Do You Need a Break Today?

It’s amazing how life consumes us and we have so little time to relax. You work hard 9 – 5 each day then come home and have to think about meals, cleaning, the family and then before you know it, it’s time to hit the pillow and start all over again the next day.

The cycle of life is endless; but we at Neat Freaks can relieve you of a wee bit of the day to day drudgery away by cleaning up while you are working, leaving you with a spotless place to come home to at the end of the day.

Give me a call today and allow me to share what I can do for you.  I can provide custom work that fits your particular needs, at a time and schedule that works best for you. Call Barb at 604 537 7878.

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What Women Want

Women are taking over the world (at least my sister and I are. In the future I trust my two adult daughters will prove equal to the task).

Did you know more 20 and 30 year-old women are graduating from professional schools, starting their own businesses and earning higher incomes than their male cohorts. The rise of “girl power” is not a new Super Hit Teen Movie, it is becoming a reality. Fact is; young professional women largely fuelled the recent condo boom and heightened the demand for better quality appliances, finishes and security systems.

Given this socio-economic shift, it is not surprising that economists, marketers and business gurus warn corporations that failing to understand what women want will negatively impact the bottom line. This same warning extends to anyone with a professional or service related career.

Yet, 91 per cent of women still feel that traditionally male dominated industries just don’t get them. This means that most service providers are failing to understand what women want.

One example of the disconnect between most industries and women is its use of aggressive sales tactics developed by and for men. Women are turned off by pushy agents urging them to buy or sell or get on the investment train before it leaves the station. They also feel alienated by hype-filled ads; yet, such “deal-closing” approaches still persist.

Could the reason for this disconnect be that women are just too complex?

Professional women initially cringed at Harvard’s 2001 claim that women are complicated. After all, it is unfair to make sweeping generalizations about either gender; I know many women who couldn’t care less about design and yet I work for many men who are very in touch with their feelings.

But several reports built on a decade of scientific research, concede there is some truth to the stereotype. Knowing this may enhance your customer service and customer base.

To sum up Harvard’s research: a woman’s brain is more complex than a man’s (now I know why my husband and I communicate on an entirely different level).

A “complicated” brain (i.e. a woman’s), however, is no more or less intelligent than an “uncomplicated” brain (i.e. a man’s). This difference simply means that how a woman’s brain processes information affects what she considers to be valuable when she makes a decision. And this, ultimately, affects what she wants.

Generally, a woman’s brain is more complicated than a man’s because it contains more white matter than a man’s. This difference in composition is important because grey matter processes information while white matter integrates information and makes connections between information. Accordingly, as a woman makes a decision, she will make connections between seemingly disparate pieces of information, such as emotions and price, while a man, in most cases, will not.

A woman’s brain also draws stronger connections between pieces of information because, unlike a man’s brain, to process information she not only uses different sections of her brain, but also both the left and right side of her brain. By virtue of this thought process, a woman is more likely than a man to consider long-term and future goals, rather than her immediate needs.

Before making a purchasing decision, a woman requires a lot more detail about a variety of tangible and intangible factors. For example, if your female client is debating over whether or not to buy a condo, she will likely consider whether or not the Agent and the developer share her values; if she can identify with the condo’s “brand”; what her friends think about the purchase; the “feel” of the condo; the price point; the length of time she’ll live in the condo; the features (upgrades, finishes, security system, parking); and if the condo fits with her current and, more importantly, future lifestyle.

Since women are taking over the world, I suggest you take the time to truly understand what she wants. And this can be done simply by:

• Not making the mistake of thinking that all women like pink and a want a big shoe closet. Ask her about her values, belief and life philosophy;

• Considering whether or not you and your client share the same values, beliefs and life philosophy. Women site personality and brand image as important factors in their decision-making process;

• Learning about the “story”, values and brand behind the product and identifying if your client’s values align with theirs. For example, find out if environmental sustainability is important to her or if she struggles with work-life balance;

• Determining with whom your client is or will be consulting and discuss with her their thoughts or opinions;

• Identifying your client’s short-term and long-term goals and making sure that all the products or services you offer align with these goals;

• Listening to what your client wants. For example, ask her to identify what was specifically wrong or right with the product or service you provide;

• Speaking with your client and not at your client when explaining the features of your product or service. For example, ask her whether or not she liked the results, functionality or outcome of the service or product;

• Exclude from all advertising and promotional material hype and “catchy” slogans.

• Treating your clients with honesty, respect and as individuals and promptly responding to any queries. Women buy the entire experience as well as the final product.

While going the extra mile to understand your female client may not guarantee a sale, it will, at the very least, increase your appeal to the public at large. This is because, by providing women with more details about a home or your services, you’re also providing men with more incentives to buy from or work with you.

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Spring Cleaning

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Well face up to it: Spring is just around the corner and if you are anything like every other individual, your home could likely use a wee bit of fleshing up.

If that is the case and you are lacking the time or motivation to get the job done, just give me a quick call at 604 537 7878 and we can set up a time that works for some relaxed consultation.

Don’t be shy, we all need a little help sometimes and caring for other people’s homes is what I do best.

Barbara Kadarishko
Neat Freaks Cleaning

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A Resolution for a Day

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Another year has rolled around and New Year’s resolutions are a hot topic. Whether you consider them an exercise in futility or a chance for self-improvement, consider setting some resolutions this year.

