Ceiling Removal Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Contractor

Reasons To Paint Your Ceiling Black

I grew up believing that ceilings had to be white — or, at the very least, a paler version of the wall color. Black ceilings? It sounded like something only a rebellious teenager would do.

I gotta confess that I’m a convert. Black ceilings can hide a multitude of sins, call attention to something you want to emphasize or instill a touch of drama.

To echo other elements in the room. If there’s a lot of black elsewhere in the room, a black ceiling can tie things together and create a unified look.

To emphasize trim. Got some awesome millwork? Make it pop by painting the surrounding surfaces black.

To make a ceiling look lower. High ceilings always sound good. But in reality, they can make a space feel cold and imposing. Black paint will make the ceiling feel lower without sacrificing space.

breathtakingly gorgeous ceiling paint colors and one that isn’t

Are you ready?

Painter dude is balking at the paint selections of the woman I hired to help me select them! So, hubs gets on the band wagon and starts questioning and making me doubt myself.

Painter: You should only paint the ceiling white. Never saw it done any other way.

Painter: If you paint the ceiling that dark blue it’s going to make the ceiling look lower

Painter: You need to paint the ceiling, wall and trim a different color

I am going to tell you something and anyone else who’d like to listen. With the exception of maybe one in a hundred, do not listen to a word your painter is saying about the colors. Is your designer telling him how to paint? I wonder how that would go over!

I can relate; it’s happened to me a few times and yes, it’s infuriating because it instills fear and doubt in our mutual client. The painter only knows what he knows and in most cases, it’s extremely limited when it comes to selecting colors.

It will almost definitely go purple. If you want a purple ceiling, then it will be fine, if not, then stay away. Otherwise, these whites are all excellent choices for a white or off-white ceiling.

Things To Remember When Painting Your Ceiling

When you have a home and come to realize that the time has come to paint your ceiling, it’s important to remember that you’re looking at a painting project that may take at least a couple of days. There are certain things that you should bear in mind, however, that will not only make your painting of the ceiling better but will actually improve the painting itself as well as have it last longer overall.

Remove Furniture From The Room If Possible

In the course of painting your ceiling, you will spend much of the time moving around the room and when doing so you will not want to be maneuvering around the various furniture that can be found in the room.

Sand Before You Paint

It should be fairly well known that part of the painting process for both exterior and interior painting involves sanding the surface of that which is being painted, but some people don’t realize that this extends to ceilings as well.

Use A Portable Ladder To Reach The Ceiling

For those who have access to a telescoping handle for their paint roller, that can be quite good for the painting process.

Cover The Floor With Heavy Drop Cloths

You will likely want to cover the floor of the room where the ceiling is being painted in that the ceiling paint and paint in general tends to drip.

How much does a gallon of paint cover?

You’ve finally landed on the perfect color for your next painting project. Now, you’re probably wondering how much paint to buy. First, you’ll need to understand paint coverage so that you can get your interior paint estimate right.

Every room has its own quirks that impact how much a gallon of paint will cover. Things like the condition, texture and porosity of your wall surface can make a difference in how much paint the walls will soak up. Below are the general paint coverage guidelines to follow, assuming your walls are in good condition, plus some things to keep in mind in those quirky edge cases.

Paint Coverage

One gallon of Wall Paint will cover approximately 375-425 square feet.

One gallon of Trim Paint will cover approximately 375-425 square feet.

One gallon of Ceiling Paint will cover approximately 350-400 square feet.

One gallon of Primer will cover approximately 225-275 square feet.

FRESH DRYWALL

It might surprise you, but a fresh canvas is not necessarily the most efficient one. Fresh drywall is very porous and will soak up much of your paint so priming drywall with at least two coats first is a must. Granted, most drywall will be pre-primed or even painted by the time you get to it, but if you’re replacing drywall after a leak, for instance, or working on a newly renovated space, factor in an extra coat or two of primer to be sure your surface is well-prepped.

TEXTURED WALLS

A textured wall means more surface area, which means you’ll need more paint to cover it. Think stucco, brick, popcorn ceilings,or similar surfaces which have more surface area to paint. We recommend buying 20 percent more paint for a textured surface (so, if you are painting a 100-square-foot room, account for 120 square feet).

HOW TO PAINT A STRAIGHT CEILING LINE

She just isn’t use to strong colors but after a few years she decided it was a great choice. Painting walls any color other than white can be a real challenge. Especially if the colors are bold like orange, yellow, blue, or even RED!!!

And you can cheat a little by using the right supplies – which cost only $27 and can be used for years!! Last weekend I had to paint a bathroom ceiling. So I decided to share all my tips and show you how to paint a straight ceiling line without using painter’s tape.

Here’s your supply list

Purdy 2.5 inch ClearCUT Glide Brush

Purdy Jumbo Mini Roller Frame

Purdy White Dove 3/8 inch Nap Rollers (for Mini Roller)

2 Gallon Bucket

Wire Grid for 2 Gallon Bucket

Wiping Cloths (for mistakes and drips)

Drop Cloth

Here’s what you’ll learn

How to paint a straight ceiling line between a white ceiling and bold colored wall

How to preserve paint brushes so they last for years

I love sharing this stuff because I know it’s going to help you with your own project.

Paint a Straight Ceiling Line with These Awesome Supplies

If you want a good paint job you need to use Purdy paint brushes and rollers. Yes, paint type is important too. But the best paint will look terrible if applied with an el cheapo brush & roller. I’ve been using Purdy supplies for years because they give the best looking results.

Choosing Commercial Vinyl Flooring

Knowledge about Vinyl Maintenance

Flooring, no matter how new or beautiful, is meant to be walked upon. Vinyl flooring is no exception. Time and the onslaught of foot traffic will most certainly take its toll. But take heart, keeping your vinyl flooring as beautiful and inviting as the day it was installed just requires a little knowledge.

So check out the following advice and be a little smarter about smart and stylish vinyl flooring.

Consistency is the key.

New vinyl floors are extremely durable and long lasting, but like any floor covering they still need regular maintenance to stay looking like new.

Follow these general guidelines for vinyl flooring. For more detailed information always refer to the manufacturer’s written floor care procedures.

Know this about time and temperature.

For the first 24 hours after your new vinyl floor is installed, protect all the seamed areas and don’t walk on the seam sealer.

Keep the room at 68° F or greater for at least 2 days after installation to allow the adhesives to setup properly.

Do not roll heavy objects directly on to a newly installed vinyl floor for at least 5 days. This can cause the vinyl and adhesive to become compressed, and once the adhesive sets up any compressed marks will become permanent.

Allow 5 days before thoroughly washing your floor. This will give the adhesive time to cure.

How to clean vinyl flooring

Cleaning vinyl floors requires a straightforward cleaning routine. Wiping or vacuuming is sufficient for cleaning your vinyl floor on a daily basis. Removing dust with a broom or vacuum cleaner avoids the build-up of dust and dirt and makes it easier to maintain your floors.

Every week, or more often if necessary, it’s enough to wipe the floor with a damp mop or a cloth moistened with warm water and a neutral detergent. This helps to remove dirt and keep the floor in top condition. Keep in mind that you don’t need a large amount of water to clean your floor.

How to clean up stains on your vinyl floor

Cleaning tougher scuffs and stains from your vinyl flooring is also relatively simple. Treat stains immediately, for example, by spot cleaning with a nylon pad and neutral detergent. Clean from the outside of the stain towards its centre, then rinse and wipe with fresh water. Here are some tips for cleaning different types of stains:

  • Oil, vinegar or lemon stains should be removed right away as they may cause discolouration on the surface of your vinyl flooring. You can use a mixture of warm water and a neutral detergent to remove these stains.
  • Ink, tomato or blood stains can be removed by putting very diluted alcohol directly on the stain for a few minutes without scrubbing, then rinse off with water
  • Pen and marker stains are easily cleaned by rubbing with a little white spirit on a cloth and rinsing well with water
  • Rust should be cleaned with an anti-rust sponge and rinsed off with water

Reusing vinyl flooring and linoleum flooring

Although vinyl floor is a petroleum product and linoleum is made from natural linseed oil, they are both similar flooring products in both look and finish. One of the best qualities about this type of flooring is that it can be easily cleaned, even when soiled by liquids. The best parts can be reused as a lining for shelves, cupboards and bathroom areas. They could even be cut to make play mats for children or to sit under pet food bowls.

