Finding The Best Tax Planning Service

What are the three basic strategies to use in planning for taxes?

Tax planning or tax-effective investing is a way of structuring your finances to reduce your tax liability and make some savings on tax. Tax planning can benefit both individuals and companies when it is carried out within the confines of the stipulated tax law. There are three basic ways you can plan your finances to minimise your tax burden; read on to discover these ways:

Taxable Income (ATI).

One of the critical elements used to determine the amount you owe in tax is your Adjusted Taxable Income (ATI). Various tax credits and tax rates are usually dependent on your ATI. Even mortgage lenders and banks will often ask for an individual’s ATI before making any lending commitment with them—hence, the importance of Adjusted Taxable Income.

Given the importance of the ATI, your tax planning should probably start by defining your ATI. Your Adjustable Taxable Income is the calculation of all your income minus the adjustments you can make to your income. For instance, if you pay for a retirement plan, then this subsequently reduces your wages, thus lowering your taxable income: This means you can reduce or deduct your retirement plan payments from your overall income.  Other adjustments you can make on your taxable income include superannuation contributions, child support payments and spousal maintenance payments.

Increase your tax deductions

Another tax planning strategy is to take advantage of tax deductions. Once you have calculated your ATI (having made the necessary tax adjustments), you will be left with taxable income. You can now make a standard deduction or an itemized deduction on your taxable income. For instance, you can deduct the expenses used for health care, mortgage interest and state taxes.

If you want to utilize deductions fully, you should consider making an itemised list of all your annual expenses in a spreadsheet. This will help you compare your standard deduction versus your itemised expense deduction. Two of the biggest tax deductions you can take advantage of are on state taxes and mortgage interest.

Utilize Tax Credits

Taking advantage of tax credits and tax incentives can reduce your tax. For instance, you might be eligible for a tax credit if you pay medical expenses relating to disability aids or aged care. You can also get tax credits for child care benefits and spouse maintenance.

Tax planning can be difficult to comprehend, especially if you have little financial knowledge. It is, therefore, wise to seek the services of a reputable tax accountant to help you safely implement the above mentioned tax-effective investing strategies.

Tax Planning for Beginners: Tax Strategy Concepts to Know

Tax planning is the analysis and arrangement of a person’s financial situation in order to maximize tax breaks and minimize tax liabilities in a legal and efficient manner.

Tax rules can be complicated, but taking some time to know and use them for your benefit can change how much you end up paying (or getting back) in April. Here are some key tax planning and tax strategy concepts to understand before you make your next money move.

Tax planning starts with understanding your tax bracket

You can’t really plan for the future if you don’t know where you are today. So the first tax planning tip is get a grip on what federal tax bracket you’re in.

The United States has a progressive tax system. That means people with higher taxable incomes are subject to higher tax rates, while people with lower taxable incomes are subject to lower tax rates. There are seven federal income tax brackets: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%.

No matter which bracket you’re in, you probably won’t pay that rate on your entire income. There are two reasons:

You get to subtract tax deductions to determine your taxable income (that’s why your taxable income usually isn’t the same as your salary or total income).

You don’t just multiply your tax bracket by your taxable income. Instead, the government divides your taxable income into chunks and then taxes each chunk at the corresponding rate.

For example, let’s say you’re a single filer with $32,000 in taxable income. That puts you in the 12% tax bracket in 2020. But do you pay 12% on all $32,000? No. Actually, you pay only 10% on the first $9,875; you pay 12% on the rest. If you had $50,000 of taxable income, you’d pay 10% on that first $9,875 and 12% on the chunk of income between $9,876 and $40,125. And then you’d pay 22% on the rest, because some of your $50,000 of taxable income falls into the 22% tax bracket.

The difference between tax deductions and tax credits

Tax deductions and tax credits may be the best part of preparing your tax return. Both reduce your tax bill, but in very different ways. Knowing the difference can create some very effective tax strategies that reduce your tax bill.

Tax deductions are specific expenses you’ve incurred that you can subtract from your taxable income. They reduce how much of your income is subject to taxes.

Tax credits are even better — they give you a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax bill. A tax credit valued at $1,000, for instance, lowers your tax bill by $1,000.

Taking the standard deduction vs. itemizing

Deciding whether to itemize or take the standard deduction is a big part of tax planning, because the choice can make a huge difference in your tax bill.

What is the standard deduction?

Basically, it’s a flat-dollar, no-questions-asked tax deduction. Taking the standard deduction makes tax prep go a lot faster, which is probably a big reason why many taxpayers do it instead of itemizing.

Congress sets the amount of the standard deduction, and it’s typically adjusted every year for inflation. The standard deduction that you qualify for depends on your filing status, as the table below shows.

What does ‘itemize’ mean?

Instead of taking the standard deduction, you can itemize your tax return, which means taking all the individual tax deductions that you qualify for, one by one.

  • Generally, people itemize if their itemized deductions add up to more than the standard deduction. A key part of their tax planning is to track their deductions through the year.
  • The drawback to itemizing is that it takes longer to do your taxes, and you have to be able to prove you qualified for your deductions.
  • You use IRS Schedule A to claim your itemized deductions.
  • Some tax strategies may make itemizing especially attractive. If you own a home, for example, your itemized deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes may easily add up to more than the standard deduction. That could save you money.
  • You might be able to itemize on your state tax return even if you take the standard deduction on your federal return.
  • The good news: Tax software or a good tax advisor can help you figure out which deductions you’re eligible for and whether they add up to more than the standard deduction.

Minimize or eliminate the new 3.8% Medicare tax on personal investment income.

You can do this by reducing rent charged to the business for a personally-owned building and equipment, increasing retirement plan and IRA contributions, gifting investment assets to lower bracket family members or charity, investing in tax-free bonds, and reducing capital gains through tax-free exchanges and harvesting capital losses.

Know your options for maximizing retirement plan contributions.

Looking to maximize tax-deductible retirement plan contributions. Entrepreneurs over age 40 with a younger staff can now fund a combined “safe harbor” 40l(k) profit sharing plan (with a 6% match) and cash balance defined benefit pension plan to save thousands in federal and state income taxes with contribution limits of more than $113,000 annually. How about slightly smaller tax-deductible contributions? Entrepreneurs over age 40 with a younger staff should consider a 40l(k) cross-tested profit sharing plan.

Optimize the way your business is structured.

Contact us to determine the payroll tax savings available from electing Subchapter S corporation status. Often business owners will be able to significantly reduce payroll taxes by taking a lower salary, with the remaining profit distributed as a dividend (not subject to payroll taxes). S status can also reduce income and payroll taxes on the sale of your practice, and lower IRS audit risk and exposure. Look for future article explaining entity selection in more detail!

Local Moving With Family

HOW TO START A MOVING COMPANY

There are few businesses that will always be in demand. A moving company falls under that category. Whether it’s across town or across the country, consumers hire moving services for packing and transporting their household items on a daily basis.

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your moving company. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Plan your Business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

What are the startup and ongoing costs?

Who is your target market?

How much can you charge customers?

What will you name your business?

What are the costs involved in opening a moving company?

Start-up costs for a moving business are fairly low. Your first purchase should be a van or truck. Aside from transportation, you’ll just need a few basic items, which will set you back approximately $1,000-$2,000:

Moving dollies

Rope

Moving pads

Furniture belts

Moving boxes

Packing and wrapping materials

What are the ongoing expenses for a moving company?

Monthly overhead costs are relatively low compared to many businesses. Most start out running the company out of their homes, moving to a warehouse location when the business has grown significantly.

