How to Start a House Cleaning Business on a Tight Budget

“If you use Emotion and Love to drive your sales and your business, you will create Loyalty Beyond Reason. And I promise you, you will build relationships and enjoy a business that exceeds beyond your wildest expectations”

First of all, before you decide to start your cleaning business, make sure this kind of work is right for you. You will need to be in good physical condition. Cleaning is very hard strenuous work. You will need to have good customer relation skills. You will need to have basic office skills and some accounting skills.

If you are planning on leaving your full time position to start a cleaning business, make sure you have at least six months of savings. Or keep your full time job and start out part time.

Research all the aspects of the cleaning service business. From customer service to advertising, taxes, employees, insurance and bonding, what to charge and how to clean a home professionally. Cleaning your own home and cleaning professionally is totally different. Learning how to clean professionally takes a lot of time. When a client pays for your services they expect to come home and find their home spotless.

Getting those first clients takes time, persistence and patience. You will not get a hundred clients overnight.

Obtaining Those First Clients The hardest part of starting your own cleaning service is obtaining those first clients. Most clients want to know how long you have been in business and want references. The best thing to do is let clients know that, yes, you are new to the business but that you have thoroughly researched all aspects of the cleaning business and assure them that you know what you are doing and that you are quit capable of cleaning their home to their specifications. Be confident. I can’t stress this enough. Clients love to see confidence. It relieves their worries and lets them know that their home is in good hands.

References: To get a few good references when starting out, ask some friends or family members if you can clean their home for free or at a discounted rate. The sound of working for free may not be appealing but it will be worth it to get some good testimonials.

When cleaning those first homes, go for quality, not how fast you can clean the home. Cleaning efficiently takes a long time, but you will get to the point where you can do a thorough cleaning in a short time. After cleaning make sure you go back and double check all rooms to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Impress those first clients and word of mouth will spread soon.

Advertising Your company image is everything. Before you start advertising, decide what image you want to portray on your advertising material. Your image is very important. Be consistent with all your advertising. If you have a logo be sure to use it on all your advertising materials. I think it is best to have a website developed before you start advertising. When advertising, stick with the same logo and colors.

Advertise in Local Paper: Start by running a text ad in your local newspaper. Try to come up with an eye catching ad. Do not sell your services on low rates, sell your services on your quality of work and what you can do for the client that other companies don’t. There is a lot of competition in the cleaning service. You have to stand out from the rest.

Magnetic Signs or Lettering for your Vehicle: Having your business name and contact information on your vehicle is a great way to advertise. We use the vinyl lettering. The lettering looks much more professional than the magnetic signs.

Flyers: You can print nice flyers on your home computer, but I would suggest investing in some professional flyers. Hang flyers at Hair Dressers, Laundromats, Restaurants, Bakeries, Grocery Stores, etc. Put flyers on car windows at local groceries stores and businesses. You can even go door to door in neighborhoods you would like to work in. You cannot put them in mailboxes. but you can put them in the front door.

Door Hangers: Door hangers are a great way to get new clients. Pick the neighborhood you would like to work in and hang the door hangers on the doors. When people get flyers or ads in their mailbox they usually throw them away with the junk mail. But if there is a door hanger on the door they will take the time to look at it.

Business Cards: Start passing out your business cards to friends and family members. You can also ask your local businesses if you can leave some cards on their counters.

Referral Program: A great way to obtain new clients is through a referral program. Offer existing clients a discount when they refer a friend. You can give your existing clients a discount when the friend uses your services three times.

Website: These days people live very busy lives so they use the convenience of the internet to shop for the services they need. A lot of working women will shop for services while at work. Everyone that has a business should have a website. It shows clients that you are serious about your business and allows them research your business in their own time.

Cleaning Products: By using all natrual products, you can offer your clients a healthy cleaning experience and protect ourselves against harsh chemicals. Clients love the natural cleaning products with essential oils. They come home to a healthy clean home filled with the wonderful scents of aromatherapy essential oils.

Tip: Always carry hand sanitizer and wash your hands often while cleaning homes. Wear gloves when cleaning bathrooms. You will be exposed to a lot of different germs in clients homes.

Remember most customers prefer that you bring your own cleaning supplies. That way they do not have to worry about going to the store for cleaning supplies before you clean. Some customers have special cleaners for certain appliances or floors in their houses. These customers usually will have these cleaners on hand for you to use. We almost always use the customers vacuum cleaner. That way you do not have to carry a heavy vacuum from house to house.

What to Charge I mentioned earlier that you should sell your services on your quality of work and not your low rates. If your rates are too low, clients will think that your work is sub-standard and that you are not experienced. Also you want to attract the clients that can afford your services. I made the mistake of pricing my work too low when I first started out. Cleaning is hard work, charge what you are worth. As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for.”

Some companies charge by the hour, some charge by the room, some charge a flat rate per home and some charge by the square foot. I think it is better to charge by the home, not by the hour. If a client knows they have to pay one set fee, they don’t care if you take 2 hours or 5 hours. Also your clients will know what they are paying up front and won’t have to worry about added expenses.

No two houses are the same. And there is no set charge for all homes. You have to clean for awhile yourself to get some experience and to work out a system to clean efficiently. Only you know what you want and need to make. Decide what you need to make hourly to cover all expenses and still make a good profit.

A word of advise: Make sure when you start your company that you charge what you would charge if you had employees. Some people make the mistake of under charging when they start out just to get customers and then later on when they grow and need to hire help they aren’t making enough money on their houses to pay help. Don’t under price your work. Cleaning homes is very hard physical work and you didn’t get into this business to work for nothing.

New Construction Cleaning If you decide to do this type of work you will need more equipment. You will need ladders, window cleaning kits with long extensions, a shop vac, etc. These types of jobs are usually 2 to 3 person jobs. New construction cleaning requires a lot more cleaning. You may have to remove stickers and labels from windows and bathroom showers, sinks and toilets. Some require that you clean the vents to remove dust from construction work. There will be ceiling fans to clean, scrubbing floors, and cleaning woodwork to remove dust. New construction cleaning rates depend on the area you live in.

