New Business Loans Guide for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

It’s not the easiest thing in the world for a new business to obtain the money it needs to help get started. New business loans can be difficult to get unless you have excellent credit and a good plan in place. If you can get approval, you’ll get the proceeds you need for things like working capital, equipment, supplies, machinery, inventory, advertising, or maybe even real estate construction or commercial building rental.

One thing many lenders will expect you to do is determine your personal equity. How much of it will you be able to bring to the table? Lending institutions tend to require that you are able to bring 20% – 40% of the total loan amount you are requesting.

In the 21st century, there are many more options available for start-ups than the traditional loan from a bank. However, before you apply for any type of funding, you must prove that your company qualifies as a small business. Small businesses are usually measured by factors such as number of employees, number of years (under 2) in operation, number of employees, generated income, types of assets and their value, revenue, and so forth. Most traditional lending institutions require that you put of collateral and a guarantee that you will repay.

Your Credit Score and New Business Loans

If your personal credit score is very high, you might want to look into getting a credit card to use towards your business. The line of credit might not be enough to cover everything you need, but it’s a good start. There is no rule that says you have to get all of your funding from one source. There are a variety of microloans for which you might qualify, such as those offered by the SBA and other non-profit organizations. These types of new business loans can be used for the purchase of inventory / supplies, furniture, working capital, etc.

As for alternative start-up business financing options, such as grants and crowdfunding, you’ll want to put more of a focus on our business model as opposed to your credit score. These types of funding are worth looking into if you have poor credit. However, in order to impress crowd-funders, grant organizations, angel investors, etc… , you’re really going to have to come up with a great message and marketing campaign.

Once you get all of your documentation, files, financial records, financial plan, etc. together, you can start checking for new business loans at US Business Funding. This organization has 95% approval rates and offers flexible terms and payment options.

7 Ways Construction Firms Can Hire and Retain Quality Tradesmen

Whether you are a construction recruitment agency or a construction firm itself looking to hire the best of talent industry has to offer, here are a few important tips to help you in this quest.

Hire in the off season:

Conventional wisdom has it that you must never go grocery shopping while you are hungry. You tend to buy whatever you get at the earliest and that’s almost never a good bargain. The same is true for hiring tradesmen when you need them.

So the best time to look for a tradesman is when you don’t require one. It will help you scan wide range of talents, be more selective, and acquire the kind of worker you exactly want. As an added piece of advice, aim for the off-season when many construction workers are out of work and you might get a bargain.

Pay the market rate:

When you pay peanuts, you get only monkey! Firms who pay below-market wages not only have the least-qualified and least-productive employees, but they are also the ones always in need of new workers. Why? Because competitive tradesmen will leave you the moment they get more lucrative opportunities. Do I need to tell you what a dent it makes to overall productivity?

Provide a safe work environment:

Don’t underestimate the value of a safe and healthy workplace in retaining workforce. Too many workers falling sick on site might force others to look for a safer option. A major accident on site and the resultant bad press might turn away potential hires.

Develop a great work culture:

There is something more than a good salary a qualified and talented tradesman look forward to. Bonuses, paid leaves, company outings, work-life balance, and retirement programs are some of the perks that entice the best of talents. The more people want to work for your company, the easier it will be to attract (and retain) quality people.

Invest in your workforce:

I haven’t met a tradesman who doesn’t like adding on new skills or getting a pat on the back for a job well done. So it’s a good idea to invest in your workforce. When you provide them a chance to learn, grow and develop they can help your company do the same. Training improves the efficiency of the workers and quality of the output. This is also a great way to identify the people with potential to take on bigger roles within the company.

Be in step with time and technology:

Embracing technology not only makes the company more efficient and productive but it also attracts younger and tech-savvy workforce. You can also publicize it as your USP to entice people buying your product or services.

Character can pay more dividend than the skill-set of a hire:

Characters can’t be built, skills can be. People with character can make the most of the training you give them. Such workers are more likely to stick with you in bad times as compared to those with only skills and potential.

Commercial Building Inspections – Tips for Finding a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector

If and when planning to purchase a commercial property, the question often arises, ‘How Can I Find a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector for Conducting a Commercial Building Inspection?’ While one could easily write an eBook on this subject matter, this article offers several tips to help you hire a reliable and competent inspector for the purpose of obtaining a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. So without further ado, let me begin by telling you ‘What Not to Do’.

