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April 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Joe | Add a Comment
We’ve spent a lot of time looking into the reasons why you DIY. Sometimes, you don’t have the skills or the tools or the time to do it yourself. We call this DIFM: do it for me.
And what are the reasons more Americans are choosing DIFM over DIY? In a survey we conducted with the help of Kelton Research, we found out some interesting — and provocative! — information about what people will do (and what they’d give up) to avoid doing their own home improvements.
First things first: One in 10 homeowners who have attempted DIY projects around the house classify the experience as a “disaster.”
Nearly 25% of homeowners wished they’d hired a professional while they were attempting their DIY project. (Twelve percent of these reluctant DIYers also vowed to never DIY again!)
Of the homeowners surveyed, almost 40% said they spent more time than they’d originally budgeted for the project they tried to DIY. And on the unfortunate side, 23% of respondents admit to fighting with their spouses during the course of the project.
And what would the average American homeowner give up to have a home-service pro at their beck and call?
56% would stay off social media for a full year
36% would give up watching their favorite sports team
35% would stop dining out
23% would hand over their yearly vacation days
And the kicker? Twenty percent would give up sex for a year in order to have on-call help from a home-service pro.
Shocking? Maybe not. Employed Americans are increasingly at a time crunch — 27% of respondents say they hired out because they simply did not have the free time to put toward their home projects.
So, the question remains: What would you give up for a little DIFM freedom?
April 16th, 2013 | Posted by Joe | Add a Comment
So you got your fancy new promo code… now what? Here’s how to enter your promo codes so you can start saving on your Redbeacon requests!
For new users:
When you get the promo code, you’ll need to create a Redbeacon account, which you can do easily here.
Once you enter your name, phone number, password, and promo code, you’re free to start making requests and using your promo credits when you pay a pro through Redbeacon.
For existing users:
Already have a Redbeacon account? When you get word of a spiffy new promo code, all you have to do is enter it. There are two ways to reach the promo code credit area:
1) From the home page, you can click on the credit button on the top right corner.
Once you enter the promo code, you’ll see your promo code added to the account.
2) From your account settings, you can find the promo code tab on the end.
Click on it, and then enter your given promo code.
Now that you’ve successfully stored your credits, you can use them when you pay through Redbeacon’s payment system. The credits only work when you pay your pro through Redbeacon; otherwise, a pro has no obligation to honor your discount.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on the latest promo codes and keep saving on your home improvement projects!
February 20th, 2013 | Posted by Joe | Add a Comment
Some things just make sense.
For example, when you start a process online, you expect to finish it online, right? We do.
Starting now, the process you start on Redbeacon.com you’ll be able to finish online as well! Here’s how it works:
Request a service on Redbeacon.com. You still get online access to the same great pros who are available in your area to complete your home project.
Select a pro. Our pros can now submit more detailed responses than ever before. You can select the response that best works for you, your project, and your schedule.
Link your credit card. If you don’t already have one logged in our system, we’ll collect your credit card number. Don’t worry — we won’t charge you until the pro has done the work and you’ve given us the thumbs-up.
Approve the invoice. Once the project has been done to your specifications, you’ll receive an invoice from the pro, straight to your inbox or smartphone. All you have to do is accept the invoice, at which point we charge your credit card and the money is instantly zipped straight over to the pro.
It’ll be easier for you — no fumbling for checks or cash or haggling over the price when it comes time to pay your pro — and it’ll be easy for your pro to keep track of the money he or she earns through Redbeacon.
And we think this just makes sense.
January 14th, 2013 | Posted by Joe | Add a Comment
We’re kicking off the new year right!
Starting today, you’ll be able to find Redbeacon in your local Las Vegas-area Home Depot, ready to help you with your home projects in 2013. And just in time, too: You’ve made important resolutions for the house you live in, and we’re swooping in to make sure you meet all your goals for the new year.
Now, Redbeacon is able to connect you with the perfect pro for every kind of project around your house. You’ll be able to find someone to create the perfect succulent garden in your yard. Need some window shades to blot out that pesky desert sun? We’ll connect you with someone who’ll get them on your panes. Want to make your dream kitchen a reality? Redbeacon’s got the pros who can make it happen.
So bet on Redbeacon. We’re a sure thing.
November 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Joe | Add a Comment
We all know what Black Friday is, that venerable shopping holiday that causes us to snap out of our tryptophan comas and complete our holiday shopping in one fell swoop.
Now, let us introduce you to Brown Friday. Also the day after Thanksgiving, this lesser known (and definitely less talked-about) holiday is your recovery from your Thanksgiving feast… and your local plumber’s busiest day of the year. For all the reasons you’re imagining.
Having to get last-minute plumbing issues taken care of is problematic on holiday weekends jam-packed with company, houseguests, and, yes, more eating. Check out our infographic about the havok Brown Friday can wreak on your holiday entertaining.