Insurance and Bonding. You need to be an honest person and somewhat personable. People will need to trust you to be in their homes. Most clients are concerned about having someone new in their house, with good reason. You should be bonded and fully insured. Liability insurance rates depend on your insurance carrier and where you are located. Each person you hire will increase your liability insurance. It’s well worth the cost. You can pay quarterly or yearly. You can purchase your bond through your local insurance company. You will need to renew the bond every year. *Note: if you hire employees and cover them under your insurance, they must be an employee on payroll and not a sub-contractor. If you employ them as a sub-contractor your insurance will not cover them. If they are a sub-contractor they are required to carry their own insurance. You

Hiring Help If you start out cleaning the homes by yourself, you will eventually get to the point where you need to expand your business. Start out with one part time employee. Train her and let her take your place one day a week. Then have her take your place 2 days a week and so on. This will give you the free time that you need to market your business and obtain more clients. After you get more clients you will be able to hire more part time help. Eventually you will be able to stop doing the cleaning yourself and just run the business end, which is the only way you will be able to grow your business. When training new employees, always, either train them yourself or have a lead person train them. Make sure there is a lead person on each and every cleaning job. Employees have a tendency to slack off when they are on their own.

Growing Your Business You will eventually get to the point where you have enough employees and lead people and you will be able to stop working in your business and start running your business. You will find that after awhile it will get to be too much trying to clean everyday and at the same time giving estimates, answering calls, scheduling, doing book work, obtaining new clients, etc.

Remember one of the most important qualifications for a cleaning service is TRUST. A client has to know they can trust you alone in their home. After you acquire a few cleaning positions ask the clients if you can use them for a reference. Most of the time they are more than willing to let you use them for a reference. This is how you build your business and acquire new clients is through referrals. Be dependable. Most clients will want to be set up on an every week or every other week schedule on the same day of the week. Try to always keep this same schedule unless the client asks you to switch to another day. If you have to cancel a cleaning date, make sure you try to reschedule at the earliest possible date to make up the cleaning.



Cash For Clunkers Pros and Cons

I’ve done some research across the Internet and gathered a list of Pros and Cons regarding the “Cash For Clunkers” program. I made a list for the individual who’s considering buying a car through the program, and also a list for the “Collective Soul”, for us to consider the overall impact in the universe, as described in this article.

So far the Pros and Cons add up to this: Individual: 4-Pro, 6-Con. Collective Soul: 6-Pro, 12-Con.

INDIVIDUAL:

Pros

1. $4,500 + other incentives you may be able to save a lot of money on a new car purchase, if you push for more incentives besides just the $4,500.

2. Less Gas. You could save a lot of money at the pump.

3. Cut down on repair costs.

4. Environment – your driving will cause less pollution.

Cons

1. Insurance – it usually costs more to insure a new car.

2. New Debt – it is wise to go into more debt in your financial situation?

3. Wasted parts – your old car will be destroyed. It’s questionable whether or not some of the parts will be recycled.

4. Value added to your old clunker. The used car market may heat up due to decreased supply. It’s possible that your used car may be worth more than the voucher after the trickle-down of this Cash for Clunkers program.

5. More gas. You might be inclined to drive more knowing that your car gets better gas mileage.

6. Comfort Zone. You KNOW your old car. And you know what repairs you’ve done to it and what’s likely to go wrong.

FOR THE COLLECTIVE SOUL:

Pros

1. Increases sales at auto dealers.

2. Surge in new-car sales to consumers who would not otherwise purchase at this time. For the upper and middle income people with good enough credit to get a car loan, gives them a down payment.

3. Old vehicles are typically less fuel-efficient than their modern counterparts, so removing them from the road and replacing them with newer cars would likely decrease individual owners’ and the nation’s consumption of oil.

4. Old vehicles typically do not run as clean as new vehicles, so removing and replacing them on our roads would likely decrease vehicle exhaust emissions, lessening the impact on the environment.

5. Old vehicles were not held to the same crash and safety standards as new cars are held to and tend to be less safe in an accident. Replacing them with newer vehicles could lead to fewer injuries and fatalities in automobile accidents.

6. Automakers are struggling right now, especially domestic automakers. Providing a financial incentive to buy new cars would likely lead to increased car sales, which would generate revenue for the automakers and help them weather the economic downturn, while stimulating the economy at the same time.

Cons

1. Artificial, unsustainable boom in auto sales.

2. Crushing those older running autos makes those parts and vehicles harder to get, and consequently more expensive.

3. Many companies build parts and upgrades for older vehicles. A reduced supply of older vehicles would adversely affect their sales.

4. The automotive restoration and customization industry relies on old cars as the basis of their products. A reduced supply of older vehicles would adversely affect their sales.

5. For lower income people, makes it harder to find and maintain an older vehicle.

6. Convincing low income people, those who drive “clunkers”, to go out and finance a new car when we are still in the midst of the consequences of easy credit in the housing market.

7. Drop in vehicle donations to charities. Some charities that rely on vehicle donations for funding say they’re receiving fewer cars and trucks, because donors change their minds and decide to trade the vehicles in on the Cash for Clunkers program.

8. Some older vehicles actually get better gas mileage than some newer ones. Replacing them would then negate any benefit to the environment or the U.S.’ oil consumption problem.

9. Encouraging consumers to scrap working vehicles could shorten the lives of cars and encourage the production of new cars, which would have a larger adverse affect on the environment that keeping the older car.

10. This proposal would not necessarily benefit the automakers that are in the worst financial shape, as there is no guarantee that consumers would use their incentive to purchase a vehicle from one of those manufacturers and not another company.

