Monthly Archives: December 2016

Tips for Cleaning Windows

Windows are a view to the world. They give customers – and potential customers – a peek into what’s happening inside your business. Windows also bring in light that can make any space appear vibrant, friendly and welcoming.

Unfortunately, cleaning glass windows and keeping them clean can be a challenge. Glass reflects every tiny fingerprint, slight smudge and touch that has ever come in contact with its surface. In addition, windows tend to be a magnet for children who enjoy pressing their little noses against the glass to get a better look outside or drawing invisible pictures with their fingers.

So what’s a business owner to do? Stay vigilant and arm yourself with tools that will make frequent cleanups pleasant and effective.

Start with good cleaning products. It seems like everyone has their own “secret” formula for keeping windows clean. Some swear that newspapers can keep windows streak-free. Others prefer wiping away cleaning solutions with paper towels, soft chamois cloths or humble dishrags.

Get the right cleaner for the job. There are many different types of glass cleaners on the market, so you want to be sure to stock your cleaning closet with the right cleanser.

Steer clear of streaks. If possible, schedule window cleaning for a cloudy day as bright sunlight may dry out your cleaning product of choice too quickly, creating unsightly streaks.

Another tip for finding and eliminating streaks faster: Clean the inside of windows in a horizontal direction while wiping the outside of windows in a vertical direction. This way if you observe a streak, you know immediately if it’s on the inside or the outside.

Speaking of the outside… You may think that the outside of windows don’t need to be cleaned as frequently as the inside, but that’s just a myth. Think about it: You wouldn’t wash the front of your shirt and not the back or shampoo only the back of your hair and not the front. The entire window – inside and outside – needs regular cleaning.

While inside windows may be more susceptible to smudges and fingerprints, outside the weather and its harsh elements are the main culprits of filthy windows. Raindrops can leave behind unsightly spots and forceful winds can deposit all kinds of dirt and debris on windows.

Squeegees are an excellent way to clean a window outside as they can cover a large area quickly and easily while helping to eliminate nasty streaks.

Set a cleaning schedule. When everyone is busy doing their jobs and taking care of customers, it can be difficult to recall when the windows were last cleaned. Make it a habit to check regularly or develop a daily schedule of chores that includes window cleaning.

Clean, sparkling windows can really set the tone for a business. In a food establishment, for example, customers want to enjoy their meal with a great view of the outdoors and don’t want to see greasy fingerprints greeting them instead. This gives the impression that the entire restaurant is dirty and unkempt, when in fact; it was just a matter of the last customers dining with young children.

Be aware of special circumstances. When customers do have young children with them, ask your employees to keep an eye out for dirty windows. All it takes is a quick spray and rub for the slate to literally be wiped clean.

More Daily Tips To Make Your Life Easier

In the first part of this article series we talked about some tips to make your life a little bit better. Those tricks are all the good advices everybody seems to know when something happened to you. They cover anything from the carpet cleaning technique to how to avoid phone calls from solicitors.

So here are some more tips for your pleasure.

1. The dating game is a fun game to play when it’s being played with respect. You will earn in confidence every time you will keep eye contact with a girl or a boy. The first one who breaks it up lose. These moments can make you feel uncomfortable. But as you become more and more comfortable with it, you will make more successful approaches with the opposite sex.

2. In the same train of thoughts, You can look at someone’s nose if you can’t stand his or her look. They will not notice it.

3. If you don’t remember where you parked your car in a big parking lot, and that your unlock/lock key doesn’t work, use your body as an antenna. Press the remote under your chin. Your skull will amplify the signal.

4. Be polite and friendly with janitors, secretaries and support staff. Having them by your side can be more useful than you think. Their jobs are as important as any other jobs. Their friendship is a big bonus professionally and personally.

5. Having a parking ticket is a real pain in the neck, especially when parking spaces are hard to find in big cities, If you get a ticket, keep it on your windshield. You can then keep your spot for the day without any other trouble. I hope you liked this.

