The Right Way to Clean After a Household Illness

If someone in your house is suffering with a cold, flu or any type of contagious illness, a key responsibility right after getting them healthy is to prevent the illness from spreading to others in the home. Beyond frequent hand washing, proper cleaning is a first line of defense because some viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to two weeks. Let’s take a look at the five areas that need extra attention and how to clean everything correctly to kill germs and bacteria.

  • 01of 06 Necessary Supplies Needed to Clean Properly After an Illness     MIXA / Getty Images Plain water and mild cleaners just won’t do the trick when killing viruses, bacteria and germs. You must use a disinfectant and, following the product’s directions, allow it time to work. A quick swipe may not be enough. If you don’t have a commercial disinfectant product like Method’s Antibac all-purpose cleaner on hand, you can make your own by using chlorine bleach.
    • Add 2 tablespoons of 5.25% – 6% chlorine bleach to 4 cups of water (Read the bottle label to be sure that your product is strong enough to provide disinfecting properties).
    • The solution should be mixed fresh every day because chlorine bleach can lose its cleaning properties when exposed to air for long periods of time.
    How to Use Disinfectant Cleaners at Home If using a commercial cleaner, follow the label directions. For a homemade cleaning solution, dip a clean white cloth or paper towel into the bleach-water solution and apply to the surface that needs cleaning. Let stand for at least three minutes and then rinse the surface with plain clean water. The bleach solution can also be used in a spray bottle. Use a paper towel that can be tossed away or a cotton cloth that be washed after each use. Sponges should not be used for cleaning because they can harbor bacteria in the crevices. For items like remotes and computer keyboards, use a cotton swab dipped in the disinfectant to get into tight areas. NEVER mix disinfectant cleaners with other cleaning products like ammonia because toxic fumes can cause injury or death.
  • 02of 06 Bedroom     @lelia_milaya / Twenty20 When we feel terrible, our beds can bring a bit of comfort and much needed rest. But spending time in bed with the flu or a bad cold leaves germs and bacteria in the fabric. To prevent spreading the illness and reinfecting yourself, it’s important to disinfect the bed linens after using. Sheets and pillowcases need the most attention since they are in the closest contact with the body. Don’t forget pajamas! If a child is holding onto a favorite stuffed animal, it should be cleaned as well. One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from catching something is to wear rubber gloves when handling soiled laundry. At the very least, keep the sheets away from your face and body. Always wash the items as soon as possible, and wipe down the hamper to prevent cross-contamination with other clothes–follow these disinfecting tips. Don’t forget to clean often-handled items like phones, remote controls, computers, light switches, door knobs and bedside table items with a disinfectant. This should be done at least once a day while someone is sick and definitely when the worst is past.
  • 03of 06 Bathroom     xefstock / Getty Images Bathrooms harbor plenty of problem areas that only amplify when someone is ill. Vomiting and diarrhea can leave tiny particles everywhere that must be cleaned away. Use a disinfectant cleaner frequently on 
    • Toilet flushing handles, seats and lids
    • Sink and shower handles
    • Light switches
    • Door knobs
    • Trash cans
    • Floors near the toilet
    • Toothpaste tubes and toiletries handled during the illness
    Designate a hand towel to be used only by the sick person and change the hand towel at least daily or switch to paper towels during the illness. Bath and hand towels and bath rugs should be washed in hot water and dried at high heat to kill bacteria. When the worst is past, throw away the sick person’s toothbrush and wash the toothbrush holder with disinfectant.
  • 04of 06 Living Areas     Jessica Peterson / Getty Images It’s hard to confine a sick person–especially a child–to their bedroom. They want to still be part of the family.  To prevent contamination of upholstery and accessories, cover the furniture with washable sheets or blankets and change frequently. Remove decorative pillows or cover with washable pillowcases.  Frequently wipe down hard surfaces like phones, remote controls, light switches and door knobs. If a board game or toy has been used to keep the sick one entertained, they need to be cleaned with a disinfectant. And don’t forget the coffee tables or side tables that are touched often.  
  • 05of 06 Kitchen     RoBeDeRo / Getty Images To prevent spreading the bacteria and germs to others, the sick person should not be in charge of preparing food for the rest of the family. Even careful hand washing may not be enough to protect others, especially from easily spread illnesses like norovirus. All utensils and dishes used by the infected family member should be washed at high heat in an automatic dishwasher or dipped in a disinfectant solution (one-half cup of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water) if hand washing. Hard surfaces–don’t forget tables, chair backs, refrigerator handles, drawer and cabinet hardware–should be wiped down frequently with disinfectant wipes and sprays. Remember to skip the sponges and use paper towels that can be tossed or cotton cloths that can be washed in hot water.
  • 06of 06 Car     Sally Anscombe / Stocksy United Whether you are a passenger or driving, trips to the doctor or pharmacy can leave viruses in the car. After a trip, take a few minutes to wipe down the steering wheel, inside and outside door handles, dashboard controls, garage door openers and your keys or key fobs. If you have a child in a car seat, it is particularly important to wash the cover and wipe down every nook and 

