Everyone is stuck at home not doing a darn thing. Even as I'm writing this article I am trying to remember the last time I could stand in line at Chic-Fil-A and not be paranoid about a sneeze I heard off in the distance.
Now we all get to work from home. More realistically, we are stuck at home not working. The kids are home from school on extended vacations and there are tons of articles popping up all over the internet (especially Twitter) about how to stay healthy while you are under this horrible and if-you-believe-the-tin-foil-hat-people-about-to-turn-into-martial-law quarantine.
In Texas the allergies this time of year are no joke. If you aren't used to it you'd think you had every disease and virus in the book. Most likely you are just choking on all the pollen in the air. Normally this is something you'll have to deal with outdoors. Now you're stuck indoors. This is a call back from the 90's about the dangers of indoor air pollution. We heard that crazy statistic that the air inside your home can be up to 10 times more polluted than the air outside. I don't know if that's true or not but man, is it starting to get stuffy in here.
I was on a call with a friend of mine who works in the HVAC business in Boise, ID and he was telling me that with all these people staying home there has been a crazy number of service calls for repairing heating and air system. Not surprisingly when these systems are used more, they break down faster. With all this virus talk he's also been getting a lot of questions about air duct cleaning and sanitizing. This can be a really good idea if you or someone in your family has been sick or is especially sensitive to allergies. Pro Tip: change your air filters in your home. If you don't know where they are or how to change them: shame on you! In the age if the internet you should know by now that you can learn how to do just about anything on YouTube. Now, you may be able to change a few air filters by yourself but cleaning out air ducts is a completely different and difficult process if you don't have the specialized tools and know how. You may want to call a pro.
When we have a disagreement with someone usually we can work things out and move on. Sometimes the dispute can be more severe and involve your job, your money, your business, your investments or your kids. If it involves all of those things... you need a family law attorney.
The number one reason that people need a family law attorney, that all the other issues stem from, is divorce. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) keeps records and provides statistics on a wide variety of social issues in Texas and the stats on divorce are surprising. The divorce rate in Dallas county is 52%. Tarrant county sits at the top of the Texas pile at 56% and the rest of the counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex not faring much better.
Do I need a Family Law Attorney to Get Divorced?
Not every divorce requires the services of a skilled attorney. A fair number of couples seeking divorce can remain friends through the process or they don't have kids or large assets to divide. These situations are relatively easy to navigate, law degree or not. It's when there are kids, businesses, retirement accounts or other assets falling under the "community property" banner that it becomes necessary to bring a legal professional into the mix. With thousands of people needing a family law attorney there has been a boom of pop-up "law firms" appearing out of nowhere trying to get a piece of this lucrative pie.
Find Out How To Pick a Divorce Attorney
We had a chance to sit down with Dallas family law attorney and municipal judge John P. McCall Jr. We talked about family law, divorce, questions that will help you pick a lawyer that fits your needs and some legal milestones for the LGBTQ community in Texas. John's BBA is from University of Texas in Austin, his MBA is from East Texas State University and Juris Doctorate is from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. After practicing law for over 20 years in Dallas and serving as a Justice of the Peace McCall has learned a thing or two about the real world applications of the law surrounding divorce and who you will want in your corner if you end up in courtroom. Some of the tips we got were common sense. Others... not so much.
The most important piece of divorce advice:
We understand that this is not "how to pick a divorce attorney" type of advice and we (The Dallas Metro Review) were also advised that this would be a great point to reiterate that nothing in this article should be considered legal advice. We are not a law firm, we are not lawyers or in any way qualified or claiming to be qualified to offer legal advice. Also, any anecdotes offered by Mr. McCall for the purposes of this article should not be considered legal advice and you should seek legal counsel for your specific situation from an attorney licensed to practice law in your state
Back to "stay calm."
According to McCall, this is the first and best piece of advice that he gives to most of his clients. Family law matters are inherently emotionally charged and often lead to otherwise reasonable people doing very unreasonable things. It is important to remember that once divorce, custody or child support gets taken up in court everything that you do and say will come out in front of the judge. "I can't count how many times a heated social media post has made it's way to the judge during a custody battle. " he says. Just by taking that extra second to take a deep breath and ask yourself "do I want this text/facebook post/instagram story to be read out loud to a judge?" and if the answer is no, don't do it. Because so many people are looking to get in that jab or want the satisfaction of "telling someone off" that critical step is often overlooked.
