Be Smart About Car Repair

car-repairAre you naughty or nice? If you love cars but hate fixing them, then ‘Be nice’. Why? So you can ask Santa to give you a new car every three months! That way, you won’t have to deal with changing the car’s oil or fixing the alternator. Simply put, you won’t have to deal with car repairs.

But of course if being nice is a problem (I hope not) then ‘Be smart’! How? One simple trick! Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you plan to have a car then it is also advisable to buy some basic car tools. And most important of all – learn how to use them.
What basic tools should you get? Let me share a short list.
1. Pliers
2. Some Screw drivers: Phillips and Flat heads
3. An adjustable wrench
4. A socket and ratchet set
5. A Torque wrench
6. A Jack (included with the vehicle)

Before starting any type of auto repair projects, study the tools you have. There are a lot of websites that can show you how and when to use the tools. Take time to learn them all. Aside from the tools, start learning about car air pressure and changing tires. Imagine – it’s the middle of the night and you have a flat tire. No problem … you have the tools! But … you just don’t know how to use them. Well, there is a lesson there somewhere.
So that’s the start. Repairing a car is not just time consuming, it is also expensive. If you know the basics, you can save some bucks. It will only take a few minutes to learn. Lately some websites even have free car repair video presentations. So watch and learn. It’s a trial and error process and there is no reason for you to panic. I’ve learned a lot from a local garage called Aarrow Transmissions but not everyone has opportunities like this so I suggest you visit your local Advance Auto (or similar auto parts shop) where they let you borrow counter tools to make small repairs in the parking lot.
More often than not, you can also get some friendly help from the folks that work there and/or some of the regulars. My dad learned most of his stuff about cars by going to such shops with a pocket full or fives and tens and tipping local “shade tree mechanics” for their insights.
So that’s it! Your choice – be nice to Santa or be smart! If you are smart then maybe you could ask Santa for something else, right?

A Promising Care Option for Seniors

It’s not easy getting old. And it’s not easy when a parent gets old, and you approach the time when difficult decisions need to be made to ensure your parent’s well-being. Especially when you’re still learning about senior care, and what options you have to help your parents.

My mother passed away last September, and it’s been tough on my father. He turned 80 recently, and he lives several hours north of me, outside of Boston. While he’s still very sharp, he tires easily and prefers not to drive at night or in inclement weather. He recently downsized from a large home to a smaller townhouse, but it’s still a lot of work for him.

I am hoping that my father is able to move closer to me in the next few months. But in the meantime, I’m trying to find ways to make his life easier.

I’ve discovered a few options, but there is one that’s particularly interesting: Seniors Helping Seniors. This organization connects seniors who are able to provide assistance to others who could use an extra hand. I like a couple of things about this organization. I like that it can provide help in a wide variety of ways – like the shopping and cleaning that are becoming increasing burdens to my father. But I like the senior-to-senior aspect most of all.

Seniors Helping Seniors is staffed by elderly people – peers to those they help. So hopefully the caregiver would be a friendly new face – someone who could become a friend. I know my father’s been lonely; while I’m in constant touch, it’s not the same as having someone who visits. Later this year, after he sells his townhome, I’ll be able to provide comfort, companionship, and love. But for now, I want to keep the world open to him and bring positive new people into his life.

There’s a branch of Seniors Helping Seniors located near him in Boston, and I understand that there are branches located throughout the country. So if you’re like me, and have parents who need a little extra care – or maybe a new friend – you ought to see if there’s a branch near your parents. They may offer you and your parents the care and peace of mind that can become more elusive as we get older.

Can That Windshield Be Repaired?

Every year, Portland’s windshield repair specialists get a little better at their craft. They get better tools and better resins that allow them to repair windshields that would have required replacement not so many years ago. So it’s worth asking: What kind of windshield damage can be repaired, and what kind of damage requires a replacement?

There are two basic factors that determine whether a windshield replacement is necessary: the size of the chip or crack, and the location of the damage. Let’s take a closer look at both factors:

The smaller the damage, the more likely it can be repaired. If the windshield is chipped, most repair companies would opt to repair damage up to a quarter – or just under an inch – in size; if the windshield is cracked, most companies would be willing to repair a crack up to three inches in length. But again, size is not the only consideration.

