Avoid Using Vinegar To Clean Hardwood Flooring

Wood-Flooring Problems and Their Solutions

I’m impressed by a surface that receives such a tremendous amount of abuse yet—when installed properly—lasts as long as a house. Installing a wood floor requires a substantial investment in materials and labor. When problems arise or when a floor fails, it can be costly. Every year, an estimated $1 billion worth of hardwood-floor damage occurs across the country

I’ve made it my business to understand what causes all that damage. The good news is that if you take your time, use the appropriate tools and techniques, and understand wood acclimation, you can create a floor that lasts a lifetime

Wood floors are prone to movement. Installed correctly, floorboards hold tight to one another during humid times of the year and might reveal gaps during drier times. Abnormal gaps are generally the result of flooring that’s too wet when it is installed (sidebar p. 80), but they also can be the consequence of installing flooring in areas of excessive dryness. I’ve worked on floors that had abnormal gaps because floorboards were installed directly over heating ducts, in areas that received a lot of sunlight, and in homes heated with woodstoves, which creates a dry interior environment.

Most often, cupping happens when flooring is installed over a wet basement or crawlspace. A vapor retarder installed between the subfloor and the floorboards can help the condition by slowing moisture migration, but it shouldn’t be relied on as a permanent solution to moisture problems.

Moisture resistant, not moisture-proof. Aquabar “B,” which is composed of two layers of kraft paper laminated with asphalt, slows the movement of moisture through a subfloor, but it doesn’t stop it. An elastomeric membrane has similar characteristics, but is best used in glue-down flooring applications

 

Things to Know Before Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Consider these tips before hiring a contractor to refinish wood flooring

During rainy periods and if the humidity is high, consider rescheduling the job. Wood is a porous material, and when the old finish is stripped away, the floor will absorb moisture. If that happens or if it is just very humid, the new finish will take significantly longer to dry.

Since all the furniture will be removed, the room is rendered unusable for several days. Even then, extra care is needed to avoid scratching the floors. Plan on buying rugs (not the kind with rubberized bottoms) for all entries into the room, and keep your pet’s nails trimmed.

Controlling dust is an important task. No matter what the contractor does to prevent it from spilling into adjacent rooms, he or she won’t be able to control it entirely. Protect furniture and other items that you don’t want ending up covered with a film of dust. Also, keep in mind that the odor of polyurethane will linger for a few days. It can be remedied somewhat by leaving windows open and ventilating the room, but not if rain is expected.

Research flooring contractors

You don’t have to become an expert on hardwood flooring. But it’s wise to learn enough that you can properly evaluate your contractor before, during and after the job. Developing an eye for well-installed and properly maintained floors makes it easier to spot those that are not. Visit various showrooms.

Hire the right hardwood floor refinisher

Plan to interview at least three contractors, and remember that cost is not the sole or best measure of a good contractor. Ask for and take the time to contact references. Examine a portfolio of each contractor’s work. Make sure that anyone you hire is properly insured and licensed, and that every important detail is written into the contract. Good planning and communication will make the job go more smoothly and help you avoid any bad surprises. Make sure you are given a quote instead of an estimate, and be sure to ask about what kinds of unexpected costs can crop up.

 

Things You May Be Doing That Can Ruin Your Hardwood Floors!

Hardwood floors can last 100 years or more with proper care and maintenance but not everyone knows all the rules. These floors are more resilient than carpet flooring, tile and and linoleum floors. You benefit aesthetically and avoid the common issues that come along with Carpet Flooring  Even so, owners can make simple mistakes that can cause damage needing professional repair. There are differences in Unfinished and Prefinished flooring care and not all cleaning products are made the same. Before you make a simple mistake check out this list of Hardwood Floor No-No’s!

Don’t pour cleaning product directly on floor

It may be tempting to create a puddle of cleaner to spread spread over your floor but this can cause the same effect of water damage Cleaning products that are liquid can be absorbed into wood, cause swelling and an uneven look over time.

Don’t Neglect your Sweeping Chores

Remember to sweep regularly, as built-up sand and dirt can act like sandpaper, scraping the gleam off of your floor. Pre-Finished floors are notorious for seams.

Don’t Style and Profile in High Heels across your Hard Woods

A hard, pointed heel is perfectly suited to ruining the finish. Remember, there is no such thing as a scratch-proof finish. It is wise to leave high heels at the door and make sure that they are always in good shape. Damaged high heels can quickly become a chisel on your wood floor. A 125-pound woman walking in high heels has an impact of 2,000 pounds per square inch. An exposed heel nail can exert up to 8,000 pounds per square inch. This kind of impact can dent any floor surface.

Hardwood Floors have a Water Phobia

Do not wet-mop a wood floor. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue. Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened towel.

 

How to Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors (and Some Mistakes to Avoid)

Hardwood flooring often becomes the pride and joy of homeowners who are lucky to have them in their homes! They create a feeling of warm hominess that can’t be replicated with many other types of flooring.

If you want to make sure that your engineered hardwood floors stay looking and feeling like they did when you first moved in or when they were first installed, keep reading. We’re going to let you know how to clean engineered hardwood floors… along with a few common mistakes you should avoid.

Simple Steps for How to Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors

Learning the basics of maintaining and caring for your hardwood floors doesn’t need to be super complex! You might see articles out there advocating for almost constant cleaning, expensive specialty products, and almost unattainable perfection with your floors

Clean Dirt and Debris Regularly

One of the main things to note with maintaining and cleaning engineered hardwood floors is that consistency is key. Now, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean scrubbing on your hands and knees every day!

Damp Mop

Running a damp mop over your engineered hardwood floors will pick up any set in dirt or debris that your vacuum, broom, or cloth couldn’t get. However, be careful with this step. When we say “damp” we don’t mean sopping wet.

 

What Are the Benefits of Hardwood Floors?

Easy to keep clean

Hardwood floors are incredibly easy to keep clean. You can sweep, steam-clean, and vacuum the floors to keep them looking and feeling good.  And unlike carpet, wood floors don’t hold on to dust mites or pet dander

Hypoallergenic

Because of the ease of cleaning and the ability to deep clean, hardwood floors are great for people that have allergy issues

Strong & Durable

Why do many homeowners choose wood flooring?  Because it’s durable.  Wood floors can handle the wear and tear of daily living.  Wood floors can get scratched or dented, but if taken care of properly, can last many years.

Adds Value to Your Home

Wood floors can add value to your home. Buyers are often willing to pay more for a home that has wood flooring than any other type of flooring. Other floorings just don’t have the luxurious feel of hardwoods.  Because it’s a feature sought out, wood flooring may even help sell your house faster.

Can Be Refinished

As we mentioned before, wood flooring is easy to keep clean and is durable. Wood flooring also gives you the ability to make your old flooring new again.  Do you have some dents and scratches?  You can refinish the floors.  Want a different look or a different color?  Refinish the floors. The cost to refinish is significantly lower than buying and installing new flooring. You can make a fairly drastic change in your home without spending a lot of money.

Exterior Painting Ideas

Should exterior trim be lighter or darker?

How to Choose Exterior Trim Colors

The ideal exterior trim color will depend on the look you want to achieve. Monochromatic siding and trim create a subdued, elegant quality, while a high-contrast color scheme can give your exterior depth and interest. Black exterior trim on a white house, for example, emphasizes architectural features for a more modern look.

For homes with darker siding, such as brown or charcoal gray, white trim is always a good option. Bright white can make other colors appear more vibrant, so it’s perfect for highlighting a vibrant front door. If you prefer a bright, colorful look, consider choosing a complementary color for your exterior trim, such as yellow trim against blue siding. These shades are opposite each other on the color wheel, so the effect is energizing and dynamic yet still pleasing to the eye.

To create a subtler contrast, choose an exterior trim color that’s a few shades lighter or darker than your siding color. Combining shades from the same color family highlights your home’s architectural details without going too bold. For example, if your siding is off-white, try painting your exterior trim a light tan or taupe. This tonal look works especially well on traditional-style homes where a bright splash of color might look out of place. When in doubt, earth tones, such as browns and greens, are usually a safe bet for exterior trim colors, as they can help your home blend in with its natural surroundings.

 

Choose High or Low Contrast for Your Exterior Trim

Your house’s trim can either blend in with your siding, or stand out and create an entirely different look. If you’re looking for a muted color that will have a low contrast with the rest of your exterior, look at colors that are within the same color family as your existing (or planned) exterior.

For example, if your home is a dark grey, using taupe for your trim can add some color without creating a strong contrast. This subtle difference between the walls and trim prevents it from falling flat without making the exterior trim very evident.

