Posts in Kijiji Tips

Avoiding Contractor, Moving, and Other Service Scams

Whether you find a service off Kijiji or elsewhere, it is important to vet the quality of the work they do before you hire them. The costs of being defrauded by a fraudulent contractor or moving company can get quite high. Here are a few tips to ensure you are getting what you paid for.

Finding the right person: Avoiding moving and contractor scams

Search the company or individual’s name and see what comes up. Read review from other customers and request a list of references they have worked for before. Past customers are the best source of information on the quality of work.

Ask for recommendations. If a friend, colleague, or family member has recently had a good experience with a company, that is worth much more than a review from a stranger online.

Get multiple estimates. If one is far lower than the rest, that is a big red flag. Remember, if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is!

When hiring a moving company, make sure you get a full written contract that includes the estimate, exactly what work you need to have done, and specifies that the price cannot be more than 10% more than the original quote. Also discuss insurance; even good movers may damage something. What sets the good ones apart is taking responsibility for damages incurred and having or helping you set up the appropriate insurance.

Be wary of up front deposits. Some services require deposits (for instance, renovation services that have to buy raw materials), but never give one without first drawing up a contract and checking their references. If possible, front any initial costs for materials yourself so you don’t have to give out a deposit. A post-dated cheque or a PayPal payment are good alternatives to cash as you have recourse if the services paid for do not materialize.

Specifically ask about other costs not mentioned in the quote, and read the fine print on a contract.

Stay away from companies with out any history. Non reputable companies will frequently change their name to avoid the bad reputation they have gained from past work. If you can’t find any information about the past jobs of the company, keep looking for a company that has a reputation they are invested in protecting. Look for markers of an established business – for instance, printed business cards, a website, an address listed. If looking for a moving service, the presence vans advertising the company name and contact information are also a good sign, as it shows that the owners have invested in their name and are thus more likely to want to protect their reputation.

Be skeptical; if it seems too good to be true, chances are, it is. Want to learn more about moving scams? The Financial Services Commission of Ontario is running a chat on how to identify and avoid moving scams today, Thursday August 14th at 1 PM EST. Follow the hashtag #FraudChat on Twitter and the FSCO Twitter account

Finding Great Roommates That Fit Your Lifestyle

Whether you are starting a new school year, moving to a new apartment, or embarking on a new adventure across the country, finding roommates that fit your personality and lifestyle can be a tall order. How can you find a set of people to share your house with that you will remain compatible with?

Think long term. If you find yourself at the end of your lease with nowhere to go, its easy to work yourself into a panic, overlook red flags and move in without thinking it through. This could turn out fine – or, it could result in a disaster. If possible, start looking for a roommate about 2 months before you will actually need one. This should give you time to meet up with several possibilities, and think through the options carefully. If you have to find a new place on very short notice, consider subletting a place or a room until you have found a living arrangement that you feel comfortable with in the long term rather than signing a lease with someone less than ideal.

Know your own habits, and what you will put up with. As nice as it would be to live with someone who will clean up after you, if your room mate is a clean freak and you are a slob, it is not going to work out for either of you. Try to find someone with a lifestyle and preferences that match yours. If you prefer to stay at home, have alone time, and like the quiet, a party animal room mate or someone who is always entertaining is likely not going to be a good match.

Don’t overlook red flags. If all you want is a quiet place to read when you get home, and they keep talking about loving to jam on their drum kit, or watch tv all evening, you probably won’t be a good fit. If they have a history of unpaid debts don’t just assume they will pay you the rent on time. Don’t panic that you won’t find someone and settle for someone you will have friction with later.

Finding a Roommate that Fits Your Lifestyle

Be honest. Are you a very light sleeper? Are you always coming and going late at night? Does having meat in your fridge offend you? Do you love having parties at home? Be up front with your lifestyle so that both of you can make an informed decision on whether the fit is right.

Do a background check. Verify that their job is what they say it is, talk to former roommates, and do a credit check. Add them on social media if you can. People might display very different parts of their personality in an interview setting than they do on social media.

Make sure the space works for the arrangement. As cool as lofts are, a loft without defined bedrooms might not work so well when sharing with roommates, especially if they are loud. If you end up with the tiny bedroom and no space of your own, will that work with how you like to spend your time? Who should get that better bedroom, anyway? Will they pay increased rent?

Have you ever had a roommate that was not a good fit? Share your stories in the comments, or, find a new roommate on Kijiji!

