Paint Jobs – How Much Does it Cost to Paint? Estimating Paint Jobs

Nobody wants to work for nothing, but many painting businesses do when they don’t charge for all the things that are part of each job. If you intend to do a complete job, and your customer is asking for a complete job, then you should be charging for a complete job. Leave something off of the estimate and you are working for nothing. Doing a complete and thorough estimate involves everything that takes time whether it be screwing that switch plate cover back on or painting the altar in that church. Many painters brag about what they describe as an almost mystical experience, like walking into a room and a price comes into their head. I never liked that because it is inaccurate, lazy and likely to end up poorly, at best you will just miss something and work for nothing on that part of the job. Another reason why this lump sum magic is bad is that someone is always surprised when the customer finds something that wasn’t done and they thought it was part of the job. And they tell you do it or don’t get paid. I talk about this when I discuss the Proposal itself.

Setup – Whether it be driving 100 miles to the job or 2 days setting up scaffolding or 20 minutes unloading drops, ladders and paint, it is part of every job. And because it is part of the job it is included in the cost of the job and needs to be estimated. Some thought should be given to special circumstances as mentioned above, or keep a percentage to use as a formula for each job. For example: if you are scaffolding out that church steeple to scrape and paint, then you need to figure everything involved with this stage including take down. This type of setup is likely to be much more costly than the actual paint job. Whereas painting the interior of your average customers home can be done room by room as a percentage of the total hours. For example: if you are dropping out a room, removing switch plates, moving furniture, etc. Then an easy way to do it is to take the total hours painting and multiply by.1 or.2 or whatever you think is an average time. Estimating setup, prep, and cleanup as a percentage on average jobs saves time when estimating.

Preparation – Lots of times this costs way more than the paint job. For example: we did a paint job on a big 1840’s wood clapboard monster of a house. 15 weeks removing paint before one drop of paint went on the house, the painting itself was about 3 weeks. Not only time but lots of sanding disks, respirators, disposable coveralls, cleanup daily, and removal of all dust and chips was all a big deal because of the size of the job and because of the old lead paint. The opposite is the average home interior that can be estimated like the setup example above using a percentage. Most of the time interior prep is just small surface repairs, and some caulking, the stuff that is the same from job to job. Special repairs or problems should be itemized.

Painting – What amount of time does it take to paint 5 wood casement windows on ground level without a ladder? How much time does it take to paint those same 5 windows at 40 feet on a hill when each window is 8 feet apart? Probably more than 2 times what it takes to paint the ones on ground level, each time moving and setting up the ladder on uneven ground most likely involving 2 people to move and setup the ladder for each window. So an easy formula to use on heights above 25 feet would be 2 times or 2.2 times or whatever the time it takes to paint the same window without ladder. Most of the time estimating painting costs can be done with a formula that works pretty well from job to job.

Cleanup – This part of the painting job is likely to be glossed over or ignored from an estimating position. This is a big mistake because it can take more time that the actual painting, depending on the job. If this part of the job is not done well the client may view the entire job as poorly done. And if done really well it may just put the crowning touch on the job. Estimating the time to properly cleanup after each job is critical to your estimate. If you short this part of the estimate, by not allowing enough time, then something has to give and the outcome is likely an unhappy customer. Average jobs can use a factor to estimate time. Example, an 8 hour interior job can be cleaned up in 8 hours x.1 =.8 hours.

When I watch some of these “home remodeling” shows blow through the painting as if it is nothing, I laugh but then I think how much ignorance they create. When Norm does his woodworking magic it is an event to behold; but, when Carlos spends 3 hours vacuuming, dusting and cleaning windows after a paint job, it is nothing, it is not even mentioned. Some many home owners tackle paint jobs and are totally clueless as to what is really involved. Like the time when we were called in to touch up walls in this multi-million dollar mcMansion following a $25,000 audio system wiring job where the technician cut holes in 11 different rooms. Each room had a different color, so we cleaned rollers, brushes, cut buckets etc. after each color. The owner gave me a big argument about charging her for the time to clean our tools. If it is part of the job and you wouldn’t be doing it except for their job, then they should be paying you for it.