Tips to Heed Before Starting

Replacing the roof of your home is an expensive venture. Therefore, the homeowner ought to take all necessary precautions to ensure that he or she does not have to pay more than is necessary. Be reminded that a leaking roof can cause a lot of damage to a family’s belongings and other assets within the home. Furthermore, the homeowner’s home insurance premium could increase if responsible action is not taken when replacing the roof. The tips provided in this article will put the homeowner on the right track and, if followed, will save a lot of unnecessary expenses and headaches.

Tip No. 1
Do not rush out and engage a roofing contractor even if he or she is recommended to you. Beware of a contractor who wants to give you a lump sum price for doing the work.

Tip No. 2
Hire a registered architect to prepare the contract documents for the roof replacement. The contract documents should include working drawings, specifications and a bid document. The specifications should list the guarantees and warranties required on materials and workmanship. Some homeowners believe that an architect is expensive. While this is not necessarily true, the cost of the architect’s fee will more than pay for itself in protecting the homeowner by helping to ensure that the work is done in accordance with the contract documents.

Tip No. 3
Ensure that the architect’s plans are filed with your municipality to obtain building approval unless the municipality waives this requirement. Remember, as the homeowner, you do not want something to be built which is not approved by the municipality as this could cause serious consequences pertinent to your Certificate of Occupancy. One such consequence is that a building violation could be attached to the deed. This could make your home unsalable when you decide to sell. Another consequence is that it could be quite costly to have the violation removed. If there is a homeowners’ association, make sure that it is advised and fulfill any obligations the association requires.

Tip No. 4
Once the architect’s drawings are approved by the municipality, search for competent contractors to furnish bids for executing the work in accordance with the architect’s drawings and specifications. In order to get responsible bids, invite three or four competent contractors to bid on the construction.

Tip No. 5
Ensure that each of the invited contractors is bondable and can furnish a performance bond. Having a performance bond protects the homeowner against any default by the hired contractor. The homeowner will have legal recourse to have the work completed satisfactorily by the bonding company or another competent contractor in the event of a default. A bid bond is sometimes useful especially if the work has to be started in a timely manner.

Tip No. 6
Request the architect to review and analyze the bids from the contractors and make a recommendation of the contractor who should be hired. The architect will examine many aspects of the bids to ensure that the bidder did not overlook anything in his or her bid submission. This is another example of the worth of the architect who is there to protect the homeowner’s interests.

Tip No. 7
Make sure that you, as the homeowner and employer of the contractor, sign a written contract with the hired contractor before the construction commences. There should be a start date and an end date in the contract for the construction to be completed. There should also be a clause in the contract that provides liquidated damages in the event that the contractor does not complete the work on time.

Tip No. 8
Do not allow the contractor to commence the construction before he or she presents a performance bond and other documents required by the municipality.

Tip No. 9
Never give the contractor a large down payment for mobilization. This is a mistake that many homeowners make.

Tip No. 10
If interim payments are made to the contractor, ensure that at least ten percent (10%) is held back. This requirement should be enshrined as a clause in the contract. The amounts retained will eventually be released at the completion of the construction after the homeowner is fully satisfied and signs off on the work.

Efficient Roofing Tips

Roofing is absolutely one of the important parts of building. Whether you are building yourself a new house or some other building, or if you are just after re-roofing, there are some important installation tips that become quite central for you to consider. Let us go through such tips to understand this well and acquire some knowledge on the subject.

The Installation

There are quite a number of points that you should begin with. You must consider whether you are after installing metal roofing, or if you would like to go for some of the other options like the solar, corrugated fiberglass or steel roofing techniques. Even if you think that you can take care of it on your own, you need to do a good deal of investigate for it before you can really do it.

You must pay careful attention to the underlayment as well. The underlayment is an important shield against rainwater and ice seeping into the building, as it provides a secondary shredding role along with the roof. There are a number of options that you have with roofing underlayment.

Synthetic underlayment has been found to be one of the most useful options to go for in such cases. Originally, asphalt saturated felt was considered to be a good option to go for these structures, but they have been replaced with the synthetic option today for better shield and durability.

However asphalt roofing shingles are still favored in some cases due to the ease of repairing them, cost effectiveness and a good tolerance power.