11. The program is not restricted to AMERICANS, and not restricted to AMERICAN made vehicles, but it is coming from AMERICAN taxpayer money.

12. It is costing more than $4,500 per trade-in. It is costing approximately $6,000 per vehicle, when factoring in the cost of the extra government staffing, office space rent, equipment, employees, web development, printing of forms, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_Allowance_Rebate_System



The Locksmith Trade – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Are you thinking about becoming a locksmith? Many people ask me about my profession when I arrive at a job site. The idea of working with the public, working with hand tools, making a quick buck on lock-out calls, and of course the power and ability to unlock doors, cars and safes is quite intoxicating for some people. I don’t place help wanted ads, but nevertheless I average one unsolicited résumé a month via e-mail. Usually it arrives from an eager teenager looking to do an apprenticeship. O.J.T. (on-the-job training) is a fine way to go if you can get the gig. That’s precisely how I started. That and reading every trade magazine I could get my hands on, endless hours doing research on the web, taking classes, attending trade expos, and talking with any locksmith who would take the time to chat with me (and many would, so long as I wasn’t one of their competitors). But that’s how it is for most lock jocks. Once you begin work as a locksmith it gets under your skin. It consumes you and becomes an obsession. That’s not exactly a bad thing after all; to be (God willing) financially successful at what you enjoy is a great way to pay the bills. There is, however, a price to pay that does not fit with most people’s lifestyle, and thus — the purpose of this article.

The Good: Helping the public and making a few bucks while doing it. First off, I rarely charge to unlock a car or house when there is a child locked inside. When I get the call, usually from a panicked parent declaring his or her child is locked inside a car, I rush to the scene. There are few better moments for me as a locksmith than seeing the relief in a mother’s eyes when I unlock the door and she pulls her child from a sweltering car on a warm summer day. “You’re my HERO,” she says as she holds her child close with tears in her eyes. “No charge ma’am. We don’t charge for children locked in cars. If you like, for a small fee, I can make you a copy of your car’s door key so it’s less likely to happen again.” They almost always say yes, and the payment for the key usually accompanies a tip. The “up sale” is simply to cover my gas going out on the call, and the tip, if any, buys me lunch.

The rest of my jobs are typically for-profit jobs. Still, over half of what I charge goes right back into the company in the form of gas, insurance, advertising, trade organization dues, license fees, vehicle maintenance, tools, supplies, and other expenses.

As a locksmith you will never get rich, but if you play your cards right you could retire well. The plan, as I read in a popular trade magazine, is to sell a well-established shop with a long list of customer accounts, while owning and collecting rent on the property the shop sits on. It’s even better if you own an entire complex and collect rent from your shop’s neighbors, too. I personally know a retired locksmith who did exactly this and I understand he is doing quite well for himself.

Many locksmiths make and sell tools and/or reference books, or teach classes (as I do) to supplement their income.

The Bad: Being on call 24/7. After-hours and weekend service can account for a large part, if not most when first starting out, of your income. Then there are the late night calls. 2am, half drunk and he can’t find his car keys: “I’m sorry sir — I can’t help you drive your car tonight, but if you call me in the morning I will be happy to assist you.”

The locksmith industry is a highly regulated (but necessarily so) security industry. The licenses, insurances, and bonds you have to carry can cost a small fortune. I have a city business license, a state locksmith license, a State Contractor’s License for lock and security work, two insurance policies (general liability and commercial vehicle insurance), two different bonds, and I am a member of two major national trade organizations. In California, you need to be fingerprinted and pass State and Federal background tests. I am also a member of some local organizations including the Chico Chamber of Commerce and the North Valley Property Owner’s Association.

The cost of running a business like this can be overwhelming and there is always another tool you need to buy, another software update, or replacement parts/tools that need to be ordered. I am currently saving up for a high security key machine that retails for $5,800.

Let’s not forget the paperwork. You will need to keep legal forms for customers to fill out and detailed records of who, what, where and when. The last thing you want to do is make keys to a car or house for someone who does not have authority to hold a key to that property.

Lastly, buy a nice shirt and tie because there is a good chance you will find yourself in a court of law before long for, among other things, domestic disputes.

The Ugly: Evictions, repossessions (R.E.O.’s), and re-keys after a domestic dispute. There are few things as humbling in this profession as writing a bill for after-hours service and handing the new keys over to someone wearing a fresh black eye. I vividly remember one woman who was standing next to a hole in the drywall where her head was forcibly inserted only a few hours earlier. The local sheriffs know me because it’s not uncommon to perform the re-key and security checks while they are still there, filling out their report.

Can you say fleas? Yep, now I keep flea powder in the van because you never know what condition a recently foreclosed house will be in.

Angry former tenants who have been kicked out can also present a challenge. Sometimes the locks are disabled or destroyed, and I keep latex gloves in the van in case I ever have to pick open another lock that has been urinated on.

The bottom line: I am quite happy being a locksmith, most of the time. The pay, the freedom of the job (I can leave my schedule open if my kids have a school event), and the satisfaction of helping people while making a profit for myself keeps me going.

My advice to you:

1. Do your research before entering the market as a locksmith. My town has too many locksmiths per capita. There is barely enough work to go around much of the time.

2. Get on with another locksmith and be willing to relocate, as you may be required to sign a “no compete” contract saying you will not leave to be your boss’s competitor. Locksmith schools are okay, but a seasoned locksmith can show you some tricks of the trade that can help you make higher profits or perform jobs better and quicker than the basic skills taught in most schools.

3. Be willing to pay your dues. It will take many years to build up a customer base, and a name for yourself. A wise locksmith once told me it takes at least three years before they (the customers) know you’re there, and seven before they notice you are gone.

4. When you start out on your own, get an easy to recognize logo and put it on everything: your van, invoices, pens to hand out, and every other piece of advertising (see our logo below).