AFFORDABLE MOVERS

LOCAL MOVING COMPANY

tackle local moves of all types and sizes. Whether you’re moving to a townhouse

CROSS COUNTRY MOVERS

A long distance move is even more challenging than a move across town

CHEAP STORAGE OPTIONS

If you’re between apartments or just have too much stuff, we can help you find an affordable storage solution in a safe, secure facility

PROFESSIONAL PACKERS

You may not have the time or energy to get everything packed up yourself.

RESIDENTIAL MOVERS

Whether you’re moving an apartment or a house, trained team of moving experts is here to make your residential move seamless.

COMMERCIAL MOVING

Get your office back up and running in no time with commercial moving services.

Moving can get expensive, which is why it’s important to shop around for cheaper rates.

A List of Things We Can’t Move and Why

If you are having a moving company transport your belongings, it should provide you with a list of “non-allowable.” This is an industry term for items professional movers will NOT transport.

Propane/ Gasoline-

We can’t move these for obvious reasons that they are both flammable and explosive. We ask if we are moving anything motorized you drain them out first.

Nail polish/ Nail Polish remover-

These items are flammable and also can spill or break which can ruin the finish off your furniture.

Live plants across State Lines-

Each states department of agriculture establishes guidelines to protect their native plants. Different plants carry pests and diseases that cannot be transferred across state lines.

Cleaning supplies/ Chemicals-

Chemicals can be flammable and also ruin your possessions.

Batteries-

Batteries contain acid which can erode with different weather conditions but also cause spark if there is other metal in the truck.

Small Moves

Are you getting ready to move your home to another neighborhood? Do you have a small inventory but not enough time to get ready for your move? If the answer is – yes then we have a solution. Homegrown Moving Company is one of the most experienced moving companies

small movers CO are here to help you plan the moving day and handle every moving box with ease. Let us know whether you are in the need for transportation services or you prefer us to provide full moving service. Before you give us a call, take a look at how we can help you achieve an easy relocation.

Good planning is haft the job done

When moving a home, whether it’s a local or a long-distance move, it’s important to be ready for the moving day. There are some situations we can’t predict, so the more you organize and plan the moving day, the fewer troubles there will be. In order to get ready for a successful moving day, you should consider making a moving plan. By writing down important things to do, you will say organized and even save money on your move.

Here’s a suggestion for making a moving plan:

Set the moving date. When you know how much time you have to prepare, it’s going to be easier to organize.

Contact local small movers. Although planning a small move is easier than a long distance one, you should book a moving company as soon as you can. If you hire them sooner than later, you’ll increase your chances of getting a discount on moving service.

Declutter your home and decide what to move. More often than not, people move too many items into their new homes. Why not save some money and get rid of old and unnecessary items?

Choose a moving service. By contacting moving company, you can ask for more details about local moving services. small movers will make sure to suggest the best option for your moving budget.

Plan a moving day. Your movers can help you plan it one step at a time.

Although small moves are not complicated to organize, packing and moving your inventory will take some time. Even if you are moving just a few streets away from your current home

Moving FAQ

What are the best days of the week to move?

Wednesdays are the best day since less people request it, followed by Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays and weekends are usually the busiest days resulting in competition for elevator access, which can cause delays.

How far in advance should I schedule my move?

recommends at least three weeks in advance when moving locally. For long distance or international, we recommend four weeks.

Do you move pianos?

Yes, we are experts when it comes to moving pianos with a trained team fully taking care of the service.

Can you move me cross country or to another country?

Yes, we offer both Long Distance and International moving services.

Can weather affect my move?

It’s important to consider delays and traffic when it comes to inclement weather but your move WILL NOT be cancelled unless the city puts out a travel/weather warning.

Hardwood Flooring Refinishing

The Top Surface Finishes for Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is available with a number of distinct surface finishes that not only enhance the wood grain, but also help protect the floor. Whether you’re looking for a shiny, high-gloss finish or something a little more matte, hardwood top coatings provide plenty of options. Below are some of the top surface finishes for hardwood to note when choosing etiher solid or engineered hardwood flooring for your home.

Surface Finishes for Hardwood: The Options

Water-Based Polyurethane

Arguably the most popular surface finish for hardwood flooring, water-based polyurethane provides a clear finish and has the traditional hardwood look and feel. Traditionally, this smooth, lustrous finish gives solid and engineered hardwood floors the signature wet look, achieved by using multiple coats of high-gloss polyurethane. However, water-based polyurethane finishes also come in satin and semigloss.

Most high-gloss polyurethane hardwood flooring is prefinished in the factory. This makes installation much faster. Thanks to the high sheen, cleaning this hardwood finish is easy, although scratches, pet hair, and other imperfections do tend to stand out. Oil-based polyurethane is another urethane option, although it can yellow over time.

Oil Sealer

Oil sealer or penetrating oil sealer is a wise choice if you’re planning on finishing your hardwood floors yourself. It’s pretty straightforward for DIYers to apply. It doesn’t dry as hard as the polyurethane mentioned above, but the penetrating process brings out grain patterns and enhances the color of the wood. This finish also allows for touch ups later on.

The main benefit of oil sealer is the low-gloss, natural look it brings to flooring. It is ideal for antique and traditional style homes. The main ingredient in most oil sealers is tung oil. Tung oil is naturally derived and not permanent. You will need to reapply oil sealers every three to five years. This type of finish also has a longer drying time (24 to 48 hours per coat) and requires several coats.

Hard-Wax Oil

If you’re looking for a natural finish that’s easy to apply, hard-waxoil offers a warm look. It also provides excellent protection. Although wax treatments for hardwood may be considered outdated by some, they’re growing in popularity again. It’s perfect for those who want a low luster finish that’s easy to touch up.

Most hard-wax oil finishes for hardwood are DIY-friendly in terms of application. Due to the finishes’ low durability and susceptibility to staining, reapplying the wax finish is an ongoing process. This is generally recommended to be repeated every two to three years.

Acid Cured

Also called a Swedish finish, acid-cured finishes are extremely durable — more so than polyurethane. This type of finish is ideal for smooth-textured flooring and exotic woods that need extra protection. However, acid-cured finishes have high toxicity levels during the curing process. This toxicity can last anywhere from three days to an entire month, depending on the relative humidity.

Aluminum Oxide

The king of durable finishes is aluminum oxide, which lasts up to 25 years. This is especially beneficial for engineered hardwood floors because they often have a thinner veneer that doesn’t lend itself to sanding and refinishing.

Prefinished planks are your only option if you choose hardwood with an aluminum oxide finish. This limitation is due to the application and drying equipment used in the finishing process. This makes installation faster than traditional on-site sanding and finishing.

Two Options for Refinishing

Does your floor need a touch-up or an overhaul?

  • Touch-up. For surface scratches and normal wear and tear, lightly sand the finish (called screening) and apply a new topcoat. You’ll want to use the same type of finish product that was on your flooring originally.
  • Overhaul. For more damaged flooring, you’ll want to completely sand the old finish off down to the bare wood. Once you’ve done that, you can apply any finish.

Selecting a hardwood flooring finish

How to decide? Think about how the room will be used and exactly how you want the hardwood floors to look after the finish has been applied.

Most of the available options also give you a choice of sheen. The higher the gloss finish, the more noticeable scratch marks and scuffing will be. A smooth or matte finish will reflect less light and is much more practical. A less glossy finish or a satin sheen will give your hardwood floor a more traditional appearance.

Your final flooring finish decision should be based on:

• How durable the finish needs to be.

