Trouble Viewing?

IT's Hard to Believe it's been 21 years!!

By Jeff Lavoie

4-25-17

On April 26th 1996 i walked into the seceraty of state and filed my paperwork to start this company. In some ways that seems like a long time ago and others seem like it was just yesterday. the one thing that has remained the same is our commitment to serving our customers. Whether we are in Portland Maine, Manchester NH or Burlington VT, we work really hard to make sure we deliver everything we promise.

I am not sure where the next 21 years will take this company or if i will still be the one leading it at that time, but it has been a fun ride so far. I thank all of customers who put their faith in us to allow us to get here. I also want to thank my staff for the awesome job they do everyday!!!

 

Do you need to get state approval for a lift or Elevator in a private home in Maine?

By: Jeff Lavoie

3-29-17

I was recently asked a question about the involvement the State of Maine has in a residential lift or elevator installation. Well the answer is, the State of Maine does not inspect elevators and lifts in private residences. However, please be sure you are meeting the definition of a private residence. A private residence is considered to be a single family dwelling only occupied by members of a single family. In an apartment building where the elevator is in a common area and can stop to access two or more apartments, then it is not considered a private residence and public access rule apply. However, if an elevator is in a common area and security features are installed (locks of some sort so no one else can gain access to the apartment) and it only accesses a single apartment, then Maine considers that a private residence. Confused? Call us if you need clarification, we can help.

 

What is your real cost of a Vertical Wheelchair Lift or Home Elevator???

By: Jeff Lavoie

3-20-17 

I believe an educated consumer is our best customer.  So here is a real life story I can share with you.  The picture below is of a small printed circuit board for a Canadian made vertical wheelchair lift.  It looks like a lot of other PC boards, but it does not cost like most other PC Cards.  This little part retails for $2,253.00, plus there will be labor charges added for diagnosis and installation of this card.  The consumer can expect to pay in excess of $2,500.00 for just this repair.  Keep in mind there have also been many other repairs done in the past 6-7 years to keep this lift functional.  

If we were in a time warp and went back 6-7 years ago, we would be about the time that this Vertical Wheelchair Lift was installed.  At this time there was a request for a proposal that went out to multiple companies to supply a wheelchair lift. The bid was won by a Vermont based Accessibility dealer based solely on a marginally lower price (less than 2%). Now back in the current time frame, this school is paying a huge amount for this part that is only supplied by the manufacturer. The original accessibility company who supplied the lift has no desire and will not service the product. Not all manufacturers build lifts with PC Board on Top of PC boards like this manufacturer. In fact, one of the reasons we decided to represent Symmetry was because of the simplicity of the design.

Please do your homework and know what your long term costs are when making a capital purchase. If the company you are buying the lift from is not interested in servicing the product after the warranty is over, don't walk - run away!!! 

Savaria PC Board

Self-Installation of stair lifts.

BY: Jeff Lavoie

1-6-17

 No one would ever say installing a stairlift is rocket science!  

 However, even a rocket scientist should not install a stair-lift unless he/she has been trained to do so. Reading a manual is no substitution for training. Every lift is going to come with an installation manual. These manuals are great guides, but should not be someone’s sole exposure to the stair-lift industry. Most legitimate manufactures require factory training before a company is allowed to sell a product. They know that a trained professional not only will make sure the installation is safe, but also insure that it is a not a maintenance issue in the future.

 The DIY stairlift market does not want to talk about the long term maintenance issues with their equipment. They are relying on you only looking at a cheap initial price and not thinking about and the long term implications. Many of the prices advertised on the web are lower than most large dealers can buy the products for. So that means, either you are getting a really low quality product or you are going be in the middle of a “bait and switch” scam when you call. If you end up with a low quality lift, it is surely going to be a maintenance issue in the future. Dependability should be paramount in your purchasing decision. You didn’t put the lift in because you liked the way it looks, you put it in because it made the home safe!! It should work when you need it. 

