Choosing an Accountant

Keys to Successful Small Business Accounting

Bookkeeping, finances, revenue – these are all terms, among many others, that tend to be intimidating for many small business owners to tackle. Keeping track of accounts receivable, billing, collections is also an arduous task for many. The main problem tends to be that a lack of attentiveness in the financial health of the business is detrimental, and leads to many costly errors that are often easy to avoid.

By looking at each individual aspect of the accounting business, and asking yourself some questions associated with each, this is already a big step.

Some questions may seem easier to answer than others. For the ones that pose a challenge, think deeply about why that challenge exists, and what steps you could take to make answering that question easier the next time around – this will become the foundation of your accounting strategy going forward.

Here are some of the areas that should be given careful attention in small business accounting, and important questions you should be asking yourself for each one.

1) Bookkeeping

As you probably already know, bookkeeping is all about the details. Revenue tracking may not seem like it is all that important, but those small decisions we overlook tend to snowball into large errors very quickly.

How will you view your books?

How will you get paid? Will you accept online payments?

How will you keep track of your expenses?

How will you keep your business in the black? (Budgeting)

By putting some small measures in place, you are ensuring that the rest of the financial process will become easier to handle.

2) Payroll

No business will thrive without proper payroll practices in place. Employees need to be compensated for their time in a consistent manner, that much is certain. However, there are other questions associated with that aspect that must also be considered:

How will you handle payroll?

Will you offer payroll benefits?

How often will employees be paid?

Will they be salaried or hourly?

Payroll benefits are a good incentive for employees, while also allowing you some breathing room when it comes to taxes. Similarly, there are pros and cons to the frequency of payments, as well as whether they should be salaried or hourly that must also be considered.

3) Taxes

Taxes are an unavoidable and time-consuming process – and unfortunately, they’re inevitable. There are ways of making it easier on yourself, however. Figuring out what your obligations are to begin with is vital, as well as ensuring that you are paying the right amount.

How will you determine your tax obligations?

How will you know if you’re overpaying or underpaying?

Are there automation systems in place

And if it becomes difficult to manage, consider automating certain processes to make it go smoother, or outsourcing to save yourself some resources in the long run.

4) Banking

Banking is another one of those small issues that tends to grow in size if ignored. Using a credit or a loan comes with obligations, so it is important to work with a bank that is right for your business.

Where will you keep your accounts?

How many bank accounts will you have?

Will you use a line of credit or a loan?

Keeping your personal and business account separate is also incredibly important, so it might be worth considering using different banks to reduce the temptation to blur the lines between the two.

5. Reporting

Financial reports are absolutely paramount to a successful business – as is reviewing them regularly. Set up key performance indicators, establish a baseline and then use that to measure success going forward.

Regular financial report reviews will help you spot irregularities and errors early on:

How will you generate reports?

What reports will you be viewing?

How often will you be viewing your reports?

There are many different indicators you can establish that will work with your business needs, and it is imperative to be disciplined in reviewing these. Whether it is monthly, quarterly or somewhere in between – regular financial report reviews will help you spot irregularities and errors early on.

6) Systems & Workflows

Establishing a system and workflow will not only help increase the success of your business, especially once it is streamlined, but it also helps keep employees accountable. Some questions to ask here are:

Who will be entering expenses?

Who will be generating invoices?

Who will pay the bills?

Who will generate reports?

Creating distinct responsibilities for your financial team will help in keeping track of important financial aspects, but will also give your employees a defined scope of work that will help them succeed.

Find A CPA Mentor

A mentor is a person who is older than you and has many years of experience in your field of work or a related area. This individual has faced the same sort of problems and issues that you are confronting and has valuable insights to share.

Having someone who you can turn to when your job is at a critical juncture can provide tremendous benefits. The advice that you receive can help you to avoid making a mistake that could derail your career.

But what if you can’t decide on a mentor?

You don’t have to restrict yourself to one mentor. It is perfectly acceptable to have two or more. One mentor could help you with technical matters related to the accounting profession, and another may have inputs to offer on your career progression.

Try and remember that as a mentee, you need to do your part to nurture and grow the relationship. You may think that you don’t have much to offer to an older and more experienced person who has been in the profession for many years. But it’s important to apply your mind to this issue and try and repay your mentor for the advice and help that you receive, either through networking opportunities of a simple “Thank you!”

Five Secrets To Successful Accounting Services

If you’re a business owner with annual revenue from $5 to $50 million, you know some of the challenges involved with accounting services: finding competent bookkeepers and certified public accountants, managing your accounting department, and going deeper than bookkeeping processes to actually extract valuable, actionable information from your financial statements.

The best accounting services have time-tested strategies in place to deliver the results business owners need every time. We’ve kept these accounting services under our hats as secrets of our trade, but we’re sharing them with you to help you in your search to find an accountant you can trust.

1. Timely bookkeeping is the cornerstone of business success.

This one is simple. If your bookkeeping is not up to date, it’s worthless to you as a tool for financial forecasting, or even to find out if you’re going to bounce a check on a day-to-day basis. From cash flow statements to balance sheets, bookkeeping should be kept up-to-date at whatever frequency you and your accounting department decide, based on the volume of your business.

2. Accuracy is king.

Not only must your financial data be up to date, but it also has to be accurate. Otherwise, any conclusions drawn from financial forecasting will be wrong. In the computer programming world, they call this GIGO (“Garbage In, Garbage Out”). Your accounting services provider should have a financial controller/CPA who oversees the work of every full-charge bookkeeper to ensure accuracy.

3. Timeliness and accuracy are ensured through the right processes and procedures.

Many in-house accounting departments strive for timeliness and accuracy. They know it’s the bookkeeping ideal, but they don’t know how to achieve it. By establishing the right bookkeeping processes and procedures, customized to each client’s preferences, but based on our decades of experience at AccountingDepartment.com, we promise and deliver financial data that is up-to-date, accurate and available 24/7/365 to our clients.

4. Establishing controls helps protect businesses from employee theft and fraud as well as from innocent bookkeeping errors.

No one is perfect. We acknowledge that. That’s why financial controllers oversee our bookkeepers to ensure the accuracy of your financial records. When the books are closed at the end of each month in the presence of the business owner, bookkeeper and financial controller, they are “locked” so no one can change them. This is just one of the many internal controls in place to help eliminate fraud and ensure accuracy in your accounting services.

5. To maximize their success, business owners need accounting services with the knowledge to implement the right strategies.

It’s good to know exactly what goes into successful accounting services. But it’s another thing to know how to execute the right accounting strategies in your business to increase your odds of financial growth and success. 

AccountingDepartment.com has the extensive experience and knowledge necessary to execute successful, time-tested accounting services to take your business to the next level.

Accounting Skills You Need to Succeed on the Job

The hiring environment has become more uncertain in recent months, to say the least. However, the positive news is that many businesses are still staffing both on-site and remote positions, including in their accounting and finance departments. If you have a well-developed set of accounting skills, that could increase your chances of being a strong contender for jobs you are targeting.

Essential accounting skills encompass more than the ability to crunch numbers, complete expense sheets and depreciate fixed assets. In addition to traditional accounting knowledge, there are a number of hard and soft skills that every accounting professional needs, whether they are working in an office or remotely.

Following is an overview of seven sets of accounting skills — some technical, some not — that can help you to advance your accounting job search, as well as your accounting career.

1. General business knowledge

The scope of accounting and finance positions has been expanding over time, and especially so in recent years. In particular, these professionals must collaborate and coordinate more often with colleagues in other departments.

So, it’s important to know what other functions do and how the work of the accounting and finance organization helps to support their initiatives. The better you understand the overall workings of the business, and how you and your team fit into the “big picture,” the more productive your relationships outside your department will be.

2. Up-to-date technology expertise

Finance leaders are often challenged in finding professionals who have up-to-date technology expertise listed among their accounting skills. But you can be sure that working with finance-specific software programs will be a given in your role, as accounting firms and other organizations continue to expand their use of accounting automation.

Other examples of technology-related accounting skills that are in demand by many employers include:

Advanced Excel ability

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) experience (e.g., SAP, Oracle)

Expertise in big data analysis, advanced modeling techniques and SQL

Knowledge of business intelligence software (e.g., IBM Cognos)

Microsoft Visual Basic capability

Aptitude with Hyperion (for analyst and financial reporting roles)

Microsoft Visual Basic skills

Knowledge of QuickBooks (for positions with small and midsize firms)

If you want to advance in your current position, consider asking your manager about online accounting skills training options that the company may be able to arrange. Or, if you’re currently searching for a job, you could enroll yourself in an online course in one of the skills areas listed above. Being proactive about your professional development could impress a potential employer.

Preparing for a job search? Learn how Robert Half can help you get hired.

3. Communication skills

Stay-at-home orders have put communication abilities front and center among must-have skills as many workers have transitioned to remote jobs. The good news is that accounting and finance professionals have had to hone one of these abilities for years: presenting information in an easy-to-digest manner, especially for audiences that are not as numbers-savvy. Now, it’s time to refine other communication skills.

The ability to relay information clearly and concisely by enhancing your verbal and writing skills is essential. More good news is that you and your colleagues working from home may already have a leg up on this skill, as you’ve had to turn to email (writing skills) and video platforms (verbal skills) for each and every daily interaction, from business requests to simple morning greetings.

4. Adaptability and flexibility

Adaptability and flexibility were also top among the skills accounting and finance professionals needed even before the pandemic. Technological change, like the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) as a critical business tool, was a key driver for that trend, and you can expect that it will remain so. But now, as businesses try to define and operationalize their next “new normal,” the ability to pivot and roll with change is an absolute must.

5. Creativity and a willingness to help others

The best accounting professionals are ambitious self-starters who can develop new insights. You may need to serve as a source of aid when colleagues require help navigating a particular program or managing their first busy-season audit.

Your managers may also look to you for fresh ideas as to how the organization can ensure continuity of service to clients (especially during this time of disruption), improve compliance procedures or address a host of other issues.

Get Timely Information

Successful accounting departments gather key financial information in a timely manner. In today’s day and age transactional information can be accessed almost instantaneously and incorporated into the accounting system quickly.

Without up-to-date financial knowledge, budgeting and other financial forecasting actions cannot be relied upon to be accurate. Additionally, out of date financial information can make investing or decision making a risky proposition. It’s one thing to learn that your plans exceed your budget, but another entirely to learn this through a check bouncing on the technology or service you’re investing in.