No matter the type of flooring needing to be replaced, always consider the environment. Flooring is not damaged equally, so the best parts can be saved as new. Many flooring materials can also be reused by others or recycled into new products.

Additional cleaning and care tips for maintaining and prolonging the beauty of your vinyl floor

  • Place protective pads (like felt) under heavy furniture, chair and table legs
  • Avoid rubber bottoms on objects resting on your vinyl floor – it may cause staining
  • Use doormats at entrance ways to prevent dirt or dust from being brought inside and make cleaning easier. You can stop about 80% of dirt right there!
  • Clean your floors with natural, soft or neutral detergents
  • Keep hot items like heaters, ashes or coals at a safe distance/height from your vinyl floor

Don’t clean vinyl floors with:

  • Abrasive powders
  • Black soap
  • Acetone or solvents
  • Wax or varnish
  • Oil-based products
  • Steam cleaners

The Prepared New Home Builder

Apps to help you build your dream home

Building a home from the ground up can be fun and rewarding, but it can also be anxiety provoking. There is good news though with iPhones, iPads and Androids offering homeowners a tool that isn’t already in their toolbox, but is necessary to every home project; the app. Regardless of what stage you are at, apps offer design inspiration, budget management, building measurements, DIY tutorials, renovation ideas and so much more. Furthermore they are time savers that can help you cut costs and work more productively.

Houzz

All great dreams start off with inspiration and so when you’re about to build, you can’t have enough of it. Houzz is your interior design app on the go and it’s filled with a large database of design ideas, creative concepts and product reviews. The app is free, easy to use and beautifully designed to create different rooms and browse ideas. To top it off, Houzz also gives you the opportunity to look up professionals in your area, like architects, builders and suppliers to help you complete your project

Palette Cam

Palette Cam is a great free tool for creating colour unique colour palettes and schemes using inspiration found in everyday life. The app allows you to grab colours from your camera or saved photographs – it will match them and generate individual HEX and RGB values (colour codes) for each shade. The built in zoom view gives you pixel level precision when picking colours making this a fabulous tool for creating colour schemes and making paint colour and textile selections.

Home Design 3D

Home Design 3D allows you to build a 3D model of your home so you can test out ideas before lifting a hammer or fetching the toolbox. The free app gives a floorplan and room layout which you can draw in 2D, creating openings, adding walls, changing the shape and orientation – even the thickness of the walls can be drawn up. Designing your home becomes quick and intuitive, with customised textures, 3D project modes and night/day function to show you exactly what side of the house the light will fall at different times each day. You can also select furniture and décor items to really give you a sense of the final feel.

iHandy Carpenter

For $2.99 you can have a protractor, ruler, bubble leveller, plumb bob and surface leveller all in the palm of your hand. Visually engaging, it’s the handiest and prettiest carpenter toolkit on the market to help you with any home project, big or small

Understanding Insurance When Building a New Home

Before you buy or build a home, make sure you can get insurance in the first place

One of the biggest mistakes I see when people want to build or buy a home is that they don’t even think about insurance until the last moment. The problem with this is there may be a reason why an insurance company won’t be able to insure a property or a home, and it’s obviously better to find out about this before you start the process.

Building a new home can save you tons of money on your homeowners policy

One thing I am happy to share with people who are building a new home is that insurance companies love new homes! Most of my clients are shocked to find out how inexpensive their homeowners insurance policies are when they build a new home.

You should know that your builder’s insurance covers your builder—not you

Just because your general contractor “has insurance” doesn’t mean you or your property are covered when your home is being built. I hear all the time from people who are building homes “my builder has an insurance policy on the property.” But that doesn’t satisfy me—I always tell them to ask the builder exactly what the policy is, and who is covered on it.

When shopping for insurance, beware of “Actual Cash Value” policies

Actual Cash Value policies (often abbreviated as “ACV”) are policies you should run away from. If you’ve ever heard a horror story about how someone lost a home in a fire and didn’t have enough insurance coverage to rebuild, this is usually because they had an actual cash value policy.

Look for ways to lower your insurance costs by building smart

There are all kinds of new technologies and building materials available in new homes now that can either reduce your potential for having an insurance claim, or even lower your insurance premiums. I recommend you find out what they are and take advantage of as many of them as you can.

Questions to Ask When Buying New Construction

The possibility of owning a brand new home has obvious appeal. Many new home buyers have the option of getting the home customized, making the property even more desirable. Additionally, with a new home, you don’t have to worry about all the problems that come with older homes – right?

Not really. In reality, there are a lot of things you need to be aware of when buying a new home, some of them issues that are unique to new construction. For this reason, I am going to tackle the most important questions to ask when buying new construction!

First and foremost, it is important to have a real estate agent representing you when buying new construction to help you ensure that you ask all the right questions. As amazing as it can be to own a new home, it can be equally frustrating to discover that your dream property doesn’t come close to meeting your expectations.

Who is the builder and what is their reputation? How long have they been building?

The abilities and experience of the builder will have a significant impact on the quality of the final product. You are spending a lot of money, so you deserve a well-built home. Ask around and talk to several different recent buyers, and maybe even a few other builders or related contractors in the area that will know the work of the builder you are considering. Understanding the builders reputation is one of the most important factors before committing to them.

What type of homes do they typically build?

Different builders specialize in various types of construction. It makes sense to choose a builder that has a proven ability to build the kind of home you want. For example, if the builder typically builds economy homes and all of a sudden jumps into selling luxury homes, this is something you may want to think twice about. There is so much that goes into building a luxury home. Building an economy home vs a luxury property are night and day!

Things To Consider When Designing Your Own Home

Your DIY dream could sour if you don’t think through the whole project and what to consider when designing a house. For instance, how many bedrooms should we have? Can we have a games room? And what about that study I was always promised?

Make sure your land is right for you

Site constraints are clearly going to affect the design of your home and could even mean added construction costs. Soil conditions are particularly important for slab and footing construction, and the wrong type of soil conditions can provide many difficulties for home construction

Make sure your living spaces face the right direction

A common mistake is simply facing your most commonly-used living spaces in the wrong direction, which is likely to result in a hot house in summer and cold house in winter. If you want the best of both, orientate your bedrooms and living areas to face the north in order to provide sun penetration to as many rooms as possible (get the advice of an architect!)

Think about how “open plan” you want to be with your design

Open plan is not the be all and end all, and can cause privacy and acoustic problems that are difficult to reverse, according. However, an open plan house can also bring many benefits; light flows much easier throughout the house and they generally look more aesthetically pleasing.

Make sure you design your house for your family

Unless you want to pay for some extensive renovations later on, make sure you analyse the way you and your family live and ensure this is reflected in the design of the home.

Reasons to Choose New Home Construction

New home construction or resale? This is a question many home shoppers ask when beginning their new home search. Which one is right for you can depend on many factors, including lifestyle preference and personal priorities.

Peace of Mind

Buying a new construction home can offer increased peace of mind. You see your home being built and know everything from the foundation to frame is new. When purchasing a resale, there is uncertainty as to what the inspection may uncover, causing added stress up to settlement and beyond.

Less Maintenance

One of the main benefits of buying a new construction home is that EVERYTHING is new. From the appliances to heating and cooling systems to the windows and the roof, everything in the home is new and less likely to need repairs. Taking care of home repairs requires time and can be costly. New home construction offers a low maintenance lifestyle that allows you to spend more time doing the things you love.

