Save Money Doing Home Improvements Out of Season

You may be looking outside at the wind and rain (and maybe even snow) and wondering who does home improvement projects in the winter? The short answer is people who want to save money.

Summer is the busiest time of year for remodeling and other house projects, but there are many things you can have done in spring, autumn, and even winter. And guess what? You’ll save money because contractors are less busy this time of year, and they’re often eager to cut deals in order to get some business.

It’s true that some projects are best done in the warm, dry days of summer, but there are lots of home improvements you can do “out of season” without trouble. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

If you’re looking for a few winter projects, this is a good time of year to remodel the kitchen or bathroom. Since these are done entirely indoors, weather does not make a difference. Busy during the time leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas (as customers are eager to get their houses ready for the holidays), design and remodeling professionals often experience a lull in late December and January. This is a great time to contact them, because they’ll be eager to get business going in the new year. You may even be able to negotiate for a 10% discount. Also, kitchen appliances often go on sale late in the year, so this may be a good time to buy that stainless steel refrigerator and oven you’ve been drooling over.

Another home improvement project you can tackle in the winter is landscaping. Because the trees are bare and the bushes are flower-free, most people don’t think about landscaping this time of year. That makes it the perfect time to contact a landscape architect, designer, or contractor. Again, you may be able to negotiate deals for work done in the off seasons, and pruning fruit trees is easier when the leaves are on the ground. In addition, this is a good time of year to eradicate pest plants and weeds.

If you’re looking forward toward the spring, a good home improvement project for that time of year is replacing the roof. Roofing companies are busy during the summer, which is the peak season, and can afford to charge a premium for their work. But if you can find a dry week in the spring, you won’t be charged high prices and you won’t have to wait for the roofer to have an opening in a busy schedule.

Save Money, and the Planet – Home Improvement Loan Lenders

In the British Isles the standard of our homes has never been better. Whilst this is obviously very good, we are now so much more aware of the need to be energy efficient and reduce CO2 emissions, that there is still more we can do. So there are very good reasons to be considering home improvement loan lenders, even for the cash poor households, as they may be equity rich (because of the ever increasing value of homes), or maybe entitled to home improvement grants.

It could be that as many as 90% of UK homes are energy inefficient in some way. It could cost as much as £50 billion to bring all UK homes up to standard. Whilst the government should be looking at how it can help with things like VAT reductions on home improvements and energy efficient products, we should all do our bit to help.

Lenders have different names for their products, like Investment Property Loan, or Home Building Loan, but they all are aimed at allowing equity to be utilised in order to re-invest back into what is still the biggest investment we generally make here in the UK. It also makes sense as the re-investment will add value to the property in question.

Cavity wall and loft insulation

Cavity wall insulation can save as much as 35% of your heating bill. Always choose a CIGA registered installer who will be able to offer an independent 25 year guarantee.

Loft Insulation is now recommended to be 270mm for a mineral wool product, so if you have less than 150mm then a top up is sensible. Other types of insulation vary, so a little research helps to ensure you are maximizing its effects.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, if everyone in the UK took up simple energy efficiency measures such as those being used in a recent rural initiative in Northampton, £7.5 billion could
be saved from energy bills, reducing CO2 emissions by 50 million

Boilers and Central Heating

If your boiler is more than 15years old it would be a good idea to consider a change out. You will find that modern boilers can save up to 30% on your heating and hot water bill. Thermostatic radiator valves can make savings by setting the heat output for each room separately, rather than just heating the whole house to the same temperature.

Something as simple as hot water tank jackets and draft exclusion helps as well, along with the now common use of double glazing.

Mental Health Medication and Health Insurance – Are You Covered?

Insurance companies are now being mandated by many states to provide mental health coverage to their customers. However, having to provide this coverage doesn’t guarantee that customers won’t face rate hikes, stigmas, and other issues because they have mental healthcare services on their record. Insurance companies can see this history and often use it to label people as a higher risk to their insurance company because they have a medical history that is significant. When it comes to mental health, it seems like the risk is increased ten-fold, which is difficult for many people to handle.