Get Accurate Data

Accurate data gathering is essential for a successful accounting department or anyone who wants to call themselves a competent accountant. Without accurate financial data, you will not be able to create actionable business decisions.

When a company is making strategic decisions based on an inaccurate budget forecast or a faulty cash-flow statement, the consequences can be huge and can hinder company performance (or even reputation) for some time.

Process and Procedures

Timely information gathering is the goal for a successful accounting department, but processes and procedures are the tools that will bring this success.

Having clear, appropriate Handling procedures ensures that responsibility for information gathering is clearly defined and divided among the department’s accountants. Having the proper Reconciliation procedures ensures that all information entered into the company’s master ledger or database is accurate. Finally, having the right Review procedures is a failsafe against inaccuracy, ensuring that no moves are made based on the faulty financial information.

Why Regular Upholstery Cleaning Should Be Part Of Your To-Do List

Upholstery Care Guide

Vacuum & Brush Frequently

Use a soft, dry upholstery brush to loosen and remove surface dirt, then vacuum to remove dust. Always use the brush attachment to prevent fabric damage. Use an upholstery brush in the direction of the pile to restore the loft and uniformity of high-pile fabric.

Cushion Care

Cushions require occasional fluffing to restore their shape and natural loft. Fluff and smooth the inserts, and flip and rotate the cushions periodically to increase longevity. We do not recommend removing cushion casings for laundering. This can damage the fabric, and it also can be tricky to fit them back onto the cushions.

Keep It Safe

Protect from heat, sunlight, and liquids. To keep your upholstery in optimal condition, avoid placing it in direct sunlight. If spills occur, blot immediately with a clean, dry cloth.

As a general rule, spot cleaning is not recommended as it can cause fading. It’s best to professionally clean the entire piece to ensure the color remains uniform.

Codes

Your professional upholstery cleaning company will need the fabric’s cleaning code. Please reference our fabric guide for your furniture’s upholstery cleaning code.

S (Solvent Only)

Instruct a professional cleaning service to use pure, water-free solvents. Petroleum distillate-based products may be also used.

SW (Solvent & Water)

Instruct a professional cleaning service to use water-based cleaning agents, foam, or pure solvents.

Briar Floral Velvet

We recommend consulting a professional upholstery cleaner on how to best maintain this fabric.

Margot Floral Velvet

We recommend consulting a professional upholstery cleaner on how to best maintain this fabric.

FABRIC & UPHOLSTERY

GENERAL UPHOLSTERY CARE

Because dust and dirt cause fabric to wear faster, we recommend vacuuming regularly with an upholstery attachment.

Flip, rotate and fluff removable cushions regularly to ensure even wear and increase longevity.

Feather and down cushions have excellent recovery, but much like down comforters or pillows, need to be fluffed frequently to restore their loft. Some feather loss is normal. Vacuuming with an upholstery attachment between the fabric casings and cushions will help prevent feathers from poking through the fabric.

Tight (attached) cushions will stretch and wrinkle with use. You can easily restore their appearance by smoothing the surface and tucking excess upholstery into the sides of the seat or back.

To minimize fading, avoid placing your upholstered furniture in direct sunlight. Dark fabrics and natural fibers like cotton are most susceptible to fading.

An annual professional cleaning will keep your upholstered furniture looking its best

HOW TO SPOT CLEAN UPHOLSTERY FABRIC

Do not dry clean or machine wash cushion casings as it may damage the fabric, backing or stitching. For large or persistent stains, contact an in-home professional upholstery cleaning company.

For spot cleaning small stains, we recommend Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover or Crypton Purple or Gold Upholstery Stain Remover, which are safe to use on all of our fabrics.

Treat stains immediately for the best results. Blot up as much of the spill as possible with a clean, dry, white cloth. Don’t rub.

Apply a small amount of cleaner to the stain and gently agitate it with your fingertips. Avoid oversaturation which can damage the fabric backing or cushions.

Blot the stain with a clean, dry, white cloth, working from the outer edge to the center of the stain.

Continue to apply cleaner sparingly and blot until the stain no longer transfers onto the cloth. This may take several attempts. When you’ve removed as much of the stain as possible, blot any remaining cleaner from the fabric.

If your spot cleaner recommends a water rinse, apply a small amount of distilled water to the stained area and blot to remove. Tap water may stain or discolor the fabric due to its mineral content.

Use a hair dryer on the lowest heat setting to evenly dry the fabric and prevent moisture rings.

Replacement cushion casings are available

FABRIC CLEANING CODES FOR PROFESSIONAL CLEANING

In-home professional upholstery cleaning companies will request your fabric’s cleaning code, available at roomandboard.com/fabrics or on the back fabric swatches. Please contact us with any cleaning code or care questions.

S = Solvent. Use only water-free, pure cleaning solvents.

W = Water. Use only water-based upholstery cleaning products.

SW = Solvent or Water. Use pure cleaning solvents or water-based cleaning products.

HOW TO SPOT CLEAN DILUTED-BLEACH CLEANABLE FABRICS

DO NOT use this cleaning method if you are unsure if your fabric is diluted-bleach cleanable.

Remove any loose debris. Blot up liquids on the fabric’s surface with a clean, dry, white cloth. Don’t rub.

In a spray bottle, prepare a solution of one ounce bleach and 30 ounces water.

On the spray bottle’s “fan” nozzle setting, spray the stain with the bleach and water solution and let it soak in.

Using a soft bristle brush or sponge, very gently work the solution into the stain. Work from the outside in so as not to spread the stain. Rinse your brush or sponge frequently. (Rough brushing or sponging can damage the fabric and reduce its ability to repel stains.)

Use a spray bottle to spray the fabric with clean water to rinse off the bleach solution.

Thoroughly blot the stain with a clean, damp cloth. Rinse the cloth between blots, and continue until the stain is gone.

Allow fabric to air dry.

If the stain remains, repeat these steps using a stronger bleach solution of two ounces of bleach and 30 ounces of water.

FURNITURE CARE GUIDE: TIPS FOR CLEANING FABRIC SOFAS

Your furniture is an investment. It’s also at the center of your family’s universe, which means it’s highly likely to be the victim of accidental spills, stains, and general everyday wear and tear. The good news is that tough stains and messy spills don’t have to be part of your furniture forever as long as you follow proper care and cleaning tips. And we can’t stress this enough—address any spill or stain immediately! The longer it sits in the fabric, the harder it will be to remove.

Things To Know Before You Buy

Consider your lifestyle. The fabric content of your sofa can give you great insight into the level of care it will require to stay looking fresh and new. Kids, pets, or frequent dinner guests? You may want to look for durable performance fabric options. Not a concern? Feel free to explore more delicate fabric blends that contain linen or wool, for example.

Consider the cushions. Sofas constructed with loose and/or reversible cushions are typically more forgiving. Conversely, sofas with a tight seat or back style will generally keep their shape longer, but won’t have the convenience of being able to flip over or rotate a cushion.

Consider fabric protection. Our furniture protection warranty program provides peace of mind and protects your furniture investment, giving you the freedom to enjoy your beautiful furniture worry-free from accidents.

How to Clean Fabric Stains

Read the label. Take the time to familiarize yourself with your sofa manufacturer’s recommended cleaning and care instructions. These are often found underneath your cushions on a tag and indicate the best way to clean your sofa when spills do occur. It is important not to ignore these instructions, as your furniture manufacturer knows their product better than anyone else. Failing to follow these instructions could not only void your warranty, but could leave you with permanent marks if the wrong cleaning method or solution is used.

Know the cleaning codes. Your sofa will most likely have one or two letters on the tag beneath the cushion indicating the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning method(s).

W stands for: Water-based cleaner. As the name indicates, this type of solution uses water as the primary cleaning component, and is therefore the only recommended cleaning solution.

S stands for: Solvent-based cleaner. This type of solution uses a cleaning chemical as the primary component, and is therefore the only recommended cleaning solution.

WS or SW stands for: Solvents and water-based cleaners. You can safely use either one to clean your sofa.

X stands for: Not cleanable with water- or solvent-based solutions. Rather than using a solution to clean the fabric, it is only recommended that you clean with vacuuming or light brushing.

Tackle stains quickly. As soon as a spill or stain occurs, clean it immediately for the best results. Even allowing a few minutes to pass can cause the stain to set in, making it harder to remove.

Lightly vacuum (if necessary). If there are food crumbs or loose particles on your sofa, be sure to use a hand-held vacuum or vacuum attachment to gently remove them prior to tackling the stain.

Spot clean with the recommended solution. Before you begin cleaning, be sure to spot test your solution in an inconspicuous area first to ensure it’s the right product for your fabric content. Once you’re in the clear, begin cleaning your sofa with the recommended solution. As with the instructions on your sofa’s tags, it’s also imperative that you follow the instructions on the cleaning solution’s packaging.

Blot and dry. Assuming your cleaning solution’s packaging says it’s safe to do so, blot the cleaned, wet spot with a dry microfiber cloth to soak up any residual moisture.

Let it “sit.” Avoid sitting in the cleaned area until it is fully dry. This often requires a good air dry overnight, resulting in a fresh, clean sofa in the morning.

ULTIMATE FURNITURE CLEANING GUIDE

It’s January! Otherwise known as the time of year where we refresh everything we can get our hands and mental energy on. We at Article have lots of resolutions, but chief amongst them is to become masterful cleaners. Not pedestrian, clean-the-bathroom, scrub-the-sink cleaners, but the kind of diagnostic expert that understands how to clean a range of fibres, materials, and fabrics. To that end, we’ve built this handy ultimate furniture cleaning guide to help you come along on our journey toward expertise. Roll up your sleeves and put on an apron: we’re going deep.

GENERAL CARE TIPS

The sunny spot — best left to your animals. Shafts of sunlight are great mood lifters, but if you can, try to position your furniture so it’s not sitting in direct light. UV rays will fade and damage leather, wood, and fabric items.

Be careful with chemicals. Household chemical cleaners and detergents work great in your bathroom and on some kitchen appliances. Nothing is more satisfying than dissolving shower mold. However, when it comes to furniture, we generally recommend against them. Chemical cleaners can have strange reactions with natural fibers and materials. To avoid weird spots, we go without, or leave it to the pros.

Flip it and reverse it. If you have furniture with removable cushions, get into the habit of turning them frequently. Flipping a cushion doesn’t make a stain go away (we’ve tested this extensively), but it does help to evenly distribute wear. Everyone has their favorite seat. It just doesn’t need to look that way.