14 DIY Coffee Bar Ideas to Try at Home

  • We Can’t Stop Buzzing About These 14 DIY Coffee Bar Ideas    Dream Green DIY Many people can’t start their morning without at least one cup of joe. But let’s face it, that daily run to Starbucks or your favorite neighborhood haunt isn’t doing your wallet any favors—especially if you have a penchant for pricey specialty drinks. Good news: You don’t have to give up your caffeine habit (or your deliciously frothy lattes). We’ve rounded up 14 clever ideas for setting up a coffee bar at home. These genius java stations will help you stay organized and on budget. Bonus: You can customize ‘em to suit your needs and design sensibility.  
  • 02of 15   DIY Copper and Wood Coffee Cart    Hey Wanderer This DIY copper and wood coffee cart from Hey Wanderer is so smart—not to mention super stylish. Even better, you can pull off this on-trend project in just two hours! It looks lovely below this beautiful collage of pictures and clippings. Don’t you think?  
  • 03of 15   French Bakery-Inspired Station    Junk Chic Cottage While you may be thousands of miles away from France, you can still inject some Parisian charm into your AM routine with this quaint bakery-inspired vignette from Junk Chic Cottage. Hanging baskets, cute creamers, and a chalkboard add that certain je ne sais quoi.  
  • 04of 15   Reclaimed Wood Hanger    Funky Junk If having your go-to mugs at your fingertips each morning is a must, put your carpentry skills to the test by engineering a heart-shaped sign out of reclaimed wood planks. (Alternatively, you can buy a prefab version on Etsy or at your local craft shop.) Then, all that’s left to do is stencil and affix cast iron hooks. Hanging your mugs also saves counter space for adding in your cream, sugar, and any other fixings.    
  • 05of 15   Shelving Unit Coffee Bar    Crazy Mary More into java than vino? Use your home bar as a dedicated coffee area. A built-in shelving unit provides plenty of room to store your provisions and equipment as well as a few decorations for added flair.    
  • 06of 15   DIY Mini Chalkboard    Stylizimo Blog Easy access to the essentials—an espresso machine, single-serve pods, homemade vanilla syrup—plus a DIY mini chalkboard and playful tip jar is the recipe for success in this convenient and compact system.  
  • 07of 15   Norwegian “Kaffe” Corner    Only Deco Love How stunning is this streamlined setup from Only Deco Love? The monochromatic palette and curated accents exudes Scandinavian simplicity. And can we talk about that greenery?   
  • 08of 15 Style Your Bar Cart for Coffee Service

17 Powerful Contractor Marketing Ideas [2019 updated]

This is a long post filled with the latest actionable insight on contractor marketing!  Many sections contain explainer video. If you’re on a mobile, you may want to save or share this post so that you come back to it in the future.

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The 2 most popular sections are:

✅ Contractor Video Marketing Framework For Leads

✅ Google Local Tips & Tracking

The table of contents is below.

Contents [hide]

  • 1 Keep Building Reviews On Google Local
  • 2 Position Your Marketing For Direct Response
  • 3 Get Ready For Conversation Marketing
  • 4 Keep It Simple With A One Page Website
  • 5 Online Marketing is Getting More Expensive  → Offline Marketing?
  • 6 Use Facebook Advertising For The Full Customer Cycle.
  • 7 Use Video Marketing To Generate Leads
  • 8 Make Sure Your Website Is Fast — Page Speed Matters
  • 9 Plan On Spoon Feeding Content (Content Marketing)
  • 10 An Offline Marketing Idea That Is Cheap: Business Cards On Side of Truck
  • 11 Get Ready To Follow Consumers… to the ‘BIG NAMES’
  • 12 Understand Your Product Ladder
  • 13 Deliver Notifications Where Consumers Aren’t Bombarded — VoiceMail Drops
  • 14 What About Blogging and SEO (Is It Worth It Anymore?)
  • 15 Use Story To Differentiate Your Business
  • 16 Ignite Word of Mouth Marketing
  • 17 Get Rid Of The Local Pages On Your Website

Why You Need To Stay On Top Of Contractor Marketing Trends

Ever heard the saying “what got you there, won’t get you there?”  It applies to marketing just as it does every other aspect of business.  