Never hire a commercial building inspector who was referred to you by the real estate agent or any other outside party who has a vested interest in and stands to gain from the sale of the property.

Although this statement goes without saying, it’s worth mentioning simply because many of those looking to purchase commercial real estate believe it is standard protocol to rely upon the realtor’s recommendation for hiring an inspector. In reality, this practice poses a conflict of interest that can have dire consequences for the party purchasing the property. Unfortunately, real estate agents who knowingly partake in this practice along with inspectors who continue to burn the candle from both ends know exactly what they’re doing and how to get away with it. While there may be a few exceptions to what I am telling you, I can assure you that the majority of inspectors who rely heavily upon referrals from real estate agents for their business are not going to rock the boat by disclosing any information to the client during the course of an inspection that may later serve to jeopardize their relationship with the broker or real estate company who referred them in the first place.

Never hire a Home Inspector to conduct a Commercial Property Inspection.

As for hiring a home inspector to conduct a commercial building inspection, suffice it to say that in most cases, conducting a commercial building inspection is altogether different from performing a home inspection for reasons too numerous to list in this article. However, the proliferation of home inspectors over the past twenty years (everyone wants to be one, especially in those States where home inspection licensing has become mandatory making it relatively easy for anyone to become licensed), hasn’t helped either as this has spawned an increasing number of home inspectors who are still unable to properly inspect a home, much less a commercial building, even if their life depended upon it. Moreover, given the number of significant and distinct differences between residential and commercial property, while experience in inspecting homes may well serve as a prerequisite, it is by no means a substitute for the vast amount of knowledge and experience required and yet to be learned by most home inspectors before they can even begin thinking about conducting a diligent and thorough building inspection.

Aside from ‘What Not to Do’, there are also other criteria you need to consider or at least be aware of in your quest to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector. namely:

Know the fundamental difference between a Commercial Building Inspection and a Property Condition Assessment (PCA).

Although this topic warrants a separate discussion, it’s important to note that the terms ‘PCA’ and ‘Commercial Building Inspection’ are often used interchangeably in the commercial sector. This in turn has resulted in a lot of confusion not only among real estate investors and others looking to purchase commercial property but real estate agents as well who more often than not simply do not know much less understand the difference. To make matters worse, the ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) has also gotten in on the act by promulgating their ASTM Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA. What this means is that since they happen to be a nationally recognized organization in the construction industry, in certain respects they’re similar to the AMA in the medical profession meaning anything and everything they write on a particular subject happens to bear a lot of weight. The problem arises in that the Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA are often misunderstood by many in the profession and seldom if ever read by those buying and selling real estate.

To simplify things, all one really has to know is that the difference between a commercial building inspection and a Baseline PCA is like night and day since the later can be performed in a fraction of the time it takes to conduct a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. The reasoning behind this is pure and simple in that a PCA is essentially a cursory walk-through of the property that relies heavily upon second hand information obtained through interviews and documentation (that may/may not be readily available let alone veritable) normally obtained through the owner and/or occupants of the property. Hence, my advice to anyone who is seriously considering having a PCA in deciding whether or not to purchase a commercial property is to forget it since in most cases a PCA is a total waste of time and money in providing information contained in a property condition report that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Try to obtain as much information as you can about the company and the inspector beforehand

This is another statement that goes without saying but I mention it because many people feel uncomfortable in asking questions of this nature especially when speaking with someone they don’t already know. However, if you reflect upon what I’ve just said for a moment, the fact you don’t know anything about the company or the inspector should be reason enough to ask all the questions you can to solicit answers without being embarrassed.

Be sure to ask the company or building inspector for references

Last but not least, do not be embarrassed to ask for bonafide references regarding recent clients for whom they have conducted similar commercial building inspections. If the company or inspector is reputable and if they have confidence in the service they provide, they normally will not have any reservations whatsoever in providing you with this information.

My next article will provide tips as to what questions you need to ask and what else you need to be aware of in looking to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector.

