Must Learn How To Use Payroll Service In Your Company

Tips for Finding the Best Payroll Software

Congratulations! You’ve gotten to a point that many other small business owners have only hoped for — growth. But now you’re required to find a more robust payroll system.

Sure, when it was you and a couple of co-founders it was pretty easy to sort out payment. But now that you’re growing, it’s necessary to put a process to your operations, offload some of the tedious work you’ve been doing since the beginning, and free up your time and resources to focus on bigger issues at hand.

One smart way to do this is to invest in a payroll software platform that can take care of one of the most important parts of your business for you: paying your employees on time, every time.

Yet, as you know, it’s not nearly as easy as just cutting a check. From properly withholding taxes and reporting to the IRS to tracking PTO hours earned and much in between, there’s a lot to consider when deciding which payroll software system is right for you.

How to choose the best payroll software for your small business

Overall, the best thing that you can do is get a solid understanding of your business’ unique individual needs. As you dive into the capabilities and features of the many payroll systems out there, it can be easy to get swept up in thinking that you need fancy features that will actually go unused or forget an important need you have until it’s too late. So, above all else, know what you need (and what you don’t) and compare everything to that.

 

How to Find the Best Payroll Service

Payroll covers more than just making sure employees are paid. It also involves keeping compliant with laws and regulations, such as tax rules and the Affordable Care Act requirements. It includes workers’ compensation, benefits and more. Thus, while hiring a payroll service can seem like a big investment, it has the potential to save your small business time, trouble and money in the long run

Basics

It knows the rules. A payroll company should understand not only federal law, but also your state and local regulations, plus any rules specific to your industry

Extras

Workers’ compensation: Many services offer workers’ compensation insurance, which all businesses need by law. Some charge extra for this. Benefits: Many services offer benefits packages, such as employee discount deals and retirement plans. Mobile access: Most payroll services have mobile apps or mobile-friendly user portals so managers and employees can run payroll from a smartphone or tablet

Price

Basic fees range from $20 to $200 a month, depending on features offered, plus $1 to $10 per employee or paid contract worker per pay period. Sometimes payroll services bundle extras that drive up the cost while never being used by the client. Be sure you are not paying for things you don’t want or need.

Some services also charge additional fees, such as for setting up direct deposit or for mailing out paychecks themselves. Others charge for doing your end-of-year taxes. Some have a general annual fee. Be sure you ask about all fees over the course of a year, and what special tasks incur charges.

 

How to safely choose the absolute best payroll service for you and your employees

Payroll service companies can be a big help when it comes to calculating and filing your company’s payroll taxes, printing checks, and being available to answer important payroll-related questions. Industry-leading companies have streamlined processes and controls that lead to greater efficiency and fewer errors, which can save your company time and money.

When considering payroll service options, it is important to choose a reputable company because ultimately your business is responsible for paying the taxes, not your payroll company. That means you must do your homework to ensure the payroll company is compliant with regulatory standards and that your taxes are paid in full and on time.

Choosing a payroll company

One of the best ways to find potential payroll service providers is to ask other business owners or payroll professionals who they recommend and why. Hearing directly from a company’s customers is a great way to evaluate the company’s processes and service levels.

What services do you offer and what certifications do staff members hold?

It’s important to know what you’re looking for from a payroll company and whether those needs go beyond the basics. The company should have a CPA on staff, and other professional certifications (like Society of Human Resource Management or American Payroll Association) are a good sign of a quality organization.

Is the company bonded and insured?

Find out how much the company is insured for and request a certificate of insurance.

 

Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Payroll Provider

Save time

Automated services do so much of the work for you. They keep you up-to-date with continuous processing and insightful reports. Additionally, employee self-service features allow employees to do a lot of the onboarding and upkeep that an employer or payroll manager may have otherwise had to do.

Save money

Most payroll software systems cost less than hiring a full-time bookkeeper.

Reduce errors

Payroll software service reduces the opportunity for people to make manual errors. Payroll can get complicated. Be confident the automated service processes correct information and minimizes risk for things like tax noncompliance.

Access it anywhere.

Cloud-based payroll means you can access payroll information anytime, anywhere—not just at your desk.

Make a Payroll Checklist.

Before you go on your search for the perfect payroll provider, identify what’s on your company’s payroll checklist for software. Map out your organization’s needs first. That way, when you speak with payroll providers you know what questions to ask and which answers to look for. Then bring an open mind for options that you may not have thought of but could benefit your business. Understand your company first before you try to understand a payroll provider.

 

Choosing a Payroll Service Processor

Make sure it’s easy to process

Identify how you would like to process the payroll – online, via email, fax or phone. Online payroll service companies are the easiest and most popular to use. They automatically calculate regular rates per pay period, overtime rates, tax withholdings, net amounts, employer taxes, and holiday pay. The systems also apply necessary benefit deductions and track PTO/vacation/sick payments. It then makes payments to employees through direct deposit or check.

Multi-State Employer/Multi-State Tax Filing

If your company is a multi-state employer, it is important to make sure that your payroll service files tax reports and processes tax payments for all of the states that hold company employees. Otherwise, you will have to file reports and pay taxes manually, making it possible  to make mistakes such as missing a deadline. It also adds internal administrative costs. Keep in mind that the burden of company registrations with new states fall on the employers; however efficient payroll service systems can provide the necessary information for registration as well as the ability to follow up on missing information

Check Online and Mobile Access

Everything is accessible online these days. Most people don’t like receiving paper pay-stubs via snail mail anymore. The accessibility of paystubs and tax forms online at any point of time has become highly convenient. Most payroll services offer employee access to systems for reviewing payment information and downloading tax forms. Some payroll services even offer mobile apps for the convenience of employees as well as employers.

Benefit Bundle features:

Several payroll processors work with benefit companies to incorporate benefits in their services. Usually, a payroll and benefit bundle is good for both the employees and employers due to superior benefit plans for cheaper costs. Do some research on what benefits payroll services offer prior to signing the deal.

System Integration

Payroll services can integrate a variety of payroll related programs, such as accounting software, HR software, and time and attendance systems. It is important to keep in mind that some payroll systems can only integrate with certain programs. If integration is important for your company, research which programs integrate properly prior to choosing payroll services.

Must Know How To Find Good Commercial Electrical Maintenance

Making The Most Of Electrical Maintenance

With simple maintenance and prevention methods, you can feel better about the safety and efficiency of your home’s electrical system. This includes making sure your appliances are running smoothly and all of your outlets are safe to use for everyday needs, such as charging devices and plugging in lamps.

Just one mishap could spark an electrical fire, so be sure to keep these steps in mind for proper electrical maintenance:

  1. Remember the golden rule: Safety first

You should never start any home maintenance or repair work without proper preparation and safety tools. When working with electrical items, make sure to unplug the unit or turn off the power to the specific circuit. Don’t forget that water and electricity don’t get along, so make sure to unplug anything electric before cleaning. Never use a metal ladder when performing electrical tasks.

  1. Use electronics accordingly

It’s important to be smart about how you’re using electronics. Avoid plugging in too many things into one circuit, which can overload it and cause a power outage. Be mindful of where you place small appliances and electronics, such as toaster ovens and hair dryers. Make sure they’re not under any vents that could potentially drip on them or are too close to a source of water, such as sinks and showers. Further, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends installing ground-fault circuit interrupters for all of the outlets in wet locations, such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. They’re designed to turn off electric power immediately in the event of an incident, which can be a potentially life-saving feature.

  1. Be mindful of plugs, outlets and wires

Treat your plugs kindly and don’t force them to fit into outlets. Don’t try to bend and adjust the prongs, as this could cause an electric shock. Alternatively, if it’s loose inside the outlet, it may be time to replace the cord for a fresh plug. Replace old outlets with new electric sockets with advanced safety features, such as built-in surge protectors. Unplug extension cords when you’re not using them to avoid an electric and fire hazard. When you’re outside, only use cords and electrical items that are specifically for the outdoors.

  1. Schedule routine professional check ups

Electricity can be dangerous, so never hesitate to call a licensed electrician for help. In fact, one of the most important steps in good electrical maintenance is having a professional inspect your system at least once a year. An electrician can check your electric panel, replace damaged wires and test circuit breakers.

