Our Experience with Zenith Home

As I work at home every day I get to deal with the multiple cold callers at the door every week, the ones that never just take no for an answer.

So one day there’s a knock at the door and the usual rubbish “I’m not selling anything” of course you are why else knock the door? The guy mentions about the fascias looking tired, I said I know we’ve already got someone coming to sort them out, which we have, and the guy says “but what if we’re cheaper” etc etc I tell him they wont be but he keeps on, said someone will just pop round, measure up and give us a free quote for 2 years, to get rid of him I said fine, then he says it has to be when my wife is home, ok that evening will do, also asks if there is anything else we wanted quoted on because he gets £5 for every appointment, I tell him no and off he goes.

Five minutes later I get a call to confirm everything from his boss who sounded like he was roaming the streets, then another call a bit later from someone in an office. Overkill maybe.

6.30pm comes and a couple of guys in suits arrive, I’m thinking “Jesus you’re only here to measure up, give me a price then bugger off”.

The guys were here for 3.5 hours! Going through the product, full on sales talk, their ridiculous finance option, it also included their embarrassing calls to ‘head office’ about discounts, then telling us we were number 8 of 10 in the area for the portfolio, they already had 7 others signed up in a couple of days so we need to get in quick, seriously I’d be embarrassed to keep doing that, I feel more sorry for the people that fall for it too.

“We’re building a portfolio in the area, we are after 10 properties to go in our portfolio and you will get discounts for agreeing to go in the portfolio, extra discount for a board outside your home” etc etc all the normal crap, £1500 off for taking our finance package. They were talking about the finance package, the way they compare the interest is extremely dodgy, saying loans can range from 8% up to 39% and talking about payday loan rates, then saying theirs is only 2%, I pulled him up on that asking him if that was per annum, no of course it wasn’t, it was per month on the outstanding balance. Also they couldn’t do a good deal for cash payment, no discount, nothing.

Anyway, they go through the whole process, start asking if you like the product, and if the price is ok is there any reason why you wouldn’t say no that day, in theory there isn’t, so I said no, but also we wont be saying yes today because we will think about it in our own time and not when they want us to. He kept trying though, wouldn’t show us the discount price and left us with a quote for £8700, for fascias and guttering. He even made a phone call and just said “I’m calling to hand back the discounts” seriously?! pretty embarrassing.

I said to him you’re not going to turn us away if we phone up the next day and say yes and we want the discount price, he was insistent that they would not give us the discount price any other day, as they will fill the portfolio etc, so I told him we’d take that chance and there are plenty of other companies we can go to. Eventually they left.

Yesterday we received a letter from them saying they are still looking for properties to complete their portfolio, offering us the work for £3100 if we took their finance package or £3400 for cash. What can I say.

The sales process is way too long and over the top, if I had known they were going to come round and spend a tedious evening with us I’d never have agreed to it, I’m one of those people who just wants someone to come, look, measure and give a price, all within 10 minutes, I dread to think how many get suckered into paying over the top for things like this.

I’ve just looked up some reviews on Zenith Home online, my favourite being:
“the man came round my house and was on my toilet fo 30 mins and he left skids on the bowl the dirty basterd”

Smart Polish Pro Review

On Instagram you get to see a lot of products being endorsed, which is how I came across Smart Polish Pro You can see their Instagram here.

I’ve always been a bit sceptical of waterless car washing systems before, always thinking how is it really possible, the dirt must scratch the car etc, but they had a few users pictures on their page and the cars looked pretty good, I went to their site to check it out and it wasn’t so expensive so I thought I’d buy some and give it a try, I went with the 1000ml Waterless Wash & Wax Formula which came with 2 Free Pro Micro Fibre Cloths at the time, at a cost of £24.99.

Once I received the product I was pretty eager to try it out but didn’t have much time, I wanted to see how it worked, I followed the instructions, which are:

1 – Spray Waterless Wash & Wax liberally onto your cars exterior body work panel at a time, and a small amount onto your Microfibre Cloth
2 – With Microfibre cloth only – wipe the Waterless Wash over the surface of your car with limited pressure
3 – It is also advised to use a 2nd microfibre cloth to help buff your car.

It’s not rocket science but I was always worried what if the dirt scratches the car, but it didn’t, I only did the boot of the car for a comparison the first time I used it.

Smart Polish Pro

A week later I had time to do the whole car, it doesn’t take too long, quicker than using water for sure, so I’m more likely to keep the car clean more often now, ultimately I will be buying this product again and again.

Here’s a couple of pictures after I’d finished.

Shiny! #smartpolishpro #carclean #bmwmsport #msport #bmw #e92coupe #e92 #carwash

A photo posted by Darren Clasby (@daz511) on

And a day later showing the beading once the rain had come , which is always typical after you give the car a good clean.

Plumb Traders – Ceased Trading – £1100 Lost!

So we’ve just bought a new house and needed a new boiler for it and as you do when you want to save a bit of money you look around to try and find the best deal.