Some areas on the windshield are better candidates for repair than others. Areas within three inches of the edge of a windshield are always under additional stress; this makes edge areas the most frequent location of damage, and the most difficult to repair properly. Damage here is liable to spread quickly; if you’ve got damage near the edge, seek out your local windshield repair company right away.

Even with today’s technology, it’s not always possible to achieve a flawless repair. Sometimes the best efforts leave a slight distortion or cloudiness if the technician was unable to remove all of the dirt or grime. For this reason, some companies would suggest a replacement rather than attempt a repair directly in the driver’s field of vision. If you suffer damage in the field of vision, take extra care to protect that damage from dirt and moisture.

There is no absolute dividing line between repair and replacement; some companies may opt to replace where others repair. So if you’re trying to get a repair rather than a more expensive replacement, feel free to check with the windshield repair companies in your area; it never hurts to ask. Just remember that the longer you delay, the less likely that you’ll avoid replacement.

Choosing the Best Auto Insurance

Choosing the Best Auto Insurance

Deciding what Auto insurance company can be a very difficult task for most people on the market. I always compare shopping for car insurance as shopping for a less exciting car. You are always looking for the latest bells and whistles and the best coverage. Sometimes we can become caught up in adding in the Triple A service, extra liability, the discounts, or having our own agent that we forget about what we need to purchase.

As drivers in the United States, we need to drive with insurance to protect the well-being of ourselves and others. When insurance companies begin throwing in extra services they then have a reason to charge you more. What is the price for not having to change a tire, $200, $300, $500? Don’t pay for things just because you may need them one day.

Try to find an insurance company that provides just the coverage you need or want. You big brand name insurance companies will always through in supplementary services that you may only need once but pay monthly for it. I found a great insurance company called Insurance Doctor, Triple A service, extra liability, the discounts, or having our own agent that we forget about what we need to purchase.

As drivers in the United States, we need to drive with insurance to protect the well-being of ourselves and others. When insurance companies begin throwing in extra services they then have a reason to charge you more. What is the price for not having to change a tire, $200, $300, $500? Don’t pay for things just because you may need them one day.

Try to find an insurance company that provides just the coverage you need or want. You big brand name insurance companies will always through in supplementary services that you may only need once but pay monthly for it. I found a great insurance company called Insurance Doctor, myisnurancedoctor.com, that provides just the coverage you need. If you want to have the extra add-ons then they can provide those, but not unless you need them. 

Avoid Product and Service Ripoffs

In today’s economy, it’s important to be extra careful when making purchases. Most of us are sticking to a tight budget, and there are plenty of easy ways to save. Pay attention these common ways that stores and businesses will either trick you or depend on your love of convenience to rip you off.

One way that it is easy to get someone to spend more is in emergency situations. For example, if your car breaks down, you might be willing to dish out a huge check to get it fixed as soon as possible. Many people will trust a chain auto body shop for the repair because they are too lazy or panicked to research the reviews on a local spot. However, the franchises charge much higher rates than most privately owned repair businesses.

Another emergency situation where people are overcharged is household repairs. This includes hiring a plumber, electrician, appliance repair man, etc. These businesses will rip you off by promising low prices online or over the phone. However, they will then take their time performing the service and charge you high over time fees. The best way to avoid this is to look for companies who charge by job instead of by hour. Some companies, like Mr. Rooter, will promise up front that they do not charge overtime.

Aside from services, there are plenty of products where companies overcharge to take advantage of your draw to convenience. Travel sized products, for instance, are a great way to waste your money. Just look at the cost per unit! A purse-sized bottle of hand sanitizer could cost twice as much as the regular bottle for every ounce. If you travel often, try buying small containers one time. Then rinse them out each trip and refill them with shampoo or body wash from your current bottle.

It fits in your purse, but not in your budget!
It fits in your purse, but not in your budget!

Packaged food is another money pit. It is so much easier to grab a frozen pizza or a can of soup (and the kind that fill you up, not the watery 89 cent cans) than to walk around the store finding each ingredient and taking it home to cook. Always try to cook your own food instead of buying something prepared if you are looking to save money. You could cut your grocery bills in half by just making a little more effort.

As far as services go, try to research cheaper options before a crisis occurs. That way you can quickly select the best priced option that still has quality service. When buying something off-the shelf, always look at unit prices or look online to see if you can buy it for cheaper. You have plenty of time to pull this up on your phone before putting something in your shopping cart!