Increased Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient homes offer benefits to both the homeowner and the environment. Homes built today are subject to much stricter standards for energy efficiency than previously built homes. Energy efficient features, such as an airtight building envelope, properly installed insulation and Energy Star windows and doors, can help improve comfort in the home and significantly reduce your utility bills. In addition to saving money, homes built using the best in green building practices minimize the impact on the environment

Ability to Personalize

Even if you aren’t purchasing a custom home, most builders offer the opportunity to personalize home features. Personalization may include structural options such as the number of bedrooms and baths and/or selections options such as upgraded appliances, finish choices and more. If you prefer to have your home customized prior to moving in, then new home construction may be the right choice for you.

Enjoy Stress Free Moving With Packers And Office Movers

Tips for Relocating Your Office on a Budget

Relocating your office can be one of the biggest expenses a business owner could ever incur. Aside from the cost of kitting out your new office, there are a huge amount of expenses involved in the actual move itself. So how can you ensure you complete the move without breaking the bank?

Get rid of things you don’t need

Before you begin the massive task of packing up, try decluttering first. Think about it – why spend money relocating old things you don’t even need anymore? This is the perfect time to get rid of any shabby furniture, outdated technology or just random bits and bobs that won’t work in your new office.

Reconsider services

Moving offices is also a great opportunity to reconsider what services you’re paying for, and whether you actually need them. For example, are you currently paying someone to come in and water the plants when your employees are actually happy to take turns doing so? Are you paying an exorbitant amount for snacks when a local supplier could give you a better deal? Just like decluttering your equipment, moving is a great time to get rid of or replace certain services which have been draining your wallet this whole time.

Compare quotes

Planning for your move well ahead of time will help you get the best deal possible. Take your time comparing quotes from various movers to see who offers the most value for money. When you do find a quote you’re happy with, make sure to get it in writing and know exactly what it will entail. This will prevent any last-minute bill shock or any unscrupulous behaviour by the mover. However, remember that the cheapest quote isn’t always the best one – you still need to factor in things like experience and qualifications into your decision, and there’s no point getting a cheap mover if you can’t rely on them!

Look into insurance

When you’re trusting someone with all the equipment that makes your business run, you want to make sure you’ll be protected if anything goes wrong on the move. Accidents and mistakes can always happen, and you want to be sure you’ll be covered if any of your property is damaged. If you’re moving out of a shared space, you especially want to make sure your movers have insurance, as you do not want to be liable to any damage that may happen to any other party’s property.

Office Moving Checklist

When planning an office move there are many important items that need to be taken into consideration. Whether moving a small office or a large corporation, a timely and smooth move comes down to the right preparation prior to the move date.

Hiring a professional moving company that offers office moving services will eliminate the unnecessary downtime that can come with moving an office to a new location. Reliable moving companies have qualified moving consultants to assist in the planning portion of the move as well as qualified movers and packers to expedite the moving process. Good office movers get companies set-up in the new facility and back to business as soon as possible.

Moving Solutions handles commercial and office moves of all sizes. dedicated moving consultants will meet with you to understand your specific requirements and develop a solid moving plan.

office moving services include:

Security cleared office relocation specialists

Planning & move management

Crew orientation and post move followup

Certified office furniture systems installation

Specialized office moving equipment

Electronic disconnects and reconnects

Shipping

Custom crating for special items

Building preparation to prevent damage

understand the importance of business continuity, which is why we place importance on finishing moves and installations by a specified time.

Expert Tips on Moving Your Office

Moving an office is no small task- it’s an adventure for sure.  While relocation may be very exciting, the real actual moving part may get pushed aside in the thought process. Moving an office is completely different from moving a residential space.  This is due to paperwork, office equipment, and technology, storage solutions, desks, chairs, cubicles, the list can go on and on.

Prior to the Day of Your Office Move

There are a few steps to take prior to the day of your move:

First and foremost, because your office move is a big deal, be sure the new space meets all of your needs before you take the leap.  Knowing your next office is a great fit for you, your employees, and your company’s goals, while providing an ambiance that offers a good working environment will tell you whether the move is worth it.

Prepare your staff by giving them an adequate amount of time to box and secure their items.  Keep in mind that the goal is to have the least amount of upheaval as possible, they still have a job to do, so time management should be a priority.  Doing this will help keep work in session throughout the moving experience.

Be sure to contact building management (both buildings) to find out their moving requirements and restrictions.  Things to consider are moving times, floor protection, elevator and loading dock use, and parking rules. Also, find out if they need the mover’s insurance carrier to provide a certificate of insurance listing the office building as an insured party

Have a moving budget that’s realistic and approved by anyone who needs to approve it.  Determine whether special moving equipment is necessary. Your movers may be able to provide other types of equipment such as computer carts for the day of your move, be sure to inquire if there is a rental charge for these extras.  Your movers will be able to help you pick and choose add-ons.

Plan for an electrician to take your old office down and set your new office up.  Note that most movers are not electricians and will not help you with anything electrical, even dismantling or hooking up electrical wiring through cubicles.  Have a certified electrician on-hand to help with anything pertaining to electrical work.  Some movers are experienced at disassembling, moving, and reassembling non-electrical cubicles, so if you require that service, be sure to ask and not assume.  Don’t forget to get your cable and/or internet service installed so your tech is up and running as soon as possible.

Tips For a Smooth Office Move

would recommend having these things done prior to the day of the move, but at the very least, they should be taken care of before the movers show up.

Make a list

Have each person in the office detail what needs to be moved from their space, this ensures that items aren’t overlooked by the movers or the employee.  Be sure to have the employee delineate any necessary information that may be unique to an item being moved, for example the key is missing to the top right drawer and it cannot be opened or emptied

Be boxed up and ready to go

If you’re not using the moving company’s packing services, be sure you have all of your boxes packed and sealed by the time the movers get to you.  Remember to keep heavier items, like books, in small, manageable boxes.

Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Office Relocation to the Professionals

When it comes to relocating your office, there’s a lot to think about, and the last thing that’s probably on your mind is hiring commercial movers. After nabbing a location that works for everyone and can accommodate your company, you may be a little burned out and figure that your dedicated employees can put aside some time to help complete the move. However, that might not be the best idea—keep on reading to find out why it’s usually best to leave the heavy-lifting to professional office movers.

Organized and Efficient Office Move

Many moving companies offer full-service moving. This means they can provide packing supplies, help you organize and pack your items, transport them in moving vans, and then help you unpack them your new location. Leaving the professionals to do their job without any interference will make for an extremely organized, efficient, and virtually painless office move.

Secure Storage Options Available

Whether you’re downsizing or moving to a similar-sized office space, you’ll probably have a couple of things that you don’t necessarily need at the new place but aren’t ready to part with yet. When you hire a professional moving company, they’ll often have short- and long-term moving and storage solutions for your convenience.

Saves Time and Money

When your employees are tasked with having to pack and assist with the office move, you can count on a decrease in productivity at work. Professional movers can pack non-essential items while your staff continues to go about their everyday business. This way, you can have an efficient move without having to disrupt the normal workday.

Handles Heavy Stuff Carefully

Office furniture is expensive, not to mention heavy. Amateur movers could easily hurt themselves and damage the items they’re attempting to move. The liabilities and dangers associated with employee injury are greatly increased when you enlist your staff to help with the office relocation— these are expenses that would easily be avoided by hiring professional help from the beginning.

Office Relocation Tips

Office relocation is an extremely complex process that one should not take on without the assistance of a professional company with extensive experience. Aside from just moving furniture, an office move requires the relocation of important documents, computers and other various electronics, as well as break-room appliances. A move that is not done in an efficient manner could make an office move a much more costly endeavor, not just in money, but also in time and productivity. Provided are some things one must think about when planning an office move.

The most obvious step is taking an inventory of the workplace. This is useful not in just planning the size of a move and estimating the cost, but also in planning how you are going to set up your new work place.

