Archive for April, 2013

LED Light Bulb Canada

In a previous post we compared the ROI for LED lights vs. incandescent light bulbs. LED’s although they are very expensive can last for up to 50,000 hours and save a great deal of money over their life time compared to incandescent bulbs even though they are much less expensive. The other question we wanted to look at is how to LRD bulbs compare to CFL’s(Compact fluorescent Light bulbs) and should we invest in one or the other at this time.

We found one such study, which actually showed that they were pretty close in the total savings, when you compare them both over a 50,000 hour time span. CFL’s cost around $4 a piece while LED’s cost around $35 at this time per bulb. CFL’s last for 10,000 hours so you will need five bulbs to cover the 50,000 hours. Both are very efficient, although LED’s have a slight lead over the CFL’s.

Comparison of Savings for LED’s vs. CFL’s

The actual savings of the LED’s was about $4 over the 50,000 hours when comparing to CFL’s. Both of these bulbs save a great deal more when compared to incandescent bulbs. Total savings for the CFL bulb was $263 compared to the savings of $267 for the LED bulbs.

The conclusion from this comparison is that when a CFL does finally burn out, consumers would be wise to install LED’s in their lamps with the following conditions taken into consideration:

The light will be used for more than 3 hours a day, which should last 10 years at this rate

  • You are planning on staying in the home for a long period of time
  • You want to upgrade your lights as part of a sales incentive when selling your home
  • Otherwise, CFL’s would be more than sufficient and reduce your initial installation cost.

An Example of When to Use LED Light Bulb Canada

As an example we plan to stay in our home for longer than 10 years. We have four lights that are on all night, which is approximately 10 hours a day. These lights would be ideal candidates for LED’s. We have several lamps that are also on for roughly 5 hours an evening depending on the time of year. These lamps could also be equipped with LED’s. Although if we were moving in less than 5 years, I probably would install CFL’s, just to minimize the initial cost. Other lights in the house which are not used as often would have CFL’s installed. Again this is to minimize the cost taking into account these lights are only used a few hours a week.

If you still have incandescent light bulbs installed in your home, the savings are so significant in terms of reduced electrical usage, that it makes sense to install CFL’s or LED’s even before they burn out following the above guidelines that we have outlined.

LED’s Decreasing in Price

As the price for LED’s decrease based on volume production, these recommendations may change and instead of installing CFL’s in lamps that are not used that often, it will just make sense to install LED’s everywhere. Unfortunately we are not at that point yet since the cost of LED’s is still pretty high. We are not sure if the price is based on cost or perceived value to the consumer. LED’s last up to 5 times longer than CFL’s and the prices are about 8 times more expensive. Based on this we think there is still a premium compared to the LED’s however that will decrease over time.

Consumers should monitor the prices and when they are down to approximately $20 for a LED bulb, there is no longer any premium on the LED’s. This will happen over time, especially as demand goes up, governments provide incentives and mass production sets in.

Let us know if this information was useful and if you also have additional thoughts and guidelines that should be considered when using LED light bulbs in Canada or the USA for residential use.

For more posts about LED lights and saving energy, click here.

Hardwood Floor Contractors

Hardwood Floor ContractorsHow does the average consumer hire hardwood floor contractors or should they try to install the hardwood floor themselves? These are the types of questions that most consumers ask themselves when they are considering installing a new hardwood floor. If they are thinking about hiring a hardwood floor contractor, should they use the one recommended by the store they are purchasing the wood from? Or should the go and find one on their own? We will spend a few minutes discussing these issues. Hopefully our comments will help readers make up their minds regarding which approach to take.

Store Recommended Floor Contractors

Most stores have a number of hardwood floor installers on contract that they can refer their customers to.  Some of the installers will actually be employees if the store is large enough. However most will have several contractors that are known to them and have a reputation for doing excellent work. They will not refer work to contractors unless they do have an excellent reputation. Since any work that is not satisfactory will reflect badly on the store. This is just common sense and makes really good business sense to operate in this manner.

