Air Conditioning Maintenance: Top Dos and Don’ts to Keep Them Running Efficiently

The benefits of following the tips outlined below are twofold: these tips will not only keep your air conditioning unit running efficiently all summer, but they will also help lower your utility bills by maximizing efficiency and saving energy.

Things You Should Do:

1. Regular Maintenance

For an air conditioning unit to stay in good condition, it is necessary to have regular maintenance scheduled. In addition to cleaning the unit, licensed, bonded and insured HVAC professional will also:

  • Inspect the bearing for wear and lubricate as needed
  • Check air filter, indoor coil and condenser coil
  • Measure amperage and voltage of the blower motor and compressor for proper operation
  • Test, calibrate and level the thermostat for proper operation
  • Inspect the electrical disconnect box for proper rating and safe installation
  • Inspect and tighten electrical wiring connections
  • Check and test capacitors
  • Check the air conditioner unit for time delay relay and isolation pads
  • Ensure the service valves are operating properly
  • Ensure there is no energy loss because of damaged ductwork
  • Inspect suction line, all fittings and blower belt

2. Checking the Filters

Because of all the dust and allergen in the air during the summer, checking the air filters is almost indispensable. You can check them once per month and replace them if they become clogged. This is especially important if you want to lower your electricity bills. The more dirt there is in the filters, the harder will your system have to work to supply the same amount of cool air to your house.

3. Ensuring the air conditioning unit is not exposed to constant sunlight

Unless the air conditioner is installed in a place that has proper shade, chances are your electricity bills are going to get ridiculously high. Since shaded spaces tend to be cooler than the surrounding air, the A/C unit is less likely to work hard to cool air and is more likely to run efficiently. So, instead of placing that bulky HVAC in just any unused corner, find a shady spot. It is one of the best of conserving energy.

Things to Avoid at All Costs

1. Improperly sized systems

When buying a new A/C unit, ensure a complete load calculation is done before the purchase to determine exactly how much cooling capacity your home needs. While bigger is not necessarily better, neither is smaller. If the air conditioner is oversized, it will constantly cycle on and off, resulting in uncomfortable temperature changes. An undersized air conditioner, on the other hand, will not have enough cooling capacity and will eventually wear itself out faster. Both oversized and undersized A/C can lead to overconsumption of energy.

Hence, you want an experienced contractor to take the measurements. Generally, he or she will do that by considering square footage, layout, insulation and load-generating appliances. The HVAC professional will then be able to recommend a perfectly sized A/C unit that will meet the cooling need of the room.

2. Keeping the air conditioning on 24/7

You may be tempted to leave the A/C unit running during the while you are off to work but having the air conditioner run full blast all day long is wasteful and will significantly blow up your electricity bill. Even if you want to come home to a cooler temperature on sticky, humid summer days, remember that a well-maintained aircon needs only a few minutes to cool your home.

Also, consider turning your air conditioner off overnight or setting a timer so it shuts off automatically during the night. This not only prevents you from wasting energy but also enables you to not sacrifice much of your comfort since your body can tolerate higher temperatures when asleep than when awake. It also means you will not wake up the next morning to freezing temperatures (temperature falls during the night).

3. Not Switching the A/C on for a long period

You should indeed avoid keeping you’re A/C running 24/7, but conversely, you don’t want to shut it down for long stretches of time. A unit that sits idle accumulates dust and mould, hence causing the condition of the A/C unit to deteriorate. While you want to save on electricity bills, you certainly do not want to pony up a huge amount of cash to have the whole unit repaired – it beats the whole purpose of trying to be cost-effective.

What you can try doing instead is having the air conditioner running for only a few minutes every other day. If you plan on going on vacation and know that your home is going to be vacant for a long period of time, consider upgrading to a WiFi thermostat. It is an innovative control device that allows homeowners to remotely control the air conditioning from long distance. No matter where you are in the world, you will be able to turn the air conditioning on and off at any time.

How to Choose the Best Kindergarten for Your Child

It’s undeniable that choosing a kindergarten program is one of the most daunting tasks for first-time parents. Not only are private day-care and kindergarten options springing up like wild mushrooms, but you have probably never entrusted your child’s welfare to a stranger before. Though it may be fine to leave them in the care of your close network of family and friends, you may not feel as comfortable to leave them with strangers, even if these people are qualified and trained professionals.  

And it’s quite normal for parents to want to place their child in the “best” school.  In an effort to ensure the welfare of their children, parents have to be particularly careful when searching for one and must consider many things.

Accredited Learning Centres

Because choosing a kindergarten for your child can be a challenging process, websites that audit and provide information about kindergartens and early learning centres have been made available to the public.

If you live in Australia, you are in luck. The Australian Government has set up the website mychild.gov.au so residents can check whether the kindergartens are accredited and have a good record. For information about kindergartens in your area, search your postcode. The website will not only generate a list of all local preschools and kindergartens but will also provide details on the quality of services. You can also use this website to find out whether the organisation meets Australian national standards.