Another important aspect of office moving is knowing that your internet and phone systems will be available immediately. Nothing can be more stressful than moving into a new office and having a delay in access to the internet or phone. Ensure that you are in communication with your phone and internet providers, and make sure you have an available IT person on board with your move so that everything is set up promptly and smoothly.

When picking an office mover, it is wise to pick someone that has extensive experience in the field, for many reasons. First of all, those that specialize in office relocation will often be able to take your business’ needs into consideration during a move. These include understanding which parts of the office require a priority in moving, allowing certain individuals whose jobs are a priority to be up and running quicker. Often times office furniture, such as cubicles, etc. can be much larger than the standard home desk or cabinet, requiring trickier maneuvering into and out of buildings. In a downtown environment, a specialized business moving company will likely have experience moving into and out of certain buildings, thus expediting the moving process.

Party Bus Limo Fun And Safety

Funding to Start a Party Bus Business

The party bus industry is growing because consumers love the idea of being able to move around town and still enjoy the fun in the safety of a designated bus. Starting a party bus business requires a good understanding of the laws regulating bus operations and alcohol consumption. Funding the operation varies depending on how big you initially choose to go.

Before You Can Fund the Business

Financing options for any business often include a mix of personal resources, family loans, investors and small business loans. With a party bus, you can finance the bus itself but may need funding for other operating costs. Write a comprehensive business plan that describes your experience in running a business or involvement in the party bus or limo industry.

Develop a budget for startup costs and a five-year projection of operating costs, which include the bus purchase, amenities, bus maintenance, cleaning, marketing and ongoing permit requirements. Detail your marketing plan and advertising strategy.

Registration and Permits

Register your business with the secretary of state. Obtain a tax identification number and check with your state’s DMV to see if additional permits are required for operating a party bus. You may need special permits for alcohol consumption. Obtain all required permits.

Price Bus Options and Financing

Most companies that sell buses also offer financing just like car dealerships. When you purchase a bus, ask about financing options. If you are purchasing one bus, getting financing is easier than purchasing a fleet. Buying a fleet requires qualifying for several financing loans rather than one large loan.

Inquire with the bus financing department about its options for purchases of more than one vehicle at the same time.

Small Business Administration Loans

Go to the local SBA office and consult with small business counselors. This is a free service that reviews your business plan and strategically partners you with local SBA lending partners where you are a good fit. The most common SBA loan program is the 7(a) loan program that caps loans at $5 million. Fees vary depending on whether the loan exceeds $150,000.

Loan officers review the business plan, your individual creditworthiness and other assets before backing the loan. Terms are defined by the lender, but the SBA guarantees up to 75 percent of the loan, giving lenders protection against borrower default. As a result, lenders can be more flexible in lending terms, but they still seek solid credit history from their applicants.

Things To Consider Before Starting A Party Bus Business

Even though the party bus business has the potential to be profitable, the business itself isn’t just a huge party. You need to operate your party bus business just like you would any other business if you want it to succeed. So, before you purchase a used bus to transform into your next business venture, consider these things.

Business Requirements

Before buying a used bus, you need to check with the secretary of state office and the department of motor vehicles in your state to determine what type of license and permits you need to own and operate a party bus business in your state. All states have different laws and regulations, so before you do anything else for your business, you need to know what you need to do to register your business, register a commercial vehicle that will be transporting passengers, what type of license requirements are needed to drive the bus, and whether any special permits are needed for the people you transport to consume alcoholic beverages while on board. Additionally, you should talk to the city’s government office in each city that you plan to operate your business in to see if you will need to complete regular vehicle inspections or obtain special parking permits to operate within the city limits.

Buying or Leasing a Bus

Your bus is your business, so when it comes to acquiring a bus, you need to weigh your options carefully. Leasing a party bus is a good option for anyone who insists on having all of the latest features on board at all times, because with a lease, you typically have the option of trading the vehicle in every few years. However, if you’re starting your business on a budget or you want to keep your overhead costs low, you might want to purchase a used bus that you can transform into a party bus. Sure, you could purchase a new bus, but purchasing a used commercial bus has several benefits. By purchasing a used commercial bus that is only a few years old, you’ll save a lot of money on the ticket price. This means that you may be able to purchase a more luxurious bus that’s within your budget or even more than one bus. Also, by purchasing a used bus and converting it, you can install the features that are most important to you.

Business Insurance

Operating a party bus business means that you need to carry liability business insurance, as well as insurance on the buses that you own. Additionally, you need to make sure that your bus drivers are adequately insured. This way, if an accident does occur, your bus, all of your passengers, and anyone else involved in the accident are completely covered.

How to Start a Party Bus Service

Running a party bus service is like running a limo service, but with larger vehicles: The startup phase centers around finding financing, and meeting the necessary regulatory requirements. Once you’re up and running, you’ll have the opportunity to capitalize on special events such as football games, bachelor parties or concerts.

Individual tickets can be sold to the general public for a ride on a party bus to and from an event. A business might even consider renting a party bus as a means of transportation to a conference or other event.

Take a Road Test

Contact your state’s department of motor vehicles and find out what the requirements are for owning and operating a bus. If you intend to be the driver, you will need a commercial driver’s license with a passenger endorsement. Attend a training class and take the written and road test for driving a bus in your state.

Apply for Permits

Find out what permits you may need for your bus. If you intend to operate mostly within one or two city’s limits, you may need special parking permits or inspections in order to park and operate legally.

Get a Business License

Apply for a business license through your secretary of state. Your secretary of state’s office can also tell you if you need any special licenses in your state to operate a commercial bus service. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if you intend to have employees, or a Tax Identification Number (TIN) if you don’t, through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. Apply for a business tax account through your state’s tax department if you must charge taxes in your state.

Purchase or Lease your Bus

Buses can be purchased used or leased through other party bus companies. Customize your bus to suit your needs. If you are not familiar with party buses, take a tour of several different types to find out what features you would like to offer your customers. Leasing a bus is a good way to reduce your initial investment.

Purchase the Proper Insurance

Obtain the proper insurance for your bus and business. You will need liability insurance for both the bus and the passengers in addition to comprehensive, collision and accident insurance. If you are hiring drivers, they will need to be insured as well.

Develop a Pricing Package

Develop your pricing packages and services. Some party buses offer a host or hostess to help customers during their trip. Make sure that you account for all of your overhead before developing your price structure. Work with local businesses that may want to use your services, such as local pubs and restaurants, in order to cut the overhead costs.

After determining your overhead, you will need to determine how you need to charge and still be an attractive option to your customers.

What To Look For In A Divorce Lawyer

What do I need to bring to a divorce attorney consultation?

One of the common questions asked initially of divorce lawyers is, “what should I bring with me to my divorce consultation?”

Prior to actually hiring a divorce lawyer, it’s common to first have an initial consultation with the law firm to get an understanding of your case. Usually this entails a sit down meeting with a lawyer to discuss your situation. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and better familiarize yourself with the lawyer you may hire.

To have the most effective divorce consultation possible, it’s best to come prepared with a few items.

After you have scheduled your initial divorce consultation, here are five things that we recommend bringing with you:

1 – Bring a List of Questions You Have

As mentioned, this is the perfect time to ask the divorce lawyer about any questions you may want answers to. This may include things such as, “what are my options?” or “what is a realistic timeline for my case?”

The more questions you are able to get answered in this time, the better. It help put your mind at ease while also helping the divorce lawyer get a better idea of your situation and expectations.

There is no question too simple or complex. If you have them, feel free to ask. To help give you an idea of some commonly asked questions we receive about divorce, this frequently asked questions resource may help.

2 – Consider Bringing Pay Stubs

It’s common for divorce attorneys to ask how much money both you and your spouse make. When determining items such as child support payments, these will be important pieces of information that will be taken into consideration.

