Grow Your Business This Summer: Give Back and Summer-ize

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Give Back to the Community

Community projects are a great way to build your brand and give back to the community. Why not organize or sponsor a community service day or charitable event? Pick a cause that’s a good fit for your business and reach out to the media, in addition to your own marketing, to publicize it. You can also deduct certain expenses related to any volunteer work or charitable giving.

Summer-ize your Marketing Activities

From your website to your email newsletter, look for ways to incorporate summer themes and information that are relevant to your customers. Send out newsletters that showcase your summer specials, but mix it up with good content—summer fashion tips, recipes, or pet care in the heat.

Pre-order low-cost summer promotional items now. Branded goods such as Frisbees, beach balls and drink coolers will ensure your logo is in front of customers all summer long.

The above is an excerpt from the article, “Grow Your Business This Summer – 7 Marketing Tips that Won’t Break the Bank”. For more information please visit www.sba.gov.

Business Owner Burglary and Robbery Prevention Tips

buglar_fb2-shutterstock_138623291Crimes against businesses are usually crimes of opportunity. Failure to take good security precautions invites crime into a business.

Burglary Prevention

  • Make sure all outside entrances and inside security doors have deadbolt locks. If you use padlocks, they should be made of steel and kept locked at all times. Remember to remove serial numbers from your locks, to prevent unauthorized keys from being made.
  • All outside or security doors should be metal-lined and secured with metal security crossbars. Pin all exposed hinges to prevent removal.
  • Windows should have secure locks and burglar-resistant glass. Consider installing metal grates on all your windows except display windows.
  • Remove all expensive items from window displays at night and make sure you can see easily into your business after closing.
  • Light the inside and outside of your business, especially around doors, windows, skylights, or other entry points. Consider installing covers over exterior lights and power sources to deter tampering.
  • Check the parking lot for good lighting and unobstructed views.
  • Keep your cash register in plain view from the outside of your business, so it can be monitored by police during the day or at night. Leave it open and empty after closing.
  • Be sure your safe is fireproof and securely anchored. It should be kept in plain view. Leave it open when it’s empty, use it to lock up valuables when you close. Remember to change the combination when an employee who has had access to it leaves your business.
  • Before you invest in an alarm system, check with several companies and decide what level of security fits your needs. Contact your local law enforcement agency to recommend established companies. Learn how to use your system properly. Check the system daily, and run a test when closing.

Robbery Prevention

Robbery doesn’t occur as often as other crimes against businesses, but the potential for loss can be much greater from a single incident. Also, robbery involves force or threat of force and can result in serious injury or death.

  • Greet every person who enters the business in a friendly manner. Personal contact can discourage a would-be criminal.
  • Keep windows clear of displays or signs and make sure your business is well-lighted. Check the layout of your store, eliminating any blind spots that may hide a robbery in progress.
  • Provide information about your security systems to employees only on a “need-to-know” basis. Instruct your employees to report any suspicious activity or person immediately and write down the information for future reference.
  • Place cash registers in the front section of the store. This increases the chances of someone spotting a robbery in progress and reporting it to the police.
  • Keep small amounts of cash in the register to reduce losses. Use a drop safe into which large bills and excess cash are dropped by employees and cannot be retrieved by them. Post signs alerting would-be robbers of this procedure.
  • Make bank deposits often and during business hours. Don’t establish a pattern, take different routes at different times during the day. Ask a police officer to escort you to the bank whenever possible.
  • Ask local law enforcement what to do in case you are robbed. Make sure your address is visible so emergency vehicles can easily find your business.
  • If you or your employees are confronted by a robber, cooperate. Merchandise and cash can always be replaced—people can’t!
The above is an excerpt adapted from the article,”Small Business Crime Prevention.” For more information, please visit www.lapdonline.org.

Business Vehicle Insurance For Contractors

Business Vehicle Insurance

comvanYour personal auto policy probably provides coverage for some business use of your truck or other vehicle. A personal auto policy is unlikely to provide coverage, however, if the vehicle in question is used primarily in business. It will not provide coverage for any vehicle owned by a business. For those vehicles you must have a business auto policy.

Should you be driving your personal truck for a business purpose and get into an accident for which you are liable, an injured person could sue you personally. Will your personal auto policy have enough coverage to pay all the damages? If not, a lawsuit may be filed against your business. If you use personal vehicles for business, you want to be sure you have high enough limits to protect your business. You should discuss this with your insurance agent.

The above is an excerpt taken from the article, “Construction Contractors” For more information please visit www.iii.org.

During Extreme Heat

relaxing-indoors-fb-shutterstock_142344115What you should do if the weather is extremely hot:

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation.
  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Drink plenty of water; even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power during periods of extreme heat. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
The above is an excerpt adapted from the article, “Extreme Heat.” For more information, please visit www.ready.gov .

Understanding Liability Insurance for Contractors

contractors-fbkneeled_handymanSince there is always a possibility that someone will file a lawsuit against you claiming to have been harmed by your work, you will almost certainly need liability insurance.