Other vital Considerations

Considering a standing seam metal roofing setup is also an central factor to consider. These are quite easy to design and are an brilliant way to keep the water and seepage outside, no matter how bad the weather is. With such roofs, you can forget about repairing leaks in your roof for a considerable amount of time. They provide a good deal of resistance to storms compared to the others.

Another good option to consider is the Owens corning roofing shingles. These have a number of reward for the builders. You can very easily feature your individual taste and style. Whether you are after something traditional, or if you consider going for a unique style that will stand harsh weather, you can meet your expectations exactly with these shingles.

Some of the varieties of the Owens corning shingles are the Berkshire collection, the Woodcrest and the Woodmoor collection, the Weather-Guard HP shingles, the Oakridge series, and the 3 tab shingles. Try to determine what would go best with your preferences only after a good deal of examine on each of the above mentioned roofing options.

Home Design Software Free Trial

Because of the sheer number of available home design software, it becomes quite difficult to pick one that will surely be able to satisfy one’s designing needs. This is why a lot of products offer free demos or trials for their products in order to give users a test run of the services they offer. This is definitely an excellent offering for potential customers as they are given a chance to use the software before actually purchasing it. This feature definitely comes handy especially considering the fact that some programs retail for well over $100.

A home design software that is able to offer this type of service is Chief Architect. Here’s a quick look at this particular program as well as what its trial version can offer.

At a Glance

According to its publisher’s website Chief Architect has established itself as the industry leader in the field of home design software. It has been around for more than a decade and it continues to improve on its features on every new release. The main objective of Chief Architect is to be able to help its users become more productive in their overall design process. In fact, this is even a guarantee the manufacturer is willing to make.

Chief Architect Free Trial

The great news is that users can have a go at this product without needing to shell out a considerable amount of money on the onset. By downloading the Chief Architect free trial, users will be able to have a first-hand experience on how the program actually works. An added bonus is that interested parties may even request for a trial copy through mail. The publisher is so confident in its product and its ability to capture potential customers that it is willing to spend money on shipping the trial version directly to the user’s doorstep.

Moreover, unlike some free trial programs, Chief Architect’s trial version provides full functionality. That is, everything on the actual version is on the trial edition which gives the users a chance to make use of all of the said features and functions.

System Requirements

The Chief Architect trial version is compatible with both PC and Mac. For the former, users will need to have Windows XP (or higher) as their operating system. 1.5 GB of hard disk, a 2 GHz CPU, and 2 GB of RAM are the minimum requirements. It’s pretty much the same thing for Mac users except that the program will require 2 GB of space for installation.

Web Design Services

Small businesses make major contribution to the global economy in general and U.S. economy in particular. The global recession caused a sudden burst into small businesses, home based businesses and freelance service providers. The small businesses today realize the importance of marketing and strive to do it using fewer resources and reaching more audiences. Using a combination of technology, internet and good online communication skills these small businesses can easily reach millions of potential customers out there.

Hiring someone is an important decision that these businesses make. However, just like any other service providing industry, the design services also witnessed a boost. Today there are hundreds and thousands of web design services providers who offer their services at very competitive rates and promise to deliver amazing results. Choosing a good web design service has become difficult. Sometimes people rely on word of mouth advertisement but what you do if you don’t have any trustworthy recommendation. How do you find out which service is right for you?

The Plan

Before hiring someone you need to make sure that you know exactly what you want to do with your website. Basically the first goal that most small businesses want to achieve is to make people buy stuff from them or to make them hire their services. The best strategy to plan your website is to start by first reviewing the websites of your competitors. It is not necessary that you should come up with a web design that looks similar to the web design of your competitor. But it gives you an idea of what things you should put on your website.

The Budget

Now you need to think about how much you are going to spend on your website. Web design is an altogether different service than web hosting, domain name registration and content management systems. You can hire someone who provides all these services together or you can decide to buy all these things on your own. Check out the average costs of these services to prepare an estimate of expenses.

Web Design Services

When looking at someone, either a company or an individual. You should carefully browse their portfolio. See who they have previously worked with, go to those websites and check out how their design is. If possible you can also email the previous clients and ask them directly about their experience with the designer you are going to hire.