• Whether the floor needs special moisture protection.

• Exactly how you want the hardwood floor to be treated.

What is the hardest wood floor finish?

The hardest wood floor finish is aluminum oxide, but it only comes on prefinished boards. If you want something durable you can add after installation, acid-cured is your best bet.

Do you need to seal hardwood floors?

You have to seal unfinished hardwood floors to protect them from scratches and stains. The frequency depends on the type. For example, polyurethane products usually need refinishing every 3 to 5 years.

What’s the difference between wood stain and finish?

Wood stain adds a color to the surface. A finish adds a level of shine (e.g. matte, low-gloss, high-gloss) and seals the grain to protect against damage.

Why Leave Drywall Repairs To The Pros

Caulking Drywall: Tips and Tricks

If you’ve got thin cracks in your drywall, you don’t necessarily have to break out the drywall compound to mud the area. Caulking drywall is a much faster and easier way to repair those hairline cracks.In fact, you can save time and money on your home renovation by caulking drywall corners in areas like closets, laundry rooms, and mudrooms. However, you should be aware of two things before you start caulking.

No matter what type of caulk you’re using, the caulked part will look off and the paint will be easily discolored. Secondly, caulk will not last unless the environment temperature is stable. If you are caulking in an area where the temperature is changing significantly, within a year or two you will have to recaulk it.

Now, discover our list of tips and tricks for caulking drywall in your home.

Buy Fresh Supplies for Caulking Drywall

If you’re tempted to grab an old tube of caulk that you’ve had for a while, don’t. Caulk becomes useless once it dries out, and chances are, that old tube is pretty dry. You need a fresh tube in order to get the best, smoothest results.

Select a Paintable Variety of Caulk

When you purchase the caulk, be sure that it’s the type you can paint over. Not all types of caulk hold paint well. Some DIY home renovation experts swear by paintable silicone caulk since it allows the paint to adhere smoothly.

Others claim that the silicone caulk cracks much faster, and they recommend high-quality acrylic latex caulk. Ultimately, your goals determine your choices in this case. Before you make a purchasing decision, you may want to read this article for a better comparison.

Check the Quality of the Drywall Crack Repair Caulk

When you’re caulking drywall, don’t skimp on quality to save money. Cheaper forms of the caulk might crack or fall out more quickly, or they may permit greater air leakage, which in turn will contribute to a general lack of airtightness in the home.

If you have too much leakage, the house won’t be as energy-efficient, and your property value could dip lower.

Another factor to consider is the safety quality of the caulk. Most caulks are flammable, which adds a risk factor to their use when you’re patching drywall. If possible, purchase fire-rated caulk that offers similar protection to standard fire-resistant drywall mud.

Apply the Caulk to the Drywall Cracks

Caulk usually comes with easy-to-use instructions printed on the tube. All you need to do is snip off the end and begin squeezing out the caulk. Test the substance first on a disposable surface so you can be sure it’s the right color and consistency; then apply it to the drywall crack.

You can use your finger to press the caulk into the crack and then smooth it out with a paddle or scraping tool. Before the caulk completely sets, give the wall a quick wipe-down to remove any excess or overflow.

Drywall cracks are very common around windows and doors due to the added use and moisture in those areas. You can caulk along the edge of a door frame or window frame and use your finger to push the caulk along the crevice and smooth it out. Be sure to wash your hands after caulking drywall.

After the caulk sets and dries completely, you can touch up the caulked area with paint. Be sure that the color of the paint is precisely the same as that of the rest of the wall, or the newly caulked area will look odd.

Caulking Vs. Spackling

Because it’s so flexible and you can’t sand it, caulk isn’t the ideal material for filling holes. You should instead do that with a quick application of spackling compound, using a putty knife. Spackling compound is also the material to use to repair chips in wood — it’s stiffer than caulk yet pliable enough to mold, and you can shape it with sandpaper after it dries. Caulk is the material you need when you want to fill gaps around wood trim and molding or when you want to provide a weather-resistant seal around a door or window.

Application

Applying spackling compound is a straightforward procedure — scrape it on with a putty knife, wait for it to dry, then sand it flat — but the procedure for applying caulk is a bit more involved. Because caulk is designed to seal long gaps, you generally apply it in a continuous bead with a caulking gun in a two-step process. The first step is to apply the bead, and the second is to tool it by running your finger along it to create a convex surface. After that, you allow the caulk to dry. If it isn’t silicone, you can paint it.

Patching Drywall

Simply drywall patching requires surface preparation, applying the drywall compound, and then sanding and finishing the wall surface. A quick trip to your local hardware store should provide you with all the materials and tools you need. You might even be able to get some extra tips on your specific drywall patching project. Small-to-medium sized holes and drywall cracks shouldn’t be too difficult, and if something does go wrong, you’re unlikely to make the situation much worse than when you started. Make sure you know how to repair a hole in the drywall to avoid more expensive repairs.

On the other hand, just like trying to touch up some chipped paint, if you don’t have extra paint you probably won’t get an exact match.

Patching Drywall Alternatives

One alternative to common drywall patching compound is paintable caulk. If, for some reason, you find your drywall cracks repeatedly (around the edge of a windowpane, for example), apply a paintable caulk that is also water washable directly into the crack with your finger. Before it sets (usually within 30 minutes), wipe down with a clean damp cloth, again to smooth and to allow the existing texture to bleed through.

Matching Color and Texture When Filling Drywall Cracks

While matching the original color of your wall is difficult enough, if you have textured drywall surfacing, it’s going to be at least as difficult to match the drywall texture. If this is a concern, you might consider hiring a drywall contractor. The match may still not be exact, but it will probably be a whole lot closer to what you can produce. If you have several small home repair projects, you might also be saving yourself a bunch of time and headaches by hiring a handyman. A handyman may be able to patch your damaged drywall, look at your broken refrigerator, oil your garage door tracks, patch up your stained carpet, and whatever other small projects you have that needs to be done. If your walls are older and need new life, you might also consider hiring a professional home painter. Instead of trying to match your drywall patch to your old, worn wall surface, decorative painting and texturing can transform your room.

How To Drywall: A Finishing Shortcut

Most home improvement shortcuts lead to trouble. But here’s one that makes drywall finishing faster without regrets later:

In closets and other low-priority areas, don’t tape and mud inside corners. Instead, caulk them. I first tried this trick on wall and ceiling corners 20 years ago—and those corners still look good. There are just four things you need to know:

  • When you hang the rock, keep gaps to a minimum. You can get away with 1/8-in. gaps, but not wider.
  • Finish all the tapered joints and get a coat of primer on the rock before you caulk. Caulking directly over the absorbent paper facing leads to an ugly caulk job.
  • Use a high-quality acrylic latex caulk. I once used dirt-cheap “painter’s caulk” and got cracks within a year.
  • Don’t tell anyone. Critics will think you’re a lazy slouch. But if you don’t tell them, they’ll never notice.

Humane Squirrel Control

Squirrels

Appearance

The grey squirrel is approximately 25 cm long with a 22 cm tail. Both sexes are of similar size and weigh around 500 grams. The body is adapted for climbing and jumping, with sharp claws for gripping and a long bushy tail for balance. Red squirrels are smaller, lighter and have ear tufts. Although predominantly red in appearance red squirrels may, confusingly, show some grey on the back in winter.

Where to find them

Grey squirrels build nests or dreys of twigs/leaves in the forks of trees. The squirrels are most active in the two hours following sunrise and preceding sunset, showing reduced activity during the daytime. Both red and grey squirrels will eat a wide range of items such as nuts, fruit buds, shoots, fungi, birds eggs and nestlings. In urban areas a large amount of food will be derived from bird feeders. Surplus food is buried for retrieval in times of scarcity.