By bringing pay stubs with you, this will aid in making more accurate estimates on how much money may be awarded in some cases. If you can, bring pay stubs from the last three months. This will help alleviate any question regarding how much each spouse brings in each month.

3 – If You Have Tax Returns, Bring These

Sometimes it’s understandably a little tough to round up three months worth of pay stubs. If you are unable to, a tax return may actually be even more helpful, since it’s gives a better picture of yearly income and your financial situation.

To obtain a copy of your tax return you may do so online directly from the IRS website here.

4 – Bring Prenuptial Agreements and Other Documents Related to Your Marriage

If you have a prenuptial agreement, this something you will certainly want to bring as it will help in preparation of a divorce agreement. In addition to agreements relating to your marriage, if children are involved, you may also consider bringing their birth certificates. Documents such as these can assist in the event there are questions involving custody, or if your case ends up going to trial.

When having your divorce consultation, the goal is for you get your questions answered. Likewise, it is also the divorce lawyer’s goal to get a better understanding of your situation so they can best advise on next steps for your divorce. This will also help them to provide timelines and expectations with you.

5 – Any “Incriminating” Evidence

In the event you are seeking a “fault divorce,” you’ll want to bring any evidence which is considered incriminating. This may include photos, posts on social media, or any other evidence that provides proof of any abuse, cheating, etc. While Texas does allow for “no fault divorces,” this sort of evidence may create weight in your favor if you are seeking specific awarding in your divorce, such as being awarded custody of children.

How to Prepare for a Divorce: The Consultation

The first step for many people going through a divorce is to find a lawyer. When you find a lawyer you’re interested in, you’ll attend a consultation. This initial meeting will help you get to know the lawyer and give you the chance to ask some questions.

Many people wonder what to expect during their first meeting with a divorce attorney. What will happen during your consultation will depend on where your divorce case is at.

For example, in some cases, divorce papers have already been filed. In many cases, the couple has already discussed the divorce and decided to work together through the process rather than fighting in court.

On the other hand, some clients seek a divorce attorney due to an emergency situation. Perhaps they are the victim of domestic abuse or their soon to be former spouse is acting irrationally.

Your specific circumstances will dictate exactly what is discussed and what actions are taken during your consultation.

Being Prepared is Key

Being prepared will help give you the best chance to protect your interests during the divorce.

In most cases, a client comes in with a list of questions about getting divorced. Papers may have been recently filed or will be filed soon. Your lawyer will talk you through the various avenues your divorce can take and what each step looks like.

Your attorney will ask you a lot of questions. It’s important that they get to know you and your situation.

After your consultation, you may be asked to do some research to learn as much as you can about your finances, assets, liabilities, and regular expenses. It’s important for both parties to have a clear understanding of their shared assets, debts, and incomes.

It’s also important to note that this meeting is confidential.

How Do You Know if a Lawyer is the One?

Going through a divorce can be one of the most stressful things you do in your lifetime. As a result, it’s imperative that you choose an attorney who understands your needs, both psychologically and financially.

You should feel confident that the attorney you choose is competent. You can do research prior to your initial consultation to determine this.

When it comes to meeting in person, the right attorney for you should clearly and carefully answer your questions and explain their processes. They should be compassionate and sensitive to your emotional state.

You should leave your consultation feeling like you have a good idea of the next steps and what to expect.

Questions to Ask Your Attorney

Your consultation is your chance to ask your attorney some important questions. You might have an idea of how things are going to go, but it’s important to have an open line of communication with your attorney.

Here are some questions that you absolutely must ask:

  • Do you handle cases other than divorce and family law cases?
  • How much experience do you have handling divorce cases?
  • What is your fee structure?
  • How will you communicate about my case?
  • What should I expect during the divorce procedure?
  • How will a decision be made about custody of my children?
  • Will I owe or receive alimony or spousal support?
  • How will our marital assets be divided?
Posted inLegal

Electrical Installation Pros And Cons

Safety of Electrical Installations – A Guide for Residential Property Owners

Faults in the electrical wiring systems of properties account for the majority of fires and in some cases fatal electric shock accidents. Every year approximately 25 people are killed by electricity at work. In addition to these fatalities, 1000 major injury accidents are also reported.

Around 25% of all electrical injury accidents are caused by portable electrical equipment (PPE). Faulty electrical leads cause around 2000 fires each year.

Installation, Inspection, Testing and Maintenance

It is important to remember that installation, inspection, testing and maintenance of new or altered electrical systems should only be carried out by a competent qualified electrical tradesmen or contractor.

The electrical installation must be installed in accordance with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Wiring Regulations 17th edition now known as BS 7671:2008 incorporating amendment 3:2015, where appropriate. The IET Wiring Regulations establish the accepted safety parameters for designers, installers and testers of electrical installations.

The IET Wiring Regulations have the status of a Code of Practice and whilst being non-statutory, may be used in a court of law as evidence of the standard to be achieved. It is recommended that electrical installations are tested at least once in every 5 year period or after any additions are made to the system. Simple, visual inspections should take place more frequently.

Electrical work module

The Electrical and Electronics module should be done after the General module. If it is some time since you have done the General module you should read the Review module. The test for this module includes some questions based on the Review module.

Within this industry, you may be involved in a range of work activities such as using measuring instruments, soldering, using hand, power and specialist tools and constructing circuits. Only licensed electrical workers can legally perform electrical work.

This includes new electrical installations and alterations, and repairs to existing installations. An unqualified person must not be employed or allowed to undertake electrical work. Apprentices and trainees must be supervised by a qualified electrical worker at all times.

Your employer must make sure you are properly trained and supervised, that you are instructed in safe work procedures, and that all equipment is in good working order. It is important that you work in a safe manner, not only for your own safety but also for the safety of others.

Lock out, isolation and tagging

Lock out, isolation and tagging procedures in a work place are designed to protect people and property from risks arising from machinery or equipment which has been taken ‘out of service’ for repair, maintenance or inspection. The significant hazard is often electricity in such cases.

MUST-KNOW TIPS FOR DIY ELECTRICAL WIRING AND SWITCHING

People take on DIY projects in their own homes for a number of reasons. Whether they want to save money, feel more independent or enjoy fixing things themselves, any DIY project requires some basic know-how to be done properly. Installing or replacing electrical switches and wiring is no exception. These DIY Electrical Wiring tips can help make the process of installing electrical wires and switches a breeze, especially for a DIYer.

Have the right tools handy

Like any other DIY job, you want to make sure you have the right tools to do the job. They can include a multimeter, a non-contact voltage detector (tests the heat of wire without touching it) and a combination sheath and wire stripper. Being equipped with the right tools will help you be prepared for anything throughout the electrical switch wiring process.

Know your wires

When connecting electrical wiring to an outlet, it’s important to not confuse your wires or put them in the wrong terminal. The white wire is the neutral wire and goes into the neutral terminal, which is marked by silver/light-colored screws. The black wire, on the other hand, is the hot wire and goes into the hot terminal, the one opposite the neutral terminal. If there’s a ground wire, it will be a copper wire held in place by a screw on the same side as the neutral terminal.

Three-inch rule

It’s always better to have too much wire than not enough. There are wire extensions available if you end up cutting them short, but the wiring will work better if it is intact.

Hide gaps in drywall with oversized plates

When you’re installing electrical switches, it’s pretty easy to cut a hole in the drywall that is too big. Thankfully, there are oversized plates available at hardware stores that you can use to cover your switches.

Electrical Inspection and Testing: In-depth

All electrical installations or equipment will deteriorate with age and use. A regime of simple user checks and periodic inspection and testing in compliance with BS 7671 should identify defects before they pose a serious hazard and will ensure that equipment remains safe to use.

In residential care settings, managers will be responsible for arranging suitable inspection and testing for all electrical installations and equipment used at work. In domiciliary care, periodic inspection and testing will apply to any offices run by the organisation. It will also apply to portable equipment carried by care staff on home visits. Managers will not be responsible for arranging inspection and testing in service user’s homes.