Make sure that the web design services provider that you are going to hire is not working with any of your direct competitors at the moment. This could result in conflict of interest sometimes and will leave you with a very bad experience. To avoid such an incident you need to carefully review the portfolio or better that you ask the design company directly about it.

There are several ways to judge the quality of a web design. You can start by reviewing how the websites designed by them perform on Search Engines. Or you can review how usable these websites are. Design does not merely means attractiveness, it actually means usability to do something better in a given space.

Prices

Even though most design (companies and freelancers) mention their packages on their websites. But since each project is different than others and since the needs of each client differ as well; so the prices of these services are negotiable. So don’t hesitate to bargain and ask for a discount.

Small business that are actually smart businesses can do things more effectively if they rely more and more on technology and other small business or service providers. There is a great chance that if you hire the services of some small business then they would either hire you back or recommend you to their clients.

Learn How to Maintain Your Home

These days, a really successful teaching method is using videos. Because of this, instructional videos have been created to show homeowners how they can design and build a more efficient and creative living space for their family and themselves. This is where the DIY home improvement video comes in, as it offers education and instruction for people wanting to renovate their homes to create a better atmosphere.

The goal of most people is to create an atmosphere in their home where they can retreat and recharge their batteries after the responsibilities of the day. They want a cozy secure home for sleeping in, as well as their own personal spaces. But creating this atmosphere and meeting all these goals and desires in a home means a lot of work and effort. DIY home improvement videos are invaluable in giving people a good overview of what they should keep on top of with maintenance and security for their homes.

What You’ll Learn from These Videos

DIY home improvement videos are given by professionals in the industry and those who can give effective and simplified instruction on the topics. Thus, the methods and techniques in these videos are extremely hands-on, practical, and very relevant for anyone wanting to improve his home.

But the greatest benefit of using video to teach DIY home improvement techniques is that it gives practical pictures for people to follow. The ideas given in these videos are free yet are top quality instruction for those wanting to learn these abilities, and they won’t need to go to a college or school to learn it.

Quality Education from the Experts

Formal training to become an interior decorator who can work in the industry and hase the qualifications in home improvement and interior design is a journey of quite a few years. Plus, that kind of study requires monetary investment and a lot of hard work to earn the qualification. This is why DIY home improvement videos are a great alternative. The instructions are also at a professional level with industry insiders and experts who were trained formally

DIY home improvement videos are a lot more practical for most people. Being able to watch the methods while they’re being carried out can be a much more effective and quicker way of imparting the knowledge needed to understand the design elements and find their own creativity and confidence. For that reason alone, it’s worth investing in a DIY home improvement video series because you can guarantee at the end, you’ll come out as qualified as those who took formal education to get there

Learning DIY Home Improvement

In the present, a new trend is rising in the concern of home improvement. Traditionally, this issue is done with greater cost as professional service and skills are greatly needed. With this factor, homeowners need to hire professionals on this field to implement their home improvement interest. Now, every individual even without proper skills can do this with DIY home improvement.

DIY home improvement allows the homeowner to perform basic to medium-level architectural or construction tasks that are commonly made by professional service. This can be easily performed because the materials and approach involved in DIY is simplified and easy for the amateur capability of the homeowner. These tasks commonly include installation, remodeling, interior designing, repainting, woodworking, and others. With this characteristic any interested individual can perform the said subject with lesser cost and even greater personal involvement on the matter.

What is most important with DIY home improvement is information. Contained in this factor are the different ideas for home improvement and the necessary technique in doing so. As the homeowner performing DIY are generally amateur and are not well-trained in this field, instructions and guidance are important for the effective action of the homeowner. For efficient access to these information, DIY home improvement forums become the common solution.

Learning DIY home improvement is actually easy. Interested individuals only need to learn the basic action and proper approach to each task making them capable of performing professional work. This also includes learning the proper materials for their task and the necessary equipment for doing personal improvement projects. In addition, another important element of DIY home improvement is the idea for the project enabling the person involved to create project plans on his or her interest.

