Opening a Brick-and-Mortar Business? 4 Plumbing Mistakes to Avoid

Opening a brick-and-mortar business can be a very exciting yet challenging time. There are many things you need to take into consideration, such as plumbing. Unfortunately, there are many common plumbing mistakes you will want to avoid. They can end up costing a lot of money in the long run, which can take away from your company’s overall profits. The following information takes a closer look at four common plumbing mistakes you’ll want to watch out for:

Rushing to Meet a Deadline

When opening a new business, it is likely that you are working to meet a deadline. Rushing your plumbing can be a huge mistake. You will want to make sure you take your time and that everything is done correctly. If you are in a hurry, you will be more likely to make errors, which can cost you a lot of money later on down the line.

Over-Tightening

Over-tightening connections is another common error. If you make tubes, bolts, and pipes too tight, they can eventually crack. It may not be immediate, but it can happen over time and cause severe leaks, which, as previously mentioned, can cause a lot of damage and be costly to repair.

Overusing Drain Cleaners

Many people use drain cleaners as their first line of defense when any plumbing issues arise. However, drain cleaners can damage pipes over time and lead to leaks. Therefore, if you have a clogged drain, you should consider more effective and safe methods, such as using a drain snake.

Using Mix-Matched Piping

One of the most common plumbing mistakes is using different pipes together that aren’t quite matches. You will want to ensure that you’re using pipes that are the same size and material. Using galvanized pipes with copper pipes, for example, can lead to unexpected corrosion and leaks. You will want to avoid this at all costs because leaks can cause water damage and mold. In order to avoid this, you should consider hiring a professional to complete your pipework installation. A professional will be able to quickly complete the job without errors, which will make it easier for you to meet your deadline. 

Overall, effectively completing the plumbing for your new business can be a challenging task. This is why you should conduct the proper research so you are able to use the correct methods. If you are a beginner when it comes to plumbing, DIY may not always be the best option. Often, you can save money in the long run by hiring a professional, who can ensure that it is done correctly the first time around.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Bust the Rust: 4 Ways to Prevent Corrosion in Your Commercial Property

Rust isn’t just a problem because it’s unsightly; it also damages equipment and causes structural integrity. Rust causes pieces of iron equipment to flake off, contaminating products and putting employees at risk. Luckily, rust and other forms of corrosion can be avoided with awareness and regular maintenance. Here are four ways to prevent corrosion in your commercial property.

Identify Metals that Can Rust 

Rust can only appear on objects made of iron or iron alloys, including steel. You can easily tell which parts of your building are made of iron by testing to see if they are magnetic. Other metals like copper can become corroded, but don’t necessarily pose the same inherent health risks as rust. Take the time to identify the rust-prone areas of your building and maintain them accordingly. 

Clean Wet Surfaces Immediately 

Corrosion is caused when metal is exposed to oxygen, which means all metal will corrode if given enough time. Water spills kick start this chemical reaction and let rust set in significantly sooner. In addition, any salt or other minerals within the water can dry onto the metal surface and allow corrosion to set in even deeper. The solution is to clean up any spills as soon as you notice them. If the water had salt content, scrub the area to make sure no residue is left. 

Watch for Signs of Concrete Cancer 

Concrete cancer occurs when the steel beam within a concrete fixture begins to rust. This corrosion causes the steel to expand, displacing and cracking the surrounding concrete. If you notice signs of concrete cancer, including cracks and rust stains, make sure you attend to them immediately. Simple concrete repairs can fix the problem if it’s caught early enough; but if it’s not, you might have to replace part of the foundation. 

Perform Regular Inspections 

Rust and other types of corrosion occur when metal surfaces are left unattended for lengthy periods of time. Conduct regular inspections on your property and make sure to pay careful attention to any iron fixtures. Other areas of concern include plumbing, drains, areas exposed to weather, and anywhere else that moisture might be present. If you perform regular maintenance, you can greatly increase the lifespan of your property. 

Corrosion is a common problem that can easily be avoided with proper inspections and maintenance. Keep moisture away from sensitive equipment, and perform regular checkups on any problem areas. If you do notice signs of rust, take action right away; the potential damage to your property’s structure far outweighs the cost of an immediate repair.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

3 Office Security Tips to Decline the Risk of an Electrical Fire

As a manager you have many responsibilities to many different parties. However, there is one responsibility that should come before everything else. This is ensuring that your employees have a safe work environment. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,147 fatal workplace accidents in 2017. Just because your employees work in an office doesn’t mean they’re necessarily safe either. Electrical fires, for example, can certainly be deadly. With that in mind, below are three tips to use to prevent office electrical fires from happening. 

