Bethesda Rockville MD Limo Company

BethRock Limo services Bethesda, MD and Rockville, MD as well as surrounding areas such as Gaithersburg, Germantown, Silver Spring and of course, Washington DC. They supply sedans, limos, SUV limos, stretch limos and party buses. So if there are just two of you or a party of 30 or more, they can take care of you.

Normally they have enough vehicles to be able to take care of you whenever you want. There are certain times of the year when it is a good idea to make a reservation well in advance. The biggest time to be aware of is prom season. It is made worse by a lot of weddings happening at the same time. Also, some political events such as inaugurations will cause a crunch for limousines. Continue reading

Share This:

Tree Services, Garden Store, Landscaping, Lawn Care

Today we take a look at Tree Services Annapolis, They are a full service  company as you can see from the title. They have various tree services, a garden store, and do landscaping and lawn care. What more could you ask for? Continue reading

Share This:

Artistic Talented Welding

Welding and metal fabrication can be very simple and utilitarian but it can also range to what could be considered art. And then it is possible to make metal sculptures as well. One local craftsman at Baltimore Railings & Stairs, can not only do the simple things, he has a background in fine art and can create sculptures in addition to railings, stairs, fire escapes and other similar projects. Continue reading

Share This:

Snow Plowing Companies

Well, it is winter (although at first the winter seemed more like fall would never end) so it seems like a good time to write about snow plowing. What you need in terms of a company to hire depends on your needs. You may just need someone to shovel or snow blow the walk in front of your house. If you have a driveway, especially a long one, you will need a company with snowblowers or plows. However, if you are a business with a parking lot, you need someone who has greater capacity and if you have a parking lot like you would for a mall or an office building or school or college, you are going to need a company with serious capabilities.

Advance Planning is Critical

One of the most key things is to have someone lined up in advance. As they say, you can fuggedaboutit if you try to call someone on the day of the storm. They are going to be taking care of their current customers, not new ones. How do we know this? We have two lots on opposite sides of town. Our guy finished the first one and the his truck broke down and couldn’t get the second one done. Numerous phone calls were made. Out of all those phone calls, they either laughed at us or we got answering machines because they were out plowing snow. Out of all the phone calls, we only got one call back and that was a week after the storm.

Plowing Plan

You also want to go over ahead of time where they are going to put the snow. Sometimes with a really deep storm, they run out of room for all the easy places. One time our guy pushed up a large pile of snow in front of a tenant’s overhead door because they had done it in the past when that door wasn’t being used. Now it was being used but they hadn’t been told. But the snow had frozen solid and they couldn’t easily move it with the plow. So we use pick axes and shovels to move the snow from in front of the door.

The Right Equipment

If you have a really deep snow, it can be difficult for a pickup truck with a snow plow. The big plows the city and state have aren’t bothered in the same way. So it can be good to have someone who also has a front end loader that can be used in combination with the plow on the pick up truck. However, you also need to know how to use the snow plow. With a recent 2.5 to 3 foot snow fall we had one truck who couldn’t push that much snow, he just started slipping as the amount of snow on the blade grew too big. Another plow came in that was approximately the same size and had no trouble at all.  Part of it was that the driver drove like a wild man. But the major reason was that he had put a lot of weight in the bed of his pickup and the first guy had no extra weight at all. It apparently made all the difference in the world.

Share This:

Blue Ridge – Car Repair

If you need your car repaired, try Blue Ridge Sports Cars Ltd. They do a good job and are honest. We have been taking our Volvo to them since moving to Baltimore from the Severna Park area.

The nice thing is that they will recommend what needs to be done. We have taken our car to Firestone for tires but they come back with a laundry list of things that they say needs to be done. They even told me that I needed new brake rotors one time and I believed them, but asked to save the rotors. When I showed the rotors to the auto repair shop, they said that they were still perfectly good and couldn’t believe that Firestone had replaced them. They said to keep them for future use.

The Volvo is getting older, but being a Volvo, it has been hanging in there pretty well. But when some things have gone bad, Blue Ridge has called around to junk yards and other places and been able to find replacement parts at much lower prices than if Volvo parts were purchased. In some cases they say that you need to go with the Volvo parts, either for safety or that is the only place you can get them, but generally they can get you a deal.

There have been times when they got one part replaced and it came with several other parts attached and they said that had significantly longer life expectancy than what I had and because only the one part was paid for and not all the attached parts, I had saved hundreds of dollars. Not like when my wife goes to a sale and saves me money by buying a bunch of stuff.