What to look for when looking for a divorce attorney
The last thing you want to do is just flip through the yellow pages (or, in 2019 rely on a quick google search) and go with the first attorney you see. Your divorce attorney is going to be the expert you rely on to make wise and informed decisions about your divorce. You may be tempted to ask your lawyer friend who got you out of a parking ticket or maybe the lawyer that drafted the lease on your office space; but don't.
According to Mr. McCall here are a few things you should be looking for when making the selection:
Questions to ask an attorney before you hire them
John's a very busy guy and that's all the time we could get from him before he started billing us for the interview. He did leave us by stating that he has handled thousands (yeah, we asked twice. He said thousands.) of divorces in Dallas and if you need a divorce attorney in Dallas go ahead and contact The Law Offices of John P. McCall Jr. at 214-617-9674
It's 5:30am. Most people are still sound asleep. If you are the go-getter type you might be begrudgingly brewing your coffee in the dark. Frank Guzman is mixing his second ton of concrete for the day. Frank is no stranger to early mornings like this. He has been pouring concrete in Dallas since 1995 and in late 2015 decided it was time to take the reigns of his own operation and started Concrete King. Having worked mostly on large commercial projects for years, Frank was looking to build a business that focused on people.
"The commercial jobs paid more, but we would do two or three a year and just interact with corporate types. Now that we focus on residential concrete we get to see a project through from start finish and really be a part of the customer's experience. It's a lot more fun."
Concrete or Asphalt?
We asked Frank why he was focusing mainly on concrete driveways instead of some of the alternatives.
"It really comes down to the market. We work in Dallas and concrete is more popular in urban areas."
We did some research which involved driving to a Chic-Fil-A and noticed the driveways in the neighborhoods on the way. Through rigorous scientific observation we noticed that, yes, most driveways in Dallas are concrete.
"I wanted to focus my business on what my customers wanted and get really good at that one thing."
That makes total sense and we thought it was such a great move we wanted to get to know Frank and Concrete King a little better in this edition of the Dallas Metro Review.
Why are concrete driveways more popular in urban areas?
It really all comes down to cost. It's cheaper to get the materials for asphalt out in the country. Then there's durability. On average you're going to see more traffic in urban areas and concrete is more durable to stand up to that traffic. Asphalt is softer.
Why did you want to start your own business?
Like a lot of entrepreneurs I had reached a point working for somebody else where I was bringing more value to the table than my employer was willing to pay. I had years of experience planning and managing projects, purchasing, inventory, hiring and firing and that was after almost a decade of being a concrete laborer. I figured it would be easy to take those skills and start working on the kind of projects that I wanted. Small, residential jobs that we can complete in a few days to a week. The transition hasn't been as easy as I thought but it has been worth it.
What was the hardest thing you went through when you got started?
That's a great question. There were a ton of challenges but most of them were challenges that you would expect like cash flow, customer acquisition. Those challenges were expected, we prepared for them so it wasn't that bad. What I didn't see coming was how proactive I had to be with the local governments to get permits, inspections, or utility lines marked. My crew can get a job done extremely quickly with outstanding quality but we can only go as fast as the city we are working in will let us go with their schedule.
If someone had to pick between you and 3 other concrete companies why would they pick you?
I have been involved in the concrete business for 25 years. I know a lot of really skilled guys working in Dallas. I don't want to say anything bad about them and most of the people who are out there ripping people off aren't in business anymore. When somebody is looking to get concrete work done the best question to ask your contractor is what they specialize in. Concrete Kings specializes in stamped concrete driveways in Dallas. Some concrete contractors specialize in foundations or pool patios. I think whatever type of project you need done you should hire a company who mainly does that type of project.
How has the internet played a role in the growth of Concrete King?
Huge. It's almost as big apart of our success as the trucks and the tools. Without a great online presence it's impossible for a customer to find you. Like most old school contractors we relied on word of mouth for a long time but at a certain point that isn't enough business to really grow. Being online and getting that aspect of our business really performing the way it should has been one of the best investments I've made as a businessman.