5. C.Y.A. Document everything and have pre-printed, professionally prepared, legal forms for your customers to fill out.

6. Don’t get too carried away. If you have other obligations, like a spouse and/or kids, make sure to make time for them. It’s hard to turn the phone off, or turn down calls because you’re turning away money, but you can’t get back the days you miss.

A former employer of mine occasionally tells the story of how he made $2,000 in one weekend dispatching calls to his on-call locksmith, while he was on a boat on Lake Shasta with his wife. It was a rare weekend vacation for them and he spent a good part of the day on the phone. She died of cancer two short years later, and he later told me he would give just about anything to have that day back. I know this story personally as I was the on-call employee that weekend.

To quote Uncle Ben (from Spider-Man, the movie): “With great power comes great responsibility.” The ability to unlock doors, bypass alarm systems, unlock safes, and the inside knowledge of customers’ security systems has been the downfall of unscrupulous locksmiths. In short, if you can’t handle the temptation, don’t pursue the profession.

Finally: Never take advantage of someone. Like Grandpa always said, it can take a lifetime to build up a good reputation but only a moment to ruin it.

Good luck in whatever you decide — unless, of course, you are planning to open a lock shop in my service area.



Security Tips for an Empty Property

Let’s assume that you have agreed to complete a house sale transaction on the Friday but decide to get a head start by moving your items out a few days or so before.

It’s not always something to undertake lightly because things can go wrong right up to the final seconds of legal ‘completion’ – so do discuss matters fully with your solicitor and take their advice. Even so, this is far from unknown and might sometimes make sense for logistical reasons if you and your purchasers have agreed so.

If you do go forward on this basis, there are three REALLY important things to remember though:

  • even though you’ve moved out, the property is still legally yours and YOU are responsible for maintaining insurance on it right up until final completion;
  • given how attractive unoccupied properties are to thieves, vandals and squatters, you may need to take special precautions to keep it secure until the new owners take possession;
  • you may need to close off some utility services.

On the first point, you’ll probably find that your existing buildings insurance will continue to cover your property while it’s unoccupied but only up to a specified number of consecutive days (usually 30-45). That’s fine for a typical holiday and it shouldn’t be a problem in this context of a few days while changing owners but check your policy anyway to be sure.

Be clear also that your policy doesn’t have special conditions relating to ’empty’ (i.e. unfurnished) versus unoccupied but furnished. That can happen sometimes.

As to the second point, burglars prefer unoccupied properties. There’s far less chance of them being discovered and even if you’ve emptied the property, they’ll find something to steal. Vandals will just enter empty property to smash and wreck things because they think it’s ‘fun’ and squatters, though less of a problem these days than previously, can do so just to make what to them is some sort of political point.

Your insurance policy might state certain minimum additional security provisions you’ll be expected to make in situations where you’re emptying out your house. You’ll need to check your policy to be sure of the specifics but expect comments in areas such as:

  • using additional bolts and deadlocks;
  • making sure that a light or two is left on a timer switch;
  • making sure curtains and blinds are not removed from windows.

It’s possible you can find some good empty property security tips online or in some cases, your movers might also be able to offer some advice.

Your policy might also specify that while your property is unoccupied, you must take certain steps such as shutting off water and gas. That’s because (e.g.) a leak you might notice while living there, will go unnoticed if your property’s empty.

Why might insurers stipulate such conditions?

Well, it’s because the unfortunate fact of the matter is that your property is typically at much higher risk of these sorts of troubles when you’re not living there. Insurers know that and might like to see you reducing your risks as much as possible.

It’s worth checking these things and don’t just ignore them. That’s because if a problem arises on your property in between you moving out and the new owners moving in, you might find it becomes ‘tricky’ with a claim unless you’ve fully complied with the policy’s conditions relating to ‘in transit’ cover.



Health Care Reform – Why Are People So Worked Up?

Why are Americans so worked up about health care reform? Statements such as “don’t touch my Medicare” or “everyone should have access to state of the art health care irrespective of cost” are in my opinion uninformed and visceral responses that indicate a poor understanding of our health care system’s history, its current and future resources and the funding challenges that America faces going forward. While we all wonder how the health care system has reached what some refer to as a crisis stage. Let’s try to take some of the emotion out of the debate by briefly examining how health care in this country emerged and how that has formed our thinking and culture about health care. With that as a foundation let’s look at the pros and cons of the Obama administration health care reform proposals and let’s look at the concepts put forth by the Republicans?

Access to state of the art health care services is something we can all agree would be a good thing for this country. Experiencing a serious illness is one of life’s major challenges and to face it without the means to pay for it is positively frightening. But as we shall see, once we know the facts, we will find that achieving this goal will not be easy without our individual contribution.

These are the themes I will touch on to try to make some sense out of what is happening to American health care and the steps we can personally take to make things better.

  • A recent history of American health care – what has driven the costs so high?
  • Key elements of the Obama health care plan
  • The Republican view of health care – free market competition
  • Universal access to state of the art health care – a worthy goal but not easy to achieve
  • what can we do?

First, let’s get a little historical perspective on American health care. This is not intended to be an exhausted look into that history but it will give us an appreciation of how the health care system and our expectations for it developed. What drove costs higher and higher?

To begin, let’s turn to the American civil war. In that war, dated tactics and the carnage inflicted by modern weapons of the era combined to cause ghastly results. Not generally known is that most of the deaths on both sides of that war were not the result of actual combat but to what happened after a battlefield wound was inflicted. To begin with, evacuation of the wounded moved at a snail’s pace and this caused severe delays in treating the wounded. Secondly, many wounds were subjected to wound care, related surgeries and/or amputations of the affected limbs and this often resulted in the onset of massive infection. So you might survive a battle wound only to die at the hands of medical care providers who although well-intentioned, their interventions were often quite lethal. High death tolls can also be ascribed to everyday sicknesses and diseases in a time when no antibiotics existed. In total something like 600,000 deaths occurred from all causes, over 2% of the U.S. population at the time!