 

Buying a Used Stairlift

By: Jeff Lavoie

1-7--17

 Here is a guide to help you gather some measurements if you decide to purchase a used lift

  Step 1: Determine Mount Side

  Mount Side: From the bottom of your staircase looking up, determine on which side you want the lift installed. Because the lift mounts to the stairs and not the wall, you may choose either side. Many models cannot be switched.

 Step 2: Measure for Length of Track

 Measurement A - Top to Bottom: Stand at the top of your stairs and extend your tape measure down the staircase. The tape measure should lightly touch each stair tread and the tip should touch the landing at the bottom of the steps. The measurement should be from the front edge (nose) of the top landing to the floor at the bottom landing. This is usually the critical Measurement.

  Step 3: Measure the Stair Tread & Rise

 Measurement C - Stair Tread Length: Measure the tread of a stair from front edge (nose) of a stair to back.

 Measurement D - Stair Rise Height: Measure the rise of a stair by measuring the length from the front edge (nose) of one step straight down to the next tread.

 Calculate the stair angle. http://www.calculator.net/stair-calculator.html

  Step 4: Measure Top & Bottom Obstruction Distances

 Measurement E - Top Obstruction Distance: Measure the distance from the front edge of the top step to any obstruction on the top landing. Common obstructions include doors, walls or railings.

 Measurement F - Bottom Obstructon Distance: Measure the distance from the front edge of the bottom stair to any obstruction on the bottom landing. 

Step 5: Measure Width of Stairs

 Measurement G - Stair Width: Measure the width of the stairs from side to side. Typically 32”and under is the point where you should use caution. 

 Whether you call them Stair lifts, stair glides, stair chairs or stair elevators they are a safe effective way of overcoming difficult stairs when a quality product is installed properly.

 Being an educated consumer is the best thing for you and the entire industry!! Do your research, search for complaints and issues not just the polished up marketing information.

  

Painting of elevator shaft-ways

By: Jeff Lavoie

12-12-16 

A true profession knows it is the small things that make the difference. There are many people who can build a residential elevator shaft-way. However, a professional not only will make sure things are plumb, straight and structurally sound, he will think about it with the end in mind.  

In most cases the end of the job is the paint. No one can see the great job you did cutting the studs they can only see the paint. So let’s talk about the best way to paint a home elevator shaft - you will see parts of it. The part you see is around the doors. When the doors are open you see the drywall around the edges. You may have never noticed this before because you are focused getting in a out of the elevator and not on the edges of the door. The other reason you don’t see it is that many times the drywall is painted flat black. Flat black paint stops the light from reflecting back at you and your eyes don’t focus on it.  Next time you get in a commercial elevator look to the side opposite where the door stacks and see what I mean.  

It is our recommendation that the walls of the shaft with the doors on them be painted flat black. I also think it is good to paint the corner of the adjacent wall one roller wide. The rest of the shaft-way you will not see unless you have glass in the cab. If you have window in the shaft-way that allows light in, you should really make sure the area around the doors are clean and neat because you will see this area. This may seem like a small thing, but it really makes a difference. 

Our Place in the world

By Jeff Lavoie

11-28-16

Over theThanksgiving weekend I had a chance think and talk about our little corner of the world. Family was in town for the holidays and the subject of my business was discussed. I was glad to share how well we where doing and that things have never been better at All-Ways. The thing that struck me when I explained the area we cover is how diverse Northern New England is. We can work in Burlington Vermont and have the small cultural college town or work in Portland Maine and have the old fishing village feel or be in the small city of Rutland Vermont to expeirence all that that has to offer. However, I really like the small towns we work in like, Biddeford Maine, Battleboro Vermont, Kitery Maine, Holderness New Hampshire, or hundreds of other small quaint little Northern New England towns. I don't think anywhere else in the world has diversity of culture and population that we do. So this Thanksgiving one of the things I am greatful for is the the place I live!!!!

 

 

StairLift Prices

By: Jeff Lavoie

9-12-16

We are frequently asked about the price of stairlifts. This sounds like it should be an easy question to answer, but the truth is, stairlift prices vary by the manufacture and the features of the Stair lift. The internet is filled with extremely low priced stair lifts. The truth of the matter is that most of those stairlifts that are sold directly on the internet are junk or refurbished junk. 


