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Category Archives: Construction

What’s The Right Credit Card For My Business?

gty_credit_card_choice_kb_130405_wgA number of credit card providers have been really aiming at including small businesses in their product line. For new, small businesses this can work wonders as it is a lot easier to get a credit card than a loan from a bank.

Of course, there are dozens of choices available and this can often make it quite hard to choose a specific card. The best way to evaluate the sort of card that’s best for your business is to take a look at its spending habits. Different businesses have different spending habits, depending on the sort of business they have.

Balance

Consider if you plan on paying the balance over each month, or whether you will pay it off with time and want to pay the minimum payment. If you do decide to carry the balance then you will need to take a look at the annual percentage rate, as this can end up being quite costly for business if it goes wrong.

For those that wish to carry their balance and also have good credit, take a look to see if you can get a 0% credit card, as this will mean you pay nothing back for a set period. Fixed rates can be very attractive when interest rates are rising; however this is not the case currently.

For businesses that pay all of their balance each month, they should look for cards with rewards or longer periods of grace. These businesses can benefit greatly from paying back and the rewards for being disciplined are good. However, make sure you are disciplined as the costs for not being so are also high.

Charge Cards

A good alternative to the credit card is the charge card. This card differs as it allows businesses to have a short line of credit. The card will always be paid back in the full amount at the end of the month and there are harsh penalties. However, if you do pay back in full your business will receive a number of benefits for doing so. Charge cards often also charge an annual fee and there is a similar process to the credit card application online, when applying for one.

Though, if you do need flexibility, then a credit card is a better option – just be aware of the interest charges and when you need to pay the balance.

Rewards

We’ve mentioned rewards on a number of occasions and both credit card and charge card companies issue these. These often come in the shape of air miles, cash back and discounts at retailers, hotels or for services. Access to airport lounges and hotel upgrades are also part and parcel of these benefits and perks. The main thing here is to pay attention to the fine print if you choose a card with these perks, as the costs of not meeting the criteria are high.

So, in conclusion, the best way to choose a card is to look at your businesses situation and all the financial products out there and then take your ability to pay into account. By then choosing a card around your ability to pay, you can be sure that you will avoid steep charges and gain all the benefits you can.

Cormac Reynolds writes financial articles for a variety of businesses and blogs and has done so for many years.

 

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Going ‘Green’ is Good for Business, Exec Says

