Home Improvements – Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

Summer is a great time to take care of some of those home maintenance items that can sneak up on you when you’re not looking. Here’s a handy list of things to add to your job jar:

Maintain your lawn and garden tools:

Sharpen the blades, change the oil, and replace the filters on your lawn mower. Make sure your weed trimmers are in good condition. Oil garden tools and sharpen blades.

Inspect the locks on your doors and windows:

Make sure your home is safe and secure. Oil any sticky locks and consider a home security system. Outdoor lighting adds appeal to your home and can increase security.

Inspect Exposed Plumbing:

Check under your sinks and anywhere you can get access to exposed plumbing. Make sure there isn’t any dampness that could indicate a small leak in the plumbing.

Inspect for termites and other pests:

Inspect the basement or crawl space, eaves, and attic for termites, carpenter ants, and other wood pests. If you see signs of wood damage, call a professional exterminator. Look under the eaves for wasp or hornet nests. Handle wasp or hornet nests with care and call in a professional if necessary.

Patios and porches:

Clean the barbecue and hose down brick or concrete patio surfaces. Replace any broken bricks and patch concrete cracks. Wash outdoor or screened-in porch floors. Plant annuals in pots, or replant existing planters. Lubricate patio doors. Bring out and clean up your patio or porch furniture.

Complete painting projects:

If you’re painting your house yourself, wash your house first using a home cleaning formula. Scrape off crumbling paint, smooth rough areas with sandpaper, and fill in damaged areas with a best-quality filler. Choose the best paint you can afford. Prime any bare patches with a quality exterior alkyd primer before completing the job with an acrylic latex paint.

You might consider schedule interior painting projects too because warm temperatures allow for better ventilation and quick drying times.

Build or repair fences:

Repair any damaged areas of existing fencing and refinish as necessary. If you’re building a new fence, look carefully at the increasing variety of fencing materials. Make sure your fence complies with local codes and doesn’t encroach on city or neighbouring properties. Be sure to call your local natural gas utility or Call before You Dig agency to make sure you don’t have an accident and hit an underground gas line or other buried utility.

Inspect siding:

Check siding and trim around windows and doors for holes, dents, and gaps. Repair with wood filler or according to manufacturer’s instructions. If your home’s siding needs to be replaced entirely, summer is the best time for this one- to two-week project. Make sure you are aware of all the new choices in siding materials.

Garage Doors:

Now’s a great time to lubricate the tracks on your garage doors.

Replace your roof:

If you need a new roof, have it installed during summer’s warm, dry weather. Consider fire-resistant roof material if you live in an area prone to wildfire and if your current roof is not fireproof. Look for a reputable company that offers a good warranty.

Repair and seal driveways:

Renew the surface of asphalt driveways with sealer. Repair damage to concrete driveways as soon as possible (this project may require a professional).

Courier Driver Insurance: What You Need to Know

There are many things that you need to set in place when you first start out working as a courier driver. However, one of the most important things on your list should be to ensure you have adequate insurance.

Finding suitable insurance is essential. Not only is insurance a legal requirement, but a policy that covers all your needs will also serve to provide you with peace of mind while you work. Here is what you need to know.

Courier Insurance is not Standard

Insurance is a legal requirement for every driver – in fact, even if you are not using your van a lot, it must still be insured. However, if you use your vehicle to carry out delivery work, you should be aware that you’ll need more than just standard vehicle insurance. As a courier driver, you will be considered a higher risk than other road users, because you will stop frequently, you have deadlines to meet, and you may also transport valuable goods that need to be covered under a policy. It therefore makes sense to spend adequate time researching the most suitable policy, even if that means spending a little more on it.

Different Types

There are different levels of policies that you can choose from. Everybody’s circumstances are unique, so it is important to find the most suitable policy for your personal situation when working as a courier driver. Various factors could influence your insurance, from the type of vehicle you drive to how far you travel and how many drop-offs you make.

One of the most important things to look for is goods in transit cover. This provides coverage for all the cargo you transport, some of which may be very valuable. If you have an accident or the goods are stolen, you are liable for the damage or loss, and this could cost you a lot of money. So to have complete peace of mind you’ll need to invest in decent goods in transit cover. (You should also find out what is not covered under a particular policy, as it may not include high-value goods like jewellery.)

Breakdown cover is another thing you should definitely consider including. This will provide you with protection should you experience problems on the road, as it can be very difficult if something goes wrong when you are working to a deadline.