You may want to require your subcontractors to have Owners and Contractors Protective Liability Coverage (OCP). This coverage protects either a property/businessowner or a general contractor from possible liability arising from the negligent acts of an independent contractor or subcontractor hired to perform work on behalf of the insured. The actual purchaser of the policy is the independent contractor or subcontractor, but the protection is for the benefit of the property/businessowner or general contractor for whom the work is being done.

The following is an excerpt taken from the article, “Construction Contractors” For more information please visit www.iii.org.

Before Extreme Heat

heat-fb-shutterstock_80404600To prepare for extreme heat, you should:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kitand make a family communications plan.
  • Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
  • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
  • Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
  • Keep storm windows up all year.
  • Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes.
  • Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, sick or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
  • Be aware that people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than are people living in rural areas.
  • Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.
The above is an excerpt adapted from the article, “Extreme Heat.” For more information, please visit www.ready.gov .

What is a Floater for Contractors Insurance?

contractorWhat is a Floater?

An installer’s floater covers all kinds of machinery and equipment during transit, installation and testing at the purchaser’s premises. Even building materials may be covered, but the more usual coverage is for equipment or machinery that only contractors install, such as heating or air conditioning. The policy can be written to cover a single job or on a reporting form, meaning that you provide the insurer with information about each new contract you undertake.

A contractor’s equipment floater insures any type of movable equipment not meant to move on public highways. This includes such things as cranes, cement mixers, engines or power drills.

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A tools and equipment floater covers the insured property, wherever it is used, and may include such items as hand tools, power drills, hoisting machines and power pumps.

While under construction, a building has an ever-increasing value as more of it is completed. To assure the building is covered relative to its value at the time of a loss, there is a special type of policy, known as Builders Risk Insurance. With this policy, if a tornado destroys the building when it is half finished, the policy (if it is for replacement value) covers one-half of the value the building would have had if completed. If a tornado wipes out the building when it is three-fourths finished, the policy covers three-fourths of the completed value. Alternatively, you can report an actual amount for value completed to the insurance company each month. That is the amount of coverage should a loss occur that month.

The above is an excerpt taken from the article, “Construction Contractors” For more information please visit www.iii.org.

Contractor Insurance: Property Insurance

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Your small construction business needs several of the same insurance coverages as any other business, as well as other types of insurance specific to your industry. If possible, use an insurance agent who has experience with your type of business and who works with insurance companies that specialize in construction risks. Your agent may be able to find policies that package property and liability coverages in one policy specifically to meet the needs of small construction firms.

Property Insurance

young_contractor_facing_away_looking_back

You may need property insurance to cover the real property your company owns and the personal property used in the business, such as office furnishings and computers. Your biggest personal property loss exposures, however, may involve valuable machinery and equipment that moves around from job to job and is not covered by standard property insurance. Such movable property is insured by contracts insurers call “floaters.”

The above is an excerpt taken from the article, “Construction Contractors” For more information please visit www.iii.org.

What is Extreme Heat?

extreme-heat-brow-fb-shutterstock_1179575Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.

Most heat disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat.

Conditions that can induce heat-related illnesses include stagnant atmospheric conditions and poor air quality. Consequently, people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than those living in rural areas. Also, asphalt and concrete store heat longer and gradually release heat at night, which can produce higher nighttime temperatures known as the “urban heat island effect.”

A heat wave is an extended period of extreme heat, and is often accompanied by high humidity. These conditions can be dangerous and even life-threatening for humans who don’t take the proper precautions.

The above is an excerpt adapted from the article, “Extreme Heat.” For more information, please visit www.ready.gov .

Take Action to Prevent Back Pain

backpain

Take care of your back to avoid back pain. Preventing back pain is easier than treating it.

Strengthen your back.
There are things you can do to make your back stronger and lower your risk of back pain.

If you have a health condition, your doctor can help you choose the best activities for you. Get tips on staying active with a disability.

Focus on good posture.
Good posture can help prevent back pain.

  • Try not to slouch when standing and sitting.
  • Sit up straight with your back against the back of your chair and your feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips.
  • Stand tall with your head up and shoulders back.

Find out how to have good posture while sitting at a computer.

Lift correctly.
Lift things with your legs, not your back. Keep your back straight and bend at the knees or at the hips. Get help if the load is too heavy for you to lift alone. Get more tips on safe lifting External Links Disclaimer Logo.

Watch your weight.
If you are overweight, watching your weight can help reduce the strain on your back.

Get enough calcium and vitamin D.
Getting enough calcium and vitamin D can help keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis (“os-tee-oh-puh-ROH-sis”). If you have osteoporosis, your bones are weak and more likely to fracture (break). Spine fractures from osteoporosis are a leading cause of back pain.

Prevent back injuries at work.
Protecting your back on the job can help prevent injuries. Back injuries are the most common type of workplace injury.

The above is an excerpt from the article, “Prevent Back Pain.” For more information, please visit www.healthfinder.gov.