Spread of disease

Squirrels are not normally associated with any diseases which are transmissible to man.

Structural damage

The most serious damage arises once grey squirrels enter the roof spaces of houses and other buildings by climbing walls, gutter downpipes or jumping from trees. Once inside they will chew woodwork and ceilings, strip the insulation from electrical wiring, tear up fibreglass insulation in the construction of dreys and even sometimes drown in cold water storage tanks.

Control of squirrels

The most effective form of control is exclusion. Do not encourage squirrels into your garden by feeding them, and ensure that all roofspaces are secure. Control of squirrels is usually carried out using traps or poison. Only spring or cage traps approved for the purpose may be used and all traps must be inspected at least once daily. Squirrels may also be poisoned with a plain wheat bait containing 0.002% Warfarin liquid.

Squirrels Are Cute, But They’re Still A Nuisance

Every year, getting rid of squirrels is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our rodent removal and exclusion service line. Squirrels are cute and cuddly unless they happen to be in your attic. Just like other rodents, squirrels can be destructive when inside our homes and businesses. Squirrel droppings and chewing ability do not exempt them from removal.

About Squirrels

Squirrels have adapted to urban and city life pretty well. there are plenty of trees and food sources for squirrels to live off the land. Squirrels are also extremely beneficial. They help to plant and distribute seeds due to their natural instincts to bury food. However, once inside your attic tearing up the place, it is easy to overlook their beneficial qualities and figure out a plan for relocation.

Behavioral Traits

Squirrels are most active in the morning and afternoon hours. Squirrels tend to hangout in their nests during severe cold and wet weather. Hopefully that nest is not in your attic.

Lifecycle

Squirrels have a litter of 2 to 7 young in the early spring. Here in Texas another litter will sometimes arrive in late August. The young will remain in the nest for up to 6 weeks before going out on their own.

Proper Squirrel Control

Inspection. Identify rodent and rodent damage. This requires a deep inspection and find out where the squirrels are nesting and how they have gotten into the structure.

Trapping. Now we trap the rodents. For squirrels, we trap with live traps. Squirrel traps are big cages with trap doors and some food inside as bait. We will set traps and monitor every 1-2 days. Traps can be moved around to focus on the problem areas.

Exclusion. After the trapping is well underway we enclose the structure. We seal all roof vents, roof pipes, gable vents, and any other areas where squirrels can enter. Steel wool, expanding foam, caulk, wire mesh, and some screws go a long way. Then trim back any trees 4 to 6 feet from the structure.

Relocation. Every squirrel we trap is relocated to a park or wooded area.

Rodent & Squirrel Pest Control Services

Keep These Furry Pests Outside Where They Belong

Rodents like mice, rats and squirrels may look furry and cute, but they are not welcome guests in a home. Always in search of food and shelter, these pests can do some real damage to a home and also transmit diseases. Additionally, rodents reproduce very quickly, and one or two can turn into a full-blown infestation in a matter of weeks. Signs that they may have settled in include unusual noises in the attic or walls and/or droppings found in the pantry, along the baseboards or in the attic.

Mice and Rat Control Services

Mice and rats pose many threats to you, your family and your home. When they take up residence, they rarely travel alone, often bringing in fleas, mites, ticks and lice as well. Micro droplets of mouse urine can trigger allergic reactions in children. Rats will chew through just about anything when nesting, including wiring, which can cause fires. Rats are also known to urinate on and eat stored foods. Both mice and rats can transmit numerous diseases. Obviously, mice and rat control is a serious matter.

These crafty creatures can enter structures through very tiny openings. A mouse only needs a space the size of a nickel and a rat can squeeze through one the size of a quarter. Additionally, rats are excellent climbers and can make their way into a home through entry points along the roofline as well.

Squirrel Control Services

Both gray and flying squirrels usually begin to enter homes in the Southeast late in the fall as the evening temperatures drop, looking for a warm place to nest for the winter. They can be found in attics, exterior walls and even between floors, using insulation as nesting material. Their playful nature and early rising times are what give their presence away to homeowners as they hear scurrying in the attic or movement at dawn, making squirrel removal sometimes necessary just to get some sleep.

Squirrels can do considerable damage to the exterior trim and siding of a home as they widen their current hole or make a new one. Once in the home, they can gnaw on just about anything, including electrical wiring, which can cause a short or a fire. Squirrels can also carry fleas and other unwanted hitchhikers that will infest your home after they gain entry.

Grey squirrels

In their natural habitat grey squirrels build nests or dreys in the forks of trees or in hollow trunks. In urban areas they will enter roof spaces by climbing walls or jumping from nearby trees. If they get into your property they can cause serious damage. They chew woodwork and ceilings, strip the insulation from electrical wiring, tear up loft insulation to form a nest and sometimes drown in cold water tanks.

The noise they make, particularly at night, scratching and running about can be very disturbing. They also cause environmental damage, stripping bark off trees causing young trees to die, and can destroy many garden plants with their activities.

Dealing with the problem yourself

There are two things you can do to help yourself:

Don’t feed or encourage squirrels into your garden. If you put out food for the birds, use squirrel-proof feeders.

Keep your home in a good state of repair so that squirrels can not gain access. If they have already got in and they haven’t yet had any young you may be able to scare them out and seal any holes where they were getting in

Squirrel Chewing Habits: Their Fun Wreaks Havoc on your Home

Those cute little squirrels running around your backyard and playing in your trees might be fun to watch, but they can be pesky critters when they want to be! The most irritating thing about squirrels is their penchant for chewing pretty much anything that gets in their way. Whether it’s wood around your home or yard, wires in your attic, or plastic on your home or car, basically nothing is safe from these backyard critters.

Why do squirrels chew everything?

Unlike humans, a squirrels’ teeth never stop growing. While this is helpful them since their diet mostly consists of nuts, seeds and fruit which are hard on teeth and wear them down, this also means they need to be constantly working to keep them a manageable length. This leads them to chew on pretty much anything they can. From wood to metal or plastic, all of these help to grind down their teeth. Unfortunately, this is bad news for your property!

Squirrels also chew things to gather material to build a nest. Wood especially makes a good base for them, so watch your wood siding, deck, attic beams and any other wood around your yard carefully.

How to prevent squirrels from chewing

When trying to prevent a squirrel from chewing materials around your home, you want to try to use strong and durable materials as much as possible. Things like steel mesh and pvc piping are helpful materials that squirrels will have difficulty chewing through

Sometimes, you just need to call a wildlife removal professional

If your friendly squirrel company has turned the corner into a full on invasion, you might be at the point where you just need to call in a professional. Squirrels don’t give up easily, and once they’ve found some profitable real estate, they’ll settle in for a long stand off. And squirrels are not a rodent you want to mess with (remember those constantly growing and sharpened teeth?!)! A professional can come assess your home and work out a safe plan to remove the squirrels from your home and give you some suggestions of how to squirrel proof the area.

Want To Become A Veterinarian

Things Pet Owners Do That Drive Vets Crazy

It’s a tough subject to tackle. After all, veterinarians do plenty of annoying things, too. But this particular post is all about you—well, not you, but the annoying yous among you. Not that most of you deserve this, but some of you just might! So without any further hedging, let me launch into the most annoying things pet owners do.