We appreciate Frank taking a few of his valuable minutes to talk to us. If you are in Dallas and need concrete work done you can reach Concrete King at 214-251-4268 or check out their website and fill out the form to have them contact you at www.dfwconcretecontractor.com
Arlington Mobile Car Detailing is a mobile car detailing service operating out of Arlington, Texas. Customers call from all over the DFW area to have their car or trucks cleaned at their home, office, or while they're at the gym.
Starting with just one truck and a power washer, Arlington Mobile Car Detailing has expanded to include staff and a fully equipped "detail shop on wheels".
We had a chance to sit down with the owner of AMCD to get the full story behind their success, how business is changing going into 2020 and where the auto care industry is going.
The detailing business, started in late 2015, has been run by Chaz and his wife out of a small shop in North Arlington.
What was it that made you want to start the business?
Like a lot of businesses, mine was started out of a need that I had myself. Being a car enthusiast myself I was spending hundreds of dollars every couple months on various restoration services like paint correction and ceramic coatings. I thought to myself "Self, you could do this." Earlier in my life one of my first jobs was detailing cars for a dealership before and after classes. I learned a lot about the process but didn't know a ton about the business. Armed with some Youtube videos and mail-order supplies, I took a real interest in taking car of my own vehicles. The more that I learned about this, cleaner and that detergent the more I got into it and it turned into a hobby. The decision to turn the hobby into a business came to my wife and I when we were at the grocery store and there was some kind of car event happening at a drive-in restaurant across the street and group of attendees were walking past our car and asked where we would be displaying our car at the event. They were surprised to learn that we were not going to display our car. After that we sat down to look at our finances and see what it would take to "take this show in the road."
What was the hardest thing you went through when opening?
I think our biggest struggle was the same struggle that every new business has: getting customers. Getting our first customer was 100% the hardest part. My business card was my car but we didn't have anything set up to keep a steady stream of customers coming our way. We tried a bunch of stuff like starting a facebook page, yelp page and joining the Chamber of Commerce but there wasn't anything about creating those things that was compelling anyone to take a chance on the new guys in town.
If you had to start over from day 1 what would you do differently?
That's easy! I would first look for an established book of business to buy. If that wasn't an option I would set up a website and partner with other businesses in the auto industry to offer my services as a benefit to using theirs. Creating a referral network that makes it very easy for new clients to find me has been the best thing for our business.
What's the hardest part about having a business in 2019?
In today's world you can't just be good at "your thing". You have to be a master on the digital side of your business; or hire someone who is. You could be the greatest frog trainer of all time but if you don't have a great website, social media in place, ads, a way to collect and store your customer's information then you might as well not even train frogs. Nobody will ever know who you are.
Where do you see your business in the next year?
We have been working so hard to establish a reputation of high quality. It is scary to trust your brand to someone that isn't you. Right now I am focusing on training technicians and saving to reinvest into more trucks and equipment because at this point I am the lid on my business. I want to see AMCD be able to serve dozens of customers everyday and I just can't so that by myself. Ultimately my goal is to be able to actually "own' my business not just own my job.
What are your most popular services?
It's right there in the name: mobile car detailing. You can get your car detailed anywhere. That's not news. Our real product is convenience. Being able to fill out an online form or make a quick call and have us come out to perform your detailing service while you're at work, or at the gym, at the movies, wherever is what it's all about.
Most of the calls we get are for steam cleaning or shampooing back seats and floor boards of cars that have been the victim of kids and their sticky snacks. As far as out actual services go the paint correction side of AMCD has really taken off in the last year. For the first few years we would detail a car but there would still be scratches and marks in the paint and our customers would ask us if we could fix those. After having said we could not and then referring them to someone else who did, we figured it would make more sense to add paint correction services in Arlington.
Thank you to Chaz and Arlington Mobile Car Detailing for sharing their story with Dallas Metro Review. If you live anywhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and need an interior or exterior detail service, upholstery steaming, shampoo or paint correction, you can reach them here:
Arlington Mobile Car Detailing
For other great local Dallas service providers check out the Dallas Metro Review local coupon page for awesome deals to places we love! (and hope you'll love too)