Getting The Best Bookkeeping Rates

tips for brilliant bookkeeping

One interesting thing about being an entrepreneur is that you like to look ahead. You tend always to look for the new opportunity, for the next challenge, for tomorrow’s customers. Mostly, it’s a great characteristic to have. However, it does mean that few entrepreneurs relish breaking their stride to deal with a pile of paperwork.

In footballing parlance, entrepreneurs would be the attacking players; the strikers and wingers. But it’s no good being able to score goals if you also keep conceding them, which is why every good attacking team also needs a strong defence and a great goalie. And in the business world, your goalkeeper is your bookkeeper.

Keep your business and personal finances apart

If you’re a sole trader you are not legally obliged to have a separate business bank account – but you should have one nevertheless. Otherwise your books will soon be a nightmare to maintain, unless you record every penny of personal spending too.

Keep clear and separate records

Bookkeeping typically requires at least three ‘books’ (i.e. financial records): the cash book, sales invoices, and purchase invoices. Your cash book records everything passing in and out of the business’s bank account. This record of cash flow makes it an invaluable planning tool, as you can use it to underpin forecasts.

Control your credit

A full sales ledger is a beautiful thing, but if your customers haven’t paid yet, that beauty is only skin-deep. Set strict deadlines for your customers to pay their bills to you, and consider blacklisting repeat offenders if you think they are taking advantage. Chase every late payment, as each is essentially an interest-free loan. Without rigorous credit control, a small business can quickly develop a cash-flow crisis.

 

How to Help Your Clients Choose the Best Bookkeeper

To some, the roles seem synonymous. Even the dictionary contributes to the confusion, listing both as a person who records the accounts or transactions of a business. Though bookkeepers and accountants deal with the same financial information, they manage different aspects of it. Similar to the relationship of nurse and doctor or carpenter and architect, one handles the day-to-day while the other focuses on the big picture

A Great Bookkeeper has Skills

Unlike an accountant, a bookkeeper doesn’t need a state-issued license to work. Regardless, they should have some level of training or accreditation. Several national associations offer bookkeeping certification, including the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers, the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers and the National Bookkeepers Association. Additionally, bookkeepers can receive training and certification through the QuickBooks ProAdvisor® Program.

A Great Bookkeeper is Experienced

Whether an independent contractor or operating through a firm, a great bookkeeper has experience – preferably in your client’s industry and with the same accounting software you use. When interviewing bookkeeping prospects, business owners should ask in-depth about experience to avoid incorrect assumptions. After asking multiple questions, it may become clear that someone with only two years of industry-specific experience is a better fit for your company than someone with 10 years of general bookkeeping experience

A Great Bookkeeper Wants to Build Their Business

With enough time and attention to detail, anyone can enter numbers into a ledger. But, that’s not what makes a great bookkeeper. A great bookkeeper understands your client’s business, spots red flags, and recognizes opportunities for improvement and growth. A great bookkeeper will ask questions to allocate things correctly; he or she will want to solve problems and implement processes that offer you and your business the most value. To find this trait in a potential employee, you have to know what you’re looking for

A Great Bookkeeper is Someone They Can Trust

More than qualifications and good references, the best bookkeeper is someone you can trust. They should be honest and transparent. They should be easy to reach via phone or email. Whether employed full time, their personality should mesh well with their company culture to ensure the best fit for both of you. Consider interviewing more than once to get a better idea of fit; include trusted employees in the meeting and change the interview location, if necessary

 

Tips for Hiring the Right Bookkeeper for Your Business

Experience – A good bookkeeper can be the glue that holds an organization together. It is critically important that he/she have experience in bookkeeping for an organization of similar size and complexity to yours. You should also look for someone who has worked in a firm at a similar point in their business lifecycle. For example, the bookkeeping needs of a high-growth start up could be radically different from that of a 30-year-old construction company. An experienced bookkeeper should be able to think ahead and anticipate needs before they arise. They should have experience with your industry and understand its unique bookkeeping requirements

Training and education – A good bookkeeper should be educated and trained and have a high degree of business acumen. While a master’s degree may not be appropriate, it is important that they understand basic business accounting and finance. A bookkeeper should have training and keep abreast of changes to accounting rules and procedures that directly affect their role.

Aptitude for technology – Unless your company is stuck in the 20th century, you should be using a software system to keep your company financials and manage your books. The right bookkeeper should be trained and have experience using your bookkeeping/accounting software. They should be adept at using other common tools such as Microsoft Excel and any industry-specific systems you have (e.g. estimating, billing systems.) They should be able to process online payments; and perform bank reconciliations

Attention to detail – By the nature of the role, a bookkeeper must have a keen attention to detail. They should have an ability to identify errors and balance accounts on the fly. They should be able to generate timely and accurate financial reports that are clear and concise

Credit and cash flow management experience – One of the most important skills a bookkeeper should possess is the ability to keep on top of cash flow and to anticipate cash flow requirements. Factors such as business seasonality, taxes, bonuses and recurring annual events must be considered when determining cash flow needs. The bookkeeper must be able to balance all of these requirements to maintain business stability

 

How to Hire a Bookkeeper Who Is Right for Your Firm

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need for highly skilled bookkeepers who can help companies keep pace with the critical process of bookkeeping during this challenging period of business disruption. If bookkeeping is not handled effectively, receipts and paperwork will pile up. Bills will be paid late. Invoices won’t get submitted on time. And company expenses won’t get tracked

How to hire a bookkeeper

The first thing to decide is whether you need to hire a bookkeeper full time or engage someone on a temporary or temporary-to-hire basis. You could use a specialized staffing agency to find highly skilled candidates who would be the best fit for your company until you’re ready for a full-time hire

How can you identify the best candidates?

Bookkeeping practices vary between industries, so look for a track record relevant to your line of work. A bookkeeper who has worked only with fashion retailers, for instance, may not have the knowledge and experience to do an equally good job for an air-conditioning company. In other words, the relevance of a candidate’s experience is often more important than the duration of experience.

Do you need to look for certifications or memberships?

Bookkeepers in the United States are not legally required to obtain a license, but they can participate in several voluntary certification programs. When candidates are certified or licensed by the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) or the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), it generally means their knowledge and skills are up to date. Ask them if they carry any certifications.

How will you know if a bookkeeper embraces accountability?

A good bookkeeper keeps your books clean and makes it easy for you to review and query the entries. A bad one leaves your books in shambles and runs away at the first sign of an independent audit. So, it’s no use hiring a bookkeeper you can’t trust. Do your due diligence and ask for reference checks from accountants who have worked with your bookkeeping candidates.

 

Qualities to Look for When Choosing Your Small Business Bookkeeper

Choosing a professional bookkeeping service is one of the easiest ways to help your small business grow! Every company, regardless of size, must accurately track and report the money flowing in and out of its accounts by way of sales, expenses, and salaries, but many entrepreneurs lack the knowledge and experience necessary to make this happen

Finding the Right Small Business Bookkeeper

The internet has made starting a small business easier than ever, so it’s hardly surprising that many of today’s busy entrepreneurs eventually find themselves burdened by make-shift bookkeeping systems that

Reliable

It goes without saying that a quality bookkeeping firm will have all the right credentials, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee reliability. Look for companies with a long-standing presence that consistently demonstrates their integrity, and ask them to point to current clients who can provide honest opinions on the timeliness, efficiency, and confidentiality of their services. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential bookkeeper how they would handle a financial situation specific to your business.

Well-Informed

Every professional bookkeeper should understand the significance of your company’s income, expenses, assets, liabilities, and equity, but they should also be able to

Organized

Don’t assume that every bookkeeper is fundamentally organized and detail-oriented! Although it tends to go with the territory, experience plays a huge role in the efficient interpretation, reporting, and retrieval of financial data – especially when there are multiple clients involved. Ask about review policies and safety nets, and remember that the more streamlined your bookkeeping service’s operations are, the more positive an impact it will have on your company’s bottom line

Tips To Find The Best Personal Injury Lawyer

6 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE FILING A PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUIT

If you’ve never been involved in a personal injury lawsuit, you may not know what to expect. Here are 10 things you should know before filing a claim.