Answer Their Cells

Need I say more? Is there anything more annoying and disrespectful than answering a phone call while your vet is delivering her state-of-your-pet’s-health address? OK, it might be worse if you dug out your phone to initiate a call midexam, but only by a smidge. They’re both just plain rude.

Bring Their Kids

I dearly love children (mine mostly, but yours can also be cool), but very young or badly behaved children are an unnecessary liability in a veterinary environment. It’s hard enough to keep pets safe — much less kids. So unless your children are old enough and/or chill enough to hang out in a vet setting, they should probably stay home. One exception: If your pet has an emergency and you have no one to care for your kids, you are most definitely excused. We’ll understand. Call ahead and we may even assign an employee to keep tabs on them so you can concentrate on what’s wrong with your pet.

Let Their Dogs Run Amok

This is not the dog park. And, for the record, retractable leads should remain in the shortest, locked position for the duration of your visit. After watching an innocent human get taken down in the lobby by an overlong retractable line, I decided there should be a law against these in vet hospitals.

Holistic Care is never all bad.

Many veterinarians have a victorious aversion to ‘herbal’ veterinary care, they believe that it in actuality does no longer paintings and let their prospects know. Pet proprietors need their pets healed, devoid of edge effects, and herbal remedies can continually do that. Pet proprietors are increasingly through herbal remedies, with over 50% have used an notable deal of form of complementary remedy. Of confidential note, holistic veterinary remedy has a very important sort of credible scientific analyze that reduce back its effectiveness. Take for example the herb turmeric, which has been shown to be increasingly victorious for hypersensitive reactions, arthritis and now even cancer; prospects detect that it works, and now science is backing this up. Clients are actively getting to know the know-how superhighway for any accessible choice to regard it doesn’t matter what disease their pets  have, and being exposed to method greater likelihood ideas. Ultimately as veterinarians it can be much larger to fortify into your prospects trusted advisors on all facets in their pets care, holistic and favorite.

Crappy of us skills.

This is greater about what vets don’t say- as in nothing. How in regards to the veterinarian and their laborers making respectable eye contact while any client contains the workplace and making pet proprietors experience welcome. I have had many prospects say they’ve felt un-very important and no longer identified at a veterinary medical association. Imagine the veterinarian introducing him or herself, affirming your name, and your pet’s name. Unfortunately of us skills are no longer a fashion of trends determined on for at veterinary tuition- sure as a veterinarian you’ll be able to be superb with animals, have simplest medical or surgical skills, then again you continue to must be capable to go looking the recommendation of pet proprietors.

Too many tips.

So what does your pet in actuality need? 13 amazing blood assessments, heartworm screen, fecal flotation, urinalysis, X-rays, EKG, all justified as ‘wellness’ screening. If a pet is sick, most prospects need vets to do the key very important assessments first with a view to paintings out the cause. Clients need veterinarians firstly an notable deal of typical sense and present a list of the key likely diagnoses. Ask your veterinarian exactly what they do for that is why referred to as ‘wellness screening’ for their personal pets. In my celebration most veterinarians only do diagnostic assessments on their personal animals while they’re sick. Should this in actuality be amazing with their prospects?

Just present me the Truth.

As in what vaccines does my dog or cat in actuality need? What do you in actuality consider is incorrect with pet? Pet proprietors need the ‘actual’ answers, if it is bad news a couple of diagnosis, or what vaccines you believe about are wished. As an example, many veterinarians are giving their personal pets some distance fewer vaccines than they advise giving to their client’s animals. Or agree with after an exam of your dog, your veterinarian unearths multiple enlarged lymph nodes. For worry of ‘scaring’ you, your veterinarian  inform you that ‘it’s simply a lump we must scan’. This confuses prospects, and breeds mistrust, the distinctive reverse that I consider veterinarians need to speak. Key to any classification of long time fulfillment in veterinary apply is hanging up a mutual courting together with your prospects founded on have confidence. If prospects have confidence then you devoid of difficulty they’re method greater likely to acquire your tips, refer greater prospects to you, and feature your apply thrive. Win-Win.

Waiting too long to seek help

It’s so frustrating when a pet owner finally arrives at the ER with a dog that is nearly dead, then goes on to tell vet staff how they stayed up all night watching the dog vomit and have diarrhea. In the past I’ve heard, “He only vomits two or three times a day.” How many times a day do you vomit? Please go to the veterinarian sooner rather than later!

Having to handle the owner to handle the dog

When small dog owners hold their dog very, very, very close to their bosom and, when the vet asks to examine the dog, they literally have to pry the dog away from that bosom. There is no way to avoid being inappropriate!

Outdoor Ceiling Fans Installation

Ceiling Fans

Energy efficient ceiling fans

professional ceiling fan installation across Brisbane and surrounding suburbs. If you’re looking for an easy, environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to cool down then speak to us today about installing ceiling fans in your home. Not only can ceiling fans help reduce the temperature in a room by up to 4 degrees but they can increase the efficiency of your air conditioning saving you money. Ceiling fans can also double as great feature pieces in a room and can increase the value of your home.

How does a ceiling fan cool the room?

We’re all guilty of running the ceiling fan on a hot day to try and reduce the temperature of the room however your ceiling fan doesn’t directly cool the air all by itself.

Ceiling Fan Safety Tips

Be sure that they are turned off if you aren’t home

Be mindful of the fan while it is turned on (never throw things in the air or jump on the bed while it is spinning)

Never hang things from a ceiling fan (They aren’t designed to be load bearing)

You can install a safety guard on your ceiling fans for an extra precaution

Keeping your ceiling fan clean will ensure maximum performance and lifespan. Here are some easy steps you can follow at home to make sure your fan is in good working order:

Make sure to clean any dust or dirt that is gathered on the ceiling fan blades (while it is turned off) this can be done with a brush or a rag

Ensure you tighten any loose screws which can be found on the fan itself, on the plate that attaches the fan to the ceiling or any screws on the light fixtures on your fan

Check to see if your fan needs oil if it is not self maintaining. This can be done by adding oil to the oil hole near the motor however most fans are self lubricating.

Make sure your fan is not wobbling or shaking, as this means it may need to be balanced or one of the blades may be damaged or warped

The difference between the settings are:

Summer: The fan blades spin in a counterclockwise direction which circulates the air and disperses the breeze to the edges of the room. This makes you feel cooler quicker and it feels like the room temperature lowers.

Winter: In this setting, the fan blades spin clockwise which forces all the warm air that is trapped above the fan and along the ceiling down into the room to mix with the cooler air. To achieve the best results you should keep your fan on low speed in this setting during winter.

Best ceiling fans: We can help you find the perfect fan to meet your needs

The cost of a ceiling fan can range from $70 to $2,000 or more. When choosing a ceiling fan, you need to know the size of your room and the height of the ceiling. Then you can consider how many blades you want, what material you prefer, how many speeds you need and other important features.

We’ve narrowed down the seven best choices for budget buyers, high-end fanatics, outdoor spaces, bedrooms, low ceilings and those interested in environmental sustainability. If you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for, we’ll walk you through the steps to make the right choice to meet your needs.

Our budget pick is the Arlec 120cm White 4 Blade Ceiling Fan with Oyster Light. The Arlec Classic 4 Blade fan retails from Bunnings for only $70

This basic model offers reversible airflow so you can use it to circulate air in any season. The Arlec Classic 4 Blade also includes an in-built oyster light. Keep in mind, the light is not dimmable and bulbs are not included with the fan. While the fan doesn’t come with a remote control, you can add one later if you decide it’s worth the additional cost or if your budget increases. You can also book your ceiling fan installation at Bunnings. The store offers regular deals on installation for Arlec-brand fans, so make sure you check if there are any upcoming specials before you buy.