Employers’ Duties

The main legislation relating to electrical inspection and testing activities is the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAW) which apply to all work activities involving electrical equipment. They require that electrical systems and equipment must be maintained, so far as reasonably practicable, to prevent danger. All work on or near to electrical systems must be carried out in a safe manner and should be subject to appropriate risk assessment.

Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), employers are responsible for ensuring that work equipment is suitable for its intended purpose, is maintained in an efficient state and is inspected as necessary in order to ensure that any deterioration can be detected and remedied in good time.

Where a risk assessment carried out under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 identifies a significant risk to the operator or other workers from the installation or use of the work equipment, a suitable inspection should be carried out. This inspection should include, where appropriate, visual checks, functional checks and testing.

Equipment Covered

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 apply to the inspection and testing of all items of electrical equipment including fixed or portable equipment.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) cover any equipment that is “hard wired” (not connected by a plug and socket), and includes fixed installations, such as:

plant and equipment, including air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems, process equipment, lifts (goods and passenger) and electrically-driven lifting equipment (eg hoists)

controls systems, including switches, selectors, indicators and alarms.

The term “portable” in the context of electrical equipment is used to mean portable, movable or transportable. Typical items of portable and transportable appliances include:

handheld mains-powered tools used in buildings or grounds maintenance, including drills, pressure washers, etc

office equipment, including computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, photocopiers, shredding machines and vending machines

kitchen appliances (white goods), including fridges, freezers, microwaves, ovens and kettles.

What Things You Should Consider Before Installing Electrical Appliances?

Electrical installation is a composite structure of electrical apparatus which is installed to give continuous supply of electricity. You cannot imagine your life without electricity. It is highly recommended to use safe instruments that offer longevity. If you are thinking to build a new home, then you will need to establish stable power supply in homes and offices. You need to properly understand the wiring system which is required for your newly build home. You need to make a planned budget to avoid any extra expenses.

There are several government and private organizations which regulate this entire procedure of power installation. Their primary concern is to provide safety to avoid any mishaps and the appliances that they use have long durability. You have to appoint an efficient worker for proper installation

As you have to be very careful about safety norms, so you should take some measures during the electrical installation procedure. You have to get international standard materials so that disaster can be avoided. Most importantly you should chalk out a plan with electrical engineer who can guide you about feasible installation. A full-proof plan must be executed by a professional electrician. You must try to use more advanced materials and testing instrument. An electrician must provide adequate information on how the customer can take care of all electronic appliances. The installation requires proper maintenance to reduce the risk of emergencies.

Components used for electrical installation

Cable: It is one of the most important elements of electrical installation. The conductor is made of copper. But the flexible cable consists of aluminium. Electrician can make different sizes of conductors as per their need. They prefer 3 phase wiring for installation.

Switches: You must choose highly recommended switches and switchboards.

Switchgear: The switchgear is used for isolating and protecting electrical instruments. The circuit breakers are put inside the switchgear. When any disruptions appear, electricians de-energize this to find out the faults.

MCB: The MCB panel is used because if there is any accidental overloading, can provide protection without any hindrance. The tripping in the MCB panel denotes the intensity of overload. MCB can provide protection during short-circuits.

Alternative Current Distribution Board: This panel works as the main supply of electricity system. It can give protection during overload situation.

Junction Box: Electricity supply companies have made installation of junction box mandatory. It helps to prevent tampering in domestic households and offices.

Lightening Arrester: It consists of ground terminal and high-voltage terminal and it can protect the appliances from any damage during lightening or flashing.

Earthing: During the electrical installation, it is mandatory to install this earthing system. It is done to establish a connection with the ground. You can use this to save electrical appliances from lightening effect. Even it can prevent voltage faults and you can avoid the risk of hazardous incidents.

Emergency grid: Emergency electrical system can act an independent source of electricity supply. When the normal power grid malfunctions, this source can be used as an alternative to primary electric supply.

Motor starter: This device is used to reduce the intensity of current and then later to increase the supply of current and this also work as an overload shield.

Transformer: An electrical transformer is used to transfer high voltage current from one circuit to another circuit and it can maintain the frequency of power supply.

Water Testing Kits And Indoor Air Test Kits

Water testing and much more

Do you need a laboratory that will guarantee accuracy of results, reliability when it matters and staff who know their stuff. Then you have come to the right place. Do you struggle with labs and find it hard talk to someone who knows water inside out. We are the laboratory that can offer you the personal touch and go that little bit further to satisfy their customers requirements

Do you need a lab that will carry out any sampling and analysis you require including wastewater samples, drinking water testing, Legionella, Trade discharge effluents, Bergerhoff dust.

We have field scientists who can carry out site sampling, field measurements, pipe chlorinations, flow measurement and any other related site services.

Are you looking to get your well water or mains water tested to ensure they are safe to drink. Are you concerned that your water maybe contaminated with E.coli

How we do this, well let me explain.

We are a team of highly qualified staff that are capable of meeting your needs in our modern, fully calibrated environmental laboratory. Through the dedication of our team, we will ensure the reliability, accuracy and precision of results.

Municipal Drinking Water

Save time and money; reduce non-revenue water; react faster to changes in your water; and get more accurate results for your municipal drinking water throughout the entire treatment process.

solutions are designed to make drinking water analysis better, from plant to lab to field, giving you total confidence in the quality of your water.

overs all the drinking water testing parameters that you use to analyze and treat incoming raw water, filtration, disinfection and the distribution system

Drinking water quality analysis in source water for appropriate pre-treatment

Source water can be vulnerable to accidental or intentional contaminants and weather related or seasonal changes. Monitoring the quality of your incoming source water enables you to anticipate changes to the treatment process that are needed to react to storms, algal blooms, industrial discharge, chemical spills, reservoir stratification/destratification, construction activity, sewage spills and other natural or man-made occurrences.

Protect your budget and reduce operating costs, like electricity, chemicals, and sludge with effective monitoring of organics, and inorganic matter. Maintain the correct dosing for coagulants and respective pH adjustments. Test parameters such as: Total Organic Carbon TOC, TOC analyzer, Carbon analyzer, Bacteria in water, and Heterotrophic bacteria.

Water Testing and Environmental Analysis

Count on us for the tools you need to collect samples for water, wastewater, and soil testing. Find water testing products designed to detect hazardous chemicals or bacteria, monitor air quality, and more, all while saving you time, money, and worry.

Meet and maintain regulatory standards with our water and wastewater testing supplies, soil testing products, and air and gas monitoring devices. Shop benchtop pH meters, thermometers, water testing equipment and instruments, and more to complete your workflow.

Accurate environmental analysis is essential for complying with federal requirements. Wastewater discharge and treatment is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which also administers the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). NPDES issues permits to all wastewater facilities and directs them to protect the environment by establishing monitoring and reporting requirements and specific discharge limits.

To ensure drinking water quality, the EPA also established the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The EPA sets the standards and supervises the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement the standards. Most water and wastewater processing and purification takes place at the local level.

Buying or Selling a Home – Recommended Water and Radon Testing Recommendations

WHY TEST BEFORE BUYING OR SELLING A HOME

Preparing to sell a house can be a daunting process. There are a number of simple things the homeowner can do to make sure the process proceeds as smoothly as possible. We recommend the owner perform water and radon air testing prior to listing the home. If they have water treatment equipment that has not been serviced within the past year, it should be serviced before performing any water tests.

WHY TEST PRIOR TO LISTING?

Performing  water and radon air testing prior to listing is a good idea because:

Nearly all buyers will direct a home inspector to perform these tests.

Health-related drinking water standards are continually reviewed and changed.  A “good” test from ten years ago may not be “good” today.

Well water can change. Road work, a new well on adjacent property and other factors can cause the well water to change.

Identifying problems early means the seller can research solutions carefully and fix them prior to listing or prepare to negotiate with a buyer to resolve the issue.