Be Careful with Plugs and Outlets

One of the most common causes of electrical fires is the misuse of electrical plugs and outlets. This is the case both for residential and commercial fires. While in the office, make sure to routinely check plugs and cords before plugging them into an outlet. Old cords tend to get frayed and can present a fire hazard. Don’t overload an outlet with adapters either. One plug should go into one outlet as a default to prevent fire hazards. You should also consider installing ground fault circuit interrupters to increase your protection against electrical fires from overloaded circuits. 

Maintenance

People tend to falsely assume that once an electrical system has been installed into a building it can be forgotten about completely. This is simply not true. Like all the systems of a building, an electrical system also requires routine maintenance to keep it working properly. Routine maintenance can also allow an electrician to spot and correct problems before they actually manifest into serious issues like electrical fires in your office. 

Create a maintenance checklist and stick to it. A professional will probably have to perform a good deal of this maintenance. Your employees are probably not qualified to work with a custom hermetic cable harnesses for example. 

Surge Protectors

Something else that can help to protect your office is the use of surge protectors. These are devices that can be used to prevent power surges from overloading a circuit. They can prevent electrical fires. They can also help to protect appliances during a power surge. All significant pieces of equipment in an office like computers, printers and fax machines should be plugged into a surge protector instead of directly into an outlet. 

Providing a safe work environment is your number one priority as a manager. Workplace accidents are common, and they can be deadly. This is even the case in office workspaces. Removing the threat of electrical fires can certainly make your office much safer for your employees.

Guest author, Kara Masterson, is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.

7 Proven Strategies To Successfully Manage Your Investment Property

Properties have always been considered a safe and profitable investment. In most of the cases, these assumptions are true. However, there is one common belief the real estate newcomers are usually wrong about – troubles don’t go away once you find a hot property and sign the papers. They are just beginning.

Although it doesn’t seem that way, rental investments require a great deal of careful management, and their eventual success hangs on the investor’s ability to perform it. Let’s take a look at a couple of strategies that can make this job considerably easier.

Keep the reliable tenants happy

The properties that are not necessarily considered hot and have a history of sitting vacant for months before finding reliable residents can cause their owners huge financial problems with each turnover. That is why landlords have to go out of the way to make tenants happy. Here are some of the ways you can do this:

  • Maintain open and friendly communication.
  • Be quick to respond to tenants’ requests.
  • Make strategic upgrades to accommodate tenants’ habits.
  • Do your best to keep neighbors under control.
  • Encourage longer leases even if that implies discounted rates.

Create a financial plan

Rental properties are not that different from any other business. As a result, if you want to make them profitable you need at least a rudimental business plan. This document should cover the property’s market value (as determined by size, location and amenities), expected revenue, monthly and annual expenses, and the list of upgrades intended to increase the property’s market value. This simple plan prevents rash decisions, excessive spending and gives landlords an excellent reference point for measuring their current progress.

Take care of the maintenance

Keeping up with property maintenance is one of the most important things you should do with your investment. This issue is so complex that some countries like Australia demand that strata managers and lot owners provide professionally made initial maintenance schedule that specifies obligations of maintaining the common property assets. These documents are a great roadmap for all future property interventions, so it is a good idea to hire trained professionals to make you one.

Study the law

Knowing the legal provisions regarding the landlord-tenant relations can be of tremendous help in handling potentially troublesome situations and streamlining the management process. Some of the most important topics you need to cover are the regulations regarding the security deposit, reasons for evicting the tenants out of the property, the very process of eviction and the circumstances in which tenants are allowed to legally withhold the rent.

Manage your property like a hospitality business

This plays out in two ways. On the one hand, you should treat your property with the same level of care and attention as you would if you were running a hotel. On the other hand, running the rental property like a hospitality business sets a great frame for establishing the relationship with the tenants. Yes, you should be pleasant and do your best to make them feel comfortable. But, at the same time you should maintain a professional distance and keep your doings within legally binding terms.

Market your properties

This is another topic where you could take notes from hospitality businesses. Waiting for the tenants to come to you instead of reaching out and marketing your properties to them is a horrible mistake. And remember this – listing your investments on Airbnb and similar websites is not marketing. Instead, your venture should follow all the steps other small businesses make and devise a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes branding, and actions across several different marketing channels.