Commercial Real Estate Loans

Commercial real estate loans can help you purchase, build or refinance commercial properties owned by you or your company. Such loans are designed to help acquire, construct or simplify payments for residential income properties, such as like apartment buildings, commercial business properties (offices), retail and warehouses and development projects like a condominium and subdivision projects.

There are a number of free commercial mortgage lender databases on the Internet to help you find mortgage lenders and commercial construction lenders who will process your application. These search directories can be very powerful tools, if you know how to use them. As a general rule, you should only use commercial mortgage lender databases that give you direct links to the lenders, not brokers. This way, you cut the paper trail and do business directly with the lender.

Most commercial mortgage lender databases require that you fill out a basic commercial loan application. After you submit your application, the database matches your data with hundreds of commercial mortgage financing programs. The results of the search will depend on your location and the type of commercial real estate loan you are looking.

Your application will be matched with commercial lenders who best meet the information you provided. You can compare rates and choose lenders who you think will work for you. If you use commercial mortgage lender databases to your advantage, you can easily secure loans for virtually any commercial property purpose. A good database gives you intelligent insight into what kind of conventional and government commercial property loan is best for your particular circumstances.

How to Pass the ICC Structural Masonry Code Examination

The International Code Council (ICC) Structural Masonry Code Exam is a nationwide examination given to interested individuals who are in the building construction industry or not. Passing the exam increases the candidate’s chance of a successful career in the special inspection industry and it also awards him or her with a Certificate of Completion which is required to be called a ‘Structural Masonry Special Inspector’. The certificate is an affirmation that the individual is committed to abide and implement the ‘Code of Ethics’. The ‘Code of Ethics’ requires the Special Inspector to have a strong commitment toward the public’s safety. This is the special inspector’s primary concern during the execution of his duties in the construction of commercial and/or residential buildings.

Helpful Tips to Successfully Pass the ICC Structural Masonry Code Exam

Primarily, the ICC Masonry Code Examination is no different from other exams in a way that the candidate has to follow the given examination guidelines and has to prepare in order to pass. If you are an aspiring building inspector or a seasoned veteran who might be lacking the knowledge and proficiency on the topic of structural masonry, you can seek schools to obtain the needed study information and/or instruction to pass the exam successfully.

Secondly, there are other factors that would elevate your chance of passing the exam and making your testing experience less stressful. Here are some useful tips to remember:

  • The exam is held at an independent 3rd party testing facility. To know and understand the items required for taken the exam is an often missed step. So you should review the ICC ‘Candidate Bulletin’ that explains all of these items.
  • The examination is provided through a computer-based test program. Candidates are given 3 ½ hours to finish both the code and plan segments, so it is all so important to know how to budget your time and determine beforehand you will allocate 1 ½ hours for the 60 code questions and 2 hours for the plan portion.
  • You should also know the references that will be used on the exams. Most examinees fail to pass the exam because they miss this important step. The exam is divided into two segments. Examinees will use the required code books to answer the 60 multiple-choice questions and the copy of plans provided to you for the 30 multiple-choice questions. The references for the code part of the exam are the following:
    • 2009 InternationalBuildingCode
    • ASTM Standards A 615, A 951-02, C 476-02, C 1019-05, C 1314-07, C 216-07, C 270-07, C 62-05, C 90-06b, and C 140-07
    • ACI530-08 BuildingCode Requirements for Masonry Structures/Specification for Masonry Structures
    • Reinforced Grout Brick Masonry, 14th edition
    • Reinforced Concrete Masonry Construction Inspector’s Handbook, 6th or 7th edition
    • Model Program for Special Inspection
  • And last, it is also advisable for you to bring instruments such as a battery operated calculator and a magnifying glass to help you with calculating bar splice and interpreting the plans. Plus if you need guidance or study material that will successfully provide you with a passing score to attain your state certification, please seek the correct instruction.

Good luck on the exam…

Make Cleaning Easy After Construction Work With These Tips

Every building, whether it is residential or commercial requires renovation work after a period of time. Homeowners usually hire professional construction workers to do the renovation work. It’s a well known fact that only professional construction workers have the ability and skills to build a new building.

So, you don’t have to do any hard work when it comes to the construction or renovation of a building, but what happens when the construction or renovation work is over?

Now, when the whole work is completed and the last worker has left the property, they leave behind muddy footprints on the new floor, then you realise that after cleaning work is far more stressful than you thought before.