WATER AND RADON TESTING RECOMMENDATIONS

At a minimum, we recommend a standard mortgage test plus arsenic, uranium, and radon. These are the most often requested tests by a buyer. If the house was built before 1986, you may want to consider performing a first draw lead sample. If you do not perform this test, be sure to be prepared to install a point of use system for lead in the event the buyer asks for this test and the results are high.

PREPARING THE WELL –

One of the most common water tests that fails is the test for bacteria.  This failure is caused by organic material in the well. Any organic matter that is allowed to enter the well will cause a bacteria  test to fail. Most of the time it is a simple matter of cleaning the well and making sure it stays clean.

DUG WELLS –

Remove the well cover and inspect the well for any organic material like roots, insect nests, spider webs etc. Clean these out of the well. Seal any holes that will allow any reentering of these items. Sanitize the well with bleach. Before any further water testing, use a chlorine test kit to confirm all the chlorine has been flushed from the well water.

Moisture found during a home inspection

There are several ways to test moisture found during a home inspection. First of which is with the use of a simple moisture meter. Most home inspectors have these tools. These home inspectors who do not use these tools should be avoided. A water intrusion specialist located near you can perform specialized tests which will determine whether a leak is active or not.

have signs of moisture within the home, companies like these are a great resource when you are in the home buying process. Consider these individuals to be moisture intrusion testing experts. In addition to providing expert opinion and analysis, they can also provide testing for windows, doors, decks, walls, and roof systems.

Most home inspectors do not possess the ability to determine whether stains found in a building is an active leak or not. Unless, however, its obviously leaking. Most time testing is necessary to confirm stains to be active leaks. Formal testing is a task for a water intrusion specialist. So who can call themselves a water intrusion specialist? Well, there are a bunch of people Try. They are more or less self-proclaimed water testing agencies

Home inspectors by-and-large, are generalists. As generalists, it’s not really their position to confirm or deny the likelihood that a stain or damage is an active leak. Most of these individuals are only certified at their job

You won’t find a home inspector with a state license. Its because they don’t exist. As water intrusion specialists, it’s my opinion that all stains or damage which resembles water intrusion should be ruled out. A company like ours possesses the tools and equipment needed to provide such a service.

How Payroll Service Could Help Your Company

How do you manage payroll?

What’s a Payroll?

Payroll is the process that companies go through to compensate everyone working for them. However, payroll isn’t as simple as just disbursing cash to a set of people. There are several components and parts in a payroll.

Your payroll system needs to be able to calculate and distribute the salary of every employee. On top of that, you also need to provide financial records to your employees with a breakdown of salary, tax, bonus, overtime pay, and holiday pays. This system will also be the one to check the attendance of your employees.

How To Manage Your Payroll Efficiently?

Now that you know the nature of payroll, here are some ways on how to efficiently manage your payroll.

For most small business owners, doing payroll is one of the most confusing, tedious and time-consuming business activities—but it’s also one of the most necessary ones! Problems can lower employee morale, tie up crucial company resources and run even the most successful business into the ground.

Here are six payroll tips that will help make payroll easier, more accurate and less of a hassle:

Register for an Employer Identification Number

Before you can start putting employees on payroll, you will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Just like your Social Security number (SSN) is to you as an individual, your EIN is a way to identify your small business for tax purposes.

Most, but not all, small business owners need to get an EIN before they can apply for licenses, file payroll taxes or even open a bank account. Depending on where your business is based, you may need to get a state-level EIN on top of your federal EIN.

Decide on Pay Schedule and Salary Status

Pay frequency and wage status are two of the key decisions you have to make as a small business owner. Let’s break that down:

  • Pay frequency, also known as pay schedule, is when you pay your employees and how often they get paid. Check federal and state laws to ensure that you are meeting your area’s minimum payday laws. The most common payroll schedules include weekly, bi-weekly and monthly payments. No matter what you pick, keep it consistent and pay on time.
  • Salary status is how wages are computed. You can choose between paying an hourly rate (nonexempt employees) or paying a salary (exempt employees). The right salary status is largely based on the individual needs of your small business as well as the employee’s position.

Understand and Abide by Wage Laws

No matter what, your business or company must be compliant with both federal and state laws. This means that you (or someone in your company) needs to understand what your legal and financial obligations are as an employer.

Make sure that you’re paying the right employment taxes/Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes (i.e., Social Security and Medicare), the right local and state tax, and the right income tax per employee. Double-check your payroll process to ensure that every employee gets paid accurately and on schedule. Monitor your payroll tax deposits to ensure they keep to a regular schedule according to your tax liability.

Set up a Payroll System

A payroll system is any kind of system that helps you calculate and manage your employees’ paychecks. Generally, you have three options:

  • Manual: Some small businesses choose to do payroll by hand, mostly because of the cost savings. However, manual payroll is the most tedious and time-consuming, as well as the most prone to errors.
  • Outsourced: If you have the cash to spare, you can hire someone else to do your payroll for you. They will usually handle everything, from processing paychecks to handling tax deposits, payroll taxes, employment taxes, etc.
  • Software: Payroll software combines the best of both worlds—the cost-effectiveness and control of manual with the time-savings, accuracy and convenience of outsourced. Plus, most software today have comprehensive features, offering everything from storing information to calculating payroll tax and beyond. For example, Gusto is a FreshBooks integration that imports your payroll transactions automatically. It can help you make more accurate records without compromising speed.

When choosing the right payroll system for your business, it’s important to weigh several factors before making a decision. Always consider the following:

  • Budget: How much are you willing to spend on your payroll system? If you have a tight budget, then outsourcing your payroll is most likely out of the question. Keep in mind, however, that your time is valuable—it might be more cost-effective in the long run to spend a little more on your payroll.
  • Number of employees: Payroll is a lot easier for businesses with only a few employees. If doing payroll manually only takes you a couple of hours a week, then perhaps your system is working for you. The bigger and more complex your company, the more you’ll need some outside help.
  • Confidence: Do you have an accounting or HR background? How confident are you in your accuracy and payroll management skills? If the answer is “not very,” consider outsourcing the task or letting professional payroll software do it for you.

Outline Your Payroll Policy and Processes

Before running your first payroll, it’s important to establish a standard payroll policy. This ensures that everyone from management to HR to your employees is on the same page about how payroll works, when the payroll period is, how much they can expect to take home, and how benefits (leave, overtime, etc.) are paid.

Use a Time-Tracking System

A timekeeping system is a great way to manage your employees’ productivity and calculate their wages, especially if you’re paying hourly rates. It’s important to have a time-tracking system that’s both easy to use but difficult to manipulate. There are many different time sheet solutions, including systems that integrate right into your payroll system for even more accurate information across the board.

Stay Organized

Organization is essential when you’re hoping to maximize your payroll efficiency. When your payroll processing documentation is arranged in an orderly fashion, your tasks become much easier to complete in short order.

Your business also needs to be organized to avoid missing important dates. A payroll calendar could help you keep track of important dates, such as when you must remit payroll taxes or when certain forms are due.

Not only will this remind you of your deadlines, it also provides a visual reminder of when tasks need to be completed to meet those deadlines. With a calendar, you can plan your time more effectively and limit stress related to payroll tasks.

Considerations

Choose a consistent pay period, such as weekly, biweekly, semimonthly or monthly. Examine your state’s minimum payday laws; you may pay more often than the law requires but not less frequently.

Payroll System

Your payroll system enables you to process paychecks. If you process payroll in-house, using payroll software is more efficient than processing the entire payroll by hand. The software vendor generally has packages based on the size of your business. To save on time and money, you might outsource your payroll duties to a payroll service company. The provider processes paychecks and often handles your company’s payroll tax and benefits obligations. All you have to do is double-check the provider’s work.