Improve the Efficiency of Your Office

Many companies have the same issue- they waste time and other resources because of poor policies and processes. Always listen to employee suggestions on how to improve the office space and test new methods to see what is best for your organization. There are a couple of basic factors that are worth looking into.

1)      Flexible schedules: for maximum productivity, let employees work when they are most productive. For some occupations, like sales jobs, an employee needs to call customers during certain times of day. However, for other jobs, such as a technical position, you may get higher quality and faster results by allowing the employee to work the times they enjoy. Some people would rather get things done in the morning and others would rather sleep in so they are well-rested for better outcomes.

2)      Operational processes: stay organized- one big time waster in an office is retrieving documents and looking into a customer’s past transactions. Implementing a new system could really help things run smoothly and more efficiently. For a great document management system in Richmond VA, research tech companies in the area.

3)      Snacks: no one works well when they are hungry! Having coffee, soda, and snacks around can help keep employees focused throughout the day. If you need to, have a money cup sitting out for donations to keep refilling the fridge.

4)      Dress Code: in some jobs, people feel more professional and work harder when they are dressed to impressed. This may be the case when giving multiple presentations or interacting with clients regularly. However, in some offices, employees sit at a computer all day and would feel more comfortable working in casual clothes. Find a dress code that makes sense for your business.

5)      Meetings: have regular meetings for communication purposes. This will help departments stay on track with each other and can spread new ideas. It is also important to hold cross functional meetings so that different departments can collaborate more effectively.

Remember that different companies with different processes need separate policies. See what works best for your organization and always experiment for optimal results.

Finding the best Windshield Repair or Replacement Services in your Area

Windshield Repairs in Omaha

Living in Omaha has its benefits – I do love being in the country, and the climate is also very enjoyable too.  The one downside to living in Omaha, is that I’m surrounded by heavy equipment, tractors, and other large vehicles that tend to throw gravel and other windshield damaging projectiles at directly at my car.  Unfortunately this is one part of owning a vehicle that you are going to have a hard time avoiding – regardless if you live in Omaha or elsewhere.  When the time does come to have your damaged windshield repaired or replaced, then you’re probably going to find yourself on the hunt for a glass repair company in your area.  I recently had to do this, and I was pleasantly surprised with the affordability of service, and high quality windshield repair that I received from Glass Doctor of Omaha.  For those of you in Omaha, feel free to visit their website for more information.  For those that aren’t nearby, read on to see just how I found a company that didn’t waste my time and money!

Reputation & Buying Power

Here’s one aspect that a lot of people probably don’t consider when they are window shopping for service companies.  How long that company has been in business, and how well known the company is can actually make a pretty significant difference when it comes to the price they quote you.  Some companies have over-priced services, and some-times it’s not their fault.  Smaller, less professional businesses that don’t have quite as much presence in the industry will often times have very little buying power as well.  That’s going to reflect in their price estimates, and unfortunately many customers will choose to go to a bigger, more prominent brand that can afford to give out a lower price on a repair or replacement job.

Although buying power probably isn’t a metric that we should hold high, it’s still a factor in our decisions when we think of it.  What is a major factor in the decision to choose a company for their services, is their reputation.  Thanks to platforms like Google+, Angie’s List, Yelp and more, we now have the power to express our opinions about any company in any place.  This has great benefits, as it makes it much easier for us to figure out who we shouldn’t waste our time and money on long before we ever pick up the phone.  One thing you should be on the lookout for, is an overwhelming amount of high rated reviews.  Even if they provide the best service replacing windshields in the entire country, 50 people willingly writing all 5 star reviews in a short period of time (ie a year) is highly unlikely.  Chances are, these reviews are totally fake!  To combat this, try not to gravitate towards the massive 5 star rating that we instinctually click on, and focus more on those that have negative reviews.  The more reasonable these negative reviews are, and the higher the quantity, the less likely you are going to be to enjoy their services.  Weed out those in your area with a since of negativity to their name, and then take the top 5 from your list of prospects and get some quotes.  From there, you should have more than enough information to make the right choice!

