Home Buying 1

In Situ Stabilization and Your Construction Business

As the owner of a construction business, making sure that the land you choose is good enough for building is very important. In some cases, the site being evaluated for placing a building might need considerable amounts of improvement; maybe due to the land being polluted or contaminated. Thus environmental remediation is implemented to address the contaminants from the soil. Such action not only makes the land more suitable for construction, but also reduces or eliminates the risk of adversely affecting human health. One of the better-known forms of environmental remediation are in-situ stabilization and solidification, which are collectively referred to as ISS.

Overview

The term in-situ, which means “in original or natural place or position,” refers to treatment of the contaminated soil without removing the soil itself. This is contrasted with ex-situ, which involves excavation of the contaminated soil for treatment at the surface. Although stabilization and solidification are often grouped together, they actually do not mean the same thing. Stabilization refers to the addition of reagents to the soil, since they are substances that react to the chemicals found there and thus enable people to conduct an analysis of the contaminated area. Such analysis can then help in producing more chemically stable components in the soil. By contrast, with solidification, the reagents gather the contaminants together and solidify them, as well as reduce the amount of access that external agents like air and water have to the soil. In each instance, the reagents act as a binder that stops, prevents or reduces the mobility of contaminants.

Standards and Assessment

If you suspect a building site of being contaminated, you’d need to assess the level of contamination. This involves identifying potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities on the underlying land, as well as addressing the physical improvements to the site. This evaluation is referred to as an environmental site assessment, also referred to as an ESA. Phase I of the ESA usually involves preparing a report to highlight the existing and potential risks, while Phase II is a more detailed investigation that includes chemical analysis for hazardous substances. ESA standards are set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Process

With in-situ S/S, soil is mixed by putting them in augers, excavator buckets or rotary drum mixers. Of the three aforementioned mechanisms, the auger is the best for soil mixing, since it is the only device able to stabilize materials that are deeper than 15 feet below the work platform. With in-situ solidification in particular, Portland cement—which is renowned in the construction world for its strength, low cost, and versatility—is added to the mixture. In some cases, other additives—such as bentonite, blast furnace slag, fly ash, cement kiln dust, and activated carbon—can be tossed in with Portland cement.

Significance

In-situ solidification and stabilization has its detractors. There is still a dearth of authoritative technical guidance on S/S. Also, the method can lead to a significant increase in carbon dioxide emissions, due to the use of cement. Ultimately, though, solidification/stabilization has been able to maintain a remarkable track record on its reliability and efficiency, making it one of the most established and widely used remediation technologies in the world.

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The Benefits of Data Management Software for Your Business

The way that businesses utilize the data they collect and collate can have a marked impact on their success. This information can and should play an important role in a company’s decision-making processes, and yet this is utterly impossible if those managing a business don’t have access to it.

Weak or non-existent data can prove disastrous to an organization, for without the right figures, statistics and information to guide them, misguided judgments from senior staff members become all too frequent; make the wrong choice too many times and you can erode the confidence of your staff and customers in your leadership team completely.

Businesses across all industries are coming to recognize this fact, and in their quest for the information that can propel them beyond the reach of their nearest competitor, they’re frequently looking for data management experts, such as Logicalis.

80 per cent of business data is estimated to be unstructured at the current time, left abandoned in word processors, spreadsheets and social media feeds. This means that there is an absolute wealth of information being ignored by businesses. Finally, however, people are beginning to sit up and take note of this wasted resource. The tide is turning, and that means that this figure looks set to drop – and soon.

Here are just a few important reasons not to get left behind…

Increased Revenue

Greater efficiency means greater cost savings, the identification of financial advantages and access to information that could prove imperative in setting you ahead of the game and your competitors. An effective data management solution can integrate data from multiple sources, offering you the information you need at the time that it’s most relevant and most likely to improve your business decisions and overall profits. If you can respond to market demand as it arises, just think of the untapped opportunities, and the associated revenue, that this data could open up to you.