HOW TO CLEAN LEATHER FURNITURE

There is nothing quite like the creamy, soft texture of leather. Leather furniture is a carefully considered investment purchase. At Article, we use full and semi aniline leather across all of our products. Quick refresher: “aniline” refers to the dying process a hide goes through once it’s been tanned. Full aniline retains its natural markings (think bug bites, scratches, etc); semi-aniline has a thin layer of wax applied before dying to help color be absorbed more evenly. Semi-aniline leather has a more uniform appearance. Ultimate furniture cleaning guide tip number one: know thy fabric.

We love full aniline leather because it’s especially forgiving. General wear shows up on the couch, but quickly gets in step with the overall look and blends right in. Cleaning both full aniline and semi aniline leather furniture is the same, and it’s simple. Once a week grab a clean, damp cloth and use it to wipe or buff away noticeable stains. Use a brush vacuum-attachment to clear up debris and crumbs from tufts, seams, and corners. Doing this regularly keeps debris from caking into hard-to-reach areas.

To keep your leather looking its best, commit to giving it a regular wipe-down with a leather conditioner for hydration and shine. We like the leather salve and leather oil from Otterwax. Apply once you’ve received and set up your sofa, and then again every six months to keep it in tip-top shape.

A Sofa-Cleaning Guide for Pet Owners

When you have pets, accidents happen. Unfortunately, sometimes that means those accidents happen on your furniture. But all is not lost. With a few tips and tricks, you can keep your sofa looking good and feeling comfy as a favorite spot for both you and your pet. Renew the look of your sofa with our guide on removing stains, getting rid of pet hair, and hiding wear and tear.

Removing Stains and Odors

So, you’ve just noticed your beloved four-legged friend has left behind a less-than-pleasant calling card on your upholstered sofa, chaise or club chair. Ugh! Getting these stains out may seem impossible, but with a few handy tricks up your sleeve, you can restore your couch to its former glory.

1. Soak it up. For liquid accidents, first soak up as much of the liquid as you can. Start by blotting the mess (not rubbing, as this could damage the fabric fibers), then lay down a towel to absorb what remains. This will help to reduce any odors and will make the stain removal process that much easier later on.

2. Air out the cushions. After you’ve soaked up the liquid, air out any of the removable pieces of your sofa, including cushion inserts. You can also vacuum upholstery with a HEPA vacuum to help alleviate any lingering odors.

3. Spot clean or wash. Before you apply any cleaning solutions to your sofa, check the manufacturer’s instructions. If the instructions indicate that detergents are okay to use, apply a detergent or a cleanser designed specifically for upholstery. Then gently dab at the spot, rinsing with water as necessary. Baking soda and pet-specific enzymatic cleaners can also be effective at removing the stain. Avoid steam cleaning, as the heat can cause any stains to set in. If your sofa has machine-washable slipcovers, pre-treat any spots or stains with an upholstery detergent before laundering (again, check manufacturer’s instructions).

4. Neutralize the odors. Baking soda can be helpful in removing stains and odors. Leave this on for a few hours or overnight, depending on the severity of the smell, and then vacuum it up. You could also apply an enzymatic spray, which is formulated for pet messes and designed to naturally eliminate odors. Vinegar, if safe for your specific fabric, can also help neutralize strong smells.

If you find a stain that’s already dry and set into the fabric, it may be best to call a professional upholstery cleaner. Stains that have already set in are much more difficult to remove. Sometimes trying to clean them can damage the fabric fibers and ultimately make the mess look worse. Professional cleaners can work to get messes out without pushing them into the fabric and cushions.

Removing Pet Hair

It’s a matter of life for many animal owners: Pets shed. While shedding comes with the territory of owning certain breeds of dogs and cats, removing pet hair is relatively simple for upholstery. An easy trick? Dampen a pair of rubber gloves or a sponge and simply glide your hands across your sofa. The hair will clump together, making it come up with minimal effort. Classic lint rollers and hair magnet brushes can also be great at helping to pick up your furry friend’s hair from your sofa.

Beware Of These Potential Risks Before Allowing Your Veterinarian To Perform Surgery On Your Pet

Choosing a Veterinarian

Pets are part of the family. Your veterinarian, like your doctor or your dentist, is a major part of the well-being of your family. Because you have entrusted this person to oversee the health of your pet, and by extension the health of your family, it is crucial that you have a relationship with your veterinarian based on trust, confidence and respect. You want to know that your physician, your dentist and your veterinarian are among the best at their profession and that he/she fulfills the needs of you and your pet.

Unfortunately, there are not many ways of critically evaluating a health care provider until you need them in a critical time. And you don’t want to be in a crisis when you have to reassess your decision. So how can you evaluate your veterinarian to make sure this is the relationship you want? Resources such as Consumer Reports and Zagat’s will help you decide on a restaurant, a camera, a computer, or a car. But guidance on choosing healthcare providers is a lot harder to come by. It’s not a black and white decision. It’s more like Match.com for a professional relationship. It’s all about finding the right fit.

Where to look? Who to ask?

As is always the case, sitting down at your computer and searching the internet can provide you with a flood of opinions. You can spend hours scrolling through popular sites like Angie’s Llist and Yelp reading testimonial after testimonial after complaint about every veterinarian and clinic in your area. Clearly those postings are the unsolicited, heartfelt sentiments of people who were motivated (positively or negatively) to take the time to comment online. So, by all means read some of them. Just don’t rely exclusively on consumer or social web sites since they may not give you a truly balanced perspective. You might also want to seek the opinions of other pet parents you actually know and/or meet every day: neighbors, co-workers, other parents at your child’s school, people you see walking their dog or at a dog park. These other pet owners can be valuable sources of additional insight by nature of their own experiences.

It goes without saying that you want a veterinarian with a high level of medical competency, and you can get a feel about that from talking to other pet owners and finding out how their pets’ illnesses were handled: diagnosed, treated and managed. It is also important to recognize that not all veterinarians are equal in all ways.  What local, state and/or national professional associations and organizations does the doctor belong to? What about specialization or special interests? There are specialty organizations that assure you that their members have advanced training in specialties ranging from surgery and internal medicine to feline medicine and exotic pets. Find out if your veterinarian has advanced training or experience, especially if your pet is unusual or already has special needs.

What’s most important to you?

Then ask yourself what other criteria are important to you. What clinic hours best fit with your own schedule? Can you use a hospital that is only open from 9A-5P or do you need the flexibility of night and/or weekend office hours?  Drive by the hospital(s) you are considering. A veterinary hospital need not be an architectural showplace but it should be clean; located in a safe, convenient area; and have adequate parking.  A veterinary hospital should reflect the pride and commitment not only of the owner(s) but of the entire staff. Cleanliness and hygiene should be apparent; maintenance should be readily achievable. Therefore, a dirty parking lot, smelly waiting room, or poor maintenance indicate a lack of that pride and commitment.

Beyond feeling comfortable with the physical structure and location, you need to feel personally comfortable with the people inside. The attitude and professionalism of the entire clinic team contributes to the experience you and your pet will have there. Simple friendliness, empathy and courtesy are important in any business and particularly in the emotionally stressful areas of medical care. Call the practice. Is the office staff efficient and courteous? Ask for a tour or make an appointment to meet the doctor(s) and other members of the team. Take your pet with you if possible. You want to be working with people you can communicate with and who have a good rapport with both you and your pet. Are you comfortable? Are they too formal? Or too casual? Or just right? Do you like the way they respond to your pet? Does your pet seem to like them (within reason, of course, given the circumstances)?

The major, most important question you should ask, of course, comes down to this: is the veterinarian caring of your pets and your family someone you trust and value? If so, acknowledge them and let them know how important they are to your family. Take care of that relationship. If you are not feeling well-served then tell your veterinarian what you want. Be honest and give them every opportunity to provide the relationship you want. Follow this advice and you should be able to find the perfect veterinarian for you and your pet.

Check If They’re Certified

To practice, all veterinarians need a license in their state (you can look them up here). If you’re looking for accreditation beyond that, you can start with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). They require veterinarians to meet a specific set of standards in their practice. They also examine vet offices and equipment every few years to ensure they hold up to those standards.

Vets aren’t required to hold this accreditation and many of them don’t. If a vet isn’t AAHA certified, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but when a veterinarian is certified, you at least know they stick to certain standards. You can look up AAHA-accredited vet hospitals here.

Some vets are also members of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). It’s basically like American Medical Association membership for vets. Again, AVMA membership doesn’t necessarily mean better, but it shows that your vet is dedicated to the practice. Still, AAHA accreditation is probably a better indicator, as they have a specific set of guidelines offices have to pass to stay accredited.

Make a List of Local Veterinarians

Do a Google “Veterinarian near me” search

A Google “veterinarian near me” search is a perfect starting point. Your search will turn up a current list of local professionals. The results will include the requested “veterinarian near me” results. It may also show vets in your general area and in other parts of the state.

Before you start doing focused research or making calls, make sure the listed veterinarians are close enough so as not to inconvenience you when your pet needs care.

Google search results sometimes show street addresses but not always. If you can’t find a location on the search page, look for an address on individual veterinarian websites. You’ll usually find an address when you scroll to the bottom of the “Home Page” or by checking the “About Us” or “Contact Us” pages.

Get referrals from fellow pet lovers

If you prefer to avoid omnipresent search engines and you have friends and family members who also love animals, ask each person for a veterinarian recommendation. Don’t take it for granted that the person giving you a name and a number is pleased with their veterinarian’s care. Some pet parents keep seeing the same vet out of habit or because it’s easier or more convenient.

Points to Consider When Choosing a Veterinarian

TALK TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW WHO HAVE PETS.

An excellent way to begin looking for a veterinarian is to ask for recommendations. When you know or come across someone who has a pet, ask them for information! Talk to:

Friends

Family

Co-workers

Animal shelter staff

Animal trainers

Groomers

Pet sitters

Dog walkers

Boarding kennel employees

Dog owners at the dog park.

#2. FIND A VET TO TREAT YOUR PET WITH DIFFERENT NEEDS.

Not all veterinarians treat all types of animals. For example, some veterinarians only work on dogs and cats, and some only on livestock. If your animal is a bearded dragon lizard, you will want a veterinarian who has been trained to handle and care for reptiles. Or, if your pet is older, you may need a veterinarian who is trained to work with geriatric animals.

Finding a veterinarian with specialty training may take a little more effort. Information pertaining to active veterinarians that treat different types of animals and/or who have specialty training can be found through a web search of your location’s veterinary medicine associations. Look for veterinarians who are board certified as trained in the specialty area required by your pet.