  1. Personal Injury Lawsuits Are Designed to Protect You

After an injury, you likely have a lot to contend with: medical bills, lost income, emotional stress, and the upheaval of your daily routine. Personal injury lawsuits are designed to protect the rights and financial futures of injury victims like you. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you may be able to recover compensation through a settlement with the defendant, or at trial.

  1. Don’t Sign Anything Before Consulting an Attorney

An insurance adjuster might try to convince you that you don’t need a lawyer, but remember that insurance companies often don’t have your best interest in mind. Many of them want you to deal directly with them in hopes that you’ll settle for far less than your case is really worth. It’s imperative that you not sign anything before speaking to a personal injury lawyer, as doing so could prevent you from recovering the compensation you deserve.

  1. There Are Two Ways to Win a Case

Personal injury cases can be settled out of court or ruled on at trial. A settlement is an agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant as to how much compensation the plaintiff will receive. A verdict, on the other hand, is a decision made by a judge or jury following court proceedings. That means that even if a settlement can’t be reached, your attorney still has a viable path to recover the compensation you need. (In fact, in many cases, the jury award is significantly higher than the pre-trial offer.)

  1. Personal Injury Cases Can Be Time-Consuming

Personal injury cases are complex, and therefore settlements and trials can take months, if not years to conclude. To compound matters, insurance companies often try to drag out the process in hopes that the victim will cave and settle for a lowball offer. It’s important that you never settle for less than your case is worth. Our attorneys are dedicated to resolving your case quickly and efficiently, but most of all, to achieving the best possible outcome for you.

  1. It’s Hard to Value a Claim Without Reviewing the Facts

A variety of factors may influence the value of a claim, including the severity of the injury and the circumstances surrounding the accident. Without first reviewing the facts of the case, it’s difficult to pinpoint how much a claim is really worth. However, you can rest assured knowing that Morgan & Morgan has a long track record of success. We understand how to value a claim, and we aren’t afraid to fight for fair compensation at trial if necessary.

  1. You Have Limited Time to File a Lawsuit

Every state has a statute of limitations: a timeframe for filing a personal injury claim against the negligent party. Statutes vary from one state to the next, so it’s important that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t miss the deadline for filing in your state.

 

IS IT WORTH HIRING A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?

Suppose you needed treatment for something life-threatening. Would you trust your care to just anybody? Would you trust it to the reading you have done on the internet about homeopathy or self-medication? Do not deny yourself experience and skilled practice in the name of saving money. In the above example, a doctor would tell you you are risking more than your healthcare dollars in the long run.

It is much the same when you choose not to talk to a personal injury lawyer before you accept any settlement from an insurance company. The goal of a personal injury lawyer is to make sure you receive every dollar you are legally entitled to receive. All the other parties to the case — the other driver, his or her insurance company, his or her insurance company’s lawyers — are determined to prevent you from receiving what you are owed.

One essential thing to remember is that a reputable law firm will operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that if your lawyer is unable to recover any compensation for you, you don’t pay for the service. Without the risk of having to pay fees in return for zero compensation, there is simply no reason to forego the expertise afforded by a personal injury lawyer.

Success in accident cases is frequently reduced to one simple premise: proving which party was at fault. Establishing blame is hotly contested. Proving who is responsible, convincingly, always requires an in-depth investigation. Private detectives may be hired. Witnesses are identified. Statements are taken. Subpoenas are served and photographs of the scene are taken.

Would you know where to begin? What steps to take? What evidence to preserve? This is why hiring a personal injury lawyer can save you time and frustration and give you a better chance of a successful outcome.

 

5 Bad Things That Can Happen During the Injury Claims Process

  1. The person at fault may not report the accident to their insurance company.
  2. The insurance company may delay investigating the claim and accepting responsibility for the accident.
  3. The person responsible for the accident may not have insurance coverage.  If this is the case, you will have to file your injury claim with your own automobile insurance policy.  If you do not have full coverage you may not be able to make any recovery.  This is why every automobile owner should always add “Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist” (UM/UIM) protection coverage, as well as “personal injury protection” coverage (PIP), when the buy automobile insurance.  UM/UIM helps repay costs that the other motorist’s insurance (or lack thereof) cannot cover.  PIP pays some of the out of pocket costs for medical treatment that you incur after an accident.
  4. If are still paying off your car loan, and you fall behind on your payments because of medical expenses or missed work after an accident, the bank or the car dealership may repossess your car.
  5. You may have paid too much for your car, including financing costs and the sales price.  If this is the case, and your car is a total loss, you may be “upside down” on you loan.  This means that the value of your vehicle is less than the amount of the loan that you still owe.  In other words, you may end up without a car but still having to pay more money to pay off the loan.  This also makes it very difficult to obtain another vehicle. To help protect against this there is a type of insurance coverage called Guaranteed Auto Protection (“GAP”) insurance that he is good protection to consider buying if you buy a new car.  It is also a good reason to search for the best deal on a car, including buying a used vehicle to avoid paying the new car “premium” that puts your finances at risk if you have an accident.

 

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

A good personal injury lawyer will listen to you, do thorough information and evidence gathering, talk to you about your options, and assist you in pursuing the course of action that you choose.

This includes:

  • Handling your case personally, listening to your needs, and responding quickly to your questions.
  • Calculating and documenting all of your losses.
  • Ensuring that all court documents, insurance claims, and other paperwork are filed correctly.
  • Systematically gathering crucial pieces of evidence.
  • Interviewing witnesses who saw the incident that caused your injury.
  • Representing your interests during negotiations with insurance companies.
  • Fielding prospective settlement offers and acting in your best interest.

A personal injury lawyer can help take the burden of the legal process off your plate and help guide you through this sometimes frustrating and complex process.

 

Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you are close to has ever been hit by a car, you know how disoriented one can become when it happens to them. If you’ve been hurt or injured by the negligence of another person, company, or driver; it is possible to seek compensation for your medical bills and other related expenses. You don’t have to call a personal injury lawyer after car accidents, but these are some reasons why you should.

They Are Professional and Objective

Car accidents and personal injuries cause a lot of pain and emotional upheaval. This trauma may make it difficult to make objective decisions as far as your accident/injury is concerned. A personal injury attorney will file personal injury claims on your behalf. They will also help bring knowledge, skill, and experience into your case; and this will help you get the settlement you deserve.

They Know How to Negotiate

After an accident has occurred, and personal injury claims have been filed, the offending party’s insurance representative handles these cases daily and can be very persuasive when it comes to bargaining for lower compensation. Negotiating with insurance companies can be very challenging and they have techniques on persuading you to accept their first offer. This is why you need an experienced lawyer to help you through this period. Hiring a personal injury lawyer after you’ve been injured often leads to heftier compensation.

They Help You Make Better Decisions

If you aren’t a lawyer, filing a personal injury claim may seem like a long and complicated legal process. Sometimes, the offending party owns up to their mistake and is willing to compensate you. In such cases, if the compensation amount is adequate for your injuries, it would be unnecessary to take court action. A qualified personal injury lawyer will analyze your unique situation and inform you of the options that are available to you. They can also provide counsel on the best route of action, depending on the severity of your situation.

They Can Provide You With Legal Coverage

Often, the offending parties contest personal injury claims, and this prompts you to take court action. The other party will have a lawyer, and you not having one will probably turn the odds against you. Having the support of a personal injury lawyer will help level the playing field. An experienced lawyer will give you adequate legal representation after car accidents. They will gather all the evidence you need to win your court case.

They Can Help You Get Faster Compensation

If you don’t have a lawyer, you will have to wait until you have recovered sufficiently before going to seek compensation. This implies that it will take you much longer to get your settlement. You should call a personal injury lawyer immediately after your accident. This way, they can file personal injury claims on your behalf while you are recuperating. A qualified personal injury lawyer has vast experience with similar cases to yours and the legalities involved with those cases, hence they can side-step all setbacks and help you get compensated as fast as possible.