Tips for Choosing a Kindergarten Program

1. Decide with Your Child in Mind

You know your child better than anyone and know everything about his unique personality quirks, such as caring a lot about personal hygiene and avoiding mud at all costs for example. Keep these in mind when you start the search for the best school.

i. Your child’s needs and learning style

What to consider:

  • If your child has special educational needs
  • The type of environment your child needs – Does he/she thrive in a more structured environment or a less structured one?
  • If your child needs individual attention or needs to work in a group.
  • If he or she likes challenging work.
  • Does he learn best by observing, listening, reading or participating?

ii. Your philosophy of education

What to consider:

  • The things you want for your child.
  • If you want them to get hands-on and experience things on their own.
  • If you favour a rigorous or flexible way of teaching.

iii. Location of school

What to consider:

  • If your child gets motion sickness and if he or she will be able to travel a long distance for school.
  • If you’ll have them go to school on the school bus or if you would drive them to school.

2. Find out as Much as You Can About the School

i. The curriculum

What to consider:

  • If the program covers social and emotional spheres.
  • If it involves group work.
  • If the curriculum involves teachers helping children communicate and solve problems

ii. The teachers

What to consider:

  • If the teachers think creatively. If they do, they are more likely to encourage students to do the same.
  • If the school provides teachers with additional professional training.

iii. Talk to current parents

What to consider:

  • The reason they chose that school.
  • How parents are allowed to get involved.
  • What they like and don’t like about that specific kindergarten.
  • Are they encouraged to volunteer?
  • If the school has an active parent-teacher organization.
  • If the school communicates frequently with parents.
  • If they schedule meetings and events at times parents can attend.

3. Above all, visit!

When looking for kindergartens, it is essential for you to visit first. You can either choose to attend an open house in the spring or schedule a tour. For you to have a realistic overview of how the kindergarten operates, tour during regular hours.

Here’s what you will be considering:

i. The school community

What you are looking for:

  • If the school feels welcoming.
  • If the environment suits your child’s personality.
  • If there are policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of teachers and students.

ii. The setting

What you are looking for:

  • The setting should be vibrant.
  • Children’s artwork on the walls demonstrates an overall feeling of creativity and action.

iii. Culture

What you are looking for:

  • Friendly and helpful staff in general.
  • Staff who also warm and attentive when they interact with the children.
  • For a neat and orderly school, both inside classrooms and in the yard.

iv. Students

What you are looking for:

  • The good attendance rate for students.
  • Courteous, polite and disciplined children. Their demeanour should also be happy and engaged.
  • Children who interact easily with the teachers and principal.

When your child is in an environment that promotes education in a fun setting, there are higher chances of your child enjoying the learning process. The perfect kindergarten should be able to make that happen. And once a child enjoys learning, everything else becomes easy.

Car Detailing: What Is It? What Does It Cover?

First Thing First: What Exactly Is Car Detailing?

Car detailing is not the same as car washing at all. Unlike car washing, detailed car washing can make a vehicle look spotless as an automated system is not used when cleaning the inside and outside of the vehicle. Instead, it involves meticulous step-by-step handwashing by very experienced detailers. Since it involves a thorough cleaning by hand, you can even say that detailing goes beyond the normal car wash.

Car detailing can restore your vehicle’ to its former glory and protect your investment by reconditioning both the interior and exterior of your vehicle. Most detailing companies’ services extend beyond automobiles and offer detailed car washing for motorcycles, SUVs, RVs, buses, trucks, buses, boats, and even airplanes.

Understanding the two components in car detailing:

1. Exterior Detailing

This process involves vacuuming, restoring as well as improving the exterior parts of the vehicle, including:

  1. Tires
  2. Windows
  3. Wheels
  4. Side-view mirrors

The products used will usually include (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Polishes
  • Wax
  • Detergents
  • Degreasers

2. Interior Detailing

The beauty of a car is not restricted to its exterior only. Far from it. The interior cabin of the car plays an important role in its overall look. Interior detailing is essentially cleaning the inner parts of a vehicle and requires more effort and time than exterior detailing.

Interior detailing can clean any type of fiber, such as:

  1. Leather
  2. Plastics
  3. Vinyl
  4. carbon fiber plastics
  5. natural fibers

Techniques employed include:

  1. steam-cleaning
  2. vacuuming

What to Expect from Auto Detailing?

Auto detailing can be done on a previously owned vehicle, on a vehicle you are planning on selling or on your regular car.  It can restore the car’s original beauty and make it look great again.

i. Duration

Auto detailing is a long and arduous process that requires methodical and meticulous cleaning. Depending on the condition of the vehicle, a thorough and high-quality detailing job should take anything from four to six hours to be completed.