Our pick for the best high-end fan is the Big Ass Fans Haiku Series 52. Haiku Series 52 fans come with SenseME technology, which uses sensors to automatically adjust to one of seven different speeds based on environmental conditions.

How to Install a Ceiling Fan Where No Fixture Exists

Installing a ceiling fan is actually not as challenging of a project as it may seem, however, if no fixture already exists in the spot where you’d like your new fan to live, the task can be a bit more challenging

Determining Where to Install Your Ceiling Fan

Let’s start by deciding where your new ceiling fan will reside.  The answer might seem obvious—the center of the ceiling right?  Not so fast.  Most ceiling fans weigh at least 20 lbs so your new fan will need to be located in between two joists for support.

Keep in mind, what makes a ceiling fan electrical box different from a traditional light fixture box is the bracing.  Ceiling fan boxes must include bracing that attaches to the ceiling joists to support the greater weight and vibration that comes with a ceiling fan installation.

Installing Your Ceiling Fan Electrical Box

The process of installing a ceiling fan box involves pushing the bracing and box through the hole you’ve made in the ceiling and attaching them to the ceiling joists as per the manufacturer’s instructions (although very similar not all ceiling boxes are exactly the same).

Running Electrical Wiring to Your New Fan

Before going any further it’s very important that we take a moment to address the inherent danger that exists when working with your home’s electrical wiring.  If at any time you feel unsure of what you are doing it’s important to stop and call a certified electrician.

HERE’S HOW: Install a ceiling fan yourself

Before attempting to install it, make sure your husband purchased the correct size for your room. If he bought it at a reputable home center store, they will probably let you exchange it for another if the size is incorrect

As a rule of thumb, use a 36-inch-diameter fan if the largest room dimension is under 12 feet. From 12 to 15 feet, a 42-inch size is best and from 15 to 18 feet, select a 52-inch size. For very large or long narrow rooms, use two smaller ceiling fans.

For a standard ceiling height, the fan kit should come with the proper downrod length to provide at least seven feet of clearance above the floor. Unless your ceilings are unusually low, avoid a ceiling hugger design. The proximity of the blades to the ceiling impede proper airflow.

Putting up a ceiling fan is not a difficult job. Many of the new ceiling fans have an installation hanging hook built into the ceiling mounting. This makes it a one-person job, assuming that you are strong enough to get it up on the hook first.

Do a little stretching first and, even if you are in good shape, plan on having some sore muscles the next day. It is not so much the weight of the unit, but all the twisting and reaching around the motor and blades that is straining.

HOW TO INSTALL A CEILING FAN EQUIPPED

Installing any ceiling fan is usually a very simple process, and it is just as simple when installing a ceiling fan that comes equipped with the more energy efficient DC motor. However, there are some warnings one should know before proceeding and attempting to connect a DC fan to their power source.

CONNECTING A STANDARD AC FAN IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT

In the past, when fans all came equipped with a standard AC motor, many electricians would wire up a ceiling fan without feeling the need to turn off a circuit breaker, or even a wall switch that sends power to the fan.

Although, it is always a good idea to do so, a seasoned electrician understands that as long was they only work with one wire at a time, and the other wires are capped, they aren’t really going to have to worry about any sort of electrical shock. They know for a shock to happen they’d have to be touching the metal part of the wire they are working with, while at the same time grounding themselves on something else metal to complete the circuit. Therefore, many times electricians may simply hold the wire by the insulated part (colored coating) and connect one wire at a time. After all, for standard fans we are only talking about one hot wire, one neutral wire, and one ground wire.

Even remote controlled traditional ceiling fans with an AC motor is not much different. The only difference is there is usually a remote receiver that separates the three fan wires from the power wires at the ceiling. On one side of a remote receiver there is usually a blue, a black, and a white wire. Coming from the top of the fan is the same three color wires. One only needs to simply connect those wires together by their color. Then, on the other side of the remote receiver there is always a black wire and a white wire (separate from the side that three black, white, and blue wires are found) and these two wires simply connect to the black wire and the white wire coming out from the ceiling.

NEVER TRY TO WIRE A DC FAN WITH THE CIRCUIT BREAKER ON

A DC ceiling fan is more sensitive when connecting wires, making it a must to have the power turned off before beginning any of the wiring process. It does not matter how comfortable an electrician feels around power, a DC fan is very, very sensitive, and the power must be turned off while making wiring connections. Any slight arc of power or surge during the process can, and probably will, damage the DC ceiling fan’s remote receiver. Therefore, power being off before starting the installation is crucial. The reason is that the receiver also contains the converter that will change the home’s AC power over to a DC current before that current gets to the fan motor. Due to the complexity of the task the receiver is required to do, the circuitry is more sensitive and care should be taken when wiring.

How To Preserve Your Roof Inspection

Commercial Roof Inspection

Some roofing companies in Superior hurry through the consultation phase, but we know that quality roofing work starts with a detailed roof inspection. How can a roofing contractor repair or replace roofing without knowing what is going on up there? It’s vital that you pick a roofing company that offers roof inspections services with thorough procedures, because contractors can’t repair the problem if they don’t grasp it

Superior roofing contractors obtain cross-training so that they are able to perform any roofing service on all sorts of commercial buildings with all kinds of roofs, but an essential thing  for every job is a roof inspection. We think that the roof inspection services we begin every Superior commercial roofing project with are the basis for quality work throughout because inspecting the roof tells us everything that’s wrong, so we are able to formulate services

Commercial Roof Inspection and Insurance Coverage

Another helpful roofing inspection service you can expect is how Superior homeowners are advised about the insurance process. We ensure the adjuster performs an adequate roof inspection of their very own. We are on-site to ensure they examine every area for damage, do not miss any line products, and that lots of photographs are used. Every ding, dent, and crack should be noted during the adjuster’s commercial roofing inspection, and we will ensure that they are counting and classifying things correctly

Commercial Roof Inspection in Superior

If you need a Superior roofing contractor to conduct repairs or reroofing, be sure you hire a person who first does an in-depth roof inspection. Contractors, Roofing Systems offers roof inspection services at no-cost to Superior companies, during which we will examine their house then provide them with a proposal for services to repair the roofin

The Cost Of Roof Inspection For Your Home or Office

While you might love seeing those rain showers from your porch, you may want to spare a moment for your roof. Your roof is what lets you enjoy every weather, from the comfort of your home. The problem though is that most homeowners forget to take care of their roof once they have built their home; it’s this lack of maintenance that can cost a lot.

Why Do You Need Roof Inspection?

A roof inspection is quite important – be it from the buyer’s side or the owner’s. Knowing the condition of the roof should be a major consideration before buying a home. The roof is one of the most expensive elements of a home and unsuspected roof problems could catch you off guard costing you thousands of dollars. The expense from consequential damage is often much greater than the cost to fix the roof.

In short, you must examine the roof condition when buying a new home or building. Make sure you get the roof professionally inspected. Take a look at the roof inspection report by a professional before making a final deal. If you are selling your home, roof inspection becomes important to you as well.

When Should You Get a Roof Inspection?

It is recommended to get a roof inspection once every three years; this can help in making both your house and roof last longer. For homes that are older (over 30 years), roof inspections are recommended frequently. Remember, the average age of a roof is 20 years. If you live in places with extreme weather, roof inspection can be recommended every other year.

All certified roof inspectors will pay attention to the following:

The exterior and interior appearance of the roof. This helps them detect any physical damage or surface deterioration.