 

 

Simple steps to resolution

Stepping through further checks, the technician can review the breaker’s programming, such as LSI overcurrent settings, using easy to navigate graphical screens. There may also be a ‘state of health’ view that can quickly reveal any service warnings. This might indicate that a backup battery that needs replacing, or the amount of breaker service life left.

If a bar code is provided on the front of the breaker, scanning it with the smart phone will connect to the device’s online maintenance history. Not only will this confirm that the correct equipment needing servicing has been identified, it will also reveal any previously logged data or service notes to help determine the appropriate next steps.Simple steps to resolution

Stepping through further checks, the technician can review the breaker’s programming, such as LSI overcurrent settings, using easy to navigate graphical screens. There may also be a ‘state of health’ view that can quickly reveal any service warnings. This might indicate that a backup battery that needs replacing, or the amount of breaker service life left.

If a bar code is provided on the front of the breaker, scanning it with the smart phone will connect to the device’s online maintenance history. Not only will this confirm that the correct equipment needing servicing has been identified, it will also reveal any previously logged data or service notes to help determine the appropriate next steps.

 

How to Improve Your Electrical Maintenance Strategy

When it comes to maintenance strategies, mechanical assets tend to receive more care than electrical control and distribution systems. Electrical systems can run for years without problems, making it tempting to focus on systems where wear and tear produce more frequent, and more noticeable, issues. Mechanical maintenance staff usually outnumber electrical system staff, whose electrical maintenance training is seen as less mission critical than staying up-to-date on advances in equipment technology.

Reactive Electrical Maintenance

Like mechanical equipment, electrical systems benefit from preventative maintenance. Reactive responses to electrical problems results in longer down times, expensive repairs, and loss of productivity.

Signs of a reactive electrical maintenance strategy include:

  • Electrical failures not recorded in CMMS
  • Electrical maintenance supplies no readily available
  • Electricians on staff not up-to-date on electrical maintenance training
  • Few to no electrical planners on staff
  • Little to no documentation of electrical maintenance tasks
  • No standards for electrical schematics
  • Technical information on electric systems not centrally located.

Towards a Proactive Electrical Maintenance Strategy

In contrast, a preventative electrical maintenance strategy protects both employees and electrical assets. Careful planning maximizes uptime, while improving energy efficiency and extending the service life of electrical distribution systems. Steps towards preventative electrical system maintenance include:

  • Acknowledging the current system is flawed, but can be improved.
  • Developing a vision for the future, including new hires, maintenance strategies, and electrical maintenance training.
  • Understanding which equipment is mission critical, and creating regular maintenance schedules.
  • Discussing the need for improvements with work team, who may raise issues or solutions that would otherwise go unnoticed.
  • Documenting all processes and gathering data on which components could fail and what the effects of such failure could be.

Report your findings to management and fight to get the management team on board with your efforts.

  • Developing preventative maintenance inspection and tasks for all system components.
  • Gathering all strategy documents, schematics, and manuals in a central location.

 

Electrical Preventive Maintenance

Too many people mistakenly think a lack of moving parts means little can go wrong with electrical systems. In fact, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) reports that the failure rate of electrical components is three times higher for systems without preventive maintenance programs.

The two top causes of electrical distribution failures — loose connections and parts and exposure to moisture — account for nearly half of all electrical losses. And both problems can be corrected with a comprehensive electrical preventive maintenance (EPM) program. Consider these five factors when planning a program for your organization:

  • Qualified Personnel
    The people who perform your EPM program must be properly trained for the specific equipment being maintained or tested. They should have a thorough understanding of electrical safety practices and procedures.
  • Scheduled Maintenance
    Inspection, testing and servicing of equipment should be done on a regular basis — at least once every three years and more often for critical components.
  • Informed Decisions
    You want to make informed, responsible decisions about how best to correct any problem conditions. That can only be accomplished if personnel reviewing test reports have a thorough understanding of the specific subject matter.
  • Performing the Work
    There is little point in testing and inspections if you don’t intend to fix the problem. Ultimately, a scheduled outage is necessary to perform the work.
  • Record-Keeping
    A clear, concise and complete record-keeping system will help make sure that all work is done when it should be. Tracking test results over time also can often identify a potential failure that can be corrected before it happens.

Electrical preventive maintenance is cost-effective in many ways, improves equipment efficiency and reduces utility bills. Don’t neglect your electrical distribution system. Consider an EPM program — before a costly failure occurs.

 

Why Routine Electrical Maintenance is Important

The electrical wiring of your home is out of sight and it is one of the important reasons why maintenance is often set aside.  The wires suffer wear and tear over time and its impacts on the appliances and equipment that operate on the circuit. You will eventually have to deal with electrical problems that you used frequently. The best way to avoid these type of complications is to hire electrical services in Sylvan Lake for regular electrical maintenance.  After you find a good electrician, it will be easier to perform an annual inspection of your property’s power system.

Here are 4 benefits of regular inspection of your property’s electrical works.

Reduced Energy Costs

If the appliances are working properly, it uses less energy which will save your money. The outdated electrical system and faulty appliances may need to sue more power to work continuously. It can drive up your electric bill automatically. If you let the electrician perform maintenance works regularly, the electrical items at your home are kept in the best working condition. The electrician can also suggest some ways to save energy with the use of technological advancements.

Fire Safety

Electrical incidents and wirings spark home fires. Outdated electrical systems, fixtures, and wirings are the root cause of these types of accidents.  So having an annual checkup of the power system will make sure that the power source, wirings, electrical lines, and outlets are functioning properly and up to date.

Protection of Appliances

Whether you are using a four-door fridge or a mini-fridge at your home, you have spent quite a good amount of money for it.  So obviously you would want to make good use out of it.  If you don’t do regular maintenance, it means you are waiting for your appliance to die before its lifetime. Every piece of equipment you have at your home comes with a manual that states that their recommended maintenance works and how often it should be done.  Make sure you discuss all of this ­­­­­­­ with the electrician so he can schedule the visits accordingly.

Continuous Productivity

If you want to maintain control of your home or the productivity of your business, a major electrical problem can cause a major problem for you.  Electricity runs all your appliances that include the important ones like refrigerator, desktop, and air conditioning system.  If the damage has worsened, then it can take some days to get the power working again.  It means less productivity for those people who are working from home. It can discomfort them at times when you should actually be relaxing after a long tiring day.

Must Know What Need To Prepare For Long Distance Moving

How To Prepare for a Long Distance Move

Pick a Destination

Before you can even begin the moving process, you have to know where you are moving to! Explore the area you wish to move and house hunt online and in person. Once you have found the perfect place, you can then begin to plan out your move.

Confirm Your Move Date

Once you have put an offer in on your new home, sold your current home, and have been given a timeline for closing dates, plan your move date accordingly. It is common to move 1-3 days before closing.

Book a Mover

Having an established timeline of your move is a great guideline to make sure all tasks are finished beforehand.

Declutter

Decluttering your home will not only make the packing and moving process easier, it will also lower the cost of the entire move. Consider having a garage sale or donating items you no longer want or need.

Pack

Once you have decluttered you can begin the packing process. Whether you are packing yourself, or the moving company you have chosen is packing for you, make sure all items are organized and in the correct spot to make packing easier and more efficient.

 

essential long-distance moving tips

Make a list of the accounts you need to update or cancel

Buy a super cute magnetic notepad so you can pretend this part is fun. Add all subscriptions, bank accounts and government organizations that need your new address. If you can’t remember everything, check your credit card statement and snail mail. Keep the list on your fridge so you can add accounts as you think of them.

Inventory your belongings

Pull everything from your closets and cabinets and really see how much you have. Trust us, you own more things than you think you do. Make a list of your belongings and take photos. Creating an inventory helps you determine how much you need to pack and ship.

Marie Kondo your stuff

After your initial inventory, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed. Good. That means you understand the need to get rid of some stuff. Use Marie Kondo’s principles in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to determine which belongings “spark joy” and what you should donate. You’ll thank Marie Kondo when you see how much you save on moving costs. More stuff = a more expensive truck and more boxes to unpack.

Get estimates on moving companies, trucks and packing services.

If you’re moving long-distance, it takes more than a box of pizza to convince your friends to help you. You need professional help. Now that you know how much stuff you have, get a reliable estimate on how much it costs to rent a truck, hire movers and get help with your packing.