Stores that hire the contractors for you will usually warranty the work these contractors do. If they refer contractors to you and you hire them, there is no warranty from the store for the work the contractor does.

Signing Contracts with Hardwood Floor Contractors

It also depends on who your contract for floor installation is with. Pay really close attention to this point. Just because you pay the store for the hardwood material and installation, you could actually be signing two contracts, one for the hardwood material and a second one for the installation. It is always a good idea to clarify this point. If you have an issue with the installation of the flooring, who do you turn to for resolution and warranty? Will the store stand behind their product and their services which includes installation?

If the store wants you to sign a separate contract for installation, they may be just processing the contract and collecting a finder’s fee for passing along the work to the contractor. In a situation such as this one, the store is not taking any responsibility and consumers should be more careful in this situation. You may want to ask for references before you proceed. The onus is on you the consumer and you may as well hire someone who you are comfortable with after having done your research.

Do It Yourself Hardwood Floor Installation

At this point a basic decision regarding whether you should hire a contractor or do the work yourself is in order. If you are handy and take the appropriate courses or read blogs like this or watch the many Youtube videos on the subject, customers can save a lot of money. The money you save will pay for the tools you need to buy or rent and you will have the satisfaction of having done the work yourself.

There are many good contractors around and they can be hired at a reasonable price. Check out the criteria for hiring contractors on our website. If you have the time and are not afraid of work and learning how to lay a hardwood floor, most consumers will give it a try. Most hardwood floor contractors, at least the good ones will provide references with no problems at all. They will also have pictures of some of their work that you may be able to take a look at.

If you are not happy with the work discuss it with the contractor right away. Monitor the work during the day the floor is being laid and let him know right away before the floor is completed. It is a much bigger job to correct a defect after the floor is finished, rather than when it is in the process of being laid.


Tire Sales

Tire sales occur at various times of the year usually at the time when you do not need tires or when you are short of cash and really do not want to spend the money. In addition we often procrastinate as well and leave purchasing tires for our cars until the last possible minute and then we miss out on any sales that might be available.

Seasonal Tire Sales

Tire sales often take place just before winter sets in and in the spring. These are the times of the year when consumers are traditionally changing the tires on their cars to install winter tires or to install summer tires. Tires sales can be quite good, particularly if you watch for the sales and purchase four tires all at the same time. In fact your car will perform better if you have good tires on the car, they are properly inflated and all four tires are all the same make and model. You never want to have different sized tires on your car as this will cause instability and could even cause you to lose control of your car. Always replace all four tires at the same time.

Steel Rims for Winter Tires

Winter tires can also be purchased with steel rims so that the summer tires can easily be removed and the winter tires plus steel rims can be installed in a matter of minutes.  Using steel rims on snow tires saves your regular rims from wear and tear during the winter driving season. In addition if you have to remove summer tires and install the winter tires, the physical removal and installation can sometimes damage the rims. All you need to do is make sure they are balanced before installation and you are good to go with the extra set of steel rims.

Summer Tires

Summer tires are usually harder rubber and will last longer as a result. But summer tires are too stiff for winter use and they do not grip the road as well as softer rubber winter tires.  Soft winter tires will wear more quickly during the summer time if you leave them on all year long and your gas mileage will not be as good either.  Install your winter tires in early November and then remove them in April before it gets too warm. All season tires are popular with many people in areas that receive light snow falls.  If you are living in the mountains where you get a lot of snow, good snow tires with chains are often required just to get around.

Consumers can reduce the overall cost of buying tires by taking advantage of these tire sales, as long as you watch for them and take the time to go into the tire dealer and take advantage of the sale. Some people will just buy the tires and have them installed later if they do not have the time to leave their car for the tires to be installed.

For more posts about tire sales, tire prices and tire safety, click here.

Property Management Information

Property Management InformationOwners of rental buildings want a lot of property management information from their property managers. They look for regular reports at the end of each month. Rent rolls, status reports on various activities, annual reports, tax reports for filing with the government, rental reports to substantiate rent increases and a host of additional information that is needed from time to time. Most of all they want to make sure that there are no surprises. That they are kept abreast of all issues that could develop into serious problems requiring their attention. They also need reports and information on maintenance activities along with any improvements that have been completed.