What worked a few years ago, might not work so well now and what is going to be working to drive sales for our contracting businesses won’t work in the  that’s why we need to be on top of the marketing game.

For example, when I first started my exterior contracting company in 2012 and subsequently got into contractor marketing; search engine optimization through a content rich website was all the rage as it yielded incredible marketing results.

Going in to 2019, the value of having a content rich website to generate inbound inquiries through search traffic has diminished.  Yes it still ‘works’, but it is not what it once was.

Here I cover the current trends in contractor marketing that every trades business owner should be aware of.  

Keep Building Reviews On Google Local

In this video below I explain how Google Local works, some ways to get more exposure, and tool you can use to track your results!

Watch:

I know. I know.  It sounds basic.  You want more from me.  But the best ‘free’ marketing for contractors out there is Google Local and one of the dominating factors behind your exposure (or lack of) is your reviews.


Position Your Marketing For Direct Response

Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages and content.

This means you need to capture leads quickly.  Long drawn out content and copy is old news and often won’t hold attention.  To be effective in the current marketing climate, you need to capture attention with short content and direct consumers into your funnel where you have what is essentially a captive audience that you can market to for free.

The secret to pulling off effective direct response advertisements lies in understanding specifically what you are selling, who your are selling to (your avatar) and their pain / pleasure points.

In other words, don’t run ads that say:

“We are a home service company that does Plumbing, HVAC, and electrical, call us for all your home service needs”.

Do say;

“We can put an end to that dripping noise from your sink before you close your eyes tonight.  Call now; it will take less than 5 minutes to get scheduled”


Get Ready For Conversation Marketing

I think this a ‘coming soon’ buzz word particularly with the growth in Facebook chat bots.  Essentially conversation marketing entails getting a consumer to open a conversation about your product / services without actually asking for a quote.  

For example you might show an overview video of a new patio and outdoor kitchen and then prompt the user with some templated questions such as

‘What kind of flooring did that use?’

‘How long did this project take?’

‘Could this project have been done with a double sink?’

From there communication can be automated and geared towards driving the consumer to request an estimate.  

On the flip side you could jump into conversations already being had about your business.  


Keep It Simple With A One Page Website

Pre-req sections: Direct Response

Back to the that direct response thing!

I’ve watched internet user behavior change rapidly over time through the data on my own content rich website that gets thousands of visitors.  Just a few years ago people would click around and view page after page reading (consuming all the content). This meant that content rich websites providing insight into the projects and services contractors offered were highly valued and the content ultimately built trust / authority which would lead to inbound inquiries.  

That has diluted away to a few swipes down the page on a mobile device while skimming the headlines.  With fewer people consuming content, the value of a content rich website is diminishing.

Now a one page website that presents all the pertinent information a customer needs, in a skimmable one page website into to capture leads is preferred.

The Home Pro Website Funnel Framework I put together outlines the key elements of an effective one page website on desktop AND mobile.


Online Marketing is Getting More Expensive  → Offline Marketing?

Online marketing has been low cost relative to traditional offline mediums for the last several years, but more contractors are taking their business online driving up costs in that area.  

If you’ve been running pay-per-click ads for a few years you’ve no doubt seen your costs increase.  

At the same time, traditional advertising mediums are losing clients.  With decreased demand these publishers are lowering their advertising cost.

AND online users are being bombarded with marketing messages.

So wtf does this all mean?

I still find a much better ROI in online marketing methods as a trade contractor, but the difference between the two methods is closing and I expect it to close faster.

It also increases the value of network marketing, referral building, and repeat customers. I still believe that referral programs are worthless, but a word of mouth marketing planusing a talk trigger is an extremely valuable to any contractor marketing efforts.


Use Facebook Advertising For The Full Customer Cycle.

Generating leads with Facebook ads is the most ‘glam’ of all in marketing but the real power is the ability to deliver marketing messages to consumers at all points in the sales process.  In other words marketing to those that are familiar with your company but have NOT requested an estimate (remarketing), have requested an estimate (leads), or are past customers.