Apartment Rentals Toronto

Kijiji Guide to Protecting Collectibles

Love to collect items but don’t have proper storage set up? Very old, delicate, or valuable items may have specialized care requirements. However, if you are just looking to keep your collections organized and out of harms way, here are some handy tips to keep in mind.

  • Any collectible item made from a natural source material such as paper, fabric, leather or wood has the potential to be damaged by mold and mildew. First edition books, treasured rookie cards, stamps and postcards can easily be ruined by improper storage. Mold thrives in humid and poorly ventilated areas such as attics and basements, which are the worst place to store these delicate valuables, and can cause significant deterioration in the condition (and thus the value) of your items.
  • Store your paper, stamps, books, and collectible cards in a room that has good air circulation, and a relative humidity somewhere between 35% and 50%. Buy a dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels within this range. If you have certain rooms that are air conditioned, these are also better places for storing these items.
  • Treating your items with fungicides may seem like a good idea, but this can lead to them being even more susceptible to mold and mildew after the treatment. These harsh chemicals can also damage the item or be bad for your health, so utilize extreme caution if you are considering this method to get rid of mold or mildew.
  • Try to avoid acquiring more delicate paper collectibles than you have time to care for. Seek quality over quantity, as mold or mildew from one item may spread to your other items if improperly stored.
  • Protecting Collectables

  • Ensure that collectible cards are kept somewhere that protects their corners. For bulk collections, a binder with clear storage pockets is a good way to maintain their condition that is still easy to view. If you have any really valuable cards, look into hard plastic or acrylic cases that screw down to protect them from damage, and display them if you so choose.
  • You may want to display your collectible items proudly. For instance, having sports memorabilia on display is a great way to start conversations or to decorate a “man cave” or den. Framing items is a great way to protect paper, tickets, event programs, and any other flat object you want to preserve. Make sure to take your valuables to a professional framer who knows what they are doing and only use acid free matting and backing.
  • For pottery, glasswear, china or acrylic collectibles, the main risks are from breaking on impact. If you live in an area that is hit by earthquakes, consider attaching any valuables on display to the wall securely. Displaying treasured items in a china cabinet is a great way to keep them away from pets, kids, and guests with butter fingers who may damage the objects as they admire them more closely.
  • How to Follow Up After Applying For a Job or Having an Interview

    Applying for jobs can be overwhelming – in addition to keeping track of where you’ve applied, interviewing, and putting your best foot forward, you have to find ways to keep yourself top of mind with the companies you have applied to. Unfortunately, it is pretty common to apply for jobs that don’t end up coming your way, and companies don’t always notify all applicants who didn’t get the job (or whose resume they overlooked). Sometimes you don’t hear back, despite being confident you would be a fantastic fit for the job. In cases like that, it is definitely not wrong to follow up, but it is important to do so within reason. Recruiters and hiring managers are generally trained to follow up, and if they haven’t, it is likely because they don’t have the time. How can you strike the balance between too much and too little follow up?

    How to follow up after an interview or application

    Be cognizant of when you applied. Ideally, make a spreadsheet listing the companies you applied to, the dates, and whether or not you followed up. While you may be eagerly waiting for your response in the days after an application, if it has been less than a week since, you should not follow up. Recruiters generally won’t get back to you in that time frame. If you want to be top of mind, do some research on the company, and maybe lurk a few people on LinkedIn (make sure your profile shows them you lurked them) so they know you are still interested. If you really want the job, use the time to research the business and get a deeper understanding of the company.

    If it has been a week and a half from your application and you haven’t heard anything, that is a good time to send a brief note. If a recruiter is involved, within the second week after applying is the right time to send the recruiter a single note via either email or LinkedIn. Don’t overstep and go to the hiring manager as within those two weeks the application process is likely still with the recruiter.

    If you are using social media to follow up with the recruiter, be specific, and be brief! Cite which job you applied for, the fact that you applied, reiterate your interest, and mention why you think you are great fit for the role. Keep the entire message under two sentences. You can frame the message as ensuring that your resume made it across their desk, or use some humour to stand out.

    If by the third week after applying you haven’t heard back, you can try to find out who the hiring manager is, and if you figure it out, follow up casually (again, only once) with them on social media. It is appropriate to ask if there is progress or the role has been filled – again, don’t make your message over two sentences, it is important to be respectful of their time.

    Had an interview?