Property Management Information – End of the Month Reports

At the end of each month, property management information should include a total income and expense report. It should show the rental income for the month and the year to date numbers. It should also show the expenses in the same format for all categories that have been agreed will be tracked and reported on. Anything that is not tracked will be lumped into a general category which will also be monitored. Rental units rented and the rent collected, end of lease projections, empty units, and collection activities should also be reported. They also want to be made aware of any special issues that should be brought to their attention. For example renters that skipped on their rent, renters that are behind on their rent, damage reports, repairs that were needed and so on.

Status Reports

There may be various projects and upgrades that are underway. A status report is usually provided to give owners who cannot get to the property an update. Pictures may be included and a discussion of any issues that have come up along with decisions that may be pending should be included. Some owners will want a monthly meeting to review this information. This meeting can be accomplished face to face if they are in the same city, however more often it will be a quick conference call which saves everyone time.

Annual Reports

Annual reports summarizing the year and projections for the coming year are also needed. These reports allow owners to budget properly and prepare financial cash flows if needed to cover under runs or large maintenance issues that may be needed. This is the time when budgets are discussed for the coming year. Every line item is often gone over and adjusted based on inflation, specific needs of the property and even specific agendas of the owners. Property managers usually prepare an initial budget which is then reviewed with the owners and adjustments made.

Tax Reports

Tax reports are also provided on an annual basis as part of the annual property management information flow. These reports can be provided to accountants who will incorporate the appropriate cash flows into the owners income tax reports to the government. This is an extremely important element that must be completed. Depending on the arrangement and the skill sets available at the property managers office, these reports may be prepared in-house or they may be sent out to a 3rd party accountant to prepare on everyone’s behalf on an impartial basis. This should not be construed as an audit. It is a tax report based on the information provided to the accountant.

If there is only one owner, discussions and decisions are often very straight forward and can be conducted easily. If there are multiple owners, the decisions take longer because of the discussion that is needed to come to a resolution on any item. This is just a natural phenomenon that should be accounted for in any schedule by the property manager in dealing with things like budgets, tax reports and any decisions that are needed. Often a board of directors will interface with the property manager and go over all of the property management information. The job of the board is to review all reports and make sure that results are in line with expectations for the budget and for the owners.

Turn Your Junk Into Money

Turn your junk into moneyTurn your junk into money can be a rewarding exercise for many reasons including actually getting some money for your stuff. This is another one of our posts designed to help people make money or save money around the home.

There are some things to do associated with selling your junk to make sure that you get the right amount for your junk and we will list some of them in this post. What is junk to one person might be worth a lot to others. At the same time some things are really junk and should be thrown out in the garbage. That’s why the first step is to assess what your stuff is actually worth before you try to sell it.

There are other benefits as well to getting rid of junk. For example, getting rid of the clutter in your home is a rewarding experience. Many people actually breathe easier when they finally see their homes neat and tidy, especially when they made some money as well.

There are many ways to get rid of junk. Many consumers turn to the traditional garage sale approach and get rid of many things this way. They can also sell some items using eBay or Kijji or one of the other online sales tools. Finally just plain donating your stuff to a good will company will not make you any money, but you will feel better knowing someone will be able to benefit from your used items.

Turn your junk into money – Garbage Pickers

Have you ever notice these trucks going around on garbage night? These are the guys that are looking for stuff that people are throwing out that they can pick up for free, possibly clean up or repair and sell. They also pick up metal items to sell and they usually have full trucks by the end of the night.

They sell this stuff at flea markets and garage sales. Metal of various kinds is recycled and sold for scrap. There seems to be enough of these guys going around that sometimes they actually compete to pick up stuff. They spend a lot on gas and time, but they are making money or they would not do it.