November 6th, 2012 | Posted by Joe | Add a Comment
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the most recognizable address in the country. But what if the commander-in-chief commanded that the house should have green shutters? A dome on the roof? A view-obscuring row of those famous D.C. cherry trees?
The president determined in today’s election wouldn’t be the first to make changes to 1600 Pennsylvania. Mr. 44 himself started a project to have 100-year-old water lines replaced, and he and Michelle put about $100,000 of their own money into sprucing up the decor.
After all, the White House was originally constructed under the oversight of George Washington, and after its partial completion, John Adams moved in in 1800. Have you ever met a house that’s more than 200 years old and didn’t need renovation? We sure haven’t. Here’s a rundown of some of the routine maintenance our presidents have done on the White House over the past 212 years:
The first president to deem the building the White House was Theodore Roosevelt, and in 1902, he began major renovations to the century-old structure, the most major of which resulted in the West Wing’s construction. Another famous Roosevelt expanded the wing to its current size during his presidency.
To keep up with the opulent times of the Gilded Age, Benjamin Harrison introduced electricity the White House in 1891. (Although, gas lighting wasn’t entirely swapped out for electric until after 1900.)
After the austerity of the Depression years, Harry S Truman even vacated the White House for a few years so that the structure could get some much-needed updates. The structure was gutted except for its brick facade, and the building was reinforced with steel beams to replace the wooden ones that had worn down.
A restoration project that was completed in 1993 confirmed that there were upwards of 40 layers of paint on the exterior bricks of the White House. With these layers removed, the brick underneath was properly repaired and repainted — yes, you guessed it — white.
Just goes to show you: Absolutely no house is immune to maintenance and renovation.
October 17th, 2012 | Posted by Joe | Add a Comment
by Redbeacon’s haunted-house specialist, Gregg Hanano
Halloween is that magical time of the year where it’s okay to eat all the candy you want, dress up like someone else, and, best of all, scare people you don’t know. What other holiday celebrates with the return of candy corn? Easy: NO OTHER HOLIDAYS.
Trick-or-treating is great, but if you’re more into the trick than the treat, you’ll want to create your own haunted house. It’s a great way to bring a community together, scare your neighbors and friends, and finally have a reason to not clean out the cobwebs. But making a haunted house isn’t something that’s thrown together overnight. As long as you include these five essential scare tactics into your homemade haunted house, you’ll be the talk of the (ghostly) town!
1. Fog and Mirrors: Fog and mirrors are some of the most basic needs for any great haunted house. They can cause disorientation, confusion, and best of all, they give you a place to hide. Fog blurs your sense of sight, taking any feeling of safety with it. With consideration to mirrors, have you ever heard of Bloody Mary? The story where you turn off the lights and scream “Bloody Mary” three times so she’ll appear in the mirror? The best way to use fog and mirrors together is to cause your customers to follow their way into the foggy bathroom where they’ll encounter a blood-written message of “GO BACK.” When they turn around, Bloody Mary will be there to greet them. Whoa… chills. Did you feel that?
2. Spooky Children with Long Black Hair: If there’s one thing I’ve learned from horror movies, it’s that children are creepy. But what is it about children that freak us out? You know you could successfully take on a haunted youngster if one attacked you, but if one crawls out of the TV? Game over. This is where the costumes of your co-conspirators play a huge role. Get a girl with long black hair (or use a wig) and put her in a corner where she can be barely seen. When customers walk up and spot her, tell her to not move anything but her head. And then when they don’t know what to do, slowly reach out and follow them.
3. Element of Surprise: What’s the best part of any horror movie? Probably that suspenseful moment when you think something is going to happen but then never does. Set up an obvious situation to scare someone, like a fully closed body bag that says “Open Me.” Your patrons will think that someone is going to pop out as soon as they unzip it. They’ll contemplate for a bit and try to convince each other to open it. (You can enjoy the entertaining dialogue from the safety of another room.) When they finally do and nothing happens, they’ll be relieved. And that’s when you jump out from behind.
4. Lighting: Now, you might be asking, “Why lighting? Shouldn’t it be pitch black?” Yes, it should. But don’t make the mistake of giving your customers a regular ol’ flashlight to use as they travel through your haunted maze. Instead, hand over a strobe light. Have you ever freaked out when you thought you saw something out of the corner of your eye but you’re not sure? Picture that every time the strobe light flashes. The constant change of light to dark will cause your eyes and your brain to go on the fritz. Combine it with the fog, and you have a recipe for madness.
5. Timing: Nothing kills a haunted house experience like seeing other customers. It takes away that sense of being alone and having no one to hear them scream. We’d recommend having only groups of two go through your house, and, depending on the amount of customers you have, make the groups go one at a time. That way, you can provide all the care and attention needed to really scare the bejeezus out of someone.
With all of these scare tactics, your homemade haunted house is sure to be a bang! But always be sure to keep it safe and just have fun. And don’t forget to give them one last scare as they exit the house!