Learn To Do About Ceiling Fans Installation

Do It Yourself: Ceiling Fan Installation

Installing a new ceiling fan is a thrifty way to reduce your energy bills without sacrificing comfort. A fan installation is a perfect weekend project for any avid do-it-yourselfer because it only requires a few hours to complete, and the payoff is immediate. You don’t have to be a home improvement expert to install a ceiling fan, Del Mar Fans & Lighting’s videos and instructions below can help you get started

RECOMMENDED TOOLS FOR INSTALLING A CEILING FAN

You have purchased the perfect ceiling fan – the right size, style, and finish, and are looking forward to basking under the gentle breeze. As you prepare to install the new ceiling fan, here are 10 basic tools to keep handy in your toolbox for any application. Having the right set of tools to install a ceiling fan guarantees a safe project and timely finish.

Crescent Wrench

Also known as an adjustable wrench, a crescent wrench has a set screw that adjusts the width of the wrench by moving one of the two jaws to the right or left. Use a crescent wrench to tighten a support brace or any bolts

Cordless Drill with Long Bit

Drills holes in various materials. Use a cordless drill to install the junction box or utility box to the ceiling joists

Voltage Tester

Also known as a test light, the tester consists of two leads that detect the presence of electricity in a fixture. Use a voltage tester when wiring a ceiling fan by placing one of the leads on the ground wire and the other lead on the hot wire to ensure there is no electricity running through these wires.

 

Ceiling Fan Tips

Save energy with fans

Ceiling fans provide a natural energy saving cooling solution. Most ceiling fans use only about as much power as a 60 watt light bulb which equates to less than 3 cents per hour to run.* Ceiling fans will save you money in utility bills in both the winter and summer months.

Outdoor areas

Fans located in outdoor areas should be protected from the elements, therefore are only recommended for outdoor rooms or alfresco areas. Outdoor fans must not be exposed to water under any circumstances and must have at least 2 walls of protection from wind

Ceiling Height

If you have ceilings above 3 metres, you may require an extension rod. All Beacon Lighting ceiling fans come with an optional extension rod, our standard size is 900mm but you can easily cut them to suit your requirements

Recommended Installation Height

Any ceiling fan should be at least 2.1 metres from the floor to the blades of the fan and at least 300mm from the ceiling.

Remote Controls

Have the convenience of being able to control the light and action of your fan from a remote control. Each Beacon Lighting fan can be installed with a receiver which means that when installing a fan into an existing light point there is no need to run an extra wire to control the fan, as the remote does everything for you. Remote controls are an optional extra.

 

Ceiling Fan Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Ceiling Fan

With such a broad range of fans to choose from, it’s easy to get lost in phrases like sloped-ceiling adaptable, blade span and 14-degree blade pitch. And all the questions: Big or small? How many blades? What controls do I need? Et cetera, et cetera.

There can really be a lot to think about when it comes to buying ceiling fans. So, if you want to brush up on all the technical jargon before making the wisest ceiling fan choice possible, you can do so here by checking out the following FAQs (plus, other ceiling fan articles, to your right).

What are my ceiling fan mounting options?

There are several options available, each designed to optimize air circulation and fit proportionally into a space. Regulations do require fans to be installed at least 7 feet up from the floor. (Before choosing a low-profile fan, be sure to measure the space between your ceiling and floor.) Aside from that, you can choose the fan mounting that best suits your room and, of course, your style.

Hugger Ceiling Fans

This type of flushmount ceiling fan is ideal for low ceilings (8 feet or shorter). There is no space between the ceiling fan’s motor housing and the ceiling, making it an ideal choice for smaller urban spaces, including apartments and condos.

Close-to-Ceiling Fans

A downrod of 3 to 5 inches is installed between the ceiling canopy and fan. The added space between the low profile ceiling fan and ceiling allows for more air circulation and fan efficiency, while remaining relatively close to the ceiling and out of the way. This mounting option is good for any room where the ceiling-to-floor height is roughly 9 feet.

 

How To Choose A Ceiling Fan – Size, Blades & Airflow

With so many variables and options, choosing the perfect ceiling fan and picking the right size can be a bit daunting. We’ve compiled some expert advice that will guide you through choosing a ceiling fan fit for your needs.

Determining what type of ceiling fan you should add to your room of choice can seem like a surprisingly complex decision when you are first starting out. You need to consider the dimensions of your room, the size of the fan, airflow and CFM, the length of its blades, how many blades, their materials, and more.

How do I choose a ceiling fan size that fits my room?

The first thing to consider when deciding your ceiling fan size is the size of the room in which it will go. The square footage of a room dictates how big the ceiling fan will need to be because a fan that is too small or big for a space will not circulate the air properly.

How do I determine the hanging height of the fan?

To meet building codes, the bottom of the fan should be at least seven feet off the floor; eight to nine feet will allow for optimal circulation. For higher ceilings, you can use fans with downrods, such as the Ball Ceiling Fan, to achieve the right height. The more space between the ceiling and the blades, the better for air flow and circulation. Ideally, aim for at least 12 inches

Fans will typically come with one or two downrods, in different standard lengths. However, if more length is needed to achieve the ideal hanging height, additional downrods in other sizes can be purchased. For a room with a 9-foot ceiling, select a fan with a 6” downrod. For ceilings that are taller than nine feet, add 6” to the downrod for every foot of height: 10-foot ceiling, 12″ downrod; 11-foot ceiling, 18″ downrod; and so on

 

How To: Choose a Ceiling Fan

Choosing a ceiling fan is enough to make any homeowner’s head hurt. With so many variables and options, what should you consider when choosing a ceiling fan

Get the Height Right

If  you’re planning the installation for a low-ceilinged room, insist on a flush-mount model (also called a “ceiling hugger”) to ensure adequate head clearance. For average-height ceilings, using the manufacturer-supplied hanging rod should do the trick. For higher ceilings, an extension rod will lower the fan to optimal position within the room, about eight or nine feet off the floor.

Size Your Fan to the Room

For very large rooms with high ceilings, fans with 60- to 80-inch blade spans are available. Large-sized fans are as much about scale as function in meeting the requirements of a large space

Place Your Fan Properly

Ceiling fans don’t actually lower room temperatures; they cool by creating a breeze. Install them in places where you spend the most time. Good spots are over the bed or above family-room or kitchen seating.

Consider Control Options

Do you want to control the fan from a wall switch, a remote, or a good old-fashioned pull chain? You may not have a choice. Mode of operation depends on the fan that you choose. Tastes vary, but there is certainly something to be said for the convenience of a remote that enables you to change fan speed (or ceiling-fan light fixture settings) effortlessly.

Use Eye Care Methode To Make Your Eye Healthy

How to Choose a Good Eye Doctor

Choosing an eye doctor is just as important as selecting a general health physician. Your eyes are not only a window to the world, but they also serve as a window to your overall health. Because your eyes are an essential part of everyday life, your choice of a good eye doctor is not one that should be taken lightly. Here are five key things to look for when choosing an eye doctor

Two Types of Eye Doctors

Optometrists can treat some eye diseases, prescribe medication, and do not perform surgery on the eyes. To become an optometrist one would go to college, then spend four more years in Optometry school and can participate in programs specializing in some types of eye disease

Ophthalmologists treat all types of eye disease, prescribe medication, and perform surgery on the eyes. To become an Ophthalmologist one would go to college, then spend four years in Medical School, and then spend four more years in a residency program. Some ophthalmologists, after their residency will spend up to several more years if they are interested in specializing in a particular type of Ophthalmology, although this is not required to be considered a general Ophthalmologist

Which Is Right For You

It’s a good idea to consider the type of care you need when selecting an eye doctor. For a general eye exam either an ophthalmologist or optometrist will suit your purpose, however if you have a specific eye disease – you may want to consider an ophthalmologist for ongoing care (depending on the issue). In terms of fitting contact lenses and educating you on all the options with regard to glasses, spectacle lenses and contact lenses – Optometrists are typically thought of as the go to professional.