Occasionally they will find something really expensive and sell it on line. Before you throw out something that is valuable, or hold on to it forever, why not try to sell it yourself instead of  just throwing it out. It takes a bit of work, but then it is money in your pocket instead of someone else’s or in the garbage. Also be patient. We recently sold one item on Kijji, that had been advertised for over a month. At this point we had no expectation of being able to sell it, then one morning we got a call from a person who bought it and did not even negotiate. They paid the asking price!

Ten Things to Do To Sell Your Junk

  • Find out what is actually worth
  • Clean it up and make sure it is in good condition
  • Clean all data off your electronic items
  • If selling online, take an excellent picture
  • Decide were to sell it – garage sale, online, auction etc
  • Avoid fee’s if possible
  • Choose your words carefully to avoid appearing as a scammer
  • Maximize your online listing views
  • Maximize your garage sale  visits by properly advertising
  • Lower prices usually mean you sell stuff quickly
  • Be careful of people who are trying to take your item and your money

Sort Your Junk

Part of finding out what your stuff is worth is sorting your junk into categories. For example, some things you will want to sell at a garage sale, while other items may be better sold online through one of the online systems.  If you happen to have valuable items, an online approach may be better than a garage sale for example.

Garage sale buyers are always looking for really cheap deals and if you have an expensive item, unless you pre-advertise, chances are that you will not be able to sell your expensive item at a garage sale.

While you are sorting your items, some things will just not sell due to their condition. Put this into the garage sale, if they do not sell, put them in the garbage or donate it to a charity if you think someone can use it.

Be Careful Turning Your Junk Into Money

Whether it is face to face or online there are always people who will try to scam you or even rob you. If you meet someone face to face to sell some thing, always take a partner along with you to ensure your safety. If you are selling something on-line, make sure you have received the money before sending your item to the buyer. Ebay allows money to be placed in escrow to protect both the buyer and the seller.

I have even seen people at garage sales trying to steal items and some will even try to take your money if it is left unprotected. If you have a lot of items, it is often a good idea to have several people helping you at busy garage sales.

If you are just not into selling items at garage sales or online, donate your good items to a charity. They sometimes will even pick up and provide you with a donation slip for use when you complete your tax return. Another way to save some money!





Business Text Messaging

Business Text MessagingRecently we have seen business text messaging advertising in stores and even in emails that come across our desktop. These messages often advertise some product or service and with the click of a button on your smart phone you could find yourself subscribed to a service that you may not want to have. They are supposed to tell you up front that you are subscribing to some service, however in many cases it is buried at the bottom of the message in the fine print.

Business Text messaging Example

For example, a business text messaging service used by the clothing store called Izod, advertises in the store that cell phone and smart phone users can get an additional $5 off their purchase if they send a text message to a particular number with a specific phrase. This only works if you are in the store and if you are already making a purchase. You can save $5 immediately.

They send a return message which you show to the clerk when you check out. Pretty simple really but now they have your cell phone number and will send you text messaging advertising from time to time. I tried this and found that I receive a message from them about once a month, which is not too bad. Alternately you can unsubscribe from their service and then the next time you are in the store, send another text message and get another $5 off the next purchase you make that day at Izod.

The Bay, another clothing store has recently started the same thing; however they will give you a $10 discount on anything you buy over $100. An incentive to purchase more, but then you do save $10 on your total purchase. We are not sure, but we believe this is a onetime thing. In other words you cannot send these text messages multiple times for multiple purchases. Izod only allows the one time savings while you are signed up for alerts.

Text messaging Advertising

Why do they do this you ask? They want to encourage you to purchase more. They want to learn some information about you and they now have your cell number which is a working number which they can use to send further advertising to you via text messaging.

They can also learn a great deal about their customers by doing a reverse look up on the telephone number. We are not sure that they actually do collect this information, but they certainly could and many companies are actively doing this sort of thing to improve sales.

There are ways to use this information and also prevent these businesses from sending more text messages to you as well as prevent them from learning more about their customer. Send the initial text message to sign up, collect your discount and then send a stop text message to the same number to prevent more from being sent to you.

In fact most will advise you regarding how to go about stopping a message once you have received whatever benefits you wanted.

For more text messaging ideas and discussion, click here.