#3. SEARCH ONLINE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

The online site for the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) provides information on accreditation. Receiving AAHA accreditation is a statement that:

  • The animal hospital has been determined to consistently provide safe, high-quality care
  • Veterinary hospitals have maintained AAHA standards in relation to their:
  •  
  • Facilities
  • Equipment
  • Quality of care

The services and equipment of these veterinary hospitals have been thoroughly evaluated as part of their responsibility to becoming accredited in areas involving:

  • Examination
  • Surgery
  • Emergency care
  • Radiology
  • Pathology
  • Pain management
  • Contagious diseases
  • Nursing care
  • Dentistry
  • Diagnostics
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Medical records
  • Housekeeping and maintenance.

Managing Possums Pests And Diseases

Home Remedies to Get Rid of a Possum

Possums may be “out of sight, out of mind” most of the time, but even one can make a mess of your garden, get into the trash and pose a threat to pets. To get rid of possums, make your yard less attractive to them by making access to their food sources more difficult. Close off any areas they may use as dwellings, such as gaps beneath garden sheds and porches.

Discouraging Yard Visitors

A possum that visits your yard at night foraging for food will probably come back if it finds something to eat. It’s fairly easy to get rid of a possum that isn’t living in or under one of the structures on the property; just remove any potential food sources. Possums are omnivores, eating everything from trash to garden produce, insects and even mice. Even though they’re viewed as nuisances, possums can be beneficial to your yard, eating grubs, beetles, mice, other dead animals and even rats.

Garden Thieves

Possums may also munch on anything tasty they find in your garden. Install a chicken-wire fence approximately 4 feet high around the garden to discourage possums and other garden foragers such as rabbits. Do not attach the top 18 inches of the chicken wire to stakes; instead, bend the wire slightly outward. This way, any creature trying to climb the fence will fall outside of the garden, unable to get in

Possums in Residence

A mother possum may take up residence underneath your porch or shed, in the garage or even in the attic. If you’ve found one or more possums making a home in or around yours, look for all potential entry points. Block all but one hole by installing chicken wire or hardware cloth at least 8 inches beyond the hole, burying at least several inches of the wire beneath the dirt where applicable. Sprinkle the bottom of the entry hole with flour to be able to track footprints to ensure the possums have left before closing the hole. The possum will usually leave after sundown to forage for food. Closing the hole while the possum is away is the best way to get rid of it, as a possum usually only stays in one area for a maximum of three days.

If a possum won’t leave on its own, you can use a live trap to catch it. Use a trap least 12 inches high and wide and 32 inches long to catch the animal. Bait the trap with ripe fruit

HOW TO GET RID OF OPOSSUMS

HOW TO GET RID OF OPOSSUMS IN THE ATTIC: Yes, this does happen quite frequently (see photo to left and below), and this is a very complex case. This almost always involves an adult female with baby possums. The baby opossums usually cling to their mother, but they drop off one by one as they grow, and it’s very common for small ones to rome around in the attic, and fall down walls or other cavities. There they will call out with a kind of chirping call, and if not removed, will die and cause an odor problem. Here are the general steps for removing opossums from an attic.

Step 1: Inspect the home, and find the entry hole(s), which are very large and obvious.

Step 2: Enter the attic. If you find the adult female, catch her via snare pole.

Step 3: Search the attic carefully, and find and remove any baby possums by hand.

Step 4: If you couldn’t find and remove them all (very hard to do), you will have to set traps. This is the only species for which traps in the attic will be successful.

Step 5: Once they are all out, repair the entry holes with pro-grade repairs.

Step 6: Clean the attic, removing all feces, and spray with enzyme cleaner.

Remember: An opossum in the attic often has babies. They must be removed too.

HOW TO GET RID OF OPOSSUMS VIA TRAPPING: Opossum trapping is subject to state laws regarding capture and relocation or euthanization of wildlife. If you have unwanted possums outside the home, in some cases, the only fix is to trap and remove the nuisance wildlife. We can safely, legally, and effectively catch and remove your nuisance opossums. Trapping is an art, and most amateur attempts go awry for a variety of reasons. An intimate knowledge of opossum behavior, both prior to and after trapping, and of various opossum trap types is necessary to ensure that the possum is trapped and removed without incident.

STEP 1: Determine if trapping is necessary, or if there is a preventative alternative.

STEP 2: Select the right trap for the situation, there are many types of opossum traps.

STEP 3: Set the traps in the correct areas, in the shade, camouflaged, on a flat sturdy surface, away from any obstructions or areas that can be damaged, etc.

STEP 4: Use the correct bait. Don’t use meat-based baits, which can attract stray cats.

STEP 5: Monitor the trap daily, remove trapped opossums & transport them.

HOW TO GET RID OF POSSUMS IN YOUR YARD

Opossum prevention – how to keep opossums away from your house and yard – Opossums are odd creatures that normally grow to the size of your average house cat. Despite the fact that their heritage has been linked to as far back as dinosaur days, it would seem that they haven’t really evolved much, still being classed as wildlife problem or pest, although they do have a few tricks up their sleeves if caught by an angry human, which in all fairness, can often work to the humans advantage!

How to Get Rid of Possums

What is the best way on how to get rid of possums? Home appliances such as repellents and deterrents can be the option. The most effective repellents are focused on urine from mammals, such as bear, coyote, and fox.

Within the wild, urine is used by predators to mark their territories and their prey to avoid certain areas. Urine-based insecticides imitate their appearance and encourage many species to stay away. Because these materials contain heavily smelling ammonia, some homeowners do not like them.

Pepper sprays are repellents for the taste, which can be added to plants. These not only taste bad but can cause a burning feeling as well. An electronic deterrent is a safest and absolutely non-toxic way to keep possums away from your property.

The easiest way to get rid of possums is to know their habits. Although they prefer wooded areas or open fields near to lakes, they take up residency in abandoned burrows; tree crevices; brush piles; or areas below stairs, decks, and outbuildings.

Such species are mostly nocturnal, meaning that they’re usually only busy at night and resting all day long. Typically, they will leave some signs of their existence by droppings, footprints, overturned pet food dishes or garbage cans, and plant damage.

How Do I Get Rid of Possums

How Can I Prevent Possums In My Home?

Trim low tree branches and keep grass and shrubs short and tidy. Possums like to hide in bushy areas and can take up residence in piles of branches and other types of debris. If any tree branches come in contact with your home, eliminate them. These can create a “bridge” that can be used for possums to get into your attic and roof.

If you have old unused items in your yard including cars and furniture, get rid of it quickly before it becomes a home for a possum family.

Add screening to areas under your home to prevent possums from accessing them.

Add fencing around your home that is at least four feet high. If you decide to add electric fending it should be at least three to four inches above the top of the fence.

What Are Some Home Remedies For Possum Problems?

Ammonia is another very effective deterrent. Pour some into an old coffee can and place a rag into it. This will act as a wick and disperse the ammonia fumes.

Live trap the animals and remove them far away from your home.

How To Get Rid Of Possums With?

Get rid of Possums. has plenty of effective solutions for the elimination and deterring of possums

A Complete Guide To Possum Pests

Don’t let their looks fool you, although cute and cuddly, possums can be a real pain when they invade your home. In addition to the ruckus they cause as they go about their business inside your home, possums present a health risk as they can spread disease to humans and pets. Possums spread diseases through their urine and droppings.

The Lifecycle Of A Possum

Possums are marsupials, meaning they carry their young in a pouch. They usually give birth in May and June after a gestation period of about 17 days.  A newborn possum is about 1.5 cm long and only weighs about 2 g. Despite the small size, the newborn can climb unaided through fur into the female’s pouch where it attaches to a teat.

The young possum will feed and develop for about 5 months while still inside the mother’s pouch. It will then spend another two months clinging to its mother’s back as she moves around. Usually, possums give birth to only one young at a time, which males do not participate in looking after.

Control and Prevention of the Possum

The first step in possum control is prevention. Keep them out of your home and you won’t have to worry about getting rid of them. To keep possums out of your home you should:

Cover all openings that possums could use to get into the house. If it’s a vent, use a slotted metal vent cover to ensure that no animals get through.

Trim the tree branches near your home so that they are at least 10 ft from your roof. Possums are good climbers and could use them to get to your roof.

Protect low decks by installing grid screening and other suitable barriers.

The Army Corp Of Engine Rebuilding Having Issues Fixing Breach

Signs of a Seized Engine

Failure of even minor parts of a engine can eventually lead to severe problems. One of the major issues that can arise is a seized engine, which can lead to major repairs and expenses. Let us look at the various signs and symptoms of a seized engine to recognize and rectify this situation in time.

Seized Engine Meaning

A smoothly running car engine is a synchronized movement of various components. Even if one small component malfunctions, or functions out of sync, the engine may get heavily damaged over time. Usually when an engine seizes, the internal components freeze or lock up to such an extent that, the crankshaft is unable to turn in the bearings. This happens because the internal parts such as pistons, rod bearings, piston rings, etc., overheat and weld together. Such conditions may require you to change the entire engine, and this can be terribly expensive. Hence, it is very important for car owners to recognize warning signs, and rectify the problem before it is too late. Let us now look at the causes and warning signs of a seized engine.

Seized Engine Causes

  • The most common cause for an engine to seize up is insufficient engine oil, which causes overheating, melting, and amalgamation of the engine parts.
  • Lack of engine oil also results in lowered lubrication, which results in damage of the bearings. Ordinarily, you will need to replace the engine in such a situation.
  • Accumulation of water inside the engine can cause it to seize, as water is not compressible like gasoline.
  • Accumulation of rust due to the car remaining unused for a long period of time can also cause the engine to seize up.
  • In rare cases, faulty components can fail or break and cause the engine to seize.

Introduction

An engine can seize due to running on low/no oil, overheating or succumbing to a broken timing belt. These conditions eventually stop your engine in its tracks and a professional technician will be required to restore function. However, if an engine seizes due to rusted cylinder walls, you can restart the engine without professional help.

This is how rusted cylinder walls develop: When a vehicle sits for an extended period of time without running, the lubricant coating the cylinder walls thins and drains away due to gravity. Shutting down a vehicle always leaves some of the intake valves open on some of the cylinders. This allows moisture-laden air from the environment to circulate through the engine’s air intake, progress through to the cylinder head, and cause condensation on the cylinder walls, piston surface and rings.

Left long enough, that condensation causes rust that can freeze the pistons in place, causing a seized engine. If you suspect that this is the case for your vehicle, this is how to fix a seized engine.

