clean and professional, and CitrusKiwi delivered.  My friend said that they are great to work with, with good ideas, a sharp eye for detail, and lots of patience.   They got the job done well ahead of my friend’s deadline.  And when my friend emailed them in a panic, outside of business hours, because my friend thought the website had been launched before my friend was ready for it to be public, they called my friend right away and reassured him that all was well.

And my friend was also very happy with the design of the logo.  Again he said — great ideas, a sharp eye for detail and lots of patience.  The CitrusKiwi team designed a logo that is really classy (and it’s not just me who says so, but other people who have no reason to be nice to my friend!) and will help set my friend apart from his competition.

My friend was so impressed with the CitrusKiwi team’s work that Imy friend also hired them to host and maintain my website.

Let me say it again:  hiring CitrusKiwi was one of the best business decision my friend have made!

web design

I also referred CitrusKiwi to a friend and shared to me that they had an amazing experience using CitrusKiwi. They have contacted CitrusKiwi after referring them to my friend and got an immediate response from CitrusKiwi. My friend said she is so glad that I referred CitrusKiwi to her to help work on their website. She said they had a few million dollar listing – New Development Opportunity – they needed to create a website for along with marketing materials, email blast design and multiple sizes artwork for ads in the newspapers. They had only three weeks for everything to be completed and CitrusKiwi met all the deadlines, they did an excellent work in a very short period of time. The website looked great and the photography CitrusKiwi did for my friend was beyond her expectations. They also have a great post web development service, if my friend needed some changes made to the website or their marketing materials she would jump right on it and have it done in no time. My friend have dealt with so many web designers in the past and never met anyone so responsive, professional and diligent. The real estate team and clients were very satisfied and pleased with the work CitrusKiwi did for my friend’s company. She said she would highly recommend CitrusKiwi to anyone looking for a professional web designer.

web design

Posted by: admin in Business,General,Home Office,Investment,Office,Services on September 16th, 2015

pool cleaning

Thank you Aqua Clean Pool Service. They serviced our pool consistently and effectively for two years. The pool was always clear and clean, chemicals in perfect range and our equipment functioning as it should. They even helped us detect an underground leak that was causing us to lose 1000 gallons of water a day and was always there for our emergency concerns. Aqua Clean Pool Service made this part of my job literally “worry free”!

Bill is a viable asset to any pool in need of servicing and/or pool cleaning Glendale AZ. His years of experience, product knowledge and love for the industry shows up in his everyday actions. He is approachable, available and exceptionally professional no matter what and makes the job of keeping the health and clarity of a pool look easy when really, it’s not that easy.

pool cleaning

Thank you Aqua Clean Pool Service so much bringing Bill onto your team and helping me to resume the “high quality” service I’ve come to expect because of him. I look forward to many years of not having to worry about our pool… 🙂

Fast forward one year, Aqua Clean Pool Service still rocks!   My neighbor told me that their service was great over the past year and reliable.  Their pool equipment started to falter due to age and the electrical connections were corroded with age.  After receiving estimates from electricians and other general contractors, my neighbor was looking at repair bills totaling thousands of dollars.

pool cleaning

Then, Aqua Clean Pool Service sent Trish!  Within 30 minutes, Trish assessed the situation completely and said all of the work could be completed in less than a thousand.  She was the only professional that truly understood the relationship between my neighbors unique electrical system and the needs of their aging pool.  She literally saved them thousands of dollars.  My neighbor only repaired what was actually needed vs. replacing capital equipment and systems.  Trish came out on several Saturdays just to make sure my neighbors repairs were prioritized.   When it comes time to replace systems, me and my neighbor will trust Aqua Clean Pool Service to provide me the best value and install in the most efficient way possible.   Aqua Clean Pool Service is honest and trustworthy.