Come up with a plan of attack for packing

Since it can take weeks to pack, you need a strategy. Start with the things you definitely won’t need before your move: holiday knickknacks, family heirlooms, off-season clothes, that shawl that you only wear at the beach. Pack these into boxes and bags that are organized and labeled. If you put a spatula, a cardigan and a wall hanging in the same box, you’ll hate yourself when unpacking. Be kind to yourself and organize on the front end.

 

Long Distance Moving: How To Prepare

How to Pack

Most cross country movers would suggest learning how to pack before handling any other detail. Follow these tips to protect your belongings during the long haul.

Start Early

As soon as you know that a move is approaching, start packing early. Collect cardboard boxes, tape, bubble wrap and other accessories for the packing process. Out of state movers will caution residents to narrow down their packing volume by holding a garage sale. Selling or donating items that aren’t of use anymore will make packing much easier than taking everything in the home.

Focus on Items to Pack Now

After clearing the home of any clutter, gather the items that you want to keep but aren’t used on a daily basis. Family heirlooms, holiday decorations and similar items don’t need to be on hand between now and the move. Place them into their respective boxes, label the container and stack them in a corner. Taking one less chore out of your to-do list will make packing easier down the road.

Use Quality Packing Materials

Don’t select the thinnest cardboard boxes around. You want quality packing materials for your move. Because the boxes will be traveling hundreds of miles, the cardboard must withstand some vibration and changes in temperature. Ideally, select heavy-duty boxes designed for your items’ weights. Long distance movers can always point out the best selections for your needs.

Be Aware of Specialty Items

Take a look at your household’s belongings. Items such as pool tables and grandfather clocks must be handled with extreme care. In some cases, the items should be disassembled before the move and reassembled at the new home.

 

Cheap Ways to Move Cross Country

Rent a portable moving container

enting a portable moving container is one of the most popular alternatives to using full-service movers. For starters, renting a portable moving container is much cheaper than hiring a professional moving company. Second, portable moving containers can also double as storage solutions before and after the move. Costs will depend on the length of time you decide to rent the container and the size of the container. In general, renting a moving container for a long distance move tends to cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 per month. Compare that to the $4,000 to $6,000 that a professional moving company will likely charge, and you’ll see the difference. To move using a moving container, all you have to do is load your boxes and belongings, and the container company will do the rest. Popular moving container companies include: PODS, ABF’s U-Pack ReloCubes, United Mayflower’s container, Go Mini’s, U-Haul’s U-Boxes, and 1-800-PACK-RAT – just to name a few.

Find free moving boxes and supplies

One of the best ways to cut costs on a long distance move is by gathering and using as many free moving supplies as possible. This means seeking out boxes, bubble-wrap and newspaper from nearby retailers, online marketplaces and community groups. Several places to look for free moving supplies include: Craigslist, local liquor stores, U-Haul Box Exchange, Nextdoor.com, bookstores, friends and neighbors, offices, recycling drop-off points, grocery stores, Freecycle, local schools and big box retailers. I also recommend asking friends and family for any boxes that they may have lying around.

Rent a moving truck

If you’re prepared to not only move but drive across the country, consider renting a moving truck from a reputable truck rental company. By embarking on a DIY move, you’ll be saving thousands of dollars. For example with U-Haul you could rent a truck for a one way move which would have a set price for the truck rental, the distance traveled, as well as insurance costs. Additionally, you would have to pay for additional fuel costs for the distance traveled. Of course, keep in mind that truck rentals don’t get great gas mileage. In fact, a typical truck rental only gets around 10 mpg. If you’re moving 2,000 miles, that means it’ll take around 200 gallons of gas to get you to your destination. If the truck rental’s fuel capacity is around 30 gallons, you’ll need to stop at least 7 times for gas to make it to your destination. Several truck rental options include U-Haul, Budget, Enterprise and Penske.

Use a freight trailer

One of the best ways to haul your belongings across the country is to use a large freight moving trailer instead of a moving company. How it works: a freight moving trailer company will drop off a large trailer (28 ft.) and give you three days to load it. After three days, the company will pick it up and drive it to your new home. Several freight trailer companies to look into include U-Pack, Estes SureMove and Old Dominion Household Services. The cost of renting a freight trailer is usually several thousand dollars cheaper than hiring a full-service moving company. For reference, HireAHelper states that the average cost of a long distance move with a U-Pack moving trailer is $3,015.

Choose a better moving date

Believe it or not – when you move can make a big impact on the cost of your relocation. Avoiding peak moving days and times could potentially save you money on truck rentals, moving companies and more. A few peak moving dates to avoid (if possible) include weekends, the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and the first and last weeks of the month. Aim for a mid-day, mid-month move between the months of October to April. For more information on the best times to move, check here.

 

Long Distance Moving: 6 Things To Keep In Mind When Moving Across The Country

Move During Off-Season

Moving can be an expensive experience. Looking to save some money? Make a choice to move during the off-season can increase your chance to save on expenses and give you the opportunity to take advantage of special rates. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, July and August are the most popular months for people to move. If you have the option, think about making your move sometime between September and May.

One Year Rule

Throughout the packing process, pay attention to the items you haven’t used, or even seen within the last year. While we often choose to keep things just in case, chances are if you haven’t used it in the last year, you never will. If that’s the case, let it go!

Relax

Moving your entire life is both a commitment and a process. Though it would be easy if everything went according to plan, a move often takes on a life of its own. The best thing you can do during these times is to relax. At the end of the day, all of your belongings will get packed, and everything will make it to your new home. A go-with-the-flow state of mind will help you sleep at night.

Pack Properly

When planning for an cross-country move, one of the most important things to think about is how you’re packing your goods. By ensuring everything is packed properly with the correct boxes, tape, and wrappings, we can be sure that your possessions will arrive to your new home safe and sound. Be sure to get boxes, tape, and newspaper ahead of time so you’re not feeling rushed closer to your move.

Soak In The Memories

Whether you’re moving due to a new job opportunity, looking for a change, , this journey is not one to be taken lightly. While making the decision to move is without a doubt exciting, taking the time to soak in the memories is an important part of the process. Take a moment to reminisce about the time you stayed up late watching old movies with friends and on your child’s first steps. You’re not saying goodbye to the old, but rather preparing for the new.

Tips To Prepare Before Home Renovation

Common Home Renovation Mistakes

Are you renovating your home? Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, make sure you do it right the first time. Home projects can take a big bite out of your budget and your time if it’s not done correctly. Here are  the most common home renovations mistakes to avoid:

Setting an unrealistic budget.

Renovations invariably cost more than expected. Build in an extra 20% to your budget to be better

prepared for any surprises.

Not complementing the original architectural style.

Additions don’t need to be the same style as the original structure. However, they do need to complement it to help with resale value and to look and feel great while you’re living in them.

Sacrificing function for form

Think about how you’ll actually live in the space. That affects such details as door, window and outlet placement. It can also determine traffic patterns throughout the home.

 

Ignoring Your Gut

On that note, do your homework and interview multiple contractors and other pros as you assemble the team. They may have good working relationships with people they can recommend to you, but  stresses that you should meet contractors in person and talk to at least three to five people before committing.

“Every meeting is going to be an education; you’ll learn about the project and yourself,” . “But listen to your gut!” If you feel like that initial meeting seemed overly rushed, or that they were rude or condescending, those feelings are only going to multiply during a renovation. Move on

Miscommunicating

Communication is key: With your workforce, between the team—and with your partner, too. “The project can become a kind of blank canvas for any issues that exist in the relationship,” . “Go in with your eyes wide open!”

If you have a strong rapport with your contractor, that person can help you and your partner work through any disagreements,  that you shouldn’t have side conversations without each other. It’s also important to establish with your contractor how best to communicate. “Whether it’s by text, phone, or an email once a week, you want to know how to reach them once the work gets under way,”

 

Waiting too long to consult a general contractor

Ask a contractor to look at plans in the schematic stage, rather than at detailed finished plans. “This way you can find out if your project is in the right budget ballpark before falling in love with a plan—and paying for a complete set of biddable drawings. It’s also a good way to meet potential contractors, get their input, and not misuse their time.”