You can either leave your vehicle at the detailer’s and pick it up after the detailing has been completed or wait there itself until the work is completed.

ii. Pricing

Reputable detail companies offer detailing work bundled into “packages.” They will have several package levels and each package has a set cost. For example, interior vacuuming, window cleaning, exterior wash, and surface polishing are considered to be basic detail options. This package should cost less compared to others. There might be an exception if your vehicle is exceedingly dirty or if there are lots of pet hair on the seats or upholstery. The company might charge an additional fee in these cases.

If you are worried about the pricing and your vehicle is extra dirty, it would be prudent to do some vacuuming yourself before dropping it off to the detailer. Additionally, local car washes might be the best option if you are cost-conscious. Dedicated detail companies would have more options and a more professional team, but it will come at a higher price.

iii. Results

While in most cases car detailers can restore the vehicle to near-mint condition, you can’t expect every detailing job to yield the same results. Even if the level of service provided is exemplary, the age or condition of the vehicle will affect the end result.  

What you can expect is for:

  • every detail of your vehicle to be cleaned, even the cracks and crevices
  • the paint to be touched up
  • the tires to be cleaned and shined
  • the vehicle to be spotless on the inside
  • the outside of the vehicle to be free of water spots

Benefits of Professional Car Detail

There are several benefits to getting a detailing done by a professional. Below are the 3 top advantages of professional car detailing:

1. Improved resale value

Everybody loves that “new car” look and smell. In addition to being well-maintained, if both the exterior and interior look as good as new, the vehicle will demand a higher selling price and will sell faster.

2. Fewer penalties to pay if the car was leased

Spills and stains happen, and you can end up being penalized for them when returning the vehicle. To avoid ponying up cash for lease-return penalties, ensure you keep up maintenance on the vehicle. This includes detailing the exterior and interior on a regular basis.

3. More Convenient

While a complete auto detail isn’t cheap, it will save you time as you can just drop off your vehicle at the dealer’s and pick it up once they have completed the cleaning and restoring. It is also convenient as it saves you from the hassle of washing, waxing, and vacuuming.

To Conclude, Here’s a Bit of Advice:

  1. Remember to check reviews to find out what other customers say about a company before considering going to them.
  2. Ask the dealer if they carry insurance that covers damage that may be caused by their employees.
  3. Remove any valuables from your vehicle before leaving it in the company’s care.
  4. Check the company’s policy on lost items. A reputable dealer should have one.

Air Filtration for A Compressed Air System

Water, oil and dust particles are all classified as contaminants. If these particles are present in compressed air, they can drastically reduce the service life and functionality of a system and its components. Moreover, contaminated compressed air is highly likely to compromise the quality of your products if it comes into contact with them. To improve both the quality of the products and the production process, you’ll need to ensure that the air preparation is done properly.

In this article, we will explain why it’s important to hire an expert to remove these contaminants from your compressor system. This will not only prevent these particles from impairing productivity and energy efficiency but will also help in extending machinery life.

 We will also outline the types of air filters and air treatment products that are available to you.  

Why Is Compressed Air Filtration Necessary?

We mentioned above that there are particles that can contaminate compressed air. These particles include dirt, water, oil and heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury.

If these contaminants are not filtered out, they will affect other components in the system. Components like valves and cylinders may end up having shorter lifespans because of poorly prepared compressed air. To prevent the contamination of control valves, to stop seals from swelling and to reduce the risks of premature wearing and tearing, it is essential to ensure that the compressed air is filtered correctly.

Filtering compressed air will not only reduce maintenance costs but also decrease machine downtime and increase productivity.

What are the Main Contaminants in Compressed Air? How Are They Removed?

Contaminants can originate from the ambient air supply or from the system itself. Different impurities affect the compressed air system differently. Below is a list of the most common types of pollutants found in compressed air:

1. Vapors

Vapor forms in the compressed air system when lubricants or any other liquid in the system evaporate and turn into a gas.

How are they removed?

Vapors are removed through a process called adsorption. It involves the use of a special carbon activated filter that helps bond the vapor with the surface of the media (adsorbent). This activated charcoal filter needs to be changed regularly.

2. Aerosols

Aerosols are by-products of lubricants, such as oil. Consisting of small droplets of liquid, not only do aerosols damage products but they can also be harmful to people.

How are they removed?

The process used to remove aerosols is called coalescing. This type of filter brings small droplets of liquid together to form larger droplets which will then fall into a moisture trap.

3. Particulates

The term ‘particulates’ is used to refer small pieces of solid material such as dust, dirt, loose metal particles and pollen.

How are they removed?

There are three ways of removing particulates:

  • The first one is called inertial impaction and involves trapping heavy particles that travel in the airstream in the fiber media.
  • The second one is called interception and is the process where smaller particles that follow the airstream gets caught by a filter media.
  • The last process is called diffusion and it takes care of small particles that do not follow the airstream but instead move erratically.

Maintaining Filter Elements

You cannot have a properly functioning system without first ensuring that all its components are adequately maintained and serviced. And there are two ways to make sure that the filters are well maintained and operate efficiently:

1. Replace the filters periodically.

You can have an air compressor supplier replace the filer components twice per year as a preventive measure.