Eye Doctor Availability

When it comes to optometrists – does the practice offer evening and weekend hours of availability? Does the practice have openings within the week of your desired well vision exam?

 

Tips for Good Eye Health

Watching lots of movies

Sit at a distance equivalent to at least five times the width of your TV screen

Include eye healthy foods in your meal

Foods containing vitamin C (papayas, red bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, and oranges) or antioxidants such as lutein and beta-carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, kale, and broccoli) can help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Get regular…with your eye exams

There is no better way to protect your vision than an eye exam, as many eye diseases have no easily detectable symptoms. The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends children have their first eye exam between ages six and nine months, and annually after that. Adults should have eye exams every two years, or at the direction of their optometrist.

Butt out!

Smoking contributes to a number of eye related health issue

Take 20

Take a 20 second break from your computer screen every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.

 

Healthy Eyes

Eat a Balanced Diet

As part of your healthy diet, choose foods rich in antioxidants, like Vitamins A and C; foods like leafy, green vegetables and fish.  Many foods – especially fatty fish, such as salmon – contain essential omega-3 fatty acids that are important to the health of the macula, the part of the eye responsible for central vision.

An inadequate intake of antioxidants, consumption of alcohol or saturated fats may create free-radical reactions that can harm the macula – the central part of the retina. High-fat diets can also cause deposits that constrict blood flow in the arteries. The eyes are especially sensitive to this, given the small size of the blood vessels that feed them

Get a good night’s sleep

You’ll feel the difference when you get the sleep you need. You’ll look great, you’ll perform at home or work—and good rest will support the health of your eyes.

Wash your hands

Keeping your hands clean is so important when it comes to your eyes, especially if you’re a contact lens wearer. Before you touch your eye—and before you put in or remove a contact lens—wash your hands with a mild soap and dry with a lint-free towel. Some germs and bacteria that come from your hands can cause eye infections, like bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye). When you touch your eye, whatever is on your fingers goes right onto your eye’s surface. This is one way that people catch colds—rubbing their eyes while they have cold virus germs on their hands.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking exposes your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress. While the connection has not been clearly identified, it is known that smoking increases your risk for a variety of health conditions affecting the eye.

 

AN OPTOMETRIST’S BEST TIPS FOR EYE CARE

EAT BETTER

Your eye health actually begins with what you eat. If you want to avoid developing any age-related vision problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration, you should pay more attention to what you put on your plate. You should fill up on more nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, lutein and omega-3 fatty acids. You’ll get these nutrients by eating more oily fish such as salmon and tuna. Incorporate more green leafy vegetables like collards, kale, and spinach in your meals too. For a healthy dessert or snack, have an orange or enjoy a glass of natural citrus juice.

WEAR SUNGLASSES

Just like your skin, your eyes could also use some protection from the harmful rays of the sun. For this, you need a pair of sunglasses able to effectively block 99 to 100 percent of UVB and UVA rays. You can also use polarized lenses to help reduce glare when driving

STOP STARING AT THE SCREEN

Whether it’s your phone or computer, staring at the screen for far too long can result in a wide range of eye issues. These include eye strain, dry eyes, blurry vision, trouble focusing, headaches, and more

MAKE REGULAR VISITS TO YOUR EYE DOCTOR

There’s no better expert to check out your eyes than your eye doctor, so make sure to schedule regular visits to your eye care center. Ideally, you should come in at least once a year.

Remember these tips to keep your vision and overall eye health in good condition. For the clearest vision possible, your eyes just need proper care and attention just like every other part of your body.

 

Ways To Maintain Good Eye Health

When you wake up in the morning, your surroundings may appear a little blurry. After a few minutes, the blurriness fades and you can see things properly. As you go throughout your day, you notice that you have a harder time reading the writing on boards. Your eyes may even hurt a little bit as you look at your computer screen during the day.

You feel slightly concerned about the change in your vision and the strain you feel, so you schedule an appointment with your optometrist. During your visit, you discover that you need to wear glasses to resolve the problems you’ve experienced

VISIT YOUR EYE DOCTOR OFTEN

First and foremost, you should visit your eye doctor every two years and receive eye exams. During these appointments, your optometrist will check your eyes for abnormalities, diseases, and other complications. If he or she notices any issues, you’ll work together to treat the condition.

EAT THE RIGHT FOODS

Another way to ensure good eye health is to eat the right kinds of foods. Nutrient-rich foods promote healthy eyes and overall health.

STOP SMOKING

According to recent studies, smoking negatively affects your eye health, as well as your overall health. These studies have linked smoking to increased risks for optic nerve damage, macular degeneration, and cataracts. All of these conditions could cause you to go blind.

Must Know To Do Tax Preparation

How to Find a Good CPA for Your Taxes

Ask about their specialization

CPAs can specialize in a range of accounting areas, including business, government and forensic accounting, as well as tax preparation. For preparing and filing your personal taxes, consider finding a CPA who specializes in individual income tax returns.

Verify their identification number

The IRS requires CPAs who prepare taxes to register with the IRS and have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). To verify that a CPA is registered with a PTIN, simply search the IRS Return Preparer Office Directory.

Look up their license

CPAs are also licensed by the state, so before hiring one, you can search their records with your state’s board of accountancy. Most states offer CPA databases that allow you to search by name and find important information on a CPA’s license status, issue and expiration dates, as well as disciplinary actions and suspensions

Consider their experience

While all CPAs are credentialed prior to offering their services, CPAs with several years of experience will more likely have a deeper understanding of the tax code than a newly certified individual. For example, TurboTax Live CPAs have an average of 15 years of experience

Confirm their willingness to sign

Verify that your CPA will sign your tax return and represent you before the IRS for any tax matter related to your return. If not, consider finding a CPA who will.

 

How To Find The Perfect Tax Preparer This Tax Season

I don’t prepare my own taxes. That wasn’t always the case. When we first started the law firm, I did taxes for the business and our family. And when we bought our rental property, I took that on, too. And then we had a kid. And another kid. And a third. At some point, juggling it all was too much, and I realized that it was a better use of my time to pay someone else to do our books and prepare our taxes. But finding that person? That was the challenge.

I wasn’t alone in my search for a tax preparer: According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for the year 2013 – that’s pre-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) – about 57% of taxpayers used a professional tax preparer (downloads as a pdf). And according to those same statistics, even as the Tax Code gets more complicated, the number of paid tax preparers is decreasing. With those odds, finding the right fit can take time and patience.

Our initial tax preparer was fine, but there were some gaps in communication. One of those gaps – while I was on maternity leave – resulted in an eventual audit. Our next tax preparer came highly recommended but ended up pleading to a count of felony tax fraud (I’m not kidding). My point: You might not get it right at first, and that’s okay.

Over the years, I’ve sorted out what works. We’ve had a relationship with our current tax preparer for a bit, and he gets me – from my control freak tendencies to my geeky tax humor. But I don’t regret my prior goofs because I learned from those mistakes. And here’s the secret: You’re the only one who can find the perfect tax preparer for you.

That said, I can offer a few tips. The key, as with hiring any professional, is to ask questions. Ideally, you’d establish a relationship – remember, you’re trusting this person with your personal and financial details. But whether you are looking for a long-term tax professional or just someone you meet with once a year to prepare your form 1040, there are some common truths

 

How Do I Find a Good Tax Professional?

After thinking about whether I should prepare my own taxes or not, I’ve decided to let a professional do the work for me. But now I have another question: How do I find one? No one I know uses an accountant. Should I just walk into one of those tax chains, look for a CPA nearby, or what do I need to consider before giving this person my financial information?

Different Kinds of Tax Professionals

Before you start your search, you might be wondering about all the different kinds of tax pros out there or who can do your taxes. Basically, anyone can call himself a tax preparer and file your return for you. There are two types of tax professionals, though, that are probably most appropriate for you and most people: certified public accountants and enrolled agents. Both types can represent you before the IRS in case you get audited.