All-Ways Accessible has been in the stairlift business for over 20 years and we know what the cost of a quality stair lift is. When the stairlift price on the internet is less than a major dealer (like All-Ways Accessible) can buy one for, we know something must be wrong. Do your homework, think about what you are buying and think about how you will rely in it.

 

We tell people that they don't buy stairlifts because they like the way they look, they buy stair lifts because they need them for safety. So when you find stairlifts priced really low, ask yourself if your safety is really all about the low priced stairlift???? We are not saying that the cheap stairlifts will freefall or anything like that, but we are saying that when it is always broken down and you have to climb the stairs because it's not working, the cheap stairlift price will seem real expensive.

Now You Know - Wall Powered vs Battery Operated Stairlifts

  by: Jeff Lavoie

 6-24-2016

I was looking up something on the web this morning and ran across an ad for a stairlift. I clicked on the site and saw some unreal deals. In fact the deals they are offering are way lower than we can buy a cheap Chinese made stair lift for – and we are a large dealer of stairlifts. That however is another story.

 The real thing that caught my eye was the comparison of wall powered stair lifts verses battery operated stairlifts. The article talked about the main reason for battery operation was for safety in the event of a power failure. They went on to say that there is ongoing maintenance costs for battery operated lifts. That is a true statement. Usually about every 4 years batteries will need to be replaced. The article then went on to talk about electric wall powered stairlifts. The article stated that the electric lifts have way less maintenance. This is absolutely not true . All electric stairlifts have a trailing cable that brings power to the unit. Many of these are on a cord reel, like you have on a vacuum cleaner. We all know how those cord reels fail. The same is true on a stairlift. When it does fail, the cord is run over by the unit and most of the time shorts out and burns out component parts. That’s when it gets expensive. The cost of a set of batteries in a battery operated stair lift pales in comparison to that of a new printed curcuit board or other electrical components.  For those of us who have been in this business for 20 or more years, we know the reason battery operation has taken over the industry is not because of power failures, it is because batteries eliminate the need for a trailing cable. Trailing cables were the weak link in stairlifts before Bruno introduced battery operation as the industry standard. Now you know. - Jeff  

  

Spring Promo Commercial

  by: Jeff Lavoie

 5-26-2016

We have released a commercial for our Spring Promo, very fun to make.  Please check it out and let us know what you think.  

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlnSeRQwIpk

 

The Stannah 600 Scout!

by: Jeff Lavoie

3-2-2016

Stannah has released a new scaled down version of their flagship stair chair;  they call it the Scout .  The chairlift is made with all the safety you expect from Stannah, but at a reduced cost.  The Scout has folding arms and a footrest, swivel seat, on board diagnostics, user friendly controls, wireless call stations and much more.

 What you don’t get with the scout are the fabric options, power folding rail option, power swivel seat option, anodized rail and esthetically pleasing folding seat.  However, if your situation does not require all those safety features and you are just looking for a great quality stairlift, this may be just the chair for you.  We are hoping to have one set up in our showroom within a month. Stop in when in the area to hear more about this new chairlift!

 

Residential Elevator Doors Demystified!!

by: Jeff Lavoie

11-3-15

Residential elevator doors always create confusion with builders and home owners. The current rule states that from the inside face of the door to the sill edge cannot exceed 3".  The rule also states that from the inside face of the door to the car gate cannot exceed 5".  We always tell our builders if they get us a door that meets the 3" requirements we will make the 5" rule work.

Still confused? A picture is worth a 1,000 words. I think this picture sums it up pretty well

. Stairlift Prices VT

 

Give a Vet a Lift Benefits Disabled Long After Veterans Day.  