Use a Monochromatic Finish for Your Home’s Exterior Trim

A monochromatic color palette is considered different shades of one hue. So if you have a dark grey exterior with light grey exterior trim, that would be considered a monochromatic palette.

You can also achieve a monochromatic exterior for your home with one color, but with different finishes. If the entire exterior is painted a matte grey, it could fall flat. Instead, reserve the matte finish for the siding or brick, and choose a glossy finish for the shutters and doors.

Determine Neutral Tones or Bold Colors for Your Exterior Trim

One way to create a unique exterior for your home is painting your trim a color. You could choose either neutral tones or bold colors to complement the primary color for your exterior.

A neutral color is a great way to introduce color to your home’s exterior without a stark contrast. This could be a neutral like olive green that adds color without being too overwhelming, and can complement the rest of your home. Earthy tones are common in home exteriors, as they blend well and maintain a classic feel.

Using Your Home’s Style to Find Your Colors

We’ve written about your home’s interior style when painting before, but you can also bring in your desired style when choosing your exterior paint color. If you’d like a classic look for your home, a tan or grey exterior with a red door is the perfect choice.

If you love a vintage style or are looking for something unique, your home’s exterior trim can accomplish that. This home’s blue accents are reminiscent of the mid 1900s, and creates an exterior that gives your guests a peek of what’s inside.

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing a New House Color

When it comes to picking exterior paint colors, there are a number of things to consider before making a final decision. Here are some basic do’s and don’ts to help you choose the perfect color—or colors—for your dream home.

DO: Consider Colors

Many homeowners worry that a unique color scheme will end up costing more, but fortunately that’s not the case! Applying a little imagination to the selection process won’t stress your wallet any more than choosing a neutral shade would—so why not have a little fun?

DO: Take a Hint

Notice what colors exist on your exterior that cannot be changed—the dark gray flecks in your brick, for instance, or that blue cast in your roofing shingles. A cohesive color scheme will take into account these unchangeable shades.

DO: Accent

Add character and charm by painting your window trim and architectural details in a contrasting accent color. And don’t forget that you can also use color to emphasize your entryway.

DON’T: Misplace the Accent

Accenting is great, but only when used to highlight the more attractive elements of your home. Avoid drawing attention to drab features like gutters, air conditioning units, or unevenly placed windows.

DO: Consider Trends

Trends in exterior paint move at a snail’s pace. The color you choose today is very likely to still be in style tomorrow, or ten years from tomorrow. White used to be the “safe” choice, but more and more homeowners are experimenting with color and tinted neutrals. Tour a few neighborhoods to get a sense of what others are opting for.

DON’T: Ignore the Neighbors

While it’s a good idea to get creative, it’s usually a bad idea to pick colors that will clash with your neighbors’ exteriors. You can always stand out, but try to do so in an unobtrusive way!

 

Final Coat

Every color choice must be tried out on the house – don’t ever buy a gallon of paint from the color chip alone! Most paint stores offer quarts of paint at reasonable prices so you can try out several colors or color combinations before you commit to a scheme.

Get a couple of paint decks (those color wheels that fan out) from a couple of paint manufacturers to get started. Narrow your choices down to two or three paint schemes, then buy a quart of each color – AND a quart of several other colors that are nearby on the color strips.

 

What are the most common mistakes homeowners make when choosing exterior paint colors?

Assuming that a colorful and imaginative color scheme will cost a great deal more for product and labor. Unless the scheme is a “painted lady” with numerous colors, this is rarely the case. Accenting unattractive elements such as gutters, downspouts, a protruding garage door, air conditioning units, unevenly placed windows, etc.

Ignoring neighboring houses: your color scheme choice should not clash with the neighbor’s house — it’s a lose-lose situation. Choose a scheme that blends with the neighborhood or stands out in a subtle, unobtrusive manner. Landscaping counts: consider tress that change color, flowering shrubs, flower gardens when selection colors, for compatibility. Heavily wooded lots will make colors look darker due to shade; also could camouflage homes, so attention to detail is needed. Greens are not a good choice in this situation.

What To Search For When Deciding On A Criminal Defense Attorney

Legendary criminal defense attorney, who represented the famous and the infamous, has died

At what point do you mention that death finally came for him, filing one motion he could not quash? died Tuesday at age 78. He had been fighting cancer in recent years, and long suffered from a neuromuscular disorder called dystonia that sometimes makes muscles contract involuntarily. He walked with a cane or used a scooter but even that, he used to his legal advantage.

“When he was trying to do something in front of the jury, of course his limp got markedly worse,” said World Business Chicago CEO, a former federal prosecutor and first assistant Cook County state’s attorney. “I saw that happen more times than one.”

“Sometimes when he was cross-examining an eyewitness,” said former U.S. “I would so admire what he was doing, I would forget I’m on the other side.”

Underline the word “criminal” in the sentence above. got many, many defendants off the hook, but that does not mean they were innocent. Just the opposite.

Win or lose, seeing in action was a lifetime experience. Courtroom benches filled when word got around that he was about to cross-examine witnesses. His questioning made jurors wonder if they were tainted by money or revenge or fear.

 

Criminal Lawyers with 50+ Years’ Experience helping Clients

Most people go their entire life without dealing with the criminal courts.  Unfortunately, there are times when people make mistakes or misjudgments for whatever reason.  They get pulled over for a DUI, they get cited for retail theft, they get involved in a fight, or they are found possessing a controlled substance.

Many people think that just because they were cited or arrested that they are guilty.  This is not the case.  You have to remember, no matter how bad things look, you are innocent until the Commonwealth proves you guilty of each of the charged offenses beyond a reasonable doubt after a full trial in front of a jury of your peers.

That means, if you are charged with a DUI, the Commonwealth has to present compelling evidence and testimony in open court, before a judge and jury, which proves you were driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance which resulted in you being incapable of safe driving.  As you can see, there is a lot they have to do and even more they have to prove.  As a result, the law favors you

The “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard is not to be taken lightly.  It is the highest standard under the law and, believe it or not, very difficult for the Commonwealth to meet.  Even with all the evidence in the Commonwealth’s favor, a defendant still has the absolute right to cross examine the Commonwealth’s witnesses; to question the processes which may or may not have been followed; to present alternate theories as to the facts presented; and to pick apart the evidence used against you through counter witnesses and experts.  Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys can present these and numerous other defenses to create doubt in the jury’s minds and return a verdict of not guilty.

Criminal Defense Lawyers are with you and advising you every step of the way

Did you know that effective representation begins right after your initial contact with law enforcement?  As they say, the best defense is a good offense.  The sooner we get involved the more we can do to aid you.  For instance, we evaluate every encounter to determine whether the police have followed proper protocol when investigating the alleged crime?  Did you feel that you were free to leave or were you placed under arrest?  Did you make any written or oral statements?  Were you alone or with someone?  These questions, and many others

 

Can Criminal Defense Attorneys Contact Victims?

Criminal charges can be chaotic for you and everyone involved, and you may be uncertain how to move forward and get your life back on track after being accused of an offense. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney will allow your case to be handled by a team that has helped many others who have been in your situation. A skilled attorney will do everything within the scope of the law to bring a successful outcome to your case

This may include speaking with the alleged victim in order to find an acceptable way for all parties to easily resolve legal proceedings. Speaking with a victim may not always make things better for your case. As criminal defense attorneys with years of experience

Who Should and Should Not Contact Victims?

If you have been arrested and are awaiting a hearing or trial, the alleged victim of your offense is a witness in your case, and the evidence they provide may be impactful in determining the outcome. While the police or prosecutor may inform this person that they do not have to speak with anyone if they do not want to, your lawyer has the right to contact them and ask if they’d be willing to discuss what’s going on.

Your Criminal Defense Attorney Can Strengthen Your Case by Contacting the Victim

As your case moves forward, your lawyer will work to build the best defense possible, but it is important to see if there are any factors that will resolve your case before it goes to trial. As criminal defense lawyers, we would like to resolve our clients’ cases successfully and quickly, so we can help you and your family to move on with your lives. Each case is different, but it’s possible that your alleged victim would like to drop the charges. Sometimes this can be done if a lawyer has a productive meeting with them.

A Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Criminal prosecutions are taken very seriously, and you can be looking at prison time, large fines, and a permanent record if convicted of an offense. Your best opportunity to protect your rights and freedom comes from having a skilled attorney working for you and contacting any relevant witnesses or alleged victims in your case. Do not attempt to contact the victim on your own without first speaking to your legal counsel, as an experienced lawyer will know how to best move forward with this task.