Certified public accountants

CPAs are accountants who have passed qualifying state exams and met specific education and experience requirements for that title. Not all CPAs are experts on income taxes, though, so when looking for someone to prepare your return, you’ll want to ask about the CPA’s experience in handling individual taxes. A benefit of going with a CPA is these financial pros may be able to help you with other financial situations like estate planning or financial planning in addition to doing your taxes.

Enrolled agent

EA is a tax professional licensed by the IRS through a special enrollment exam or after working for the IRS for five years. EAs may specialize in specific tax areas, so be sure to ask what his or her area of expertise is. The benefit of using an enrolled agent is that these people live and breathe taxes (they’re required to take continuing education courses in taxes every three years), and, generally speaking, may charge less than CPAs

You have two other main choices for tax preparers—tax attorneys and tax preparation chains—but I don’t believe they make sense here. Tax attorneys are best for handling complex tax disputes and corporate matters, rather than preparing individual returns.

 

Finding a Good Tax Preparer

A good number of companies depend on professional tax preparers to file their tax returns. Many decision-makers in organizations prefer to outsource tax filing services to save on cost and time. A big challenge, however, lies in finding a dependable third-party company that can be entrusted with filing tax returns. There are a lot of factors to be considered before settling on a particular service provider.

They should have a CPA, law license or Enrolled Agent designation

When looking for a tax preparer, it is advisable to get someone who is a certified public accountant and has completed the IRS Annual Filing Season program.

Enquire for Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)

Anyone who participates in preparing or assisting in tax preparation is required to have a PTIN by IRS. Therefore, before you settle on a provider for tax preparation, ensure they have a PTIN. They should also put it on your tax return as required by the IRS.

Cost comparison

Cost is important in nearly everything, isn’t it? It is important to consider the fee charged by your preferred tax preparer. A common way to determine the authenticity of the charged amount is to do a background search across several providers. Also, many tax preparers charge their fees on an hourly basis. Therefore, if you find one charge based on the size of your refund or claiming they can get you a bigger refund, you should treat these as red alerts.

Look for memberships

If you need to get a reliable tax preparer, you should consider the one registered with a professional organization. The National Association of Tax Professionals, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or the National Association of Enrolled Agents are some of the reputable organizations for tax preparers. Members in these organizations are well-equipped with the latest trends and changes in tax returns. They are also known for high levels of professionalism and adherence to work ethics.

 

How to Find a Good Tax Accountant

FOR SOME TAXPAYERS, it’s a familiar tale. Somewhere during those first four months of every year, you do your taxes in a haphazard fashion, or you look for someone to prepare your taxes, and because you’ve waited until the last minute, you find someone in a hurry to do them. Every April, as you pay your preparer and Uncle Sam, you vow: Next year, I’m finding a good tax accountant.

How to look when selecting a tax accountant. Beyond trying to find someone who is competent, someone who you feel comfortable working with is a good start. And you’ll feel comfortable by asking a lot questions, says Abby Eisenkraft, CEO of Choice Tax Solutions in New York City. If you’re working in the U.S. but you aren’t an American citizen, you’ll want to inquire if they have experience working with expats, Eisenkraft says. Same goes with if you’re self-employed or have any unusual or special circumstances.

Where to look. That can be tough at first, if you want something beyond a tax preparation chain – and there’s nothing wrong with going with one, but obviously, you can find one pretty quickly in a phone book (yes, those still exist) or in a search engine. If you’re looking for something particular, you may want to try

What to look for when you work with a tax accountant. Unfortunately, kind of like taking a car for a test drive, you really won’t know if your tax accountant is a good fit until you’re working with him or her

Tips To Learn How To Make Electrical Wiring

Common Electrical Wire Material Options

With so many  options available in the market, it is wise to always weigh your options and the exact wire features your kind of application require so you are able to select the most suitable one at the end of the day. It is the best way of ensuring safety when using electricity and wire materials are some of the most important to consider for any given application. What your wire is made up of determines its quality and suitability for the intended use.

Copper
It is considered standard in the wiring area with most electrical appliances relying on copper wires to transfer energy. One of the major reasons why copper is a great material is its high conductivity and flexibility. Compared to other metals, copper seems to win also in resistance to corrosion, tensile strength, ductility, thermal conductivity and also resistance to overloads. Because of the abundance of copper, the battery cable made of copper are reasonably priced.

Aluminum
It may be more abundant and cheaper compared to copper, but it is not as conductive as copper. You would need a relatively larger aluminum wire in diameter to have it functioning the same way as a copper wire. Aluminum is also not as reliable in terms of electrical safety because it can’t withstand excess heat. When going for this kind of electrical wire, especially for commercial purposes, it is best that you settle only for larger diameters.

Silver
It is a good conductor of electricity and is most suitable in high temperature conditions. Silver wires are however not that easy to bend and they can also be very expensive. In commercial applications, electrical safety would actually be compromised unless silver electrical wires are used. Most people prefer using these wires at home for their entertainment equipment because signals seem to travel far much better through pure silver compared to copper.

 

Tungsten

Tungsten is used when you actually want the wire to have resistance, and also have it not melt even when white-hot, as is the case in incandescent lamps.

Alloys
There are many different alloys used in electrical conductors. Here are some examples:

  • Nickel-chrome (nichrome) wire, like tungsten, can survive high temperatures, and the higher resistance is desirable. Being cheaper than tungsten, is used in heater wires, where the wire doesn’t need to get white-hot.
  • Solder, which is an alloy of tin and lead, or other mixes of metals in the case of lead-free solder, is used for bonding electrical components to copper pads on PCBs. The low melting temperature of tin-lead makes it suitable for this task.
  • Cryogenic wire is often phosphor bronze (copper, tin, phosphorus), where the resistance of this alloy doesn’t change much at very low temperatures.

 

Romex Cables

Romex (shown in yellow above) is the trade name for a type of electrical conductor with non-metallic sheathing that is commonly used as residential branch wiring. In fact, Romex will be the most common cable you’ll use in wiring a house. The following are a few basic facts about Romex wiring:

  • Romex ™ is a common type of residential wiring that is categorized by the National Electrical Code (NEC) as underground feeder (UF) or non-metallic sheathed cable (NM and NMC).
  • NM and NMC conductors are composed of two or more insulated conductors contained in a non-metallic sheath. The coating on NMC cable is non-conducting, flame-resistant and moisture-resistant. Unlike other cables commonly found in homes, they are permitted in damp environments, such as basements.
  • Underground feeder conductors appear similar to NM and NMC cables except that UF cables contain a solid plastic core and cannot be “rolled” between fingers.

 

Wiring Terminology

It helps to understand a few basic terms used to describe wiring. An electrical wire is a type of ­conductor, which is a material that conducts electricity. In the case of household wiring, the conductor itself is usually copper or aluminum (or copper-sheathed aluminum) and is either a solid metal conductor or stranded wire. Most wires in a home are insulated, meaning they are wrapped in a nonconductive plastic coating. One notable exception is ground wires, which are typically solid copper and are either insulated with green sheathing or uninsulated (bare).

UF Cable

Underground Feeder (UF) is a type of nonmetallic cable designed for wet locations and direct burial in the ground. It is commonly used for supplying outdoor fixtures, such as lampposts. Like standard NM cable, UF contains insulated hot and neutral wires, plus a bare ground wire. But while sheathing on NM cable is a separate plastic wrap, UF cable sheathing is solid plastic that surrounds each wire. UF cable is normally sold with gray outer sheathing.