In summary, I believe Aqua Clean Pool Service is fair and they go far beyond the call of duty to ensure its customers are satisfied with their service level.  They have hired excellent and qualified technicians to take care of their customers.   For this area, Aqua Clean Pool Service is the only choice.

pool cleaning

Another neighbor recently started receiving monthly pool service from Aqua Clean Pool Service. Their first interaction with John (the owner) was back in April 2012 when they purchased a home that had an in ground pool. They called multiple company’s looking for someone to basically come out and bring the pool back to life (it was green and not swim-able). John was the only one who picked up and sounded very knowledgeable and quoted what my neighbor felt was a very reasonable price, so they hired him to do the job. John came out the next day and was finished in just a couple days, the end result was great. He recommended that my neighbor start chemical and cleaning service with him but my neighbor wanted to try it himself as this was the first home my neighbor have owned with a pool. To his surprise he actually spent the next 15 min or so giving my neighbor pointers on how to do so and told my neighbor to give him a call if he ever had questions or needed help.

By June my neighbor was done with the “do it yourself” philosophy and he called John back, again he came out and was there the same day to give my neighbor a quote, he thought it was a great value based on the amount of time it would give back to him so he started the service and he is glad he did. A couple times during the summer small things went wrong with my neighbor’s older equipment and John was always available to help (he is very knowledgeable and prompt), not to mention my neighbor’s pool sparkled all summer long. My neighbor  is just glad that he found a reliable business owner who takes pride in his work and delivers great results and service.

pool cleaning

Posted by: admin in Business,General,Home Office,Investment,Office,Services on September 15th, 2015

If you could give six stars I would…here’s why: My furnace worked intermittently, a tricky problem to diagnose and fix.  My handyman fiddled with the switch until the furnace worked and charged me for fixing the problem when he actually had no clue what the problem was.  When the furnace failed again and the handyman admitted that he could not fix it. I wanted a new furnace in order to improve by heating efficiency and create more space in my cellar. I didn’t have any personal recommendations to go by so I went by online reviews and found heating repair Peoria AZ. The reviews seem sincere and solid so I called them who was quick to come out to give me an estimate. As a part of their assessment they saw something that was defective with my water heater and recommended that I change that no matter what else I did.heating repair

They were creative in helping me plan the job, and consistently – from start to finish – had a “can-do” attitude. I think I was kind of a pain with the various questions I had, along with changes that I asked for as we progressed, but the crew were nothing but good natured and accommodating. (They also connected me with another excellent company for asbestos abatement work).

The crew were great to work with in terms of their conscientiousness, responsiveness, and commitment to do an excellent job. They seemed to work well together, they certainly worked hard to get the job done quickly. They are very knowledgeable and are very friendly and are committed to servicing customers.  My furnace problem started just before Christmas and they promised me a heated house before the New Year.  Despite the holidays, closure of suppliers, and their busy schedule, the furnace was fixed on Dec 30th.  They patiently explained to me different parts of the furnace, where the problem might be, how to diagnose problems by reading the flashing codes, and what they were doing.  I learned a lot by talking to them. It took an extra visit to fix the problem because the replacement part was a dud.  I was not charged for the extra time. although it was not their fault.heating repair

So now I have a compact system that works very well – it heats the house in about a quarter of the time that the old system took, it’s quiet, and if things go as advertised I should be saving  close to 50% on my heating bills.

Oh, while not cheap, their price was over $1000 less than another well reviewed company.

Posted by: admin in Business,General,Home Office,Office,Services on May 6th, 2015

dryer vent cleaning

Dryer vent cleaning is one of the most important service that every homeowner in America must not forget. Just about every residence features a dryer right now and with it, the importance of maintaining the vents clean is even more important. No matter whether you use an electric or perhaps a gas powered dryer, you’d have to make sure that the vents are cleaned frequently. In several properties, since the vents are out of sight, their cleaning is usually ignored. Having said that, ignoring the vents for a long period of time can be in fact quite risky.

 

Vent Cleaning is important for Each and every Household

No matter what brand and type of dryer you use at home, dryer vent cleaning  is a single aspect of making use of dryer that should not be ignored. There are several causes why this is important. The first reason is the fact that frequent cleaning would basically raise the efficiency of your machine and it would also make the dryer last longer. The dryers which can be applied in houses are in fact very sturdy and with just a little bit care, then can final for decades. These dryers also have lint traps and screens in them. On the other hand, the lint traps would only be able to perform with an efficiency of around 80%. This means that the rest with the lint will be trapped in the vents.