 

Things to Consider When Hiring a Defense Attorney

For those that have run afoul of the law, choosing a criminal defense attorney to mount their defense in court can be a life changing decision. Regardless of the gravity of the crime, it’s important to hire an attorney as quickly as possible. In felony cases this rings doubly true, as the stakes are often much higher. But even misdemeanor cases go better for defendants who have an experienced attorney on their side.

When deciding who to trust with the case, the first thing to consider is experience. A law firm that has handled and won many other similar cases is simply better suited for the job. Those accused of serious felony crimes certainly don’t want to trust their futures to lawyers who make most of their bread and butter off fighting traffic tickets.

Consider arranging a consultation with the attorney under consideration before signing a contract. During this meeting, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Try to get a good idea of what kind of similar work he or she has done in the past, what trial strategies would be recommended, and whether or not his or her associated fees are prohibitively high. Do keep in mind, however, that hiring a lawyer is one of the areas in which bargain hunting is not a great idea. When something as serious as a potential criminal conviction is on the line, clients are better off prioritizing skill and experience over lower cost.

The earlier this decision is made, the more time the attorney will have to prepare a client’s case before trial. Often pre-trial agreements in the form of plea bargains or sometimes even dismissals can be arranged, but this requires hiring a lawyer as soon as possible after arrest.

When working with a defense attorney, be sure to communicate openly both about knowledge of the incident and potential defense strategies. And remember that whatever lawyer is ultimately chosen, it’s a good idea to trust his or her judgment. Of course clients should understand and agree with their attorneys’ defense strategies, but keep in mind that the best results will be obtained with an attorney clients trust to make appropriate decisions on their behalf.

 

Criminal Defense Attorney

Being accused of a crime can be a stressful, prolonged process that can irreparably harm your career, family, and life. If you’re currently facing criminal prosecution or investigation, firm of criminal defense attorneys can give you the help you need.

understand how difficult it can be for you and your loved ones during these trying times. With wealth of knowledge, here to make the process run as smoothly and stress-free as possible. team of attorneys have the experience, passion, and consideration to give you the best possible results

Defense Firm That Cares About You

Law Offices is a hardworking firm with a team of criminal defense lawyers proud to serve the community. are committed to giving you the attention and assistance you deserve.

Picking the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer

Choosing an attorney for a criminal case is not an easy decision – most people usually don’t have a regular criminal defense lawyer as they do a mechanic or a family physician. The process can be made more difficult by the fact that many people don’t necessarily know what defines a “good” lawyer, especially in a criminal case.

recommend that you find a criminal defense lawyer that is not only supportive, but also has experience that’s directly relevant to your case. These are often lawyers who know exactly what to do and how to get things done – without consulting any resources or recent court decisions.

How Good Bookkeeping Can Help Protect & Grow Your Business

How do I market my bookkeeping business?

Marketing your business doesn’t have to involve expensive advertising campaigns. Your marketing plan should also be largely focused around on-going initiatives that are still manageable during your busy times, not just when things get quieter.

Here are 6 ideas you can add to your marketing plan to help you boost your bookkeeping business without massive monetary investment:

  • Pro-bono work

Offer your services to help out a local community group or charity organisation. I know this might sound counter-productive, after all, you’re trying to make money, not give it away, right? However, offering your services pro-bono can have a flow-on effect as you build your networks and lift your profile in the community. You never know who else you can get your business in front of! Ask if your logo or current promotions can be included in community newsletters or if you can advertise with business cards or a poster in return for your services. Commit to at least 6 months and then re-evaluate to see if your business is getting anything out of the relationship – although you might find that simply giving back is benefit enough!

  • Provide helpful free resources

Become known as a reliable source of expert, up-to-date knowledge around accounting, compliance, best practice, and business hacks.

These resources could include:

  • regular blog articles on your website
  • a monthly newsletter with advice and helpful links
  • contribute guest posts on other blogs
  • ‘How-to’ videos or demos

Make sure to capture email addresses through download forms or subscriber options, so that you can then continue to nurture the potential lead relationship through emails.

  • Incentivise referrals

Make the most of your biggest fans – your existing customers. Ask them to refer your services to their own networks, and if necessary, incentivise this by offering them a ‘reward’ for any new leads, or new business won, such as an hour off their next fee, a voucher or a free lunch. Remember: give to get! Make sure you are also out there actively offering referrals to other businesses in your networks if you expect others to do the same.

  • Face-to-face networking

Don’t underestimate the power of face-to-face networking. Yes, it might seem like a lot of time investment, but building strategic relationships is the most critical part of marketing your business. Attending networking events is not just about finding new clients (although obviously that should also be your aim!), it’s also about meeting other business owners who may be great sources of continued referrals to your ideal clients. Consider joining a local networking group that meets fortnightly or monthly (they are usually around an hour and will often be held over breakfast, so won’t eat into your day), and take up opportunities to attend various industry events. However, make sure you do your research and consider whether other attendees are going to fit into your target customer before you invest time or money.

  • Connect with others in your industry

One of the things that was evident to me at the recent Xerocon Auckland event was what a tight and supportive industry bookkeeping is. Bookkeepers are awesome at helping out others in their industry, rather than simply seeing them as competitors. Make the most of these alliances – when you do find you have too much work on your plate, you have a client that’s not quite right for you, or perhaps they want to work with someone a little closer to home, don’t be afraid to refer leads on to other bookkeepers – you’ll find that they will do the same! Be sure to network and connect with other bookkeepers, ask questions, offer advice, provide commentary on industry events and participate in online discussions.

  • Online networking

A big part of connecting with other bookkeepers will likely revolve around online forums and communities. These present a great opportunity to build relationships, learn from others, and increase referral opportunities. Consider your target audience before you invest too much time in social networking. For example, if you’re targeting business owners, you’ll likely have the most success using LinkedIn to promote your services, rather than Facebook. Join groups and get involved in the discussions. Once you feel confident, start your own threads by posing questions and posting your blogs.

 

Don’t forget word of mouth

Ads, articles, social posts and speaking gigs are great – but there’s nothing like getting a recommendation. An endorsement from one business owner to another carries a lot of weight. Plus clients tend to recommend other business owners like themselves, so you know what you’re going to get. Your work is one of your biggest and best advertisements.

How to get the word out

  • Check out these guides on promoting a bookkeeping or accounting practice.
  • Build a professional website
  • Perfect your elevator pitch
  • Writing to promote your bookkeeping business
  • Get referrals through word-of-mouth marketing
  • Create an SEO strategy to help people find you

 

Have Various Marketing Strategies

How can your business possibly generate 6 figures in revenue if nobody knows who you are?

Unfortunately, solely word-of-mouth advertising won’t do the trick. You’ll need to have more additions to your marketing tool belt.

Introducing the 7×5 Marketing plan.

It features 7 different strategies, if used properly, that will get you at least 5 new clients per year. The methods are:

  • Talking to people you know
  • Networking,
  • Mailing flyers or postcards,
  • Door-knocking,
  • Approaching accountants,
  • Utilizing referrals and
  • Using your website & online.

Many bookkeepers don’t like marketing, but if you truly want a 6-figure business, you’ll need to do things outside of your comfort zone.

Think about it like this, if you commit right now to doing things your competitors don’t want to do, you’ll later be living the glorious life they won’t have because of your commitment to marketing and other uncomfortable actions which helped your bookkeeping business flourish.

 

Treat a No as a Future Yes

You read that right. In the world of bookkeeping, you never know what will happen. Therefore, treat each lost lead as a potential future lead. Once you learn they have gone with someone else or simply don’t want to work with you to try and learn why so you can learn from the experience. Moreover, ensure to send them a closing email thanking them for their valued time and offer them a free value-added gift such as a free 15-minute consultation, your top bookkeeping tips for business owners or whatever comes to your mind. This goodwill and business sense will help them remember you in the future if they are in the hunt for a new bookkeeper again.

What is Lead Generation?

Before you even start thinking about your follow-ups you need to first create a lead generation strategy. Lead generation is the action or process of identifying and cultivating potential customers for a business; basically, it ties in with a Sales Strategy If you are looking to expand via marketing your bookkeeping business, you need to first understand that lead generation can be difficult and can take time but is always an ongoing process for businesses wanting to grow. In this digital age here are my top tricks for creating and implementing lead generation for your business.

 

Keep Clients Informed

You may only see many of your clients once a year at tax time, but you need to keep your name in front of them throughout the year so they don’t fall prey to a competitor’s marketing or go with an accountant referred by a friend. Use your vast knowledge of accounting and bookkeeping principles to keep your name in front of clients. Recruit new business by writing a weekly blog or monthly newsletter. Maintain a current email list and send out your informative articles as you create them. Post the information on your website and social media sites to provide fresh, useful content to your followers.