Consider hiring a property manager

Managing several properties can be an overwhelming process. In such circumstances, hiring a professional whose sole job will be to manage your investments may be the only viable option. Managerial salary will make a cut into your profit, but your business will be set on solid ground, and you will have your hands free to explore other ventures. Alternatively, you may opt for businesses providing managerial services. This option practically outsources management outside your enterprise, but you do get a top-notch service for the price of a monthly subscription.

Managing a rental property is a task that requires a lot of patience and effort. And yet, a lot of landlords approach this duty like their job consists solely of picking up the rent and hiring contractors to perform annual maintenance. Such landlords don’t have staying power. Learn from their mistakes and use the seven strategies we gave you to turn your investment into a profitable business laid out on rock solid foundations.

About the author: Mike Johnston is a lifestyle and business blogger from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and Divine Magazine. He also contributed to real estate and environmental blogs as well. Mike’s goal is to create and share meaningful content that helps and inspires people.

Don’t Waste Space: Why Businesses Need to Invest in Their Outdoor Common Areas

In business, you are always trying to compete with everyone else in your market, and that means finding better ways to make use of the resources you have. That way, you can attract more investment, increase cash flow, and create more customer and employee happiness. One of the things that you need to have focus and attention on is your outdoor communal space. Letting it sit there can be more than just wasteful, it can be damaging to your company’s image and security. Leverage it in the following ways.

Create Common Space for Employee Morale 

An outdoor green space is a beautiful sight to see, especially when all you see every day is the cubicle walls of your office. Creating a common area with green lawns and decorative plants gives your employees the visual break they need to shake their cabin fever and stay productive. Commercial utility construction in Middlesex County, NJ and beyond is becoming more popular as people recognize that their employees want more beautiful spaces to enjoy in their break time. Not only does this increase productivity and maintain the mental and emotional health of your employees, but it will increase employee retention, as well. Investing in your employees’ wellbeing shows that you care, and it will make them more loyal to your company in turn. 

Landscaping Impresses Investors 

Your investors want to see you make the most of the assets you have. After all,their money is on the line, and a dirty lot outside of your building does not inspire confidence. If the company they invest in can’t even maintain their own property, what does that mean about their ability to maintain the company as a whole? In addition to pleasing your current investors, it also attracts new ones. A well-kept lot shows that your company is flourishing and that it takes great care in even the little details, both important aspects in any investment.

Sewer and Gas Control 

If you do landscaping, you have more control of the sewer, power, and gas lines below. Allowing others to control the land surrounding your company can lead to tree roots growing through your pipes, resulting in costly repairs. Professionals can be found on sites like icunj.us ,and they can help both with ensuring that your utility lines are protected with covers and guide you in your placement of landscaping installments to ensure that you don’t have flora or other contaminants attacking your utilities.

Pest Control 

Pests can pop out from anywhere. But if your common space is unkempt, you’ll be giving them the shelter they need to sneak into your building. Keep the bugs and rats at bay with beautiful, trimmed green spaces that reduce hiding places and make a hostile environment for them to build long-term habitats. If your land is well-maintained, the activity itself will discourage any pests from setting up shop, and keeping weeds and other sheltering plants away from the base of your building with landscaping will prevent invaders from getting too close.

When it comes to getting the most you can out of everything you’ve got, your outdoor common areas can be a key asset. However, if left unmaintained, they can act as a liability. Worse than use it or lose it, you need to take your outdoor spaces into deep consideration with the rest of your building maintenance if you want to prevent costly problems in the future. Take control of your property and make it work for you, rather than against you.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

7 Main Reasons Why Rental Properties Are the Best Investment

Although investment options is the term usually associated with the business circles,the truth is that this genie has long since left the bottle and ventured among the laymen. Recent economic crises have taught the older workforce that guaranteed jobs no longer exist, while the Millennial generation has developed a growing obsession with retiring as early as possible. A solution to both these problems lies in using the earned money to establish other ongoing sources of wealth. Here are seven reasons why rental properties should be your number one option.

You can purchase properties using leverage

In other words,even if you’re not able the pay the upfront price of the investment, you can secure the missing funds by borrowing the money from the bank, which is not the case with other popular investing options such as stocks. Of course, this means spending some time using returns to repay the debt, but time is your ally here. Because of the inflation,the price of the properties is constantly on the rise. Even if you are not making new investments, at some point, you will be able to raise the rent.

You are investing in a tangible asset

Investing in a business leaves you with a risk of ending up with nothing if the business fails. Properties are much different. Sure, you may face occasional value drops, but there’s no real way properties can fail because no matter what happens you still own a valuable asset you can later resell. This tangible, real-life value makes rental properties a very forgiving first-time investment for all newcomers that have yet to sharpen their business teeth.