Written by Symmetry Elevating Solutions in All-Ways Accessible , Symmetry , Wheelchair Lift   

13 Jan 2012

The Veterans of Foreign Wars in Merrimack, NH decided several years ago they needed to gain access to their post.  The only way to access the function room or the canteen was by the stairs.  It was obvious the needed to find a solution to their accessibility problem.  A committee was started and they formed a campaign called “give a vet a lift”.  This campaign raised the money to build a shaftway and install a new Symmetry Elevating Solutions  VPC-SL, three stop lift.  On 11/11/11 (Veterans Day) the ribbon cutting ceremony took place.  Everyone in the organization was thrilled by the new addition.  Many of the members who rode the new Symmetry ElevatingSolutions lift were smiles from ear to ear.  For many of those vets it was the first time in a long time they had been in the building.  The All-Ways Accessible  team was praised for the work they did in getting this project completed on time with such expertise.  Stairlift Prices ME

http://symmetryelevatingsolutions.blogspot.com/2012/01/give-vet-lift-benefits-disabled-long.html

 

Please consider where products are being made. 

By: Jeff Lavoie

President All-Ways Accessible

Posted 9/28/2015

I was listening to the news this morning and heard a report about the economy. The report talked about the slow pace of recovery in this country. Not only is our economy recovery slow, and now china’s economy is slowing down . It really made me think about stuff made in this country. Not enough is made here!! I know most of the competitive Stairlifts, Wheelchair lifts and Home Elevators are made in other countries. I wish more Americans where busy building products for our industry.  I am grateful for my relationship with Symmetry Elevators because all of these products are produced in Illinois.

When we help someone out with a lift or elevator from Symmetry, we are actually giving our money via purchases back to our own people.

How can that be a bad thing???

 Please consider where the products are made when making a decision. It really will make a difference. 

 

We Enjoy the Challenge! 

By: Jeff Lavoie

President All-Ways Accessible

Posted 8/21/2015

I was out with Ciara today visiting a customer at an old New England library. It is an old historic building and they need a wheelchair lift to adequately access the building. The building was built in 1903 and is a historic town building. The design of the building requires access to four different floor levels. With some perseverance we were able to come up with a conceptual plan. The Trustees at the library were all apologetic about how difficult it was find a place for the lift. I told them “this is what we do” and also told them “if it was easy it would be a boring job”. That statement really made me think about what we do and why we love what we do.

 We at All-Ways Accessible solve problems for access issues. Sometimes it’s a wheelchair lift, elevator or stair lift. Regardless of what the product is, we find it challenging and fun to find solutions to access problems. I can’t imagine going to work every day that did not have challenges. The monotony of doing the same thing over and over again without some variables and different locations would get old very quickly.  The challenges are what make all of us here want to come to work.

So, I thank all of our customers for the challenges that they give us!  If it wasn’t for those challenges, life would be boring and anybody could do what we do. 

 

Acorn Stairlift Recall

7-30-15

By: Jeff Lavoie

We just heard today of a safety recall on over 34,000 Acorn stairlifts. Below is a link to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety commission. The recall has to do with the seat becoming disengaged for the seat post thus causing the client to fall down the stairway. All-Ways Accessible has not sold a Acorn stair lift in over 10 years so none of the products we have sold are effected by this recall. However, Acorn has a huge marketing presence in the US, so if you know of someone with a Acorn stairlift, please inform them to make contact with Acorn fix this major safety issue.

www.cpsc.gov/…/Acorn-Stairlifts-Recalls-Motorized-Stair-Li…/

 

Internet shopping

by: Jeff Lavoie

Posted: 7-23-15

I was looking around on the internet at stair lift sites this morning. I ran across several of our competitors websites. There really is a lot of  information out there. Not all of it is truthful, but there is a lot of it.

 I found one company that is claiming that track is guaranteed for life and that is why you should buy their lift. I have been in this business for twenty years and have never changed a track because it wore out. That’s a safe bet on their part and they are charging a premium for it. The other part of the equation is warranty is given by this company that is private labeling a product from a manufacturer. Therefore, your warranty is with that internet seller not the manufacturer. These companies go in and out of business on a regular basis. One week they are ABC Stair lift company the next week they DEF stairlift company.

 I found another company that says they will not be undersold on stair lifts. I think that is probably true, but try to find them when you have a problem with the stairlift. They don’t even have a phone number or address on the site.