Seized car engine symptoms:

  • Loud cranking/clunking sounds: this is because the starter is hitting the flywheel because there is insufficient lubrication.
  • Piston visible: when looking at the engine, the piston may be visible because the loose components will lodge into another part of the engine with enough force.
  • Fumes/smoke: since the engine can’t turn over, fumes, smoke, and even fire can happen – all of which are a sure sign of an engine seizure.
  • Nothing: the most tell-tale sign of a seized engine is when nothing happens. When your car won’t start no matter how hard you try.

It’s important to note that it is incredibly unlikely to have an engine seized without warning. There are almost always signs that can indicate potential seizing or failure such as: knocking noises, poor engine performance, oil light is on, and more. At the end of the day, most engine failure is because of poor maintenance, specifically a lack of oil in your engine. At this time, there is debate as to whether you should use conventional or synthetic oil in your car.

Can You Prevent Your Engine from Seizing?

You can take the following steps to minimize the chances of your engine locking up:

  • Follow your manufacturer’s schedule on checking and changing the engine oil and coolant.
  • Check the timing belt. Some manufacturers provide a service schedule for checking or replacing the timing belt, for example, every five years. A timing chain will usually last for the life of the vehicle. Still, if your engine has logged many miles, you may want to check the condition of the timing chain.
  • Pay attention to engine noises and diagnose their source.
  • Take a look under the hood once in a while and make a quick visual inspection. Pay special attention to oil and coolant levels.

How to fix and diagnose a seized engine

If you get your car checked before something significant happens, you may be in luck and may need to only replace a few parts, such as the gasket if it has failed due to overheating. If there is a broken part, the expense of getting it fixed may be higher. Depending on your problem, a repair can range from $500 to $1500 and even more if an engine replacement is necessary.

If there is a sign of water getting into your engine that can cost from $150 to $500, depending on your mechanic and car; nonetheless, repairing a seized engine is quite expensive which is why it is better to get your car checked routinely for any oddities.

Here are a few steps to take when you think that your engine is seized up.

1. Pull the crankshaft with a socket and a wrench

Take a wrench with a socket and try to rotate the crankshaft to see if the engine is really seized and to make sure there is not a problem with your starter. If you can turn the crankshaft easily, it’s most likely a problem with your starter. If the engine is seized, go to the next step.

2. Remove the starter

Sometimes a seized up starter can cause the engine to get locked up. You want to remove the starter to make sure that it’s not that thing which is causing the problem. After you have removed the starter, check the crankshaft with the wrench again.

3. Remove the serpentine belt

The first step you should take when your engine is seized is to remove the serpentine belt. In some cases, the alternator, ac compressor or another part driven by that can cause the engine to lock up. If the engine gets released after you remove the serpentine belt, check all these parts.

4. Check the timing belt & camshafts

Often when the timing belt or chain have failed, you can expect the valves to hit the pistons which causes the engine to seize up. Remove the covers in front and make sure there is no damage to the timing belt. If everything looks okay – You can remove the timing belt and rotate the camshaft if you know how to put the timing belt back correctly. With this method, you can find out if it’s the crankshaft or the camshafts that are seized up.

5. Release the glow plugs or spark plugs

If the engine is seized up, it could be caused by a large amount of oil or water in one or several cylinders; this is called a hydro-lock. You can release the spark plugs or the glow plugs to check this and make sure that there is oil or water in the cylinders. If the engine is turning over after you released the plugs, it’s most likely a hydro-lock, and you have to find the cause of the hydro-lock. This can often be caused by a failed turbocharger or a failed head gasket.

6. Remove the oil pan

If the crankshaft is seized up and you can’t find any signs of water or oil in the cylinders and if the camshafts are moving freely, you have to remove the oil pan and inspect the crankshaft bearings and any damage on the pistons or the rods.

Things To Consider When Planning For Home Remodeling

How to Keep Your Home Project on Track

As we shelter at home, some remodeling projects have been temporarily put on hold. But whether your project is still in the planning stages or is further along, there are things you can do now to keep it moving. Design and remodeling pros are open for business and able to work remotely. And while you’re at home, you can make decisions, ready your space and ensure that your project goes smoothly and efficiently when hammers are swinging again.

Make a wish list. If you’ve been thinking about a remodel but you haven’t hired a pro yet, now is a great time to solidify your plans. You’ve probably never spent this much time at home before, and you may be noticing all the things you want to change. Imagine how you’d like your home to function, then make a list of what isn’t working well. Create a wish list of all the improvements you’d like to make, and rank them in order of importance.

Research costs. Use cost guides to get an idea of your project’s budget. cost guides have information for all sizes and scopes of projects and elements, from replacing flooring to adding on to a home.

Adjust your expectations. You may need to make some changes to stay within your budget. Designers and renovators will help you value-engineer your project. Learn how to refine your renovation vision to fit your budget.

Familiarize yourself with scheduling. Find out how long your project may take once construction begins. Read about how to create a realistic design and construction timeline.

How to Prepare for a Bathroom Remodel

Enduring a bathroom remodel can be a challenge, especially in a busy household where parents used to having a master bathroom of their own have to share with the kids. But if you know what to expect and do some planning, organizing, readjusting and scheduling ahead of time, you can ease the process.

Confirm Lead Times

The first step is to make sure the renovation won’t take any longer than it has to. A construction schedule is like a house of cards, especially with all of the specialty subcontractors (plumbers, cabinetmakers, carpenters, tile installers, electricians) who will be be blocking out specific times to work on your project. One late arrival can throw the whole thing off.

Early in the design process, talk with the design pro who’s managing the construction about your schedule and lead times. This is the time between when you order items such as faucets, shower heads, toilets, light fixtures, countertops, hardware, cabinetry and tile and when they will arrive.

Have a Thorough Talk With Your Contractor About the Construction Process

Make your wellness a priority during a remodel. Talk to your contractor about dust control — ask if there will be plastic sheeting and whether the crew cleans up each day. Ask how they’ll protect flooring and carpeting along the route to the room. Figure out where the staging area will be when materials arrive, and prep this area by clearing it out and protecting the floors and any remaining furniture. Discuss child and pet safety.

Inquire about how trash will be taken off site, as you may need to provide room for a dumpster. Figure out where the workers will park. And make sure there will be a portable toilet, where it will be placed (consider the neighbors) and how often it will be serviced. The cost of things like daily cleanup, dumpster fees and a portable toilet should appear in the estimate.

Biggest Remodeling Regrets and How to Avoid Them

You don’t want to spend years dreaming about your home renovation, followed by several months of living through remodeling work — only to feel less than thrilled with the results. The good news is you don’t have to.

Underestimating Costs

Renovators who don’t budget properly soon run out of money. When that happens, they can be left with an unfinished property they are forced to sell. No buyer is willing to pay top dollar for an unfinished product, so the renovator often ends up incurring a loss.

Choosing the Cheapest Contractors

This often happens when renovators are trying to keep costs down, and it can lead to added costs down the track when they wind up having to fix mistakes or redo poor-quality work.

The cheapest bid doesn’t equate to the best job — this is something I can’t emphasize enough. Instead of focusing solely on the affordability of a contractor’s quote, check exactly what that quote covers — this is where the true value, or lack of value, lies.

Choosing Poor Floor Plans

The function of a room and how traffic flows within it are two of the most important aspects as they directly affect your experience of using the space. A well-conceived room layout can also add to the value of your home. Yet many remodelers ignore function and traffic flow when producing a floor plan and instead focus all their attention on color and finish.

How to Keep Your Renovation Budget on Track

In my profession, I’ve seen many people fail in their renovations simply because they ran out of time and money. It’s heartbreaking — and so easy to avoid. Most people don’t realize that the majority of their success relies on their ability to plan well at the start.

Break It Down

Whether you’re renovating for profit or pleasure, it’s very easy to underestimate the costs involved. If your budget blows out, you’re not going to be able to afford those finishing touches that can be so important to the end product.

During the planning phase, break down your budget in detail — this way you’ll be less likely to exceed it during construction. It will also allow you to be realistic about what you can and can’t achieve. And don’t forget about hidden renovation costs, such as demolition and site cleanup.

Plan for the Worst

Doing a phenomenal property inspection is so essential. If I hadn’t carried out thorough inspections in some of my own renovations to discover things such as asbestos and incorrect plumbing, there’s no way I could have made the profit I have.

Don’t Get Demo-Happy

Don’t go into every renovation thinking that everything needs to be ripped out. Too often people are so eager to tear things out that it’s almost as though they’re suffering from demolition fever.

Architects’ Tips to Help You Plan Perfect Storage

When you’re planning a project for your home, it’s a good idea to think about storage right from the start. We asked three architects to give us their top tips for ensuring that a redesign includes plenty of places to store your belongings

Think Ahead

Before you plan any shelves, cupboards or drawers, it’s important to know exactly what you need to store. “The first thing to do is make sure you’re not wasting your time and money creating storage for things you don’t really love or need,”

highlights the importance of speaking to your architect about storage from the outset. “A good team will offer practical solutions to the challenges of construction,” she says. “At the early stages, your architect can plan the overall spatial strategy alongside the storage.”

Tailor It to Fit

Once you’ve identified the items you want to keep, you can start planning the storage for them. “Group like with like and decide in which part of your home it makes sense to store each category,”

Remember the Details

“Think about materials, colors and whether you want the storage to stand out or blend in with the space,” says. “The material should be suited to the space.” For example, bathroom storage is best made from water-resistant materials. She also notes that you can save money with clever planning. “The door materials could be different, with more cost-effective surfaces used for the carcasses,”

The Benefits Of The Electric Hot Water Heaters

Adjusting Your Water Heater Temperature

As the temperatures rise, so too do our electric bills as our air-conditioning units and fans do their best to keep our homes comfortable. For many of us, this makes summer a stressful time as we worry about everything from high electric bills to excessive energy consumption.

One of the easiest things you can do to help your wallet and the planet out this summer is to try adjusting the temperature on your water heater. Your water heater might seem unrelated to keeping you cool, but it’s a big part of your home’s infrastructure and can help you cut down on energy use during this peak energy-consumption season.

What Are the Benefits of Adjusting My Water Heater Temperature?

Your water heater controls the temperature of your water, and thus, can deliver water of varying temperatures depending on which knob you turn in the sink or shower. Your water heater works tirelessly to produce hot water. Even at night when you’re in bed sleeping, it’s still plugging away keeping your water hot for your morning shower. But during the summer, much of this work is unnecessary. Because your water heater is working so hard to give you water at the temperature you want, it’s using up tremendous amounts of energy. Often, this translates into sky-high energy bills for you. You’re spending money on energy your appliance doesn’t need to expend in the first place.