How-To Home Repair

If you are wanting to learn some ‘How-To’ home repair techniques to make improvements to your home, there are many places to look for tips. Depending on what you want to make updates to, there are endless resources available online that include home repair guides for your heating and air conditioning, building a deck, fixing water faucets and other plumbing, installing a garage door opener, remodeling a home, replacing windows, installing new light fixtures or even putting in new appliances. You can find How-To tips with complete instructions plus even some video tutorials. If you find a project that overwhelms you and goes beyond your knowledge and skill level, then you can always call in a professional. Though this is a more expensive route, sometimes, when you find a reputable and trustworthy company, things will get done the right way. However, the labor usually comes at a higher cost.

If you are faced with how-to home repair something, you need to take note if it is broken and can be fixed or if a complete overhaul will need to be done. Sometimes these home maintenance projects are awfully large but once you have increased your knowledge, you can definitely tackle something on your own.

One of the best ways to repair something in your house is to evaluate the situation. If you think you can complete the task but could end up making a bigger mess, you might be better off calling in that home maintenance professional or contractor in the first place.

Anytime you attempt to do a home repair project, if it involves your utilities, particularly gas or electricity, you need to be extremely careful. You can turn off your own electricity in certain areas but you should take a lot of caution when dealing with any wiring. There is no need to be electrocuted trying to change a simple switch plate or installing a new light fixture. If you are wondering How-To repair your home utilities, like your gas water heater, make sure that you take caution and even call the gas company to turn off your gas for a little while. The safety of this cannot be emphasized enough, particularly if you are an amateur at doing these projects.

Most likely, anyone can do the simple stuff with instructions that came along with what it is you bought to install. It is pretty easy to replace a thermostat or even a garbage disposal. Most new products come with fairly informative directions. You may need to be prepared to take a few trips to the hardware store for other projects. Make sure to accumulate instructions and materials while in the planning phase of your home repair projects. If you just need to do a few hammer and nail tasks or even a little caulking in the bathroom, you can pretty well figure that out on your own. When buying materials, ask sales associates for help. They are generally a great source for ‘how-to’ Home Repair’ knowledge. They are also somewhat knowledgeable about products they sell and have reviews available. Do not be afraid to ask for help. You want things to go right, don’t you?

Tax Differences Between Home Repairs and Improvements

Whenever you fix or replace something in a rental unit or building, you need to decide whether the expense is a repair or improvement, for tax purposes. Many landlords and rental property owners use a loophole by ‘repairing the house’, after a tenant has moved in. Then, they charge the tenant for the fix that has been mended. Hence, it’s important that you know the difference between home repairs and improvements.

What Is An Improvement?

Improvements are changes that you make to your property that adds value. Replacement of major systems or components of the property is also considered an improvement. Installing hardwood floors, fixing the water heaters, constructing a roof, are all examples of improvements.

What Is A Repair?

A repair is the maintenance that is required to keep the property in a working condition. They include painting, fixing a broken toilet,and replacing a faulty light switch. Suppose your tenant drills a wall through your wall, and you have to mend the wall, you can claim this to be a repair.

Deduction Of Improvements On Your Taxes

Improvements need to be depreciated, but the full value of it cannot be deducted on the same year the changes were made. This is because, improvements add value to the property in the subsequent years, and not only in the year that they have taken place.

Deduction Of Repairs On Your Taxes

A repair is a deductible expense for the year you pay for it. You can deduct the full cost from your taxes on the same year the repair was completed. One smart tip to properly deduct repairs is by documenting them. Typically, a repair arises due to the complaint of the tenant. Hence, document this complaint as this indicates that something had been damaged, and you had to fix it.

What If It Is A Bit Of Both?

What if you come across a repair that requires you to construct a part of the compound wall? Is this classified as a repair, or an improvement? In such cases, it is better to consult an expert.

An improvement adds value to your property, but the cost of a repair, can be immediately deducted from your taxes, leaving more money in your pocket. It is common for landlords to make tenants pay for the repair, and this usually comes out of the security deposit paid by the tenant. With the tenant already living there, the landlord can claim that the work is necessary to keep the tenant satisfied.

Living in a rental property cannot be as pleasant an experience as living in your own home. But be careful while claiming your taxes on home repairs and improvements!