 

The best wire for the job:

All electrical engineers must know about wires and think about using the right design and material for the task at hand. Here are the factors for determining wire design:

  • Durability (ability to flex repeatedly or be subject to crushing weights)
  • Voltage and Current level
  • Suspension strength (ability to hold its own weight over long spans between support)
  • Underground or underwater
  • Temperature of operation (like superconducting wire)
  • Cost

Solid Wire:

Advantages:
Less surface area to corrode
Can be rigid and strong
Disadvantages:
Not good if flexed repeatedly, can break if flexed in the same spot
Not practical for high voltage

Stranded Wire:

Above: Stranded speaker wire found in every household
Below: Specialized use super-thick stranded copper wire

Stranded wire

lots of smaller wires in parallel, can be twisted together

Advantages:
Great conductor for its size

Disadvantages:
You may think this would be good for high frequency use because it has lots of surface area on all the little strands of wire, however it is worse than solid wire because the strands touch each other, shorting, and therefore the wire acts as one larger wire, and it has lots of air spaces which makes for more resistance for the size

Braided Wire:

Advantages:

  • Great for durability compared with solid wire
  • Better conductivity than solid wire (lots of surface area)
  • Can act as an electromagnetic shield in noise-reduction wires
  • The more strands in the wire, the more bendable and strong it is, but it costs more
    Special Wires:

Solid with braided exterior or some combination of this, these wires are used for all kinds of special applications.
Coax cable is used for radio or cable television transmission because in its design braided and foil conductors on the outside keep frequencies trapped inside.  The shielding prevents stray electromagnetic energy from tainting the area around sensitive receivers.

Find Out The Correct Dentist For You

5 steps to choosing a new dentist

Regular check-ups

When it comes to tooth care, it’s always best to see the same dentist regularly. You’ll establish a relationship, and that dentist will get to know all your individual needs, from anxieties to allergies. Plus you’ll have a history together. “They will be familiar with what’s gone on in your mouth The more work the dentist has put in, the more responsibility the dentist will have for it. If anything happens down the road, it makes a difference how it’s taken care of.

But how do you find a dentist who’s right for you? These five steps will guide you in your search.

Getting a referral

If you’re moving to a new community, it’s always helpful to ask your current dentist if she can recommend someone. But don’t stop there. Check with your family doctor or neighbourhood pharmacist for referrals. Use your social network: Put the word out to friends, relatives and even parents of your kids’ friends to let them know you’re looking.

Checking out the logistics

A certain new dentist may be dazzling, but how accessible is his office? Is there parking or public transportation nearby? What are the office hours? If the dentist won’t book appointments on weekends or evenings and you’re tied to your desk from Monday to Friday, it may not be a match. What about dental emergencies, like a broken tooth on a Sunday afternoon? How are they handled? What’s the fee range, and if you don’t have insurance, is a payment plan available?

Placing a call

Phone the front-desk staff to find out whether the dentist is accepting new patients. While you’re at it, ask about some of the logistics you’re still wondering about. This is also your chance to check out any attitude. “How does the receptionist treat you?” says Ward. “Are the staff friendly? Do they make you feel good?” If you’re left on hold indefinitely, if the staff seem snappish and rushed, or if they don’t seem to know the answers to any of your questions, it may not be a good sign.

Paying a visit

Go and see the place in person. Is it easy to get to, and did it take you a reasonable amount of time? Are the waiting room and offices neat, clean and well-organized? Are you treated with courtesy when you arrive? What’s your sense of the overall atmosphere – do you feel comfortable in this environment?

Talking with the doc

At your first visit, ask the dentist about her approach to treatment. Does she explain things clearly, and is prevention part of her oral care plan?  Dentists differ in things like their emphasis on cosmetic dentistry, or how frequently they require an x-ray. “You should have a pretty good idea about what you want for yourself, and see how they fit in with that,” says Ward. Most important of all, this introductory chat with the dentist will help you decide how comfortable you are with her. Do you find you can communicate easily, and does she listen to your questions and concerns?

It may take some doing to find the best dentist-patient fit. But the long-term payoff for you-and your teeth-will be well worth it.

 

How to Find the Right Dentist –

Considering that you and your dentist will be partners in your dental healthcare for the long haul, choosing the right dentist is an important decision for you and your family. How do you go about finding the right dentist?

To help you with this, we’ve come up with a list of what we think are the top 10 things to consider:

First make an initial list of three or four dentist based on a few things:

  1. Do they submit claims to all insurances?

If you want to see a dentist that comes highly recommended by a friend or family member but is out of your network, call the practice and ask if they submit claims to all insurance providers. Most do, so it is worth asking before eliminating this practice from your list.

  1. Do they offer other payment options for non-insured patients?

If you do not have dental insurance a big consideration may be whether or not the practice offers patient financing options such as Credit Care or Springstone.  As many practices require payment upfront, having a means to pay for the service insures you get the treatment you need.

  1. Are they members of professional associations such as the American Dental Association or the Wisconsin Dental Association?

Members of the ADA voluntarily agree to abide by the ADA Code as a condition of membership in the Association.

The ADA Code has three main components: The Principles of Ethics, the Code of Professional Conduct and the Advisory Opinions. For more info: WDA Code of Ethics.

  1. Are treatment plans discussed up front and cost estimates given?

When discussing treatment, are the plans covered in detail so you know what to expect, how many visits the treatment will take, how much time? Are you given accurate estimates up front? Are your questions answered clearly?

 

Your Right to Care

The ADA dictates that, as a patient, you have a right to “reasonable arrangements for dental care and emergency treatment.” This doesn’t mean that the dentist has to be available at all hours or to participate in procedures for which he or she may not be qualified.

With that being said, the ADA adds that you have the right to “arrange to see the dentist every time you receive dental treatment.” The interpretation of this varies by state. Some states, for example, requires a dentist to see you once a year even if you only go in for cleaning. Other states are far more lax in their regulations.

In addition to access, the ADA asserts that:

  • You have the right to receive considerate and respectful treatment
  • You have a right to accept, defer, or decline any part of your treatment
  • You have a right to ask for alternative treatment options (even though a dentist may decline if they are harmful, experimental, or contrary to prescribed dental practices)

 

What if I’m satisfied with my current dentist, but they’re not in my network?

Keep going to the dentist you love!

To understand why this is probably the best choice, it’s important to know that dental prices are not standardized like medical charges.

In-network providers sign a contract in which they agree to be paid less than they’d hope to in exchange for being included in the network. The fee isn’t massive, and it’s worth it for many providers. However, if you’re out-of-network, you can technically charge anything you want.

Here are the two options I would recommend, in this order:

  • Show them your new dental insurance plan to find out if they’re willing to accept whatever the insurance company is willing to pay, then write off the rest. The downside to this is that you could eat up the cap on your dental insurance benefits for the year, which isn’t great if you have major work needed.
  • Ask for an “in-network fee schedule.” That schedule is set up to normalize every dental billing code and how much they agree to make from every insurance company for those codes. Most offices are willing to accept this, and it means you’ll pay similar prices with your existing dentist as you would by switching to an in-network provider.

Either way, the dental office will still file the claim for you. I suggest setting up an agreement for one of the above options before your appointment, so you understand what you will (and won’t) be required to pay.

 

Eat a Balanced Diet

The ADA encourages patients to eat a tooth-friendly, balanced diet, limiting sugar intake. While sugars are necessary for proper body functions, they also feed the bacteria in the mouth, resulting in acid production. This acid production is responsible for erosion and tooth weakening.

Choose foods such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy options for general oral health. The ADA also lists several foods that are among the most damaging to teeth:

  • Acidic citrus foods
  • Sugary coffee drinks
  • Sticky, hard candies or dried fruit
  • Crunchy foods that retain plaque
  • Sodas and sports drinks

The ADA recommends drinking plenty of water throughout the day, too, not only to stay hydrated, but to rinse residual food debris and acids from the surface of the enamel. Saliva is also critical to helping you wash away food particles and acids from your mouth. Your mouth actually releases less saliva during snacking compared with when you eat a meal, which is why the ADA recommends limiting your snacking.

Must Know Trick To Make Unloading Services

WHAT IS A LUMPER SERVICE?

Lumper services are meant to save truck drivers time and give them the ability to rest while their trailer is unloaded, however lumper services can occasionally receive negative feedback. The biggest complaint when it comes to lumpers is miscommunication. Drivers may be unaware of the lumper service when they arrive and may be surprised by the charge. At Ally Logistics, we take the time to notify our carriers when a lumper service is expected, as well as reimburse the carrier for lumpers.