Reduced Risk

In the world of business, ignorance is far from bliss. If you don’t have the right data to help you identify operational shortcomings, then the chances are that you’re bleeding money without even realizing it. If you lack the right sort of information, all of your decisions are simply shots in the dark, and they don’t only lead to lost profits, but also undermine client confidence. When you formulate your strategies, you need to know that you’re making the right decisions. In order to do that, you need the statistics to back them up and reduce the risk that things are going to go wrong.

Compliance

When it comes to the financial side of your business, regulators and clients like things to be transparent. People want to know where your money is going and why, especially if they have a vested interest in your business, and this is information that you must be able to deliver. Choose the right data management system, and you should have an automatic audit trail to roll out whenever you need, for the eyes of whoever wants to see it.

Increased Productivity

Why waste manual labor and resources expecting staff members to complete a task better left to a data management system? When you can leave the finances and data collections to your software, you free your professionals up for the things that they do best, leaving the rest in the hands of an entity much more capable than any employee.

If your business still doesn’t have a data management system, it’s time to invest in one.

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A Professional Shredding Service Protects And Saves — Here’s How

Compliance with confidentiality laws, protecting homes and businesses from identity theft, and saving the environment from the over-use of trees and landfills are three top benefits of using a professional document shredding service. Fraud and identity theft are serious problems when confidential information is not securely eliminated and disposed of. Using a professional document shredding service can provide the protection needed to prevent information from falling into the wrong hands. Businesses must conform to laws required for protecting client and consumer data, and a professional service can guarantee your business lives up to its ethical obligations.

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Organizations that turnto a reputable shredding company—one that adheres to the legalities of recycling and document destruction—project an image of responsibility and demonstrate an ability to deal discreetly and securely with client and employee documents. Private individuals and businesses that use a professional document shredding service reduce waste and provide paper materials for recycling opportunities. In addition to recycling and reduced use of landfills, using a shredding service means fewer trees are cut down and processed in the production of stationary and paper products.

For your personal verification that documents are securely and correctly destroyed, on-site mobile shredding is often an added benefit of a professional shredding service. On-site document shredding entails hiring a company that sends a truck with a mobile shredder to your home or place of business. Because they are very large, mobile shredders are able to shred thousands of pounds of documents per hour. These large mobile shredders make the shredding process rapid, convenient, and guaranteed. An on-site shredding provider will usually have locked bins installed in your office, and at a prearranged time, they will empty the bins and shred their contents.

Electronic data is a prime target for thieves seeking to breach confidentiality and steal personal identification information. Erasing electronic information with software or stockpiling outdated and unused disks in storage areas creates a grave security risk. Even though a disk from a hard drive might appear useless, with the use of the proper tools, data can easily be recovered from them. Bank information, hospital and patient records, credit information and business strategies are all easy examples of electronic data that can wind up in the hands of cunning identity thieves. So the next time you run a search for the “best shredding company for our business,” only hire a professional shredding service that can properly destroy data from electronic devices, too,and make it unrecoverable for good!

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How to Choose the Right Software for Your Business

Whether you run a local hair salon or the latest Silicon Valley start-up, there’s business management software that you can and should be running. It’s so much easier to keep track of all your company’s data with dedicated software rather than having to juggle and manually input information into spreadsheets. You can do just about everything from tracking orders to compiling governance documents. However, there are a lot of different options out there, so how do you go about choosing a software package?

Price

Price is naturally going to be a concern for any business, and as with any decision, you need to weigh up the benefits versus the cost. Some software is going to cost a lot more than others, so you need to work out whether you actually need it or not. One of the biggest things that will alter costing will be whether the software is a one-time licence or a monthly subscription, and whether you pay per user or for just a single company. Always make sure you have this information when making comparisons, otherwise things can look skewed, and there can be major differences in cost.

Features

Requirements from business to business will vary hugely, and it’s important that you know what you need. On the one hand, you need to make sure that the software you’re looking at does everything you need. Make a list of the things you require and check them off the list when looking at a product. On the other hand, don’t get sucked into the marketing hype. A package may come with far more than you actually need, whatever the salesperson tells you. It’s never a bad idea to try out a demo of the software before you even consider buying; that way you can be sure of things, and it’s better to play around yourself rather than have a salesperson demonstrate to you. You can sign up for a demo of some salon management software over on www.phorest.com.