Plumbing Repair Costs

Finding a plumber that you trust can be a daunting task. Most of us have an understanding of what various car maintenance jobs should cost, because they occur relatively frequently throughout our lives. Plumbing on the other hand, only goes awry once in a blue moon (for newer homes anyway). You can always call around a get a few price quotes, but for a lot of people, it can be hard to say no to someone on the phone once they start putting on the sales tactics to get a technician out to your house. Here are a few average costs for various plumbing repairs that you might encounter.

The simplest of tasks is unclogging a drain which may or may not require snaking tools to dislodge debris a long way down the pipe. This will cost roughly $250 through the average Long Beach Plumber.

Installing a water main is typically something that would just be done during the construction of a new home, unless something catastrophic happens to the existing main. Expect to part with $1500-$1600 for a job of this nature.

It’s hard to ignore septic problems when they arise. The smell will quickly motivate you to pick up your phone and call a service professional. For a septic tank pump or cleaning, you will usually pay $450.

Installing a bathtub or shower is a little pricier and can get as high as $3500.

Water heater installations average out to $800, but ran anywhere from $400 to $1,000 in our data set.

It always helps to know the average cost so you can place a contractor’s price quote in the realm of reason. Best of luck finding a plumber near you.

Air Conditioning Coupons

If you are in the need of professional HVAC service then take the time to review these coupons Aire Serv of Las Vegas has to offer. They currently have offers on repair costs and air conditioning replacements. Aire Serv has experienced technicians that are trained to repair and install all brands of air conditioning, furnace, and HVAC systems. They also provide 24/7 emergency service to make sure you are not without heating and air in your home or business.

Aire Serv of Las Vegas is located in Henderson, Nevada, but they also provide all services for Las Vegas and Boulder City. While their technicians are not only highly qualified for HVAC service but they are also very customer service oriented. They have great reviews about how professional they conduct their business. They will provide a firm quote of service upfront and only charge for the service performed not by an hourly rate. This way you will receive the exact same price as all the other customers that Aire Serv services. Unless if you take advantage of these special offers that they are currently giving. They include the following coupons for your redemption:

Paid Repair

If you are looking to have any part of your home heating or air conditioning repaired then take advantage of this $75 off any repair coupon. This coupon is not valid with any other offer or on previous purchases. You have to present the coupon upon service and this offer expires on December 31, 2014.

Hi-Efficiency Replacement System

Aire Serv of Las Vegas is offering $851 off any hi-efficiency replacement system for homes and businesses. If you are looking to replace your home air conditioning then you will want to take advantage of this coupon. This offer is not valid with any other coupon or on previous purchased services. You have to present this coupon upon service installation and this coupon expires on December 31, 2014.

If you are interested in receiving any of these offers then visit Aire Serv’s website. You will not have to provide any information to obtain coupon. Simply go to their website and schedule an appointment with them and then claim your coupon.

Electrical Service Coupons

If you are currently in the need of an electrician or electrical contractor for your residence or business then you need to check out the offers for Mr. Electric. They are currently running specials on home surge protectors, panel upgrades, new generator installation, and electrical safety inspections. Mr. Electric of Montgomery has certified electricians to serve all of your electrical needs. They provide everything from smoke detector installation to all home wiring and panel installations.

They serve a large majority of south west Maryland including Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Potomac, Rockville, and Silver Springs. Not only do they have the most experienced electricians but they also provide the best customer service. You will not feel uncomfortable with the service man coming into your home. This is because they are very courteous and respectful of your home and family members. They go above and beyond to solve your electrical issue without damaging your home in any way. The following list is their current coupon offers for electrical service.

Whole Home Surge Protector

They are offering $50 off any whole home surge protector. Some restrictions may apply and this offer is not valid with any other offer. This coupon must be presented at the time of service and expires December 31, 2014.

Panel Upgrade

Mr. Electric is offering $100 off any panel upgrade. Some restrictions may apply and this offer is not valid with any other offers. This coupon must be presented at the time of service and expires December 31, 2014.

New Generator Installation

This company is offering $100 off any new generator installation. Some restrictions may apply and this offer is not valid with any other coupons. This coupon expires on December 31, 2014 and must be presented at the time of service.

Home Electrical Safety Inspection

This electrical company is offering FREE home electrical safety inspection. Some restrictions may apply and you can’t use this coupon with another combination of coupons. The coupon expires on December 31, 2014 and has to be presented at the time of service.

If you would like to claim any of these coupons for your next electrical service then please visit Mr. Electric’s website at www.montgomery.mrelectric.com.