Network in Person

In addition to keeping up electronically, show up at local networking events to stay in touch with small-business owners looking for a new accountant or bookkeeper, as well as those contacts with whom you’ve already built relationships. Clients who’ve sent you business in the past are excellent sources of new referrals, especially when you’ve served their friends and associates well. Let them know about new services you may have added since you last spoke and find ways to send business their way in the spirit of reciprocity. Introduce yourself to other professionals and pass out cards and brochures at events put on by local groups such as the chamber of commerce. Peer groups that support accountants and bookkeepers also can provide useful connections, as many bookkeepers get more business than they can handle and need trustworthy, competent professionals to whom they can refer the overflow.

Tips For Purchasing New Car Dealer Online

What the Internet of Things Means for Dealerships

A quick look is all it takes to know that vehicle technology has taken huge leaps in recent years. Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, GM’s OnStar, and dozens of other technologies have made vehicles part of our ‘network’, not just tools for transportation. Connectivity is a driving force for automotive and it centers around what’s known as the Internet of Things, or IoT.

Internet of Things (IoT) often seems like an incomprehensible term. What it simply refers to, according to Dictionary, is “a network of everyday devices, appliances, and other objects equipped with computer chips and sensors that can collect and transmit data through the Internet.” Essentially, in automotive it’s the wireless connection between vehicles and their surroundings, as well as the connectivity between a customer and the dealership.

IoT Implications on Auto Retail

No question, there’s a massive shift occurring in auto retail due to connectivity. IoT plays a role in various facets, some of which are obvious, and others less clear.

Autonomous Driving and Vehicle Tech

The clearest example of IoT in auto retail is found in onboard technology. Features such as autonomous driving from carmakers like Tesla and ParkSense technologies from Ford are good examples. There are many other IoT aspects in vehicles today including 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots and even infotainment system with satellite radio or navigation. These technologies are all powered by wireless connections. Vehicle updates are completed ‘over the air’ in any cases.

Predictive Maintenance and Repairs

Every sensor and module in cars today are connected to an in-vehicle network. Some of those are also connected to an external network or, at least, could be. Should a sensor detect a failure or predict a potential problem, or if service or maintenance is coming due based on real-time data monitoring, the vehicle can transit that data.

 

things you should always keep in your car

Whether you drive a truck, a car, or ride a motorcycle, it’s always a good idea to have a few things in your vehicle to help you get through unforeseen events. Sure, sticky cup holder pennies may help you pay for an extra bit of gas if you find yourself running low, but would you have what you needed if your car battery dies? What about if you lock your keys in your ride or if you get stuck in the snow?

Snow storms have nothing on this magnetic windshield cover

Unfortunately, we can’t predict exactly what events will happen to you in the future; we can, however, suggest the right tools to help you be prepared for common situations that drivers find themselves in

The only thing worse than having no jumper cables around when you need them is having your cell phone battery die when you need to contact someone with jumper cables. Suaoki solves both those problems. Suaoki is a multifunctional jump starter with USB ports for charging your phone or tablet. It peaks at 500 amps to give your battery the boost it needs and works for cars, motorcycles, and ATVs with 2.0-liter engines. Just connect the mistake-proof jumper cables directly to your vehicle’s battery.

This quick, powerful, and easy to use tool could help keep you and your loved ones alive on the road. Resqme is a 2-in-1 emergency rescue tool that allows you to cut jammed seat belts and break windows in just seconds. This tool can attach to your keychain, so it’s with you at all times and would be crucial if you ever found yourself submerged in water

This set of tire traction mats wants to help get you out of any sticky situation. It has cleat-like, anti-slip spikes that grab onto the snow, ice, or anywhere you get stuck so you don’t have to call a tow truck. Both sides feature traction spikes so it can grip both your tires and the ground below.

 

We’re mid-pandemic. Is now a good time to buy a used car?

The COVID-19 pandemic has most people spending less than they used to, and large portions of the economy have been shuttered in order to keep us socially distant and safe. But the pandemic has also started to create some unique opportunities for consumers. Among them: getting a great deal on a used car.

The new coronavirus is changing the used car market, with some experts projecting a significant price collapse in the coming months. Just like your grocery shopping experience has changed significantly due to COVID-19, buying a used vehicle is now a new world with risks, complications, and uncertainties.

“Prices will probably drop about 15% for cars and about 18% for trucks and SUVs between now and the middle part of the fourth quarter,” Murphy says, which would be around late October.

That expected drop in used car prices is enormous, considering pre-pandemic trends. “Before all this happened, used car prices had been going up for the previous 10 years in a pretty steady way,” Murphy explains.

“We started to see things slow down in March by 1%, which might not seem like a lot but it’s actually significant. It’s the biggest decrease in pricing we’ve seen across the whole industry since September 2007. We expect this month the decline will be even greater.” Through April, May, and June

 

Buying A Car: Tips For A Good Car Dealership Experience

Buying a car may be one of the most stressful things you ever do. Whether it’s new or used, a car is one of the most expensive items you will ever buy. While the internet has helped consumers arrive at a dealership armed with more information, that hasn’t really changed the overall dealership experience. And depending on that experience, it’s very easy to feel you’ve gotten a bad deal.

Savage offers these tips to help you prepare for that big purchase:

Go to Kelly Blue Book to look up the invoice of the car you are interested in: “There’s always some wiggle room, but at least you have a starting price to go in with and work from there.”

Don’t get lazy: “People may look up the price, but they go in and get influenced by color … or features … and salesman are professionals at this. They know what to play up and how to maneuver and try to get people to take what they would like them to take.”

Act like you’re not sure about going forward with the purchase: “That’s a key negotiating tactic.”

Trade-in last: “Know what you’re willing to pay for the new car and negotiate that first. Leave [trade-in] out on the table … Then when you know what you’re going to pay for the new car … if [the dealership] comes back with a [trade-in price] make sure they write it down on the sheet immediately.”

Stay within your price range: “Go in knowing what you want and what price range you want. We’ll probably have a couple thousand-dollar range, probably … but know that before going in and that way you’re not negotiating on their terms.”

Know your credit rating before going in if you’re applying for credit: “Credit unions are great at car loans and they usually have a little lower rate than other people and many times you can pay them off a little more quikcly.”

Go where you’re wanted and go where you’re treated right: “There are certain dealerships that really are strong at the customer service and at servicing your car afterward. And I’d say those are the dealerships I would want to go to because I know that they are interested in me as a long-term customer, not just as a quick sale.”

 

Car Salesman Confidential: Dealer Add-Ons, Good or Bad?

you and the hubby are planning to get out and drive around town to different dealerships to see what’s out there. But at practically every place you stop, right next to the window sticker, which shows the MSRP, or “Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price,” you see a tall, skinny sticker obviously put there by the dealership with all these add-ons, like “Coastal Climate Protection Package,” “Lifetime Nitrogen,” “Pinstripes,” “Wheel Locks,” and “ADM.” When you add all these things up, they’ve increased the price of the car by nearly $3000!

Well, these kinds of stickers are usually called “Addendums,” and the why of an Addendum sticker is the easy part: they show products added to the car to help the dealership make a profit. Which is the name of the game after all . . . at least from the dealership’s perspective.

Just because things have been added to the car to help the dealer make money doesn’t mean they’re all bogus, or don’t add real value

Yes, what I’m saying is, you may actually want some of the things listed on an Addendum sticker, something I may not have said 20 years ago. In the old days, they used to put all kinds of silly stuff on cars, like “Paint Sealant” (paint doesn’t come from the factory needing to be “sealed”), and “Rustproofing” (all cars come with rustproofing these days). The generic term for all this stuff is “Mop ‘n Glow,” which is a famous floor shine product. Great for floors but doesn’t do much for cars.

But that was then. This is now. And today, some of the products on Addendum stickers actually do add value. For example, some “Appearance Packages.” I won’t name any brands (unless somebody wants to send me a check), but many of the products designed to protect your car’s paint and upholstery are extremely good. They’re not just waxes or “Scotchguard.” Now, it’s true that you can buy a similar product at an auto parts store and apply it yourself, but the great advantage of a dealer installed protectant is it normally comes with a warranty that allows you to get a portion of the vehicle repainted (or the upholstery redone) if the product fails to do its job — for free.

Or take nitrogen in tires. This seems to be trendy these days, with dealers all over the country charging you a fee to put nitrogen gas in your tires rather than compressed air. Some dealers even offer free refills for as long as you own your vehicle. Is this legit? What are the benefits?