2. Using differential pressure sensors

There are different types of pressure sensors that you can have installed. You can choose to get a filter that has a visual indicator already incorporated in it or get an electrical sensor that sends a signal to a Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC).

Now that we’ve covered the ways you can maintain your air filters, let’s look at those two methods and determine which one will serve you better. Because, yes, the difference between these two methods is significant – each of these methods has a different impact on the performance of your machine.

Replacing filter elements at regularly occurring intervals is not a good idea because several other factors, such as the quality of the air supply and hours of operation, influence their performance. This means that the components can get steadily more damaged because you waited too long to get the filters replaced. Or, on the other hand, you might be wasting money because you are replacing them despite the fact that they may still be in excellent condition.

Which is why we would recommend using differential pressure sensors. Pressure drops are signs that the filter is becoming clogged. Since these sensors measure pressure drops between a filter’s supply and output pressure, it is more reliable than just scheduled maintenance.

Who Is A Process Server and When Do You Need to Hire One?

What does a process server do?

The two ways in which legal documents are served include personal and ordinary service. Personal service in when court documents are served by a person, while ordinary service is when court documents are served by mail, fax or email. The person who serves legal documents to individuals or businesses is called a process server. The process server is not only responsible for serving court documents to defendants involved in court or legal cases but is also responsible for document recovery and court papers filing.

The legal documents they serve to defendants or individuals scheduled for court proceedings include summons, subpoenas, restraining orders, and divorce papers. While it might seem like a simple task at first glance, it is far from being easy. Process servers must be able to stay calm and impervious under any circumstance while also being persistent and patient. Knowledge about legal procedures and rules for each province is also a major part of their jobs.  

After having served the legal documents, process servers then have to submit evidence to prove that they have indeed delivered the legal papers. This evidence is called an affidavit of service. This affidavit is proof of service that has to be notarized and produced to the court representatives, investigative firms, lawyers, or to the person who contracted the service of the process server.

Why are they important?

Even the smallest mistake in the legal procedure can lead to an entire case being thrown out. Hence, process servers are necessary because they play a key role in ensuring that the due process of law is upheld and that all legal papers are served in an appropriate and highly effective manner. Unless these legal documents are served properly, it will be impossible for the court to rule on a case if the defendant were not legally made aware of it.

In addition to maintaining records to ensure that legal proceedings can occur, process servers support legal and court activities by:

1. Locating Individuals to be Served

It is the responsibility of the process server to locate the individuals involved in court cases.

  • What does this task entail?
  • It is not just about accessing public records databases to identify the defendants’ current whereabouts and contact information. Since most individuals might try to skip town to avoid process servers, the latter have to be resourceful. They will need to find innovative ways of tracking down the defendants’ new locations and also know how to approach them even if these individuals are actively trying to evade them.

2. Hand-Delivering Legal Documents

The most important task of a process server is to hand-deliver legal papers, such as summons, subpoenas, and restraining orders to individuals involved in court cases.  

  • What does this task entail?
  • The process server cannot deliver any document without first getting the verbal confirmation that the recipient is indeed the individual named in the legal document. Once the document has been remitted, the process server must then collect the individual’s signature. This will serve as proof that the document was well delivered.

3. Maintaining Delivery Records

Maintaining delivery records is a crucial part of their job as even an open and shut case can get thrown out on a technicality, such as the mishandling of information.

  • What does this task entail?
  • Process servers need to prepare reports on their deliveries, maintain accurate delivery records for all documents they handle and update their records frequently and properly. These documents may include records of signatures, which may be used by lawyers or judges.

What are the advantages of hiring a process server?

Of all the cases a law firm handles, many of them are likely not to be in its immediate area. In these cases, hiring a process server might be the best choice for both the law firm and its clients. Below is a list of reasons explaining why law firms should consider using local process servers:

1. Lower Costs

A nationwide process server will generally charge a margin for managing the serve and more for a routine service. If you hire locally for out-of-town cases, on the other hand, you will be able to save your firm and your clients hundreds of dollars.

2. Increased Efficiency

Since the papers won’t transit from one office to another, the law firm is guaranteed a faster service. Additionally, you can count on a local process server to quickly find the people in their region, even if they are trying to run away from their court summons.

3. They know the law requirements of each province

With their legal background, process servers will be familiar with the various federal law requirements in each respective province and can, hence, ensure that a court order violation does not occur.

If you don’t want to be burdened with locating the defendant and serving the documents, consider hiring a process server. As they can take on the responsibility of serving the legal documents, you will be able to concentrate on what matters most for your firm.

Easy Guide to Sorting Your Waste at Home

As global warming becomes an imminent threat to our already fragile ecosystem, any excuse for not being eco-conscious will no longer fly. Rising temperature will affect rainfall, seasons, water supply and livestock, to name only a few, all over the planet and drastically impact each and everyone’s life.