Making too many changes along the way

Changes that seem simple to you may require a lot of work on the back end, so be sure you check with your designer or builder on even slight adjustments. “Even moving a light switch a few feet can cost $1,500,”

Not setting up a timeline

Work with your contractor to put together a list of items that need to be purchased and deadlines for making decisions. The last thing you want is to feel under the gun to make an important fixture selection you’ll later regret.

 

Spending Too Much Money on Unnecessary Things

If you’re on a limited budget, you may want to forgo investing in some of the items that can really add up: This includes such luxuries in a bathroom renovation such as heated towel racks, self-flushing toilet and other fancy fixtures, or a kitchen renovation with high-end appliances. Consider what you really need and what you can live out, and look for the alternatives.

 

Not anticipating roadblocks

Unfortunately, renovations rarely go according to plan. The last thing that anyone wants is to hit an unanticipated setback in the middle of a project, but it’s not uncommon. The best thing that you can do is make sure that you’re ready for the unexpected before your renovation even begins.

You can do this by padding your budget and timeline from the start. Conventional wisdom states that you should leave around 10 percent to 15 percent extra in the budget for incidentals, or these unexpected costs. Similarly, though your contractor will work up the official project timeline, make a mental note to pad it by at least two weeks to account for any issues that may delay the work slightly.

Do you have experience with renovation mistakes? Do you have any tips that we missed?

Tips To Become Camera Operator

How To Be a Better Camera Operator – Part 2: TECHNIQUE

Clearly state when the camera is running

When the camera is running everyone on the shoot should know it.

Edit in Camera

Make sure your footage will cut together.

Don’t overshoot

Overshooting means filming far more footage than is actually required. This is extremely bad practice, but for some reason it seems to be quite common. Frankly it drives me (and my fellow professionals) absolutely crazy!

Turn in flawless footage – ALWAYS!

Your job isn’t to shoot footage that is just acceptable; your job is to shoot footage that is exceptional!

Develop Speed and Efficiency

We are all familiar with the term ‘Time is Money’ and it is never more so prevalent than in the film and TV industry. A production going over schedule has a serious knock on effect on the budget. There are literally hundreds of reasons why a production can go over schedule, bad weather, various technical problems, actors/TV presenters’ performances and directors wanting to do retakes…the list goes on and on!

 

Tips for Surviving in the Camera Department

Big Budget Cameras to Know:

The Alexa is unsurpassed in it’s abilities. Although it is one of the pricier cameras on the market, you get what you pay for. Using the Alexa allows productions the ability to use less lighting, and gives little to correct in post. For informational videos about the Alexa, follow the link below.

Small Budget Cameras to Know:

These three cameras cannot provide the quality that the Alexa and Amira do, but they are major players in smaller budget productions. With the right lighting, and the right lens, you can create some amazing shots with these cameras. Beneath each picture, you will find a link to the brochures and manuals for each camera. Memorizing every manual is pretty impossible, but you should know where to get them so that you can refresh your memory before a shoot.

Be Alert/Present

Stay alert to the needs of the Operator and the DP. Blend in with the surroundings, almost make yourself invisible, and support the camera department with anything they need. You should always be present and working on the job you’re on now, not thinking about your next job.

Anticipate

Anticipating the DP and Operators needs will be next to impossible if it’s the first shoot day and you’ve never worked with this crew before. So use that first day to really observe your surroundings and the behavior of the crew. Learn on your feet so that you can begin to anticipate the needs of the department.

But Don’t Over Anticipate – Be Respectful

There’s a fine line between anticipating and being overbearing. If you overhear a conversation between the Director and the DP, and you hear them specifically say they want to use another lens, then it is ok to preemptively change the lens before the DP walks over to you. If the DP is taking a moment to think about the shot, do not interrupt their thoughts with your own suggestions of what lens you think would look good. Find the line, don’t overstep and certainly don’t guess. If the DP asks for your opinion, give it. If they don’t, don’t. Be reactive, but do not step on toes. There’s a balance that you need to find.

 

Tips for Camera operators

The Rule of Thirds

A basic rule of composition is the rule of thirds. This guideline gives you ideas on where to place your subject within the frame. Though your tendency may be to position your subject dead center on the screen, the rule of thirds will give you a more compelling picture.

Look Room, Lead Room and Headroom

Look room is the space that you leave in front of someone’s face on the screen. This space gives the person room to breathe, as well as gives the impression that the person is looking at or talking to someone just off screen. If you don’t leave enough look room, your subject will appear to be boxed-in and confined.

Remember

Good composition is a means to an end. When it’s done well, the audience should not notice it. Instead it should help create a mood, or at the very least, a sense of normalcy and stability. The next time you watch a movie, pay attention to how the cinematographer frames the shots. You’ll notice that they use the rule of thirds as their foundation, and build from there.

Searching for shots:

Always be searching for new shots.  Your Goal as a camera operator is to get your camera “Live” as many times as possible. The best way to do this is to continually “Feed” the director Shots.

Other tips:

Keep your camera in focus: out of focus shots are hard to look and can cause a disconnect with the audience.  To make sure you are in focus zoom all the way in on a subject.  Focus and no matter how far out you are that subject will always be in focus.

 

New Camera Operator? 5 Tips for Success

Understand your event.

I know this sounds like an elementary idea, but it’s incredible how much understanding the event you’re covering helps you with your job. You have to ask yourself: do I know what the viewer – and your on-air talent – is looking for? Covering football or basketball, do I know the basic rules and flow of the game? These things are vital to understand to make your job as a camera operator much easier. If you find yourself saying you don’t have a firm understanding of the event, then do your homework and watch the event.

Know your role.

This is a two-part tip that will make your life much easier if you keep it in mind. As a camera operator, it’s important that you understand the responsibilities for your particular camera position and that you understand your place in the chain of command. I’m not trying to steal a line from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I’m only trying to help you avoid a potentially detrimental mistake.

Be aware.

Again, this is another multi-part tip, but this one will go a long way in your success as a camera operator. The four biggest things I think a camera operator needs to be aware of are: your tally light, the program audio, the director and other people. Your camera’s tally light is the single most important thing you can pay attention to as a camera operator.

Be prepared.

This seems like an overarching tip that really encompasses everything above it, but here I’m talking about being physically prepared. Every event I work, I take a backpack with me that has everything I think I could possibly need for an event. My backpack contains rain gear, sunscreen, paper tape, gaff tape, a multi-tool, snacks and all kinds of other small items. Being prepared for anything will make your life much easier.

Make goals.

This is something I do every single time I work an event. I found by making goals for myself going into and during a game makes the job more fun while helping me progress. The goal can be something as simple as, every shot will be in focus, or something bigger like, during game action the ball will not leave my shot. One goal I always try to set — and I found has helped me hone my skills — is mimicking a shot I saw on a major network broadcast.

 

Top [5] five qualities to look for when hiring a cameraman or crew

Easy to work with/Flexible

Finding someone who is flexible and easy to work with is always nice to have, but it is especially true when selecting a camera operator. You want someone who can: put those being filmed at ease; be patient when working on set during unavoidable delays; and be understanding about reshooting if you’re not getting what you had envisioned. You may be able to step in and do an “okay job” at other tasks, but shooting with a $50,000 camera and lens takes technical skills learned through school and years of practice.

Honed technical skills/Tech savvy

Operating a camera, maintaining composition and adjusting camera angles is no easy feat. Learning, understanding and honing the technical skills required to become an operator takes many years – and then several more to hone a specialty. For instance, to be good at news requires a cameraman who is quick thinking and fast on their feet.  Others may be good at sports production and following the ball, or an expert in EFP (Electronic Field Production) which requires precise lighting and composition.  Still others specialize in multi-cam for meetings and the like, and then some can do it all.  Camera operators also need to stay up-to-date on shooting techniques, lighting, new equipment, and a plethora of formats, frame rates and resolutions.

Physical stamina and strength

While keeping abreast of the latest news through industry associations, forums and journals is important for honing technical skills, the camera operator must also possess physical stamina, strength and manual dexterity. Shooting, although lots of fun, can also be very demanding – with long hours, challenging conditions, and the need to be on your feet all day.