Provider

One thing you might forget when you’re looking at software is the people who design and offer it. Ongoing support is going to be crucial to ensuring everything runs smoothly. Things can and do go wrong with software, and if your business is relying on it to run, then you need to know that they’re reliable and responsive enough to give you help when you need it. Some live systems might be connected to the cloud, in which case you’ll want immediate aid if the service goes down. There’s also the initial set-up; if you’re going to have several employees using the system, and it’s a complex one, then you’ll need some adequate training to begin with.

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Ideas to Help Maintain Office Productivity

Any manager wants their office to be as productive as possible, but as you will probably appreciate, this is sometimes more easily said than done. Often this can be because of things beyond your control, like personal factors affecting the motivation of staff, or even something relatively simple like a slow-down in the markets.

While these are things you can only do your best to work through, as a manager there are other steps you can take to ensure your workforce remains as productive as possible. So if you do feel that your team could do with a much needed boost, this post has a few helpful ideas for you to consider:

Get Tidying Up

There’s an old saying that ‘a cluttered desk, is the sign of a cluttered mind’ and whatever truth there may be in this, it’s been seen that a tidy office can improve the working environment. Set aside some time for your employees to reorganise their desks and working areas, also make sure any storage areas are tidied and used to their full potential. A neater, smarter looking office will give a more professional feel and makes it a more pleasant place for your employees to be.

The Right Climate

Anyone who has ever been stuck somewhere during extreme temperatures appreciate just how uncomfortable this is. You can apply the same criteria to your office as without decent air con to ensure a controlled climate; your employee productivity can nosedive as they struggle to work in the heat or the cold. Luckily, the solution to this is very straightforward as there are specialist retailers available like Pure Air Conditioning where you can invest in getting some effective climate controls installed.

Inject Positive Values

The above points will go a long way to improving the morale in your office, which needless to say, is greatly beneficial for productivity. However, a sure-fire means to encourage staff is for you to personally inject some positive values into your business. This could be anything from emailing out to celebrate staff achievement, giving out monthly awards, or arranging fun charity events like bake sales or fancy dress. Again, this makes your office a more enjoyable place to be.

A Little Green Space

Installing an office garden, or allowing your staff to bring in plants, can be very beneficial too. The naturalistic feel this brings can have a calming effect, as well as helping to keep the air in your office cleaner and fresher. You might not notice a huge physical difference but even these little touches can help give your staff a much-needed lift.

You need to remember that while there are factors you can’t control, it is still your responsibility to try and do what you can to fight the situation. So be sure to give some of these methods a try if you want to help maintain your office’s productivity.

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Ideas for Corporate Vacations

Travel 4Scheduling a corporate vacation can be a great way to show your executives and other employees that you appreciate all of their hard work. A corporate retreat can also help people to reduce stress and relax. When people return from such a trip, they are likely to feel refreshed and ready to tackle their work projects with a new perspective.

Before you decide where to go for your corporate vacation, you may wish to explore a few of the most popular options. Certain places are ideal for group gatherings, and you can often find vacation packages or special rates for such destinations. Whether you choose an adventure holiday, a peaceful retreat or a tropical vacation, your employees will appreciate the fact that you value them enough to organize a special trip for them.

Adventure in Australia

One option is to schedule an adventure trip for your staff. You might explore a wide variety of adventures in Western Australia. You and your staff could go kayaking down the Swan River as you view Perth, or watch the humpback whales in Coral Bay. Other adventure activities include cycling along gorgeous trails, fishing in spectacular waters, and hiking along hilly trails to see wildflowers in bloom. You may wish to schedule a camping trip near a sandy beach on the coast. Such a vacation is likely to be remembered by your staff members for many years.

Keep it Local in the U.S.

One way to ensure that your employees ultimately feel refreshed is to offer them the gift of a corporate retreat. Retreats are available in all of the states, from Idaho to Florida to Connecticut. If many of your executives like to golf, you might treat them to a vacation at a golf getaway in North Carolina. If your business only employs a few individuals, a weekend stay in a quaint New England bed and breakfast inn could be ideal. If your vacation budget allows it, you could take your staff to one of the Hawaiian Islands for a corporate retreat in an idyllic setting.

