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Getting The Best Commercial Auto Coverage Your Business Can Afford

Although you don’t want to pay more than is necessary for commercial auto insurance, a bargain just isn’t a bargain if it causes headaches when you need help. Businesses that make use of commercial vehicles need an adequate amount of commercial auto coverage that will enable them to pay their premiums with ease as well as afford deductible costs in case of an accident. To find commercial car insurance that has all of the attributes that growing business owners need, keep these principles in mind when comparing different types of coverage.

Commercial Auto Coverage Deductibles

Just like you would need to pay your auto insurance deductible before your insurer would cover repairs on your personal vehicle, commercial car insurance providers set deductibles according to the amount of coverage you have as well as the number of vehicles on your policy. This means that you might a larger or small deductible dependent on the amount of commercial automobiles in your fleet and the amount of collision and liability insurance you have on your policy.

If you want a lower deductible on your commercial auto insurance, the trade off will likely mean that your premiums will be more expensive. Even with safe drivers operating your commercial business vehicles, accidents are going to happen. Make sure that your company can afford both its commercial auto insurance premiums and deductible amounts so that operations remain smooth.

Comparing The Factors That Matter When It Comes To Commercial Auto Coverage

Paying a fair sum for commercial vehicle insurance is vital, but there are other elements that you need to compare when buying a policy. First, you want to be well acquainted with your insurance agent. If you are able to receive prompt and accurate answers, you will be much better off when the time comes for you to make changes to your policy or submit a commercial auto insurance claim.

When you need to pay your commercial auto coverage premiums, you want to be able to remit payment in a method that is convenient. In fact, there should be multiple payment methods available for you to utilize, including online billing and walk-in drop off locations. Ultimately, having a commercial auto insurance company that has a strong presence in your area as well as a history of taking care of its customer will help you to get the best quality coverage as well as several convenient payment options.  

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How To Maintain A Leather Office Chair

A leather desk chair can be a great investment in the comfort of your back and behind as you work all day long. However, a good leather chair can cost you several hundred dollars. This means that you should do your best to maintain your chair over an extended period of time. 

Change The Gas Cylinder When Necessary

It is quite annoying when an office chair will not raise or lower when you want it to. Some people will simply throw out their chairs when this happens, but this is not wise if your chair is a leather one or another type of expensive chair. Instead, investigate the gas cylinder that sits on the bottom of the chair. The gas cylinder or gas spring is a small device filled with nitrogen gas and oil. Within the round chamber that contains these materials sits a metal piston. This piston moves up and down inside the gas cylinder. It does this when you adjust the chair upward or downward. This helps to compress the gas and add mass to the inside of the cylinder compartment. This creates pressure inside so the weight of your body can be held in a higher position. The gas cylinder is a sealed compartment, but gas can and will leak out over time. When this happens, you will notice that the piston on the bottom of the chair has completely slipped out of the cylinder and the chair cannot be adjusted.

When this happens, you can change the gas cylinder so your chair works properly again. You will first need to flip your chair upside down, so set a blanket on the floor and turn your chair over. In the middle of the chair base or pedestal you will see a metal retaining clip. Remove the clip with a pair of needle-nose pliers and pull the bottom pedestal from the chair. You will also need to release the small pieces underneath the pedestal. You will notice a round metal bearing, a washer, and a rubber stopper. Remove each piece with your fingers from the gas cylinder attached to the bottom of the chair seat. This cylinder piece is not threaded, so use a wrench or a pair of pliers to firmly grasp it and pull it out of the seat.

Measure the length and width of the cylinders and speak to your office furniture supplier to order a replacement piece. Replace the gasket and the other parts in the same manner as you removed them. At this time, you should also tighten all the screws that you see around the underside of the chair. This is a maintenance practice that is suggested every six months

Clean The Leather

Another good maintenance practice that you should complete every six months or so involves the cleaning of the leather across the chair. This leather will become coated with sweat and body oils. Both of these materials can cause the leather to fade and crack. To prevent this, use a foam cleaner to clear debris off the surface of the leather. This cleaning agent will contain a detergent that cleans without leaving a film behind. You can also use other leather cleaning creams, like ones made for vehicle upholstery, but try to stay away from bar soaps like saddle soap. These cleaners can help to clean and revitalize boots, saddles, and other objects made out of thick top or full grain leather. However, many office chairs will be made out of bonded or genuine leather. This will create a smooth and soft chair, but the leather can become damaged easier by tough soaps like saddle soap.

Once you are done cleaning your chair, use some beeswax or another type of conditioner across the leather to keep it moist and protected. 

Leather office chairs can be a nice asset to your office, but you will need to take care of the chair properly. If you have trouble with maintenance or repairs, then speak with office furniture companies in your area for assistance. 