Photo Booth Inspiration

How do you set up a photo booth for a wedding?

The Setup

  1. The Lights

We used a single Studio flash placed right beside the camera in order to reduce shadows. We bounced the light out of a white umbrella.

This is one of the most affordable lights on the market and I feel it worked excellently for the booth.

  1. The Background

Our lovely couple provided the awesome background.

It was fabric they had purchased from an outlet. They had created a rather elaborate PVC structure to hold the fabric, but you could just as easily tape fabric or paper to the wall. Interestingly, you need much less fabric or paper than you would think. I think you would be more than safe with an area covering about 5 feet high and about 8-10 feet wide. If you’re super fancy, white seamless paper on a proper stand would be very lovely. I’d suggest trying this out before investing a lot on gear though, since you can do it very simply! Renting or borrowing paper and a stand are other options.

  1. The Triggers

We used PocketWizards to sync the camera and the light, but since you only need one light and it’s extremely close to the camera you could easily just use the free sync cord that comes with the light.

  1. The Camera & Settings

The camera was a Canon 5D on a tripod set to shoot large JPEGS (I didn’t want to process all the RAW files!). We set our shutter at 1/200 (can’t sync the light faster than that). The aperture was set at f/5.0 in order to get larger groups in focus. Aperture was set to 125 ISO, and the light was set to almost it’s lowest setting. We also set the camera to all points focus, in order to hopefully maximize the sharp shots given that many people would be in the shots and not all standing on the properly marked X. 😛

  1. The Lens

Surprisingly we used a 50mm lens. I thought we would need a wider lens but the 50 just perfectly covered the amount of fabric background. If you had a larger background using a wider lens, shooting from farther away, or shooting vertically would all be interesting options to experiment with.

  1. The Remote

We used a cheap eBay remote to allow the guests control of the camera. I think this is a pretty great part of the photo booth. You could try to man the booth yourself, but I think you’d get very different photos from the ones they would take themselves. This is where the all points focus and the larger aperture of f/5.0 help out. Update: These are the wireless remotes we now use which are more robust and reliable.

  1. The Instructions

It’s useful to have some instructions printed out explaining what people should do. Our couple had a sign up that invited guests to grab a friend. I would probably also add where to stand, where to look (yes, some people looked at the light, not the camera) and how to use the remote. All simple things, but very helpful!

 

Find the Perfect Spot for Your DIY Photo Booth

Start with staking out a spot at your wedding reception. Your DIY photo booth location should be one guests can easily find, but not one that interrupts the flow of your event. Dance floor corners, unused coat closets or the wide open spaces of the great outdoors are all great options. Once you find a suitable space, take a few measurements and let the picture planning begin.

Build a DIY Photo Booth Backdrop

The faces of your family and friends having fun are sure to be picture perfect all on their own, but a styled backdrop can make photos even better. If you’ve never wielded a hammer or drilled a hole, the thought of constructing a DIY photo booth backdrop may seem above your skill set. Don’t fret! Simply select a simpler setup.

 

Get your props sorted

Now for the fun bit! There are lots of fun places to find some great props and so much to choose from. We suggest having a look at all the cool sets that Not On The High Street have to offer for some great options, or maybe go completely DIY and make your own!

Instantly Shoot and Share Your DIY Photo Booth Pics

Let your photographer focus on the special shots, and have your wedding guests use your DIY photo booth as a selfie station. This approach allows you to ditch disposable cameras that run out of film and have no picture preview, as well as avoid the possibility of theft or loss when leaving out your personal camera or tablet. Everyone is already armed with a smartphone anyway, so leave it in your guests’ capable hands to play amateur photographer.

 

Use Instant Print Cameras

Instant print cameras are a must for any DIY wedding photo booth. If you have guests take pictures using an instant print camera, you can start your wedding album right there! Simply ask guests to paste their photos inside the book. And if you have a little extra room in the budget, encourage guests to take two photos. That way they can take one for themselves and leave one for you, so everyone gets a memento from the special night.

Consider Using an iPad

If you’re looking to create a photo album using higher quality photos, an iPad is the perfect solution. Everyone knows how to use one and they take great pictures, which will all be stored in one handy location for later use. You more than likely already have access to an iPad, removing any cost, and any pictures taken with it will be easy to share or print. Most iPads also come with built-in filters, some of which can be a bit silly, and can save you from purchasing any props.

 

Turn Key Photo booths vs. Customized Photo Booths

You can acquire a pre-packaged set of equipment to get you up and running quickly. Again, there are pros and cons with each of these solutions.

Turn Key

Typically these kits comes with a lower level camera, like a Canon Rebel, a printer, a generic flash and basic carrying cases. If you’re looking for a quick solution and don’t have time to do your research, this may be the best solution. If you have the time, price out each piece individually. You may be able to save anywhere from 10-15% by purchasing a good starter lighting kit like this 1,000 watt quartz light kit and a fun retro muslin backdrop.

Custom Photo Booth Options

If time allows and you’re handy, you can create your own custom booth from lightweight pipes such as the ones used to create trade show booths. Set up a backdrop on a stand and leave the sides open.

Commercial Roofing Or Forest Floor

Commercial Roof Maintenance Tips to Extend the Life of Your Roof

A roof is the most critical part of any structure, and keeping you roof in good repair should be a top priority in order to extend its life or prolong the need for full replacement. As with any building (commercial or residential), it’s important to keep all drains clear of debris and, of course, to have a reliable, professional roof repair company on hand. If problems arise, you need to be prepared to take action. So, what else should you consider when it comes to roof maintenance? Keep reading! We’ve compiled the industry’s top preventative maintenance tips for you to keep in your back pocket.

Don’t Avoid Leaks

A seeping roof is extremely dangerous. Don’t allow your business to suffer from blocked drains or standing roof water that can leak into your business’ attic or air duct systems. Repair costs can be significant. The moment you notice a leak, get a repair crew out immediately. If neglected, the damage could lead to electrical damage, equipment/product damage or worse—roof collapse. Do yourself a favor. If you notice water, bite the bullet and get a repair done while the leak is small.

Get Your Roof Inspected Regularly

Have a trusted professional come out and take a look at your roof every year. Yes. Every year. Regular preventative maintenance allows inspection crews to keep an eye out for leaks and sagging. Weak spots in roofs eventually lead to some sort of failure. And preventative maintenance plans help to do just as the name suggests: PREVENT costly damage and replacement. Look for a local commercial roofing company who gives restoration estimates in their maintenance reports so that you’re financially prepared if the worst case scenario occurs.

Don’t Walk on the Roof

Unless you’re a professional, do not walk on your business’ roof. It can cause lasting damage and impact its life expectancy. Oftentimes, the installation of walk pads can be a wise investment. These walkways are stabilized independently of the main roof’s construction, and allow inspectors to walk freely on the roof without fear of damaging it. Walk pads give ease of access to the professionals you hire and can be easily removed, if necessary.

 

What is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is the easiest way to increase the life expectancy of your roof, and defer the costs of replacement. Preventive maintenance is also a way to keep your commercial roofing guarantee in tact. Most warranties clearly stipulate that the roof must be maintained in order for repairs to be covered.

Everyday exposure to the elements can take a toll on your roof. Every additional year you can go without replacing it means more money to take care of your business’ needs.

If problems like leaks are not immediately addressed, they can compound and cause damage to the structure of your roof, ceiling and interior of your establishment. If you skip having your roof routinely maintained, it can end up costing you more in the long term.

During preventive maintenance, a roofer comes to your place of business and checks for roof damage. If minor damage is detected, the roofer makes the needed repairs.

 

Commercial Roofing Preventative Maintenance: What Is Involved?

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends that building owners conduct commercial roof system maintenance twice a year. Commercial roofing contractors tout the importance of preventative maintenance services, especially for spring and fall. But what exactly are those commercial roofers doing on your roof?

To put it simply, they’re giving it a thorough checkup.

When high-quality professional roofers conduct preventative maintenance, they will:

  1. Access your roof and conduct a visual inspection.

They will check all areas of the roofing system for irregularities and note any they might find. Are the flashings tight?  Is there any damage to the roof surface? Is there evidence of standing water or leaking? A good inspector will know what to look for and where to look for it, and a thorough inspection will leave no stone unturned.

  1. Remove debris.

Debris can block drains and downspouts and prevent water from leaving the roof appropriately. This can lead to significant roof damage and leaks inside the building. A good preventative maintenance service will include checking roof drains and downspouts to ensure that they are clear of leaves, twigs, trash, and any other type of debris.