Text Message Marketing Reseller

Text Message Marketing ResellerA text message marketing reseller creates an application that packages services such as text messaging with user interface features that make it simple for the customer to create text messaging campaigns and advertising programs for their products and services. In addition to the application they also provide the connectivity to the internet and the telecom networks for carriage and distribution of their messages to their customer’s cell phones literally around the world.

A text messaging reseller really makes it easy for the client to focus on their core business and use the network provided to enhance their business through advertising on the text messaging network. They provide a connection to cell phones, smart phones, email and corporate applications to get your message out to the end customer.

Text Message Marketing Reseller

Clients who are trying to build a subscription based service that delivers alerts of various kinds will use this type of service. Whether it is sports alerts, weather alerts or stock market trades, an application developed and provided by a text message reseller will provide excellent service to most clients that are attempting to use text messaging as a service and revenue generating opportunity.

The opportunities are immense with millions of text messages sent every day and more and more applications are being written for the smart phone market as well. Whether you use the traditional text message service from the telephone companies or use a reseller there are opportunities for clients to make money through this secondary service.

An example of text messaging services may help to illustrate how this marketing service can work for both customers and companies trying to increase sales. one company we know sells sports clothing and has sales on their clothing from time to time. Some are clearance sales and others are tied to holiday periods when they know their customers have more time for shopping.

In the store they advertise that customers who send a text message to a specific number will receive $5.00 off on any purchases they make that day. When the text message is sent, the customer receives an immediate message back giving them the discount. Now that customers number is added to a database and they will receive future text messages alerting them to sales of clothing etc via text message.

The customer can discontinue the service any time if they no longer want the service. This is a useful way for both customers as well as companies to make use of text messaging marketing. The reseller can set up this service for the company and even manage it for them if they wish.

All the company needs to do is compose the exact message they wish to send their clients and the message will be sent out to all clients who have signed up for the service. We think that this is an excellent text messaging marketing solution for many companies who are trying to retain customer loyalty and also reward their customers with great sales.

For more text messaging ideas and discussion, click here.

Hardwood Flooring Installers

Hardwood Flooring InstallersGood hardwood flooring installers sometimes can be hard to find. Home owners who are looking for hardwood flooring installers should know a little about the installation process so that they can evaluate the installers that they may be hiring. Otherwise you are simply hiring someone that the store may have recommended or who has installed a floor for a friend of yours. He may do a fine job and then again he might not. By knowing something about the process, and assessing what approach the installer will take with your floor, you can increase the odds of a fantastic job that you will be satisfied with for many years.

Hardwood Flooring Installers – Summary

The following are a summary of the steps that an installer would follow to ensure a quality job that everyone will be proud of:

  • Hardwood Floor Preparation
  • Considerations for Wood Floor Installation
  • Getting Started
  • Layout and preparation of Your Hardwood Floor
  • Cutting and Fastening Your Wood Floor
  • Install the Baseboards

Hardwood Floor Preparation – always ensure that the sub floor is clean, smooth and structurally sound. Either screw nail the existing sub floor to the joists underneath or add a 5/8 sheet of plywood to the floor and screw nail it to the existing sub floor to avoid any possibilities of a squeaking floor when someone walks across it. Adding an additional subfloor will add some sound proofing, but will also raise the floor by 5/8 inches, which will have to be adjusted for when it meets other types of flooring. You may also have to shave 5/8 inches off the bottom of doors as well at entry points. Concrete floors should be handled in a different manner.

Considerations for Wood Floor Installation – hardwood floors come in different varieties such as engineered or solid wood flooring. Engineered flooring will not warp or twist, however there is only a solid wood veneer on the flooring over layers of wood. Solid wood flooring should be acclimatized to the home before being laid and it can be sanded many times to renew the perfect look you want after many years of high traffic use. If there is a crawl space underneath, protect the flooring by installing a vapor barrier and also ensure that the crawl space is properly vented.