Another concern from drivers who use lumper services is the turnaround it takes to get loaded/unloaded. All drivers want to have a quick transition from the dock to leaving the warehouse, with lumpers, drivers have complained about slow service times, making them wait longer to leave.

Ideally, lumper services can benefit everyone involved in the supply-chain. Drivers would be able to rest, avoid the risk of injury in helping load/unload freight, and allow the driver to leave faster. For the shipper and receiver, it should help reduce loading times and improve customer relations.

 

IS LUMPING SERVICE LEGAL?

Lumping as a service is not illegal. However, many consider lumpers to be one of the biggest, oldest scams in the trucking industry. Section 15, Chapter 49, Paragraph 141-03 of the Motor Carrier Act speaks about lumping. It explains when it is considered a legal practice, and when it is considered an illegal practice.

For example, it is not illegal for a big grocery chain to allow a third-party company (lumpers) to unload their freight at their dock. Where this practice becomes illegal and where truck drivers have the most trouble, is when the driver pays for the lumping charge and is NOT reimbursed.

This is when the law truly has been broken.

It is also common for the lumpers performing the lumping service to not declare their income to the IRS. Obviously, this is an illegal practice.

 

Why lumpers?

Some receivers outsource to lumping services that are independent of their core business, especially in the grocery distribution business. Lumpers allow for truck drivers to catch up on rest and save energy for their driving, and can sometimes save time for drivers.

Why the negative light?

The “can sometimes save time for drivers” is viewed just like that – sometimes. If you read any trucker forums, you may find many truckers state they have run into headaches when choosing to use lumpers because the lumpers often do their restacking on the trailers, which can be rather time-consuming. However, if the truck drivers decide against using lumpers, they could find themselves trying to unload with hand-jacks and possibly taking additional time to learn their way around a new warehouse.

 

Importance and Benefits of Lumper Services

The use of lumpers is sometimes a result of a decision to outsource or contract out loading and unloading activities. In general, these third-party services provide a crucial logistical function by providing a mechanism for fulfilling the needs of motor carriers, shippers, and receivers in performing the loading and unloading of carrier equipment. Lumpers provided by an expert 3PL or inbound logistics services are members of a well-managed team that provide a net benefit to all parties in the supply chain.

Moreover, lumper services offer an alternative for hand loading or unloading by drivers so that they can successfully meet time-sensitive schedules and minimize their exposure to fatigue and injury. Consequently, lumpers provide social benefits by reinforcing the safety of the freight and trucking industries.

Here are the benefits associated with lumper services:

For the Carrier

  • Reduced driver fatigue
  • Reduced health and injury risks for the driver

For the Shipper

  • Improved relations with customers/receivers
  • Reduced loading time during periods of normal shipping demand

For the Receiver

  • Increased ability to fulfill peak unloading periods
  • Reduced unloading times during normal demand periods
  • Facilitating floor load conversions to in-house pallet configurations

For the Driver

  • Faster unloading
  • More time to rest

 

8 Facts About the Truck Driver Way of Life

Eight noteworthy facts below about truck drivers in the US. You may be surprised by what you learn.

  1. Days can begin really early. Many drivers like to move with the light; others prefer to drive through the night. OTR truck drivers don’t have set starting hours, unless they’re calling in to dispatch after returning from “time off.”
  2. You may be expected to work up to 70 hours over an eight-day period. After you’ve worked for 70 hours, you cannot drive again until you take a full 34 hours off duty. The 70-hour limit could be reached by working 14-hour days, but you cannot drive for more than 11 hours in a day. You must conclude your “Hours of Service” with a 10-hour break.
  3. Some drivers are paid hourly, but in most cases compensation is calculated by mile. A delivery driver does not get paid when he or she is not delivering.
  4. Employers who pay “practical miles” pay based on every mile driven while on the job. On the other hand, “paid miles” is more like drawing a straight-line on a map from Point A to Point B, even though routes aren’t always straight. Your salary can increase if you become a trainer, are willing to haul oversize freight or hazardous materials, or if an employer pays you a percentage of each load you run.
  5. Often, you won’t know what you’ll be paid until the end of a year. A good estimate would be $35,000 in your first year, and $45,000 to $55,000 thereafter.
  6. you will either do “drop and hooks” or live loading and unloading, which can take two to three hours each. An OTR driver will almost never have to unload any freight, but you are reliant on various shipping and receiving departments observing your strict schedule.
  7. Most drivers are expected to cover 125,000 miles per annum. That breaks down to around 2,500 miles a week, which equates to 500 miles a day. Think about that.
  8. There are many perks that come with a truck driver’s schedule, not the least of which is a unique view of the country, as well as camaraderie among your peers. You’ll mostly get to drive modern trucks with comfortable, ergonomically designed seats to help you stay alert and focused. This is just as well, because most of your working days are spent in an 8′ x 8′ space, but that shouldn’t confine your imagination or ambition.

Choose The Best Event Planner For Your Event

THE BEST EVENT MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

TAKE A STEP BACK AND THINK BIG PICTURE

While some degree of micromanagement is warranted, an effective event planner needs to be able to take a step back and think about the big picture of their event. Your primary responsibility as an event planner is to meet expectations. How well do all the pieces of your event fit together to accomplish that? Consider the type of experience you want to deliver to each of your attendees and what value they want from your conference to improve it.

COMMUNICATE

Fostering open lines of communication with your staff, attendees, and sponsors are incredibly valuable. For one, if you have a clear understanding of your staff’s, attendees’, and sponsors’ expectations, it is much easier to meet them. Additionally, healthy communication highlights issues early on when they are often easiest to address.

PREPARE FOR BEST AND WORST-CASE SCENARIOS

You need to be prepared to run a successful event, whether it’s according to your ideal plan or a backup. Making sure that your event meets core expectations even in a worst-case scenario is the only way to guarantee success. On the flipside, preparing your team to capitalize on a best-case scenario maximally, makes perfection possible.

DELEGATE TASKS RESPONSIBLY

Effectively delegating tasks is a critical part of effective leadership. Make sure that high-level event staff doesn’t take on too much responsibility. Try to equitably distribute workload across a variety of high-level staff and other workers to ensure that no member of your team becomes overloaded.

EVENT MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

Now that you have a basic outline of what you need to do to plan a successful event, here are a few tips that will smooth the process.

 

The Top Event Planning Tips to Keep You Organized, Efficient, and Valued

Learn the workings of other industries

While an event planner is not required to know the specific operational details of how other industries function, it is important to have an idea of the general workings which will make your  job much easier. For example, when calling other companies and vendors, be as specific as possible about your needs.  A good understanding of how to estimate the number of square footage needed for tables, tents, and other rentals always helps. Also, you should have some understanding of generator wattage, heating and air conditioning BTUs, and more! Knowing this will guarantee a higher probability of your event going off flawlessly.

Set clear expectations

“Set expectations with the client to ensure a successful outcome. We like to try to have ALL event details nailed down 30 days before the event, with no major changes or additions allowed two weeks prior to the event. This allows for excellent communication between us and all vendors to ensure that everything is planned and executed as best as it can be.”

Implement a system to track client touch points

“I developed systems and processes within the enterprise edition of Salesforce. We run our business completely on this platform and have created a proprietary system which we enhance almost weekly.

Loop in your content team to generate buzz and excitement

“Work with your content team for owned media promotion of the event. Tap key company leaders to help develop content for the website, blogs, and social media channels. These can be testimonials on why to attend or thought leadership teasers of what speakers will share at the conference. Space out the distribution of content to promote the event for a couple of weeks to generate a buzz.”

Strategize your media plan early

“Work closely with your public relations team to create an earned media plan. Identify key spokespeople who will be attending the event, structure their talking points, and reach out early to the conference organizers for a media list. Connecting early with attending media increases your chances of being included within full feature stories or roundups about the event.”

 

Event Planning Tips…Even If You’re Not An Event Planner

Get Out The Whiteboard

No matter the type of event you’re planning, you need to map out a strategy. What’s the goal of your event? Are you introducing a new product or service to customers? Running a demo for analysts or prospects?