  1. Perform maintenance as needed.

If the roofers identify issues that require immediate maintenance, they will address them as they’re able. For problems of a larger scale, they’ll develop a plan and keep you informed of your options moving forward. If they identify issues that are likely to arise down the road, they’ll present options for those as well. Early detection makes all the difference, and a quality contractor will help you decide the best actions to take to prolong the performance and life of your roof.

  1. Document everything.

The contractor should present all details in writing and take photos as well. This will help them track changes from inspection to inspection, effectively monitoring the health of your roof.

 

The Importance of Preventive Maintenance for Commercial Roofs

Regardless of the type, every building owner wants to get the most out of their commercial roof system. The most cost-effective way to maximize roof performance and increase its life cycle is a proactive approach to preventive maintenance. The key word here is preventive. If an owner has tarps covering their computers, then at that point they have waited too long.

Building owners should consider that spending a little bit today can save a tremendous amount of time and money tomorrow. A preventive maintenance plan is an investment for the future. After all, you wouldn’t go years without changing your car’s oil or rotating its tires and not expect your vehicle’s performance to suffer, so why would your roof be any different?

Preventive maintenance includes regularly scheduled inspections, periodic repairs of common roofing components (flashings, drains, curbs, etc.) and the addition of reflective coatings.

Inspections: It is recommended to have your roof inspected at least twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Your local roofing professional should:

  • Inspect drains and downspouts to make sure they are clear of blockage that will inhibit proper drainage.
  • Check penetrations and flashings for any gaps or tears.
  • Inspect rooftop vents and equipment to make sure they are well sealed.
  • Look for any signs of damage to the roof and recommend solutions.

 

How To Protect And Extend The Life Of Your Commercial Roofing

Do you know how long your commercial roofing is supposed to last? Many facility managers would be surprised to find out that the roof their building has now could last twenty, thirty, or even forty years if well-maintained. For many, their roofing is already falling apart or experiencing leaks during rainy days.

If you are having problems with your roofing, contact your local Maintenance professionals to discuss preventative care. These three steps can help prevent costly damages and extend the lifespan of your roofing, regardless of the material type or current age.

Schedule a professional inspection. The first step to preventative care is scheduling an inspection with your local Maintenance professionals. They will be able to safety access the roof and look for cracks, missing shingles, pooling, or other signs of deterioration. Once these are identified, your technician will be able to diagnose the cause of the damage and plan for repairs.

Plan for repairs and cleaning service. Once you’ve identified the damaged areas of your roofing, your technician can create a plan for quick repairs. The sooner you address the issues in your roofing, the more affordable the services will be. Waiting to fix your roofing issues could result in more serious, and therefore more expensive repair work. You should also plan for gutter cleaning and other roofing maintenance services during this time. By taking care of them now, you could save yourself money, time, and the hassle of a complete roof repair in the future.

Prepare a maintenance schedule. Once you’ve taken care of your immediate repair services, work with your roofing specialist to create a preventative maintenance plan. Preventative maintenance has shown to reduce maintenance costs and extend the service life of commercial structures significantly. By creating a preventative maintenance plan with your Maintenance team, you can effectively reduce repair costs while keeping your roof in service for years to come.

Toxic Mold Remediation Company Tricks To Avoid

Benefits Of Hiring A Professional Mold Removal Service

Do you have excess moisture in your home? Was there a plumbing leak or sewage backup? Is your health suffering, such as hay-fever symptoms, dermatitis, or more frequent asthma attacks? You could very well have mold in your house. Hiring a professional mold removal service is the best way to go.

Get a thorough cleaning

Sure, there are a lot of DIY articles but why do you want to risk your health? If you do it yourself you are putting everyone in the home at risk for medical problems (major and minor). That and you cannot promise yourself that the mold won’t come back. It isn’t possible to completely eradicate indoor mold, no matter who does it, but a professional mold removal company will be significantly more thorough. They have the knowledge and experience to get the job done well. Mold is outside and is always in the air. It will never be possible to remove 100% of it.

Reduce the spread

During mold cleanup, spores inevitably get into the air and can spread throughout the house. Some of those DIY procedures actually contribute to the spread of mold.

Even if mold spores are killed, they can still cause problems if they are left behind. If mold spores get into your HVAC system, the spread will be even more rampant. Those contain moisture from the air conditioning, warmth from the heating system, and a food source with all of the dust. These three factors help mold to grow. Professionals are well-versed in containing the spread of spores. They will also let you know if further services, such as a thorough duct cleaning, would be necessary.

 

Discover the source

Cleaning up existing mold is a great idea, but it won’t matter in the long run if you don’t know from where the mold came. Professional mold removal services do more than just get rid of the mold in your home. They also go on a mission to locate the source. There is testing for mold and it is done by an industrial Hygienist. They can explain their process and findings with you if you feel this is a step you want to take before the mold remediation specialists come in to clean. These services know how to distinguish the discoloration usually found in a mold infestation, as well as common places where mold may be hiding.

Once the source is identified, they can help you to determine the best course of action to remedy the problem. That way, a recurrence is less likely to happen. They will also alert you as to what to watch out for, so that you can catch a recurrence before it gets out of hand.

Keep everyone and everything healthy

Swift mold removal will help you to reduce health concerns in your household. Cleaning mold by yourself can also expose you and your family to more toxins. Professional mold removal companies have all of the necessary equipment to protect themselves during mold exposure. You can also save your home and your belongings, as mold can completely destroy structures and personal items.

 

Consider the Benefits of Mold Remediation

Mold is a scary problem at best and a deathly problem at worst for homeowners throughout the Northern Virginia region. Mold can quickly lead to a variety of health problems, especially for those with weakened immune systems or respiratory problems, and in the worst cases can even be fatal. Knowing that, you surely understand the need to address your mold problem with mold remediation as quickly as possible. Here are a few reasons why you should consider hiring a professional mold remediation company, such as Envirotex located in Gainesville, VA, for your mold remediation needs.

  • As discussed, mold is dangerous and toxic. Hiring professional mold remediation experts to remove the mold from your home – and take the necessary steps to prevent it in the future – is the best decision. Rather than exposing those close to you to additional dangers associated with mold spores, the professionals have the necessary equipment and skills to effectively remove it.
  • Mold spores need water to grow and multiply. Mold remediation companies identify the areas where moisture is a problem, as well as identifying ways to prevent the moisture from returning in the future. This is key to preventing mold growth in the future.
  • Mold remediation specialists know where to look for hidden mold that you may not be aware of. Mold can grow between walls, in attics, basements, closets and anywhere else that may accumulate moisture and is dark. Mold remediation specialists understand this and can identify signs that need attention.

 

The Benefits Of Professional Mold Remediation

Mold damage is a nuisance in many homes that are exposed to water damage. Mold can also grow along the grout lines of your bathroom tiles and cause a messy discoloration. The molds can also grow in the siding, deck, and handrails if you do not address the damp conditions in the shortest time possible. Also, the mold can be dangerous if inhaled. You should address the mold damage as soon as possible.

Prevent Floods

Taking the right measures after flood damage is the sure way to succeed in your mold removal initiatives. The mold removal specialists have the necessary training that can help when it comes to remediation. Flood mitigation can help you to succeed whenever you embark on your mold removal operations since the dry surfaces will curtail the development. However, you must be cautious during mold removal. If you disturb the spores, they can fly around your home and spread quickly, causing severe mold damage.

Safety precautions

The experts must be careful during the commercial mold damage removal. There is a risk of spreading the mold in home walls if you do not seal off the working zone. Commercial mold damage elimination calls for a restoration company that can prevent the spread by taking the necessary safety precautions during the exercise. While the fungus and mildew have a smelly odor, deodorization is not always advisable. The mold in home surfaces can cause a smelly odor. While you can rely on deodorization to get rid of the smelly odor, it is not a lasting solution. The removal of mildew, fungus, and mold in home floors can be a daunting task if you do not have the necessary expertise.

Avoid DIY

Whether you are grappling with black mold, dry rot, or mold growth behind wall, you should not attempt the project alone. The dry rot can cause the spores to move to various parts of the house and land on your furnishings, walls, and floors. The mold growth behind wall can be quite difficult to handle if you do not know the extent of the black mold development. If you want to control the dry rot and prevent the mold growth in the future, you must undertake a thorough inspection. Since you do not want to expose your family to the black mold, a restoration company will handle the operation in a professionally.