Tips for Companies Trying to Clean Up Their Act
Despite pressing economic worries, the environment remains a top concern for consumers the world over. And that means environmentally-friendly business practices are as necessary for the bottom line as they are for the planet, says Joe Veilleux, president of Euromed USA (euromedusa.com).
“Being a producer of natural ingredients for pharmaceuticals and health supplements, we’ve always held environmentalism as a major company value,” says Veilleux, a registered pharmacist.“We’re glad to see that, even when people face unemployment and other economic hardships, they’re still committed to green practices.”
Recent polls, including BCG’s annual International Global Green Consumer Surveys taken throughout the recession, reveal an unwavering commitment to environmentalism, he says.
“Even at the height of the recession in 2008 and 2009, more than a third of consumers said they were willing to pay a little more for products that are better for the environment,” Veilleux says. “A majority said they consider a company’s environmental credentials when making purchasing decisions.”
Euromed recently earned “green” ISO 14001 certification for its Barcelona factory by meeting stringent criteria established by the world International Standardization Organization, which sets standards for sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
“In the five-year process of re-engineering our factory to meet the ISO 14001 criteria, we learned a lot that can benefit other companies,” Veilleux says. “Some of the steps we took cost little to nothing; others were, frankly, expensive. But all companies today need to be aware that consumers are looking at what they’re doing to – and for – the planet, and they’re making buying decisions based on that.”
These are some of the initiatives undertaken at Euromed Barcelona, which manufactures herbal extracts and natural active substances for customers in the United States and Europe.
Recycling biomass – the company’s manufacturing waste product. We’ve found different ways to recycle the post-extraction biomass, depending on the product involved, Veilleux says. “Much of the residue is sent to companies that specialize in creating bio-gas – specifically, methane, which is used to generate power,” he says. “However, the residue left from milk thistle has such a high nutritional value, it’s actually used to feed farm animals. We ship the waste product to a company that dries it out and cleans it before it’s added to feed for pigs, chickens, cows, and the like. The biomass is given away for free, he adds.
• Wood pallets become compost. At Euromed, wooden pallets are reused until they can’t be used any longer. “At that point, they’re sent to recycling facilities, which use them in composting products,” Veilleux says. This step was easily accomplished by working through waste management companies.
• Printer toners get refilled. Empty toner cartridges are shipped to the company’s supplier, where they’re recharged and returned for use. If not for recycling, the toner cartridges would be deposited in landfills.
• Cleaner air and water. The company purchased new equipment to accomplish these goals, including on-site wastewater treatment and water purification plants, and equipment to decrease atmospheric emissions.
All totaled, Euromed spent $1 million to $2 million to upgrade its factory. It was money well spent, Veilleux says.
“We’re excited about the certification because it verifies that we’re one of the world’s leaders in environmentally friendly production,” he says. “That’s very important to us — we rely on plants, the Earth’s natural, renewable resources,not only for our business but for our personal health.
“We have a special interest in making everyone aware of how vital it is that we all take steps to prevent environmental damage.
About Euromed USA
Euromed USA supplies standardized botanical and herbal extracts and natural active substances for use in the pharmaceutical, health food and cosmetics industries. By extracting the necessary chemicals, the company can guarantee its products meet the precise chemical specifications necessary. Euromed was founded 40 years ago. Its parent company is the 100-year-old Rottapharm-Madaus corporation based in Italy.

 

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Mexican Labor in California: can ya even still tuck your own baby in at night?

As much as we would like to bitch and moan at the fact that they’re “taking our jobs,” The undeniable truth is that we would be up a fecal creek without a paddle without our neighbors from the south.  I am not talking about having to order a McDonald’s double double in Spanish, or possibly saying “leche” instead of milk, I am talking about the backbone of the “AmericanService industry.  When was the last time you had an all white crew clean your office?

We just spent a long weekend with our relatives from Chicago. Brother-in-law who is an investment banker, with a great deal of knowledge about the workings of life itself, issued the following observation from a Chicago perspective:

Not only are they willing to do some of the things that we are not, they are actually more acclimated to some of the conditions that we are.  Can you imagine a gringo now days working on a roof at 120° with a tar mop, or a nail gun? We just had our roof completely replaced on an 8000 square-foot triplex, by a “American” contractor. The work was amazing, and the direction did come from Ryan Saber, but I guarantee that not one gringo lifted a hammer. Job well done, but if the truth be known, the actual work was done by the Latin crew.  The skill in acumen of these people has long transcended the ability to take our lettuce and strawberries.  I went on a sport fishing trip over the weekend, and guess what nationality the kid was who is taking care of all of the tackle in managing that none of our lines got crossed?

Of course, when the neighbor had to have four 100 foot palm trees removed from her property, a feat that was accomplished with amazing skill and precision, guess who was called again.  After the cleanup, guess who again was called to install the new landscaping.  As I sat on the porch watching this deficient machine in action (in the company of the two Mexican people that clean my house for me) I was again struck with the fact that it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a white boy bending over with a pick his hand.

What reminded me to post this blog is the following: after putting in an excruciating seven-hour day at my laptop preparing social media profiles and redesigning websites while watching last night’s football game on TiVo, I was relaxing on my front porch by 5 o’clock enjoying an adult beverage when a delivery truck arrived with the neighbors washer and dryer. Although slightly annoyed by the idling diesel and it’s combatant fumes which were interrupting the solitude of my egregiously exhausting day, I stopped to take notice. These guys showed up and performed an absolutely amazing job. It would’ve taken we gringos an hour to do what they did in about five minutes if we have had sense to do it.