Other things that may be covered in a policy include vandalism, overseas travel, public liability, employers’ liability, personal belongings and replacement van cover. You may also want to get a fleet policy if you have numerous vehicles. It’s important never to assume that any aspect is covered; always check the details carefully and understand exactly what you’re covered for as well as how much excess you will have to pay when you make a claim.

Look Around for a Suitable Policy

When you start your research for insurance, always search around and get quotes from various providers, as they’ll all provide slightly different policies at different prices. This is an important decision for any courier driver, so do spend some time over the process. And remember, don’t simply buy the cheapest you can find – you need to make sure it really does provide the cover you need.

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world’s largest neutral trading hub for same day courier driver jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 3,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading courier jobs and capacity in a safe ‘wholesale’ environment.

Don’t Dream MLM, Live It

You may have been looking at various MLM ventures and want to join one, but there seems to be something bugging you. The nag is at the back of your mind and you cannot seem to shake it. You have worries and fears about joining a business that seems to have an equal amount of fans and enemies. The fears and the constant nagging of negativism can only hold you back so far. There are too many what if’s involved and why miss something that you want to do. It makes little sense to give in to the naysayers. You have done the research, spent the time chatting and emailing various recruiters. Now you cannot decide what to do and here you are, looking for more advice.

Overcome the Fears of MLM

You may have a certain level of fear that is hampering you from joining an MLM opportunity. It is OK to have a certain natural resistance to something new. Life is about change and change can scare the beans out of most people. While it can be difficult to take a step forward, if we do not, we may never truly fly. How much do you want a better life? A life that is open and free to your own interpretation and not to others. Overcome the fear and jump into the sky. Your chute will open; you are not alone on this path. Others want a better situation, a future free from oppression. “De Oppresso Liber” or “To Free the Oppressed” comes from the U.S Green Berets. Liberate yourself from a dull life, take that step forward or be left behind.

Find the Right MLM Opportunity

If you have decided to move forward, congratulations are in order. If not, the rest of this post is not for you. Now there are plenty of MLM opportunities on the internet that are solid and good, but only one may be the right fit. You will have to narrow down the prospects carefully, create a list of what you want and a list that you do not want from an opportunity. This will help you find the right ones to pursue.

Living an MLM Life

After signing up and completing training, you are free to live a full and enriching MLM life. While the journey may have been rough to get here, it is still easier than becoming a Green Beret.

Auto Sales Training: Business Advantages of a Car Sales Course

Auto sales training is normally carried out in-house, but there are many business advantages to be gained from an external car sales course provided by a specialist training company. Whether it is for your staff or yourself, such courses can offer more than just how to deal with prospective customers. Here is a quick resume of how such a course can benefit you or your sales staff.

Learn the Business

Experienced sales staff can recognize a stroker or flake almost immediately they walk on the lot, but do you even know what these terms mean? Most people learn how to sell cars and talk to potential buyers on the job. However, comprehensive auto sales training will accelerate this learning process and get you selling more cars faster.

Yes, experience is invaluable, but even experienced sales personnel benefit significantly from a structured training course where their skills can be fine-tuned to maximize conversions. It also helps to understand the psychology of the prospect. Most will be looking for a bargain, and will walk into a dealership expecting to pay less than the MSRP.

How to Approach Prospects

The way you approach a prospect on the lot can make or break a potential sale. Too pushy and you might scare them away. Too hesitant, and you might fail to make the sale. Some people need to be talked into buying a car while others prefer to walk around themselves until they see something they like.

A car sales course can show you how to identify each type of prospect, and how to approach and talk to them in a way that gains their confidence. Some customers might try to hide the fact they like a particular car by pointing out its faults. If you know how to spot these prospects, you can more easily talk them into buying.

Technical Aspects of Auto Sales Training

All car sales staff should understand every aspect of buying and selling cars, including essential financial and technical details. You or your staff must be aware of all the financing deals available on every car on the lot, details of insurance and any local or state regulations regarding car purchase and finance.

Servicing and warranties are two critical aspects of selling a car. Most car courses will show you that these two factors can make the difference between clinching a sale and the prospect walking off to look elsewhere.

You must also understand the common aspects of each car you are trying to sell: engine capacity, horsepower and even its state of repair. You should also know how a hybrid works, and the difference between diesel and gas engines. Which is ultimately most economical and which type of engine gives most power, what type of car is best for long distance driving and which is best for town. If you display such knowledge then potential customers will come to trust you more.