Getting Started

Planning is everything and do it yourselfers need to investigate and plan how they will start.  Determine the direction of the floor joists and install the wood floor planking perpendicular to them. Begin with the longest and most visible straight wall. Most walls in homes and rooms for that matter are not perfectly straight nor are the rooms square. Starting with the most visible and longest will ensure that your rooms floor aligns with the most visible portion. If you need to install a vapor barrier, install it first, and stable it to the floor to hold it in place. Using a chalk line mark a line that is ½ inch from the wall. This is the location of the first board that will be put in place. Mark the locations of the joists so that you will nail this first board at all joist locations.

Layout and preparation of Your Hardwood Floor

Once you have the chalk line in place, pre-drill holes in the first board close to the edge that will be against the wall. Nail your first board along the chalk line and counter sink the nails. The holes will be filled with wood putty later to cover the holes. Complete the first board and then step back and check for alignment to the wall, straightness of the first board and confirm that this critical first step has been done correctly.

Cutting and Fastening Your Wood Floor

The next rows can now be installed. Cut boards in such a manner that the joints do not line up with joints in previous rows. This will add strength to the floor and also  add texture and beauty to the floor. Begin installing the remaining rows using a hardwood floor nailer, making sure that all boards are securely in place before nailing.

Continue laying the rest of the hardwood floor using the nailer until you reach the other wall. These boards will need to be hand nailed using the predrilled approach and wood putty to seal the holes.

Install the Baseboards

The last bit of wood to be put in place are the baseboards. You left a ½ inch space between the hardwood floor and the wall for expansion. The base boards will cover this space nicely. Many people will paint the baseboards first before installing them. Fill nail holes with wood putty and then touch up with paint to finish the overall look.

Junctions with doors and other floors should also be considered, however this is the subject of another post.


Trimming trees

Trimming treesSpring is not the time to think about trimming trees. Your trees are just emerging from the winter. They need every bit of help they can to begin growing without receiving the additional shock of being trimmed. Wait until mid summer to begin trimming your trees. You may want to hire an arborist to trim them properly.

In the spring you may some damage branches that have either fallen to the ground or some that may have been damaged due to the weight of snow. These tree limbs can be considered as candidates for trimming since they are likely going to die anyway. These are limbs that are cracked and or bent badly. In some cases they may even be touching the ground. These trim limbs can certainly be trimmed.

The remainder should be trimmed in the summer as previously mentioned. There may be some large limbs that are hanging over the house or protruding into your neighbor’s yard which could pose a potential danger during a large storm. These limbs should be removed by a professional tree trimming service with the tools to safely and properly trim trees. They will come with a chipper machine which will reduce the tree limb to piles of chipped wood which can be used for mulch.

Trimming trees Can Affect the Value of Your Home

A decision to cut down a tree or to perform a major trimming should not be taken lightly. Some real estate agents feel that trees, especially mature trees add value to the home’s value. Purchasers look for shade and cover from the sun and prefer larger trees even though they might be a danger to your home. Have your trees trimmed at regular intervals and trimmed in such a manner that over time the trees will be full and healthy while posing no danger to your home or anything else in the yard. Healthy trees also live longer and make a positive contribution to your home.

Hire an Arborist

If you are unsure about how to trim your trees, you may want to hire an arborist to evaluate your trees and make recommendations regarding what action should be taken. For example your trees branches may need thinning, or there may be weak branches that should be removed.

Limbs that are within 10 feet of a building can be trimmed to avoid future conflict with the building. Large limbs that need support which you do not want to remove can be supported by cabling them together.

Advantages of Large Trees

In addition to providing shaded areas during the heat of summer which can be enjoyed outdoors by home owners, there are other advantages as well. Shade trees that provide shade to a home can reduce the cooling costs in the summer time. These same large trees can limit the impact of wind as well in the winter time and reduce the cost of heating in the winter time. If there is a lot of road noise nearby, these same trees can provide sound insulation from the noise and make it more peaceful than it might otherwise be.

Removal of Trees

Removal of large trees can be expensive. However if it is diseased or has received major damage, an arborist may recommend taking it down. Large trees can cost as much as $2000 to remove including the stump that can be ground down with a grinder. This leaves a nice clean job with almost no sign that the tree was ever there.

