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Monday, February 23, 2015

Are Galvanized Steel Gutters Right for Your Home?

Many homeowners are unsure about the different options to choose from when deciding on which gutter system to install.  But did you know that there are many different styles of gutter material to choose from?  It is important to discover all the options available to you including galvanized steel.  Galvanized steel is becoming increasingly popular due to its durability, cost-effectiveness and low maintenance. 
Galvanized steel is among the most durable material options when choosing a gutter system.  With the addition of the galvanized steel coating, it adds another layer of protection to guard against harsh conditions during the winter and spring months. 

Low Cost
During the decision process, many homeowners weigh heavily the cost of the different gutter systems they are comparing. Galvanized steel systems are among the most cost effective because, once installed, they can last up to 20 to 30 years.  This offers a great return on their investment.

Low Maintenance
Galvanized steel gutters are very difficult to damage and require little maintenance.  They are able to endure heavy rain, ice, sleet, and hail without showing any dents or scratches.  These gutter systems also can resist water, cold, heat, and foul weather all while holding their shape and continuing to function properly.
Whether you need a minor gutter repair or a complete gutter system installed, Custom Installations is here to help.  We have experience working with many types of gutter materials including galvanized steel, copper and aluminum.  Let our experts at Custom Installations help you make the right decision for your gutter system while addressing any of your other home exterior needs.  

Contact us  for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Pricing Gutter Installations: 5 Tips for Accurate Estimates

The accurate estimating of jobs is not only a science but often an art form that takes many professionals years of experience to master.  One must take into consideration both the cost of materials as well as labor and time.  Keeping both aspects in check ensures that both you and the customer are happy when the job is complete.  Your client receives what they expected and “signed up” for and you can enjoy the profits made from the job.  On the flip side, poorly priced quotes can leave your small business floundering.  Estimate too high and you may lose out to lower bids.  Price too low and you end up eating the cost of the overages.

Below are five tips to generate the most accurate estimates for your gutter jobs:
  1. Ask the Right Questions.  The best estimates start with the right questions.  On your initial consultation with the customer, review their material, sizing and style options.  Cover with them any insurance claims and warranty questions.  It is also important to do a complete visual inspection of the area you will be working on to note any structural issues or other concerns to consider.  This is also a great time to ask if there are any other exterior repairs you can assist them with!
  2. Always Round Up.  When determining how long a job will take, it is best to always round up.  Some contractors swear by the success of doubling the projection time.  While this practice may be too much of a risk for your business, it is usually a safe bet to add at least an additional 25% of the projected time onto the bid.
  3. List Every Material Needed.  When compiling your material list try and not leave anything off.  Include every piece of material you will be using down to the last nail.  Now you may not have to get that detailed but the point is to remember to factor in those smaller, less expensive supplies into your bids.  In the end, you need to buy the nails for the job just like you need to buy the gutters themselves.
  4. Consider Hidden Conditions. Jobsite Concerns.  During your visual inspection of the property, note any areas of concern you find.  It may be quickly determined that these repairs will need to be fixed in order to complete the job or you may just need to include a estimation of the work in case it needs to be addressed.  Also take into consideration other jobsite concerns such as the height of the building, the property’s distance from your office, and whether you need to clean-up materials every day for an occupied home or if you can be more lax working on an unoccupied unit.
  5. Communicate Effectively.  In the end, the best estimate is one that clearly outlines both the contractor’s and homeowner’s responsibilities and expectations.  If the job changes along the way, as many of them do, simply update the contract and share this with your customer.   Great communication and customer service can go a long way in a both a successful job and a happy customer.