For most trades businesses, your audience of leads or past customers will be relatively small which means that you can reach them for a modest $5 per day.  

I say, the best $150/m you can spend on advertising is Facebook advertising to leads — lead nurturing.    

🔥 Corey’s Note: I was recently on Perpetual Traffic, a Top 5 Rated marketing podcast discussing Facebook ads for contractors and providing insight into what is working for me.  You can listen here.


Use Video Marketing To Generate Leads

Watch:


Attention spans are shortening, internet user behavior is subsequently shying away from reading text, and direct response marketing with strong calls to action is working well.  That leads us to VIDEO.   Video marketing holds attention, and works well easily across multiple devices, and forms a stronger impression.

I know video as a marketing tool has been in use for several years, but most contractors overlook video as it can be too complicated — or overwhelming / frustrating.  You need to figure out what you need to video.  It needs to be staged.  Then comes the talking part on camera; WTF do you say while you’re standing around a job site trying to make pvc pipes and concrete mud look glam?

I can only wonder how many contractors make a video and then say “F it” because it looks like crap.  That’s why I put together this simple video framework which shows you the simple process that can turn any contracting project into a lead generation video without the frustration of wondering what you’re going to say on camera or what the video will show!


Make Sure Your Website Is Fast — Page Speed Matters

Pre-req sections: One Page Website, Direct Response

Google has explicitly stated in the recent years that page speed is a ranking factor.  Considering the increased pace of user behavior online and the demand for instant information I expect this to become a more important organic ranking factor.

Admittedly maintaining page speed of a website is a pain in the ass.  One update to the site can lead to reduced page speed score and then the subsequent frustration of figuring out to get page speed increased while maintaining the update.

However this is such a priority, that a weekly page speed check has been implement to ensure that it is never overlooked.

You can check your page speed here at Google Page Speed Insights.  As of writing this (Dec 18) all wordpress sites are getting notoriously low scores.  All things relative to our competitors, a page speed score of 40 is our benchmark.

Interestingly enough, the only sites getting high scores are old school static websites.  


Plan On Spoon Feeding Content (Content Marketing)

Pre-req sections: One Page Website

I’ve already explained how the changes in internet user behavior is leading to a lack of content consumption.  And while this means that the value of creating and publishing content about your services and company is declining, it doesn’t mean that content is worthless. Educational and insightful content still has a powerful place in contractor marketing efforts but you need to be smart in your deliver and spoon feed it.  You can no longer assume that users will find and read it.

Instead you need to strategically put it in front of your prospects.  I find two ways effective in delivering it; Facebook ads, and emails.

Now when you receive an estimate request from Jane for a new pool, assume that she knows nothing about the process.  Make sure that you get her into a Facebook marketing funnel which showing those posts, and email the posts explaining their relevance.     

Watch:


An Offline Marketing Idea That Is Cheap: Business Cards On Side of Truck

Yes business cards.  I’ve never been a fan of them but they do work particularly if the Baby Boomers are in your demographic.  

I don’t recommend aggressively handing them out, those just end up in the trash,  but you should have them available for those that want to take one. And what better way to make them available then putting them on the side of your truck?  

You won’t even need to get interrupted on a job site for someone to take one.  

This one is available on Amazon for $9.99.

🔥 Use a unique call tracking number on these cards to see just how many calls they generate.  YOU SHOUD BE TRACKING YOUR COST PER LEAD.


Get Ready To Follow Consumers… to the ‘BIG NAMES’

Pre-req sections: Facebook Advertising For The Full Customer Cycle.

A major factor in marketing success is being where your customers are.  I’ll be the first to say it sucks, but consumers are increasingly taking their search for a contractor onto ‘big name’ sites like Amazon, Thumbtack, Home Advisor, Houzz and the whole slew of other ones out there.  

While there are still many other options for marketing and generating leads it is time get serious about incorporating these 3rd party platforms into our current marketing plans.  That includes understanding your product ladder (next section) and remarketing to those in your sales process.


Understand Your Product Ladder

Product laddering can increase the value of a single customer and put your services within reach of a larger audience.  

This is of particular importance for trades that are seeing encroach from the Amazon / Groupons of other world.

Consider an contractor that specializes in full in home entertainment systems.  A full in home entertainment system may be out of reach or not on the mind of many homeowners, however simple TV mounting may be.  Advertising TV mounting with a strategic marketing plan, post the initial sale, will get you more sales for a much higher ticket service without the often high costs of generating leads for these types of projects directly.  You’ll also be selling to customers that have a connection with you.