Yet another tells you they are going to shop for you and get you the best price on 4 competitive stair lift brands. I can tell you that that is a totally misleading website. They are always going to give you the best price on the product they want to sell you. I know this because they are not dealers for some of the companies they have listed.

What does this all mean?? Do business locally with a reputable company that has its own installers and service people. Shopping for a stair chair is just like shopping for any other product, you need to look at what you are really buying and whom you are buying it from. An educated consumer is our best customer. Don’t be taken in by misleading or false claims.

 

Value Promise

by: Jeff Lavoie
Pos ted: 06/22/15

The ability to customize products is time consuming, but essential if you are going to be successful in the lift and elevator business! Back in April 2015, All-Ways Accessible bid on a wheelchair lift for a school in Vermont. It took a lot of work just to bid the job because it was going to have to be a custom enclosure unit to fit in the space they had available. After a few weeks we followed up with the person at the school and were told that our bid was about 6% too high.  We politely said thank you for the opportunity and moved on.

Last week we received a call from the school district. The low bidder cannot customize the product to make his wheelchair lift work. He had to tell the school district he cannot do the job.

The school district asked if we can still do the wheelchair lift, we said sure. The only problem now is that this job doesn't have enough lead time to be ready for summer school or maybe even the start of the new school year.

As we consistently say, “It’s not about the initial price, it’s about the final price and value”. We thrive on doing what others can’t!!!

Is it a Home or Commercial Lift /Elevator?

by: Jeff Lavoie
Pos ted: 04/07/15

As a general rule of thumb any property that is not a single family home, occupied by a single family unit, is considered a public application. The A18.1 and the A17.1 codes provide a definition of private residence in chapter 1. It is your responsibility to know how your building is classified. There can be major fines that vary from state to state if you knowingly install and operate a residential product in a public application. 

There are many internet retailers that will sell you a product that they say is for public application and is not. You should know that most states in the US require a licensed mechanic to complete the installation in a public application. This is for the safety of the general public. Most states also require an inspection before the lift/elevator can be put into service.

Don’t be fooled into buying a product that is cheap but will not meet your needs. Most of the internet retailers selling inferior products have a no return policy. When a consumer finds out the cheap product they purchased does not meet the code requirements and cannot be returned, the initial low price turns into a very expensive final project.

I suggest talking to local dealers and the authority in charge of lifts and elevators in your state before you make a final purchase decision.

Education is power!!!

Used Equipment - Be an Informed Consumer

By Jeff Lavoie
Pos ted: 03/26/15

Buying used equipment can save you money! However, for the uninformed consumer it can also be a nightmare. Please, make sure you know what you are buying! We occasionally receive calls from people whom have bought a stairlift from someone else because they got a “great deal” on it. Many times it turns out that the great deal was not so great, and they need our help!  Make sure you know if the product will work in your application. If you are buying a used stairlift, make sure you know the following:

     1. Is the track long enough for your stairs?
     2. Is the rail going to mount to the correct side of the stairs?
     3. Will this lift fit the width of the stairs?
     4. Are there parts still available for the model?
     5. Are the features on the lift sufficient for the end user? 

Even if you get all of the above questions answered, it's always a good idea to get a professional to come look at the staircase. Many companies also offer used lifts with installation and warranties included in the pricing. If a deal is too good to be true, do your homework and be an educated consumer!!!

My Staff

By Jeff Lavoie
Pos ted: 02/05/15

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I have the most incredible staff that could ever be assembled in any company. Everyone goes the extra mile to help each other and our customers!! In a lot of businesses I think people get lost and not recognized for what they do, I hope I never get to that point.

Helping People

By Jeff Lavoie
Pos ted: 01/14/15

Today, I had a very sweet older couple and their daughter come into our showroom to get information and ride at the stairlifts we have on display. The mother had just been discharged from the hospital and was having a hard time walking. After talking with the family, it was obvious that she was going to need something to help her get up and down the stairs safety. In the beginning, she was actually quite nervous about the idea of a stair lift. I was able to give her and her family the information that they needed, and did my best to comfort her. After riding the stairlifts and showing them how safe these are, as opposed to trying to navigate them alone, the women and family felt much more at ease. It's times like these that I am really grateful for what I do. I have the chance everyday to keep people safe and the homes they are comfortable with and love. Not everyone gets to say that about their jobs!