Keep Current with a Car Sales Course

Times change and so does the knowledge of potential buyers. Prospects today are more aware of your sales tactics than they used to be, and it is a must for you to be aware of this. They are also more aware of what to look for in used car, and how to spot frame damage. In order to become a truly successful car salesperson, you must be prepared for the common and not so common questions that you may be asked.

You must keep also up with changes in legislation, insurance and finance. It is highly likely your customer will have researched finance options in particular, and also ask questions about service and warranties. Auto sales training will likely show you how a lack of knowledge of warranties and service agreements can stop a sale stone cold dead.

A car sales course will teach the most common, and some not so common, reasons for you failing to persuade a prospect to buy. This itself will improve your sales figures, and keep in mind that just one extra sale will likely pay the cost of such courses.

Pay For Delete Letter – Does It Really Work?

If you look on any financial website on how to remove a negative item from your credit report you’ll more than likely see the ‘pay for delete’ option listed. Pay for delete is a negotiation strategy to get a negative listing or trade line removed from your credit report. You negotiate a full or partial payment in exchange for a complete removal.

Do they work? It really depends on who you ask! Some will state they know from experience that it works and they’ve been able to get from under their debt while simultaneously improving their credit from the deletion. Others will vehemently deny its effectiveness saying the creditor will get their money and leave you hanging. To add, if you look at one of the credit bureaus website; they’ll even hint that it is illegal to remove a negative item via this method (go figure, huh).

Honestly, it has worked on occasions yet I would be lying if I stated it works all the time. I can also state that I have not found anything in the law that flags the practice as illegal; the reason credit bureaus are against the practice is because it cuts into their profit. Bad credit is big business. Of course, they’ll state that the integrity and authenticity of the report is ruined by this practice, but so is their inability to accurately report true and authentic information on a credit report so that theory is out the window. I will admit, I personally am not a fan of the pay for delete method. And I’ll share why.

First and foremost, it really only works with collection agencies or 3rd party debt collectors. So, if you have negative information on your report from an original creditor the chances of them deleting anything for payment is pretty slim. They’ve more than likely already charged off your account, have gotten their tax and insurance claim benefit from the write off and sold your debt to a collection agency, so their cool. Why make your life easier?

So, what you’re really doing is negotiating with a company that purchases bad debt to make a profit. You’re offering to pay them money to delete the negative item from your credit report. Let’s say they accept. You get their agreement to delete in writing and send them the money. Now you wait, and wait and wait. Hmm, they haven’t deleted anything! You have it in writing so you send a dispute letter to the three credit bureaus with a copy of the agreement that they promised to delete for payment and… the credit bureaus refuse to delete as well. There’s nothing you can do about this. Collection agencies can revoke their ability to access or report any information with the credit bureaus if they delete what’s believed to be accurate information from your report. Further, by giving the credit bureaus proof that you paid the debt, you pretty much have admitted the debt is yours and can forget about disputing it with them for removal. Now, if it’s in writing you can sue them for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; which states that a collector cannot lie or use deceptive practices in order to get payment for a debt. But, as one of my clients stated: “Who has time and money to go through that?”

The goal is to rebuild your credit and to restore your score. If you settle a debt with a company, they legally have the right to send you a 1099 tax form for the remaining balance; the IRS views the amount you did not have to pay as income; which you have to pay taxes on. Thus, you’ve just created another bill.

Another thing to mention is that if your debt is being reported by the original creditor and by the collection agency, paying for a deletion will not remove both debts; just the collection. Your score will still be negatively affected by the charge off that is reporting.

If you do decide to go ahead and offer a Pay for Delete, please do so after you have asked them to validate the debt. What you are asking them to do is prove that you owe the debt and that they own the debt and can provide documentation to back it up. If they can’t provide this, they have to delete it anyway. In addition, check your state’s statute of limitation to see if they can legally collect from you according to your state laws. The time frame for a creditor or collector to enforce payment of a debt is limited, if you pay less than the full amount you risk restarting that time limit to day one. You also want to see when the debt will be deleted from your credit report. If it’s going to fall off soon why pay anything towards it? By paying, you risk them adding an additional trade line to your credit report that details the payment received and possibly a new negative ‘Paid Collection’ notation on your report. Lastly, send everything certified mail return receipt and keep copies of everything!

Hope this helps!

If you’d like assistance pinpointing the items that are negatively impacting your credit score, please do not hesitate to contact me! We’ve helped thousands of people successfully removed over 700,000 derogatory items from their credit reports.