Specific statistics are hard to pin down but a scouring of articles and surveys shows that between 55 and 75 per cent of people make New Year’s resolutions. One quarter of those resolutions are broken by the middle of January. Don’t be one of those failures.

When I make New Years Resolutions, they are generally directed towards how I am going to conduct or improve on my business. “I think it is important to consider the coming year and to plan ahead. Success isn’t accidental. My resolution for 2013 is to focus specifically on paying greater attention to my current needs needs and prospecting more effectively for new clients.

Many of my colleagues (myself included) have a tendency to wait for business to come to me via word-or-mouth or to prospect ‘passively’ by advertising and waiting for them to contact us. In 2013 I want to make it a point to ask for business EVERY time I meet someone new.

Specifically, my resolution is to actively pursue my current client base to insure they are receiving the highest standard of service and for their support and referral when speaking to their sphere of influence.”

Let me challenge you to take a moment and reflect on 2012. How could you have performed better and how will you make needed changes in 2013 to rise above the status quo.

Barbara

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Winter Tips

Fall is the perfect time to get your home ready for the coming winter, which can be the most gruelling season for your home. During winter months, it’s important to follow routine maintenance procedures, by checking your home carefully for any problems that may arise and taking corrective action as soon as possible.

Fall

  • Check fireplace and chimney; service or clean if needed
  • Clean range hood filter
  • Clean leaves out of eavestroughs
  • Check roofing and flashing for signs of wear or damage
  • Close outside hose connection
  • Close windows, skylights
  • Check weather-stripping around doors and windows
  • Clean and reactivate heat recovery ventilator, if it was turned off
  • Winterize landscaping
  • Test space heating system
  • Close vents to crawl spaces
  • Test your smoke alarms; change the batteries at least once a year

Winter

  • Clean or replace furnace filter
  • Check/clean heat recovery ventilator; wash or replace filter
  • Clean humidifier and turn it on if needed
  • Check exhaust fans
  • Ensure that air intake, exhausts and meters are clear of snow
  • Clean range hood filter
  • Check basement floor drain
  • Do safety checks: fire escape routes; fire extinguishers; door and window locks
  • Ensure gas valve is clear of ice and snow

Annually

  • Dust or vacuum electric baseboards
  • Vacuum ducts behind warm air and return air grilles
  • Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they’re working
  • Test pressure relief valve on hot water tank; drain water from tank
  • Check and, if needed, oil door hinges
  • Lubricate garage door motor, chain, etc
  • Check attic for signs of moisture in summer or fall
  • Check septic system; clean if needed (usually about every three years)

Every Two to Five Years

  • Check and repair driveway cracks
  • Check and repair the chimney cap and the caulking between the cap and chimney, re-caulk as necessary
  • Refinish wood surfaces, including window frames and doors

For other great home maintenance tips, visit: www.cmhc.ca.

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Say What ?

Did you know a Townhome is actually a Condominium !  It’s true !

Yes, a condo is a condominium and so is a townhouse.  

Say whaaaaat?  

This is not some form of double-speak or a special way of communicating Realtor-ese.   You see in British Columbia, the word condominium is a legal term for the form of ownership.   Condominium ownership is defined as owning a specified part of a piece of real estate (your unit) which is individually owned while use of access to common facilities in the piece  such as hallways, elevators, exterior areas, pools/spas, gyms is jointly owned and controlled in some pre-defined arrangement with other owners.

 So a condo is condominium and a townhouse/townhome is the same type of ownership and all the same regulations within the Strata Act apply. 

 Now, most people will think of a condo has a single level apartment you own — that’s the perception of most.   A townhouse or townhome can be a single level, but is typically multi-level in Vancouver where I work as CEO of Neat Freak Cleaning.  

In the local market, a townhouse generally has a garage (typically attached and with direct access).  So while you may not want to live in a condo, yet find a townhouse appealing, both are the same type of ownership.  

Does this clear things up for you?  

Either way, I hope you will find this tidbit of information useful.

If Neat Freaks Cleaning can be of service to you in the cleaning or maintenance of your home, feel free to give me a call at 604 537 7878.

Have a great Long Weekend.

Barb Kadarishko

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Vacancies on the Up-Swing

The fall season is set to hand Vancouver landlords their biggest advantage over renters in years, according to a new report.

Tenants can expect to battle for rental units this fall, as the vacancy rate in that expensive city slips to just 1.1 percent, concludes the CMHC in its latest forecast. And as the number of units available continues to decrease, the rental rates are on the up.

The average for a one-bedroom unit is expected to jump from $964 to $1,005 this fall.

Vancouver’s traditionally low vacancy rates have been receding steadily since 2003. Heading into September, students will be scrambling to find apartments. The demand exceeds the supply, and this trend shows no signs of changing.

Although this is great news for investors, according to the City of Vancouver, a healthy vacancy rate should sit no lower than 2%. According to senior economist and managing director at BMO Capital Markets Earl Sweet, this isn’t just a trend specific to residential units. The strong demand for B.C.’s commercial real estate also benefits from low vacancy rates and high rental price tags.

“Higher occupancy, spurred by steady growth in employment, manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing, is reducing office, industrial and retail vacancies, while lease rates are edging upward,” says Sweet. “Meanwhile, large U.S. retailers are targeting what they view as the underserved Canadian market for expansion.”

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