Remediation

Besides taking the right measures during the remediation process, mitigation is also vital. Since the fungus and mildew develop under damp conditions, preventing the possibility of flood damage is a great remedy against mold growth. Mold remediation and mitigation involve removing the visible fungus and mildew. However, the elimination of mildew and fungus is not sufficient to prevent the mold growth. It is vital to engage a commercial mold damage specialist to come up with the bespoke mold remediation and mitigation plans for your home.

 

Mold Removal Process

Mold remediation entails mold clean up and removal by professionals to address the damage caused by mold. Using bleach and water to clean mold will not kill it.

The process of getting rid of mold involves removing the affected material and reconstructing the damaged area. Therefore mold elimination is best handled by a professional who has the training to handle hazardous material. Expert mold remediation includes:

Assessment

A mitigation professional will come into your location to identify moldy areas and the source of the problem. The mold damage expert will then create a plan to remove mold, fungus, mildew and smelly odor.

Containment

It is crucial to set up containment, so that other areas of the building are not contaminated. The source of the moisture issue is addressed and appropriate steps are taken to avoid spreading mold spores during the removal process.

Removal

Personal belongings and building materials can be affected. Keep in mind, mold ingrains itself into materials, so it is advisable to get rid of all porous materials. The safest way to make sure that mold does not return is to dispose of all affected materials. Sealants can be applied to treated areas to make them more resistant to mold, and also to help with smelly odor. Nonporous materials may be cleaned with antimicrobial cleaning products. It is important to have air conditioning and heating systems professionally cleaned.

Drying

Cleaned items must be thoroughly dried. Remember, excessive moisture is what started the problem. As a result, a reliable professional will likely utilize moisture management techniques to ensure your property doesn’t encounter future problems.

Repair

After all contaminated materials are removed, the reconstruction process begins. Some mold mitigation companies or professionals also do repair and restoration work. Restoration can usually be more costly than the mitigation depending on factors such as the style of residential or commercial structure or building materials used.

Testing

In some cases, testing is necessary in order to be sure there is no mold in home. Following remediation, professionals search for any indications of recurrent water damage, smelly odors or visible mold to make sure the cleanup, deodorization or restoration has been successful.

Bed Bugs Control Techniques

Don’t let the bed bugs bite

Question: If you put on “Off” or some other insect repellant before retiring in a hotel will this prevent them from biting? Can they get in your hair? –Dolores Hill, Bessemer, Ala.

Answer: Although we have not specifically tested mosquito repellants on bed bugs, we have tested repellant insecticides. Bed bugs do not seem to respond in the slightest to repellent insecticides. In fact, they will sit on top of them until they die. These results have been confirmed by the older bed bug literature (Usinger 1966) who stated that many repellant materials were applied to bed frames in an attempt to keep bed bugs from crawling up, but none had any effect. Because we have not tested repellants on skin, we can’t say for sure whether bed bugs would be willing to stick their mouth parts though repellant treated skin or not. But we have found bed bugs to be very determined little creatures and I think it would be hard to stop a hungry bed bug. In addition, the repellants that you buy for mosquitoes last only a couple of hours before the effects begin to wear off.  If you apply a repellant before getting into bed, a lot of the material could rub off on the sheets etc.  Also, bed bugs are most active between 3 and 5 am, which is several hours after the time you would have put the on the repellant to go to bed.  Bottom line, a repellant may prevent you from getting a bite or two but I do not believe that they will significantly hinder a hungry bed bug.

Question: Would the silk “sleep sacks” sold as a travel accessory be any help at all against bed bug bites at a hotel? –L Hart , Irvine, Calif.

Answer: Unlikely. Bed bugs can very probably feed directly through the weave of the “sleep sack.” Even if the bag were to offer some protection, the bed bugs could crawl to the opening of the sack and enter that way. The best defense is to inspect the bed (mattress and sheets) and the head board for signs of bed bugs.  If you find any, report this to the management and request a different room.

Question: When traveling I carry a can of Lysol spray and spray the bed with it. Is this helpful in getting rid of bed bugs?  –Ennis, Tex.

Answer: The only way that Lysol spray could help you is if you sprayed the bugs directly.  The alcohols and propellants would probably kill bed bugs if you wetted them down with the material.  However, dried spray on or around the bed would have no effect.

Question: Are the pesticide companies trying to develop an effective bed bug spray? –Diana Shea, Descanso, Calif.

Answer: This is an excellent question.  All pesticides that are labeled for use in the United States have to be registered by the EPA.  To get an EPA registration, the pesticide product has to be thoroughly tested for acute and chronic effects on mammals (laboratory rats and dogs), the potential effects on birds, fish, and honeybees has to be documented, and the environmental fate (half-life) of these products in water or soil also must be quantified.  The cost of having a product registered is now estimated to be around $ 100 million.  This cost naturally limits the number of products that make it to the marketplace.  In addition, there has been a 10 to 15 year trend in reducing the number of pesticide products that receive registration for use in the indoor environment.  In short, it is very hard to get new pesticides registered that are labeled for indoor use (as opposed to agricultural use).

Question: Why is it that I get bit but my husband does not? –Denise, Indian Trail, N.C.

Answer: Bed bugs tend to aggregate together when they are resting.  It is possible that you are on the “bed bug side” of the bed. Bed bugs don’t switch back and forth from one host to another so if they find you first, you may be the only one bitten.  It is also possible that your husband is getting bitten but does not have a significant reaction to the bed bug bites.

 

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are insects that feed on blood and can survive months without feeding. Their bites are often itchy, and sometimes painful. Bed bugs are a growing problem everywhere. By spraying for insects less often, and using less dangerous chemicals when we do spray, our homes are safer for our families but also less toxic for bed bugs

Bed bugs are hitchhikers. They travel by hiding in luggage, clothing, beds or furniture. This can make bed bugs a special problem for hotels, apartments, and when using second-hand furniture. Once bed bugs are introduced, they spread from room to room throughout a building. Keeping a clean home can limit cockroach and rodent problems, but will have little effect on bed bugs.

Symptoms

People sensitive to bites can have a raised, red swelling at each bite site or may develop a sensitivity that can include nervousness, and sleeplessness. Symptoms may also appear several days after being bitten. Bed bugs’ feces, casings, and other materials can be asthma triggers in some people. Although bed bugs feed on blood, there is no evidence that bed bugs transmit disease.

Identification

Bed bugs vary in size, and in color, from a red-brown to a light brown. Adult bed bugs are 1/4 inch, or about the width of a pencil.

Bed bugs move quickly. The females lay eggs in cracks and other hidden areas. The eggs appear tiny, white, and are hard to see without a magnifying glass. Bed bugs are active at night and hide within 5 to 20 feet of where people sleep. They tend to gather in tiny crevices and other places, especially in mattresses, box springs, and head-boards.

 

Guidelines for killing bed bugs in laundry

The nice thing about an emergency pest problem, like the current bed bug epidemic, is that such problems attract a lot of attention from the research community.

Knowing how to dis-infest clothing is important to pest control, because, as the authors so carefully explain, bedbugs “may seek harborage among clothing stored close to the bed, or may be entangled with bed linen while it is being changed. ”  And, “once associated with clothing or linen, there is a risk that bed bugs may then escape insecticide treatments, and may be transported to new locations.”

To do this they took laboratory reared bed bugs and sealed them in cotton bags.  These bags were then placed among sheets or in the pockets of clothing to assess mortality of standard cleaning methods.   The results were enlightening and should help in recommendations for how your customers can ensure maximum effectiveness of methods to disinfest household articles.

A summary of the results of this study include the following:

Freezing can kill bed bugs.  Reducing temperatures to -17 degrees C (0 degrees F) for 2 hours will kill all bed bug life stages (about the temperature of a chest freezer, not a refrigerator freezer).  A 5.5 lb batch of clothes, however, does not drop to 0 degrees F immediately.  The researchers found that it took about 8 hours for the temperature in the center of that wad of clothes to killing temperature.  Upshot?  Put clothes in freezer for at least 10-12 hours.

Bed bugs are also susceptible to high temperatures of 40-50 degrees C (104-122 degrees F).  In order to reach these temperatures, clothing to be dis-infested can be placed in a large tumble drier at the HOT setting for at least 30 minutes (for a 7.7 lb load).  A 10 minute HOT tumble dry only killed about 75% of nymphal bed bugs, 85% of adults.  Interestingly, the COOL cycle killed almost no bed bugs.

Soaking clothes in cold water for 24 hours (without detergent) killed all adults and nymphs, but killed no eggs. Unfortunately, the researchers did not test whether soaking clothes in cold soapy water for 24 hours would kill eggs.  This alternative treatment might be useful, especially for cleaning clothes that are labeled for cool wash and dry only.