Let’s skip to the first half of the 20th century for some additional perspective and to bring us up to more modern times. After the civil war there were steady improvements in American medicine in both the understanding and treatment of certain diseases, new surgical techniques and in physician education and training. But for the most part the best that doctors could offer their patients was a “wait and see” approach. Medicine could handle bone fractures and increasingly attempt risky surgeries (now largely performed in sterile surgical environments) but medicines were not yet available to handle serious illnesses. The majority of deaths remained the result of untreatable conditions such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, scarlet fever and measles and/or related complications. Doctors were increasingly aware of heart and vascular conditions, and cancer but they had almost nothing with which to treat these conditions.

This very basic review of American medical history helps us to understand that until quite recently (around the 1950’s) we had virtually no technologies with which to treat serious or even minor ailments. Here is a critical point we need to understand; “nothing to treat you with means that visits to the doctor if at all were relegated to emergencies so in such a scenario costs are curtailed. The simple fact is that there was little for doctors to offer and therefore virtually nothing to drive health care spending. A second factor holding down costs was that medical treatments that were provided were paid for out-of-pocket, meaning by way of an individuals personal resources. There was no such thing as health insurance and certainly not health insurance paid by an employer. Except for the very destitute who were lucky to find their way into a charity hospital, health care costs were the responsibility of the individual.

What does health care insurance have to do with health care costs? Its impact on health care costs has been, and remains to this day, absolutely enormous. When health insurance for individuals and families emerged as a means for corporations to escape wage freezes and to attract and retain employees after World War II, almost overnight a great pool of money became available to pay for health care. Money, as a result of the availability of billions of dollars from health insurance pools, encouraged an innovative America to increase medical research efforts. More Americans became insured not only through private, employer sponsored health insurance but through increased government funding that created Medicare and Medicaid (1965). In addition funding became available for expanded veterans health care benefits. Finding a cure for almost anything has consequently become very lucrative. This is also the primary reason for the vast array of treatments we have available today.

I do not wish to convey that medical innovations are a bad thing. Think of the tens of millions of lives that have been saved, extended, enhanced and made more productive as a result. But with a funding source grown to its current magnitude (hundreds of billions of dollars annually) upward pressure on health care costs are inevitable. Doctor’s offer and most of us demand and get access to the latest available health care technology in the form of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostic tools and surgical procedures. So the result is that there is more health care to spend our money on and until very recently most of us were insured and the costs were largely covered by a third-party (government, employers). Add an insatiable and unrealistic public demand for access and treatment and we have the “perfect storm” for higher and higher health care costs. And by and large the storm is only intensifying.

At this point, let’s turn to the key questions that will lead us into a review and hopefully a better understanding of the health care reform proposals in the news today. Is the current trajectory of U.S. health care spending sustainable? Can America maintain its world competitiveness when 16%, heading for 20% of our gross national product is being spent on health care? What are the other industrialized countries spending on health care and is it even close to these numbers? When we add politics and an election year to the debate, information to help us answer these questions become critical. We need to spend some effort in understanding health care and sorting out how we think about it. Properly armed we can more intelligently determine whether certain health care proposals might solve or worsen some of these problems. What can be done about the challenges? How can we as individuals contribute to the solutions?

The Obama health care plan is complex for sure – I have never seen a health care plan that isn’t. But through a variety of programs his plan attempts to deal with a) increasing the number of American that are covered by adequate insurance (almost 50 million are not), and b) managing costs in such a manner that quality and our access to health care is not adversely affected. Republicans seek to achieve these same basic and broad goals, but their approach is proposed as being more market driven than government driven. Let’s look at what the Obama plan does to accomplish the two objectives above. Remember, by the way, that his plan was passed by congress, and begins to seriously kick-in starting in 2014. So this is the direction we are currently taking as we attempt to reform health care.

  1. Through insurance exchanges and an expansion of Medicaid,the Obama plan dramatically expands the number of Americans that will be covered by health insurance.
  2. To cover the cost of this expansion the plan requires everyone to have health insurance with a penalty to be paid if we don’t comply. It will purportedly send money to the states to cover those individuals added to state-based Medicaid programs.
  3. To cover the added costs there were a number of new taxes introduced, one being a 2.5% tax on new medical technologies and another increases taxes on interest and dividend income for wealthier Americans.
  4. The Obama plan also uses concepts such as evidence-based medicine, accountable care organizations, comparative effectiveness research and reduced reimbursement to health care providers (doctors and hospitals) to control costs.

The insurance mandate covered by points 1 and 2 above is a worthy goal and most industrialized countries outside of the U.S. provide “free” (paid for by rather high individual and corporate taxes) health care to most if not all of their citizens. It is important to note, however, that there are a number of restrictions for which many Americans would be culturally unprepared. Here is the primary controversial aspect of the Obama plan, the insurance mandate. The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided to hear arguments as to the constitutionality of the health insurance mandate as a result of a petition by 26 states attorney’s general that congress exceeded its authority under the commerce clause of the U.S. constitution by passing this element of the plan. The problem is that if the Supreme Court should rule against the mandate, it is generally believed that the Obama plan as we know it is doomed. This is because its major goal of providing health insurance to all would be severely limited if not terminated altogether by such a decision.

As you would guess, the taxes covered by point 3 above are rather unpopular with those entities and individuals that have to pay them. Medical device companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors and insurance companies all had to “give up” something that would either create new revenue or would reduce costs within their spheres of control. As an example, Stryker Corporation, a large medical device company, recently announced at least a 1,000 employee reduction in part to cover these new fees. This is being experienced by other medical device companies and pharmaceutical companies as well. The reduction in good paying jobs in these sectors and in the hospital sector may rise as former cost structures will have to be dealt with in order to accommodate the reduced rate of reimbursement to hospitals. Over the next ten years some estimates put the cost reductions to hospitals and physicians at half a trillion dollars and this will flow directly to and affect the companies that supply hospitals and doctors with the latest medical technologies. None of this is to say that efficiencies will not be realized by these changes or that other jobs will in turn be created but this will represent painful change for a while. It helps us to understand that health care reform does have an effect both positive and negative.