 

Save Your property from Fire

A different very important reason why dryer vent cleaning Phoenix AZ  really should not be ignored is for the reason that a blocked vent can very easily result in fire. With frequent use, the lint from the garments would get trapped inside the vents. This would block the passage for the air circulation. Since the passage will be blocked, the dryer would need to perform harder for drying the clothing and would overheat inside the course of action. When the vents remain ignored for also long, it might cause fire.

 

Expert Businesses Might help

You will discover quite a great deal of expert cleaning organizations in Maryland which can make it easier to maintain the dryer vents at residence clean pretty easily. You would just need to have an annual or even a semi annual cleaning appointment to avoid each of the dangers that happen to be linked with blocked dryer vents. These companies possess the ideal gear and encounter that will be necessary for this job. They would use special brush and higher energy vacuum for cleaning out each of the debris from the vents.

I had a pro come out and cleaned mine when the vent blocked, thankfully the lint only scorched on the surface and did not burn the house down.
The pro used a compressed air spinning head that destroyed the clog, and also used a massive high-flow vacuum pipe to pull the debris out. It still took 40 minutes to clean the vent. The lint was wet as all heck, which is why it was packed so tight in the pipe.
Sort of like the high pressure sewer cleaning truck systems except it uses air instead of water.

The cleaning kits sold at the big box stores work ok for vent maintenance if there is not a real clog but in my case the fiberglass shaft would fold and not dig through the clog.
Clean the vent every 5 years is the best advice I could give.

 

What Professional Duct & Vent Cleaning Entails

Professional air duct and vent cleaning involves getting the dust and debris outside, so they use outdoor ventilation equipment. It is so important that homeowners make sure the professional is using good equipment then, as they could otherwise spread the spores into the home and further agitate sensitive family members. In the case of mold, a cleaner will only be able to tell you it is there, followed by needing an additional mold professional to come out and test or remove the mold. Air duct cleaning industry does not require state licensing in many states, so make sure to check for a company with references.

Removing dust and debris from ventilation might require the professional getting down on the floor if you have floor vents, so be sure to speak with them about your furniture and other valuables near the vents to avoid any damages or problems.

 

Posted by: admin in Business,General,Home Office,Office,Office Improvement,Services on December 11th, 2014


My GE room AC has begun to act up. It will run for 5-7 mins and then quit. The fan will come back on after 30 seconds but the compressor won’t. When the compressor tries to kick in again it grinds down to a halt. It’s drawing a lot of current as the TV will brown out. So I checked my thermostat to see if maybe there is some cold air blowing on or near it causing it to prematurely shut down. As soon as it warms back up though it tries to turn the compressor back on. The refridgerant though has not had enough time to bleed through the system in 30 seconds, so the compressor is trying to start against a heavy load.
It infact is stalled so the built in thermal protection turns it off. It eventually clicks back on and repeats until it gets going. This is normal activity when the compressor is “short cycled”, but its not particularly good for it, so I did not run my unit until it gets fixed. The compressor does not have enough it is shutting down the unit too soon and back on right away.

I also checked if the condenser clean and if the condenser fan running at full blast. I do not have too much on the line so it could not be the compressor is overheating and kicking out on thermal overload. The unit is directly connected to a 110VAC voltage outlet.

I tried calling around to get quotes to me general idea of what I am facing. I might may be better off with little mom and pop shops compared to national chains. Sometimes they will give you a better deal that a chain won’t.

I had someone come out and take a look at it, and he said the capacitor went bad, so we had it replaced. The cool air started flowing again, and we enjoyed cool AC for about a month, then the AC again stopped working. The same guy took a look at AC unit and he said this time the problem was a bad compressor. He said it is still under warranty but that labor to replace the compressor would be well over $1000.

I went to other repair guys to take  look at the unit to and for a quote of the cost of repair on the unit.  Based on all the feedback, it sounds like the clear thing NOT to do is to just get a new AC unit, but probably trying to get the current AC fixed (compressor replacement) and wait for the old furnace to fail before changing the entire system as a matched set – new furnace and new AC unit.

$700 does seem kind of high for compressor replacement labor (considering the part would be replaced under manufacturer’s warranty), and the cost of installing a new AC unit seems kind of low by comparison since the Goodman the AC guy quoted is probably costing them $1350 wholesale… so $1500 total would mean labor is $150.