Knowing your numbers is crucial to making this happen, so that you can improve each touch point to optimize for your ultimate goal… the next step on the ladder.  

Two of the largest companies I know (both hvac / electrical companies) operate entirely on the manner of product laddering.   


Deliver Notifications Where Consumers Aren’t Bombarded — VoiceMail Drops

Getting your message read in an email inbox is a challenge.  Getting a voice message heard though is incredibly easy.

Voicemail Drops are simply messages that are sent straight to an individual’s voicemail.

I don’t recommend using these aggressively, as you need to stay out of the ‘pesk zone’ but occasional use for important notifications or follow ups as yielded positive results.

Do note that voice mail drops must comply with telemarketing laws.


What About Blogging and SEO (Is It Worth It Anymore?)

First let’s clarify that most contractors are interested in blogging because that is supposed to get you high in the search results (search engine optimization), and then get you tons of free leads.

I’ve done well with blogging as an inbound lead generation strategy over the last 7 years since I started my business, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a lead generation strategy today.  In fact if I were to start a contracting business today, blogging would be very low on the priority list (if you’re wondering, my marketing priority would go; high converting one page website, Pay-per-click ads, Facebook Ads).  So what has changed over the last 7 years?

In short, search results have been buried beneath (more) Pay-Per-Click ads, in some markets Google Lead Ads take up top space, and the Google Local Map Pack further hides organic results.  At the same time, search visitors spend less time consuming the content.  My site has seen a decline of over 30% of time on page for those that land on blog posts, and a 42% reduction in pages per visit for traffic landing on the blog.

Blogging isn’t entirely useless though.  Blog content when delivered strategically (recall the ‘spoon feed content’ ), is still valuable as a tool to build trust and authority, however you should not expect blogging to generate inbound leads (at least not as many as it did 5 years ago).

Watch:


Use Story To Differentiate Your Business

Your leads are going to get other estimates.  There’s no way around that.  And if they come through a lead generation service that might get contacted by a dozen contractors none of whom they consciously selected.  In other words, they might not know you from Adam.  You’ve got to stand out from the rest, if you want to sell the project at a higher price — you need to differentiate your contracting business.

The easiest, the easiest and lowest cost way to differentiate yourself is by using your business story in the sales process!

Let customers know who you are, how you came to be in business and why you do what you do.

You can read the full blog post on using story in the sales process here.

I like to have the differentiation by story done, before I even show up to do the estimate.  To make that happen, I deliver content based emails introducing myself and the business story as soon as leads enter the sales pipeline.  My goal is to have customers say “I feel like I know you” when they answer the door.  If they refer to me as “the screen guy” I know that I failed in differentiating myself thus far.

Watch:


Ignite Word of Mouth Marketing

Most contractors sit around and wait for word of mouth marketing to ‘happen’ as a result of doing great work.

Savvy contractors know they can ignite it.  How?  With a talk trigger.

A talk triggers is one unique, and unexpected, but related thing you do or item you left behind on every project that turns your boring trades project into a talking point.

Maybe your could bring your customers coffee every morning while you are working on their project.

Maybe you could pay to send their dog to a boarding facility while you are working in home (a possible win for both parties).

You’ll need to be creative and I recommend Jay Baer’s Book Talk Triggers for ideas development.

I’ve been leaving these fake decoy owls on our projects for years turn them into a conversation piece.

It is unique.  It is unexpected.  It is related — the decoy owl intimidates other real birds from hanging out on the enclosure, shitting everywhere (no other way of wording that), and tearing the screen.  We find that when spending time in their screen enclosure with friends and family, the customer tends to pro-actively point out the fake bird that is hanging out on the top, the reason why it is there, and subsequently the company that left it there!


Get Rid Of The Local Pages On Your Website

Local Landing pages, stuffed with keywords and cities have been a search engine optimization tactic (SEO) for years.  The sole purpose of these pages, has been to get google search traffic for long tail keywords to your site and then direct them to another part of the site that is actually readable.  Any contractor that has done or hired SEO has certainly ended up with many of these pages on their site.

Google calls them ‘Doorway Pages’.

This worked well for many years through the mid 2000’s, and I repeated the benefits on my own website.   In the past 2-3 years however, the value of such pages has diminished to nearly 0 — and they may in fact even hurt your web presence.  Google considers these doorway pages a form of web spam as they are created primarily for search engines and add no value to the user experience.  Elaborated on further in this Google Official Post.  In general, spam detected on your website decreases the value of your site for search rankings.

