Choose a Good Auto Repair Shop to Keep Your Car Working Properly

Have you ever been out driving on the road without a care in the world and suddenly your car starts to make a funny noise? While you turn down the radio so you can hear the sound clearly, do you start to think about all of the things that could be wrong with your vehicle? Maybe you start thinking about the last time you took your vehicle in for repairs. No matter what you start to think about during that time, one thing you can’t ignore is the fact that your car needs to go to an auto repair facility.

Instead of taking any chances on the problem getting worse, you need to contact your local auto repair shop and find out when is a good time for you to bring your vehicle in for service. The longer you drive around ignoring the issue, the larger your repair bill will be. If you don’t have a good auto repair facility that you can take your car in too, it is time for you to start looking for one.

Any auto shop that you decide to take your vehicle to needs to be run and managed by state certified mechanics. You do have the option of choosing to have your vehicle serviced at the dealership or at an independent shop. You may want to check around and get some recommendations on where you should go so you don’t end up wasting a ton of time. Some places are pretty fast when it comes to repairing your vehicle and others may be a bit slower. Some places require that you leave your car with them and others will fix it while you wait.

Keep in mind that all auto repair shops aren’t the same. While many of their workers may hold the same credentials, the rate charge for service can differ greatly. Don’t be so quick to go with a facility that charges rock bottom prices, because you may not be happy with the end result. You need to make sure that any parts they are using on your vehicle are new unless you have specified otherwise.

Pay attention to how you are treated when you visit different auto repair facilities. No matter what type of vehicle you have or what type of work needs to be done on your car, you should be treated as if you are the best customer in the world. That means that any questions or concerns you have should be addressed promptly. You should be treated as if your time and patronage are very valuable. If there are going to be any delays or unexpected issues concerning your vehicle’s repairs you should be notified as soon as possible. A good shop is one that communicates with its customers every step of the way and charges them fair and competitive prices. The work they perform should be exceptional quality and they may even offer warranties with their work. The bottom line is you should end up a happy and satisfied customer after having your car worked on.

Is Arthritis Contagious?

There are many causes of arthritis, and several different forms the condition can take. Some of these can be caused by another organism, but not from person to person contact. Arthritis is not contagious, per se. However, the same insect or bacteria can cause it in more than one person.

The most common form is osteoarthritis, caused by injuries and/or general wear and tear on the joint. A tendency towards it may run in families. If one or both of your parents have/had the problem, you are at risk for developing it. Knowing this can help you make decisions that will improve your joint health and decrease the severity of the potential problems.

Other forms of this condition may be a little more difficult to predict or prevent. There are a few things you can do, but you have to know about them in order to protect yourself and your family from them. Here are a few examples of what can cause the problem and possible solutions.

Auto-immune disorders: Rheumatoid arthritis is a general name applied to nearly two hundred different diseases, classified as an auto-immune disorder. That means your immune system doesn’t recognize some other part of your body and attacks it. In this instance, it is attacking your joints. It usually starts in the smaller ones such as those of your hands and feet, but it can attack the larger ones.

This disease can be debilitating, and progress to gradually worse symptoms, so early diagnosis is your best plan. You will probably need prescription medications to mitigate the damage. If you wish to use herbal preparations, you will have to coordinate these with your doctor, as some can affect the immune system and could interact.

Food: What you eat does more than just provide fuel for your body. It can also present some serious problems. One of them is gout, sometimes called gouty arthritis. The cause is a buildup of uric acid, which develops into crystals. These get deposited into your joints when they get too heavy for the blood to pump it around. The right big toe is usually the first area affected, and it is extremely painful.

Watching how much and what type of protein you ingest is your best defense. Purine, a substance found in all proteins breaks down to uric acid. Under normal conditions, your kidneys filter this out, but if there is too much and/or the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, it builds up.

Lyme Disease: Ticks can carry a bacteria which gets passed on to whatever it bites. This bacteria causes an inflammatory condition that can lead to debilitating arthritis if it isn’t caught early enough. Not all doctors believe this is a real disease, so you may need a second opinion if testing is not done. Your medical history, places you’ve been that may have allowed ticks access and blood tests will help with a diagnosis. It is important to catch it early.

The only way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid ticks. That may be easier said than done, but a good insect repellent, hats and protective clothing may help in this effort. If you do get bitten by a tick, watch for a round, red rash that has a bull’s eye center. That’s the first sign that you may have the disease.