The best way to control this type of energy usage in the summer is to adjust the temperature of your water heater. By regulating your water heater temp, you better equip it to deal with the strain of higher ambient temperatures. Adjusting your hot water heater in the summer can save you money by making this simple, small tweak. Once you do, there are a few benefits you’ll experience.

Save More Money

Your HVAC system is the biggest energy consumer in your home, but your water heater is a close second. Just as your heating and cooling need to work their hardest during the height of winter and summer, your water heater is under the same strain. And while the idea of a mechanical system struggling might sound like an abstract concept, there’s one notable way in which this concept has genuine implications in your day-to-day life — your bills.

Gas  vs  Electric Water Heater

A water heater is an integral part of every home and likely something you do not think about until it stops working. Since the typical lifespan of a water heater is between 8 and 15 years, it is likely that every homeowner will have to replace at least one over the years.

There are two basic fuel types for a standard water heater, gas and electricity. Both have positive and negative attributes to consider. We outline the differences between them below so that you can make an informed decision on which one will be right for your home.

Size​

Size impacts hot water heaters in two ways. First, most people are aware of the size in terms of gallons. The more water a tank holds, the larger it will be in general. Both electric and gas heaters come in multiple sizes from 20 to 100 gallons. But electric heaters are also available as point of origin heaters. You install this very small water heater directly at a faucet to provide hot water on demand for things like tea.

Hot Water Availability

There are also a few things to consider about the hot water availability between the two options. The first is the energy supply because not every home has access to a gas line, but nearly every home has electricity. As long as you do not have a power outage, you will always have access to hot water with an electric heater. However, gas heaters can continue to heat your water even with an outage, provided there is no disruption in the gas line.

Energy-Efficiency​

While gas hot water heaters cost less to run due to the lower cost of natural gas, electric heaters are actually more efficient. This is due to the way that the heaters operate. A gas heater must vent the spent gas, which also takes some of the heat with it. An electric heater uses nearly all the energy it receives converting it into hot water, so you have less waste.

Installation

Replacing a gas hot water heater with either a gas or electric one or replacing an electric one with another electric one is typically a straightforward process. When installing an electric heater, it is plumbed and grounded. A gas heater with an existing gas supply is plumbed, the gas supply hooked up, and the vent connected.

Choose the Right Size Water Heater

Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to choosing the size of a water heater. If you install a tank that’s too small, you’ll run out of hot water before finishing the shower. And if you get a tank that’s too big, you’re wasting money on heating water they won’t use

Determine the home’s FHR, or first hour rating. That’s the measure of how much hot water the heater will deliver during a busy hour, such as first thing in the morning. The FHR is always on the heater’s yellow EnergyGuide label, but if you want to double-check it yourself, use the following formula and a four-bedroom house as an example

Consider the energy factor, or EF. The higher the EF, the more efficient the tank is. In our example, you’d want to find the highest EF rating available for a tank with an FHR of 60.

Until the creation of the FHR by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, contractors had to use complicated tables and building codes or the minimum standards set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But now it’s easy to determine exactly the best size to have enough hot water as cost-efficiently as possible.

Installing a Tankless Water Heater

A home’s water heater affects both the comfort level in the shower and bath, as well as the monthly utility bill. If a conventional heater is the wrong size, hot water may run out too soon, while constantly heating and reheating stored water for the home’s needs can be costly.

Solar Water Heating System

Solar water heating system is a device that uses solar energy to heat water for domestic, commercial, and industrial needs. Heating of water is the most common application of solar energy in the world. A typical solar water heating system can save up to 1500 units of electricity every year, for every 100 litres per day of solar water heating capacity.

Parts of the Solar Water Heating System

A solar water heating system consists of a flat plate solar collector, a storage tank kept at a height behind the collector, and connecting pipes.

The collector usually comprises copper tubes welded to copper sheets (both coated with a highly absorbing black coating) with a toughened glass sheet on top and insulating material at the back. The entire assembly is placed in a flat box.

In certain models, evacuated glass tubes are used instead of copper; a separate cover sheet and insulating box are not required in this case.

Working of a solar water heater

The system is generally installed on the roof or open ground, with the collector facing the sun and connected to a continuous water supply.

Water flows through the tubes, absorbs solar heat and becomes hot.

The heated water is stored in a tank for further use.

The water stored in the tank remains hot overnight as the storage tank is insulated and heat losses are small.

Uses of solar water heater

SWHs can be used at homes for producing hot water that can be used for bathing, cleaning, and washing. Solar water heaters (SWHs) of 100-300 litres capacity are suited for domestic application. Larger systems can also be used for a variety of industrial applications. Hot water at 60-80oC could be obtained through use of solar water heaters.

Fuel Savings: A 100 litres capacity SWH can replace an electric geyser for residential use and saves 1500 units of electricity annually.

Saves cost on power generation – The use of 1000 SWHs of 100 litres capacity each can contribute to a peak load saving of 1 MW.

Environmental benefits – A SWH of 100 litres capacity can prevent emission of 1.5 tonnes of carbon-dioxide per year.

Pay back period – SWHs have a life span of 15-20 years. The pay back period is about 3-4 years when electricity is replaced, 4-5 years when furnace oil is replaced and 6-7 years when coal is replaced

Solar water heating has the following advantages :

Solar water heaters save electricity and thus money; electricity is becoming more and more expensive and its availability is becoming unrelaiable;

Solar water heaters are non-polluting.

Solar water heaters are safer than electric geysers as they are located on the roof

Tankless or On-Demand Water Heaters

Tankless or on-demand water heaters heat water only when it’s needed, eliminating the need for a storage tank and the standby losses associated with constantly maintaining a tank full of hot water. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of about 20 years, much longer than any conventional tank-type water heater. They also eliminate the risk of tank leaks and water damage.

How It Works

When you turn on the hot water tap, cold water is drawn through a pipe into the unit and heated either by an electric heating element or a gas burner. The hot water never runs out, but the flow rate may be limited. Tankless water heaters typically deliver hot water at a rate of 2 – 5 gallons per minute. Gas-fired models will generally have higher flow rates than electric models.

Tankless Water Heater Types

There are two basic types of tankless water heaters – small units that are usually installed right at or near the point-of-use and larger ones that are capable of serving an entire house. The smaller models can reduce or eliminate heat losses through piping (in addition to eliminating standby losses from a tank), but multiple units are usually needed to serve an entire house

In addition to eliminating losses through long runs of piping, they can save the time and water that’s wasted waiting for the water to get hot. Larger “whole house” tankless water heaters can provide hot water for multiple points-of-use in the home. While these units eliminate the heat losses from a storage tank, there will still be some losses through the hot water piping unless it is insulated.

Advantages to on-demand water heating include:

Tankless water heaters are compact in size, taking up less space than conventional tank type water heaters.

They can virtually eliminate standby losses – energy wasted when hot water cools down in long pipe runs or while it’s sitting in the storage tank.

By providing hot water immediately where it’s used, tankless water heaters waste less water. You don’t need to let the water run as you wait for hot water to reach a remote faucet.

A tankless water heater can provide unlimited hot water as long as it is operating within its capacity.

Expected life of tankless water heaters is 20 years, compared to 10 to 15 years for tank type water heaters.

Disadvantages include:

Tankless water heaters usually can’t supply enough hot water for simultaneous uses such as showers and laundry.

Unless the system is equipped with a modulating temperature control, it may not heat water to a constant temperature at different flow rates. That means that water temperatures can fluctuate uncomfortably – particularly if the water pressure varies in different parts of the house.

Electric tankless water heaters require a relatively high electric power draw because water must be heated quickly to the desired temperature. In some cases the home’s electric service may need to be upgraded.

Tankless gas water heaters must be vented to the outdoors, either with a direct vent or conventional exhaust flue.

If a gas-powered unit has a pilot light, it can waste energy (with a conventional water heater, the pilot heats the water in the tank so it isn’t really wasted).

Your Wireless Security Camera Operator

Best Gifts For Filmmakers

Have you ever had trouble buying a gift for someone, thinking to yourself, “What can I get them? They have it all!” That seems to be more than true with filmmakers. The list below covers many different budgets and aspects of filmmaker tools. We’ve pulled together lighting, editing tools, and production equipment, and items for those who do it all.

Canon XA11 Compact Professional Camcorder

A great entry-level camcorder that is packed with features and is the perfect gift for the person who is doing lots of event videos and currently using a DSLR or mirrorless camera. The Canon XA11 has many advantages for the event videographer, 5-axis image stabilization, having an integrated smooth zoom rocker, no 30 minute clip limit, and most importantly the ability to record and control high quality audio.

Cinema Devices Ergorig Lightweight Body Mounted Harness System

For the camera operator who is carrying a lot of weight, as well as responsibility, on their shoulders, distributing the weight of a large camera across their body to their hips is a gift for those long shooting days. The Ergorig is a well-padded solution to save operators from fatigue and strain. This is sure to be a hit with those who rig up their large film or video cameras with the full bells and whistles.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

The newest offering from Blackmagic, released just this October is a beast of a cinema camera. I want this camera. This camera ticks so many boxes: 6K resolution, 12-bit RAW recording, small form factor, and an astoundingly low price as well. This is the camera that every budding filmmaker is drooling over right now and it will likely remain the number one pick for some time.

DanaDolly Universal Rental Kit

I have used the DanaDolly kit on several occasions and found it always got the job done. This dolly system is super easy to operate, adaptable to different setups, using straight or curved track, and is built like a tank. The flight case is also the cherry on top that makes this a sure winner. The filmmaker who gets this as a gift is sure to give you a bear hug after getting this!

How ‘Observers’ and ‘REMI’ Define the Breakout Era of Live Esports Production

As esports rises in prominence as a live-sports property, the most common question from broadcasters — especially those accustomed to a traditional sports environment — is what are the differences between broadcasting a virtual sports event and a physical one?

Sure, an esports event feels more like a rock concert than, say, a baseball game, but the differences actually aren’t all that many. As was evident at SVG’s recent Esports Production Summit, it all comes down to a common foundation that any broadcaster or content creator can agree on: storytelling.

which produces major global esports competitions like the ESL One series, which spotlights games like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. “[Esports is] becoming more and more casual entertainment, so replay features and different angles help break up the game and [make it] more explanatory and educational. [That] becomes more and more important.”