I don’t get these AC repair guys.. the first guy said around $1200-1400 to replace the compressor under warranty, the second guy is saying $700, which is better but still does seem high.. if in fact the same type of work goes into installing a new unit, you’d think the labor would be $150 or in that ballpark.

A friend told me that in his area, it costs at a bare minimum, $60 to get someone just to come out on a service call, and if the unit is not worth repairing, the repair cost will be put toward a new unit, which, according to what I’ve been told, would cool better using less energy than the old one. Air conditioning units are really heavy, so taking one in to a shop for service would be a lot of work. Then, the shop would most likely charge you about the same as a service call to diagnose the problem. I don’t like the idea of throwing something away and buying new, but maybe this is one of the times when that is the most practical decision.

So I tried looking around and searched online for other ac repair Phoenix  to find out who can give me the lowest price to repair my unit. The guys that gave me the lowest repair cost are from Cool Touch and they also have promos. They have vastly experienced technicians to assure the best satisfaction. These  also solved my problem at an affordable price. Extensive testing procedures and quality control methods employed by them will guarantee a perfect service.

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Posted by: admin in General,Home Office,Investment,Office,Services on December 6th, 2014

heating repairIn this “throw it away” “planned obsolescence” world we live in, I’m always dubious when told “you should get a new one”. So, as I look at my ~ 1989 “Day & Night” furnace and hear the HVAC guy say this, I’m not convinced. So I’m asking my fellowmen for insights…

Existing furnace & related: Circa 1989 “Day & Night” downdraft furnace (electronic ignition), estimated 60000 BTU (3 ton?). Location: SF Bay area (i.e. not cold), 1800 sq foot house. Used 4 months of the year for average of $80/mth.

Current problems:

  • sticky relay on control board means the blower fan doesn’t always turn off
  • blower is out of balance so it causes vibration in the house and is quite noisy and somewhat annoying

I had an HVAC guy look at it and he quoted a new Trane furnace for $4k plus $2k install for a new 96% variable speed (yada yada) furnace, sealing the existing ductwork to bring it up to California efficiency code, permits, inspection, new PVC vent piping etc.  “Not worth repairing this old thing”.

Random thoughts:

  • I don’t think the extra efficiency of the new 96+% furnaces pays off in the 20yr lifetime of the furnace as our usage is so low
  • surely fixing the blower balancing / motor / bearings (whatever is wrong?!) would be easier, and quite likely a DIY job as its separate from the gas work
  • while I’m at it, replace the control board. It seems like there are plenty available for < $100 that will fix the relay
  • Home Depot charges $1600 for a no-name furnace, but the Home Depot recommended installers don’t install them – just Trane or Rheem for 2x the price. I’m guessing that for ~$1500 I could eventually find an installer who would do it for $3k total replacement cost

Gotchas:

  • I don’t have the manual and can’t find the model # on the furnace. This is making it hard to identify things exactly and get online DIY pointers

We really would appreciate the increased comfort from stopping the vibration and likely lowering the noise, but none of this has to be fixed “right now”.

My other concern of “vibration” seems to be an unbalanced blower. The blower imbalance and resulting vibration is more of a problem for me than the control board. Right now I can hit the side of the heater to help the relay along and then its good for a few weeks (but of course its a problem just waiting to happen). One HVAC company said “it would cost at least $1000 to take out the motor and fix the vibration”. I found a good description of how to re-balance it and several good youtube videos on replacing the whole motor and blower myself if it comes to that. Its basically two screws and the whole thing slides out.

You can literally replace the whole thing if you want, but there are also easy to find new motors, blowers etc. E.g. electric motors for my furnace are < $200 (and possibly < $50 – I haven’t pulled it out yet to get the exact part #).  One estimate of a friend is something like: “It takes an experienced tech about 30 mins to change out a motor. A DIY type should allow 2-3 hours. The hardest part is if the blower is frozen to the motor shaft. Use WD40 and patience – not a bigger hammer”.   Indeed, this could perhaps become a nice summer project if only I am not too busy. And furnaces can sometimes give you head aches, especially if it’s cold outside and you need it more than ever. To make sure you don’t need furnace repair services on a winter day, save yourself some time and money and learn how to repair your furnace and keep it in a good condition.

I have used RighTimeHome Services several times. Very very good and professional, and not the expensive in town. I highly recommend their heating repair Long Beach CA. I have used this company several times with great results at a fair price:

No connection other than a satisfied customer.