Finally, the Obama plan seeks to change the way medical decisions are made. While clinical and basic research underpins almost everything done in medicine today, doctors are creatures of habit like the rest of us and their training and day-to-day experiences dictate to a great extent how they go about diagnosing and treating our conditions. Enter the concept of evidence-based medicine and comparative effectiveness research. Both of these seek to develop and utilize data bases from electronic health records and other sources to give better and more timely information and feedback to physicians as to the outcomes and costs of the treatments they are providing. There is great waste in health care today, estimated at perhaps a third of an over 2 trillion dollar health care spend annually. Imagine the savings that are possible from a reduction in unnecessary test and procedures that do not compare favorably with health care interventions that are better documented as effective. Now the Republicans and others don’t generally like these ideas as they tend to characterize them as “big government control” of your and my health care. But to be fair, regardless of their political persuasions, most people who understand health care at all, know that better data for the purposes described above will be crucial to getting health care efficiencies, patient safety and costs headed in the right direction.

A brief review of how Republicans and more conservative individuals think about health care reform. I believe they would agree that costs must come under control and that more, not fewer Americans should have access to health care regardless of their ability to pay. But the main difference is that these folks see market forces and competition as the way to creating the cost reductions and efficiencies we need. There are a number of ideas with regard to driving more competition among health insurance companies and health care providers (doctors and hospitals) so that the consumer would begin to drive cost down by the choices we make. This works in many sectors of our economy but this formula has shown that improvements are illusive when applied to health care. Primarily the problem is that health care choices are difficult even for those who understand it and are connected. The general population, however, is not so informed and besides we have all been brought up to “go to the doctor” when we feel it is necessary and we also have a cultural heritage that has engendered within most of us the feeling that health care is something that is just there and there really isn’t any reason not to access it for whatever the reason and worse we all feel that there is nothing we can do to affect its costs to insure its availability to those with serious problems.

OK, this article was not intended to be an exhaustive study as I needed to keep it short in an attempt to hold my audience’s attention and to leave some room for discussing what we can do contribute mightily to solving some of the problems. First we must understand that the dollars available for health care are not limitless. Any changes that are put in place to provide better insurance coverage and access to care will cost more. And somehow we have to find the revenues to pay for these changes. At the same time we have to pay less for medical treatments and procedures and do something to restrict the availability of unproven or poorly documented treatments as we are the highest cost health care system in the world and don’t necessarily have the best results in terms of longevity or avoiding chronic diseases much earlier than necessary.

I believe that we need a revolutionary change in the way we think about health care, its availability, its costs and who pays for it. And if you think I am about to say we should arbitrarily and drastically reduce spending on health care you would be wrong. Here it is fellow citizens – health care spending needs to be preserved and protected for those who need it. And to free up these dollars those of us who don’t need it or can delay it or avoid it need to act. First, we need to convince our politicians that this country needs sustained public education with regard to the value of preventive health strategies. This should be a top priority and it has worked to reduce the number of U.S. smokers for example. If prevention were to take hold, it is reasonable to assume that those needing health care for the myriad of life style engendered chronic diseases would decrease dramatically. Millions of Americans are experiencing these diseases far earlier than in decades past and much of this is due to poor life style choices. This change alone would free up plenty of money to handle the health care costs of those in dire need of treatment, whether due to an acute emergency or chronic condition.

Let’s go deeper on the first issue. Most of us refuse do something about implementing basic wellness strategies into our daily lives. We don’t exercise but we offer a lot of excuses. We don’t eat right but we offer a lot of excuses. We smoke and/or we drink alcohol to excess and we offer a lot of excuses as to why we can’t do anything about managing these known to be destructive personal health habits. We don’t take advantage of preventive health check-ups that look at blood pressure, cholesterol readings and body weight but we offer a lot of excuses. In short we neglect these things and the result is that we succumb much earlier than necessary to chronic diseases like heart problems, diabetes and high blood pressure. We wind up accessing doctors for these and more routine matters because “health care is there” and somehow we think we have no responsibility for reducing our demand on it.

It is difficult for us to listen to these truths but easy to blame the sick. Maybe they should take better care of themselves! Well, that might be true or maybe they have a genetic condition and they have become among the unfortunate through absolutely no fault of their own. But the point is that you and I can implement personalized preventive disease measures as a way of dramatically improving health care access for others while reducing its costs. It is far better to be productive by doing something we can control then shifting the blame.

There are a huge number of free web sites available that can steer us to a more healthful life style. A soon as you can, “Google” “preventive health care strategies”, look up your local hospital’s web site and you will find more than enough help to get you started. Finally, there is a lot to think about here and I have tried to outline the challenges but also the very powerful effect we could have on preserving the best of America’s health care system now and into the future. I am anxious to hear from you and until then – take charge and increase your chances for good health while making sure that health care is there when we need it.



Preparation of Profit and Loss Account

Explanation of Certain items of Profit and Loss Account

1. Salaries

Salaries are paid for the services of employees and are debited to profit and loss ac- count being indirect expense. If any salary has been paid to proprietor or partners, it should be shown separately because it requires special treatment at the time of income tax assessment.

2. Salaries and Wages

When wages account is included with salaries it treated is as indirect expense and is taken into profit and loss account.

3. Rent

Rent of the office shop showroom or godown is an indirect expense and so is debited to profit & loss account. However, rent of factory is debited to trading account. When a part of the building has been sublet the rent received should be shown on the credit side of profit and loss account as a separate item.

4. Rates and Taxes

These are levied by the local authorities to meet public expenditure. It being an indirect expenditure is shown on the debit side of profit and loss account.