Need some help gathering the materials for your haunted house? You can enter to win a $500 gift card from The Home Depot!
August 24th, 2012 | Posted by Joe | Add a Comment
Notice anything different?
A few months ago, we promised you big changes from Redbeacon HQ. Now it’s time for you to experience the things we’ve been hard at work on!
Starting now, you’ll be able to access Redbeacon within the walls of your local Home Depot, if you live in the metro areas of San Francisco, Atlanta, Austin, and Dallas. Here, you’ll be able to request Redbeacon services while you shop in the store: Need help hanging the ceiling fan you just bought? Overwhelmed by the amount of mulch needed to spruce up your garden? The Home Depot has the materials you need, and Redbeacon will supply the pros to do the job for you.
Just stop one of Home Depot’s whip-smart store associates, and they’ll be able to assist you in putting in a job request in the store.
Outside of these four metro areas? Keep your eyes peeled, because we’ll be headed your way soon!
July 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Joe | Add a Comment
With the 4th of July around the corner, we all should be concerned about one thing: the freedom to light fireworks. But let’s not be that dumb neighbor who sets everyone’s house on fire.
With the dry air, grass, and hot weather, Mother Nature isn’t going to do you any favors. To prepare for such a disaster, you can follow some dos and don’ts of fire safety.
DO keep a fire extinguisher on every level of your house. There are four different classes of a fire (labeled A, B, C, and D), and most home or office fire extinguishers only need to cover A, B, and C. Make sure to also keep an extinguisher in the kitchen, basement, and garage.
DON’T assume that buckets of water will do the trick. Some fires might be gas- or oil-related, which cannot be put out by water.
DO check your fire alarms regularly. And if you haven’t already, install carbon monoxide detectors. Alarms should be located on every floor of the house. Local codes, however, might require more, so check with your fire department or building-code official for more information. For maximum protection, install both ionization and photoelectric alarms to detect a fast-moving fire or a slow, smoldering one.
DON’T place alarms on the floor or near air vents. The alarms should always be placed on or near the ceiling. Also, don’t forget to change the batteries every 6 months.
DO prepare an escape plan. Teach your kids, in case they’re in a fire, to stay calm, stay low, and feel doors with the backs of their hands. Figure out possible routes to exit the house and where to meet after they escape. Make sure each member of the family practices exiting the house on their hands and knees and maybe even blindfolded, since some passageways might be filled with dense smoke.
DON’T try to save items in the house. Don’t try to chase after pets and don’t try to get dressed. Under no circumstances should you or your children try to re-enter the house. Call 911 as soon as you’re outside and immediately state your location. Firemen (or if you’re lucky and your neighbor is Mayor Cory Booker) are trained to enter hazardous areas and can rescue victims inside the house.
There is only so much we can do to prevent a fire in the house. And until there’s a magical paint that repels sparks, we can do nothing about our neighbors who blast off illegal fireworks either. What we do have control over is preparing our houses and our families for the worst.
July 1st, 2012 | Posted by Joe | Add a Comment
To our Redbeacon pros and customers,
The bad news: On Saturday, we updated our Redbeacon Service Pro scoring system to improve the performance so that scores can be reflected in real time as pros perform services for our customers. Unfortunately, this change corrupted our service-pro database and caused Redbeacon.com to fail.
The good news: After a long data recovery process, our site is fully restored and live with zero data loss.
For every change we make to our site, we take extreme precautions, as it affects customers who are in need of home services and pros who are getting their business from our Redbeacon Pro program. Fortunately, our automated error notifications instantly alerted our team about the inconsistency on Saturday. Within minutes of the first occurrence, we took a conservative approach and shut down the entire site to make sure the error did not propagate, and then we immediately began our data-recovery plan.
First, we reviewed our standby database, but unfortunately the data corruption had already been duplicated by that time. So we began Plan B, which was to restore the data from the transaction binlogs up to the second before the corruption happened. We liked this plan because it would provide a full restoration with zero data loss and would guarantee data integrity and consistency.
To help, we tapped Percona, an independent MySQL consulting company that was additionally having a busy weekend because of an Amazon EC2 outage on the same day that affected sites such as Netflix, Pinterest, and Instagram. We were able to get involved with their experts to verify the steps we took for our data recovery, changes, and post-change data integrity. By the early morning hours of Sunday, we made sure that each change was verified both by us and the team at Percona to be confident in the restored stability of our site.
We have learned a few things from this process that will help us provide you with an improved service. Here is our plan moving forward:
- Perform full backup and incremental backup.
- Perform periodic recovery process from the most recent backup and recreate the environment in an isolated fashion for any big changes we make to the system.
- Have a read-only mode with a slightly outdated datastore to ensure customers can still check appointments with their pros.
We’re sorry about the inconvenience, especially if we ruined your weekend home-improvement plans. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are still having problems or need to discuss the outage further.
Cofounder & CTO