Replaced my two split systems recently (2 x 2 ton ACs + 2 x 90% furnaces all TRANE) at a fraction of the cost of the larger places.

Posted by: admin in Business,General,Home Office,Investment,Office,Services on March 11th, 2011

A business consultation maybe necessary to help you approach problematic situations in your business. A business could perform better through a management professional who can help you identify problems and opportunities, and suggest certain solutions and techniques. Here are some tips to consider if you are looking for help with a business consultant:

Look for the expert. Check the track record and consulting experience. A consultant may be a sole proprietor or someone working for consulting firm.

Check for efficiency. Find out from the consultant’s previous clients if he is able to accomplish his tasks on schedule and within budget. Verify if he was able to provide practical recommendations and implement them succesfully.

Interview the consultant how he works the people and if it is done effectively and diplomatically. Probe questions and look for someone who is trustworthy, competent and professional. Look also for a business consultant whom you can work well and comfortably right from the start.

A variety of business tools and solutions are necessary to give a company or a business a competitive advantage in conducting its day-to-day operations. These tools and solutions can make a big difference in their bottom lines, specially for businesses that don’t have their own integrated information system yet.

Essential pieces of equipment are needed specifically if your business requires to keep a database of customers, needs a lot of research and innovation or the monitoring of inventory or records of complex transactions or documents that need to be delivered to your customer. We all know that a fax machine transmits hard copies through telephone lines which are important specifically for businesses that need to send printouts.  Internet Fax is a better option compared to the conventional standalone fax as  the plain fax machines are notorious for their bad paper feeders which result in bad image quality. The Internet allows people to send and receive faxes anywhere in a more convenient way as Internet fax does not require a software or fax device.

Acquiring a solution like utilizing the Internet fax to implement an integrated information system is a great tool to be competitive even if your business is a a new entrant in a certain industry. Develop a competitive advantage in terms of management information accessibility needed for your own information requirements. Maximizing the use of the Internet has long-term benefits as well to achieving crucial tasks like meeting the company’s revenue commitments and getting easier and faster access to sending out and receiving information that could give your business a better operational and cost control. Imagine being able to receive and transmit important documents efficiently at the convenience of your home, office cubicle, coffee shop, or even out in the field. You can even save on expenses for additional phone lines and paper costs. This tool indeed provides big or small businesses the agility they need to survive in an increasingly competitive environment.

Setting up your business at home could be the great option for first timers to save on overhead expenses. This could sound like a simple solution,  however, many challenges also come with the comforts of doing your business at home. Some of these are the tendency to slack off, the problem of privacy, or not being taken too seriously by people in the industry. Here are some guidelines on how to make your home-based business work for you:

Make your office space look professional. Make sure that your office contains no distractions such as TV. You may make a soundproof office with a glass sliding door especially if you have kids that make noise. Dress in a professional manner as well when you are going to meet with someone and make your business cards and letterheads brochures and other printed matter look professional.

Set boundaries. There may be a tendency for you or if you have employees to slack off because of the homey environment. Work in a professional manner to stay focused with this type of work environment.

Keep your books in order. Have a good accounting system and a reliable bookkeeper to keep every cent that comes in and go out in check. This way, you can really gauge if you are making money, breaking even, or just enjoying your hobby.

The year-end offers the chance for many entrepreneurs to review the business’ economic standing in preparation for the next year. During the month of December, a business’ sales could double or even triple, which can help determine the final profitability of the business.

The year-end should be the period when you should be reviewing your business performance. Knowing your financial standing before the close of year brings you benefits. By reviewing your year-to-date sales, you could estimate how much more in sales you would need to generate in order to surpass your previous year’s record. You may then strategize your sales promotion in order to achieve the year-end goal. It would also be easier to identify the variances year to year if your business has an annual budget, particularly those that are unfavorable to the business and investigate their causes.

If you know your business’ financial report, you may also decide to reward yourself and your investors with dividends. Looking at your sales quota could also help you determine the amount of cash bonus you could allocate to your managers and staff. Setting up an accounting system and getting a qualified accountant or bookkeeper to assist you could help you anticipate your cash flows, dividend requirements and budgets to assure better profitability on your business.

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