5. Interest

Interest on loan, overdraft or overdue debts is payable by the firm. It is an indirect expense; so debited to profit and loss account. Interest on loan advanced by the firm on depositor investments is an income of the firm and so is credited to the profit and loss account.

If business has paid any interest on capital to its proprietor or partners it should also be debited in the profit and loss account but separately because this item needs special treatment at the time of income-tax assessment.

6. Commission

In business sometimes agents are appointed to effect sales, who are paid commission as their remuneration. So this being a selling expenses is shown on the debit side of profit and loss account. Sometimes commission is also paid on purchases of goods, such ‘as expense should be debited in the trading account. Sometimes the firm can also act as an agent to the other business houses and in such cases it receives commission from them. Commission so received is shown on the credit side of profit and loss account.

7. Trade Expenses

They are also termed as ‘sundry expenses’. Trade expenses represent expenses of such a nature for which it is not worthwhile to open separate accounts. Trade expenses are not taken to trading account.

8. Repairs

Repairs to the plant, machinery, building are indirect expenses are treated expense and are debited to profit and loss account..

9. Traveling Expenses

Unless mentioned otherwise, traveling expenses are treated as indirect expenses and are debited to profit and loss account.

10. Horse & stable Expenses

Expenses incurred for the fodder of horses and wages paid for looking after stable are treated as indirect expenses and debited to profit and loss account.

11. Apprentice Premium

This is the amount charged from persons to whom training is imparted by the business. It is an income and is credited to profit and loss account. In case apprentice premium is charged in advance for two or three years, then the amount is distributed over number of years and each year’s profit and loss account is credited with its share of income.

12. Bad debts

It is the amount which could not be recovered by the trader on account of credit sales. It is a business loss, so is debited in the profit and loss account.

13. Life Insurance Premium

If the premium is paid on the life policy of the proprietor of the business; it is treated as his drawings and is shown by way of deduction from the capital account. It should not be taken to profit and loss account.

14. Insurance Premium

If insurance premium account appears in the trial balance, it stands for the insurance of the business. This is taken to profit and loss account. Insurance premium on goods purchased, factory building, factory machines are treated as direct expense and are taken to trading account.

15. Income Tax

In the case of merchant income-tax paid is treated as a personal expense and is shown by way of deduction from capital account. Income-tax in case of companies is treated differently.

16. Discount allowed and Received

Discount is a reward for prompt payment. It is belief to show discount received and discount allowed separately on the credit and debit side of profit and loss account respectively instead of showing the net balance of this account.

17. Depreciation

Depreciation is a loss incurred on account of use of fixed assets in the business. Generally, it is charged from profit and loss account at a fixed percentage. The students should exercise great care as regards the rate of depreciation. If rate is without words ‘per annum’, then the rate will be taken irrespective of the period of accounts. This is very important when the period of accounts is less than one year. On the other hand, if the rate of depreciation is ‘per annum’ the depreciation should be calculated on the assets with due consideration to the period for which the asset has been used in business during the year. In case of additions to assets during the year, it is advisable to ignore depreciation on additions if the date of additions is not given. Same rule shall hold good for the sale of assets during the year.

18. Stock at the end appearing in the trial balance.

It is important to emphasize the rule that balance appearing in the trial balance is taken to one and only one place. It may either be trading account or profit and loss account or balance sheet. Since stock at the end is an asset, it will betaken to balance sheet. On the other hand, so long as there is stock in trade, account for that must be kept open and thus be taken to the assets side of balance sheet.



Disadvantages of Some News Media

News media are the tools that are used in order for us to acquire knowledge about everything that happens around us everyday. These may be political news, insurance news or even sports, but all of these play a very important role upon completing our day. They are pieces of information that equips us with a complete knowledge in order to help us cope up with our daily tasks and duties. However, these tools for dispersing news have their own set of disadvantages and here they are.

  1. Newspapers – Despite the fact that this is the most popular source of news, it has the largest disadvantage. The information that was reported earlier could possibly be different from the news in the evening. Also, even though newspaper is the most convenient medium, you have to stack them away after you read it which may possibly be a cause of fire because newspapers are one of those things that could attract fire very easily. Another thing is, posting advertisements in these papers requires a big amount of money therefore the advertiser needs to cut the message as short as it could be. Cutting the message short could sometimes lead to misconception of the readers.

  2. Magazines – These glossy newspaper-like mediums are expensive and cannot be afforded by everyone and like the newspaper, all of the information posted there costs a lot that is why almost all the news in it are summarized and cut short.

  3. Television – Although the television is considered the most preferred news medium by everybody, they still create an impact to our society especially to children. Televising violent actions, robbery, criminal acts and many more may pollute the minds of children and make them think that violence is a normal thing in our world. That is why parents should always accompany their children when watching these programs so that they could explain to them what is really happening around them. Another disadvantage is we can never be sure whether the news that they are reporting are pure facts. Always keep in mind that these news programs belong to certain channels that protect specific parties. That is why they have all the power to manipulate and reverse what really happened if they want. This fact can lead to the total confusion of the viewers that may even lead to war.

  4. Internet – We can get all sorts of things from the World Wide Web and like the television, we can never be sure of the information that we are getting. Leaving the children alone in front of a computer is like leaving them outside the open world where violence and evil deeds are continuously done.



4 Hot Sex Tips – Giving Her An Orgasm By Sucking Her Breasts and Stroking Her Deep Vaginal Spot

If you want to get your woman totally hot and bothered you can do it by starting her out with breast orgasms and then totally sending her into orbit with some volcanic eruptions on her deep vaginal spot. Her body will convulse, shake, quiver, and pulsate for a long time as you suck her breasts. and stroke her deep spot! It’s quite easy to accomplish this but it not what most men think it is. You have to change your thinking to get the best results! Just follow these 4 simple steps!