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Can — And Should — You Pave Your Own Driveway?

If you’re tired of chipping your vehicle’s paint job while rolling down your home’s gravel lane (or covering your car or truck with dust each time you travel down your home’s dirt driveway), you may be considering installing an asphalt or concrete driveway. This can be an expensive prospect, particularly for country homes that are set a significant distance back from the primary access road. One way to cut costs is to perform much of the heavy-duty work yourself with the short-term rental of commercial-grade construction equipment. However, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to this sort of DIY work. Read on to learn more about what you’ll need to rent (and do) to install each of the most common types of solid-surface driveways. 

Paving an asphalt driveway:

Asphalt is a durable and flexible material, ideal for areas that experience all four seasons due to its ability to expand and contract (but avoid cracking) with major swings in temperature. To install your asphalt driveway properly, you’ll need at least two pieces of commercial-grade equipment — a mixing truck to keep the asphalt heated to its ideal spreading temperature and a roller that will compress the spread asphalt into a solid, long-lasting surface. Depending upon the current condition of your driveway, you may also need to rent a skid steer to help level or grade the path to provide the asphalt with a solid sticking surface. 

Spreading the asphalt and counting on the weight of vehicles that travel over it to perform the compression process can result in a sub-standard surface that will need to be repaired in just a few years, so trying to cut costs by avoiding the rental of an asphalt roller can be an expensive mistake. You’ll need to schedule this installation for a warm, dry day, as installing asphalt on a cold or rainy day could affect the way the particles bind with each other and harm the final product.

If you feel comfortable operating all the pieces of machinery you’ll need to install an asphalt driveway, it may be worthwhile to get quotes on both the cost of a contractor to handle the entire job and the price you’ll pay to rent the necessary equipment for a weekend. If the amount you’ll save by performing the job yourself is less than the dollar value you place on your weekend free time, the right choice is made easy. 

Paving a concrete driveway:  

Concrete is another popular choice for solid driveways, as it is durable, inexpensive, and easy to patch and repair. 

In general, you’ll need to do the same site preparations for a concrete driveway as you’d need for an asphalt driveway. Pouring concrete onto an uneven or loose surface that hasn’t been compressed or graded can cause your driveway to buckle and crack, dislodging large chunks of concrete and requiring repaving. Renting a skid steer to prepare the area and make sure the job is done right the first time should save you money in the long run by minimizing the amount of maintenance and repair work you’ll need to do for your new driveway.

When pouring concrete yourself, you’ll need only one piece of heavy-duty construction equipment — a cement mixer. This mixer rolls the pliable cement around in a barrel to prevent it from solidifying, then pours it down a trough into a mold along the sides of your driveway. You’ll then need to smooth the surface of the cement to create a uniform appearance. The cement will harden or “cure” over the next few days, after which time you’ll be able to drive or park on it.

For more information about the equipment you’ll need for a project like this, contact a company like LAX Equipment Rental.

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Small Online Business? 4 Tips For Improving Customer Relations

As a small online business, the relationships you develop with your customers are critical for success. You may not have significant time or resources, but it does not mean you cannot create a business with high-quality customer relations.

Frequently Re-evaluate Your Approach

Since you have established customers for your business, you want to make sure you understand their needs to make their experience with your business positive. At least annually, or if you notice significant changes in sales, you should identify the effective and ineffective aspects of your business. There are several ways to analyze your own customer relations, while remaining objective. One of the easiest and most forthcoming ways is to send out anonymous surveys to customers.

When possible, you should include prospective customers that may have registered for your website or email list but never made a purchase. Ask them to be candid about their experience with your business. It is often better for you and the customers if you ask specific questions. Just an overall rating does not help you figure out ways to improve and your customers are more likely to randomly select a rating, with little feedback about their choice. Ask questions about the quality of products or services you offer, pricing, customer service and any ideas for future products or services.

Be More Interactive

Unlike large businesses, you may need to be more interactive with your customers to enhance the relationship. It is not enough to schedule posts on social media sites—you need to find time to actually reply to comments and interact with customers or prospective customers. The easiest way to be more interactive on social media is to utilize other members of your team. Even two or three people on your team who are willing to check your business’s social media page and answer questions, like, share or favorite comments can make a significant difference in your level of interaction. Since the effort is spread out among several people, it is less time consuming.

Show You Are Listening

Use your social media accounts or a blog associated with your business to address concerns or praise your business has received. This will show your customers you take their concerns into consideration. Since it is often difficult to address each concern or complaint when you do not have a large staff, invest in better automation processes. Hiring a virtual assistant or other remote worker can help you sift through customer correspondence and determine the best method of addressing their concerns. If there is a large volume of the same concern, such issues are best addressed publicly and can be followed up with an individual, automated response.

