Thursday, March 16, 2017
ROWLETT -- An effort is underway in the Texas House of Representatives to protect storm victims from roofers with big promises and shoddy work.
On December 26, 2015, a tornado left Joyce Ghormley's house with significant damage. Desperate to get their kids back home, she and her husband hired a contractor to do their roof and more. They say he was a friend of a friend.
"We thought this was someone we could trust, they’re local and we felt confident with using someone that we thought we kind of knew," she said.
Their instincts would be wrong, when two and a half months later, they say their $17,000 new roof had a faulty chimney, broken rafters, and cracks big enough to let daylight in.
"Honestly at one point we thought about just letting our house go," said Ghormley.
That meant more frustration on top of already serious stress, and their story is one of many.
State Representative Giovanni Capriglione serves parts of Tarrant County.
"I’ve just heard from countless constituents that have quite frankly lost their money and have had really bad workmanship when they’ve had their roofs repaired," he said.
This month, he introduced House Bill 3293, that would create a state certification for roofers.
"Texas is one of the only states that doesn’t have a roofer’s certification," he said.
Capriglione envisions a voluntary program, where roofers could say they are state licensed if they can show they’re certified to work in Texas by the Secretary of State’s office, have enough liability insurance and pay a small fee.
The big target is fly-by-night roofers who swoop in after storms. Ghormley’s roofer was local and she did settle with him out of court. But she supports any bill that could keep people who’ve had damage to their home, from losing more.
"Anything that would help a homeowner with feeling more confident that their work will be done correctly and they have some grounds for repercussion if it’s not, that’s definitely a benefit," she said.
In Texas, some cities and counties have their own rules about what type of contractors need licenses to operate.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
The goal of any business is to increase profits every year and continue to grow. However, rising costs and a changing financial market may affect your day-to-day living as well as the profitability of your business. Thankfully, you can rely on flexible, accessible strategies to manage and increase your overall profits throughout the year.
Provide services that help you stand out
Your small business is essentially a boutique that offers similar services other businesses also provide. Take the opportunity to provide services your competitors do not offer to enhance your business prospects in the long run. For example, customers often prefer one-stop shopping over visiting multiple stores for their needs. Time is as valuable as money in today's fast-paced world; take time to ask customers what other services would assist them when they visit your business.
Cut back on expenses
There are always ways to go through your budget and cut expenses.. Some products used on a daily basis may be available at cheaper or discounted rates. Buying in bulk, for example, often results in discounts, especially if you can form a partnership with the vendor in question. If unable to store bulk items in your office, keep them in a different location until needed. Micromanaging every element about your office expenses will allow you to use that money on more profitable business aspects over time.
Reward employees who strive to increase profitability
As you find solutions to increase company profits, reward employees who show initiative by making suggestions or following your lead. Even casual rewards, such as a small gift, can go a long way, helping everyone feel motivated to work collectively toward the same goal. Always express your acknowledgment and personally thank them. This positive reinforcement and treatment ultimately leads to reciprocation, as others see the mutual benefits involved.
Get to know your customers
For many customers, the feeling that a business they frequent is almost part of their family is enjoyable and preferable. They feel like they are doing business with a good friend, rather than an organization. Always spark a friendly conversation with a customer by asking about their well-being, their family, or local events and other interests. Simple gestures can indirectly lead to increased profits, as many would choose your business over competitors.
Create a customer rewards program
There is always great joy when a customer refers other people to your business, and their gesture should be acknowledged. Advertise a rewards program offering various goodies to participants who refer others. Likewise, offer similar rewards to those who make a purchase of a certain price or frequently buy from you. If this sounds too stressful for your business goals, give the referring customer a small discount or coupon next time they come to your business.
Accommodate customers efficiently
In today's fast-paced world, customers simply lack the time to stand in line and wait to be serviced. When possible, have other employees postpone their active duties and assist in servicing others during these hectic situations. This works especially well with foot-tracked businesses, such as convenience stores and pharmacies, proving excellent and efficient customer service can gradually lead to increased company profits.
Get involved in your community
Involvement in your community can assist in recognition of your business. Donate or help with charitable events, making your brand or logo relatively visible while giving back to the community. In most cases, organizations allow you to casually advertise your business at the event through eye-catching logos and related graphical designs. Actively participate throughout the year, especially in causes that align with your company's vision.
Taking small steps can improve profitability, while simultaneously helping everyone involved. Assessing your priorities and acknowledging your audience are excellent ways to ensure your business continues to flourish for years to come
Saturday, March 4, 2017
With start-ups popping up across the country and the freelance workforce growing exponentially, modern office space is taking on a new form. We have heard of billion-dollar companies that started out in a garage in Seattle or in an Ivy League dorm room, but most entrepreneurs need a space that falls between those humble digs and an elegant downtown office. Enter the coworking space, which allows multiple businesses to operate out of the same location. If you are in need of a base for your operations, here are six benefits to joining this movement:
1. Lower office costs
The most obvious benefit of sharing an office space with other companies is a break on monthly rent. While you can expect to pay several thousand dollars to rent an office space in any major U.S. city, dedicated desks at a shared space in New York's fashionable Soho district start at just $450 per month. You will find the numbers to be more than palatable as you start out with a handful of employees. Printing, coffee, conference rooms, and 24/7 access are usually included in the price.
2. The ability to work in peace
Never underestimate the lure of your living room couch or the impact of your children in the next room when working from home. Even if you are comfortable working at home, the reality for many small business owners is that the system does not work. Busy home environments can distract you in both good and bad ways. In order to work in peace, you need a space where you can sit and talk with your team without your private life interfering with the plan of attack.
3. Positive peer pressure
Peer pressure can be a good thing when it engages your competitive spirit and encourages you to aim higher. In a coworking space, you will feel this type of pressure on a daily basis. Across the room, you may notice a rising technology company with an owner who has an effective management style. While you will most likely feel inspired by the company's early success, you may also get some pointers on how to manage a growing team. This positive impact is easily worth the monthly costs.
4. The chance to network
If you need a web designer for a site overhaul, you may be sitting across from the best in the business for your budget at a communal work space. You could even be neighbors with someone who offers you your next big client as a referral. When you are surrounded by hardworking people who know what it means to rise from the lowest level, you have the opportunity to network and grow your business in several ways. After a short period, you might consider a shared working space to be the best investment you ever made for your business.
5. A healthy work-life balance
What would you pay to not have a big project staring you in the face after the end of a 12-hour day? Divide the monthly fee for a coworking space by 30 and see if that number works. By avoiding working out of your home, you have the chance to live a more conventional life that consists of doing your work at another location and leaving it there when you return home to relax or be with your family. This benefit is priceless to small business owners.
6. A path to your next big idea
You might find more than the spirit of healthy competition when sharing a work space with other companies; you could find your next venture. Seeing another company operate with a good idea but the wrong execution tends to get entrepreneurs thinking about what they could do with such a business under their control. You will have to differentiate your own company from anything already in existence, but by sharing a work space, chances are that you will find inspiration and ideas from others in the room.