Following these tips will ensure both you and the customer come out winners when the job is complete.  Another tool that can be helpful in pricing out bids is’s Quick Shop.  The Quick Shop provides a simple, easy way to gather a material list for each unique job.  By selecting your material, style, size, and color, you can quickly see what materials you’ll need.  Learn more about the Quick Shop and the other contractor services we provide by visiting our website at

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Friday, January 23, 2015

The Contractor’s Guide to Staying Safe on the Jobsite

For gutter installation contractors, much of their work is completed outdoors and often at heights that would make the average person a little queasy.  The nature of the job carries with it many hazards to avoid especially when working alone.  Staying safe on the jobsite is not only important for your health but also for the success of your small business.  Imagine being hurt on the worksite and not being able to work for weeks.  Taking just a few extra precautions, using some simple protective tools and being smart about how you work can all help keep you protected while on the clock.

Here are a few safety rules that every gutter installation contractor should know:

Use the Right Gloves for the Job
Thick work gloves should be used when working with nails, screws, gutter debris, and other hazards.   Leather Palm Gloves work great for everyday use and prevent punctures.  Gloves designed specifically for copper handling such as the Copper Wonder Gloves keep unsightly fingerprints from getting on the material.  

Stay Safe Working at Heights
Be smart when working at heights.  You may want to invest in fall protection for extreme heights while at other times relying on simply common sense.  First, never attempt to work on a roof when there is an accumulation of ice present.  Also never lean over the edge and be cautious of utility lines that may be near you.  You may also want to invest in equipment that frees your hands for better body control.  Products like the Gutter Mate allow you to work quickly and safely using both hands.

Be Smart About Ladder Placement
Ladder safety is a must in our industry.  First, always inspect the ladder before each use.  Secondly, always place the ladder on stable, level ground and away from doors, sidewalks, and other general walkway areas.   When ascending the ladder, never step up onto the last two rungs.  Depending on the height of the property you are working on, a four-step ladder or longer extension ladder can be used.  Lastly, never place the ladder directly onto the gutter. This places additional weight and pressure on the gutter and may cause it to dent, crack or collapse making the ladder (and your footing) unstable.  A ladder stabilizer can be a great tool to add needed support.

Protect Your Eyes
Whether you are cleaning gutters or working with rivet and nail guns, it’s important to protect your eyes from flying debris. Use glasses or goggles that are lightweight enough to be comfortable to wear but provide protection from every angle.  Goggles can also be used but many find them cumbersome to put on and wear. 

Use Rubber-Soled Shoes
Rubber-soled shoes provide the grip and traction you need when working on rooftops or in slippery conditions.  Keep in mind that many shoes are listed as “slip-resistant” but don’t provide adequate support.  Before investing in a pair, make sure the sole is constructed of 100% rubber and not polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).  Rubber provides better slip-resistance.

One of the best ways to stay safe on the jobsite is by investing in the right gear.  At, we carry a number of products all designed to protect you while you work.  From leather working gloves to ladder stabilizers, we have one of the largest selections of gutters supplies and tools all at great prices.  Click here to learn more about the safety protection that carries or contact us at 888-909-RAIN.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

5 Expert Tips for Working Smarter in 2015

No matter what business you are in, we all want to work smarter not harder.  Especially for small contracting firms saving valuable time and accomplishing more throughout the day leaves room for tasks which help grow the company.   If you are a busy small business owner looking for ways to work more efficiently than ever before there are some simple things you can do to streamline your day-to-day duties.  By integrating just a couple of these tasks into your schedule can save you 5-10 hours by the end of your workweek.

Here are 5 expert tips to working smarter, not harder, in 2015:

·         Utilize Sell Sheets – Sell sheets are a great way to explain complicated processes to the average consumer.  Rather than having to describe a specific product over the phone or in-person, you can give yourself a jump start with an informative sell sheet.  These materials are also helpful for promoting new products and can be further customized with your unique logo and contact information.  To learn more about the customized sell sheets offers to our valued contractors, visit us here.

·         Use’s Quick Shop – Do you find yourself spending hours navigating through a supplier’s site to find the right supplies for a job? makes the process simple through their Quick Shop.  Quick Shop organizes supplies by material and then allows you to select the sizes, quantities and styles you need.  It puts everything you need on one simple page.