    The rules for following up after an interview are totally different than after applying. With interviews, ideally you should follow up right after, while you are still fresh in the hiring manger or recruiter’s mind. Within 24 hours is the best time for a follow up. If something went horribly wrong in the interview, address it, otherwise, keep it simple. Double (or triple) check your grammar, make sure it is well phrased and professional. Make sure it is strait forward and relevant. A follow up email is not the time to write a long essay or overshare personal information. The goal here is not to sell yourself, it is to keep yourself top of mind. If you have the contact information for a hiring manager, contact them rather than the recruiter, as the ball is likely in their court at this point in time.

    If you haven’t heard anything after an interview, you can follow up within a week requesting next steps, what type of timeframe they anticipate making the decision, or mentioning that this opportunity is still your first choice (but you have other interviews). Beyond a week, if there has been radio silence, in all likelihood you didn’t get that job – you are better off exploring other job opportunities.
    Best of luck!

    Categories:Kijiji Jobs, Kijiji Tips

    Tips for Savvy Garage and Yard Sale Shopping

    If you’re a fan of shows like Storage Wars or Auction Hunters, you’ll understand the thrill of finding valuable treasure within heaps of what seem like useless goods and trash. Watching them sift through piles of old, sometimes unclassifiable junk only to uncover a rare collectible from the 70’s or a discontinued style of jeans that’s now worth a few hundred dollars makes us think of all the untapped potential that’s awaiting us in stranger’s homes in our own city or community.

    Right now is prime garage or estate sale season! (For those who may not know, the simple difference between a garage sale and an estate sale is that an estate sale is where almost everything you see on the property is on sale, whereas a garage sale is more so a display of what the seller has decided to get rid of after carefully going through everything in the house.) As this season of garage and estate sales goes into full swing, here are ways to make sure you get the best deals and maybe even find your own Storage Wars-worthy treasure!

    Tips on Getting the Most out of Garage Sales

    1. Do your homework and get there early.

    You may be out of school or enjoying a day off, but when it comes to scoring good deals at garage and estate sales, you have to be in the know and you should be there before everyone else. Sellers almost always go through media to advertise their sale, whether through Kijiji or through advertisements in the newspaper. People also post flyers on bulletin boards in local coffee shops and grocery stores. Once you’ve scouted out the sales you want to attend, you should get there early so you can beat out like-minded deal hunters and get first dibs on whatever it is you’re looking for.

    2. Zero in on neighborhoods with the “vibe” you seek.

    We’re told not to judge a book by its cover (and normally that’s good advice) but when it comes to garage and estate sales, this may be a tip you don’t have to follow to a T. While not 100% true all the time, the more upscale areas in your neighbourhood or city are probably more likely to have a larger amount of “high-end” treasure. Logically, this just makes sense. Now, this rule depends a lot on what it is you’re looking for. If you’re on a specific hunt for furniture, valuable jewelry, or larger ticket items, you’ll want to go to areas that you think will have the type of look or style you’re going for. On the other hand, if you’re just up for an adventure to find what you can find, then you can loosen the reins a bit and explore all neighborhoods.

    3. Don’t be shy.

    A lot of us cringe at the idea of haggling because it just seems rude to try and negotiate prices down. However, what you should know is that most sellers (especially at garage and estate sales) will ticket items higher in anticipation of negotiations from customers, so really, you’re just fulfilling your duties. Just remember, keep your negotiations polite, try to make conversation with the seller, ask questions about the item and maybe even the history of it, and if you’re not happy with the final price, just walk away and continue your search elsewhere! Don’t underestimate the power of walking away- playing a little hard to get can sometimes motivate the seller if they’re really looking to get rid of the item.

    4. Be thorough.

    The art of skimming is not your friend at garage and estate sales. Get your hands dirty and really dig through bins, baskets, and piles. Then, if you haven’t found much from your first walk around, take a second walk and carefully go over the items on sale again. The first time you go through a garage or estate sale, your eyes are still processing what you’re seeing, so walking through a second time gives you the chance to take in new things you probably missed the first time.

    5. Make life easier for everyone.

    This tip is short and sweet, and while it may seem like common sense, it’s worth mentioning: BRING CASH. The reality is a lot of us have gotten used to just carrying plastic around but that’s not going to work at a garage or estate sale since the average household doesn’t have a debit or credit card machine set up for your convenience. (Don’t forget, estate sales generally have higher-priced items, and while SOME may be set up to take credit card, it’s better to work under the assumption that they don’t, so bring cash accordingly.)

    Ready to start treasure hunting? Find garage, yard, and estate sales all over Canada on Kijiji!

    Categories:Community, Kijiji Tips