We happened upon PlumbTraders, the site looked good, “Official Supplier of Peter Andre’s 60 Minute Makeover” it said, the boiler we found was a good few hundred cheaper than most other places online so on 03/08/14 we decided to order it, got the email order confirmation no problems.

Plumb Traders Ceased Trading

On 05/08/14 we received an email with an invoice and an expected delivery date of 12/08/14 with details of the local branch who would be delivering it.

The 12/08/14 as the day went on and nothing came I decided to wait until 3pm before calling the local company to see where it was, when I called them the said they didn;t have anything to deliver today and would make a quick call and get back to me. They called back and said I had to contact PlumbTraders as there was an issue with processing the order, but the items were there ready to dispatch. I tried calling PlumbTraders on their 0845 number and all I got was an automated message “All our sales operators are busy, please leave a message”. I tried their 01384 number and it was either ringing forever and cutting off or constantly engaged. I left voice mails and sent emails but had no response back.

I’d figured at this point the reason we hadn’t got our boiler was because PlumbTraders were just purchasing from suppliers and not actually handling the products themselves, drop shipping basically, and they hadn’t actually paid the supplier for our boiler which is why it wasn’t delivered, so this instantly made me think they were in financial trouble as there isn’t really any other reason why they wouldn’t have paid for it, they had our money after all.

At 6pm on 12/08/14 we received an email from PlumbTraders saying “We are sending you this email to remind you that your order ref: 115035 is due to be delivered on 13 Aug 2014.” Strange we thought, maybe they were going to pay for it on the 13th so it could be delivered, we hoped! It was obviously an automated email as it was sent dead on 6pm but we thought we’d see what happens come the next day.

I phoned the local place late morning of 13/08/14 and the story was still the same, out of interest I got them to quote for exactly the same product and accessories and they came out £50 more expensive.

On the 13th the homepage of PlumbTraders started to get errors, on the 14th the site displayed a message saying they had ceased trading and to contact Begbies Traynor, they were putting the company into creditors’ voluntary liquidation.

So we’ve basically wasted over a grand, swallowed up in their bank account, it’s terrible that the money can just go that quick, they should never have been taking orders when they knew they couldn’t fulfill them.

After a bit of researching around into the history of the company and the owners I’m sure it’s not the first time something like this has happened, the directors are:
Martin Smith
Ian Lawrence Cole
David Steven Cole

There was also a notice of striking off in January 2013 so I presume they’ve been in trouble for a while.

Steven Hancock was a founding director, who now is a director of PlumbArena which seems a similar kind of setup.

The company is actually called Traders Group Ltd There was an original company called Plumbtraders Ltd which has been disolved.

The domain www.plumbtraders.co.uk is now registered to Pioneer Bathrooms Ltd who seem to be Pioneer Bathrooms and Heat and Plumb. So it appears the domain has been sold already, why you would want to own the domain of a company who have ripped people off is beyond me.

I managed to get the contact number the local plumbing company had for Plumb Traders, it’s 01384 361084 the number of a web design company Echelon Digital. So avoid these as Martin Smith is the director there too.

We have filed a claim with our bank via chargeback, we are still waiting to see the outcome of that, failing that we’ll join the list of creditors and probably wait a couple of years to get a fraction of pence in the pound for what we’ve lost.

I like to think I’m extremely savvy when buying from places online, sometimes you just get caught.

Setting Up a Business From Home is Simple

Starting your own business used to be a huge investment. Depending on your chosen field, you might have to rent office space, purchase supplies, hire an accountant, produce mailers and all sorts of other details. It could be months or years before you see a profit, which is why many small businesses went under.

These days it is far easier to start a business. With the power of a personal computer, a home office and a few dedicated pieces of software, you can hit the ground running. Almost any function you would need a dedicated machine or hired employee for can be done with one of these or similar tools.


Keeping your budget used to require enough work to make up a full time job. Keeping the books, filing the paperwork, keeping track of all the money your business handles and all the rest quickly eats up a lot of time. Financial software made it easier, but you still need to purchase it, and most of the time if you’re not trained in using it already, you have a lot of learning to do. Thankfully, all of that has begun to change.

Xero Accounting has you covered on this front. With a free trial to learn the ropes, reasonable pricing and a robust list of features, you won’t need to worry about hiring an accountant or an entire financial department. You can create invoices, record bank transactions, share financial information and monitor every bit of your budget along the way. The program scales as your business grows, allowing you to upgrade and customise it to do everything you need it to do. Xero even supports a dozen different add-ons to customize your experience further. Xero allows you to export reports not only to excel but to Google Docs too.

Collaboration and File Sharing

Do you produce media? Of course you do, or if you don’t, you should. Whether it’s as simple as a promotional image or as complicated as a product pitch, you’ll eventually find you need to transfer a file to someone else. You don’t have to print out a flyer to mail. You don’t need to record it on physical media and ship it. You don’t need to worry about file size limitations for e-mail attachments. Just use Dropbox.