We have two smaller trees removed on our own property by professionals. Instead of tree trimming, we just had them cut down. They stripped all of the branches and then cut the trunk down in 4 foot sections from the top. It was very interesting to see it done and these guys not only did a professional job, they cleaned everything up after words and did not damage anything around the tree at all.

If I had actually trimmed these trees at the proper time, there would have been no need to remove them, but they got too big and could have damaged the house if a major storm had brought it down. One tree did come down and we were very lucky. It fell right between both houses and did no damage at all to either house or anything around it.


Tire Store

Tire repair, is it worth it or not to have your tires repaired when you have a flat? Never drive on a flat tire for any distance. Tires that have picked up a nail can be repaired easily, however if you drive on the flat tire for any length of time, you risk damaging the sidewalls and that means a new tire. In most cases the answer is yes, however there are some situations where you really have no choice. In these situations, you pretty much have to purchase a new tire instead of repairing the tire and you might have to replace all four tires, not just the one that was flat.

Tire Side Wall Problems

Any time a tire has a sidewall problem; all tire repair garages are going to tell you not to risk trying to repair the tire. In fact they will not repair the tire for you since they cannot repair the tire and provide any kind of warranty for their work. Driving on this type that has been repaired, if it can be repaired, is actually quite dangerous. If you have a sudden blowout on this tire, you could actually have an accident! Consumers in this situation will pretty much be faced with buying a new tire.

Tire sidewall problems occur from being hit from the side. This can be cause by many situations, but usually it is due to hitting the curb too hard and damaging the rim and or the tire itself. There are lots of other situations that can cause tire sidewalls to give out, but if it happens to you, you can be sure that the tire will need to be replaced.

Tire Store – New Tires Needed

If your tires are well used and you get a flat tire, it may be time to buy new tires instead of trying to repair the tire. If the tire is bald, the tire repair store is not going to repair the tire for you since they cannot warranty the tire for you. This will trigger a new tire purchase as well.

If all of the tires are bald, or nearing the end of their life, you may want to replace all four tires rather than just purchase the single tire. All tires should be roughly the same in terms of mileage and they should all be of the same kind and make to ensure maximum efficiency and stability, especially when you are driving at highway speeds. Your tires must be the same make and model , they must be balanced and they must have the same tire pressure to ensure stability of your car at highway speeds.

The tire store dealer will not even sell you a set of different tires, nor will they install different tires on your car due to the safety issue. If you happen to find a tire store that will do this for you, they really do not care about your safety and are just interested in selling tires. Always make sure that the same make, model and age of tires are on all four wheels of your car.

Rental Manager

Investment Property ManagementA rental manager for a large property management company spends a lot of time advertising for tenants, interviewing tenants, approving tenants and setting rent levels as well as defending those levels to tenants and government authorities in jurisdictions that have rental controls in place. One of the worst nightmares that a rental manager can have is to rent to a bad tenant. They cause a lot of damage, do not pay their rent and it is hard to get rid of them. Screening of tenants is one of the most important things that a rental manager can do.

Rental Manager – Manage Rent Levels

Rent levels have to be set based on  market conditions, the type of tenant you want in your building, the amenities that are offered in your building, and the occupancy rate for your building. Rental managers must take all of these conditions into account when setting rental levels and offering discounts in some cases to tenants as enticements at various times.

Low rents may attract the wrong type of tenant which means you get people who are not good at paying their rent and do not have pride in the place they live. High rents can sometimes mean that units stay vacant for a longer period and you do not have the rental income, but then you do not have the damages either that many people cause.

Some governments have in place rental controls to avoid rent levels from increasing too fast. They will have prescribed increases that are approved each year and the rental manager must be able to justify their increases and show that they are within the level that has been prescribed by the government regulations. If the rent increases will be larger than allowed, sometimes they can be approved however substantial documentation must be provided to substantiate the increases that are above the allowed limits.