Crazy thing is that I had been going there for several years and one day got to talking with the owner, Don, and found out that we had been in the same class in high school. Obviously I am not recommending them because of that since I had been going there for several years already when I found it out and was already a happy customer.

Share This:

Leaf Collection Companies

This time of year, lots of people are out raking. Some people do it themselves and others hire companies to come in and do it for them and others do kind of a combo.

If you are doing it yourself, we hope you don’t have a lot of oaks. We lived in one house that had a lot of oaks around it. Besides there being a lot of leaves, they were a pain to deal with. Some leaves are very soft and easy to rake. Oak leaves are very stiff. That isn’t so bad, but what make is a lot worse is that their stem is also very hard and stiff and it tends to have a curve to it. So, if the curve is facing down, it tends to get caught in the grass and not want to move when you rake it. Even more so with a blower. You can sit and put a blower on a single leaf and it will just stay there stuck in the grass.

One thing that can help with doing the raking job yourself is a holder for the bags. It makes the job so much easier. Some fit inside the bag and hold it open. When the bag is full, you pull the holder out. Others you put the bag inside of it. Whatever the design, it is a great time saver.

Some people just use the lawnmower to chop up the leaves and leave them on or in the grass to provide nourishment for the lawn. If you just leave the leaves on top of the grass without chopping them up, they will tend to kill the grass under them.

The hybrid method is to get the leaves to the curb. Then a company comes along with a truck with a giant vacuum attachment. They suck up all the leaves into the truck and charge a nominal fee to do this. If you have an old bedspread, they are very useful. Or you can buy a tarp. You rake the leaves onto the tarp and then drag it to the curb and dump it. Then go back for the next load until you are done and call for the truck to come.

Raking grass can be a good excuse to get outdoors and get some exercise. And unlike shoveling heavy snow, it doesn’t usually lead to heart attacks. But some people are too old or sick or just don’t want to be bothered. In that case, you can get people who come in with blowers and rakes and clean up all your leaves for you and cart them away. Of course, this costs the most, but is the easiest to do. You just write a check.

Share This:

Wicklein’s Pond Repair

Wicklein’s Water Garden is considered one of the best pond installation and repair companies in the Baltimore area. We bought an old house that was originally built in 1930. The original owner used a lot of the latest materials. They had some outdoor lamps on the house made out of copper which wasn’t new, but another two on the porch combined aluminum and copper. Cast aluminum was a new building material back then.

Concrete Was New and Exciting at One Time

Believe it or not, so was concrete. The fireplace is lined with brick, but the sort of French Provincial style hood above it (you couldn’t really call it a mantle) is made of cast concrete and above that is wood. Most people don’t realize it is concrete until I point it out and then they are amazed.

House Problems

The heating system from day one was forced hot air and not radiators. This was very cutting edge for the 1930s. You would think that this would make it easy to add air conditioning. Alas, you would be wrong. Since heat rises, they didn’t need returns on the second and third floors. The only returns were on the first floor and in the basement. When air conditioning was added, this meant that the air conditioning on the second and third floors was very inefficient. We had to figure out a way to get a return up to the upper floors. We gave up for the third floor and installed a heat pump instead.

Unfortunately, they decided to use galvanized pipe instead of copper pipe. Big mistake. The copper pipe would still have been fine. The galvanized pipe was shot. The only good thing is that in the 1930s the pipe would have probably all been the same size and you get water temperature changes in the shower when someone flushes the toilet. The new way is to use larger diameter pipes and decrease the size as you move further away. So no problems while you are in the shower.

The electric system was state of the art for 1930 but not now. With computers and cable and TV it was totally antiquated. So the entire electrical system had to go. If you think plumbing is bad to replace, try electrical. Plumbing goes to just a few rooms. Electrical goes to every room and almost every wall. What a project.

Pond Problems

There is a pond outside. Although it had water, there were cracks in the walls and some of the flagstones that were around the edges in a border were coming loose. A pipe that went to the pond hadn’t been drained in the winter and froze and needed to be repaired. The light in the pond was full of water and no longer functionings.


The company came in and drained the pond into a number of large plastic tubs. They tossed the gold fish into the tubs and cleaned out the slime and fish poop from the bottom. Then they took out some of the lily pads that had overgrown. Then they dried and cleaned the pond. Next they patched the cracks, parging the insides where necessary and cemented the border stones back into place. They said fixing the light in the side of the pond would be too expensive so they sold us some small lights that sit in the pond and a wire comes out and plugs in to an outlet.