Cash in at Casinos Worldwide

Your company members can have plenty of fun on a casino vacation. The casinos in Aruba offer the added benefit of Caribbean beaches nearby. After a day on the beach, employees can play casino games until they are ready to climb into bed. If you choose Atlantic City, in New Jersey, you and your staff members can stroll along the Atlantic City Boardwalk and visit the Atlantic City Aquarium, in addition to spending time in the casinos. Other casino destinations include Monte Carlo in Monaco, the Macau Region in China, and of course—Las Vegas.

South of the Border   

Mexico offers a wide array of corporate vacation possibilities. Your staff might enjoy the urban atmosphere of Guadalajara, which features plenty of cultural attractions; your employees could visit museums and even see an authentic bullfight. Oaxaca, which is surrounded by mountains, is another destination that provides an abundance of unique cultural activities, such as touring ancient ruins and religious sites. If your goal is to provide your staff with maximum comfort and relaxation, you might take them to the unforgettable city of Cabo San Lucas, where your employees can stay at a luxury resort in Palmilla Los Cabos. They can rest and play on stunning beaches, indulge in gourmet cuisine prepared by a private chef and enjoy the pampering of professional spa staff.

Your employees work hard to ensure the success of your company, and a great way to express your appreciation for them is by treating them to a corporate vacation. The choices are plentiful and tempting, and you may find yourself scheduling corporate retreats on a regular basis.

This article was contributed on behalf of Del Mar Escapes, your number one choice when looking for a  beach neighboring the One and Only Palmilla resort. Check out their website and see how they can help you!  

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What You Should Know About Starting a Construction Company

So, you’ve decided that you want to start a construction business. Do you have any idea what needs to be done before your company can start accepting business? You need to get a license, be bonded and insured, and you’ll probably want to hire some help. You have to have the right people in order to complete projects and see that they are managed from start to finish. Making a checklist can be stressful when it starts to grow longer and longer, so here are a few of the most important things you should focus on at first.

Licenses and Permits

The first step in starting a construction business is to find out from your city and state the right licenses and permits that will be needed in order to work in your area. The first license you will need is a general business license, and you’ll also need tradesmen licenses for areas of electricity, gas fitting, plumbing, HVAC and other trades in which you’re looking to specialize. You can go to your local or state website to find out what licenses and permits you will need to be able to operate legally. If you decide to hire sub contractors, you will need to make sure that they are properly licensed and have the right permits as well.

Bonding

According to Bend-It (www.benditinc.com), to become bonded you really need to research your state’s regulations and requirements on bonding. A surety bond is one bond that you will need. This is a bond from a third party who agrees to pay your client if you are unable to finish the work outlined in the contract that you and your client sign. You will still need to research your specific state regulations and requirements to find out what type of bonds are needed to ensure that your company is operating legally.

Insurance

There are several types of business insurance that you can consider getting when starting up a new company. The two most important types you should first consider are vehicle and property damage and general liability insurance. These types of insurances will ensure that you are covered if there are any personal injury or property damage incidents on the site at which you are working. Workers Comp Insurance is also crucial; it helps your workers if they get hurt on the job, and will also make sure that you aren’t susceptible to any false injury claims that could come up.

Energy Efficiency

Learning about all different energy efficiency appliances and items like furnaces, air conditioners and water heaters will make you an expert in getting your client the most “bang for their buck.” It can also help earn you business from people and businesses who consider this an important aspect of their project. Recommending these type of items to your clients will help them with their home owner insurance and energy bills, which will allow you to have happy clients who recommend you to their friends, coworkers and family.

Joining Associations

Becoming a member of the right building association will also help make sure your company is accredited, as well as well-connected with the industry. Construction employers added a good number of jobs in December bringing the total to 290,000 for the entire year. Being part of an association will allow you to track the number of jobs you bring to your city and/or state as well as to the United States as a whole. This will also get your business name out into all the right places to ensure you are getting the work that you deserve. Some associations to look into are the Builders’ Association, Framers Association, and Electrical associations.