On top of it all, fewer search users specifically use long tail keywords like ‘service city’, each year as Google is able to make location based inferences through your browser provided details.

With the clearly shunned tactics, and decreasing use of long tail keywords by searchers, it is time to put these doorway pages behind us, and focus on user experience.  I would suggest eliminating the local pages on your website, and redirecting them to one kick ass ‘service area’ page on your website (that’s what I did).

Another idea, although more time consuming,  would be to create a unique blog post discussing a specific project that you did in that city.  Discuss the local permitting / code requirements to make references to the locale.


Going Forward with Marketing as a Contractor In 2019

The marketing landscape continues to change and evolve.  Our websites need to be faster.  Nobody reads our content.  It’s all up to you as a business owner to stay on top of what is happening and where things are going.  Hopefully this post helps!

No matter what changes, marketing cannot make up for a shitty service.  Always keep that in mind and make sure that your customers and employee’s are happy before diving into new marketing ventures.

And when it comes to spending money on marketing, be sure to track your marketing costs using a program like Call Rail.  Once you can track your lead source you can confidently experiment with new marketing campaigns and quickly cut what is not working!

Making Business Cards Great Again and Improving Efficiency

Sometimes you just can’t get any work done as neighbors come by to ask for a card or quote.

That was my experience as a tech, and what my techs still relay to me to today.  Yes it is awesome to pick up additional sales simply from your presence in a community, but it does come at the expense of productivity on your project.

Assuming neighbors take the step to initiate contact on a job site; your employee’s (or yourself) may not be mentally prepared to engage with a prospect and leave them with a positive impression. Hot, tired, and frustrated with a project has turned into more than you estimated, it’s easy to not be on your friendly game when approached.

But what about all the neighbors that see your truck but don’t quite work up the courage to drop in the job site?  You could hope they call the number on the side of your truck, or remember your name for future purposes.

Or you could leave them with something tangible to walk away with should they chose to… your business card.

That’s what this nifty device does.  For only $10, you have little to lose.  One sale resulting from a business card grab will easily pay for itself.

For those contractors that operate in areas with high foot track or an older demographic (I’ve seen many baby boomers still rolodex their business cards) this could be $$$!

Amazon links to order (not affiliated with me):

  • The one pictured above for $9.99
  • Another option for $7.99

One bit of feedback provided from a member of the Home Pro Sales & Marketing Lounge Facebook Group is that the cards can get wet which may make these useless during our rainy season, but that is only 5 months of the year.

I look forward to getting these on my trucks, of course with a unique call tracking number so that I can assess the cost per lead.

Best 19 Kids Playroom Ideas for Every Taste and Space

    • No matter your home’s size, you can keep your children entertained in their very own playroom. These delightful and stylish solutions will inspire you to create a fun space even adults will love.  
    • 02of 20   Chic Playroom That Does Not Skimp on Sophistication    Tracie Butler Design This space proves that playrooms can be chic. Created by Tracie Butler Design based in West Hollywood, California the room packs plenty of features for keeping kids busy. The navy blue walls and rustic wood floors are what makes the room feel more sophisticated than juvenile.  
    • 03of 20   Modern White Basement Playroom    Eisner Design A crisp, white basement playroom by New York firm Eisner Design may be the most stylish place for kids ever. At the center of the space is a cloud-soft gym set. The built-in shelving on the right features a kidney-shaped orange lounger. The back wall is for climbing. Afterward, tuckered out kids can kick back in one of the three cocoon hanging chairs.    
    • 04of 20   Treehouse Inspired Basement Playroom    Thinkterior We adore this treehouse inspired playroom by the interior designers at Thinkterior based in Ashburn, Virginia. The “treehouse” is a favorite spot for sleepovers. The stage area features built-in floor storage. A faux tree adds to the room’s outdoorsy vibe. Not shown in the photo is the rustic home theater and indoor swing.  
    • 05of 20   Beach House With an Attic Playroom    Chango & Company In a New York beach house by Brooklyn design firm Chango & Company an attic becomes the ultimate playroom. Moroccan floor cushions and dozens of accents pillows lend comfort. The carpeted floor provides a soft space to play. Ceiling mounted swings get little hearts thumping.    
    • 06of 20   DIY Kids Playhouse    Alvhem Makleri Ignite your child’s imagination with this smart idea spotted on the Swedish site, Alvhem Makleri. Black washi tape and a small shelving system turn an untapped corner in a kid’s bedroom into a playhouse. Notice the second shelf? Thanks to a power tool called a router, it is now a tiny toy kitchen.  
    • 07of 20   Balcony With a Teepee for Kids    Martelka A small apartment balcony can become an outdoor playroom. This space featured on the Polish décor blog Martelka is outfitted with a teepee. A bathmat adds a little comfort underfoot. A blackboard covering the railing provides a spot to write and draw, plus additional privacy.      
    • 08of 20   Transitional Playroom Brimming With Style    Dragon Fly Interior Designs This transitional playroom by Dragon Fly Interior Designs out of the Rocky Mountain Region is easy on adult eyes. Beautiful gray cabinetry with a built-in window seat anchors the space. A flirty IKEA Maskros pendant light adds a whimsical touch. Colorful carpet tiles spice up the floor. Pint-size furniture makes the room more inviting to wee ones.