Dropbox is incredibly simple. It acts just like a folder on your computer. The data you put in the folder, however, can be shared with anyone. You can quickly and easily create a link to any file in your Dropbox folder. You can then share the link with anyone you want to give the file to. They even have a special business tier with bank level security and a ton of storage. You won’t have to worry about someone getting into your files or sensitive documents. Only the people you want to share with will ever see your files. You can use 2GB of space with Dropbox for free, you can get additional space free by getting friends to sign-up, or there are monthly plans available starting at $9.99/month for 100GB.

Office Software

If you run the type of business that requires an office, you have probably encountered the expense of a business license for office software. Word processing, spreadsheets and basic databases shouldn’t be expensive, and Google has you covered. Google Drive, which was formerly a number of different services including Google Docs, combines a number of great Google features into one convenient package.

You can use Google Drive for free, which is a huge boon for new businesses. It has some cloud storage features similar to Dropbox, allowing you to keep your important documents shared with your entire team. Google is always handy with support, they have a reputation for unparalleled uptime and you’ll never lose your files.

Scheduling and Task Management

Whether you’re running your business solo or you’re managing a team, you’ll quickly learn the importance of task management. There’s simply so much going on that has to get done. Letting any task, however trivial, slip through the cracks is just asking for trouble. Producteev is a task management application that allows you to organize tasks and projects for yourself and your staff. It incorporates a programming language of its own to turn notes and messages into tasks easily. It works with various e-mail clients and instant messaging programs. Best of all, it’s very cheap. You can use it for a solo business for free, or use it with your entire business team for a low fee.

Harnessing the Cloud

Cloud computing is something a few other entries on this list have touched on. Google services and Dropbox both use the idea of the cloud for storage, allowing your data to be accessed anywhere. Salesforce takes the cloud one step beyond. What they do is known as Software as a Service. Many enterprise software applications are bulky and expensive. You need computers to run them, you need servers to hold your data and you need people to use them. For many small businesses, these enterprise solutions simply aren’t cost-effective.

Software as a Service through Salesforce allows your business access to these pieces of software without all of the hassle. Salesforce holds the servers and runs the software. Your business simply makes use of the service they provide, for a moderate fee. Full enterprise solutions are available, but for many small businesses, the cheapest tiers are perfectly serviceable.

If you need a basic contact management solution, you can get this from Salesforce for just £3/month, check out the full features here.


Businesses have phone numbers. More importantly, businesses have reliable phone numbers. If someone wants to contact your business, do you give them your mobile number? If you do, then you have to deal with issues when your phone is off, or when you’re out of your service area, or when the battery is dead. What happens if they want to fax something to your office? You would need a fax machine and a landline just for that. Having a Geographic number for your UK area code will give the perfect impression.

Soho66 is a unique Voice Over IP (or VOIP) service that can quickly prove indispensable to your business. You don’t need to shell out the cash for a landline or a fax machine. All you need is an Internet connection and an inexpensive subscription to their service. They offer lines for one or for many, depending on the size of your business. They support conference calls and all the phone services you would need. How does that take care of faxing? They offer an additional feature that converts incoming faxes into e-mails for you. No bulky fax machine, no landline and no wasted paper. Soho66 also allows you to transfer an existing phone number or register a local line for their service.

Acrobits is one of another type of application you might find useful, especially if your business is mobile. It and other apps are called softphones. They hook up to your VOIP connections and channel them to your smartphone. With versions for both iPhones and Android devices, you’ll be able to tap into your business phone network without needing anything else. Hold your conference calls and video conferencing over VOIP. If you want, you can even record your calls.


Of course, if you have a business small enough to consist mainly of yourself and your computer, you can always opt for Skype. One of the first major VOIP companies to produce a popular client, Skype offers a wide range of functionality. You can call other Skype lines or landlines, link it to an office phone system or use it for video conferencing. Skype has the benefit of working wherever you have an Internet connection, even if you’re out of range of a cellular network or not in your office. The only possible downside to using Skype for your business is it doesn’t allow emergency phone calls.

Physical Address

Sometimes, you simply can’t do everything online. Maybe you need to have products mailed to or from your business. Maybe you need a physical address to register for some product or service. Maybe you need to send and receive communications with customers or businesses who don’t like using the Internet for everything. For these occasions, you need a physical address.

If you’re running your business out of your home, do you really want to list your home address as your business location? You run several risks, including a volume of mail your carrier simply won’t handle. Your personal mail may get lost in the flood. There are even times when you’re not home, not present to take a delivery.

Thankfully, it’s easy to rent a mailing address. Companies such as Regus offer mailing address facilities as well as extra virtual office services. It can be a bit harder to find a mailing address if you’re outside of London, it is possible though and MBE seem to be available in most major towns. Royal Mail offers PO Box addresses which are cheaper and allows you to collect letters and parcels at a time and place that’s convenient for you.

Total Business Functionality

Starting a business seems intimidating. Even with the wide range of tools available, it still takes a lot of work and a lot of resources to succeed. With the use of many of these tools, a little creativity and a lot of hard work, you can create and run a business out of your home much more easily than ever before. With Internet-based software services, online storage and communications, VOIP phone services and a post office mailing address, you have everything you need.