Live in an apartment and have no backyard to plant trees? Switching to a plant-based diet is difficult due to financial constraints or because of health reasons? It’s okay. From recycling at home to saving on water and electricity, there is a wide range of ways for you to contribute to protecting the environment. Since each person produces roughly 2 kilograms of waste per day, recycling might be a good place to start if you want to put in your two cents to the global initiative of saving the planet.

To recycle, start by changing the way you look at your garbage. Garbage is… well, just that: useless things for which you have no purpose. Waste, on the other hand, has immense value if properly sorted. You’ll need to know how to sort and dispose of these wastes. This post will help you put a clear disposal and recycling system in place and make the entire process much easier. Once you get used to it, you won’t even have to think about it – it will just be a knee jerk reaction.

1. Turn Your Kitchen Waste into Compost

All organic wastes should go into your compost bin. In addition to being one of the most efficient ways of making a difference, it is simple and easy to do at home. If you want to use the compost for your yard, you can build an outdoor compost bin. On top of fruit skin and vegetable remains, you can also add in twigs, weeds and dead leaves from your garden into that bin. On the other hand, if you’ll just leave the bin for pickup, simply keep a small reusable container under your kitchen sink. This makes for easy sorting and disposal of organic waste.

Start composting by following the below 3 steps:

i. Separate food from other types of waste and place them in a reusable container.
ii. Once the container is full, transfer the compost to a green bin or biodegradable garbage bag.
iii. Drop the bin on the street curb so it gets collected.

Easy, right? See! We didn’t lie!

2. Recycling Glass

Around 28 billion bottles and jars are thrown out every year by Americans only! Do your part for the environment by recycling them instead. You can either choose to repurpose the glass products and containers you have at home or place them in recycling bins, so they are recycled by a recycling plant. You also have the option of bringing them to a local bottle depot yourself for safe recycling.

Recyclers will clean and sort these glass products by color. They will then crush them before remelting them into new glass products. If you want to repurpose these bottles yourself, you can still do it. You’ll find thousands of tutorials on YouTube and DIYs projects online. Or if you want to do something much simpler, you can just clean them and use them as vases.

3. Recycling Paper Products

Paper is biodegradable and is one of the most easily recycled materials. Paper waste includes printer paper, envelopes, newspapers, magazines, cardboard, and packaging papers. Place this type of waste in a yellow/blue bag – yellow if you live in Australia or New Zealand and blue if you live in the US or UK.

Remember to flatten all cardboard, so that it takes up less space in the bin. Recyclers and recycling facilities arrange for the collection, sorting, shredding and de-inking. After the pulp is dried out, the paper is ready for reuse as newspapers, wrapping paper, and printing paper.

4. Disposing of Universal Waste

Nearly every electronic product is considered to be a universal waste. Universal waste also includes batteries, such as silver ion, lithium, and nickel-cadmium, and lamps, such as high-intensity discharge, neon, and fluorescent. Of course, general waste is not limited to only those. But the other types of waste are usually those from businesses, laboratories, and factories.

For general waste, use red, black or grey bags. Red bags are the standard for Australia and New Zealand, while black bags are used in the UK and the US. If you like in the UK, you can also use grey bags for general waste.

5. Recycling Plastic

Recycling plastic involves melting it down and purifying it before creating new products. There are 7 different categories of plastic and not all of them can be recycled. Most plastic products come with a universal recycling symbol which is a triangle consisting of three arrows going in a clockwise direction. Inside that symbol, there is a number.

Plastic made of 1) polyethylene terephthalate, 2) high-density polyethylene, 4) Low-density polyethylene and 5) Polypropylene are widely accepted by recycling programs. Polyvinyl chloride (#3), polystyrene (#6) and plastic #7, on the other hand, are generally not recyclable.

Arm yourself with a separator bin as well as blue, green, yellow and black bin bags and you are ready to start separating waste to be repurposed!

The Importance of Branding and Marketing

A brand is the sum of people’s perception of a business. Creating a brand involves showcasing the company’s products and services in the best possible light and distinguishing it from the competition. Your brand should be built as a true representation of your company’s values and what your customers can expect from you.

There are many aspects that need to come together to create a memorable brand: advertising, customer service, promotional material, reputation and logo. If you can get all these elements to work together, you should be able to create a unique and attention-grabbing profile.

Why is Branding Important?

Creating a brand is essential if you want to survive in today’s business environment. Branding can change how people see your business, which can help drive new business and increase your presence in the marketplace.

Recognition – One of the most important reasons that branding is so vital is that this is how a company becomes known to consumers. Your logo serves as the face of the company, so should be professionally designed to be powerful and memorable, ensuring instant recognition to everyone who sees it. Think of some of the most popular companies in any field, and chances are that anyone could draw a passable impression of their logo from memory.

Increasing Business ValueHaving a recognizable brand can help increase your company’s value. An established business is seen as having more leverage in the marketplace, making it a more lucrative investment opportunity that a company that no-one has ever heard of. Therefore, a strong brand can almost guarantee better financial returns from the company’s efforts towards building said brand.