When you are being treated for depression and other mental health issues, a common medication that is used is Prozac. However, this is one medication that may or may not be covered depending on your insurance company. If you do get prescription coverage for Prozac, it will likely be with strict regulation or some type of stigma that follows you for the rest of your insured life. Many therapists and psychiatrists will no longer accept patients that cannot pay cash, even on a sliding scale, because they don’t want to ruin their reputation when it comes to their health insurance coverage.

Mental health has become much more widely accepted as a medical issue that needs serious attention. However, the insurance companies are not so evolved that they can just hand out these medications to anyone without thinking twice. Between the stigma of mental disorders and the increased risk they present and the abuse of many anti-psychotic medications like Prozac, it is hard for insurance companies to justify taking such a risk to help out their patients. Whenever you are applying for health insurance or even if you already have coverage, you need to get a good look at the mental health coverage, including prescription coverage, that is provided to you with your policy.

Prozac and health insurance are kind of like oil and water in most cases. However, some people are more readily able to find the insurance that can give them the coverage that they need. Whether the solution is paying higher premiums or paying out of pocket, you have to explore your options for getting the mental health coverage and prescription services that you need to find the best possible solution. If you are already on Prozac and it is affecting your health insurance rates or coverage, you should shop around for a new policy.

Mental Health Coverage – Anxiety Disorders

Many insurance policies do not provide adequate coverage for mental disorders such as schizophrenia, ADHD, and anxiety disorders. Many people do not seem to realize that treating anxiety disorders requires both medication and frequent visits to the psychiatrist. The cost of treatment adds up over time, becoming a crushing burden if health insurance does not provide financial assistance. Unfortunately, even when health insurance plans offer mental health coverage, they often charge higher deductibles and severely limit treatment. This makes it difficult for those with mental disorders to get the treatment they need. Fortunately, it is only a matter of time before insurance providers will be required to provide basic coverage for anxiety disorders.

Insurers realize that mental disorders often require lifetime treatment. This makes them somewhat reluctant to cover the cost of medication. From a business perspective, insurance companies believe that covering mental disorders will make them lose money. While this might be true, it makes the lives of people with mental health disorders difficult. Many insurance companies compensate for potential losses by requiring higher premiums and deductibles. They hope that by severely limiting the amount of mental health coverage they provide, people with mental disorders will not file an excessive amount of claims.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act passed two years ago addresses some of these concerns. The act requires insurers to provide mental health coverage benefits equal to those provided for other medical conditions. In other words, this law will do away with excessively high deductibles and low treatment caps. Unfortunately, this law only applies to group health plans and businesses with more than 50 employees. It also does not require health insurers to provide basic coverage for mental disorders. It is a significant step in health care reform, however.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was passed this year should further decrease the gap between mental health coverage and coverage of other types of conditions and medical procedures. This act, among many other things, states that insurances plans sold through state exchanges must provide a basic level of coverage for mental disorders. This law applies to small businesses and individual plans. The law will go into effect in 2014. This will greatly increase the scope of insurance coverage and will provide insurance to an additional 32 million Americans. Although these laws increase coverage for anxiety disorders and other mental health problems, there is still a long way to go before everyone with a disorder can receive adequate care.

Health Insurance Topics – Understanding Coordination of Benefits

oordination of benefits (COB) is basically a guideline that is set forth to help execute the rules and regulations involved in group health insurance coverage. When you have more than one group health insurance plan, you need to know which is your primary plan, which is secondary, and what each covers so that you can file health insurance claims accordingly. This can all get very confusing if you are not prepared and informed about coordination of benefits, so education is the first step in understanding your medical insurance coverage.

Coordination of benefits states who gets to pay for your healthcare expenses first, and who pays second. For example, if you have a health plan through your employer and a health plan through a membership with another institution, the primary plan is usually the employer-sponsored one. The secondary plan is the one that lists you as a dependent, in most cases. The goal of coordination of benefits is to create an effective order for claims filing and healthcare coverage that covers up to 100% of your expenses and no more. This helps to avoid double coverage and eliminate complications with having more than one health insurance policy.