There’s dirt, sawdust, paint spills, marks labels, and smudges on windows, bits of plaster and cement, etc. The list is simply never-ending. Most of the time homeowners have simply no idea about where to start the cleaning work. In such situations, it’s better to hire after builders cleaning services.

Here are few things that will help you to understand why it’s important to hire after builders cleaning services.

  • It’s vital to ensure the new and fresh surfaces of floors, walls, trim and installations from getting scratched or generally harmed amid the cleanup work. The garbage can result in issues if not dealt with effectively.
  • For floors, it’s best to vacuum instead of sweeping because if you sweep the untidy area, then you might drag the debris on the new surface, which might result in scratches.
  • It can take a long time for all the dirt to settle after a major renovation or new construction work, and proper repeated cleaning is vital.
  • You can do vacuuming and mopping alternatively and wet-wipe walls and baseboards after doing dry-dusting on them.
  • Utilize spirit and blades to expel labels and paint spills from windows and doors. Utilise a mild cleaning solution and a clean cloth for paint spills on floors.

It’s such an easy decision to make that you need to allow an expert handle the cleaning work, in the event if you can afford the cost of it. A reliable after builders cleaning services can help you to save time and energy, and they’ll also do the job far more effectively than or your family members would have performed.

After builders cleaning services offer help to homeowners who have smaller cleanup tasks, and some services even specialise in after renovation home cleanup.

You need to figure out how much you’re willing to pay, and then check how much cleaning work can be done within your budget. Many professional cleaners offer customisable cleaning services, if you ask them politely. So, figure out your requirements and get your home cleaned within your budget.

6 Steps to Sell Your Used Commercial Truck Online

Using the internet to sell your used commercial truck is an easy way and you can be done with your sale in a quite less time than using conventional methods of selling. If you want to sell your used commercial truck online here are a few preparations to do so that you can get a good price on your used commercial truck.

1. For getting a good price on your used commercial truck you should make it look like a new truck. You don’t want to advertise a dirty truck because it will not attract customers. First step is to go through cleaning of interior and exterior of the truck. Start off from the interior and clean the driver cab and if necessary clean the sleeper cab. The seats, floor and the roof of the interior should also be cleaned thoroughly to remove any stains and dirt. Then move on to the exterior of the truck. Make sure that you clean the undercarriage and the wheels as well and if possible apply some wax to both the interior and exterior so that the paint and leather should get the necessary shine. The windows and windscreens should also be wiped with a glass cleaner.

2. The second step is to get your truck photographed. Now that it is all shiny and like a brand new truck, take it out on a vacant lot in daylight and take pictures of the truck. Some websites allow a certain number of photographs so you need to take multiple photographs and select from them later. Keep in mind that the photographs should be of all the major parts of the truck so that the buyers can get a good idea of the condition of your truck.

3. Make a rough format of the description of your truck. It’s working history, mileage, registration, make, model, maintenance history etc. If there are any problems in the truck, you should mention them to avoid any false information. Avoid false information because then you will end up unable to sell your truck. Don’t forget to include your contact information so buyers can contact you.

4. Paperwork of your used commercial truck should be in order. The title, license plates and registration should all be available to sell your truck.

5. Pricing is also important. If you demand too much, no one will take interest and if you demand low then you will end up selling below market rate. Make some research about your make/model and condition trucks and check their prices. You can also consult a blue book if necessary.

6. Using a good online portal to sell your used commercial truck is the most important point. If you register on a website which does not get enough visitors then you will have to wait several weeks or maybe months before you get any offers. Look for a website which has multiple listings and works with all kinds of construction machinery, heavy equipment and used commercial trucks and trailers, as it is more likely to attract more visitors and customers. Once you have registered with a website of your choice, you can upload the pictures and description so that your truck may be advertised.

http://www.GlobalTruckandMachine.com is the number one web portal for buying/selling used commercial trucks. The website offers multiple listing options with pictures and details of used commercial trucks.

Purchasing Your Copper Sink – Helpful Tips & Information

Selecting a kitchen or bathroom sink use to be easy. There were just a few large companies selling ceramic, enameled steel, cast iron and stainless steel sinks. In the past decade, there has been an explosion of new products in the sink category and a growing demand for hand crafted and custom work. There have been several “new” sink mediums gaining recent acceptance – glass, various stones, brass, copper, and even wood. This article will focus on copper sinks and what to look for before making your purchase.