This article was contributed on behalf of Bend-It, your number one choice when looking for pipe rolling services. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!

 

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Promoting Your Jewelry Business on Facebook

Laptop 11Social media presents the ideal platform for small businesses to gain exposure and build a loyal following. Using social sites are mostly free, with the option for utilizing paid advertising for those who have the budget. Many effective social media strategies cost nothing but time, and are the most efficient way to build a client base. This extends to retail businesses offering a unique or distinctive product, including jewelers and jewelry vendors.

Build an Audience

Jewelry retailers or craftsmen are faced with the perfect way to show off merchandise and gain visibility for their product. Marketing through social media should not be a substitute for advertising, but can be an effective way to reinforce your investment and advertising budget. The opportunities within Facebook are endless, and with some invention and imagination, merchants and vendors can significantly increase their business and improve their revenues. Facebook fans love a contest, and giveaways on a home page can significantly increase traffic and “likes” for your page. Give away a piece of jewelry to keep visitors checking back in more often!

Promotions and Coupons

Facebook is a quick way to spread news of a promotion, and garnering “likes” could lead to rewards for followers. This may include discounts, giveaways, or coupons that are only accessible by Facebook fans. Make the promotion exclusive to your Facebook fan base to give the campaign distinction and online appeal, and reward them for referring their friends with savings, gifts or other prizes. Facebook fans should be provided with some sort of coupon code that will entitle them to savings or a discount, and that in turn will increase traffic to your product site. This is a win-win for small business owners and their clients, as any additional visitors to your site provide the potential for sales and increased revenues; and in turn, more giveaways and coupons. According to Houston Gold Exchange (www.houstongoldexchange.com), this is also a great time to bring in some promotional merchandise, such as a free tote with your logo, that is used to reward loyal patrons and frequent visitors to the site.

Keep Things Relevant

Facebook is a great venue for announcing new products, providing information or sharing photos of jewelry items. It costs nothing and exposes your brand to the entire online community. Keeping the information that you put online fresh should be a main goal. Updating the Facebook page with relevant information and alluring messages is another way to build a following and captivate interest, and it doesn’t always have to be about you. Including news articles, fun photos or other things relevant to your business keeps it engaging and not always promotional. Sites and pages that are not routinely updated with fresh information will become boring and not worth the visitor’s time to view. Reinforce company messages with the information that you add to your page often. Use your Facebook page as a vehicle to disseminate the link for your retail site, share your links to products and customer support, but don’t spam people and make them “dislike” you.

With concerted efforts on social media, particularly Facebook, jewelers and retailers have the chance to expand their business and gain familiarity among an online consumer base. This could be the most cost-efficient way to build a brand, familiarize a name, and spread information about your distinct product. Try some of these Facebook strategies to increase and potentially improve revenues from doing what you love—creating and selling jewelry.

This article was contributed on behalf of Houston Gold Exchange, your number one choice when looking for luxury jewelry. Click here and see how they can help you!

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Business Ideas You Should Consider

Business 8The dream of everyone who works for a living is to ditch the corporate lifestyle and start working for themselves. Opening up a business is a great—but challenging—way for someone to become his or her own boss and not have to answer to superiors anymore. Owning your own business means setting your own hours, living out a dream or financial independence. Around 800,000 startup businesses came into being in 2011, varying in specialties from retail establishments to services performed for people and for other businesses, according to the Small Business Administration. With so many potential business ideas, you’ll want to make sure you find the best fit to match your personal goals.

Choosing the Right Idea

Selecting a business to invest your money in is the first step toward getting it right. There are several ideas to consider when opening up a business. You may be a whiz with retail and able to open an online storefront or be detail-oriented enough to manage events and plan parties.

These two ideas, and others like it, are among the 20 best small business ideas of 2015. You don’t have to be involved in mainstream corporate America in order to be successful, and there aren’t even age limits on being an entrepreneur. A high school or college student can start their own landscaping, yard work or grocery delivery business, or someone who has an extensive collection of typewriters could fix them up and sell them for profit. It’s all about finding an idea you are passionate about and have access to resources that would make you successful.