Viral Arthritis: This is one type of arthritis that has a potential good outcome. Most people who develop it get over it in time. Several different viruses can be a culprit here, including mumps and rubella. This usually only needs supportive treatment such as pain relief and will disappear entirely for most patients.

Arthritis is a painful condition, but there are things that can be done. Work with your doctor until you find the best treatment program. Make sure the doctor knows any medications or supplements you are taking and if you have any other medical conditions. This will help prevent side effects and interactions.

How to Write a Cold Calling Script for Your Cleaning Business

Have you ever decided to just pick up the phone and “wing-it” when cold calling for your cleaning business? How did it go? My guess is not so well…

When making a sales call you only have about 10 seconds to grab your prospect’s attention so your first impression has to be really strong. Having a prepared (and practiced) script is essential for your success.

Practicing your script so it sounds natural is very important. Have you ever received a call from a telemarketer whom you could tell was reading from a script? That’s NOT the kind of script we want to use here. Practice with friends or family members so you can have them play the role of the prospect. You want to have enough flexibility in the script so if the conversation suddenly changes, you’re flexible enough to go with the flow.

When writing your script, be sure to write the way you talk, and be sure to get to the point quickly. Don’t waste time by saying something like, “how are you today”? This gives them a chance to end the call before it’s even started. Greet your prospect by name, and then say, “My name is [John Jones], and I’m with [company name].”

Next you want to have a simple, yet strong sentence that explains what you do. For example, “I work with building owners and managers who have cleaning issues that they’ve never been able to resolve.” You need to be creative here — don’t say the same thing everyone else says. Use phrases that help to establish you as an expert. Maybe something like, “we specialize in…”, or “we’re known for…”.

Use your niche market to your advantage. If you’re calling a bank, let them know that you also work with other banks in the area. This lets your prospect know that you’re familiar with their type of business. Plus it’s likely that they know other bankers in town so if you can drop a name, this is a good time to do it.

Next you want to describe your service stating benefits, not features. At this point in the conversation, they don’t care that you’re bonded and insured, but they probably do care that you specialize in marble floor care if they have a beautiful new marble floor. They’re also interested in how you can save them money so think about specific ways you’re able to save them money.

The goal of the phone call should be to make an appointment with the prospect. You’re not trying to make a sale just yet. So end the call by setting up a time to meet. Ask them for 10 – 15 minutes of their time, and give them a couple choices. Don’t simply end the call by saying something like, “Can we meet next week to discuss this?” Instead say, “Would next Tuesday at 10 a.m. be a good time to meet?”

When you have the meeting scheduled, be sure to confirm the prospect’s name, title, phone number and address, and make sure they have your contact information as well.

To recap, here’s what you need for your cold-calling script:

· Greeting. “Hello Mr. Jones. My name is ______, and I’m with _______.”

· Say what you do. “I work with building owners and managers who have cleaning issues that they’ve never been able to resolve.”

· State your benefits. “We specialize in servicing banks with high-end surfaces like granite flooring and countertops. ABC Bank recently had us restore their granite floor and was very pleased with the results.”

· Ask for a meeting. “I would like to meet with you for about 15 minutes to discuss what we can do for your company. Would next Tuesday at 10 a.m. be a good time to meet?”

· Confirm contact information and be sure to write the appointment on your calendar!

Homeowners Guide to Home Insurance Discounts, Reduced Rates and Savings

In today’s economy, many homeowners are juggling higher bills on less earnings — facing tightened family budgets in the wake of rising costs, credit limits or even job loss. Yet there’s no need to struggle with the cost of home insurance. Despite industry increases, homeowners may be able to reduce their insurance rates by as much as 30 percent.

Nevertheless, many homeowners aren’t using insurance discounts to lower rates — even those who apply discounts may qualify for more savings than they’re getting. And lowered rates are still possible, even in today’s economy.

Consider the findings reported by independent insurance agent association, Trusted Choice, in a 2009 national survey:

“53 million household respondents ‘admitted they are probably not taking advantage of all homeowners insurance discounts or said that they simply didn’t know’ about policyholder discounts they likely qualify for.”

The survey also found that the largest percentage of respondents, about 26%, estimated they save 6-10% on their insurance premiums by using discounts. In fact, many insurance consumers could be saving significantly more-as much as 30%, according to independent insurance agencies, which often shop on behalf of consumers and help them find discounts and compare rates.

Homeowners are usually aware of the more common discounts — such as a multiple policy discount to insure both home and auto under one carrier. But there are other discounts and savings they miss.

How savvy are you as a homeowner and insurance consumer?