Copper is man’s oldest metal, dating back more than 10,000 years. Its use in the home in modern times ranges from copper tubing in your plumbing system to some of the finest cookware available. Restaurateurs, hoteliers and interior decorators look to copper and brass as naturally inviting metals that make a statement of quality, comfort and beauty. It is no wonder that copper has also become a popular material for sinks in the kitchen, bath and bar.

Copper artisans abound throughout the world, however the artisans that have gained a reputation for making sinks has been primarily centered in India, Mexico and the US. Most of the shops making “hand crafted” copper sinks are small and the methods used to construct sinks goes back centuries. The term “hand hammered” has recently become synonymous with Mexican sinks. This term refers to the original ancient techniques that artisans have been using for centuries in this area. Copper sheets are literally hammered into shape and hand finished.

The results are somewhat rustic, but truly unique and one of a kind. Copper sinks in the US are made with similar techniques but are more often “smooth” rather than “hammered”. US copper craftsmen are dominated by shops doing custom work primarily for commercial projects such as restaurants. You can see examples of all these sinks at Sinks Gallery. They specialize in artisan crafted sinks and have one of the largest selections of copper sinks available, as well as sinks from all different mediums including glass, ceramic, various stones and even wood.

There are three primary differentiators determining quality – construction technique, copper thickness and the company you are buying from. Construction quality is made up of several factors – how corners are constructed, welding technique and proper dimensions for ease of installation. Quality can vary even when considering sinks made in the same town such as many of the sinks from Mexico. The buyer should make sure they are buying from a legitimate company that knows the product and is not selling “seconds”. In the world of hand crafted products, not all sinks are created equal and oftentimes there are two or more quality levels sold by the same shop (i.e. “firsts” and “seconds”).

Copper starts out in sheets of various thicknesses or “gauge”. The thickness of the metal can also be referred to by the weight per square foot. The thicker the gauge copper, the lower the number. Most bath sinks are made from 20 gauge (the thinnest) to 16 gauge (the thickest) and most kitchen sinks range from 18 gauge to 14 gauge. When shopping for copper sinks, always ask about the gauge and be aware that a thicker gauge sink will cost more – and in many cases is worth it! A lightweight gauge metal can result in a “tinny” sound when running the faucet.

Finally consider the store you are buying from. If a copper sink seems “cheap” in price, there is usually a reason. I have seen many of the copper sinks sold on the most famous “auction site”. All I can say is “buyer beware”, or more to the point “you get what you pay for”…. If something goes wrong with your sink or there is a problem when it arrives, you want to make sure the company you purchased from will stand behind their product. Think carefully about buying internationally. Too often, a sink that is received isn’t as represented. A reputable dealer should identify their shipping location, clearly state their warranty and return policy and be available for consultation.

I am a fan of copper sinks. I think they are rugged yet elegant – especially as they age. The rich highlights and undertones of the patina process are constantly evolving. A copper finish is a “living finish” and never really stops changing in color. That being said, the evolution of a copper finish is gradual, and as it ages it becomes even more handsome. You can greatly reduce this change with the use of wax or even a lacquer product, but personally I like to let the copper evolve. Most often this process results in a mellow brownish weathered copper patina. I like to refer to it as the basins soul.

Copper sinks often come in various finishes from a bright copper finish (like a new penny) to a dark patina (we call ours “Dark Smoke”) and everything in between. The copper finish you choose is a matter of personal taste, but oftentimes our clients prefer the more “weathered” patinas to avoid the upkeep or uncertainty associated with shiny copper. If you want to slow down the patina process, try applying a wax like “Renaissance Wax”. Applied every few months, the wax will provide a barrier between the copper and the environment.

Copper sinks for the kitchen come in two basic forms: Under Counter Mount or Farmhouse style. The rustic nature of copper sinks lends itself well to the farm sink style. Sometimes referred to as “apron front” sinks, these sinks come in a variety of sizes, shapes and with different configurations – i.e. single bowl, double bowl and even triple bowl. Bath sinks are generally available in three styles: vessel (above counter mount), “drop-in” or under counter mount. Usually the lip style determines whether the bath sink is a drop in or undermount. Be sure to order the proper lip style to accommodate your project. A recent trend in bathroom design is matching a copper mirror frame to the sink in the same patina. This can help create consistency in the look and feel of the décor.

