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Wantagh natives Bob Roddini and Tom Mirabella grew up on the same block. Friends since childhood, they've always kept in touch and were even roommates in the Hicksville house that Mirabella owned.

Then last year Roddini, a 1993 MacArthur graduate, got married and bought a house in Williston Park. During the same time Mirabella bought an additional house on the same block in Hicksville for investment purposes. Each home required a lot of T.L.C., as they say in the real estate industry.

"I did a lot of the demolition and finishing work myself," Roddini said. "But the house had to go down to its studs. I was in need of a professional contractor to come in and put the bathroom and kitchen in."

"I gutted two bathrooms and a kitchen," Mirabella, a 1996 Holy Trinity High School graduate, added. "We both had a lot of repair work to do."

All the while Roddini and Mirabella were comparing notes on the progress of their homes. Three months, $50,000 and a slew of contractors later, their homes were in livable condition and they were reflecting on how difficult it was to find contractors to complete some of the renovation.

"We were calling 10 contractors a day to get three calls back and one to finally show up," Mirabella said. "That's when we decided there was a potential business in this. What if we built a network of qualified contractors across Long Island to connect consumers who are seeking contractors."

Then in March of this year their mission was created, "make home improvement projects easy, by connecting Long Island homeowners who need remodeling and repair with prescreened contractors who provide these services."

"In August we created a website and through utilizing lead lists and chambers of commerce we marketed to various home improvement businesses," Roddini explained.

Their website, www.LIHome411.com, is an online directory service that offers visitors 70 home improvement categories ranging from plumbing and electrical to outdoor renovation. Each category will be limited to 15 contractors and all will be prescreened. It should be noted that Roddini and Mirabella, though they are dedicated to their new venture, are not professionals in the field of construction.

"We want only the best of the best to advertise with us," Mirabella said. "We are offering businesses that sign up with us low-cost Internet lead generation. Every aspect of home improvement from start to finish is covered."

LIHome411.com can also offer contractors website development if they are interested in showcasing their work and referrals. Full year and quarterly memberships are available at a cost of $750 and $200, respectively.

While the site officially launches in November, it is currently available and Mirabella and Roddini said the initial response has been positive.

"There has been good traffic to the site that has been increasing on a weekly basis and we have made deals with initial contractors," Roddini added. "We are also close to a deal with a major home improvement retailer."

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, 75 percent of home improvement dollars are spent by people under the age of 60. Additionally, 85 percent of Americans ages 25-29 are online and 68 percent of Americans ages 50-59 are online.

"Consumers are searching more online and less in the traditional medias," Mirabella added.

For more information visit www.LIHome411.com, email customerservice@lihome411.com or call 521-7482.


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