Bullion Dealer! Pretty Interesting “Job”

Ever since I was young I was fascinated with the different jobs and careers that some people were engaged in. I would often drive in remote areas of the countryside and see people living in houses on otherwise deserted backroads and wondered to myself what could that person possibly do for a living that allows them to live way out here in the middle of nowhere.

Don’t you ever think about that? For example, one time I was driving on a backroad up near Tweed Ontario. I think we drove for 20 km on this road as a sort of a short cut between two primary roads. During the entire distance of 20 km I think I saw two houses. And of course it occurred to me what to those people possibly do for a living. Again, this is always been the fascination of mine.

Sometimes when I am in a store, for example, I will start inquiring to the owner of the store how they got started in what they do and what kind of other jobs or businesses they may have had in their life. If any of my friends are with me they always give me a funny look as if to say “ you know some people are going to think you’re a damned spy”. I don’t really care what they think. Most people like to talk about themselves and are very forthcoming when you ask questions about their life. So I just ask. Call me nosy!

So I was out driving east of the city recently and stumbled on to a little store in Bowmanville. It was one of those cash for gold places with a bright yellow and black sign in front. Not very original but something was different about this place. It seemed kind of quaint and not as flashy and showy as some other similar stores I have seen in this industry in the past.

I knew I had an old ring from a past flame of mine buried in my purse somewhere so I thought it going to see if I can get a few bucks for it and get it off my conscience once and for all. I wandered into this little store expecting the usual razzle-dazzle did you get from a cash for gold place. It’s not like I haven’t been in one before.

To my surprise, this place was somewhat unique. It turned out it wasn’t really a Cash4Gold place specifically but more of a Gold and silver dealership. The cash for gold aspect was just a sideline the owners Took advantage of since it was related to their primary industry which is a bullion dealer.

The woman running the store, Virginia,  who it turned out was partial owner was a really nice lady. So, of course, I started into my usual routine of 20 questions while she took the time to do the testing necessary to verify the ring that I was trying to sell. It turned out her and her husband Tom started this business on a bit of a whim. They have been Silver and gold buyers for a number of years. On one occasion from a trip back from Toronto when they were there to purchase some metals a conversation arose between the two of them. The conversation was “why isn’t there someone doing this I where we live” and “ why not us? “

It was quite a fascinating story she told about how they just started asking the simple question “ how can we get involved in the gold and silver bullion industry? “ without going into all the details that Virginia told me it was a fascinating story with a tremendous amount of serendipity. She explained that there were so many subtle little things that seem to happen that were so metaphysical in nature that conspired to allow two people with zero experience in this industry to build what is now two years later a pretty decent business.

Of course, Virginia didn’t go into great detail about how much income the store made or anything of personal nature, but I could tell that these guys were doing pretty well. She told me that the brains of the outfit what’s your husband Tom. Apparently, he had some fairly intimate knowledge of the silver and gold trade from being a participant and also doing a lot of historical research on the subject and keeping abreast of current news within the industry. She said that the rest they just made up as they went along and fumbled their way to success.

Part way into the conversation her partner/ husband Tom showed up on the scene cancel the conversation and the plot thickened. Tom talked a lot about why there was such a big demand and move towards the buying of precious metals in recent years. In particular, it turns out that silver is the most popular of the two metals due to some sort of manipulation of the futures market that was suppressing the price. Sounded kind of fantastical but the man made a pretty good case which, without having any knowledge to the contrary was very convincing.

All in all, it was quite an interesting conversation needless to say. Another “job” to add to the list of interesting and somewhat “classified” jobs.

Anyway, here’s a link to their website and if you want hear what the owner Tom has to say check out his many videos on their YouTube channel. I admit this is one of the more fascinating teams of people I had run into, so I listen to a few of the videos later on when I got home.

Was some pretty convincing stuff. I’m not sure I’m ready to become a gold and silver buyer in the near future but I can understand why others might.

At least I got a few bucks for the ring. $27.50

BTW. Here is a good video with Tom talking.

A Unique Way to Judge a Good Home Builder.

Written by Paul Sharpe

Reposted by Kayla

I have what one might call a classified job. I inspect a lot of other people’s work in secret!

New home builders generally tend to look the same. They have flowery names for their subdivisions such as “Wuthering Heights” and “On the Lagoon” and nonsense like that. Pretty names do not a homebuilder make. Proper construction technique starting with the foundation and the framing do.

So here are a few suggestions if you want to pick out a well-built home. Put on your rubber boots and go snoop around one of their current subdivision lots when they’re cranking out foundations. Have a look at what type of foundation forms they are using to pour the foundations. Are they using a really good quality form boards or beat up old 2 x 4 and plywood frames. Of course, this is not a definitive example of what would engender good work but it is somewhat of a clue. It’s difficult to do a really good job with lousy materials.

The next thing I would do is have a good look at a finished foundation before it’s backfilled. Have a look for large cracks. Look up with one eye down the top edges of the foundation and have a look at how straight they are along the horizontal top. Look for large dips in the top surface as this will lead to a lot of compression in the framing substrate later on. The foundation that isn’t straight will inevitably lead to sagging over time in the walls and some floors leaving cracks and nail pops.

We’ve heard the term” foundational principles” and the other colloquial type expressions based on the term foundation for a good reason. Foundations are everything. Whatever we place upon them is affected by them and in terms of housing, much of what occurs in the building of a foundation gets hidden after backfill and framing. It gets hidden in its entirety if you happen to have a finished basement. At this point, it becomes impossible to judge whether or not I house has a good foundation. So as I have suggested you will need to get out to the job site at the time they are actually pouring foundations.

Sure this may seem a bit extreme but that’s a lot of money you’re spending especially nowadays. Another aspect of foundations that is critical to examine is the fact that they are so difficult to fix once they are poured in hardened. What usually ends up happening when a foundation is uneven is the framing crews well pound small wooden shims in the low spots to prop up these areas. This is not a proper substitute for a straight foundation. It’s better than nothing, of course, but it’s a pale substitute.

Generally most of the aspects of the foundation that building inspectors will look at revolve around drainage. So in this regard they are all pretty much equal give-and-take. You can’t really count on building inspectors to judge straightness. Believe it or not they really don’t care and in fact, it’s not in the code. The foundation would have to be pretty out of whack for a building inspector to raise an eyebrow. In all my years I’ve never seen it and I doubt I ever will.

I know it’s a bit unorthodox but it’s damn good advice to get out to her subdivision in its early stages and check out some foundations. Like I said the foundation is everything.

Check this list of builders I have worked with at this Facebook Page.