Step One. It is always important to get the woman in the right mood for love. There’s many songs and poems written about this subject. She must be relaxed and feel safe. Remember, women give sex for love. So, give your woman as much love and adoration as possible.

Step Two. Don’t just go in for the gusto by sucking her breasts or stroking her deep spot. You need to take this step by step. What woman doesn’t like hugging and kissing?

A great make out and kissing session is mandatory. The hotter you can get it, the better.

Step Three. Once she is whimpering and has asked you to suck her breasts or actually taken her hands and put them on her boobs, then you know that it is the right time. Don’t do it prematurely. It shows bad taste, that you are an amateur, and that you don’t really care for her. Besides, it’s fun to make her wait for it. Anticipation is everything.

Don’t go for the nipple right away. Again, tease her and make her wait for it.

You can stroke, kiss, and lick the other parts of her globes. Once you finally do touch her nipples – and you should touch them with a very light touch – make sure than it is an intermittent touch.

Tease her nipples for a few minutes until she starts with deep moaning and wants more. Remember, the woman will always either tell you she wants more or give you clues that are hard to ignore.

Once you get that feedback, suck her breasts and nipples harder and harder. You want to duplicate an in and out movement that will drive her nuts.

Remember, that she has a nerve in her nipple that connects to her clitoris. Suck her nipples hard enough, without hurting her, that the sensation travels all the way down.

This may take 5 to 30 minutes. But it will be an exciting time. Most women can have a breast orgasm if you do it correctly. Remember, that practice makes perfect.

Step Four. Once she has either had a nice breast climax or is so hot she can’t stand it then you should go down to her vagina.

The deep spot is located 8 inches inside at the top of her vagina. So you must either stroke with your penis and hit it directly or stroke her powerfully enough that the movements cause a ripple effect that reaches her deep spot. The third way you can get it is by your hot emission of semen.

The best position to reach this spot is where you are sitting on a chair and she is straddling you and leaning back. In this way she can control the angle and the penetration.

Try this out and get her feedback. Within a few sessions you should be getting her both types of orgasms. It will be worth your time to try this. She’ll love you for it!

Remember, the more successful orgasmic combinations that you know and can employ, the more fun that you will have.



UB04 Form – What is a UB04 Form, Where Do I Get One, and How Do I Fill it Out?

Do you need to get a UB04 form completed for an insurance company?  What is a UB04 form?  Where do you find one?  And how do you fill it out?  We run across these questions often in the world of medical billing.  Most medical health insurance claims are filed on CMS 1500 forms (sometimes called HCFA forms).  These are more common to most people.   Many billers don’t know when to use the CMS forms and when to use the UB 04 forms.

The UB04 claim form is used by facilities rather than physicians for their health insurance billing.  Hospitals, rehabilitation centers, ambulatory surgery centers, clinics, etc need to bill their services on the UB04 form in order to get paid.  Physician billing is done on the CMS 1500 claim forms. 

Every once in awhile we get a call from a person who is trying to get an insurance claim paid and they are told by the insurance company that they must file the claim on a UB04 claim form.  These people don’t have a clue what this form is or how to complete it.  They may have had to admit a loved one into a drug and alcohol rehab facility and now find that the facility doesn’t participate with their insurance plan.  These facilities often don’t file UB04 forms and can not help the family get reimbursed by the insurance company.

Many times the family has paid up front for the services of the facility and are now trying to get the insurance company to reimburse them.  The insurance policy may pay out of network but the claim must be filed correctly on a UB04 form.  Often times people are trying to collect many thousands of dollars on the claim.  Required fields on the UBO4 form include rev codes, value codes and type of bill.  What do you put in these fields?   These forms can be very confusing.  Where do you get the correct information to complete the forms?  And which fields are required on the form?  If the facility does not have a UB04 form to fill out, where do you get one? 

Unfortunately the answers are not easy.  The Rev codes represent the procedure codes.  The type of bill is a three digit number that represents the type of facility, the bill classification and the frequency of the bill.  The value codes are required fields only in certain situations.  It is very difficult to complete these forms correctly without previous experience or proper training.  Another catch is that the forms were changed in May 2007 to allow for use of the NPI number.  You must understand NPI numbers completely to determine where you should be entering an individual NPI number or a group NPI number.  And when you try to find UB04 forms for sale, you find they are available in boxes of 2500.

If you find yourself needing to file a claim on a UB04 form and don’t know what you are doing, make sure you look into it fully.  Claims are often denied time after time for information being incomplete or incorrect.  If your claim is for a lot of money, you may not want to wait months for payment.

Copyright November 2008 – Alice Scott



Protection Against Critical Illness

Much as we may like this not to happen, critical illness is a life risk that can catch up with anyone. The cases of cancer are on the rise and so is other diseases like AIDS. And more so in today’s times, when many of our eating and living habits may not be considered very healthy, lifestyle disorders such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. are always a lingering risk. However, with advances in medical sciences and treatments, chronic patients now have hope.

At times, there can be this grave misfortune of contracting a serious disease like cancer in childhood. Official statistics put the count around 1500 cases of childhood cancer in Great Britain last year.

Such figures can be threatening to our sense of well-being. One thing can provide you security though. That is critical illness insurance which means getting yourself insured and protected against such an eventuality. This can provide you cover for your major expenses incurred in case of any health-related misfortune. Alternatively, such a policy may even be complementary to your main insurance policy that you get for yourself and your family.

Heart attack and cancer rank among the major insurance claims. Many of the critical illness that many people face is age-related. Ageing is a natural process and cannot be helped. An insurance cover always acts as solid protection against such inevitable eventualities.

If you go for an critical illness cover, always take the time to study the quotes of different agencies and try to understand and be clear on what will cover what. Decide on the areas where you might require potential treatment. You can directly call insurers or meet them for face-to-face quotes and details of coverages. Another good option is to seek quotes online. Chances are that you might be secure an insurance cover at competitive rates.