Generating New Customers – Strongly branded companies have less trouble drumming up new business than companies with little to no branding. Having a strong brand gives off the impression of stability and dependability, as well as a sense of familiarity. These all contribute consumers being more likely to do business with you, and in turn generate more referrals to new customers because of the familiarity and perceived dependability of using a name they trust. Once your brand has been well-established, you will find that word of mouth will be your best and most effective form of advertisement.

Improving Employee Pride and Satisfaction – Employees need more than just work. Most employees need something to work towards. Creating a strong brand can help your employees feel like they belong to something special and they are contributing to the mission of the company. Getting your employees to truly stand the brand will ensure better job satisfaction and more pride in their work. Working for a reputable brand makes working for that company more fulfilling and enjoyable. A simple way of creating this sense of belonging among your employees is to have them work out of a branded office and have company branded shirts or other promotional merchandise readily available to staff.

Creating Trust Within the Marketplace – A professional appearance and robust branding strategy will help the company to build a presence in the marketplace and instill trust in consumers, partners and potential stakeholders. People are more likely to do business with a company that has a polished and professional image. Having a strong brand goes a long way in giving the impression of being industry leaders and fostering trust in the general public towards the company, the products and services it offers, as well as the way the company and its staff handles its business.

Crafting a strong brand is only half of the process though. Now that you have created your company’s identity, it is now time to get your message out to the world. This is why marketing is so important in creating a strong brand.

Advertising

Whether the goods and services your company offers are a necessity, a luxury or a bit of a novelty, you can’t rely on a one-time announcement or word of mouth to keep a steady stream of customers. You need to ensure that you are getting word out constantly that you have something exciting to offer. Even if you have a well-established brand, it is important to advertise new products and services to the masses. This can be done through TV and radio announcements, printed banners, billboards and the like. It is important to work with a professional company to make sure that your advertisements are well designed and effective. Sign Advocates are signage providers with over 30 years of experience in visual communication and can give you the edge you need to be sure that your brand stands out.

In an economy where businesses are closing down at a rapid pace, having a strong brand and robust marketing strategy is vital for a company to flourish. Shrewd use of regular ads, flyers, events and a dynamic website are invaluable to maintaining long-term investment in your brand, and attracting new customers to your business.

Getting a Personal Loan in Australia – Part 2 of 2

This blog is Part 2 in a 2-part series. In the first part, we mentioned all the types of personal loans that may be available to you. This post will tackle the application process so you can increase your chances of your getting your loan request approved. We’ll also explain how you can ensure that you don’t pay more than you need to. If you missed Part 1, check it out here.

Getting a Good Interest Rate for a Personal Loan

As mentioned in the first blog, there are seven types of personal loan you can apply for. In addition to allowing consumers to finance large purchases, this type of credit can be used to consolidate high-interest debt from credit cards and other loans or debts. Since most personal loans offer lower interest rates than credit cards and installment payments, a personal loan can lower your monthly payments.

Hence, to really get good interest rate, evaluate the following before taking on a personal loan:

1. The principal of the loan

This is the amount you plan on borrowing and the amount on which the interest will be calculated. This amount will be divided into equal monthly payments. These payments are called principal payments because it will go towards paying the total amount that is owed.

2. The interest rates

As with any type of loan, you will have to pay monthly interest charges. This charge will be separated from the principal and you will be able to see which part of your monthly payment is used to pay the interest and which part is used to pay off the principal. You will want to find an institution that offers competitive interest rates on personal loans. But when shopping around, remember that the more your credit history is pulled by lenders, the more hard inquiries will show on your record. Hard inquiries can negatively impact your credit score.

3. The annual percentage rates

The annual percentage rate, or APR, represents the actual yearly cost of funds over the total cost of your loan. It includes the interest rate, potential broker fees, and any lender fees over the term of a loan. This will also impact the total amount you will owe to the bank or the lender.

4. The loan terms

The loan term can be defined in two ways. It can either mean the length of time that you have to repay the loan or mean the number of installments needed to pay off the loan. Sometimes, a short loan term means paying less in terms of interest.

Hence, for good interest rates, you want to borrow only the amount you will really need. The higher the amount you borrow, the higher the interest will be, and the greater the chances of having a longer loan term.

You can also decide by which year you want to repay the totality of the amount borrowed and calculate your monthly repayment according to that deadline. If you can afford to pay more, do it. The shorter the loan term, the less the interest and the annual percentage rate.

Applying for a Personal Loan

Whether you are an existing customer or not, lenders and banks will require a list of documents to verify your identity, residential address, income, employment, and personal finance details.

1. Identity verification

Below is a list of items that can serve as proof of your identity. You’ll usually be required to produce two items for identity verification.