People who have social security benefits, such as Medicaid or Medicare, have a completely different set of COB rules to follow than what private insurance companies follow. Every state has different guidelines and requirements for this type of situation, so it is also important to understand what your state requires and what their guidelines are for group coverage when you have more than one policy in place. Another important thing to watch is the coverage of dependent children in the event of a divorce or separation. These are all different elements that you have to understand when you have more than one group health policy.

One of the best ways to learn about coordination of benefits and understand how it applies to you is to talk to a health insurance agent or professional who understands group health coverage. These professionals are readily available to you and free of charge for you to work with, no matter what you might be looking for. Take the time to learn from them, because their experience will help you understand everything that you need to know. COB guidelines are not applicable to individual health insurance policies, so if that is the only coverage that you have you do not need to worry about this topic.

Kaiser Health Plans – Health Insurance Explored

Kaiser health plans are one of the best options available for many people. When it comes to choosing the right health insurance company, the variety of options that are available can be quite intimidating. However, if you are able to take the time to review the options that you have and learn a little about the companies, it will be easier for you to get the coverage that you need. Medical costs are on the rise, and it just makes sense to get insurance to offset those costs because you never know what you are going to be up against. It is far easier to pay a little each month in case you need coverage than to face huge medical bills because you are uninsured.

Kaiser health plans offers plans that are great for contingent situations, including accidents and illnesses. This is often known as indemnity coverage, and is sometimes all the insurance that people need. Kaiser makes sure that people can get the protection that they need so that they are kept healthy and safe, regardless of their ability to pay for expensive medical services. You have to take the time to check out all of the different plans that Kaiser has to offer to ensure that you are getting the healthcare insurance that works for you.

Kaiser health plans come in all shapes and sizes. Take time to look at the different levels of coverage and find the one that works for you. Second, you need to figure out what you can afford to spend. The good news is that Kaiser health plans are far more affordable than many people realize. By setting a budget and having realistic expectations, getting health insurance can be much easier. You need to check out different policies and see what you have to choose from, and ask any questions that you have while you are shopping for insurance.

Kaiser health plans are only one option that you have, but they are an effective means of getting the insurance coverage that you deserve. You should talk to a health insurance professional about Kaiser and other health insurance companies to see which have the best rates and coverage for your specific health insurance needs. Make sure that the terms and conditions are reasonable and that you are able to get the benefits that you need from your health plan. Kaiser has something for just about everyone, but you have to check them out for yourself.

How to Start a House Cleaning Business For Maximum Profit

One good reason to start a house cleaning business is that you have a never-ending supply of prospects. People are living longer and they are unable to do a lot of the cleaning they used to do to perfection. Not only that, but everyone is working today – who has time to clean the house?

That’s not the only reason this is always a good business to start. The best reason is, there are always too many house cleaners who start a house cleaning business, but have no idea how to clean or run the business. These cleaners come and go. A healthy byproduct of this is unhappy clients who are tired of looking, hiring and firing house cleaners.

This means there is always room for quality house cleaning businesses in every city. The first step in starting a cleaning business is to identify the need in your city. Who are the top players and how do they hire and train their workers? What kind of turnover do they have and what is the overriding reason for that?

Successful businesses are built because the owner took the time to research a winning business model. Yes – anyone can put together a few rags and cleaning products and hire themselves out as a house cleaner, but how long can you ride that business model? Certainly not to make the type of money you’ll need to stay in business. Not to mention that you will never have the lifestyle you want as an independent business owner.

The only way you can start a house cleaning business for maximum profit is to design a business plan that will correctly state how you will:

Start the business
Run the business
Keep your clients happy
Plan changes to business strategies as needed due to the economy
Increase Revenue
Have time off for you and your family
This is one reason a lot of new house cleaning businesses disappear – the owner is killing him/herself doing all the work alone. Not only is this hard on your body, but it’s taking up all your time that could be used to strategically grow your business.

How to Find the Most Profitable Online Home Business

The most profitable online businesses are the top tier programs that require some entrepreneurial courage and investment but allow you to earn a significant upfront income.

Most people have the idea that the economic crisis experienced these last couple of years was the worst time ever. But in actual fact, it has been the very best time to establish a home business.