Provide Human Elements

Since technology can make customer relationships impersonal, make sure you integrate a human element whenever possible. It is unlikely smaller businesses need or can afford a team of customer service representatives, but it does not mean you cannot provide comparable services to your customers. Live answering services are one way to avoid having a completely online business without direct customer interaction. Depending on the service you choose, they may have representatives available during typical business hours or 24/7 to help your customers. For more information about live answering services, check out a site like

If your business has global customers, you need a service with 24/7 availability. Your international customers should have access to similar resources when available, so they feel equally valuable. Many businesses continue to use social media platforms to post short videos showing new product releases or simply an overall update on their business. This can be a useful method of building better relationships with your customers because it humanizes your business and the people behind the scenes.

Building excellent relationships with your customers can be difficult when you have a small business. However, there are resources available to help you interact with your customers more and improve the perception of your business.

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5 Tips To Increase Interest And Confidence In Your Assisted Living Facility

In many localities, there are multiple assisted living facilities for prospective residents and their families to choose. The services your facility offers are important, but you need to find ways to stand out among the other options. By increasing both interest and confidence in your facility, more people will place you at the top of their list.

Include Testimonials

Prospective residents and their families want to feel confident they have chosen the appropriate place. One way you can increase confidence is by including testimonials online and in brochures. You should interview both residents and their families about the reasons they have chosen your facility over other options and why they continue to stay. After people have given testimonials, ask if they are willing to be contacted by anyone who wants to verify the information. Although many of your testimonials may be anonymous or only quoted using a person’s first name, even a few verifiable testimonials can make a significant difference.

Use Social Media

Do not neglect the impact of the internet and social media when it comes to assisted living. Although many  prospective residents are “baby boomers” and older, who face medical problems and need to transition into an assisted living facility, it does not mean they are not tech-savvy and are not researching information on their own.

Make sure your online presence is geared toward both prospective residents and their families. The more you show you are aware residents will have various skills and backgrounds, the more attractive your facility will become. Using social media for your facility and keeping the content updated will also increase the likelihood any information related to your facility will show up quicker in search results.

Be Transparent

Make it easy for anyone to find out additional information about the quality of your facility. You may want to use your website to link to information from any regulatory bodies within your state. When you make this information easy for people to find, it shows you are confident in the services you offer and they can expect you will be transparent in other aspects of your facility.

Hire Specialized Employees

You should consider increasing the number of medical personnel who have significant training and experience with certain populations and medical conditions. Medical staff with training in gerontology is important, but you also want nurses and other medical staff who have worked with patients who have neurologic, psychiatric, renal and cardiac concerns. Experience with chronic disease management is also important. These are common health concerns your employees may face. Not only are your employees better prepared to handle various health concerns, but residents and their families can feel better knowing specialized assistance is available.

Have A Great Emergency Plan

Horror stories regarding emergencies in assisted facilities can make residents and their families uneasy. Some facilities make it their policy to only call for emergency assistance and cannot render care if there is a problem. Unfortunately, most people will assume if life-sustaining emergency care is needed before first responders arrive, someone in your facility will help. Make sure anyone considering your facility is knowledgeable and comfortable with your emergency plan before signing any agreements.

If it is part of your facility’s protocol to render emergency care, it helps to go beyond having all of your employees certified in CPR and first aid. You should have several automatic external defibrillators (AED) and everyone should be trained to use them. Even employees who do not have direct responsibility for assisting residents should be prepared to use an AED when needed.

Choosing an assisted living facility is not an easy decision, but it is your job to make it easier for prospective residents. Showing you are transparent and have features available for various medical situations will help make residents more confident in their decision. For more information and inspiration about how to market your facility, contact a facility like Grace Assisted Living.

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5 Tips for Protecting Your Investment Rental Property

Buying and renting out an investment property can be an amazing way to make passive income, as well as a great way to build up equity over time. Being the owner of a rental property does make you financially and legally vulnerable at times, however. Luckily, there are proactive steps you can take to protect yourself and your investment property. Here are five ways to do just that:

Hire a Property Management Company

Hiring a property management company is not only a convenient way to save time and spare yourself some landlord chores, but it can also protect you. Your property manager will carefully screen tenants, making sure only reliable, high-quality renters rent your property.

They will also manage things like collecting and distributing deposits, running credit checks, and even handling late rent collection and the eviction process, should you run into difficulty with a tenant down the road. Property managers are also typically up-to-date on landlord-tenant law, providing you additional protection. So talk with local property managing companies, such as Harland Property Management, today. 