Search for cracks or leaks in the roof.

The overall state of the fascia, skylights, chimneys, gutters, drains, and vents on the roof.

Shingles that have either curled, broken or are simply missing,

Finding places which may let water get collected.

Flashing points that have been damaged.

ROOF INSPECTIONS

When buying or selling a home, it is very important to know what kind of shape the roof is in. We offer professional roof inspections for realtors and homeowners that address the major aspects of the roofing system. We will estimate the useful life of the roof and identify any problem areas that need to be repaired.

Age of Roof

It’s usually impossible to determine the exact age of a roof unless we have specific information about when the shingles were installed, so we’ll generally just estimate the age of the roof based on our experience.

Life Expectancy

We will try to estimate the useful life expectancy of your roof. This is impossible to do with precision, but we can give you a reasonable expectation as to when you will need to replace your roof.

Layers of Shingles

It can be difficult to determine how many layers of shingles are on a roof just by looking from the ground. We’ll lift up the shingles at the bottom of roof to see exactly how many layers of shingles there are.

General Appearance

A roof is not merely a functional covering for you home meant to keep water out. It also has aesthetic value. It should look good. Really good

How Often Should I Have My Roof Inspected?

You keep on top of preventative maintenance for your health, your car, and even your kids’ homework—but what about keeping that literal roof over your head in top shape? Sure, Spring cleaning has you sweeping behind the fridge and winter prep might have you checking to see if the water pipes are in good shape, but when’s the last time you had the roof inspected? Roof maintenance is two-fold: One you can do yourself (if only with a pair of binoculars), but this should be complemented with an expert inspection at routine intervals.

When looking at a roof yourself, keep an eye out for uneven surfaces in the decking and cracked caulking. Are any of the shingles curling, buckling or blistering? Are there even some missing shingles? Look at the rubber part of the pipe vents and see if they look worn down or split open. Any damage to chimney caps should be addressed, and if you notice moss or lichen, that can be a sign of decay. Black algae may seem like a cosmetic fix that doesn’t necessarily need immediate attention, but it’s an excellent food source for moss, which can remove granules from the shingle exposing the asphalt to the sun’s rays

When Action is Necessary

For homeowners with colored grit found in places like the gutters, that’s a red flag. It might look like sand, but it means the roof is being exposed to dangerous UV rays. It might be that the roof’s service life is about to expire, and acting quickly may give you a few more years. Any shingles with issues require immediate replacement, and there are some things a handy DIYer can do him or herself, such as nailing back in loose shingles, but for the most part it’s best to leave things to a pro.

WHAT’S THIS GOING TO COST?

Many reputable roofers offer free or low cost inspections, but the actual repairs will certainly have a price. Shingle replacements are usually under $250, common skylight and chimney repairs are under $500, and repairs to flashing are typically under $25 per foot. And if you have moss? That’s best removed in the autumn with a moss killer designed specifically for roofs (don’t use one for lawns, as you’ll suddenly have a green roof).

THE SKY IS LEAKING

By the time a roof is actively leaking, it’s probably been damaged for quite awhile. That’s why it’s paramount to keep up with regular inspections. Telltale signs can include dark spots on the ceiling interior, peeling paint near roof overhangs, damp areas by the fireplace, and water stains on the pipes.

Spring Roof Inspection: The Ultimate Checklist

During the Coronavirus quarantine period, we’ve all been reminded about how much we rely on our homes and our families.

We must take care of the essentials in life and invest time and energy into making sure that all is well with them.

We have a chance to do that with the people we love most – and the same mindset should extend to the place that keeps us all safe and that we call home

The roof over our heads is an essential that we rarely even think about. During the lockdown, it’s an ideal time to put our energies into making sure the roof will continue to keep our families safe into the future.

The following maintenance checks are designed for any homeowner and should ideally be performed at least annually. They apply to whatever type of roof you have.

Vacation Rentals Cleaning For The Family

Mistakes to Avoid While Booking Your Vacation Rentals

There has been an increasing demand for rentals, as compared to hotels and resorts. However, the rules for hotel booking do not apply to the rentals you wish to choose. Everything has its own pros and cons. Rentals provides you with a personalised and customised vacation plan.

You can fine tune, what you need and how you need it. Many Captiva island rentals, helps you in defining and planning the kind of vacation you need. Also, there are varied vacation packages designed by the rental agencies themselves, to save your time and energy. However, there are few mistakes to avoid, while you choose.

  • Don’t hurry up in reading the brochure provided by the owners. You could be easily be misled by the initial glitzy sentences. Read the whole document to know about parking, AC, cleaning up and other services.
  • Don’t take what the owner says about the distance from your condo to important points in the city. Check it out using digital map services.
  • Don’t leave your booking process, through the rental agencies’ website. Send a mail and make sure you receive a confirmation from their side, reserving rooms for you, at your preferred dates.
  • Don’t hide any details regarding your travel. Be it the dates or the number of people in your group or if there will be any pets. It will be an ugly scene, if the owner comes around to check on your comfort, and find that you have lied.
  • Don’t just assume the availability of amenities, like internet, AC, housekeeping etc. Make sure you make a list of what’s available and what’s not.
  • Don’t overlook the details in the documents. There is an inherent risk in terms of your transaction. So, take some time to check about the owner on the net and search for reviews.

Not Knowing When to Book

There is no hard-and-fast rule for the best time to book, but anticipating the seasonality of a destination and taking into account the most popular times to make reservations can help save you money.

People like to go to warm destinations in the winter months, so if you’re targeting a highly desirable destination, it may make sense to book early. If you are going to a destination with a lot of availability it might make sense to book later.

Regardless, travelers should try to avoid the most popular booking times, when rates may be more inflated. According to Trivago.com, the most popular times to book hotels are at 6 and 9 p.m. EDT on Tuesdays. (Thursday evenings are a close second.) Checking prices multiple times between Tuesday night and Sunday (the least popular day to book) may yield different, possibly lower, prices and allow you to secure the best deal.

Don’t assume the owner will be readily available.

If you think about how often you check with the front desk during a typical hotel stay, you will recognize that having someone to talk to about your rental can be very important. Particularly if there is a problem, it helps to have an actual person to deal with, so be sure to ask if the owner or a representative will be available during your rental period. Get a reliable emergency contact number that you can reach if the plumbing breaks, the electricity goes out or other problems arise.

Don’t fudge the details of your stay.

In the same way you would like owners to be upfront and honest about their listings, you will want to be honest about who you are bringing, how many people will be around, if you have a pet in tow and similar details. Many owners greet their tenants and stop by to make sure things are going well, so you are likely to be found out if you do fudge the details.

How to avoid a rogue rental

• Rent from a reputable source. Typically, a professionally managed vacation rental or a by-owner rental belonging to a trade group such as the Vacation Rental Managers Association or Onsite Property Management Association is a sign your unit is on the up-and-up.

• Look for guarantees. HomeAway and Airbnb have customer guarantees that can ensure your rental will meet minimum standards. Wyndham Vacation Rentals even offers a “bill of rights” that promises a professionally managed and clean rental.

• Learn to recognize a rogue — and report it. Vacation rentals that don’t play by the rules tend to price their rentals aggressively and demand payment by wire. “It’s the cardinal rule. “If the deal is too good to be true, trust your instincts, and report it to the website in question.”

Mistakes That Sabotage Vacation Rental Bookings

1. Underestimating the power of research

Do not underestimate the importance of research. In addition to just listing your properties, the information you pull from sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway can be invaluable.