There are so many home business opportunities and schemes to make money online. Yet, it is clear that many are just a scam. It is vital then that you know what constitutes a profitable business model for you.

with the ever-increasing number of both legitimate opportunities and rip-off scams, how do you know what is a honest AND profitable online business to start up and how do you know who to believe when you are researching what is out there?

I had exactly this dilemma. I tried all kinds of schemes and trainings and tools and systems before finally finding success. Now don’t get me wrong, I learned LOTS from my past attempts at a home based business, acquired many new skills. None of it was wasted. But I also wasted LOTS – lots of time and lots of money.

Sound familiar?

This is the reason I put this article together to try to explain some of the different home business models. There are so many variables both in the business you choose and in what YOU need to bring to it. I was doing all the right things but in the wrong way and with the WRONG business model.

The penny dropped when I was on the phone with a friend from that previous MLM. I saw him go from flat broke living in his mother’s basement to become a top producer earning over $50K every month. You see, he’d found a system that works. And after just a few months, I’m on track to follow exactly in his footsteps.

Once I discovered a highly profitable business model that suits what I want to achieve, I simply applied my knowledge and skills and could be successful. The ‘system’ is simply this: a highly profitable online business model. It offers top quality internet marketing education on the front end combined with a top tier product on the back end.

Small Business Servers – A Need For Change

Many small businesses don’t have an IT department or anyone experienced enough to handle even basic IT tasks like backup, system restoration, patching or updates. In most cases, they rely on a local business partner (typically an IT consultant or local IT support company) to handle these tasks.

Unfortunately, many small business IT solutions on the market today exacerbate the situation. Their complexity…

requires the need for ever more powerful hardware
results in frequent system crashes and downtime for upgrades
compounds security problems
necessitates frequent system restorations
increases the investment in resource to upgrade systems and fix problems
Whats needed is a new generation of ‘small business servers’ that deliver all of the essential IT & technology services for smaller businesses but without the usual costs or hassle.

Challenges in supporting micro and small business customers

To stay in business small businesses need help with basic IT chores, which are becoming more mission critical than ever as they grow more time consuming to deliver.

Just look at business continuity and disaster recovery in small businesses. A study by Gartner found that only one third of small businesses surveyed said they were prepared for a disaster within the next 12 months.

In other words two thirds of all small businesses are not prepared for a disaster or protected. The reason, in most cases, is that small businesses don’t have the IT skills of solutions to perform common tasks like backing up critical data or developing a way to restore systems that crash or become damaged when a pipe breaks or there is a fire, flood or other disaster.

Business Plans – The Main Components That Go Into a Business Plan

Have Business Plan or Bust”

More than ever, it’s vital to have a plan for your business. And, I’m not speaking about having a marketing strategy just for when starting a new enterprise or making use of it for a business loan. Every business, new and established, must periodically re-evaluate their current plan to see if targets are being met or if they’ve changed and what the brand new strategies are.

Without planning and a strategy, an organization is simply “guessing” and has nothing solid with information on paper regarding the business’ successful attainment of goals.

Do You Know What a Business Plan Really Is and Does?

Many individuals have no idea what a business plan’s purpose actually is. That is the largest reason why people have so much difficulty writing them.

In a nutshell, such plan is about results. Your plan is a direct reflection of your purpose.

The long clarification of what a business plan is: any plan that works for a business to forecast what may be ahead, allocate resources, focus on key issues, and put together solutions to problems as well as opportunities.

Now, a ‘start-up’ plan these additions:

A summary about what the enterprise is and does.
A mission assertion that lets employees, clients, and lenders understand your ethics and goals.
An inventory of keys to success.
A market evaluation to determine who your opponents are as well as public demand for what you are promoting.
A break-even evaluation to seek out out when you might recoup your funding into the business.
A start-up plan for your small business will certainly settle any doubts as to whether or not to pursue beginning a business you take into consideration, but will also serve as your roadmap to take you to the next levels of growth.
Your plan will rely greatly on your specific business. The bottom line is to make your marketing strategy and business plan match your purpose.

Case Studies of Business Plans

With no plan, you don’t know where you’re going and you don’t know methods to get there.