Not only did they cut all of the boxes and drop the washer and dryer amazingly skillfully, they had the sense to put all of the attachments i.e. hoses and wires onto the appliances before they even bothered to wield them into the house.

This is not to mention the hundreds and thousands of quote “professional people” that happen to be of Hispanic descent.  The Dr. that I visited an emergency room last night, my Dentist and my Atty.  are but a few that come to mind.

I guess what I’m saying is “since we’re neighbors let’s be friends.” I grow tired of my “patriotic” friends complaining about other people who were not only willing to do things that we are not, but do them far better than we would be able to even if we were willing.

We as a country have lots of things to work out; including welfare, social Security, education, and (frankly) language skills… but the bottom line is that we welcome them into our country every day.  It might be skillful to realize that we do have  things to work out, and to get on with doing that instead of watching Fox news to find reasons to fear and hate.

Both of my children attended Adalante Spanish immersion school. I had a chance to see firsthand how many families were working three jobs, commuting literally hundreds of miles in some cases, and doing everything they could to better their families and contribute to their communities.

I can understand how some “every day working Joe’s” might feel that they are being treated unfairly, and have some resentment about “social benefits for illegal’s.” (I wont even go into the argument of whether they have just as much right to be here as we do). What I really can’t understand, is how some bloated trust fund politician that has never had a real job in their life could have the audacity to challenge the right of an oppressed people to come to America for refuge, and to work hard to make a living for there families, largely doing work that we cannot and are not willing to do any more.

 

What ever happened to …

“Give me your tired , your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free… “

Did that have an expiration date that I was unaware of?

Muchas gracias a mis amigos que trabajan duro!

 

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Positive Buying Experience of the Year!

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Every now and then, a vendor or supplier truly out does themselves in service, the buying experience, and value.

My recent experience with of all things, a roofing company, was such a time.

Founded in 1982 by J Saber, an energetic gentlemen that looks very much like the Santa Cruz mountain Gnome, his company proves once again that you can’t judge a book by its cover. I seem to remember one of the founders of Apple Computer had a similar look. If you look at some of the properties that they have worked on, it becomes quite apparent that this guy is the real deal. His son Ryan has more or less taken over business operations on the San Francisco Peninsula and it is with him that I worked the most. Ryan met with me daily to review the progress of the job, and fully explain any additional work that needed to be done. He and his crew were some of the most affable workers I’ve ever seen. They actually seem to be enjoying doing their work.

As a result of many long years of hard and arduous labor and the silicon valley I own a triplex near the Atherton border. It had been roughly 35 years since the last roof was put on this ancient edifice, and I was terrified to find what might lay under the roof when we ripped off. Saber and his crew had the tear off done in one day, and I was delighted to find there was only minor damage to some of the plywood. They were able to replace that in no time, and assure me the rest of the roof was sound.

I can really tell a quality company by the attention to detail and the user experience. Every evening before the crew left, each speck of dust, each dropped nail, and every bit of debris was cleaned to the point you could not tell they had ever been there.

Another thing I greatly appreciate is honesty and integrity. There were several opportunity’s for them to take advantage of a simple homeowner as to the amount of time certain repairs might have taken. I happen to have had a few years in the construction industry myself after college, and was extremely heartened that at no time did they try to blow smoke up my hiney about how long something would take. They also had a significant cost overrun due to the fact that their estimator underestimated the square footage of the roof, costing them a few thousand dollars. Ryan admitted his mistake, and at no time hinted about charging me more.

Feel free to check out their diamond certified five star references on yelp. For those of you lucky enough to live on the San Francisco Peninsula, I recommend Saber Roofing very highly. For those of you not quite so fortunate I can only offer you a few photographs.

SaberRoofing has restored my faith in American workmanship! http://www.saberroofing.com/.

More photos at http://www.facebook.com/SaberRoofing

 

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