  • Current driver’s licence
  • Learner’s licence
  • Passport
  • Australian birth certificate
  • Australian citizenship certificate
  • Australian marriage certificate
  • Proof of age card
  • National Identity Card
  • Pension card or health care card
  • Department of Veterans pension card
  • Australian higher education student card
  • Australian Public Service employee ID card

2. Residential address verification

Documents that you may require include utility bills, mobile phone bills and bank statements. The proof of address you will submit must

  1. must not be older than 3 months
  2. must show your name
  3. must clearly show your residential address

Additionally, a utility bill will only be valid if it has been issued by a Local Government or utility provider.

3. Income and employment verification

The list of documents for this verification will depend on the source of your income.

i) If you are an employee:

  • Latest three month’s salary slips
  • Annual salary after tax deductions
  • Bank statements (where salary is credited) for the last three months

ii) If you are self-employed:

  • The tax returns from the last 1 or 2 years
  • Your Notice of Assessment (issued within the last Financial Year)
  • Business bank statements for the last three months
  • Proof of continuity of business

iii) Rental income

  • The tax returns from the last 1 or 2 years
  • Your Notice of Assessment (issued within the last Financial Year)
  • Business bank statements for the last three months

4. Other financial information

You may also have to submit:

  • Credit card statements
  • Loan statements if you have current loan accounts
  • Information about your assets
  • An estimation of your current expenses

Lending money comes with a lot of risks. Banks and lenders require all this information to evaluate any potential risk of the borrower defaulting on their loan obligation. Hopefully, this 2-part series has been helpful to you! Good luck with your application!

Getting a Personal Loan in Australia – Part 1 of 2

If financial constraints are the only thing standing in the way of your dream or an important, we may have the perfect solution for you. Below is everything you need to know about getting the right type of loan for your needs:

Why Get a Personal Loan?

There are some instances in life that can prove to be very tough on your budget. Those instances can include sudden medical emergencies or urgent home repair and can completely drain your entire savings.

Or there might be a once in a lifetime event or opportunity that you don’t want to miss at all cost, but don’t have the funding for it. Since banks will not ask for the purpose of the personal loan, you can use that loan to assist you financially or save you from a tight spot. Personal loans can help you with:

  • Easing financial stress
  • Converting several loans into a single one (called debt consolidation)
  • Home renovations
  • Buying household goods and furniture
  • Buying a computer, laptop or other electronic equipment
  • Going on an exotic vacation
  • Supporting home loan repayments
  • Help with school fees
  • For the balloon payment on your lease

Five Advantages to Taking a Personal Loan

  1. If you choose to take an unsecured loan, you can bypass tangible collateral like mortgages and car loans.
  2. Repayment options are generally small and cover a relatively short period of time.
  3. Sometimes the interest rate is negotiable.
  4. Certain banks or financial institutions offer better interests on personal loans than on credit cards.
  5. It is possible to get a loan with a fixed interest rate repayments throughout the life of the loan.

7 Types of Personal Loans

Depending on your needs and financial situation, you can choose from a number of personal loan options. The most common types of personal loans are as follows:

1. Variable Personal Loan

Since variable personal loans levy adjustable interest rates, they are perfect for people who want to benefit from lower interest rates. The most considerable advantage of this type of loan is that it offers borrowers the possibility of making higher payments. The overpaying can lead to you paying back your debt earlier. This occurs because on some months the interest rate may be lower than others, hence making your monthly repayment higher than what it should be.

2. Fixed Personal Loan

The one risk that comes with variable personal loans is that the interest rate can rise, leading to higher monthly repayments. You can skirt this whole issue by choosing to get a fixed personal loan. Since it has a fixed interest rate, the repayments will remain constant for the entire term of the loan. Hence, this type of loan not only offers stability but can also simplify budgeting all because the monthly repayment amount stays unchanged. However, you will not be able to clear this loan as early as you would with a variable personal loan because you cannot make extra repayments towards your fixed loan.

3. Secured Loan

Loans are called ‘secured’ when the borrower offers some assets to be kept as collateral with the lender or financial institutions. Personal vehicles, personal real estate, a plot of land, investment accounts, savings account, and even jewelry and fine arts can be put up as security to borrow a certain amount of money. If the agreed repayments are not made, the lender will acquire the asset and can sell it to cover the cost of the loan. The advantages of getting a secured personal loan are that you can get a lower interest rate and borrow more money.

4. Unsecured Loan

Once you know what a secured loan means, it’s easy to understand what an unsecured loan is. Essentially, you will not be providing any asset as collateral for the amount you’ll be borrowing. However, if you want to apply for an unsecured loan, you’ll have to be able to prove that you have a regular income. The lender needs this evident to ensure that the borrower will indeed be able to repay the debt. However, you’ll probably get less than you would have you offered an asset.

5. Overdraft

Overdrafts, also known as a line of credit, are attached to checking accounts. If you’ve been approved for this type of add-on, the overdraft will help you in case you face an emergency and require urgent cash. It not only allows you to withdraw an amount, but it also protects you from missing payments. Interest payable on this type of loan is only on the amount borrowed.