Creativity: they have a “good eye”

Creativity is something that cannot be taught. A good camera operator will be able to spot a good opportunity and have an artistic eye for framing shots. Having the ability to look through the lens and picture how all of the elements come together – visual composition, perspective, lighting and movement – is crucial so that the images captured will reinforce your message and tell your story in the way you want it to and one that is consistent with your brand image.

Attention to detail

Producing professional video is an orchestrated event that requires all parties to work together. A good camera crew will carry out instructions accurately and with precision. This level of coordination between you, camera and audio people, lighting and the rest of the crew will multiply your productivity and benefit your communication objective. Getting “what you need” or “more than you need” in the field will streamline your editing process and provide additional content for the future.

Use The Best Water Heaters In Your Home

Water Heaters

The cost of heating water consumes almost 20 percent of your household budget, second only to what you spend on heating and cooling your home. Despite this expense, water heaters are typically ignored until they break, leaving you with no hot water and, possibly, a flooded basement.

If your water heater is nearing the end of its useful life and you’re thinking of replacing it before disaster strikes, you’ll be happy to know that you have better choices, thanks to recent federal regulations that require water heaters to be more energy-efficient. New storage tank water heaters are required to operate more efficiently, and tankless (on-demand) water heaters are even more efficient than that.

Typically, homeowners replace their old water heater with one of the same type that runs on the same fuel—natural gas or electricity. Switching from a tank water heater to a tankless unit can be expensive because it requires you to retrofit your plumbing and possibly your electrical system. But if you’re building a new home or adding to an existing one, installing a tankless water heater may make economic sense.

Consumer Reports recently tested several electric and gas whole-house tankless water heaters from brands such as Bosch, Navien, Noritz, Rheem, Rinnai, Tempra, and Trutankless. We compared the results with those of conventional tanked heaters from Rheem, one gas and one electric, as well as with a Rheem electric heat pump water heater, which is a variation on a tanked water heater.

 

Why Buy An Energy Efficient Water Heater?

About Water Heater Efficiency

A water heater’s efficiency is measured by its energy factor (EF). EF is based on recovery efficiency, standby losses, and cycling losses. The higher the EF, the more efficient the water heater. Electric resistance water heaters have an EF ranging from 0.7 and 0.95; gas water heaters from 0.5 to 0.6, with a few high-efficiency models ranging around 0.8; oil water heaters from 0.7 and 0.85; and heat pump water heaters from 1.5 to 2.0.

Tips for Buying a New Water Heater

  • Choose a water heater with an appropriate first-hour rating (FHR) by estimating your family’s peak-hour demand for hot water.
  • Determine the appropriate fuel type for your water heater. If you are considering electricity, check with your local utility company for off-peak electricity rates for water heating. If available, this may be an attractive option to choose electric water heaters. Natural gas, oil and propane water heaters are less expensive to operate than electric models.
  • If you are in a moderate climate (i.e., with relatively low heating loads), consider a Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH), which is more efficient than a conventional electric water heater. Though a HPWH may have a high initial cost, it can save up to 50% of your water heating bill.
  • For safety as well as energy-efficiency reasons, when buying gas- and oil-fired water heaters, look for units with sealed combustion or power venting to avoid back-drafting of combustion gases into the home.
  • Everything else being equal, select a water heater with the highest energy factor (EF). However, you should note that the EF of one type of heater is not comparable to another type. For example, an electric water heater with an EF of 0.9 may cost more to operate than a gas water heater with an EF of 0.7.
  • Whenever possible, do not install the water heater in an unheated basement. Also try to minimize the length of piping runs to your bathroom and kitchen.

 

How To: Choose a Water Heater

While we often take a hot shower or bath for granted, it’s important to note that up to 20% of a household’s annual energy expenditures come from heating hot water. That makes it the second largest utility expense in the home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, averaging around $400 to $600 per year.  If you are looking to install a new hot water heater—or replace an existing one—the type, size and efficiency of the unit you choose will have a big impact on its performance and long-term savings.

There are a number of different types of water heaters to consider from heat pumps to solar-powered units, but the most common are tank and tankless. Traditional, tank-style water heaters are large metal cylinders that keep hot water stored and on reserve for when it may be needed. Since they typically range in capacity from 40 to 60 gallons and are generally about 60″ tall by 24″ wide, they are often installed in a basement or laundry room.

Tankless units, also known as “on demand” water heaters, turn on only when hot water is required. With no holding tank, the system is not only more compact—typically 20″ wide by 28″ long by 10″ deep—but more efficient since it is not storing a reserve of hot water (or compensating for its subsequent heat loss). Tank-style water heaters are usually less expensive than tankless units, but tankless models generally last longer: a traditional water heater usually lasts 10 to 13 years, while tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years.

Regardless of whether the unit is tank or tankless, water heaters generally fall into two categories: direct-fired or indirect-fired. Direct-fired means that the water in the tank is heated directly by the heat of a flame; these units are generally used in homes with warm air furnaces. In direct-fired heaters, fuel is burned in a combustion chamber under the water storage tank, then hot flue gases heat water in the tank.

 

Best Water Heaters Review and Buying Tips

How to find the best water heaters when there is a variety of gas and electric storage tank and tankless water heaters and numerous models? We have compared Rheem, AO Smith, Bradford White, Rinnai, Noritz, Takagi, and other top-ranked manufacturers and brands, and here is the list of the best and most popular models.

To get the best water heating unit for your home, it is essential to know that between 20 and 25% of home energy consumption goes toward water heating, making it the second-largest energy consumer in the North American home. And what is even more important is to know how to get the device that can save.

And this is the reason for these articles… to help you find the best electric and gas models, including top-rated tankless and a storage tank type.

After reviewing many water heaters, it became evident that it is not easy to find one particular brand or a model, which truly stands out from a wide range of available heaters on the market today.

The quality and versatility of models they offer are great, and their heating products have similar material quality, available features, longevity, efficiency, and warranty.

All of them are making quality products, but before you buy the best gas water heater or the top-rated electric model, be sure to know what you are looking for.

 

Water Heater Tips | Save Money & Energy

CONSIDER PURCHASING A NEW WATER HEATER

It’s a good idea to replace your water heater if it is more than 10 years old. An old water heater is not only inefficient but could also cause irreparable damage if it leaks or bursts.

REPLACE OLD APPLIANCES

If your dishwasher or washing machine is more than 10 years old, you might consider replacing it with a new, more energy-efficient model. There are many new designs on the market (including ENERGY STAR® models) that use less water and are much more efficient than what was on the market even a decade ago.

INSULATE PIPES

In addition to insulating the tank itself, consider adding insulation to the first 6 feet of both the hot and cold water pipes connected to the unit. This will prevent fire hazards and help conserve heat so that your system doesn’t have to work so hard to reheat it.

INSTALL A TIMER

A traditional water heater tank is always running, which is a waste of electricity. Installing a timer to turn off your heater at night is a great way to help conserve energy – and could add years to the life of the unit. Call your local plumber for more information on water heater timers.

DRAIN THE TANK

It’s a good practice to drain your water heater every year or so. Draining the tank helps to remove sediment that can impede heat transfer and ultimately lower the efficiency of the unit. While this is a relatively easy procedure, always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. If in doubt, call a professional to help with water heater maintenance.

Tips To Fix Tile Roof

Tile Roof Cleaning

Roofs are our first line of defense against the elements including rain, snow, sun, and heat. Thus, roofs should always be in prime condition. Concrete, synthetic, and metal tile roofs are intended to last for at about 50 years, while clay tiles can last for as much as 100 years. However, normal wear and tear due to exposure can shorten the longevity of these roofs.

Regular cleaning is one way of ensuring the good condition of your roof. Other benefits from regular roof cleaning include:

  • Aesthetic Value – Moss, stains, and mildew accumulate over time, upsetting the overall good appearance of the house. Regular cleaning will keep your roof looking clean, new, and attractive.
  • Discover Damage Early – Minor damages to the roof can lead to more serious problems like leaks, draft, and mildew and mold spores. These problems cost money to repair. Regular cleaning can uncover minute damages early on, and before further damage is done.
  • Extends Roof Longevity – You also have the chance and the option to re-seal, prime, and repaint the tiles after cleaning. This will prevent dirt and moss from seeping into the tiles.