·        Shop in Bulk – Buying in bulk is smart for two reasons.  First, it saves you valuable time by always having supplies you use frequently available whether they are on the truck or stored in a warehouse. Second, buying in bulk saves you money by purchasing in larger quantities.  Most reputable online suppliers such as have “Buy More, Save More” programs available to their customers.

·        Invest in On-the-Go Technology – If you have yet to invest in a smartphone or tablet there is no time better than now.  These helpful tools can allow you to share calendars with your employees, research technical information while on the jobsite and order supplies right from the truck.  Some programs even draft contracts that customers can electronically sign with their fingertips while you send them their copy via email.

·        Outsource Office Duties– Basic bookkeeping, customer billing, and even employee paychecks can take up a lot of time.  Consider outsourcing these tasks to a firm specializing in that specific area.  Hiring a reputable accountant to keep you current on the latest tax codes while balancing your ledgers can also be helpful.  Funds put towards these services can often be recouped by the additional hours you are able to dedicate to what you do best – run your small business.

By incorporating just a few simple strategies into your work day, you can dedicate more time into growing your small business.  At, we continuously strive to offer programs and services to help you do just that.  From the Quick Shop to our valued contractor program, we are dedicated to assisting our customers throughout the industry.  To learn more about the ways in which can help your small business flourish, visit us at

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What is a Downspout Wire Strainer (and why you need to know)

Downspout wire strainers can be a great add-on service for many gutter installation quotes.   Not only is it easy and quick to install, it also offers great value to the homeowner.  If you haven’t worked with wire strainers very often, now is the time to learn more about the great benefits they have to offer to you and the customer.   Read on to learn more. 

Why use Wire Strainers?
Wire Strainers are a simple and inexpensive way to keep downspouts clear and clog-free.  They help to eliminate much of the sticks, leaves, and other debris that might otherwise drain into the downspout causing blockage.  Wire strainers become even more critical for those with underground drains with gutters connected to them.  If debris accumulates too much in these drains, it could cause serious backups and require expensive service fees to free the blockage.  

Wire Strainer Options
While wire strainers come in a somewhat standard form, carries varying products to ensure you find a fit for every customer’s unique home:

Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Wire Strainer – The heavy duty stainless steel wire strainer is both thick and durable and can be used with aluminum, copper or steel gutters.  One of the best benefits to this product is that no fasteners or tools are needed to install it.  Also its unique design helps it maintain its shape for years to come making a long-lasting cost-effective investment for your customers.
Heavy Duty Copoper

Heavy Duty Copper Wire Strainer – The heavy duty copper wire strainer is similar to the stainless steel version but constructed of beautiful copper.   Like the stainless steel option, it comes in both 3” and 4” sizes.  This product is a great option for homeowners that already have copper gutters installed and want to keep the look of their home uniform.

Round Wire Strainer – The round wire strainer is the most cost-effective solution that offers in gutter strainers.  It also comes in 3” and 4” styles and is offered in copper, aluminum, and galvanized steel.  

Big Top Strainer Big Top Strainer – The Big Top strainer features a unique dome shape and a large, 12” length leading to less damming compared to other strainers.  It comes in only one size and fits both 2x3 and 3x4 outlets.  

Additional Things to Consider
The type of gutter system your customer already has in place will often determine which wire strainer you go with.  Keep in mind that copper and aluminum react chemically with each other when they come in contact.  Therefore you never want to install an aluminum strainer into copper gutters and vice versa.  Copper gutters often either require a stainless steel or copper strainer such as the two heavy duty options above that carries.  It should be noted that wire strainers help prevent debris from entering the downspout, however, that debris still remains in the gutter. Over time, without proper maintenance and cleaning, that debris will potentially build up in the gutter. The best line of defense to prevent the system from clogging is to seasonally clean the gutters or install gutter guards.

Make sure to consider adding strainers to your gutter installation quotes.  They not only help keep the system running properly longer, they can also help prevent troublesome clogs in the downspout and underground drain.  Click here to learn more about the gutter strainers that carries or contact us at 888-909-RAIN.

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