You have direct control over your investment

Another thing that should be interesting to less experienced investors is that, as opposed to stocks and various trusts, properties give you full control over the fate of your investment. Here, finding a hot property is the hardest part of the job,and people who don’t have years of experience in the market should probably ask for the professional property investment advice.But, once the papers are finally signed and keys are passed to new owners,managing the assets is considerably easier.

A place to live is a basic necessity

Ever since the dawn of mankind, people always needed a place to live. And the number of living people is constantly on the rise. These two facts make properties more worthwhile than even the most lingering industries in the history. Tech trends are rising and falling, and even the fossil fuels are slowly going out of business. On the other, the number of people who will need affordable housing until they have enough funds to buy their own properties is only going to grow as the time goes by.

You are using a proven business model

Investing in rental properties is a business practice used by countless generations before us. There’s been more than enough time for us to discover all the possible dangers and learn how to avoid them. Today, the job of an average landlord is pretty simple and straightforward. The rules are already laid, and all the contracts are already written. Because of this strong foundation, new investors have a much easier job making their rental fortunes.

An opportunity for diverse investments

Unlike some other industries where finding an access point is very hard and buying a way in impossible for people with shallow pockets, the rental market is much more accessible and has to offer something for everyone ranging from small landlords to real estate barons. Single-family houses, multi-family properties, high end and low-end apartments, office buildings and office spaces… the list goes on and on, and even the lower tiers of the market are stacked with investment options with potential for great returns.

Freedom to establish other income sources

Finally, rental properties require very little actual maintenance, or any work whatsoever. As a matter of fact, aside from major remodeling that comes every couple of years, landlord’s monthly routine can be performed in a matter of hours, leaving you with more than enough time to commit yourself to a full-time job or another more time-consuming investments.This makes rental properties a perfect option for people looking for an early retirement.

As we can see, buying a rental property is very affordable,forgiving and accessible way for people to make their first investments. More adventures businessmen will probably be turned off by the fact that rental fees produce very stable, but also very slow returns, so this is definitely not the place for the sharks looking for overnight fortunes. But, for all those who seek safety rather than high turnarounds and need more free time to branch out to other fields, the rental market is more than worth checking out. 

About the author: Mike Johnston is a home improvement and business blogger from Sydney.He is a regular writer at SmoothDecorator and contributor on several interior design, real estate and eco-friendly blogs. Mike’s goal is to create and share meaningful content that helps and inspires people.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Company for the Summer Months

With summer right around the corner, now is the time to get your company ready for these warmer months when many people have slower schedules and more daytime hours to kill. When your building is pleasant, your employees are comfortable and your customers are well-served, you can reap dividends on all the time and money you put into this investment. By following these five preparation tips, you can increase your company’s popularity during these months and increase customer traffic, leading to improved sales and results all year long.

Prepare for Changes in Customer Traffic

Consider whether you expect customer traffic to go up or down during the summer months based on your service provided, your location and your typical customer base. Consider vacation times, freedom from school and warmer weather as you plot potential traffic. Next, plan how to keep traffic high with marketing campaigns or how to respond to high traffic with increased employee hours or longer business hours.

Plan for Fun Times

The summer can be a hard time for employees to be cooped up in a building when what they really want to do is enjoy the beautiful weather. Plan for special staff meeting times and parties that allow coworkers to network outside the office. Also, see if there are ways to let the fun times into your office by creating outdoor break spaces or by offering flexible work hours during the summer.

Keep It Cool

Nothing makes for an uncomfortable office quite like hot temperatures do, and discomfort can cost you and your employees productivity. Not to mention it might drive away customers. Before summer weather hits, ensure that your HVAC system or your commercial air conditioning unit is up to the challenge by scheduling maintenance.

Install a Smart Thermostat

To further help with the warm temperatures, install smart thermostats throughout your office space to keep employees comfortable while decreasing cooling costs during the hours when no one is in the building. A smart thermostat can be programmed to cool the building to certain temperatures at particular hours of the day. Not only can it keep employees happy, but also it can decrease your company’s costs.

Include Landscaping

Nothing sets the tone for a first impression of your business more than the look of the outside of the building and its entrance. By focusing on installing beautiful landscaping and by taking the time to maintain it, you will show your customers that you believe even the little things are important. Plus, your employees will feel proud to work there.

Some of these tips have to do with how your building looks and feels while others have to do with keeping up employee morale and good customer traffic. Ensuring that you have a mixture of each of these tasks will keep your company well-balanced and ensure good results on your investment. Be sure to start now to ready your company both inside and out so that when summer arrives, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.