 

 

Roof Cleaning

Roof cleaning has become an accepted part of home exterior maintenance. All roofing contractors agree that cleaning and maintaining your roof can extend its life. Keeping your roof free of debris, routine gutter cleaning at least once a year, and repairing any loose or missing shingles will go a long way to extend the life of your roof. However, remember that most roofing professionals will recommend that you leave the cleaning and maintenance of your roof to the professionals. These people have the expertise and equipment to navigate your roof safely. Moss, fungi and moisture can make your roof slippery and dangerous to work on.

The question of how often you should clean your roof has many answers. The condition of your roof has everything to do with its lifespan, so paying attention to your roof will save you money in the long term. Also, the type of roof you have will determine the kind of cleaning needed. Other factors include the amount and kind of trees surrounding your home, the type of weather in your area, the age of your roof, and whether or not your roof has sustained any type of damage from severe weather.

 

Killing Moss With Bleach

Bleach will also kill it. The dead moss will be easier to scrape off. Or, scrape it off while it’s still green with a dull scraper, and hose down any earth that remains. Tile Roof Wash How To Kill Moss With Bleach Metal Roof Cleaner It found that a clean white roof that reflects 80%

Although concrete tiles are among the most durable and water-resistant of roof … Clean out the Garage Now is the perfect …

How to Clean Your Tile Roof Step on the lower portion of the tiles. Distribute your weight. Stay on dry areas. Stand on flat areas. Protect your plants. Section the roof. Buff the tiles.

 

 

Why Do Tile Roofs Need Cleaning?

Tile roofing needs to be cleaned for a number of reasons. Chief among those reasons is to make the roofing last as long as possible, keep it looking great, and even to help catch damage early.  In addition, cleaning helps preserve the underlayment and helps ensure water runs off easily, and quickly.

Makes Roofing Last Longer

Roofing of any type has the job of keeping the water out of your home. The tile on your roof works with the underlayment to achieve this goal.  For the tile and underlayment to last as long as possible cleaning will help prevent algae, mildew, or moss to grow on your tile. The spores associated with those biological growths can literally eat through underlayment if left unattended. If this happens you will be looking at replacing the underlayment on your tile roof.

Helps Roofing Stay Looking Great

It goes without saying that homes which are cared for and receive regular cleanings and upkeep simply look better. Stains from mildew, moss, or algae ruin the look of tile roofing. When your tile is cleaned on a regular basis it makes them last longer and stay looking great! When your roof looks new and attractive your home just looks better and maintains its value better.

Great Chance To Catch Damage Early

Cleaning gives homeowners an opportunity to examine the roof carefully during cleaning. This can help avoid more serious issues with tile roofing such as mold, mildew, leaks, and drafts. When these problems are caught early it costs less to repair them. When the roof is cleaned on a regular basis minor issues will be caught and repaired at significant savings.

 

3 Roof-Cleaning Methods for Ugly Stains

Homeowners often find confusing and conflicting information when researching roof cleaning services. To assist homeowners with making informed decisions when deciding on which roof cleaning contractor to hire, this article describes the differences between the three main roof cleaning methods.

  1. The eco-friendly, non-bleach, low pressure roof cleaning method

Roof cleaning companies that use this method use high-grade eco-friendly products that do not contain toxic chemicals such as chlorine-bleach, phosphates or other chemicals that can kill vegetation and pollute waterways. This method also uses a low-pressure rinsing system, avoiding the use of damaging high pressure scrubbing or brushing.

Pros: Typically, the results with this method are instant and complete. Algae, lichens, and moss are completely gone before the contractor leaves the property. Technicians use eco-friendly roof cleaning products such as roof shampoo and equipment designed precisely for safe, gentle roof cleaning. Contractors who use this method clean the roof while preserving the integrity of the shingles and without damaging the landscaping.

Cons: This method may cost a bit more due to the cost of high quality eco-friendly products vs. inexpensive chlorine bleach mixtures.

Tip: When hiring a contractor who uses this roof cleaning method, pick one who guarantees that the algae, lichens and/or moss will be completely gone before they leave your house. Also, look for a contractor who offers an annual roof stain prevention program.

  1. The chlorine-bleach roof cleaning method

Roof cleaning contractors who use sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach) mix it in high concentrations with other chemicals such as trisodium phosphate, also known as TSP.

They spray it on the roof and wait for it to dry and then re-apply it several times as needed. Stains and moss or lichens that don’t come off on the day of treatment may eventually come off with rain in the months to come.

Pros: The bleach method can be less expensive than other methods because the chemicals are inexpensive and the technicians generally don’t get on the roof to rinse or inspect after the application.

Cons: Strong chemical odor and results that may not be instant, particularly when moss and lichen colonies are involved. There is also a possibility of posing harm to people and pets if exposed to the fumes or fluids. The effects of bleach on landscaping can cause permanent damage to plants, trees, grass and shrubs. Contaminating bleach and phosphates can leak into waterways in watershed areas.

Tip: Roof cleaning contractors who use chlorine-bleach typically don’t advertise or divulge that they use bleach. If they need to wet down plants before, during, or after treatment or use a runoff recovery system or cover plants during the roof cleaning process, these are indicators that a harsh chemical such as chlorine bleach is being used.

  1. The high-pressure power washing method

Some roof cleaning contractors use high pressure power washing methods to attempt to remove roof stains.

Pros: Can’t think of any.

Cons: Not only is this method damaging to shingles, but it’s also not an effective way to remove organisms that cause roof stains. The high-pressure power washing method leaves root systems behind, so the algae will often return rather quickly.

Tip: If you’re not sure if the contractor will be using damaging high pressure, ask him to hold his hand under the spray. If he can’t do that, then the pressure is too high and can damage your shingles.

Knowing the pros and cons of the three main types of roof cleaning services means homeowners will be well prepared to ask the right questions to make informed decisions. Not only will removing ugly roof stains greatly improve a home’s curb appeal, but the roof will be restored to its natural and healthy energy efficient state. A clean roof is a healthy roof that should last for years to come.

The Good Reason To Do Mold Inspection

How to Choose a Certified Mold Inspector and What You Should Pay

All told, mold inspection costs by a reputable company range from $150 to $250. There are other mold costs as well, known as mold sampling. Mold testing is necessary for several reasons: mold identification, mold concentration, and indoor air quality. The going rate for mold sampling is $100 per sample. The inspection company pays an accredited laboratory to analyze the mold samples helpful in determining the extent of a mold problem and establishing a scope of work for mold repair. The total number of samples varies for each job as the mold inspector makes sampling recommendations based on the factors associated with the building and its occupants.

How Much Should You Pay?

Once you know the difference between mold “test only” and mold test and repair, you have a better appreciation for the cost of mold testing. As stated in the mold test and repair paragraph, it costs $50-$100 just to show up. There is also the time factor associated with performing the mold inspection and providing a mold report.

Mold Test and Repair

For the purpose of being the first responder, several test and repair companies backload the cost of mold testing by offering low-cost or free mold inspections. Conventional wisdom holds that first responders will usually get the job. So, how do you think mold removal companies cover the mold inspection cost?  Naturally, they will find a mold “problem”.

Mold “Test Only”

In my opinion, mold inspection companies should only perform mold testing and not perform mold repair. It is considered a conflict of interest to do both because the test and repair company may exaggerate the problem in order to overcharge for a solution. Mold inspection costs for “test only” companies are paid at the time of the inspection.

Inspection Equipment

Every mold inspector should have the basics: a moisture meter, an air sampling pump, and a respirator. Several other tools should be at the inspector’s disposal including sampling media (swabs, air cassettes), flash light, gloves, knee pads, and a mirror. There are various types of each of these tools. Ideally, the mold inspector will have the latest technology available. There are other tools that are high tech such as a thermal imaging camera which is a tool designed to detect temperature variations typically associated with moisture.

 

Best Mold Inspectors Near You

Mold Testing Companies In Your Area

Mold inspections and testing are important when you suspect there may be toxic mold growing in your home. Mold can cause a variety of health issues, so it is crucial to understand if it is present and if it is of a harmful variety (not all mold is bad). A certified inspector will look for evidence of past or current growth inside walls and other areas. This includes areas where growth could be causing structural issues – like in crawlspaces. A mold test, however, will not include remediation. In fact, many inspection services will refer you elsewhere for mold removal.