Investing Wisely

Make sure you have enough capital to get the business off the ground. Planning events doesn’t require a large initial investment, but opening a car dealership does. Identifying what you will have to spend on support resources, such as managing auto dealer sales for those looking to go into vehicle sales, are expenses that you may not think of right away.

Researching the health of whatever market you are thinking of entering can be a good indicator of how successful you may be. If it is an emerging or niche market, you’re more likely to be successful than in an area that is already over-saturated for where you are located.

Plan for the Rough Spots

For businesses like cleaning services or computer maintenance, there will always be a demand for the service in good economic times. Some businesses may experience seasonal downturn or just hit a rough patch, and it is important to be prepared.

Businesses are often cyclical in nature. Instead of spending every last penny that comes in, the best thing to do would be to save the money for the times when businesses isn’t always the best. That way you will have a bit of a cash outlay for emergencies that come along. The minute you run out of cash and can’t pay the bills, the business heads toward the exit, the closed sign is displayed for good and bankruptcy comes into play.

A Plethora of Opportunities

From organizing work schedules to sitting pets and everything in between, there are many ideas for people to consider. You just have to look long and hard to see which ones work out the best.

If you have an idea of what you want to do with opening up a business, do the homework. Study past businesses and their levels of success in the city or region you’re thinking of starting in, and even talk to experts involved in the industry.

Think about what you want before you leap. With careful planning and execution of your idea, you could be living the dream of many of being your own boss and a business owner.

This article was contributed on behalf of CAR-Research XRM, your #1 choice for auto dealer software. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!

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Small Business Social Media

Laptop 10The simple fact is that businesses online today need to leverage the power of social media to gain and retain new clients. Calling customer service on the telephone and door-to-door sales are being increasingly abandoned. If you want new business, you need to go where people are talking and get them talking about you. Knowing how social media platforms work is imperative to gaining new business, as well as keeping in touch with your clients to ensure that they keep a strong connection with your business. In the modern business environment, engagement on social media is a must. Even negative interactions are an opportunity for your business, by being able to instantly address these issues, you can show customers how dedicated you are to solving their problems.

Facebook: Retaining & Acquiring Customers

If you don’t have Facebook integration for your website, you are missing out on an essential way to reach your customers. According to the Pew Research center, 71 percent of adults are using a social network, and the primary social network that they use is Facebook. Engaging your clients on Facebook is not just a nice or fun idea—it’s a social necessity to gauge the needs and wants of your client base. This also means gauging their frustration. Some companies feel that Facebook can lead to negative comments, which can be a problem, but also an opportunity. If they’re complaining, perhaps something needs to be fixed—after all, whether online or not, the customer is always right.

Google+: The Integrated Solution

Discounting engagement on Google+ is a mistake. The social network is fully integrated with the rest of Google, including Google Maps. This means that if a customer is upset on Google+, that negative review will appear alongside a map of your business. On the other hand, a glowingly positive Google+ review will appear as soon as someone searches for your business location. Engaging these clients is so important because even more than word of mouth, positive and negative reviews will appear as someone looks for where you are located. If a customer takes their time to review your business and offers constructive feedback, they deserve to be acknowledged. Google+ allows you to thank customers for their reviews, no matter their opinion, and let them know you are utilizing their feedback. This leads to increased connections and loyalty.

Yelp: Where People Are Talking About You

Many businesses are concerned about Yelp reviews. While negative reviews can often be damaging to business, it’s worth noting that they are often deserved. Often, businesses using Yelp can solve customer problems and use it as an additional avenue to improve the customer experiences. So instead of being afraid of what customers can say about you, embrace it with the knowledge that they are telling you directly online. Your company can take that knowledge and ensure that every customer experience is the best possible, and if you’re willing to engage your online customers on Yelp, you can bet that a positive experience—that multiplies and gives you more business—will ensue.

Yes, there are risks associated with business using social media. But the potential positive impacts on your business are worth taking the risk, as long as you approach social media with some knowledge and a plan for how to present your business online.

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