Dry cleaning killed all life stages of bed bugs, and would be an appropriate treatment for delicate and temperature sensitive fabrics.

When washing clothes, wash water at 60 degrees C (140 degrees F) on 30 minute wash cycles killed 100% of all life stages.  Washing at 40 degrees C (100 degrees F) killed all adults and nymphs, but only 25% of eggs.  So clearly, washing clothes for bed bug dis-infestation should be done at the hottest temperatures (about 140 degrees F).

Experience with many pests verifies the wisdom of using multiple control tactics to control pests–a basic tenet of IPM.  Certainly bed bugs are no exception.  Reducing clutter, systematic inspection and treatment of the bedroom and other infested rooms, trapping and ongoing monitoring, and effective treatment of all exposed household articles, including clothing, are all essential components of good bed bug control

 

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are blood-sucking insects in the family Cimicidae. Both nymphs and adults feed on sleeping or sedentary humans, mostly at night, a time when this pest’s stealthy habits are difficult to observe.

The growth and development of C. lectularius is optimal when it feeds on humans; however, this insect also feeds on other species of mammals and on birds found near the home including chickens, mice, rats, and rabbits. Bat bugs and swallow bugs, close relatives of bed bugs, may also be found in and around human dwellings and may sometimes bite humans, although their preferred hosts are bats and birds, respectively

IDENTIFICATION AND LIFE CYCLE

Adult bed bugs are oval, wingless, about 1/5 inch long, and rusty red or mahogany. Their bodies are flattened, they have well-developed antennae, their compound eyes are small, and the area behind the head (the pronotum) expands forward on either side of the head, bearing many small hairs. The immatures, called nymphs, appear identical to the adults except for their smaller size (1/20 –1/5 inch), thinner outer skeleton (cuticle), and lighter yellowish-white color.

Bed bugs are readily distinguished from another common blood-sucking species, conenose bugs (also known as kissing bugs), by their smaller size, more rounded shape, and lack of wings as adults

Bed bugs can be distinguished from their close relatives bat bugs and swallow bugs by comparing the length of the hairs on the pronotum to the diameter of the eye; this requires a hand lens or microscope. These hairs are shorter than the diameter of the eye on a bed bug and longer than the diameter of the eye on bat bugs and swallow bugs

 

Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite

The number of strange presenting complaints we encounter every day in our practice surely must have given us the insight to look beyond the tunnel vision we have. It’s something I’ve certainly learnt from the following experience.

Within a day of returning, I started developing a very itchy urticarial rash all over my body.

I proceeded to take a cocktail of antihistamines, topical creams etc, but things didn’t get better. In fact they got worse. I wasn’t sleeping at night because of the itching and started to miss work because the rash was so severe.

He thought it was an urticarial rash and told me to change my washing powder, go organic and generally try to find what was I reacting to. I convinced him to give me a course of steroids while I was abroad, which worked a treat, but as soon as I got back from the US, the rash reappeared.

I spoke to my father (a paediatrician) who got really worried and ordered me to do a string of blood tests, half of which I didn’t even know existed! My registrar and another dermatology registrar suggested various things, treatments, referrals but no specific diagnosis

Home Remodeling Services Made My Wife Happy

Start a Successful Home Remodeling Business with This Guide

Today, achieving financial progress is not a big deal and as difficult as it used to be. This is because we now have an ocean of opportunities for making a decent amount of money. For example, one can use the internet to start an online job or create a new startup. In the past few years, people were not good at choosing the right profession; they only looked at earning money, which is where they were wrong.

Did you know that you can earn a substantial income when you choose a profession you are good at? You can uplift your business in less time when compared to those who are not skilled in their jobs.

There are countless options to choose from in creating your dream career. Sometimes in life, you have to make important decisions that will be wonderful for your future. For instance, if you are good at home remodeling and renovation, you can select this route for your business. You may have heard it often that every business requires experience, but you need your skills for this one. And if you are really good at it, then you are going to run a successful business.

Like all other businesses, you need a guide to give your new business a good start. For this, you can visit home remodeling companies’ websites to see what types of services they provide to their clients and what they charge for them. Moreover, you can set one-on-one meetings to learn how they work. Apart from your efforts here, below are a few points that would help you accelerate your new home remodeling business.

 

Make a Solid Business Plan

Since you are sure you are going to use your skills and are planning on starting a home remodeling business, you have to make a solid and reliable plan. Planning beforehand is key to your success and plays a crucial role in uplifting your business. Decide on your budget and determine the time you need to invest in order to establish your business.

Learn Marketing Rules

Like all other businesses, home remodeling also requires contractors or home designers to establish good relations in the market. You’ll always need labor to do the jobs. Moreover, you’ll always need the help of some companies to complete your projects. For instance, if you are dealing with home paint, you need to invest in the right company.

 

People Skills

When starting a house renovation business, customers need to trust you. Your goal is to build a brand with a solid reputation that will have your customers raving about your work to their friends and neighbors. You will need hands-on technical skills to do home renovation, and these can be learned through internships on job sites as well as online courses in home remodeling. But while you build these skills, always remember that remodeling homes is all about working with the people who live in them. Trust and reputation are critical, and we recommend approaching the business from a ‘people-first’ perspective.

At the Beginning

Doing jobs for low-cost at the beginning is an excellent way to sharpen your skills as you ramp up. There is a huge marketing opportunity here, too-you can start building up your customer reviews and feedback to display on your website and social media long before ‘opening day’. Genuine reviews about your service from past customers is the best marketing strategy for dominating today’s home improvement industry. Remember to take (and post) pictures before, during, and after your home renovation work, always with your customer’s permission. For your potential customers, seeing is believing.

Marketing and Networking Ideas

Today, there are many easy and affordable marketing options to reach the customers who will be searching for your services online. For low-cost advertising, check out Google and facebook ads- both companies have been ramping up their efforts to serve local businesses.

Networking with other industry professionals, like wood, metal, glass, and paint suppliers, could be a great source of early referrals for your home renovation business. Make sure to invest in those relationships as you would with customers-they are key players to have on your team.

Starting a home improvement business is a big responsibility. Expectations are high, and you may have some competition at the beginning. But with a positive attitude and a professional approach, you can make a career out of doing what you love. Enjoy using your creative skills to improve the space that matters most to your customers-their homes!

 

Start out as a Subcontractor

Although the workload in the housing market is growing, the beginning will be all but simple. If you want to begin your business successfully, get ready for a multi-step process. First, start out as a regular worker in a home renovating business or a bigger (re)construction company. It will help you make connections in the field and gain some precious experience.

Then, learn the tricks of the trade regarding the financial side. As time goes by, start developing an exit strategy. For instance, start doing some less-challenging home renovation projects on your own as an extra job. If you’re good, you’ll get recommendations from your clients. As your workload keeps growing, hire assistants and increase the number of work hours. Finally, when your side job becomes your main source of income, leave your current position and launch a brand-new home renovation business.

Calculate Your Budget in Advance

As opposed to construction businesses, which are usually huge enterprises, home renovating ventures are managed more easily in financial terms. Nevertheless, don’t think it will be smooth sailing. With many entrepreneurs doing the same thing as you, the most important step is to ensure that you have enough budget to cover your initial expenses.

This budget should include your workers’ wages (direct labor), overhead expenses (the total cost of all the means you use to carry out the work) and direct materials (pretty self-explanatory)–read more about it here. When you’ve calculated all those initial expenses, it’s time to see what financing models you can apply for. Make appointments in several banks and check if they can offer you some affordable business loans. Also, do some research on government grants for small businesses. Even if you don’t qualify for one at the moment, it’s good to know what options you can count on in the future.

 

Know Your Numbers

For some time I’ve been giving a seminar aimed at smaller contractors — those under $600,000 — called “Small But Smart.” During the session, I always ask how many people in the room mark up their work 50% or more. Invariably, fewer than one out of 10 will raise his hand. The most common mistake made by newer remodelers is that they have no idea what the markup over cost must be in order to make a profit. As has been stated many times in this column, the minimum markup is 50%, and as a company grows, it is 67% and even higher. In the handyman business, the labor figure is over 100%. The biggest reason for this misunderstanding about markup is that most small company owners have never taken courses or attended seminars that show them how to break down job costs. Job cost is labor, including fringe benefits; materials, including sales tax and delivery; subcontractors; plans and permits; and cleanup. Overhead includes sales costs of 6% to 10%; production supervision of 4% to 6%; advertising; office management; tools and equipment; office equipment; and much more. Small companies have a minimum overhead of 26% to 30%, and larger companies range from 30% to 35%.

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