The 8 Best Garage Door Openers to Buy in 2019

  • Best Overall: Chamberlain WD832KEV Whisper Belt Drive Garage Door Opener               VERY GOOD Buy on AmazonBuy on Jet Looking for something powerful but don’t want it to be too loud? This garage door opener from Chamberlain is a great option. Featuring an exclusive Motor Vibration Isolation System which eliminates vibration for reduced noise, this is a good choice especially you have an attached garage with rooms above the space. It also has MyQ enabled technology that allows you to monitor and control the opener via your smartphone with an extra purchase of the product. You can set the opener’s timer to close the door one, five or 10 minutes if you forget, and it has sensors to make sure it won’t close if something is in its path. It comes with a lifetime motor, lifetime belt, five-year parts, and one-year accessories warranty. Customers who have purchased this garage door opener for their homes have been mostly satisfied with the performance of it. Many have raved about how quiet it actually is—one said instead of hearing the metal squeak and clank like with their last one, only the sound of the “wooden door being jostled around as it is pulled up and down” is all you hear with this one. Customers were also happy with the features including the automatic closer when you forget to shut it after you go inside. Some had had issues with the manual being hard to understand while installing it themselves. But most were happy with the overall performance.
  • Best Budget: Chamberlain PD612EV 1/2 HP MyQ Enabled Garage Door Opener     Buy on AmazonBuy on Walmart While there might not be a huge price range when it comes to garage door openers—they are all quite an investment—there a few less expensive options to consider. Here’s a great budget option from Chamberlain. It has a motor that’s equivalent to ½ horsepower and chain drive system that is quick and easy to install. You can also connect it to the MQ technology (gateway sold separately) to use with your smartphone. The product comes with two three-button visor remote controls, a multi-function wall control, as well as a wireless keyless entry system. It comes with a 10-year motor, two-year parts, and one-year accessories warranty. Most of the reviewers who have purchased this product would recommend it to others. Many have said it’s a quality product that is quiet and easy to install. In terms of critical reviews, some have had issues with parts breaking or the item not coming with all the nuts and bolts required to install it. But most were happy with their purchase.
  • Best Security: Chamberlain PD512 Garage Door Opener     Buy on AmazonBuy on Home Depot Looking for another budget option? This one, also from Chamberlain, is a good choice. With a powerful ½ horsepower motor, it’s reliable and rugged, especially paired with its industrial strength chain drive. The 100-watt bulb gives you some overhead light that guides you into your home from your car safely. It also comes with a pre-programmed, one-button remote that can be used over a long range. Plus, there are safety sensors that project an invisible beam helping to prevent the door closing on people or objects. And when the door is closed, you can rest assured it’ll stay closed and locked thanks to its Patented Security + 2.0 rolling code technology and PosiLock anti-theft protection. Customers who are looking for a low-cost, no-frills garage door opener will find this product satisfying. Reviewers have commented on how easy it is to set up and the fact that it does its job of opening and closing well. 
  • Best Belt Drive: Genie SilentMax 750     Buy on Home Depot Belt driven garage door openers offer a prime level of noise reduction if you want a silent environment in the garage. While common chainlinks will rattle during use, the smooth performance of a belt dampens noise as the garage door slides up and down. Using a 3/4 motor, the Genie SilentMax 750 will easily tackle any typical garage door while keeping the environment quiet and comfortable while in use. Capable of lifting a seven-foot garage door up to 500 pounds in weight, the SilentMax 750 comes with a number of convenience features for automatic and remote use. The included wireless keypad and dual remote controls will ​insure that you are the only one that has access to the door. Compatible with a number of in-car remote systems like HomeLink, you can also keep the remotes at home if you are worried about losing the “keys.”​  
  • Best Smart Home: NEXX Garage NXG-100 Nxg Remote Compatible Door Openers   Buy on Amazon If using a separate garage door opening remote doesn’t appeal to you, consider using your wifi connection to open and close your garage door. This smart remote door opener from NEXX links your wifi to its device for a seamless result. Simply use the coordinating app on your phone to open and close your garage from your car or home. The NEXX garage door opener allows multiple people to use it. You can also hook it up to Amazon Alexa or your Google Home device to use voice commands to open and close the garage. Users say it takes about 20 minutes to install the device into your existing garage door opening mechanism, but once it is set up, it works seamlessly. 
  • Best High-End: Chamberlain WD962KEV Garage Door Opener     Buy on AmazonBuy on Walmart Here’s an opener that comes with all the bells and whistles. Featuring an ultra quiet belt drive, you’ll be thankful you purchased one like this especially if you have a room positioned near or above the garage. It’s also got battery backup so if the power goes out, you can still get in and out with ease for up to 20 open and close cycles for the first 24 hours of an outage. And for the technology savvy will appreciate its MyQ smartphone control technology that allows you to control the door via an app on your iPhone or Android, plus you’ll receive safety notifications if you’re away from the house and the door opens or closes. And for extra peace of mind, there’s also a feature that will automatically close the door after a set amount of time — you know, just in case you forget. The majority of those who have purchased this product have been happy with it, saying it’s extremely quiet and comes with a great lifetime warranty. Some of the more critical reviews had to do with the remote not working well and other minor malfunctions. (A few quick tips can help you fix any common garage door opener problems.) However, most were satisfied with the product and would recommend it to others. 
  • Best Speed: Genie Excelerator 1 HPc Direct Screw Drive DC Garage Door Opener     Buy on Home Depot If you’re often anxious for your garage door to open faster — then the Genie Exceleartor would be the perfect pick for you. Outfitted with a direct screw drive that ensure a safe, stable and fast opening and closing you’ll also be impressed the maintenance-free operation this comes with as well as the lifetime guarantee of the operator. This opener is easy to install for most DIYers and comes with two remotes and a wireless keypad so you can open the door with a pin. If you are interested in having this smart-enabled you can purchase a separate kit to do so. The Safe-T Beam helps prevent accidents using a infrared beam that will open or close the door if a car is getting to close. 
  • Best Easy Installation: Genie 37280u Garage Door Opener with 3/4 HPc DC Chain     Buy on Walmart Spending your whole weekend setting up a new garage door opener is not on the top of most peoples list. This opener is easy to install for most levels of DIYers and it provides a quiet and reliable open and close. This has 3/4 HPc DC chain features and the powerhead can open 12″ in a second. It has a wireless remote and Intellicode 2 security to prevent people from breaking into your home. 