Reasons you may need mold testing include:

  • If you have an allergic reaction when in a certain room. Reactions include a runny nose, sneezing, or itchy eyes.
  • To see if a known water or mold problem has been fixed.
  • To understand if there is a problem with a home you plan to buy.

If you are looking for mold inspectors near you, HomeAdvisor can help. Enter your zip code to be connected to mold testing companies in your area who are ready to inspect your property.

 

Tips for Hiring a Mold Remediation Contractor/Consultant

Tips on hiring

Many consultants and contractors providing mold inspections and remediation services are honest, reliable and skilled. Below are suggestions on how to find good consultants and contractors.  (This list is based on guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.)

  • Get more than one estimate. Make sure all parties are bidding on exactly the same work. Make sure the contractor comes to the job site rather than giving a telephone estimate. Be leery of an extremely low estimate. Be cautious of a contractor or consultant that uses SCARE tactics to make you do more than you really need to have done.
  • Ask for the names of recent customers and call to see if they are satisfied. Would they hire the contractor again?
  • Get a written inspection report.  Did it include a summary of all the areas inspected, the cause of the mold growth, how to take care of the problem and any sampling results? Did the contractor show up on time, clean up afterward, perform follow-up service on warranties?
  • A building cannot be made mold free. Avoid a contractor who claims to remove all mold from your building.
  • Find out if complaints have been filed against the contractor or consultant by checking with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 800-422-7128, and the Better Business Bureau, 800-273-1002.
  • The firm that conducts the inspection or air sampling should not be financially related to a firm that conducts the mold remediation due to a potential conflict of interest. Consulting firms that have a financial tie to a contractor should disclose that relationship prior to any contractual agreement.  Ultimately, it is the property owner’s responsibility to ask about such a relationship.
  • Select a laboratory that is accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) or by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

How To: Test for Mold

START HERE: HIDDEN SPOTS FOR MOLD

In order to grow, mold requires moisture, so mold is naturally found in areas that are damp and humid. Plumbing leaks, for example, often trigger mold growth and should be repaired as soon as one is noticed. Visible mold anywhere in the home should be removed promptly by following safe mold removal methods. But, what about that mold growth that you can’t see? In instances of a musty smell unaccompanied by visible signs of mold (black, white, or brownish coating), it’s likely that you’ve got mold growing in a hidden spot.

HOW TO USE A MOLD TEST KIT

Mold test kits are widely available from home improvement stores and from online retailers, but not all test kits are the same. Some are designed to only determine whether mold is present on surfaces. To test for mold spores in the air you’re breathing, you’ll need to purchase a viable mold test kit, which costs $20 to $45. The entire testing process will take a few days, and if the test you perform determines that mold spores are present in the air, you can send the testing materials to a lab that will perform another test to determine what type of mold is present. Lab analysis can run an additional $40 to $70.

 

How Much Does A Mold Inspection Cost?

Professional Mold Inspector Cost

Professional mold inspectors, also known as certified Industrial Hygienists (IH), will charge an average of $300 to $500 to test an average-sized property and home for toxins. They’re licensed to take a close look at your property and find both symptoms and sources of moisture damage.

Some businesses offer a free walk-through. These pros may require you to work with them on removal if they find any growth. Others charge a more comprehensive inspection that includes sample testing. Your range can go as high as $700 for a large property with many difficult-to-access spaces. That price does not include remediation.

Locating the Mold

Depending on its location, mold can be very easy or difficult to spot. If it’s difficult to access, the inspection can take longer and can cost up to $700. Common growth spots include.

Trick To Be Profesional Plastic Surgery

Insider Tips for Finding a Plastic Surgeon You Can Trust

Listen to your gut and take your time.
If you feel uncomfortable, even if you can’t seem to pinpoint exactly why, don’t follow through with that office, that doctor or, perhaps, that procedure.

Make sure the office is spotless and the staff is friendly.
You want to feel comfortable where you’ll be having the procedure. “A patient does not want to end up in a situation where they feel neglected, taken advantage of, or ignored,” adds Shafer. Whether it’s a small center or a giant hospital, you shouldn’t feel tense or anxious as a result of the smell, look of the place, or the personality of the staff.

Keep in mind you want a surgeon who is polite and helpful as well as skilled with the knife.
While you’re asking questions, be wary of red flags. An obvious, but important, one is a surgeon’s bedside manner. “If a surgeon seems routinely rushed, pressures you to undergo a particular operation, balks at you seeking additional opinions or delegates most of the care after the procedure to others, beware,” warns Grant.

Come to each consultation prepared and ready to ask questions.
Just like you would for a job interview, it’s important to come prepared with a list of questions to ask your surgeon while you’re face-to-face. “Take this very seriously in the same way you would seek out care for a significant medical condition and you will be successful,” says Fred Fedok, M.D., F.A.C.S., facial plastic surgeon and president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. “At the end of the process, you want to make sure you and your surgeon are on the same page and have communicated your wants and wishes.”

Ask if your plastic surgeon is affiliated with a hospital.
Whether or not the doctors you’re considering have hospital privileges is another qualification box you’ll want to check off. “If the cosmetic surgeon only does surgery at his or her office and doesn’t have hospital privileges to perform the surgery you are considering, that is a huge red flag,” says Anthony Youn, M.D., F.A.C.S., holistic facial plastic surgeon and owner of Youn Plastic Surgery, PLLC, in Troy, Michigan.

 

How to Find the Right Cosmetic Surgeon for You

Customer service matters too!
You want to be sure you are being served and treated well. Much of this will be obvious a few minutes after you walk in the door of cosmetic surgeon’s office.

Find out about the operating facility
Your safety during surgery depends in large part on the anesthetist and the operating facility. Accredited operating rooms include key life support systems just in case something goes wrong.

Pay attention to how the surgeon and staff make you feel
Surgery is a big deal, and there can be curves in the path to your new look. You need to feel 100% comfortable with your cosmetic surgeon and their support team. Choose a cosmetic surgeon whom you like and trust completely with your safety and results.

Choose a surgeon whose aesthetic sense appeals to you
We all know that what one person finds beautiful may be unattractive to another. For this reason, you can’t just trust a friend’s recommendation or solely depend on the cosmetic surgeon’s experience. You need to look carefully at the results for each surgeon you interview.

Confirm the surgeon’s experience in the specific procedures you want
Each area of cosmetic surgery requires different skills: you can imagine how operating on a nose with bone, cartilage, and breathing passages would be quite different from operating on a breast, which is primarily comprised of soft tissue. Given this, cosmetic surgeons can have subspecialties within the field. Choose a surgeon who is board certified in cosmetic surgery and has substantial experience in the procedure you are considering.

 

How to find a plastic surgeon

Finding the right fit
Finding a qualified plastic surgeon can be made much easier with the help of a solid set of minimum criteria, professional standards and personal preferences. Patients can feel much more confident about pursuing the plastic surgery procedure of their dreams and reaching their aesthetic goals when they can find a great plastic surgeon to help shepherd them on their journey.

A personal rapport with patients
It’s not always necessary to connect with your plastic surgeon on a personal level, but it can make the entire experience and journey much more open and comfortable.

Custom, tailored treatments
Once a surgeon and patient meet and discuss very openly and honestly that patient’s goals and unique situation, the plastic surgeon crafts a tailored and appropriate treatment plan, unique to that patient. Finding a surgeon who will customize your treatment can give you a better chance of reaching your aesthetic goals.

Thorough patient consultations
Plastic surgeons should always offer a consultation that is comprehensive in nature. The consult should factor in a patient’s aesthetic goals, unique anatomy, medical history and lifestyle. Patients will want a surgeon who takes the time to truly understand his or her treatment needs and who can speak honestly to realistic expectations and can help anticipate (and plan for) the recovery experience.

Access to accredited and/or state-licensed surgical facilities
Surgeons who perform plastic surgery in accredited or state-licensed facilities ensure they meet the highest standards of patient safety. These facilities are regularly inspected to ensure they are exceptionally maintained for surgical procedures.

 

Tips for Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

Know What Your Insurance Covers
Your insurance coverage is a practical matter. To receive the most insurance benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket for your care, you may need to choose a plastic surgeon who participates in your plan. Some elective procedures may be reimbursed by your workplace Flexible Spending Plan. Regardless how you pay for your surgery, you should still consider credentials, experience, outcomes, and hospital quality as you select a plastic surgeon from your plan.