Check References

A lot of potential problems with your investment property can be prevented by only renting to responsible tenants with solid rental histories. One critical way to help ensure this is to diligently check former landlord references. Some pertinent questions to ask former landlords include:

  • What were the start and end date of lease? These should match what your potential renter listed on their application.
  • How much was the rent?
  • Did they pay their rent on time?
  • Did they cause any damage to the property?
  • Were there any noise complaints or other issues?

If you hire a property management company, they will tackle this step for you, but it needs to be done either way every single time you select a new renter.

Respect Tenant Privacy

One of the tenant rights covered in The Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTA) is the right to a reasonable degree of privacy. Even though you own the property, your tenant is paying rent and deserves a private home to live in. In order to respect your tenant’s privacy (and avoid potential complaints or even lawsuits), always give adequate notice before entering the property, and try to come to an agreement about the best day and time to do so.

You may want to incorporate some language about this into your standard lease, allowing for an exception in the case of emergencies where you may not be safely able to give notice.

Don’t Ignore Mold or Other Potential Health Hazards

If you learn of a mold or mildew issue in your investment property, you need to tackle it immediately by hiring a mold remediation company. Mold can lead to health issues for your renters, and if you know about this and do nothing about it you could be opening yourself up to a lawsuit down the line. In addition, a detectable mold problem can lower the value of your home, cause it to fail a home inspection, and generally make it much harder to sell when you are ready to do so.

Be Mindful of Fair Housing Laws

Fair housing laws mean that you are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, disability, gender, familial status, religion, or national origin when renting out your property. In order to protect yourself from potential lawsuits, be sure to have solid business reasons (such as someone having low credit) for rejecting tenants, lest the rejection come across as discriminatory. Be fair and consistent in how you screen and choose potential tenants.  

By following these five tips, you will help ensure things run smoothly at your rental investment property and that you are protected legally and financially.

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A Quick Guide For Avoiding Bridge Clearance Issues In Your Box Truck

Low-clearance bridges aren’t a problem in a typical car, but it’s a different story once you’re behind the wheel of a box truck. It’s all too easy to give your box truck rental an unplanned haircut after passing underneath a bridge with lower-than-normal clearance, even with numerous warning lights and signage. To keep from ending up like these unfortunate drivers, pay attention to the following tips.

Your Box Truck’s Size Matters

One of the most important things to know about your box truck is its dimensions. In addition, keep in mind how long and wide your truck is, it’s also crucial to remember its overall height, especially when it comes to the relatively tall cargo section.

According to Moving Insider, box trucks provided by major rental companies may have vertical clearance information listed on the truck itself. In some cases, the information is listed backwards on the front side of the cargo box. This is so you can see the clearance info from your driver’s side mirror before passing under a low-clearance bridge. If you can’t find any height clearance information on the truck itself or within the rental paperwork, you may have to call the rental agency in order to get some answers.

A typical 16-foot box truck has a vertical clearance of 11 feet 6 inches, whereas a 24-foot truck can be as tall as 13 feet 6 inches.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your box truck’s overall size before setting off on your journey, especially in comparison with the bridges and overpasses you’ll encounter along your route. Keeping vertical clearance in mind also gives you an advantage when it comes to loading and unloading, especially in low-ceiling warehouses and other loading areas where clearance is often an issue.

Understanding Bridge Clearances

Being aware of your box truck’s height is just one part of the equation. The other part involves understanding the various bridge heights you’ll encounter along your route. Minimum vertical clearances for urban and rural routes usually depend on the type of road. For instance, minimum clearances for overpasses on Interstates and arterial roads range from 14 feet to 17 feet. Overpasses on local roads usually offer a minimum vertical clearance of 14 feet.

However, there are plenty of exceptions to those rules. For instance, major highway routes in the northeastern U.S. that were built prior to federal highway standards feature exceptionally low clearances, making many of these routes impassable for trucks and other commercial traffic. Other bridges have design features that make them much lower in certain areas. For example, a stone arch bridge can be just 12 feet 7 inches tall along the shoulder, but 13 feet 6 inches along the actual road surface.

Planning Makes Perfect

The best way to steer clear of low-clearance bridge issues is through careful route planning. Most state transportation departments offer maps identifying low-clearance bridges along major and minor routes, as well as truck routes that can be used to bypass these bridges. You can also use your GPS navigation software to plot an alternative route that avoids most low-clearance bridges.

Even with the best route planning, it’s still possible to encounter overpasses or tunnels that may be too low to successfully pass underneath or through. Keep a close eye on signs, lights and other warning signals announcing an upcoming bridge with low clearance ahead of time.

If you do encounter a low-clearance bridge with little to no warning, don’t panic. Pull safely to the side of the road and carefully formulate a plan to reverse direction and plot an alternative route.

For more information, hop over to this website.

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