Products Tested by 

How We Tested

Our reviewers tested a top-rated garage door opener daily for over a week. To get the most comprehensive results possible, they installed it themselves and observed how it performed. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this garage door opener, from its drive type to its security features. We’ve outlined the can’t-miss points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Garage Door Opener

Drive typeGarage door openers work in a variety of ways. A chain-drive model raises and lowers doors with a metal chain — these tend to be inexpensive and able to handle heavier doors, but they’re loud. A belt-drive opener uses a belt and operates more smoothly and quietly. Screw-drive openers, which lift doors with a threaded steel rod, are also quiet and don’t require much maintenance. Finally, a direct-drive opener operates as a single unit — the whole contraption moves to lift the door. These tend to be the quietest, smoothest mechanisms available.

HorsepowerYou’ll also want to consider the horsepower of your opener. Typically, 1/2 horsepower will work for most doors in newer homes. If you have a heavier solid wood door, though, you may want to opt for 3/4 horsepower so it can lift it with ease. You can also get 1 and 1 1/2 horsepower models, but those are a better fit for commercial or special situations.

SecuritySince 1993, all garage door openers have been required to have a special reversing mechanism to prevent closure if a child, pet, or car is in the way — but in terms of additional security features, you get what you pay for. If safety is a top concern, opt for a model that changes the access code after each use to prevent a break in.