Balance Income and Expenses

In addition the expenses must be covered by the rental income. There is a balance between income and what can be spent each year in terms of regular expenses to operate the building, maintenance, upgrades and a reasonable profit. This also must be taken into account by the rental manager when setting the rental rates for the coming year.

This is a significant balancing act that most rental managers must deal with in addition to dealing with tenants, reviewing applications and setting contracts / leases for units. There are good and bad tenants at all income stratas. The trick is to pick out the people who will always pay their rent on time and take care of the place they rent for you. No one wants a deadbeat renter.

You even have to be careful of rental managers who will say nice things about tenants merely to get them out of their building because they are in fact a bad tenant. This actually happens much more than you think.

Screen Tenants

Take the time to screen tenants and always use a screening service. The service may cost you some money, but it will be worth it in the long run when you avoid a lot of damage or lost rent when they skip town and do not pay their rent. This is money well spent. In one case we know of, a couple applied to rent an apartment and were in a bad credit situation.

They had over 20 credit cards and were not making he payments on these credit cards. Can you imagine if you rented to them. What do you think the chances are that  they would be able or willing to pay you the rent check on time? There is very little likely hood that they would pay your rent and then you would be facing court costs to get rid of them and collect what is owed to you.

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Driverless Cars

We will not see driver less vehicles in mass production for a few years, maybe not for twenty years, but we will see them soon and this is because Google’s driver less car now has 300,000 miles on it with no one driving the car. Sure there has been a human behind the wheel ready to take over if needed. In that 300,000 it is rumored that they only took over once and that action actually caused an accident. Otherwise the car would have a perfect record! It was just a small parking lot fender bender, nothing serious. This is the future of cars

Using a Toyota Prius with GPS, radar and a 3D mapping camera to read signals, road lanes and pedestrians, this car has successfully navigated over 300,000 miles with no accidents.  Even three states have made self driving cars legal on their roads. These states are California, Nevada and Florida. They still want a human to sit in the driver’s seat to take over the controls if needed. Personally I think the driver is going to get bored and either fall asleep or spend time reading a book, which is not going to help in a situation that needs urgent intervention on the part of the driver unless there is some sort of alarm to grab his or her attention.

Will Driver Less Cars Reduce Accidents and Save Gas

The answer is believed to be yes in both cases. In fact so much so in the case of accidents that the automotive repair business will undergo a major shift in business once these cars become standard. There will still be accidents from time to time, but apparently many less than what occurs today.

They should use less gasoline as well since the cars will adhere to the speed limits and plan routes more carefully. Using a car like the Prius will automatically reduce gas consumption as well.

Productivity May Go Up

During commutes today, drivers need to focus on the road, while in a driver less car, they are freed of this responsibility leaving them time to focus on work, make phone calls and even finish their makeup and preparations for work. The expectation is that they will have a lot more time for work or other related activities, however this begs the question of how confident will we be of the auto pilot in the car and who good a job will it do. Does the driver really have to pay attention and monitor the car’s driving or will it issue an alarm of some kind when it needs help?

Can you depend on the driver less car to get you home after an office party were you have had too much to drink? Will the police still charge you if you have drank too much and if you are in the driver’s seat of a driver less car. In theory you are supposed to be sober enough to drive should the car need help and if you are too drunk, will they charge you when stopped?

Driverless Cars – What Happens to Our Insurance Claims

In situations were there is an accident, who is going to pay for the damages? First of all most people think there will be a lot less accidents so our insurance cost should decrease. Secondly there will be a battle between several companies as to who should be responsible. Is it the owners insurance who should pay since he should have been in control of the car, should it be the equipment manufacturer that should pay if it was a malfunction of the equipment or should the software developer pay since their software did not react quickly enough to avoid the accident. The first dozen cases will be difficult and will set the precedent for many law suits and claims for the future. They will be complex and argued in court to make sure that the right party pays for the damages, especially if someone is hurt.

This will be an exciting time as more and more innovations are placed in our cars. Think of it, if an airplane can be set on auto pilot to take off and fly across the country to land at another airport, why can’t you get into a car and do the same thing from your driveway to your vacation spot halfway across the continent or a few miles to the cottage!



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