Find out using this quick list to explore or measure your potential for insurance discounts. It’s also the knowledge you and your insurance agent need to reduce rates for savings:

  • Dual duty — Don’t overlook the most common discount available: multiple policy discounts. When the same company insures your home and car, you can probably reduce your overall insurance costs by 10 to 15 percent.
  • New home, new homeowner? The same criteria used to qualify your home for a specific mortgage is often the same that qualifies your policy for discounts.
  • Living in a gated community? Then you may be eligible for discounts. Be sure to ask about auto insurance discounts if your car is equally ‘protected’ to boot.
  • Rooftop savings — Some insurance companies offer hail resistant roof discounts for Class 4 roofs — naturally these credits may vary with locale. Moreover, be sure to ask your insurer about potential discounts before putting a new roof on your house — you’ll probably want to capture savings if available and a flat roof without roof warranty may disqualify you from your current coverage altogether.
  • Be a new policyholder — You may find additional savings extended to new customers based on new rating models that offer a ‘sign up’ discount. If your insurer extends this discount, your insurance agent might be able to capture it by applying for a new policy with the same company.
  • Your track record counts — make sure you explore discounts for home insurance customers who have a claim-free track record… when was the last time you filed a home insurance claim? A 10-year history usually qualifies you for this discount; if you’ve never filed a claim, you may save as much as 20 percent.
  • Risk reductions — Ask your agent to identify risk reduction discounts addressing a range of interior and exterior factors: fire and smoke alarms, electrical wiring, fireplace / chimney safety, heating apparatus, burglar alarms, curb and gutter system and landscaping elements. Proximity to a fire hydrant and your community’s fire department also applies.
  • Preventive maintenance and home security – Make sure your insurance agent is aware of any alarm systems or preventive measures you take to secure property and to keep your home safe. Though discount criteria varies, you may be able to get a savings of 10 to 15 percent for a combined system that may include two or more measures: deadbolt locks, lockable garages and storage buildings, fire alarms, fire sprinklers, fire extinguishers, a burglar alarm or home security system.
  • Good breeding gone bad — Like it or not, some pets have a reputation. You may adore your family pet but if Fido is a dog breed considered bite-happy or dangerous, your insurance rating may be affected or your coverage in jeopardy. Choose your pet wisely — be aware of the little issues that can turn your insurance into a big issue.
  • Score card — Expect your credit score to impact your home insurances rates. If married, you may be able to reduce your rate by listing the top scorer as the first named on the insurer’s application. Plus, if you’ve had a less-than credit score and recently improved your numbers, let your insurance agent know. You may be able to get a policy adjustment: a lower insurance rate is still possible without the need to write a new policy.
  • Raise the limit — consider the difference a deductible makes. You can probably lower your rate by raising your deductible — $2,500 is the standard deductible and you can expect a lower rate if you raise it to $5,000.
  • Agent vs. agent and the extended marketplace — Is your insurance agent an independent who can tap a broad product range? Or an agent affiliated with a name-brand company? Know the difference. Independent agents can shop around — explore options across the marketplace. Brand agents don’t usually have the same agility — they’re usually confined to the company practice or limited to brand products. Loyalty counts. Still, if you’re committed to one company brand you may be just as limited as the insurance agent who is equally missing rate reductions, discounts and savings offered by the brand’s competition.
  • ‘Home pride’ and stewardship are vital — Even many insurance agents don’t understand the role that stewardship plays in harnessing the broadest range of discounts possible. Why? The better care you take of your home, the more attractive you’ll look to insurance carriers. And the best way to harness discounts is to identify as many discounts as possible — it stands to reason that more companies mean more potential for discounts.

So, you’ll want to make sure your home qualifies for coverage from every company that offers coverage in your locale since increased competition generally decreases rates and opens your access to discounts.

In a nutshell, homeowners applying the discounts above will soon realize the many ways they can save on their home insurance — even when times are tough.

Get started on discounts for savings….

  • Shop around to compare insurance company providers and rates — what companies provide home insurance in your community?
  • Get guidance on the details — an independent insurance agent isn’t tied to one brand, so these agents can help you see the whole marketplace and get the apples-to-apples lens you need to compare products, coverage and rates.
  • Identify discounts — make sure you identify the common discounts most homeowners hit, along with other discounts that frequently miss.
  • Do the ‘homework’ — the work at home that demonstrates stewardship makes you eligible to select from the broadest insurance product range possible.
  • Optimize selection, and then maximize discounts to benefit from reduced raters and savings.