If you have any other questions before you purchase any sink, feel free to give us a call at Sinks Gallery or Copper Sinks Online – 1-877-320-0800. We would be happy to answer any other questions you might have.

Commercial and Industrial Painting Tips

Commercial and industrial buildings, like their residential counterparts, require constant upkeep which includes the occasional paint job. Yet, painting projects for commercial and industrial ventures are often very different in scope and execution than, say, a single-family home. There are, however, some simple tips that landlords and property owners can follow that will expedite the process and make sure the painting job is completed to satisfaction:

Planning your Painting

Planning is always a necessary component to any successful painting project and it becomes increasingly important with larger commercial or industrial buildings. Before you even begin a consultation, have a general vision in mind of what you would like to have completed. Additionally, keep in mind any time restraints which may arise and periods of high commercial traffic which may be inconvenienced by any significant painting upgrades.

Think Through the Feel and Brand of your Commercial or Industrial Building

Commercial and industrial painting is one of the most efficient ways to solidify a cohesive brand image. Think about what sort of image you would like to present to your customers and work based upon that. Painting of this variety should be used to highlight your goods or services and should not be disruptive in its general appearance. This process may involve consulting with employees and customers over what works and what doesn’t work with the current paint job of your commercial or industrial building.

Consider a Green Paint Job

Paint manufactures have made leaps and bounds in the past few years, creating a number of environmentally-friendly products. A paint job featuring a reflective coating could reduce the energy costs of your commercial or industrial enterprise. Of course, there are the additional environmental benefits involved in the production and application of such paints.

Maintain an Open Dialogue with your Painting Contractor

For any large scale project to be successful, it’s imperative you maintain a dialogue with your contractor. Before the project begins, you and the commercial or industrial painting contractor should have the same expectations and the same vision for what should unfold. Last minute changes can easily cause headaches for all parties and deter from a commercial or industrial painting project’s efficiency.

Steps to Take to Find a Commercial Lendor

When you are looking to finance your next commercial real estate project, you need to find a commercial lender. Why, you might ask? You need someone on your side who is an expert in the nuances of the kinds of loans that are a part of commercial real estate. But finding one can be kind of tricky. Here are a few tips to help you find a great commercial lender.

Commercial banks and lenders often specialize in the larger companies, so finding ones that specialize in small businesses is often harder. The good news is, especially since 2012, small business lending has been on the rise.

One way to find a small business friendly lender is to look for a smaller lender. Community-based banks and credit unions are often much more likely to loan to a local business. Why? It’s partly based on their ability to know you and your business better than the big guys can. It’s also based on their willingness to support their local economy by investing in it. Some local banks are also participants in the Small Business Credit Initiative which is a federal program to help give small businesses a boost.

Another way to get a commercial loan is to find a lender who offers loans backed by the Small Business Administration. These loans are perfect when you don’t have the criteria that other loans would require for evaluating your creditworthiness. The SBA backs the loans, giving lenders the ability to loan to you without fear. You can either check to see if the lender lists that it is a Preferred SBA Lender or you can consult the SBA for a list of local lenders who are a part of the program.

If you can, find out who will actually be doing the loan evaluation and making the final decision, whether it is the bank itself or if they send off your loan to an outside company. This can change who you want to work with if you intend to work locally.

Once you do find a lender you like and are willing to work with, do your research on the company. You will be with them for several years while you pay off the loan, so you want to be sure you can have a good relationship with them. Check the company track record and make sure that they are likely to be around in 10 -15 years when your loan matures. You can also check to see if the company offers annual financial reviews to see if there are other financial products that it might offer you that can be of benefit.

The Commercial Finance Association also offers you some advice and help finding a commercial lender. Their service is free and you can do your search by what kind of loan you are seeking, the amount you want to finance, and where you are. The CFA will then give you options for a lender who will match what you are looking for.

If you can, think about all of this and create your strategy before you actually need the loan. It will make things go more smoothly and faster when the time comes.