The Observer Function

Besides some core technological tenants of broadcast —camera angles, replay, graphics — a high-end esports show features a significant position known as “observer.” The role of the observer is basically to drive the views of the action from inside the game itself, choosing the shots that will ultimately tell the story of the action within the game, a camera operator inside the videogame. In the early days of esports, it was a task reserved for the on-air talent on a show, but, as productions grew larger and more complex, the role carved out its own valued place in the crew list.

The role of the observer has further evolved as a newer genre of esports has gained favor with both players and viewers: the battle royale game. Games like the super-popular Fortnite fall into this category, and what makes them challenging to broadcast is that many solo characters are competing across a vast map: ultimately, countless scrums occur in different places simultaneously.

Film/​Television Camera Operator

Pay

Pay for film/television camera operators varies depending on experience and the type of production they are working on.

What you will do

Film/television camera operators may do some or all of the following:

carry and set up cameras and equipment such as lighting rigs and kits

work with and follow the instructions of the director

operate cameras to film or record the action

keep the camera in focus.

Directors of photography may do some or all of the following:

study scripts and interpret how scenes should look

select suitable cameras and equipment

decide on the location of cameras and lights

direct camera and lighting crew during filming

work with the director and editor during editing.

Skills and knowledge

Film/television camera operators need to have:

technical skills for operating film and video cameras

up-to-date knowledge of filming methods and equipment

knowledge of camera exposure, focus, colour and lighting

understanding of the filming and editing process.

Essential photography gadgets and add-ons

The best camera accessories don’t have to cost a fortune. Sure, a new camera or a new lens might make a big dent in your bank balance, but tripods, filters, memory cards and camera bags are everyday essentials that are just as important.

The fact is there’s an incredible world of photographic gear to explore, and if you’re just getting started in photography (and even if you’re an old hand), you may not be aware of everything that’s out there.

For example, what camera accessories do you have that help you control your lighting? Do you use any camera filters for creative effects? Does your tripod offer rock-solid support and have a head that allows you to execute smooth panning movements?

The best camera accessories

Every photographer needs a tripod. Not for every shot maybe, but for night shots, time-lapses, long-exposure seascapes, macro shots and more, a tripod will give you pin-sharp shots and a stability you can’t get from handheld exposures. Here are some of our favorites.

Every photographer needs a tripod, and this Manfrotto is one of the best all rounders in this price bracket. The four-section Manfrotto 190XPro4 ball head kit (MK190XPro4-BHQ2) is a full-sized tripod that reaches a lofty operating height of 175cm, yet shrinks to a fairly modest folded height of 57cm.

How Do I Become a Camera Op or Jib Op

“How do I become a professional Camera Operator or Jib Operator?” That’s a question nearly every film student and independent videographer asks. For the sake of brevity, this discussion will focus on becoming a freelance Camera Operator for multi-camera broadcasts (EFP) at live events such as sports and concerts.

Become an Assistant First – We recommend first that you gain hands-on experience in the industry as an assistant, and then work your way towards running camera or jib. This process SHOULD take a few years, even if you already have a degree in film or broadcasting. Working as an assistant is a valuable step that will establish your reputation and strengthen your understanding of how the industry works.

Gain Experience – A great way to gain experience and build your resume is by volunteering at a large church that has a multi-camera setup, or by contacting a local production company (like us) and ask to work on a shoot as a Camera Utility, Production Assistant, or Jib Assist. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, and use it to build a reputation as a hard worker who shows up early and stays focused from load-in to load-out.

Connect with the Right Companies – If you already have a solid resume and respectable references, the next step would be to contact your local IATSE, IBEW, or NABET office and ask a Crew Coordinator to add you to their call list as a Utility, Camera Operator, or whatever position you have experience in. There are also large production companies with regional offices that you could contact (NEP, Yes Productions, and Mobile TV Group are some examples). After sending them your info, it might be several months before you get a call back; but if you’re persistent without being annoying, you’ll eventually get called. In the meantime, you could also contact your local sports arena and apply for a part-time position on their in-house production crew for minor-league games or music events.

Work Hard, Learn, Be Patient – When you finally do get your first couple of calls for broadcast gigs, don’t turn the opportunities down. Show up to the gigs early, and be prepared to sweat and get dirty if needed. If you don’t know something, don’t try to fake it… ask. The humble, hard workers are the ones who get called to work again. Keep in mind, it’s common when you’re starting out as a freelancer to only work 1 day every month or two… you’ll be at the bottom of the call list, and you’ll have to work your way up. Eventually you’ll begin to build professional relationships based on your work ethic and reputation, and that’s what will carry you forward in your career.

Starting Your Family Law Attorney Court Action Pro

Family Lawyers

Some of the most emotional and complex matters that you can face involve your family relationships. These can evolve over time as spouses find that they have grown apart, or the needs of children change. Often, spouses or parents can reach an agreement on these issues outside court, or perhaps through a non-adversarial process such as mediation. If they cannot find common ground, however, the courts may need to get involved. Whether you are seeking to assert your rights or explore your options, it is important to understand the laws that govern these situations.

Divorce

To file for a divorce, a spouse usually needs to meet the residency requirements in the state and county where they live. They also need to establish the grounds for the divorce. Many states offer a no-fault divorce, which means that the grounds can be as simple as irreconcilable differences. This means that the marriage has broken down and cannot be repaired. If you live in a state that does not permit a no-fault divorce, you will need to prove the fault of your spouse for the divorce. Some common fault grounds for divorce include adultery, desertion, and cruelty. Even if you choose a no-fault divorce, some states will allow a family court judge to consider the fault of a spouse in matters related to the divorce, such as property division.

A divorce can be contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce occurs when the spouses agree on all of the major issues of the divorce. They can submit their agreement to the judge, and it will become the final judgment in their divorce case if the judge approves it, which is likely. If the spouses disagree on one or more major issues, the divorce will be contested. This may require litigating those issues in court. Contested divorces tend to be much more protracted and more expensive than uncontested divorces, but sometimes they are unavoidable. Read more here about the divorce process.

Child Custody

If a couple has minor children, child custody is usually an important issue in their divorce. Custody traditionally has consisted of two components: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody involves the amount of time that the child lives with each parent, while legal custody involves the authority of each parent to make major decisions affecting the child’s upbringing. These might include the medical care that the child receives, their choice of school and extracurricular activities, and which religion (if any) they practice. Judges usually prefer to award joint custody so that each parent continues to play a role in a child’s life, but sole custody may be appropriate in some situations, such as when a parent has engaged in domestic violence or substance abuse.

The central concern in a child custody matter is the best interests of the child. A judge has substantial discretion to weigh a broad range of factors. Sometimes a child’s needs will change over time, or the situation of a parent may change. For example, they may need to relocate if they change jobs or are assigned to a different region. A parent can go back to court to seek a modification of a child custody order based on a substantial change in circumstances. The judge again would focus on the best interests of the child in making the modification. Read more here about child custody

Family Law

Child Support

The general rule is that each parent has an obligation to support a child. This obligation usually extends until the child becomes an adult, but it can extend further in some cases if the child has special needs or has not graduated from high school. Usually, the parent who spends less time living with the child will pay child support to the parent who spends more time with the child. Most states have child support guidelines that provide formulas for typical situations, but a judge usually has the authority to deviate from these guidelines in unusual circumstances.

Similar to child custody, child support can be modified if a parent can show that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred. For example, support might be increased if a child develops a medical condition that requires expensive treatment. Or it might be decreased if the parent making payments loses their job. (However, income will be imputed to each parent in accordance with their earning capacity, so voluntary unemployment is not a way to avoid paying support.) Read more here about child support.

Spousal Support (Alimony)

While spousal support is less common than it used to be, it still may be ordered in certain situations after a divorce. Spousal support often is appropriate if the spouses have dramatically different income potential, and the marriage was relatively long, such that the lower-earning spouse became reliant on the higher-earning spouse and accustomed to a higher standard of living. These payments are not meant to be punitive but simply to provide the lower-earning spouse with the support that they need. Alimony is generally not permanent unless the lower-earning spouse is elderly or disabled, such that they will never be able to support themselves.

Spousal support can be terminated when the recipient spouse remarries or cohabits with a partner, as defined under state law. It also can be terminated in many states if the recipient spouse becomes self-supporting or if the recipient spouse fails to make good-faith efforts to become self-supporting. The spouse making payments may be able to petition to reduce or terminate alimony if their financial situation declines to the point that they can no longer pay. Read more here about spousal support.

Property Division

The first step in property division consists of determining which assets are marital property and which assets are separate property. Only marital property is subject to division upon a divorce. It consists of most assets that were acquired during the marriage, except for gifts and inheritances that one spouse received. Determining the character of an asset can be complicated if marital property was commingled with separate property, or if the value of separate property increased during the marriage. If the couple ran a business or accumulated intangible assets, such as intellectual property, appraisers and accountants may be needed to estimate their value. Sometimes a pre-marital or post-marital agreement will control property division, as long as the agreement is valid.

Divorce Lawyers

Adoption

There are many ways to bring a non-biological child into your life and build a lasting relationship with them. Adoption involves assuming the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent toward a child. It may involve terminating the existing rights of the biological parent, or the biological parent may already have consented to terminate their rights. Adoptions often arise in the context of stepparents adopting stepchildren. Some states offer a streamlined process for this type of adoption. Foster parents also sometimes choose to adopt foster children with whom they have developed a bond.

If you are not adopting a stepchild or a foster child, you will want to decide whether to pursue an independent adoption or an agency adoption. Some people even adopt children from other parts of the world, although this tends to be more expensive and complicated. If you want to adopt a child with certain traits or characteristics, you may face a long wait to adopt. Adoptive parents who are more flexible may be able to adopt a child sooner. Read more here about the adoption process

It is a reality of modern life that not every marriage lasts forever. The divorce rate has been steadily rising throughout the United States for decades. If you are considering ending your marriage, you should learn something about the process in advance.

You may file for divorce only in a state where you are a resident. Almost all states require a certain period of residency before a person can file for divorce there. This period can extend for six months or a year. If you know that your spouse is planning to file for divorce in another state, you may want to file first in the state where you live to avoid the expense of traveling for divorce proceedings.

Changes to related agreements involving alimony, child custody, or child support must be made in the state where the divorce was granted. All states will recognize a divorce properly granted in any other state, but is not required to do so if the original state did not have jurisdiction over the couple.

Family Court proceedings: where can I get advice and support?

Do I need a lawyer (solicitor or barrister)?