Bring Up Budget

Once you have your goals outlined, you need to consider how much it will cost to accomplish those goals. Personally, I make a checklist of every single cost item I need to make an event happen. This can include signs, invitations, graphic treatments for the website, food, beverages, music, giveaways, etc. Think back to events you’ve attended and imagine all the little things that were involved. What do you absolutely need and what can you live without? Make up a checklist and start developing an overall price tag.

A Time and Place for Every Event

Are you hosting executives or managers? Is it a presentation or a mixer? Is this event part of your demand generation strategy or about brand awareness?

Iteration of an Invite

The invitation to your event is one of the most important aspects of the entire planning process. You don’t want to send out the first invite too early or too late. Three weeks out is a good rule to live by. But if you want to get on executives’ calendars, you might want to send it out even earlier. A more detailed, elaborate invite for a dinner event is appropriate, but you may want to be more simple and straight to the point if you’re presenting a demo. Include directions that include access to public transportation. Make it easy to be an attendee.

Walk a Mile

Visit the venue the day before your event. Envision how you want attendees to experience the event. What signs need to be in place to avoid confusion? Where should you station staff? Basically, you want to understand what your guests will see from the time they walk into the venue to the registration table to the actual event. Feel matters. And the only way to anticipate how your event will feel is to walk a mile in your guests’ shoes.

 

The Ultimate Guide on How to Start Your Event Planning Business

Establish your expertise

If you want people to trust you with their events, you need to demonstrate you know what you’re doing.

Build an effective business plan

A business plan essentially establishes what your business goals and strategies will be moving forward.

Secure startup capital

It only takes about $2,000 to $5,000 to get your business off the ground. Beyond that, there will be recurring costs that you need to factor in to your budget, since you won’t be profitable right away.

Invest in the software you need to effectively run your business

There’s an overwhelming number of software types you can use for your business. Some of them you’ll find helpful right away, and some of them you’ll find helpful further down the line.

Figure out what you need to legally operate your event planning business

Putting in the effort now to make sure that your event planning business is above board and protected means a lot less paperwork (and a lot less in terms of potential legal fees) later down the line.

 

Creative Ways Event Planners Can Find New Clients

Offer Experiences

People want more than a traditional event. They want experiences and a story they can share with friends and family (mostly via social media). Can you offer experiences as part of your events? Think about combining your events with classes, paint nights, demonstrations, special food or cocktail tastings, or fitness activities. Take a look at popular trends such as beer yoga, cooking classes, and escape rooms, and see what would fit best with your ideal clients.

Demonstrate Expertise

There’s a reason people hire you to run their events: You are an expert at what you do. Show off your expertise by creating a blog, or using email or social media to share tips, advice and your perspective on news or trends in the industry. It’s OK to give away a few of your secrets, because prospective clients will appreciate the information and they’ll begin to recognize you as an expert. Also, search engines will find the information you’re sharing online, and index it. When people search for someone who is an expert on the topics you write about, your business is more likely to appear in that search.

Work with the Local Blogging Community

Speaking of blogs, consider about reaching out to the popular bloggers in your community to spread the word about what you do. Think about it: Bloggers that write about weddings, food, travel or what’s happening in their town would be interested in your services and could introduce your business to their audiences. Do a search for bloggers in your area that write about those topics, and then hold a small event for them to show an example of what you offer in exchange for a mention on their blog and social media.

Partner with Nonprofits

Volunteering to help nonprofits with events is a win-win. You help people in need and show that you are invested in your community. And you’ll meet a lot of people during the process of organizing the event and at the event itself.

Go Live

If you’re using social media, you may have noticed that more businesses are taking advantage of new live-streaming tools. Because it works. Social media users watch live videos three times longer than prerecorded videos. They’re also 1.7 times more likely to buy the product or services mentioned in the video. Use the livestreaming tools on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to promote your business. You can show off what’s happening before or during an event, have a Q&A session or offer helpful tips.

Tips To Find The Best Water Testing

Public Water Systems

What type of health issues can be related to water quality?

The presence of certain contaminants in our water can lead to health issues, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons may be especially at risk for becoming ill after drinking contaminated water. For example, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Federal law requires that systems reduce certain contaminants to set levels, in order to protect human health.

How do contaminants (germs and chemicals) get into my drinking water?

There can be many sources of contamination of our water systems. Here is a list of the most common sources of contaminants:

  • Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)
  • Local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated animal feeding operations)
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Sewer overflows
  • Malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems (for example, nearby septic systems)

Many contaminants that pose known human health risks are regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA makes sure that water meets certain standards, so you can be sure that high levels of contaminants are not in your water.

 

The Complete Guide to Pool Water Testing

Pool Water Testing is Essential to Pool Health

If you don’t test your pool water, how do you know what the chemical levels are? Or what undesirable substances are in it? Or how much and what chemicals to put into the water to create a clean and safe swimming environment?The answer is, you don’t. You absolutely must learn how to test pool water, and then do so on a regular basis. In fact, out of all the pool maintenance tasks you’ll perform over the life of your pool, testing the water is the one thing you’ll do more than anything else.

How to Test Pool Water Accurately

It doesn’t seem like it should be a complicated endeavor, and it’s really not. You even have a few testing options.

How to Take a Proper Pool Water Sample

The most important factors here are where you take the sample from, and how you do it. If possible, take the sample from the absolute middle of your pool.

How to Use Test Strips

In addition to being super quick and easy to use, test strips can also sometimes be more accurate than liquid test kits because human error can make it difficult to match up the colors using the chemical drops.

 

Well Water Testing (Private Drinking Water)

About Well Water Testing

Your well water can affect the health of everyone who consumes it. At PHO, we test for the indicators of bacterial contamination:

Coliforms: These bacteria are often found in animal waste, sewage, as well as soil and vegetation. If they are in your drinking water, surface water may be entering your well.

coli (Escherichia coli). These bacteria are normally found only in the digestive systems of people and animals. If they are in your drinking water, it usually means that animal or human waste is entering your well from a nearby source.

We do not test for other contaminants such as chemicals. This means that even if your results show there is no bacterial contamination in your drinking water, it still may be unsafe to drink.

For all other environmental testing, including testing for chemical contaminants, please consult with your local public health unit.

If you are an owner or operator of a large drinking water system under Ontario regulation 170/03 and need more information, contact the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. For more information about small drinking water systems regulated under Ontario regulation 319/08, contact your local public health unit

 

Standard drinking water test

What should I do before I take a water sample?

Before you take a sample, call the laboratories listed in Table 2 to obtain sampling bottles and information on the correct sampling procedure. Please note that your sample will not provide you with accurate information unless the:

  • correct sample bottles are used
  • correct volume is taken
  • sample is stored at the required temperature
  • sample is transported to and arrives at the laboratory in the correct time
  • correct procedure is used to take the sample.

What do the results mean?

The Department of Health is able to interpret laboratory results and provide you with general advice on how to make your water safe to drink. Microbiological and chemical laboratories may also be able to assist you with additional technical advice. However, they are not in a position to provide you with health related advice.

Will the standard drinking water test, test for all contaminants?

No. The catchment or source of your drinking water can affect the water quality in many ways. Water can dissolve chemicals and transport microbiological contaminants while it travels through or across the catchment area. It is important that you identify the hazards that occur in or on the catchment area before you test the water.

 

How to test for lead in your home water supply

How lead enters your home’s water supply

Just like in Flint, lead can enter your home when lead plumbing materials, which can include faucets, pipes, fittings and the solder that holds them all together, become corroded and begin to release lead into the water. Corrosion is most likely to happen when water has a high acid or low mineral content and sits inside pipes for several hours, says the EPA.

Lead is everywhere

Finding out about lead in your water is only one part of the solution. Lead enters our bodies from many common contaminated sources other than drinking water, such as dust, soil and air. In fact, the EPA says the main source of lead exposure in the United States comes from inhaling dust or eating particles contaminated by paint chips. That’s because lead was a common additive in house paint, gasoline and many other materials for years before its toxicity was known.