Timekeeping System

To track your employees’ work hours, you may have workers fill out weekly time sheets or install a time clock. The latter is more efficient than the former because it’s not as easy for employees to fabricate time clock hours. Depending on what kind of time clock you have, you either calculate the punches shown on the time card, or the system performs the calculations for you.

Payroll Taxes

While doing payroll, you must withhold federal payroll taxes, including Social Security and Medicare, from your employees’ paychecks and pay your own share to the proper government agencies. You also withdraw federal income taxes, state income taxes — where applicable — and unemployment insurance contributions. For federal income tax withholding purposes, give your new employees a W-4 form to complete and return to you in time for their first paychecks. To stay on top of your federal tax obligations, consult Internal Revenue Service Circular E, “The Employer’s Tax Guide.” To determine your state and local liabilities, contact your state revenue agency or local tax assessor.

Employee Benefits

If you provide your employees with company benefits, such as health insurance, flexible spending accounts and retirement plans, the employee’s voluntary contributions to such plans are also handled by payroll. Your payroll or human resources staff may handle this area of your business, or you can hire a third party administrator. If you offer paid time off, such as bereavement, vacation, sick days and personal days, your payroll administrator can keep track of what’s being used.

Direct Deposit

The more paychecks you generate, you more checks you must track. Paychecks are susceptible to theft or misplacement. If this happens, issue a stop payment on the stolen or lost check and reissue another paycheck to the employee. You can avoid this possibility by establishing direct deposit with your bank and using payroll software that enables this option. Explain the advantages of direct deposit to your employees and encourage them to accept it.

Accounting

Payroll accounting is how you monitor the company’s payroll expenses. Through payroll accounting, you allocate wages, salaries, paycheck deductions and other expenses to the correct financial accounts. You also perform periodic reconciliation to ensure accurate paychecks, tax reporting and accounting.

Record Keeping

The federal and state governments have specific record-keeping laws for payroll. Although payroll software stores your payroll data, you can increase reliability by printing payroll reports at the end of each pay period and filing the hard copies in a secure area. The reports break down each employee’s gross-to-net wages for the pay period.

Why You Need Professional House Cleaning Services

Are There Benefits to Having A Clean Home?

There are many benefits to having a clean home. Aside from being imperative for your overall health and wellness, there are a few other benefits to keeping your home clean.

Reduce Allergies

Regular cleaning is the best way to reduce dust and other irritating allergens from the home. Chores like sweeping, dusting and vacuuming dispose of dust, dust mites, pet dander, and a dozen of other allergens that cause cold and flu-like symptoms. People with allergies asthma and respiratory problems can relieve their symptoms and breathe easier by keeping their house clean.

Sanitation

Every time you clean the house with disinfectants, you are killing bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that can compromise your health. Powerful cleaners target germs and bacteria like E. coli, staph, and salmonella. These are responsible for many foodborne illnesses and infections. Sanitizing surfaces in the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of the house will help protect you from these potentially dangerous bacteria.

Reduces Mold

Keeping your house clean provides more opportunities to detect mold growth and fix the problem in a timely manner. Mold can wreak havoc on people’s health. It causes allergic reactions, cold and flu-like symptoms, asthma attacks, and other severe health problems. Regular cleaning and inspections help control and prevent mold growth.

Lowers Risks of Injury

Keeping your house clean and organized can reduce the chance of injury keeping things out of harm’s way. Leaving loose items around like toys may increase the risk of trips and falls. If there are stacks of boxes and other large piles can easily fall on top of someone and injure them. Organizing can make a huge difference in the overall safety of your home

How Often You Should Clean Your House From Top to Bottom

The people with the tidiest homes always say the same thing—to keep your space sparkling, you have to clean regularly. If you wait and let the dirt and grime pile up, what could have been a few minutes of daily cleaning is now a seven-hour event. But, that doesn’t mean scrubbing the toilet and dusting your shelves needs to happen every day

Kitchen

“If you are prepping food and cooking regularly keeping the kitchen clean daily is a must. Keep on top of dishes, wash counters, and sweep and spot-mop any spills when cooking is done for the day,” says

Surface areas:

“Dining room tables, breakfast nooks, or coffee tables—if food is consumed there, wipe it down to discourage bacteria growth and pests, and sweep any crumbs that have fallen onto the floor below,” says

Bathroom Sink

“This area gets a lot of action, from washing hands and brushing teeth to using makeup and hair products, which is why it benefits from a semi-weekly wipe down,” says

General clutter

“Set a 10-minute timer on your phone to tackle anywhere that shoes or clothes collect: entryways, bureau tops, or clothes chairs—we all have that clothes chair in the bedroom,” she says. “You’ll be amazed how quickly these spaces can be tidied up, and by giving them a little attention every few days, you’ll keep clutter to a minimum.”

Cleaning Supplies: List of House Cleaning & Laundry Vocabulary

household chores or whether you are at work and need to ask for a particular cleaning supply, knowing the English names of cleaning supplies will greatly benefit you. This can also be very handy vocabulary when you are out shopping, for example if you need to ask a store assistant for a certain product or item.

Cleaning Supplies List

Dish towel

Iron

Ironing board

Scrub brush

Cloth

Sponge

Laundry soap/ Laundry detergent

Bleach

Liquid soap

Rubber gloves

Trash can

Broom

Dustpan

Mop

Squeegee mop

Hose

Bucket

Laundry basket

Washing machine

How to Declutter Your Home: Creative Decluttering Tips

The idea of living a simple life with less stuff sounds attractive to many. But often, they begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and defeated around the idea of owning less. That’s too bad.

Learning how to declutter your home and (and as a result, decluttering your life) doesn’t need to be as painful as some make it out to be. And the benefits are numerous.

The Benefits of Decluttering Your Life

There are many benefits to owning fewer possessions. Even then, it’s tough to move into action. That is… until the many benefits of getting rid of clutter reveal themselves

Less to clean. Cleaning is already enough of a chore, but having to clean around things you have zero emotional attachment to (or worse, actively dislike) makes cleaning the house much more stressful.

Less to organize. Finding things suddenly become easier. Things don’t just “disappear” anymore. You can actually move around your home and enjoy the space, instead of moving around things that are in the way.

Less stress. Looking around at the clutter is a nausea-inducing sight once your home becomes cluttered enough. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to look around and see a home you love?

Less debt. Spending less time shopping for material possessions and adding to the clutter means your wallet and bank accounts remain fuller, your credit cards’ statements are lower, and your home doesn’t get filled with costly things you don’t need.

Things in your house you should be cleaning but aren’t

I swear I’m not here to pile on, but if you’re already a neat freak and finding new things to clean is fun for you, you should definitely check out our list of the most often overlooked places that need cleaning in your house.

“showed the remote control’s surface is among the germiest” in a modern home. Researchers found that half of the remote controls tested were positive for cold viruses. Even if you’re only snacking on veggies and hummus while you watch TV, instead of a messier snack like Cheetos, you’re still definitely getting food particles on your remote. Or do you ever walk in the door and click on the TV without washing your hands first? Sure. Do you have little kiddos with icky hands or a messy roommate hanging around your living room?

You don’t always make a perfect shot straight into the trash can, do you? Sometimes it takes a bounce off the backstop, if you know what I mean. When garbage bounces off the rim of the can and hits the floor, you sweep, mop, or wipe, right? Well, don’t forget to do the same to the wall behind the can, which can collect icky splatters and smears.

You probably clean your fridge pretty regularly, and maybe even the inside of your freezer. But when is the last time you cleaned inside your ice maker? You get off easy if you just use manual ice trays, which can simply be thrown in the dishwasher between uses. But if you have a fancy freezer with an automatic ice maker, you’re probably overdue for a refresher.

Coffee is what keeps a lot of us going, but it isn’t without fault when it comes to germs. Is your formerly stellar drip coffeemaker starting to turn out coffee that has a little funk in its flavor? You probably wash the pot every day, but do you ever clean the inside mechanics of your coffeemaker?