Review Patient Satisfaction Surveys
You’ll want to have total confidence in your decision to undergo plastic surgery. Reading what other people have to say about a doctor can provide insight into how a doctor practices medicine, as well as how his or her medical practice is operated. Patient satisfaction surveys typically ask people about their experience with scheduling appointments, wait times, office environment, and office staff friendliness. You can learn about how well patients trust the doctor, how much time he or she spends with their patients, and how well he or she answers questions.

Evaluate Communication Style
Choose a plastic surgeon with whom you are comfortable talking and who supports your information needs. When you first meet the plastic surgeon, ask a question and notice how he or she responds. Does he or she welcome your questions and answer them in ways that you can understand? Does the plastic surgeon offer you options personalized for your needs? Are before and after photo books of the doctor’s actual work available for you to review? Find a plastic surgeon who shows an interest in getting to know you, who will consider your treatment preferences, and who will respect your decision-making process.

Research Hospital Quality
Your doctor’s hospital is your hospital. For this reason, consider the quality of care at the hospital where the plastic surgeon can treat patients. Hospital quality matters to you because patients at top-rated hospitals have fewer complications and better survival rates. Additionally, consider whether the hospital’s location is important to you. Should you need to go the hospital for tests or treatment, you want the location to encourage, rather than discourage timely care.

Consider Gender
It’s important to feel comfortable with your plastic surgeon’s gender because you will need to openly discuss personal information. When it comes to plastic surgery, your own gender is also an important consideration. Cosmetic plastic surgery has traditionally focused on female patients. However, men also seek the benefits of plastic surgery and their needs are often different. Ask the plastic surgeon about his or her recent training and experience specifically related to your condition and your gender.

 

How to Choose the Best Plastic Surgeon

There’s nothing inherently illegal about practicing outside your area of specialty, although Maman notes he would likely be held liable for malpractice if the procedure went wrong. “As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I can decide that I’m going to remove a brain tumor if I want. There’s no state law that prohibits you from doing that. Once you have a medical degree, you can do whatever you want. The problem is, I don’t know how to do that and the patient’s not going to do well.”

Choose Wisely Your Car Accident Lawyer

THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER

Clear Communication

A good lawyer will make it easy for you to understand what they will do to help you with your case. They will provide you with clear information about their process, fees, values, and more. If you have any questions, they should be direct and to the point. You should not leave their office with more questions than answers. If they are unable to provide clear insight into their practice during your initial conversation, there’s a good chance you’ll have issues with communication further along the line if you hire them.

An engaged conversation

A good lawyer should be interested in your case. A lawyer that’s not engaged will only put in the minimum amount of required effort. You can end up getting a smaller settlement than you could have gotten because of this. How can you tell if a lawyer is engaged? They should ask you many detailed questions about your case and what your legal goals are.

Willingness to provide references

Always ask a lawyer for a list of references you can contact and speak to. These references should speak to the reputation of the lawyer. Even if you don’t contact their references, you can have confidence in the fact that they provided them to you. A lawyer that doesn’t have references or won’t provide you with any should be avoided.

An organized office space

The more organized their office looks, the more organized they probably are. Keep an eye on how their staff does their work and how tidy the lawyer’s desk is. If they have to shuffle through piles of paper in order to find what they’re looking for while their staff struggles to handle incoming calls, they’re probably not very organized, which doesn’t reflect well on their ability to handle your case.

Experience

Ask the lawyer about their experience. Make sure they have specific experience handling car accident cases. You will also want to be sure they have experience arguing cases in court and have a winning track record.

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY

Experience– Choosing a car accident attorney with years of experience under his or her belt is essential. After all, this means your attorney will have a great deal of knowledge of personal injury law, as well as a good amount of expertise in handling cases just like yours in court. This can give you the edge you need to receive the settlement you deserve!

Reputation– In the age of online reviews, it’s easy to find out what others are saying about a car accident attorney you are considering hiring. Highly reputable car accident attorneys are certain to have many good reviews about their level of expertise and care from former or existing clients. Additionally, you can always ask your friends and neighbors if they have any trusted recommendations for a car accident attorney they like- an attorney’s reputation speaks volumes about his or her practice.

Professionalism– When you visit a prospective car accident attorney for your initial consultation, make sure you feel as though you are in a highly professional environment. If the attorney says or does anything that puts you off or makes you feel like he or she may not be qualified to effectively represent you, go with your gut and look elsewhere. A trustworthy car accident attorney should conduct his or her practice in a professional manner at all times.

Personality– One of the most important factors of your relationship with your car accident attorney is whether his or her personality is a good fit for yours. While you and your attorney don’t necessarily have to be best friends, it is crucial that you feel comfortable enough with him or her to let down your guard and give all the important details of your accident. If your personality doesn’t mesh with that of a prospective car accident attorney, keep looking.

Reliability– You are trusting your car accident attorney to handle your case, and the care with which he or she handles it can make or break the settlement agreement you receive. Because of this it is vital that your car accident attorney is 100 percent reliable and trustworthy. This means you can trust him or her to handle all evidence properly, return your calls within a reasonable amount of time, and file paperwork and other necessary court documents ahead of the deadline. An unreliable car accident attorney can make your entire case can fall apart- it’s important to find one you can count on!

 

TIPS TO SELECT THE BEST CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY FOR YOUR CASE

Asking Questions Will Help Secure the Right Representation

Ideally, to secure a strong injury claim, you should contact an attorney within a day or two of your accident. This way, you can get started on the case right away while it is fresh in your mind. Furthermore, you must remember that you need time to focus on your recovery while still gathering evidence of liability, police reports, contact information from any witnesses, and photos of property damage and any visible injuries. However, once you secure your attorney, he can gather the necessary evidence while working to ensure that all of your current and future financial, emotional, and physical losses are being thoughtfully considered. That leaves you with only one task: getting better from your ordeal.

  • What kind of experience does he have with car accidents?
  • Has he ever had a case similar to yours?
  • When was the last vehicle accident case he handled?
  • Will he personally handle your case?
  • What is his retainer and fee policy?
  • Will he be available for questions during the day, if needed?
  • Does he have past client testimonials that you can read?

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE BEST PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER

Personality.Often the most overlooked factor in hiring an attorney is personality. When you’ve been injured the last thing you need is an attorney who is not going to be there for you to ask questions, give you a status on your case, or return your calls in a reasonable time. Be sure you are comfortable with your lawyer’s ethics and experience.

Objectivity.Make sure your injury attorney is objective and isn’t looking to settle your case too quickly in order to move on to the next client.

Reputation. A lawyers reputation provides that added value as it will precede them- not only from a plaintiff’s perspective, but from the defendant’s perspective and the court’s perspective for handling cases and doing things the right way. It puts a client in the best situation to recover as much as they deserve as a result of their injuries.

Focus. A personal injury lawyer has unique skills when it comes to determining issues of liability such as negligence and causation and is probably better equipped when it comes to accurately valuing the compensation for damages. Approximately 95% of personal injury lawsuits settle before trial, so knowing how to negotiate a fair settlement is important as many factors are involved. Hiring a criminal lawyer or corporate lawyer will not prove as beneficial.

Experience. Never underestimate the value of an attorney’s experience when it comes to assessing and investigating a claim. Hire a personal injury lawyer who knows what to look for and understands what it means to your case. So, before hiring an attorney, ask them about similar cases they’ve handled, their success rates, and whether they are prepared to take the case to trial if needed.

 

Tips for Choosing the Right Car Accident Lawyer

Pick an Attorney You Personally Like and Connect With

Often, you will be deciding between several competent attorneys. While many bad attorneys do exist, a large number of really good attorneys also exist. If you are struggling to pick between winners, choose the attorney that you have the best rapport with.

Ask the Right Questions During Your Consultation

How an attorney responds to questions is a good way to gauge whether they are a right fit for your case.

These are some of the questions that you might consider asking.

Research the Reputation of the Attorneys You Are Considering

An attorney’s reputation is a good indicator of the quality of their work. After all, an attorney will not have a good reputation if they are not known for performing good work. Asking people who you know personally in the legal community for references are a good starting point.