Enclosed Wheelchair Lifts and New England Weather! Stairlift Prices VT

By Jeff Lavoie
Posted: 01/09/15

Wheelchair lift enclosures are very popular in New England because of our harsh winters. Most of the enclosures are made of plexi-glass so you can see outside the enclosure and the look of the unit is better. Keep in mind that wheelchair lift enclosures are not water tight, they are weather resistant. That means that they are designed to keep out the leaves, and a vast majority of precipitation. There will always be some moisture and drips inside the enclosure. With that being said, an enclosure for a wheelchair lift is almost a necessity in New England for commercial applications. The picture shown here is of an enclosed vertical wheelchair lift in a local New Hampshire College.

Why are Stairlifts Battery Operated?

By Mike Racki
Posted: 12/31/14

Most people who are new to the industry will tell you that stair lifts are battery operated so it can run during a power failure. While that may be true, the main reason why a stair lift is battery operated is so that it doesn’t require a trailing cable. So you ask, “What is a trailing cable?”  A trailing cable is a cable that brings power from the wall outlet to the actual stairlift chair. Years ago, all stair lifts were wall power and had a trailing cable that worked with a cord reel like the one on some vacuum cleaners. We all know how well those work on a vacuum cleaner! What would happen is the cord reel would not reel in the cord and the chair would actually run over the cord. Thus causing a shortage and burning out lots of electrical components. While batteries may have some issues, it is far better to change batteries every 3 to 4 years than to spend hundreds of dollars on burnt out electrical components. 

In-home Residential Elevators Makes CBS News this Week!

By David Porter
Posted: 11/10/14
 

The CBS evening news just reported on a segment about in-home residential elevators being unsafe for children. Depending on where you live, home elevators do not have the same restrictions as commercial elevators and often times do not need to be installed to code.

So, the question on everyone’s mind is how do you keep yourself and loved ones safe? Our best answer is to deal with a reputable company whom installs lifts to meet ASME A17.1 Safety Code for Elevators and Lifts. Elevators that are installed to meet this code are safe! That's why we at All-ways Accessible always install to code. Unfortunately, that does not make us the cheapest home elevator company, but it makes us the safest! We pride ourselves on doing the right thing. Do you really want your loved ones riding on something that is installed by the cheapest company that is cutting corners to save you a few extra dollars?

Click here to watch the CBS news report:  Watch Video

National Elevator & Lift Safety Awareness Week

By Jeff Lavoie
Posted: 11/10/14

Stairlift Prices me  


November 10-14 is National Elevator & Escalator Safety Awareness Week. Elevators and lifts are highly regulated and built to be safe. However, just like any piece of equipment, these products need to be serviced and looked at on a regular basis to ensure they are in good working order. While it is not all that  exciting to have National Elevator and Lift Safety Week, it does bring to light the need to have products serviced to make sure they are safe.

The New Stannah 600 Stairlift 

 

Stairlift Prices vt

By Jeff Lavoie 
Posted: 10/22/14

Stannah’s new 600 series stairlift just launched this month and is proving to be a hit with our clients. The new stairlift includes a smaller, better looking track. There are several new seat options that make an already good looking stairlift even better. They even added a new option for a wood trim seat that creates a look that no one else is offering. The one handed seat belt that once was offered only on optional seating is now standard on the 600. This makes the Stannah safer than any other stairlift on the market today.

For many years Stannah has been offering a power fold up rail option on its stairlifts. This folding feature was very reliable, but it stood straight up and some customers did not like the appearance of the rail. Well, problem solved!!! The new Stannah 600 stairlift has a folding rail that parallels the track and much more pleasing the eye. Check it out; I think you will like what you see.

  Stairlift Prices ME

UP DOWN