Legal advice and assistance from a qualified lawyer is usually helpful and recommended however you are not required to obtain legal advice.  You can make the application and attend court yourself without legal representation.  People who are involved in court proceedings without lawyers are known as litigants in person

What is the difference between a solicitor and a barrister?

A solicitor is usually the first point of contact if you have a legal problem. Sometimes solicitors refer work to a barrister for specialist advice or to appear in court to represent you. It is also possible for solicitors to represent you in court.

How can I find a solicitor or barrister?

See Useful contacts at the end of this guide for details of organisations which can help you find a solicitor or barrister.

How much do lawyers cost?

You may be able to obtain legal aid to cover their legal costs and lawyers’ fees.  To find out further information see A guide to family law legal aid. If you have to pay for your legal costs then you will need to make enquiries directly with the lawyer as their charges vary.  Most lawyers charge an hourly rate for the time they spend on the case.

What if I am not eligible for legal aid and I cannot afford to pay a lawyer?

If you cannot access legal aid and you cannot afford solicitor fees you may be able to obtain some free advice from:

Our family law advice lines. We provide telephone advice for women on all aspects of family law.

There may be other advice lines that can provide advice on your specific issues. Some of these are listed in the Useful contacts section at the end of this guide.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau. The Citizens Advice Bureau provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on a range of issues.

Your local Law Centre. There are Law Centres across England and Wales providing advice, casework and representation.

The Bar Pro Bono Unit. The Bar Pro Bono Unit is a charity which helps to find free legal assistance from volunteer barristers once your case is in court. You will need to be referred to them by another organisation.

Does Your Child Need a Lawyer?

In some divorce and custody cases, the court will appoint a lawyer for the child. This happens when

the court thinks your child needs a lawyer, or

you ask for a lawyer for your child and the court agrees

Should I ask for a lawyer for my child?

If you and the other parent agree on custody and visitation, your child probably does not need a lawyer. But you may want to ask for a lawyer for your child if

you and the other parent disagree about custody or visitation;

you are worried about your child’s safety (if there is substance abuse, child abuse, or domestic violence); or

there is a question about paternity.

What if I ask the court to give my child a lawyer but the court does not agree?

You have the right to ask for a lawyer for your child, but the court does not have to appoint one. If this happens in your case, you may want to request a referral to the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) for other services. You can ask someone in the Court Service Center (located in most courthouses) how to request a referral to CCSD. Note: CSSD may also be called Family Relations or Family Services.

How could Family Services help us?

Family Services has many different services that might be helpful to you. Family Relations Counselors are available when you go to court to help you and your child’s other parent make agreements. They can also provide evaluation services. An evaluation consists of meeting with parents, consulting with people who are involved with the family, and sometimes meeting with the child. The counselor will gather information and make a recommendation to the court. In most cases, the counselor will hold a settlement conference and give recommendations with the goal of reaching an agreement prior to trial.

What if I do not agree with Family Services’ recommendations?

You do not have to accept Family Services’ recommendations. You have a right to present your case in court and let the judge decide. There is no guarantee that the judge will agree with you, and you must obey the judge’s decision even if you don’t agree with it.

The Internet’s Broad Home Renovation Resources

DIY home renovation hacks

Making changes to your home doesn’t have to be a big costly project because sometimes the most noticeable difference comes from the smaller changes. By going at your own pace with some help along the way you can take your time, manage your finances better and really enjoy the DIY home renovation experience.

Top DIY home renovation tips

Be realistic – your budget will probably blow out because let’s face it, no renovation goes according to plan. It saves a lot of stress if you account for a financial buffer from the start.

Check with your council to ask if any special permission is required for your renovations. This will save you a lot of heartaches later.

Do your research – there are plenty of home improvement articles and videos but you just need to check a couple of different sources before you get stuck in.

Consider giving your house a fresh coat of paint; it will make a huge difference in ambience and it’s also a good time to rearrange the furniture as it will all need to move away from the walls too.

Got old carpet? Rip it up. It’s all about polished floorboards with a beautiful rug or polished concrete these days.

Bathroom

Measure up the bathroom size and then everything in it. Sit down and draw up a floor plan of your current bathroom and use that figure out how to create more room. If you have a small bathroom, you have to be a little more creative with the space, such as how you use the right shelving to make it look larger.

Living room

Need more storage in your living room? DIY! Turn a big old wooden box into your coffee table, or simply add sides and a door to your existing coffee table. That way, you can store things in an easy to access place that is out of sight (e.g. Christmas decorations, linen, extra glassware, etc). This will also encourage you to keep your coffee table cleaner as you need to be able to access what’s underneath.

Bedroom

If you don’t have enough room for bedside tables, you can attach shelving above your headboard – just make sure nothing will easily fall on you while you sleep.

Things to Consider Before a Major Home Renovation

Before starting on renovations, it’s essential to understand the costs associated with the process. When you want to renovate economically, you need to decide the total expenditure limit. Clarify anything that you can and cannot afford in the remodel. The remodeling contractor you hire should be able to provide options that would fit into your budget.

Your Vision

Homeowners need to have a complete idea of what they want their home to look like after all the renovations. While it’s not wrong to change your mind in the middle of the project, entering the process with the clearest possible image in mind can ease the decision-making process along the way.

The Timeline

Many homeowners have gone through expecting their projects to finish at a specific time-frame, only to be disappointed after passing a few deadlines. Renovations can take longer than expected, so you need to prepare and have a plan in place.

Costs of Renovation

Before starting on renovations, it’s essential to understand the costs associated with the process. When you want to renovate economically, you need to decide the total expenditure limit. Clarify anything that you can and cannot afford in the remodel. The remodeling contractor you hire should be able to provide options that would fit into your budget.

Finding the Right Contractor

You will need to carefully select any remodeling contractors that will work for you. We have all heard stories or witnessed the horror show that resulted from entrusting the wrong contractor to do the job. There are a variety of factors to consider when deciding who to hire to prevent a bad renovation project in the first place. Some other factors to consider in addition to the contractors cost should also include the scope of their capabilities and the number of tasks they can handle.

Home Renovation Survival Guide – things to expect DURING your renovation

The plans are approved, the contract is signed and work on your home renovation is about to begin. But you’re nervously waiting for the demolition to start and the dust to start flying – literally! Here are things to expect during the renovation that can allay your fears and prepare you for what lies ahead.

Expect a noisy mess!

There is going to be dust everywhere and incessant noise. The sound of nail guns, power saws, compressors and the constant chatter of workers are all part of the daily ritual. If you normally work from home, try to find somewhere else for your own peace of mind.

Consider moving out! (No, really! Or at least take a vacation during the crunch period.)

Renovating is a dirty, dusty business, and living in a construction zone with drywall dust on your pillow can be stressful… especially when you can’t even launder your dusty pillowcase because the water is turned off! Consider moving to the in-laws, the grandparents, an extended stay hotel with kitchen or even rent a home on Airbnb or VRBO. But if you are bound and determined to live in your home while it’s being overhauled, please read on

If you’re staying put, find alternate spaces to perform daily routines.

If you’re doing a kitchen makeover, you likely won’t be able to use your fridge, stove, sink or dishwasher. So you will need to find another space in your home to do all the regular kitchen chores. Maybe that means moving your microwave to the garage or washing your dishes in the bathtub – whatever works for you! But you’ll need to designate zones for cooking and cleaning up or else things may get ugly. On the plus side, you can plan on dining out a lot more!

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Your first decision is the most important one – whom to hire? – and that’s covered in our second chapter. But once the reno begins, there’ll be dozens of seemingly trivial questions that need to be answered quickly. On any reno, ‘the devil is in the detail’, so be ready to answer: Where to locate the dimmers, potlights and power outlets? Which style of faucet? And of course, which of these 14 beige paint chips do you prefer for the powder room? So be decisive. Or delegate smaller decisions to your architect. Every time a decision is delayed there is a knock-on effect that may delay downstream activities that have already been scheduled.

things you must know before you avail a home renovation loan

Are you planning to revamp your home but don’t know how to meet the renovation expenses? That’s exactly where a home renovation loan can help you. Please be advised that the home renovation could be an expensive affair because of the increasing cost of labour and material. Hence, a home renovation loan can prove to be extremely helpful for you to remodel, update, renovate or make repairs to your home with ease, at affordable rates.

Deciding the Loan Amount:

You need to calculate the loan amount you require. Reach out to vendors and take an estimate of the cost for the renovation. Make a list of the things you require for the home renovation. Do you need to get your home whitewashed? Are you looking to get the furniture changed or repaired? Take the help of an expert to make the right estimate

Eligibility Criteria

Once you have decided the loan amount, the primary factor to consider before applying for a home renovation loan is the eligibility criteria. Though some basic criteria include age, income and residence, every lender will have different parameters. Therefore, it would be wise to interact with lending organisations and get a thorough understanding of the eligibility requirements. It is necessary to do your research to find lenders whose eligibility criteria you meet. Next, it would also be advisable to use an online personal loan eligibility calculator to understand the loan amount you may be eligible for.

Explore Different Loan Rates

While traditionally home loans had fixed and floating rate of interest, many lenders today offer only the floating rate of interest. As the name signifies, a fixed loan is one whose rate of interest remains constant for the loan tenure. On the other hand, the floating loans are subject to changes as per policies of the regulatory authorities and the lender

Get all the Documents Ready

Once you select a home loan for renovation scheme, keep all the relevant details ready such as identity proof, permanent address, sources of income, Income Tax returns, salary slips, etc. It’s always advisable to select a lender that provides a hassle-free documentation process. For example, go through the list of documents required for Fullerton India personal loan if you are applying for a loan with FICC.

top tips for home buyers taking on a renovation property

Buying a property that’s in need of some work is one way to leap a couple of rungs on the property ladder. It’s the best way that buyers can move to their preferred postcode without breaking the bank on a new home.

Ultimately, it’s a great way to get more accommodation for your money if you’re on a tight budget. Although the prospect of a renovation project can seem quite exciting, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Be wary of building regulations and planning permission

If you’ve got big plans for your fixer-upper and you want to extend or make any external changes to the property, you’re going to need planning permission. If your property project doesn’t get the green light from the council, you can wave goodbye to your Grand Design dreams before you’ve even started.

Commission a full building survey

Once you’ve found your ideal fixer-upper, you’re going to need to know of any problem areas the property might have. A full building survey will dig up any damage that might not be initially visible.

Consider how much stress you can handle

The word renovation means a lot of different things to different people. Some want to make a few simple cosmetic updates to bring the property back into 2018. Others are up for getting their hands dirty and knocking down walls to create their dream open-plan layout.