So then we needed to call in an electrician for the extra plugs to redo some of the wiring. One of the things we needed a plug for in addition to the pump for the fountain was a new device they sold us. The water runs from the pump through a hose and then through this contraption where the water is bombarded with UV light to kill the algae and stuff so the pond doesn’t get dirty and cloudy as fast.

Then they suggested covering the bottom with small rounded stones. Some the size of pea gravel but most an inch to 3 inches long. Most were sort of egg shaped and not round. It looks pretty good, but makes cleaning the pond more difficult.  All in all though, the pond looks and performs much better than it did.

Share This:

Paving Companies

Do your due diligence as with any company, but there are a group of paving / asphalt companies that are notorious for their tactics. In general, you should get several quotes any time you have a job. You will be amazed at how much the prices vary.

You also want to see locations where they have done work. You might want to see places that they did a year ago to see how they are holding up as opposed to ones that they just finished. It is good to talk to some of their customers as well.


If you have a house and there is a hole in the driveway, you really need more of a handyman. The real paving guys have too much tied up in their equipment to bring it out for a tiny hole. Just get some patch filler and put that in and tamp it down. They are going to want to redo the whole driveway. That is the sort of job they are set up for.

Fly By Nights

But if you have a commercial space with a parking lot, you will get guys coming by saying they are doing work nearby and have some asphalt left over and they can do some patching for you at a great price.

First, you have to wonder if they skimped on the other job so they had enough to make the offer to you and other local property owners. Second, these guys usually do not do a very good job and their prices aren’t the bargain that they claim.

To get some referrals, you might call some commercial property management companies. They deal with paving companies on a regular basis and can refer some good ones to you most likely.

Good Guy Gone Bad

You can still get stuck. I had used one guy and he had done a good job. A few years later I needed some holes patched. I got several quotes and he came in a bit below the others. He said that he was going to put 2 inches of asphalt down. I don’t know if he had started drinking or was having other problems, but it turned out he only put down about a half inch in some of the places and when it started to break up, he was no where to be found to fix the botched job he had done.

One thing that worried me while he was doing it was that he rented the equipment to do the job. He didn’t own his own equipment. From now on, I would only use someone who was successful enough that they had their equipment.

Share This:

Hiring a Plumber

Who you hire may depend on the size of the job as we shall explain. This is besides the obvious that if you are doing a high rise building you are not going to hire a one man show who may or may not have an assistant. That obviously won’t work. But there are other cases that are much closer and harder to call.

Get Quotes

Unless you have worked with someone for a long time, you are probably going to want at least two quotes if not three. That is assuming the job is a bit complex. If it is something like your disposal won’t work or your toilet float doesn’t work, just ask for prices over the phone.

A number of years ago, we were dealing with a rental where the water was backing up in the basement toilet. When that happens, that usually means the sewer line is blocked for some reason and since the water can’t go anywhere, or is draining very slowly, the water just backs up as you run water, say from a dishwasher, washing machine, shower or toilet.

If this happens, stop running all water, don’t flush the toilet and call a plumber immediately, or a RotoRooter type company. Sometimes the problem is that someone flushed paper towels down the toilet. They don’t break up the way toilet paper does. Frequently the problem is roots that have grown into the pipe at a joint or crack.

Expanding the Job

We had a plumber who was recommended come out and snake out the line. He charged a fairly hefty fee. A few weeks later, the same problem happened. He came out again and said he didn’t think snaking it again would help. He said we would need to take the tree down in front of the house and then replace the sewer line. The tree was going to cost several thousand dollars and its been a while, but replacing the sewer line was something like $5,000 or $10,000. Definitely sticker shock.

Finally a Reasonable Quote

So we called around and found Kirk at All Nite Sewer and he snaked it for half the price of the first guy, went a lot further and got a lot more stuff out. So $150 instead of $8,000 or $13,000. Definitely worth it to call around and get another opinion.

You will be amazed by the different prices you get when you request quotes on jobs. It can be all over the place.

But Not Always the Cheapest

We had a larger job and got prices an on this one, All Nite was higher than some large companies. It wasn’t a huge job, but they apparently had the infrastructure in place to knock it out quickly. So each company seems to have a sweet spot depending on their size and the size of the job.

You are also likely to get a better recommendation if you ask someone in a trade than just a friend. The friend may have a perfectly good person or company but finding a good company is more likely from a trade person recommendation.

Share This:

Welcome to IT Gawker

Welcome to IT Gawker, a blog about various service industries and different companies. We will give you tips on what to look for and things to watch out for. Whether it is tree services, used appliances, plumbing, electricians, roofers, check here for ideas and insights.

Share This: