Vessel & Rig Construction Insurance Options – What You Must Know

Builder's All Risk (BAR):

What is it? BAR coverage is first-party coverage which is essentially an all risk property policy, plus liability and protection and indemnity (P & I) extensions to it.

Who is to be included within the Named Assureds? The parties to be included within the Named Assured Clause include Builder, Sub-Contractors, Owners, Lenders if applicable, and other parties with insurers interests if applicable

Who is to have subrogation rights against them waived? All parties with whatever the Named Assureds have agreed in their negotations, in either a written or verbal contract, to waive the rights of subrogation should benefit from waiver of subrogation. Usually, Manufacturers of major equipment are not among the parties who receive the benefit of this waiver of subrogation; instead, they are held accountable for their product and up their warranties provided to the shipyard and are prepared to allow recourse against them for failure or defects in their product / equipment.

What is the period? We recommend that BAR coverage is in place during the entire course of the vessel's / rig's construction; ie, that coverage pending contract signing, remain in place during design and engineering phase, through construction, and cease upon delivery to owner, be it ex-Yard or at final Site following a transit.

What is the Sum Insured? This sum is usually specified in the construction contract between Builder and Owner, and should include the estimated Final Contract Value (FCV) plus the Owner-Furnished Equipment (OFE) [plus it can include the value of the incoming hull in the event of a conversion].

The inclusion of an Escalation Clause allows for coverage up to a certain percentage above the estimated Total Sum Insured, the standard provision being 25% escalation.

In theory, the Builder's All Risk Underwriters reserve their capacity to ensure that they can pay four times (4x) the limit multiplied by the escalation provision. With an escalation provision of 25%, this means that Underwriters would require capacity to pay a claim of 500% of the estimated Sum Insured, or 125% four times, ie, once for physical damage, once for collision liability, once for protection & indemnity, and finally once for sue & labor expenses. We say "in theory" because in practical application, Underwriters would have kindly come to a point of ceasing to pay sue & labor charges and instead pay the full amount of the physical damage / replacement costs.

An example wherein each coverage section is used is this:

During construction, an oily rag falls into the engine room sparking a fire which burns out of control and burns the lines mooring the vessel to the dock. The vessel breaks free from her murals, and then collides with another vessel at an erratic shipyard which causes damages in the hulls of both vessels. Then, the insured vessel keeps on floating away out of control. The shipyard personnel soon hire a near tug in an attempt to slow the vessel and get in close enough sufficient to fight the fire. The fire is not brought under control and the vessel historically sinks in a shipping channel. What is recoverable under a broad Builder's Risk policy?

  • First party physical damage to be recoverable under the All Risk main section
  • Damage to the other vessel at the adj. Shipyard to be recoverable under the Collision Liability section
  • Wreck removal costs to be recoverable under the P & I section
  • Sue & Labor costs incurred by the hire of the tug boat and any fire fighting expenses to be recoverable under the Sue & Labor section

What are the situation / places of coverage? We recommend that the situation is territorial coverage which includes the movement of material and equipment between yards and various contractors' yards. Additionally, we recommend ensuring the appropriate distance that will be required during sea trials is specifically expressed within the coverage. (This is usually 250NM.)

If required, coverage can include items to become part of the vessel / rig under construction while in storage at Suppliers' warehouses – usually those in relatively close proxies to the shipyard or else those specifically declared to Underwriters.

Coverage for Owner-Furnished Equipment (OFE) usually commences under the BAR section from the point whereby a Named Assured Inspectors and accepts delivery of same at the port near the relevant shipyard (either on land or at sea).

What comprise the Interest that is covered? We recommend that all contract works that are to combine the new construction are included within the covered Interest. This includes all Contract Works of the Shipyard plus Sub-Contractors in respect of the construction in all its forms, including design, engineering, procurement, strike steel, keel-laying, fabrication, construction, dry-docking, undocking, installation of equipment, fitting out, supply of all materials pre-commissioning, testing, commissioning, sea trials and all works until delivery of the unit.

What are the parts of coverage usually afforded under BAR coverage?

a. Property All Risk – Subject to specific terms, conditions & exclusions, marine builder's risk insurance (BAR) covers the builder / owner (others with an insurable interest – as specified in the policy) of a vessel / rig under construction against physical loss of, or damage to, the vessel / rig caused and discovered during the period of insurance. We recommend that any restrictions be removed; common ones in standard policies include those for earthquake, volcanic eruption, faulty design, and faulty welds.

b. Collision Liability – Summs paid by the proportional Yard to any other person (s) arising out of the Yard's legal liability to pay sums for the following damages, as consequence of any vessel the Yard is working on coming into collision with any other vessel:

  • Loss or damage to any other vessel or property thereon
  • Delay to, or loss of, use of any other vessel or property thereon
  • General average, salvage of, salvage under contract of, any such other vessel or property thereon.

c. Protection & Indemnity (P & I) –

Sums paid by Yard to any other party arising out of Yard's legal liability to pay sums for the following damages, as a consequence of an accident or occurrence during the policy period:

  • Loss or damage to any fixed, movable, property or any other thing or interest whatsoever
  • Any attempted or actual raising, removal, destruction of any fixed movable object or property or other thing, including the wreck of a vessel, or any neglect to raise, remove or destroy same
  • Liability assumed by the Yard under contracts of customary towage for purpose of entering or leaving the port or maneuvering within a port
  • Loss of life, personal injury, illness, and payments made for life salvage.

d. Sue & Labor – Summs paid for the following expenses, as a consequence of an occurrence during the policy period, incurred in attempts to minimizeize recoverable loss:

  • In case of any loss or misfortune, it is the duty of the Assured and their servants and agents to take such measures as may be reasonable for the purpose of averting or minimizing a loss which would have been recoverable under this insurance.
  • Subject to the provisions of this clause, the Underwriters will contribute to charges properly and reasonably incurred by the Assured their agents or agents for such measures. General average, salvage charges, collision defense or attack costs and costs incurred by the Assured in avoiding, minimizing or contesting liability.
  • Measures taken by the Assured or the Underwriters with the object of saving, protecting or recovering the subject-matter insured shall not be considered as a waiver or acceptance of abandonment or otherwise prejudice the rights of either party.

What else should be considered / looked at with BAR policy?

  • Deductibles – Are they at levels that the Assureds can comfortably absorb? Do they apply per occurrence and / or in the aggregate?
  • Complete, detailed list of security and the ratings of the insurance companies and / or syndicates participating on the risk
  • Wording in detail – including endorsements, exclusions, qualifications, subjectivities, sub-limits, Warranties (Conditions Precedent), adjustment factors applicable to premium, cancellation provisions
  • Confirmation that accurate and proper underwriting information, including loss histories, was presented to Underwriters who are providing coverage for the risks

Painting With Gouache

Several people have accessed my web site over the last few years as a result of doing web searches on painting in gouache (pronounced “gwosh”, or “goo-wash”), probably lead there by the numerous gouache paintings listed on the site. There is some conflicting information published on this topic. Consequently, this article is to help you better understand this opaque watercolor medium based on over thirty-five years of experience in using it and as a professional art educator.

Purportedly, the ancient Egyptians first employed this paint and its use was later refined by the Italians, where we get the word originating as aguazzo, or guazzo. This is said to refer to “mud”, or “watercolor paint, splash”. It is some times used interchangeably as bodycolor and designer’s colors. Guazzo also supposedly was an idiom to describe the 16th Century technique of applying oils over tempera paint. None-the-less, gouache paints were exploited by illuminated manuscript artists and was later popular with some European decorative, as well as, landscape and nature artists, such as Albrecht Durer. Because opaque paints dry fast and can be applied with a flat, even tone, during the nineteen hundreds gouache was often the favorite of architectural and advertising illustrators; hence the paint got its moniker “designer’s colors.”

A gouache paint body is composed of several elements, including pigment and an opacity agent. These density additives differ depending on the manufacturer. Some contain blanc fixe (French for permanent white); in this case its barium sulfate (also used as a filler in papers). Other makers incorporate calcium carbonate, more commonly known as chalk, or a “precipitated” (technical for synthetic) chalk. When the water container for rinsing brushes in during this painting process is emptied, one can see the thickening material as sludge on the bottom of the container. Gum arabic is the binding agent all gouache paint makers embrace to coalesce the ingredients. In some cases glycerin and preservatives are also mixed in. The principle differences between transparent watercolors and opaque is the addition of a chalky substance and the amount of gum arabic; gouache contains a higher concentration of the latter. When gouache is applied as an impasto, it’s the gum arabic that can give the dried painting a pearly patina. If used too thick, as with tempera, the paint will crack. Normally, a gouache painting will have a dull surface appearance. This makes it ideal for photographic reproductive purposes and is another reason why it has been popular with illustrators.

A few sources I’ve read say that gouache comes only in tubes. That is not so. I’ve got a Pelikan brand pan set that I acquired in my teens when I first started using this type of paint in the mid 1970’s. These pans, called a “cake” form, have the advantage of being able to acquire replaceable color cakes and a built in palette. Because gouache paints can be rewet and worked when dry, as cakes become empty you can squeeze tube paints into the cake receptacles. Tubes of gouache are said to have a shelf life of 3 to 5 years, that’s when the tubes solidify. When this occurs I break open the tubes and use the dried form just as I do the cake variety. Sometimes I will use a single edge razor blade to shave off needed amounts into a palette. Apparently gouache also can be purchased as a liquid, but only in small jars of black or white. These are probably the only two available because they are the two colors used in largest quantities and the heavy opacity content causes settling in the jars.

A few advantages and uses of gouache have already been addressed, yet there are more. Because gouache painting materials are easily transportable and dry fast, as with transparent colors, they are ideal for plein air (painting outdoors) pieces and some artists have used gouache as preliminary sketches for larger oils. As stated earlier gouache can be rewet after it dries, so, plein air paintings can be reworked back in the studio. This quality also allows colors to be gradually blended and mixed on the painting’s surface. Furthermore, gouache works fine on tinted papers and may also serve as an underpainting for pastels.

The transparent watercolor techniques of wet-on-wet, dry brush and spattering can also be accomplished with gouache. However, due to the opacity material paints do not bleed, or blossom, as much in wet-on-wet as transparent colors. Liquid masking agents may also be used for blocking out areas to leave white, though most gouache artists just take advantage of white paint. As you may know, “glazing” in painting is the process of painting a thin, diluted layer of color over another. Once again, because of the chalky substance in gouache, many believe you cannot use glazing with gouache. However, to solve the problem of the base paint mixing with the diluted paint as the glaze is brushed on. I spray a single layer of fixative (the same stuff used on pencils, chalk, and pastels to keep them from smearing) over the work and let it dry. Then I glaze over an area, particularly for shadows. There are two concerns in doing this. First of all the fixative cannot be too thick or else the paint you put over the top will bead up and not cover. The second also must be kept in mind and planned for. It can change the color, especially washing out thin layers of white areas. I will address this again when I talk about finishing paintings. Additionally, I’ve also satisfactorily used gouache for air brushing, as in the paintings “Family Outing” and “Morning Stretch”.

The ability to be mixed with other water base paints is another admirable characteristic of gouache, especially with transparent watercolors. It’s been said that gouache does not mix well with acrylics because the paint will glob up, think of it as curdling, as cottage cheese. I have never had this problem, but then I don’t use a lot of gouache from tubes added directly with acrylic paint, only small amounts. The way I mix them works quite well. However, since acrylic dries as plastic with a slick surface, in order to paint gouache over acrylics, a thin layer of fixative needs to be applied to let the gouache bind.

Any watercolor papers used for transparent watercolor painting may be used with gouache. Hot pressed, or smooth toothed papers of 140 pounds or thicker work well. I prefer to use mounted rag paper called watercolor board made by Crescent. Another paper I’ve had success with is a four ply rag paper used in museum mounting. This paper I wet and then stretch over a wooden frame made of one by two’s. The softened cotton paper is then stretched and stapled just as you would canvas.

When it comes to finishing and displaying gouache paintings there are numerous issues to consider. The most common way to approach framing gouache is to handle the same as you do transparent watercolors, matted and framed under glass. In the mid 1980’s I stopped using this method for three reasons. A gouache painting, “Misty Warm December”, I had entered in a National Wildlife Art Collector’s Society exhibit in Minneapolis, Minnesota was disqualified from competition by the judges because they thought the original was a print, no brush strokes were apparent on the surface of the paper, it had an even, flat surface appearance and was under a white mat.

The second reason has two inherent issues that arise with shipping paintings under glass. One is increased expense of transportation due to weight compared to paintings not under glass and the other is breakage. To address these problems I took a look at how acrylics were handled. Gouache paintings can be finished with any acrylic varnish medium; however, a few layers of fixative must be sprayed on so the paint is not smeared by the acrylic varnish. This will eliminate the dull, chalky appearance of gouache and the pieces will look like oils. These pictures I then put directly into frames without glass. For some reason, I’ve noticed that pictures with a high gloss varnish tend to sell faster than others.

The third reason I prefer to acrylic varnish over gouache is the richness and depth it brings to the color qualities of the finished product. This obviously means that the colors will change somewhat. Consequently, you need to practice with this technique several times to be familiar with how it affects paints. When it comes to creating the illusion of water and make it truly feel wet, there is no other type of paint I’ve worked with that will do the same job. Since whites tend to wash out, to get strong whites and other bright colors I mix in acrylics.

As with any watercolor, transparent or opaque, no matter how the work is framed when it comes to displaying them make sure that they are out of direct sunlight and are not under long term exposure in fluorescent lights, as these give off a low level UV radiation that will eventually fade the colors, unless they are under UV protective glass.

Hopefully, you’ve gained some insight into this versatile medium of gouache and are not afraid to try it yourself. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy Machines – Review These 7 Tips Before You Buy

PEMF (Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Field) Therapy is a hot new natural healing modality that is just now becoming widespread in North America, though it is commonplace in Europe. PEMF is incredibly well researched with hundreds of clinical studies (search "pemf" on pubmed.com).

The Proven Benefits of PEMF Therapy include

  • Decreased pain
  • Improved Sleep
  • Improved Circulation
  • Regenerates the Nerves
  • Helps with Wound Healing
  • Enhanced Immunity
  • Creates Stronger Bones

PEMF is used by more than 400,000 people and 4000 athletes in Europe and currently there are several Athletes and celebrities using it like Shaquille O'Neal, Terrell Owens, Lance Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, Roger Moore, Peter Sellers and many others.

7 Tips You Need to Know Before Purchasing a PEMF Therapy Device

Tip # 1 : Make sure to get a full body mat. You will be disappointed with cheaper devices that offer only local treatment. Plus the companies that sell the full body mats usually do come with a local applicator anyway. The real benefit rests in the full body treatment. The MRS 2000, Bemer 3000, QRS Quantron, Magno-pro and Curatron are the best machines that sell full body PEMF.

Tip # 2 : It is critical to use only machines with low intensities between 0 and 50 uT (micro tesla). All the top companies (MRS 2000, QRS Quantron and Bemer 3000) found that the lower intensities work better than the stronger intensities. Here, MORE IS NOT BETTER. In Fact, it's the opposite. The lesser field strengths actually worked better in clinical studies.

Tip # 3 : Try to find a device with frequencies that are close to nature. The best frequency range is around .5 to 15 Hz. Nature produces pulsed magnetic frequencies in this range (ie, Schumann frequencies, 7.83, 14.2 Hz, and the polar frequencies 11.2 Hz). Further EEG studies show that brain wave patterns are in this range 5. (delta) to 15 (high Beta) Hz.

Tip # 4 : It is important that the PEMF machine switches polarity every couple minutes. This is critical because the body will acclimate to a constant north pole or south pole polarity.

Tip # 5 : Make sure the unit has a good warranty. I recommend finding a machine with at least a 3 year warranty. These devices are expensive and very sensitive, so you want to make sure you are covered.

Tip # 6 : Check to see if you will be supported AFTER you buy. Everyone is different and you may need a little help to insure you get the full benefit of the machine.

Tip # 7 : Look for a PEMF machine with Chinese Organ Clock or at least a machine that adjusts the frequencies to different times of the day. For example, you want to be energized in the morning, but at night that would keep you awake. At night you want to be relaxed. Most machines do not have this option, so its important to ask.

Healthy Skin – How Chinese Herbs Benefit Your Skin

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Chinese herbs are an excellent source of modern drugs and treatment cosmetics, provided one knows where and how to look. To those who are not familiar with it, traditional Chinese medicine(TCM) is mysterious and full of “mumbo jumbo,” as its theory and practice are steeped in esoteric terminology. Terms such as qu feng (wind dispelling), qing re (heat removing or dispersing), xie (evil), and yi qi (replenishing vital energy) are certainly difficult to comprehend, though others such as jie du (removing toxins), sheng ji (growing muscles/flesh),ming mu(brightening vision), and an shen (calming the spirit) are more obvious. The terminology may seem archaic and sometimes downright superstitious, but the TCM system has evolved over many centuries in a logical way. One just hasto view it form another perspective. Then it will make sense.

Although I never had formal training in TCM, my research over the past 20 years has enabled me to figure out a few things, especially in the correlation between traditional properties and modern scientific findings, as well as in predicting an herb’s pharmacological activities by analyzing its traditional properties. Thus, an herb with qu feng properties most likely has anti-inflammatory activity, such as Job’s tear, wu jia pi (bark of several Eleutherococcus spp.), ginger, du huo (Angelica pubescens root), and many other less commonly known ones. Herbs with qing re jie du (heat dispersing and detoxifying) properties generally have antimicrobial and febrifuge effects. Examples include honeysuckle (flower and vine), forsythia fruit, purslane herb, chuan xin lian (Andrographis paniculata herb), yu xing cao(Houttuynia cordata herb), etc.

Herbs Beneficial to Skin

Many herbs are beneficial to the skin and are used both internally and externally for this purpose. They normally have one or more of the following traditional properties: benefits/improves complexion, removes heat, removes toxins, removes swelling, invigorates/nourishes blood, lightens skin, moistens the skin/removes dryness, prevents scar formation, promotes flesh growth, etc. The following are some common ones: lycium fruit, ligustrum, astragalus, licorice, Chinese hawthorn, sanqi (Panax notoginseng), reishi (ganoderma), common jujube, red and white peony root, luffa, safflower flower, Sichaun lovage (Ligusticum chuanxiong rhizome), gaoben (Ligusticum sinense root/rhizome), etc.

Astragalus, licorice, and sanqi are well known for their healing properties. Either alone, or in combination, they can be used in various forms (extracts, powder, etc.) for treating wounds, chapped skin, bruises, dry skin, skin peeling, and other minor skin irritations. You could also add to the formulation one or two of the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial herbs, such as xinyi (magnolia flower bud), purslane herb, honeysuckle flower, or forsythia fruit.

In TCM, Sichuan lovage, gaoben, ligustrum, and Chines hawthorn are used topically to treat brown patches on the skin. The former two have been demonstrated to have tyrosinase inhibitory activity, scientific evidence indicating that these herbs can block excessive pigmentation of the skin.

Studies of the Benefits of Herbs for the Skin

The following are derived from two short reports from my file describing results of using Chinese hawthorn and sanqi for treating brown patches and chapped skin, respectively.

Chinese hawthorn (sanzha) for treating facial brown patches (melasma) [Hubei Zhongyi Zazhi, 16(5): 47(1994)]. Results are described for shanzha treatment of 12 patients with melasma, afflicting mostly the forehead and cheeks, and less so the nose and upper lip. Patients’ ages ranged from 23 to 45 years. Shortest duration of illness was 5 months and longest 12 years. Method: Grind 300g of dried raw shanzha to fine powder and reserve for later use. Wash face with warm water and wipe dry with towel. Mix 5g of shanzha powder with an adequate amount of fresh egg white to form a paste and apply it to the face to form a thin film. Let it sit for 1 hour, during which time the face can be massaged to help the herb’s absorption. Do this once in the morning and once at night. Sixty (60) applications constituted one course of treatment. Results: After treatment, pigmentation disappeared in 6 patients, whose skin color had returned to normal; it turned lighter in 4 patients; and 2 did not respond. A case example was described for a 23-year-old single woman with melasma on her cheeks, which had been unsuccessfully treated for 6 months and had started to spread to her forehead and bridge of the nose. After 2 courses of shanzha treatment (120 applications; 2 months), the patient’s melasma was completely resolved.

In western medical practice, melasma is usually treated with bleaching agents such as hydroquinone, which is rather harsh. Chinese hawthorn fruit has never been known to be toxic and is a common food and medicine. If it doesn’t work, it certainly won’t hurt. You can buy shanzha from any Chinese herb shop and probably many food markets in Chinatown. But be sure to get the dried raw kind (usually in twisted slices of 1-2 cm in diameter and about 0.5 cm thick), and not the shanzha candy that comes in thin wafers stacked 3-4 cm high and wrapped in paper. If the raw shanzha is not dry enough for grinding, you can dry it in the oven at low heat until it is brittle.

Sanqi (Panax notoginseng) powder for treating severely chapped skin [Jiangxi Zhongyiyao, 23(1): 35(1992)]. In addition to other effects (immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, etc), sanqi is well known for its hemostatic and wound-healing properties. In this report, results of treating 68 patients with chapped skin are presented. Thirty-six patients were complicated with ringworm of the feet and 41 experienced different degrees of pain or bleeding. Duration of illness ranged form 6 months to 15 years. Method: Mix 30g of sanqi powder well with an adequate amount of sesame oil to form a uniform paste, place it in a sealed clean container, and reserve for later use. Soak the afflicted areas with hot but tolerable water for 10-20 minutes before applying the oily paste. Do this 3-4 times daily for 30 days. Results: After treatment, 45 patients were healed, with no recurrence after more than 1 year; and 23 showed improvements, with longer periods between recurrences, which again responded to the same treatment. The fastest response was 3 weeks and the longest 7 weeks, with an average of 3.7 weeks. It is recommended that the paste be also used as a preventive by applying it to affected areas once every 1 to 2 days.

Sanqi or tienchi ginseng is readily available in any Chinese herb shop. It comes in spindle-shaped whole roots, 2-4 cm long and 1-3 cm in diameter, and is very hard. Unless you have a Chinese bronze mortar and pestle with a lid, it is not easy to powder this herb. You may have to break it up witha hammer first and then grind it in a sturdy coffee mill.

copyright 2005

How Does "Water" Affect Your Wealth Luck in Feng Shui?

Times are bad nowadays. Many are retrenched, while others are losing money in their investments. Since everyone is looking to have more money, I feel that this article has come at the right time. Feng Shui is related to health and wealth. In this article, I will share with you how you can use Feng Shui to improve your wealth luck. Even if you don’t make it big, you can still minimise your losses.

In Feng Shui, Water represents wealth or money. Whenever there is water surrounding a property, there is always wealth. Besides the fact that the rich people can afford waterfront properties, it is also due to the “water” which brings them their wealth luck.

From a Feng Shui point of view, it is very unfair for the poor as they have less choices when it comes to choosing their home. The rich can afford to live in places with good Feng Shui which brings them wealth luck while the poor have to stay in places where nothing much can be done about the Feng Shui.

A few years ago, a client staying on a landed property asked me to look at the Feng Shui of his house. After taking a look at the exterior, I told him that nothing much needs to be done as the Feng Shui is already optimised.

After some time, a friend recommended another client to me. This client was staying in a small apartment. After checking the directions and the apartment, I suggested that he move out. The door was directly in front of the lift, and the flat was at the end of a long corridor. Besides that, the directions were unfavorable for him.

He told me that it was impossible for him to move out as he was under a tight budget. I understood his position and gave him a list of things which he could improve. Unfortunately, the effect is minimal as the root cause is still present.

I need to explain here that I am not belittling people who stay in small apartments. It is just very difficult to change and optimise the Feng Shui of flats and apartments as everything is more or less “fixed”. This is why I said it was very unfair for the poor. However, don’t worry if you are staying in a place with poor Feng Shui and can’t move house. I will teach you later how you can “use” the Feng Shui of the rich to benefit yourself.

Let me move on…

There are 2 types of “Water” in Feng Shui. They are the “Real Water” and the “Virtual Water”. What is the difference between them?”Real Water” refers to swimming pools, streams, rivers, the sea, fountains or ponds. “Virtual Water” refers to roads, paths, walkways, lanes and alleys. It is not enough to just have “water” outside your house. Certain conditions have to be met before the “water” can work its magic in bringing you more wealth luck.

First condition, the “water” must be at the correct direction. From 1984 to 2003, it is the period of 7. The “water” must at the East for the occupants of the house to prosper. From 2004 to 2023, it is the period of 8. In this period, the “water” must be at the Southwest of the exterior of the house in order for the occupants to prosper.

Applying this information practically, if there is “water” at the Southwest direction, outside your house, you will prosper during this period, all the way till 2023. In this case, the “water” refers to both “virtual” and “real” water. This means that if there is a pond, river, stream, road, path, fountain or swimming pool at the Southwest of the exterior your house, you will prosper.

Next condition, the “water” must be S-shaped. When the “water” is S-shaped, it causes the energy to meander, thereby bringing wealth luck. If the “water” is straight, the energy travels in a straight line which signifies “easy come, easy go” in terms of wealth. The road, path, stream or river should be S-shaped instead of straight. For swimming pools and ponds, they should be kidney-shaped instead of being rectangular, squarish or triangular.

The last condition is that the “water” must be clear. This condition only applies to “Real Water”. You may be living near a big drain. If the water in the drain is murky and smelly, your wealth luck will be affected. This also applies to swimming pools and ponds. Do maintain them regularly if you can.

Clear and clean water also signifies good economy and a prospering nation. Look at Dubai and Japan, their “waters” are all very clear and clean. Before I end off, I promised to share something with you earlier on…

OK, so what can you do if you are staying at a place with poor Feng Shui and lack the means to move house?How can you “use” the rich peoples’ Feng Shui to benefit you?

Let me share with you a simple secret. Just take a walk around the areas where the rich stay. When you spend more time in those areas, the Feng Shui of those areas will start affecting you. You might want to be hang around those areas a few times per week. You can take a walk or jog around those areas. In time to come, you will prosper as well.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. I wish you all the best in creating your own wealth luck. May you prosper.

What Not to Say When Selling High End Interior Design Jobs

If you think that selling a high-end client or job means that you need to sell harder, you are wrong.

The truth is, I find that it is actually easier to sell high-end clients than lower-end ones. Why would that be? High-end clients already know that they can’t solve the problem on their own, yet they have the financial resources to hire someone to do it and they are accustomed to searching for the solution.

Now, high-end clients are not going to just come running saying “help me, help me!” They need to know that their investment is going to pay off as a great experience, as well as a beautiful design solution.

Remember you must ask thoughtful questions to uncover important and telling information that will let you know if this potential high-end client is a good “fit” with you and your individual style of working. While you are listening you must decide is whether or not you want to work with them.

I enjoy taking my time to get to know this type of client, working on setting up a sense of connection, understanding and intimacy in the developing of our relationship. I let my prospective client know that I am interested in them, and that I value them and their opinions. After all, I am interested in a long-term relationship

So, knowing WHAT to say and WHEN to say it is not hard. Once you know these tips you can apply them to any conversation where you want to have a positive outcome.

So to help you succeed at putting high-end design jobs in your portfolio, here are 3 simple tips that can easily increase your creative opportunities and add big dollars to your bank account. When you follow these steps you will be able to charge higher fees, honestly and comfortably, just like I do.

1) Do not jump into selling immediately.

Your potential client is sophisticated. They suspect that you do need to sell this job and they are going to be wary. So, don’t do it! Stop and take a big breath, and relax. Put your focus on developing the relationship with this client, find out who they are and how to connect with them. After all, you want this to be a long-term relationship not a one shot deal. Take your time and ask concerned and focused questions about what they have been struggling with and are unable to solve on their own. Do not jump into “I can fix this mode,” keep listening.

2) Don’t jump into explaining the cost of your services too soon.

Your client will undoubtedly ask about the cost of services early on in your conversation. This is where you need to, again, curb your desire to immediately leap in and help. Say instead, ” I would be happy to talk about the cost of design services. May I ask you a few questions first?” You need to discover, in depth, what the design problem is and what difficulties it is causing, before talking about how much a solution costs.

3) Don’t skimp on uncovering the source of frustration.

Now you know, that if your potential client could solve the design problem on their own they would have done so. I am personally an “up” sort of person and I don’t like to focus on negative things, but think about this; if you don’t find out why they aren’t getting what they want and how that impacts their life at all sorts of levels, you probably won’t get this job. And that means that you won’t be able to help them. When you take the time to find the source of all that unhappiness, you set yourself up as the solution to their problems. You have set the stage for them to choose to feel better now, by hiring you.

High-end clients are the best to work with…

Approach your next big opportunity with confidence, grace and ease, remembering that it is a long- term relationship that you are creating, one that could last for years, and one that can bring you tens of thousands of dollars or more. You will find that you will love the fascinating people that you get to work with, the money that you make, as well as the wealth creative opportunities that come your way.

Missing Others

When I get to heaven, the first guy I want to make an appointment with is Paul. I have so much appreciation for this man – probably because I can see so much of myself in him. Probably because he was such a rough diamond and has the full box. But especially because he loved other people with such passion as well. Paul pushes ahead with everything in him to bring the Gospel to all the people who are on the way to the abyss.

His heart was filled with love for total strangers. It’s as if Jesus’ heart was transplanted into his heart. Listen to the longing of his heart: 17Do you have any idea how very homesick we became for you, dear friends? Even though it hadn’t been that long and it was only our bodies that were separated from you, not our hearts, we tried our very best to get back to see you.

It sounds like a love letter between two teenagers in love. Every moment of the day Paul thinks about the people of Thessalonica. Eagerly, Paul makes plans to get to his loved ones. He wants to help them. He wants to teach them more about God’s Word. He wants to help them with the solid food of the Gospel so that they can stand on their own feet.

Can you see the passion in Paul? Can you see the love burning inside him, for his fellow believers and for those who have lost their way as well? He leaves no stone unturned to reach them. I hope that I have that same heart for people.

I realise again that life often is all about me. Our own path to success and our interests are more important than helping others. I may be a little direct here, but isn’t that what the picture of our life looks like? Other people are in the way, looking for attention, time, energy and love at inappropriate times.

Actually, there is no need to wait for an appointment with Paul to find out why he had such a passion for other people. It’s obvious. If you allow the Holy Spirit to change your heart, it changes everything. Then the own self, the me, moves aside and you focus only on your fellow man. Then you make plans to help others.

And that’s what each of us must do. We must allow the Holy Spirit to change our hearts. We must allow others’ needs to weigh heavier than our own.

I managed to do it the other evening. I was at the movies. It was about 10 minutes before the end of the movie. Tension was high. I saw the light blinking on my phone. It was a friend whose mother was dying. I hesitated. I can return his call after the movie had ended. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit moved in my heart and I got up.

I was grateful to be able to help my friend when his mother breathed her last breath.

Unfortunately, things don’t always work out like that: 18You can’t imagine how much we missed you! I, Paul, tried over and over to get back, but Satan stymied us each time.

Even when we want to do good, there may be obstacles. Take note of that and prepare yourself. But don’t allow it to discourage you. Allow the longing to push you, like it did Paul, to make a difference in the lives of others.

Scripture

1 Thessalonians 2:17-20

Reflection

Who are you focusing on?

How can you do more for others?

Do you have to try again?

Prayer

Lord, I confess that I want to be first in line. Mostly, it’s all about me and then I don’t even see others and how they are suffering. Come and work in my heart so that I want to and can do everything possible to help others, like Paul did. Amen.

Importance of AutoCAD – Why It Will Never Lose It’s Importance?

CAD Drafting is a drafting solution which is not only used in Architecture, but in Mechanical services as well. Normally CAD Drafting is associated with Architectural 2D or 3D only. However, this term is extensively used in other domains like MEP, Structural and Mechanical Domain too. Today we will talk more about how Auto CAD and CAD Services can be used in different domains. Previously only Auto CAD drawings services were used in Mechanical domain. But today apart from 2D Drafting, 3D modeling of products, machine parts, automotive parts etc. are also designed and created.

Apart from Designing and Drafting Services a lot of other services can be provided under the branch of Computer Aided Design Services. You can execute several projects with help of drafting software. They can be 2D, 3D and even simulations. As software it is extremely user friendly and helps in executing various projects. We can draft a drawing, create sections and elevation, convert it into 3D and then rotate it to view all sides and obtain views. This helps us view the model from all angles.

It helps CAD Drafting services in digitizing the drawings. These drawings can be used as a base to create 3D models or renders. They can be used for Building Information Modeling. These Drawings can be for residential buildings, commercial offices, Hospital or Health care. We can create floor plans, exterior or interior drawings too.

Lot of software available in market are meant to assist an Engineer or Drafter in digitizing drawings. However no software has been able to gain prominence in the Engineering Industry as much as AutoCAD. Engineering Services are known as Computer Aided Design Services owing to the popularity of Auto CAD only.

Apart from only 2D Drafting, exporting Computer Aided Design Drawings to software is easier. Auto CAD is compatible with all software across various domains. You can export Mechanical drawings to Solid works or Inventor; Electrical Drawings can be exported to electoral and Architectural drawings to 3D Studio Max, Revit etc.

Computer Aided Design drafting Professionals can execute projects using software like ANSI, Micro station, Pro-E, Inventor etc. We can convert drawings created in CAD software into different formats. Drafters can create detailed drawings which can be used for construction purposes across all domains. Drawings containing all details which are extremely critical during construction of any projects are also called construction drawings or shop drawings.

The Importance of Vitamins

The value of Nutritional supplements in your daily diet

Do you need 5 a day? Exactly why do you need to try to eat fruit and vegetables? Vegetables and fruit in many cases are categorised as micronutrients and are important foodstuff as part of your well-balanced diet plan. Your body requires these tiny vitamins and minerals to support regular features that occur within the body. The body can’t generate those by itself, therefore we need to have those vitamins and minerals coming from food items as well as supplements. There exists a wide range of nutrients which assist various attributes whenever consumed.

There are two kinds of vitamin supplements. Most are fats soluble as well as water disolveable. Body fat-soluble vitamins are found in unhealthy fats, for instance, graillon, butter, vegetable essential oils as well as dairy products. The Nice thing about it is actually, you don’t need to eat these types of foods every day. Your body will retain these supplements using these when needed. Fat disolveable supplements are: Vitamin A Palmitate, D, E K. On the other hand, liquid disolveable supplements cannot be saved within the body so that you should have those daily. However, if you have a great number of these supplements than your body actually requires, they will be excreted out of your system. Liquid disolveable supplements can be obtained from fresh fruit, vegetables as well as grains. Some of these foods whenever cooked because of cooking lose the goodness. Goodness can also be lost when air gets to your meal. Make sure you maintain all the vitamins and minerals the foodstuffs provide by keeping these within their natural condition or perhaps steam these. Vitamin B, as well as C vitamin, are water-soluble supplements.

Additionally, there are types of nutrients that are important to include in your daily diet. As an example, Calcium, The mineral magnesium, Blood potassium, Iron as well as Zinc oxide are required. They each have a different role to play in the body. A calcium supplement is great for developing powerful bones and teeth. Calcium is known to lessen blood pressure and will also help control muscle contractions, including heartbeats. Magnesium vitamin is responsible for more than Three hundred compound capabilities within the body. It happens to be associated with a healthier immune system and you should be certain that you’re including magnesium in what you eat. Food items such as nuts, such as cashews, kale and oat meal contain a great deal of magnesium mineral. Potassium is an additional nutrient that is required by the body to control fluids within the body. It is referred to as among the key electrolytes within you. Iron is significant as it makes red-coloured blood skin cells which transport much-needed oxygen around the body. Meat, spinach, fruits and nuts are good examples of iron-packed foodstuff. Finally, there’s zinc oxide. Zinc assists the body to process this macro vitamins and minerals – carbohydrate food, proteins and fats. Zinc is found in meats, dairy and bread.

Fresh fruits you should use in your diet happen to be,

Reddish Grapes, Blueberries, Bananas, Grapefruits, and Apples

Veggies you have to include in your diet tend to be,

Broccoli, beans, Garlic clove, Cauliflower as well as Mushrooms.

There are many additional different vitamins and minerals that you can acquire through consuming the correct foods. Sometimes nevertheless it isn’t simple to get them through what we eat, this could be for several explanations as well as the most likely being time. Together with the hectic lifestyles, everyone lead there isn’t usually a good time for you to obtain the correct quantity of vitamins and minerals within your diet. Good news would be that there exists a great deal of various multi minerals and vitamin tablets to select from if you find it hard to have them with what you eat.

Glass Swimming Pool Fences

If you are planning to go for fencing around your swimming pool then glass fences will be one of the best options for you. It is seen that glass fences are getting more and more popular these days. The best thing about these fences is that they are durable. We all are aware of the strength, coverage and durability of the glass. Although, there are many more types of fences such as chain link, aluminium, vinyl, wood, wrought iron and mesh available in the market, yet one can say that glass fences are just perfect for all conditions.

People who use fences made up of wood, iron or chain links often complains about rotting or rusting. Glass are easy to clean and easy to maintain. You will also not have to spend your money on painting or applying rust repellent on glass a fence which is must, year after year in the case of wood or iron. The use of glass fences is also increasing because it looks good and suits every house. The bending ability of glass is very helpful in providing attractive and amazing designs to the pool fences. This is the main reason why there are various attractive glass fences available in the market.

There are various types of glass pool available today that even serves to protect your privacy. You can have some excellent glass swimming pool by just frosting or tinting the glass. It gives a new and a designer look to the glass and thus to your fences. There are many more types of fences that look attractive and may solve your purpose of fencing your swimming pool but there is nothing like glass fences. There is also a trend of printing some designs on your glass fences that looks simply great. You can even add beauty to your pool area by installing few lamps along your swimming pool.

Sony Launches The HTSF200 All In One Soundbar In The UK

The Sony HTSF200 Soundbar and Woofer

What can be better than a wonderful, high resolution, dynamic TV picture? Well, how about a wonderful TV picture accompanied by a top soundbar offering a high definition sound experience to enhance your viewing. A modern soundbar is essentially the home cinema equivalent of the ‘icing on the cake’.

Today we look at one of Sony’s latest offering, the HTSF200 2.1 Channel Soundbar with In-built subwoofer for full bodied, meaty and impressive audio performance.

Less is More

When it comes to styling and tidiness, the adage ‘less is more’ certainly applies to this powerful unit that removes the need for unsightly cables ruining the lines of the home cinema system its providing sound for. The reason for this? An integrated subwoofer, negating the need for any extra sound hardware.

The impressiveness of HTSF200 2.1 reaches a new level when you consider that its sound is produced by a unit that is just 58cm x 6.4cm x 9.5cm and weighs in at just 2.3kg.

Easy Connection

Pairing the hardware to your TV is child’s play, as it comes with an HDMI ARC cable that connects with little effort and its wireless capability means connecting to your Android TV happens with just a few taps of your remote. If your TV is also from Sony, you’ll be able to control everything from the one remote handset!

Want to Live ‘Inside’ Your Movies?

If you’re a bit of an amateur movie buff and you enjoy a regular blockbuster, you don’t know what you’re missing if you haven’t experienced a modern soundbar. In particular, the HTSF200 offers ‘Virtual’ Surround Sound without the need for having speakers dotted around the room. A set up like this will make you feel like you’re inside the movie, with voices and atmospheric sounds coming at you from all over the room.

Powerful Mid-Range Sounds

The aforementioned ‘meaty’ sounds are provided by the subwoofer, but it’s not ‘all about the bass’, as a good soundbar offers good all-round sound. Quality mid-range tones are ably provided by 2 S-Force PRO front facing speakers, meaning that you’ll never struggle to hear voices, even in busy action films featuring lots of background noise.

Multi-purpose

This Sony Soundbar is a versatile beast too, as it provides an excellent and simple way to listen to your playlists streamed via bluetooth. Online platforms like Spotify, Pandora and Grooveshark offer a great way to listen to pretty much endless music, like it was meant to be heard.

Unexpected Masturbation Side Effects – Help for a Stressed Penis

Masturbation is a fact of life for most men, and by all accounts, it is a natural and healthy practice. It allows men to become familiar with their own sexuality and to experiment with what feels good (and what does not). According to many sexual health experts, self-pleasuring can help guys to become better partners. Aside from these benefits, ejaculation causes a release of hormones that can give a man a sense of well-being and help him to relax, which is beneficial for his overall health.

However, despite these benefits, improper handling can lead to some unexpected side effects, which may range from minor to life-altering if they are not addressed adequately. Maintaining penis health and performance can depend on understanding these effects and taking measures to prevent them.

Dry masturbation:

Masturbating without the benefit of a personal lubricant can stress the penile skin and cause damage to the underlying tissue. While men are not always prepared with a bottle of lotion at hand, and the temptation can be overwhelming, it is important to be aware of these potential issues:

· Dry masturbation increases the risk for infection. Vigorous stimulation not only leads to a sore penis; the excessive friction can cause microscopic cracks and lesions that allow harmful bacteria to take hold. Bacterial infections can cause pain, swelling, and an unpleasant discharge. If allowed to progress, these bacteria can become extremely difficult to eradicate. Untreated bacterial infections may even lead to a condition known as prostatitis, an inflammatory condition of the prostate that can cause severe pain in the perineal area, testicles, abdomen and penis, as well as cramping and aching on ejaculation.

· Dry masturbation may cause “toughening” of the penile skin. Like the skin on other parts of the body, the penis skin reacts to constant stress by undergoing a process of keratinization. Essentially, this amounts to a thickening of the skin, similar to the calluses that tend to develop on the hands and feet. While this process is the body’s way of protecting itself, the net effect is that the thickened layer of penis skin reduces the ability to detect tactile stimulation. Men often compensate for this loss of penis sensation by gripping the penis even more firmly during masturbation; this, in turn, exacerbates the effects of rough handling.

Aggressive masturbation:

Even men who are vigilant about using a lotion or lubricant during self-pleasuring sessions may be tempted to get rough from time to time. Aggressive stroking and bending of the penis during self-stimulation can lead to the formation of scar tissue around the erectile chambers. Because scar tissue does not expand in the same manner as the surrounding penile tissue, a bow-string effect may result. This can lead to pronounced bending or curvature of the penis during an erection; in some cases, this can make intercourse painful or prevent it altogether. Men with this condition, known as Peyronie’s disease, may also experience shortening of the penis.

Avoiding penis damage and minimizing the effects of masturbation

In order to reduce the risk of unpleasant side effects and to increase the body’s ability to repair itself when damage does occur, some proactive measures are necessary.

First, hygiene is a major factor in this process. Keeping the penis clean with a mild cleanser and warm water can help to reduce the number of harmful organisms that are present on the skin. For men who are uncircumcised, this is especially important.

Second, using a personal lubricant during masturbation is advised to prevent drying and irritation to the penis skin. While men are often tempted to reach for the soap or shampoo in the shower, or grab a bottle of hand lotion, these often contain chemicals that may add to irritation and skin damage. Fragrance-free, water-based lubes that are intended for intimate use are best for this purpose.

Third, keeping the penis well-nourished with vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids can protect the penis from infection, toughening of the penis skin, and the formation of scar tissue. Aspecially formulated penis vitamin cream (most health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) may help not only to guard against masturbation side effects and promote healing; it can improve the tone and texture of the penis skin and even boost sensitivity, leading to greater enjoyment of sex.

Co-Op Funds Assist Hardware Retailers With Increased Sales in 2017

Locally owned, hardware retailers saw a 3-10% increase in sales in 2017, with much of the credit due to utilizing available co op funding. These retailers purchase from hundreds of manufacturers that offer formal co-op funding, based on sales volume. Generally, the earned funding is based on the prior year’s sales from their hardware distributor or wholesaler, like True Value or Ace Hardware.

With hundreds of brands represented, the funding process is streamlined by offering the retailer co-op funding based on total sales of all products in one lump sum, rather than breaking out individual products or manufacturers. This approach affords the retailer the freedom to feature any warehouse product in ads, eliminating the brand exclusivity generally required in co-op fund usage. Retailers can able capitalize on the co-op funding opportunities with products they purchase directly from the manufacturer, with products like barbeque grilles, hardscapes, lawn and garden power equipment, as well as fixed co-op plans for items like hand tools.

“MDF only come to those who ask.”

Jeremy Stout, Marketing Director of LaValley’s Middleton Building Supplies in Rutland, Vermont, considers co-op funding is an integral part of both maintaining and increasing his marketing budget annually. Co-op funds comprise approximately 30% of LaValley’s annual marketing budget across 10 retail hardware stores, several modular home companies, and their pine lumber mill. The largest co-op takeaway for Stout is that MDF (manufacturer development funds, or those funds over and above the formal co-op funds) only come to those who ask. He is constantly negotiating with manufacturer sales representatives for additional funding.

The key in successfully accessing these funds? Be prepared, have a marketing plan with a specific need and use for the additional funding. Stout finds that often times that lines are blurred on what co-op funding is. With many manufacturers using automatic rebates as a method of co-op reimbursement, those funds don’t often make it back to the marketing bottom line. With all of their successes, LaValley’s still estimates that 30 to 40% of available funding goes unused. Often, the accruals are simply not enough to offset the investment in a marketing campaign or they are simply unaware of the available funds. Stout focuses on brands with formal co-op programs with high margin, turn, or sales, in product categories such as Windows, Doors, Roofing, Decking, and Cabinetry.

Big Country’s True Value owner, Adam Broughton, saw double-digit growth in 2017 sales, with co-op funding making up 35% of his overall annual marketing budget. Funds are primarily used for radio, television, inserts and direct mail. With the addition of Broughton’s son to the business, they are now exploring digital marketing opportunities through social media marketing. True Value funds comprise the bulk of their found co-op dollars with assistance from True Value using the print insert program 12 times a year. Direct marketing to True Value Rewards customers is incredibly effective for Broughton. With the rural location, Big Country has found its marketing niche by doing their own voiceover work on radio and television, and focusing on campaigns that feature brand-compliant advertising with a “Why Not the Big Box” message. Broughton carries an extensive line of outdoor power equipment, featuring the Cub Cadet line of mowers and tractors, with marketing support from the brand. Big Country has become the leading dealer in the region, and Broughton credits much of this success to their co-op marketing campaigns spread across direct mail, inserts, radio and television buys.

The co-op success cycle

Bottom line: co-op funds are an integral part of expanding marketing budgets, leading to increased sales. With manufacture co-op funds, hardware retailers have accomplished several goals. First, by having brand-compliant advertising materials, the retailer’s local message marries the brand’s national advertising message’s look, fit and feel. Second, by advertising more with the support of co-op funding, the retailer has become part of the “Co-op Success Cycle”. If you advertise more, you increase store traffic. Increased store traffic leads to increased sales. Increased sales lead to increased purchasing from the manufacturer, which then results in more co-op funding for more advertising!

Now is the time to reach out to your hardware retailers and talk about a strategic marketing plan that utilizes co-op funds, based on prior year’s sales for their 2018 marketing. Spring is here and hardware retailers will be using those funds to offset the marketing investment with advertisements featuring Outdoor Power Equipment, Exterior Paint, Decking, Garden Tools and Accessories, Landscaping Materials, and more. Drop in on new prospects and close using the co-op value proposition. Schedule appointments with existing clients and double last year’s sales by ensuring your customer is aware of all of the co-opportunities available to them.

We often meet with retailers and hear the refrain, “We use all of our co-op funding.” In my experience that is true, you do use all of the co-op funding-that you know about. Often, there are fund opportunities that have gone unexplored because the retailer simply didn’t know the funding opportunity existed. By working with a media that has a full time Co-op Department, they will be able to explore all of the opportunities available and be able to share that information with the retailer. Additional accruals can be found with calls made directly to the manufacturer’s co-op administrators. Content can be accessed, manufacturer pre-approvals can be obtained, and the administrators can assist with making sure the retailer has the appropriate documentation to claim reimbursements, like proof of performance, proof of payment, and any other required claim forms. With as many as 67% of manufacturers now accepting e-claims, filing a co-op claim can be as simple as attaching the document pdf and sending a single email.

The co-op opportunity is massive. Seize the dollars!

Small Business Interview – Patriot Express Loans to Veteran-Owned Businesses – Are They Working?

Editor’s note. This is an excerpt from an interview with an SBA small business loan provider, relating to the program known as U.S. Patriot Express. This program is for business loans available to veteran-owned ventures (active duty service members, veterans, and their widows and spouses), whether start-ups or existing businesses. The purpose of this interview is to get a real, in the trenches, view of how the program works from someone who does it every day. Does it is really benefit our veterans?

Excerpts of Interview

US Patriot Express Loan Program

Q. Greetings, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you.

A. My pleasure.

Q. I would like to begin by focusing on the U.S. Patriot Express Initiative Loan Program. Fancy title, but what is it exactly?

A. It’s a long winded way of saying the Bush Administration came up with a vet loan program for business owners. These are loans for veteran-own business owners. The funding comes from private lenders and banks that are licensed with the SBA. As an incentive for the lenders to make the loan, they are guaranteed for default, namely are reimbursed 85% of the value of loan. I have to tell you, this makes a big difference because it really motivates the lenders. It gets them off the dime and makes them more willing to open up their coffers.

Q. So the money doesn’t come directly from the VA or the Small Business Administration?

A. Right. The VA isn’t involved in loaning the money. However, they are huge supporters of the program. The SBA directly loans taxpayers monies only under its disaster program. In this program the SBA approves the lenders and guarantees the defaults. Private banks and lenders actually loan the veterans the money.

Q. But it is called a SBA guaranteed loan program. Doesn’t that mean the approvals would be guaranteed if you’re a veteran?

A. I wish that was the case. It’s not the approvals that are guaranteed. If you make a small business loan and don’t make your payments and it goes into default, the bank has to alert the Federal government and after taking various steps and attempting to collect, the bank will eventually get paid 85% of the loan value. The SBA guarantee acts like an insurance policy to the lender; they guarantee the 85% to the lender who makes the loan.

Q. So the veteran doesn’t get any special consideration in the approval loan process?

A. By law, the lender has to use their usual, customary, and prudent credit review practices that are used for both conventional and SBA business loans. But let me cut right through all of this. It depends a lot on the lender. We are pro “veteran small businesses” and will try everything to make the loan. Way before this program became politically popular in June of 2007; we were making lots of loans to veterans and trying everything in our power to say “yes.” They just have to meet us half way, with more positive than negative on personal credit.

Q. OK, so far so good. Because of 85% guarantee, doesn’t that mean the vet applicant only has to put up 15% collateral because the rest is secured by the guarantee?

A. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. First, most of my small business loans are unsecured and so we don’t even ask about collateral. You’re not describing your equity in your house, the value of your trade fixtures, or anything else. There are simply no liens on property. For larger loans collateral will be required and in today’s market, it will usually be real estate.

Q. Do they check the personal or business credit of the applicant? I notice that there are a lot of online businesses that claim you can get business credit without using your personal social security number. Will that work in this case?

A. Unfortunately, the lenders in most cases only check your personal credit report through Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. There are companies out there that promise to get you a business credit card or unsecured small business loan only using your taxpayer ID number and not your social security number. Be careful. Although there are people who have been successful, there just as many who have failed doing so. And it takes a lot of time, because you have to create credit in the business name first and then make the bank application.

Q. I’m an adult and you can tell me like it is. What is the minimum credit score required?

A. These military loans are not like applying for a credit card. They rarely base the decision solely on your credit score. They look at the overall credit report. As to that report, they look at: 1) your credit paying history back seven to ten years, 2) the current status of your accounts, 3) the number of accounts, 4) the quality of the accounts . . .there’s a big difference between a Capital One credit card and platinum American Express, 5) how long you have had the accounts, 6) matters of public record such as judgments and tax liens, 7) enquiries, and how 8) how high your credit card balances are.

Q. Who can qualify for these loans?

A. The good news is it applies to a lot of individuals. You can be a veteran, current active duty service personnel in the TAP program , service disabled vet, in the reserve component’s or National Guard, or the spouse or widow of any of the above. And if you are the spouse of a veteran, you can apply in your own name. You do not have to be a combat veteran. All you need is your honorable discharge papers which are in the form of a DD 214.

Q. Can any small business qualify? I mean, can it be everything from raising chickens to developing software for weapons control systems?

A. It’s funny you should say that, because I have done both of those. There are very few categories that make you ineligible, including multi-marketing, speculative real estate, gambling activities, your own private investments or self-owned real estate, to name some of the bigger exceptions.

Q. All right, we have some of the basics under our belt. How much can you apply for?

A. They go anywhere from $5,000 to $500,000. I specialize in the smaller Patriot Express ones from $5,000 to $50,000, which do not require any collateral. Above that will require security. In the good ol’ days about a year ago, the bank’s considered using your trade fixtures or business personal property. Then when the economy got worse, they started requiring some form of real estate equity. Now most of them are requiring 100% real estate equity, which is getting tougher in these times because the value of people’s homes is falling.

Q. Well that’s easy. Since I am a vet, I want the full $50,000.

A. I am with you, but remember you have to qualify for that amount, which is why you get to select how much money you would like to borrow and then all of the key components of our credit matrix system is matched to your request. We always try to loan you for the highest amount, but you must qualify for it.

Q. What is this going to cost me? What are the monthly payments and interest rate?

A. Although it is a tough time for credit, it is a great time for low payments. Currently a smaller Patriot Express loan is at a four year interest low of 7.75%, which equates to $60 per $5,000 borrowed. These are ten year fully amortized, principal and interest loans. Because there is no prepayment penalty, you can pay them off early and stop the interest.

Q. So the payments can go up?

A. The smaller unsecured loans are variable and not fixed. But because the payments are spread out over such a long period of time, as interest goes up, there is not a precipitous increase in the monthly payment. Historically, they started out six years ago at $89 per $5,000 borrowed and are now down to $60.00.

Q. Under your Patriot Express Initiative loan program, do I have to put up the equity in my house or have liens on my business assets?

A. Not at all. They are 100% unsecured small business loans. As a matter of fact, they don’t even ask you to list or describe your assets.

Q. I’m in the process of finishing my business plan. Can I submit the application without one?

A. You can. It is not required. On the other hand, it helps. So I tell people if they are a couple of hours away from finishing their business plan, by all means do so. It is beneficial to have even if you do not apply for the loan. But if it is going to take you two or three weeks, don’t sweat it, and simply send in the application. We can always work on the business plan later.

Q. How long will this take, from start to finish?

A. The larger loans take longer because there’s more paperwork and more review required by the lenders. But the small ones I do are extremely quick. You can usually get answers within 24 hours and is wired into your business account within approximately ten days with the completed paperwork. We have special software that allows us to expedite the process. And, the program mandates a quick issuance of an SBA loan number from the central processing center — so once everything is finished, you can usually get an SBA loan number within one or two days and then the money is wired.

Q. Do most banks do these types of loans?

A. Any bank that is already approved by the SBA is able to do these loans. But the sad fact is that most banks do not do them. I’ve even run into lenders who have never even heard of the program. They will simply run you through their application process without concentrating on the fact that you’re a veteran. We are veteran friendly and encourage these applications.

Q. Before this interview, I didn’t really know what a patriot loan was. How come it has taken this long to hear about this loan?

A. The plain fact is it is I run into veterans all the time that have never even heard of the program. What a shame. It is here for our military – and we need everyone to help get the word out.

Q. If my credit is not very good, can I use a co-signer?

A. Unfortunately no. On the other hand, anyone with a 20% or more interest in the business will fill out the application and have their credit checked. But bear in mind you have to have at least a 51% or more interest from veterans to qualify.

Q. What happens if I have gone through bankruptcy? Have I shot myself in the foot?

A. We have applicants all the time that have worked hard after bankruptcy and have their credit score in the high 600’s. Some banks won’t touch you but we will. We require that you conclude the bankruptcy, wait approximately 6 to 8 months after that to re-establish credit, and show that you’re paying your bills absolutely on time after that. This means you can’t go on an “all cash” basis because you must establish credit first and it has to show you are meeting your obligations on time. We give you one chance to make a mistake but after that you need to show you learned from the mistake.

Q. Assume I pay my bills religiously on time, but I have high credit card payments. Will this hurt my chances?

A. This has become a very big problem. We have lots of people who pay their bills absolutely on time, but have high credit limits. This is now a factor seriously considered by lenders. The more you have and the higher your limits, the more negatively it is considered. The only problem is that many businesses stay afloat only with their credit cards, and had no other options because the banks are not lending.

Q. What about business financial statements and tax returns?

A. This is definitely required on the larger loans, but not on the small ones. The paperwork is meant to be short and simple so they can be processed quickly.

Q. Do you have to incorporate or form an LLC?

A. Not all. You can be a sole proprietorship. The nature of the business is not one of the factors in making the credit decision.

Q. I have a good credit score and do not want any more enquiries which bring down my score. Is there anything I can do?

A. That is a definite problem. We have to pull your personal credit report it is mandatory. On the other hand, my staff can give you a general idea of your chances if we know your credit score. That way you’ll not be disappointed.

Q. Do you find that the vets you deal with like the program?

A. They absolutely love it. For good reason, they have put their lives on the line and they feel entitled to a fair shake in starting or expanding their business. They are grateful there is a program out there for them.

Q. You have any inside suggestions as to how person can increase their chances?

A. Sure: The following really helps: 1) a business plan with financials. Financials are the most important part. But I also tell people that you’re not trying to get an “A” on a term paper. Just do a good basic job and trying for a “C+”. 2) Tell them exactly what you’re going to be spending and on. Just saying that you needed it for cash flow doesn’t quite make it. I had a case once where someone had a restaurant and were expanding their kitchen. They had spent weeks shopping around and gave a detailed list of the exact equipment, model numbers, and the pricing. This was very impressive and really helped them obtain a loan. 3) A well written letter accompanying the application that positively describes the market and your future plans. Please proof read it; a poorly written letter could back fire. Recently, we received one with fourteen typos in one sentence, that one is the winner!

Q. Are some businesses considered more risky?

A. Yes, but we are still able to fund them. For example restaurants and dry cleaners are considered more risky as a result of Federal studies.

Q. Are you finding more people are inclined to go into business themselves as opposed to working for someone else?

A. No question on that one. The days are gone when our adults are employed in factories, large corporations, and government offices, sometimes working for only one employer their whole career. There has been a massive unleashing of such persons because of our lack of jobs, and many of them are out in the private sector trying to start their own businesses. It’s both sad and exciting at the same time. For this reason, the SBA must provide more loans to the 27 million small businesses that can fuel our economy.

Q. Now let us talk real practicality. We are in a credit crunch like never before. How has this affected your success rate?

A. You hit the nail on the head. We are definitely in a credit crunch, and I am seeing the lenders requiring better credit reports. Fortunately, we are not involved in the toxic sub-prime mortgage fiasco and have funds to loan. But remember they are supervised by the SBA and the big problem is the secondary market has shut down. Although this makes it more difficult, but we are still very veteran friendly and give special consideration to them. We continue to loan to veterans, several a day, and plan to do so in the future

Q. Overall, how would you rate the program?

A. It’s a great and well-deserved program. If I were to improve it, I would increase the outreach so more veterans knew about it.

Q. Thank you for your time.

A. My pleasure.

Some Different Ways to Get Rid of Snakes

If you look online, there are a number of different places that tell you how to get rid of snakes, with a lot of different objects for sale to help you on that quest. One of the more popular items that some people claim work, and maybe even more people claim do not work, would be snake repelling powders. These things can come in all natural type ingredients, so peppers, cinnamon, and things of that nature that have been ground up to create a powder, or some contain slightly dangerous chemicals like lime or sulfur. For that reason I would never recommend powders, just because you might not always know what is in them, and they might not even work.

That leads to one of the more unique ways to get rid of snakes, which is using electronic waves by plugging in a certain device. This device makes sound waves or electronic waves that drive snakes crazy. In theory this might make sense because snakes to have some very sensitive sensory organs that they use for movement and feeding. Disturbing those organs might be a great way to get rid of snakes. My Only question would be, how do you prove a device like this works, and is there any proof at all it actually does?

Call me old fashioned, but the way I always tell people to get rid of snakes is by changing the environment on your property. You can do this in a few easy steps, first make sure your grass is mowed, and it does not get very long. Second, make sure that all areas that have big weeds, including ditches, are trimmed and stay trimmed. And third, you need to remove all hiding spots that snakes love, such as garbage piles, burn piles, compost piles, tires, trash, firewood, and even certain bushes and shrubs. Once you remove them you do two things, you remove snakes shelter, and you start to eliminate their food source.

Snakes are going to feed on bugs, mice, and other rodents. By getting rid of the shelter for those things, as well as eliminating mice and bugs from your yard, you are taking away the food source snakes depend on. Removing the shelter and food source is the best way to get rid of an animal.

I do want to make sure that people know to make sure you have the snakes identified before you attempt to move them. You do not want to put yourself in danger by handling possibly dangerous snakes. Make sure you call a professional if you have any doubts, and make sure you stay safe.