2. Having a love affair with just one booking site

It might be easier to work with only one reservation site, but getting all of your vacation properties listed on all of the booking sites out there is absolutely crucial. Think of it as a marketing strategy, not just another listing.

Once you’ve listed them, be sure to document all of the channels your properties are listed on and keep an updated list on the status of each property in order to best manage the postings and avoid double bookings.

3. Your headline is boring

Making your properties stand out from the crowd begins with a tantalizing headline. Travelers often search for rentals by choice luxury keyword after they’ve established the location, so be sure to highlight the most exciting qualities of your property.

4. Your listings aren’t visually exciting

Beware: An eye‐catching headline will fall short unless it’s been paired with plenty of gorgeous, dynamic and appealing photographs!

We exist in an information‐overloaded, image‐oriented world. Take the time to stage your property as if you were preparing to welcome a guest. Make sure to capture a variety of landscape photos formatted to a size of at least 1024px x 683px (ideally, 24 pictures total).

Auto Repair Shops Take Notice

How to Tell If Your Mechanic Lied to You

There are clear signs that will help you recognize when your mechanic lied to you. Know how the system works so you don’t find yourself handing over hundreds of dollars for unneeded repairs and parts.

It is no secret that some mechanics will invent repairs or needed buys when you go in for a simple inspection or oil change. Don’t get me wrong, many mechanics are honest and can help you with serious car repairs, but some are…well, some are less than reputable. Worst case scenario, it couldn’t hurt you to know when your mechanic lied to you in those instances. Sure, you can’t forget that your mechanic is part of a business when your check engine light comes on, but knowing the difference between someone helping you or when they are trying to help the financial situation of their auto repair shop will be crucial to saving you money that you don’t need to spend.

First, learn how your car works.

I’m not saying go to an auto mechanic school. Let me ask you this though, have you read your owner’s manual? If not, that is a great place to start. The more you know, the less likely you are to be tricked into spending more at auto repair shops. Knowing where your engine and air filters are, or even how long a new set of tires should last, will help you to know if your mechanic has lied to you. The internet is a priceless tool when researching specific problems. A car is a hard thing to DIY, but having certain information on hand can help you navigate a conversation with your mechanic.

Learn the tactics mechanics use to get you to spend money.

Mechanics have some pretty common practices and tactics to make sure you spend more than is necessary; and though it may be sexist to say, mechanics have been known to lie to women about repairs (although men can fall victim just as easily). When you need air filter changes, tire rotations, oil changes, or car repairs, you need to be aware of these tactics.

They’re wasting extra time so you’ll spend that extra dime.

Some mechanics will charge you for more time than the repair actually takes. A good way to guard against this is to know beforehand how long one of these operations should take. For example, for a tire rotation, the job itself should only take around 30 minutes. Many repair shops will charge for almost two hours of work. That’s an hour and a half of free money coming from your wallet. A simple search around Google or a conversation with a knowledgeable friend can help you save a lot of money when going in for a car repair or simple maintenance.

Some mechanics will tell you a blatant lie about work they haven’t done.

On the same train of thought as charging for extra hours, you can also be charged for work that has never occurred. This tactic can really put a dent in your pocket for work that may need to be done later on. How can a mechanic get away with a tactic like that? There are air filters that are hard enough to get to that you will never be able to physically see a difference in when looking under the hood of your car. A mechanic can easily tell you work has been done at their auto repair shop knowing that you won’t be able to tell if there was a change or not.

Common Car Repair Issues

Watch out for these potential problems:

  1. The shop waits until the vehicle is up on the lift and partially disassembled before getting your authorization to proceed with the repairs. By then, you are essentially forced to: (a) authorize overpriced repairs or risk getting your car back in a disassembled and unusable condition; or (b) pay a large and unexpected fee to have your vehicle reassembled, only to discover it no longer runs at all;
  2. The shop shows you dirty oil with metal filings in it as evidence that you need a new transmission. Virtually all used transmissions have dirty oil with some amount of dirt and metal filings. This is normal and is not necessarily a sign that you need a whole new transmission. However, once the transmission is disassembled and reassembled with the same old seals and parts, it usually does not work the same as before;
  3. The shop starts repair work on your car without first getting your authorization to perform the repair work, and then charges you for repair work that you did not authorize;
  4. The shop gives you a verbal estimate as to the cost of repairs, then charges a higher price;

Don’t take it to the dealership after the warranty has expired

A rule to live by when you’ve got an older car without a warranty—never take your car to the dealership. They charge more for everything—parts, hourly compensation, etc. Of course, the dealership is your cheapest option if you have a warranty because everything will be covered and of no cost to you.

At the dealership, there’s a good chance you won’t actually be met by the mechanic—an advantage you get with a smaller repair shop. There will likely be someone hired specifically for customer service that will explain what’s wrong with your car and take your money.

If you appreciate good customer service and a friendly relationship, you’re better off with a private garage (not that all dealerships are evil, but in my experience, they aren’t the greatest).

However, it is best to bring certain cars to the dealership. Take my Saturn Ion for example. Mechanics hate my car because Saturns aren’t made anymore so they can never find parts for it. Saturns were a short-lived production by General Motors that didn’t pan out.

GM dealers are able to find parts easier and their mechanics have more experience with the type of car. So while it may be more expensive, sometimes it’s best, if you’re in the same situation as me, to take your car some place that knows what they’re doing rather than chance it.

Meeting with the Service Writer

Here are some steps you should take to make sure you are describing the problem fully. Remember, you know your vehicle better than anyone. When something is wrong, try to pinpoint the symptoms before taking the car in for service.

What to Look For

  • Unusual sounds, odors, leaks, warning lights, or smoke
    Where in the vehicle is the sound coming from? When does it happen? When the engine is running? When the engine is cold? When you’re accelerating? Braking? Turning? Going above or at a certain speed?
  • Problems in handling or braking Do you feel vibrations in the steering column or the brake pedal? Does the steering pull to the right or the left? Are your tires wearing unevenly?
  • Changes in performance Has your engine performance decreased? Is your fuel economy falling? Do you regularly have to add coolant or oil? Are belts or hoses wearing out faster than they should?

When you explain the problem to the technician or service representative, be as detailed as possible. Don’t rush or let yourself be intimidated.

Although the technician or service representative probably can’t diagnose your problem on the spot, ask questions. If you don’t understand the answers, ask for clarification.

Be sure the repair shop has a number where you can be reached. If the technician is going to call you later with a diagnosis, ask when. If you’re going to call the shop, be sure you know the number and best time to call.

Evaluate the Shop

When checking out an unfamiliar mechanic’s shop for the first time look for the following:

  • A clean lot with plenty of turnover: Quality mechanics take pride in the appearance of their shops and rapidness of their repairs. If the shop’s lot is clean, the work floor tidy and bright, and there aren’t a bunch of half-repaired clunkers lined up out front, that’s good.
  • A knowledgeable Service Writer: The service writer is the guy that sits behind the shop’s front counter and produces the estimates and repair bills. He’s the one that you’ll be primarily interacting with while your car is in the shop and is responsible for answering the questions you have. If he’s reticent or not very helpful, that’s a huge red flag.
  • Talk to the mechanics: If possible, talk to the guys that will actually have their hands under the hood. Get a feel for their age and expertise. Some older mechanics will be whizzes at fixing classics but may not be as sharp when it comes to scanning the on-board diagnostics of this year’s 5-Series. Also ask about how long they’ve been with the shop. A high turnover rate is very, very bad. If the shop’s been there for more than a year but none of the mechanics have been there longer than six months, bail.