6. Student Loan

If you are a student or a parent looking for a loan that will cover the course fees, living expenses, textbooks and laptop fees of your child, fear not! Many financial institutions in Australia offer student loans to help ease the financial burden of university goers. Instead of working part-time to earn minimum wage, you can sit back, focus on your studies and worry about your repayments once you’re done with your degree.

7. Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation involves taking out a loan to repay and combine all other loans you already have. It is a type of refinancing that will not only simplify monthly repayments but also decrease the amount you have to pay thanks to the lower interest rate. Hence, debt consolidation can help you save money and reducing the loan term.

This post is Part 1 of a 2-part series. Part 2 can be found here.

Indian Wedding Decor: Do’s and Don’ts

Planning a wedding ceremony can be stressful and eventful, but if you are planning an Indian wedding, then do get the help of a wedding planner. Indian weddings are big affairs where everyone is concerned, and when I say everyone, I mean everyone! From the bride’s mother’s sister’s nephew’s cousin to the groom’s dad’s cousin’s in-laws’ sister’s nephew. Well, that is no exaggeration, it’s just how it is even if the wedding does not take place in India. These weddings are galore of rich celebration that includes a lot of decoration, a plethora of flavorful dishes, and entertainment that is worth every second of this glam. Indian weddings do require that you take a week off from your routine to make sure that you do not miss any event. Weddings can be of different types and themes and also differs as per the cultural backgrounds. For example, in a Punjabi wedding, you can expect a lot of music and enjoyment, a Bengali wedding is more tradition focused while partying is still not ignored. Well, attending an Indian wedding should certainly be in your bucket-list. Here is a blog on the do’s and don’ts for Indian wedding decor.

The Do’s

  • Use flowers – As a decorator, you should know that Indian weddings and traditions require flowers as a mean of decorating everywhere. From the stage to the bedrooms, everyone expects to see different flowers hanging all around. Oh, if the theme of the wedding is floral, then do go haywire on the flowers and decorate everything, but please don’t overdo it! Remember, an Indian wedding is totally different from all other marriages. It is important that all flowers be fresh as it adds elegance and beauty to the wedding atmosphere.
  • Use eccentric decors – Go for unique Indian wedding decors to make the wedding look different. Plan for something that is not found anywhere else! Visualize and finalize everything with the to be wed couples as it’s their day. Eccentric decors should fit in the theme of the wedding such as you can have an ‘Indianized’ photo booth and a rangoli corner.
  • Go for bold colours – From drapes to dresses, adopt bright colours as it represents the sense of an Indian wedding except if the couple wants the wedding to be in neutral and warm colours. It is important to know that each color has a special significance, and the decorations are centered on that particular color or colours. Remember that everything from the wedding invitation to the table centerpieces should be colour-coordinated. When it comes to Hindu Indian weddings, red and gold are the most adored color as it represents a mixture of tradition and opulence as the bride’s attire is often red. However, there is also the trend of adopting pink, lavender, royal blue, and green coloured attires.
  • Have different setup for different ceremonies – The good thing about an Indian wedding is that you won’t be bored with the same look all every day. Loaded with a long list of rituals, the décor should certainly have a different setup that is according to the ceremony meant for the day. For example, the ‘Mehendi’ ceremony is totally different from the ‘sangeet’ ceremony, and the stages should be differently decorated.
  • Go according to the theme – Go with the theme decided by both the bride and groom! It is entirely on the decorator to ensure that whatever theme has been chosen should prove timeless for everyone. As a planner, you can try to keep the overall look of the venue sophisticated and chic so that the wedding does not look like a circus.
  • Use a lot of lights – As a decorator, you should totally focus on the lights as it plays a crucial part in how the wedding will look. Make use of small lanterns and soft lights along with marigold and mogra flowers. Do have a chandelier to make the wedding look grand and one of its kind. As most Indian weddings are celebrated at night, lights are very important. You can choose to have Indian jhumars or chandeliers to turn the event more chic.
  • Get the best caterer – Indian weddings are incomplete without the typical Indian delicacies. So be sure that you get the best caterer who can cater to your needs in the best possible way. A wedding planner is responsible for everything, from snacks to be served on the Haldi ceremony to the reception.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t make it look messy – It is essential that everything looks good, even great, but please don’t overdo it! It will ruin everything and make the wedding look like a show.
  • Do not copy – You can get inspired by celebs’ weddings but do not, at any cost, copy the same décor from their weddings.
  • Do not forget the idols of Gods and Goddesses. It is essential that every Indian wedding have these idols as it represents that Gods have come to the wedding to shower their blessings.
  • Don’t forget to have the wedding tray prepared along with turmeric, kumkum powder and the beetle nut and leaves. Also, the garlands for everyone from the groom side is essential as it is how guests are welcomed to an Indian wedding.

If you want to have your wedding planned and decorated by the best, then head to Xclusive Designs in Etobicoke, ON. As professional wedding decorators, they ensure that everything is up to your expectations from day one until the end. Contact them; they will be glad to help you out!