Suede and Nubuck – Note on Texture and How to Clean Them

Suede and Nubuck are soft leathers which can be readily soiled. One important fact about Suede is its readiness to lose its nap. Nap is an interesting concept. You can ask if a Nap or velvety feel of the fabric is created naturally or created by artificial means i.e. when the original hide is made into the finished property that is Suede. The Nap is a central part of what Suede is. It is what gives Suede and Nubuck their velvety feels and this is because of one-directional nature of the fibers. Before a note on cleaning these materials, firstly a note on one part of their textures i.e the Nap.

Does Suede had a natural nap? It is possible that Suede gains its characteristic nap from the buffing process. However it seems that Suede does have a natural Nap. Suede comes from the split grain of the animal’s hide and the split grain is an inferior hide to the top grain. However it is known that this split grain has a direction. The fibers of this split grain/ the under layer of the hide runs in one direction and of course the central property of what a nap is is the fact that the fibers run in one direction.

Thus Suede in some way has a natural direction or nap. However buffing is still a central process in the creation of Suede and it is known too that Suede has a ready ability to lose this nap. It thus loses is attractivess, its feel and thus gains some kind of flatness. There are Suede brushes on the market whose aim is to return this nap.

A quick note on Nubuck. Nubuck comes from the top grain or surface of the hide. It is known that Nubuck has a Suede-like softness and there are thus obvious similarities between Nubuck and Suede. In Top Grain Leather however, the fibers run in all directions and thus no nap. Thus there is uniformity and strength and it is a naturally stronger fabric. However Nubuck does have a nap as is known. This is not, it seems, natural and it is created artificially through a buffing process. And this artificial Nap then creates that velvety feel which is a property of Nubuck.

To remove dirt from Suede and Nubuck, a damp but not wet cloth is suitable. It is known that rain can discolor Suede but if you dry the Suede immediately after coming inside with a dry cloth and then leaving the garment in a warm place, then there should be no permanent damage. Suede and Nubuck have natural oils which it is important to retain. There are specific leather care lotions that can be rubbed on with a cloth. Specialist suppliers of cleaning products call these products leather degreasers and leather cleaners.

It is important to mention too that there are products in the market called Protectants which can be put on your garments/accessories about twice yearly. These protectants give a type of protection zone to the Suede and Nubuck garments. These Protectants protect against soiling and dirts. I mention these Protectants because when one gets a heavy stain on the Suede or Nubuck, the stain should firstly be rubbed with a dry cloth but in such a way as not to spread the dirt and make it ingrained. Water should not be used. Then it is advised to use a degreaser which is a product name for the special cleaning lotion. The degreaser is then followed by a leather cleaner. A good brushing then restores the nap and finally there is the protectant. There are special Nubuck as well as Suede brushes on the market but obviously you can use the same type of brush for Suede as Nubuck.

I would like to write again on the texture of Suede and Nubuck. They are too different materials. They come from different layers of the hide; One the underlayer and one the upper but they both have a softness which marks them out amongst leathers in general. Still it is interesting that Suede has a natural Nap and you could say a natural softness or soft texture because of where it comes from i.e. the split grain or inside of the hide.

The Purpose of a RSS Feed – In Simple Terms

An RSS is a format used for web publishing real-time updates to other sites. You can create an RSS feed on your site, including automatic feeds on other web sites or a specific page, the topic that interests you.

Visitors to your site can see updates from other Web sites in real-time feed. It is also helpful to announce something that happens. An RSS feed can be very convenient for those who want updated information on their favorite site or collect all their favorite Web sites so they can see them all in a single stream.

RSS is a great tool for business owners. A business owner can use RSS to keep you updated guests on the current, updated information on the industry. Visitors can see on the food and not having to leave the site to read.

New sites make good use of RSS feeds to pull in customers. Many people out there subscribe to a news page to stay updated on current events and news to have handy. It's a way to stay informed. You can get all the information you need on one page without moving from page to page or site to site. It’s like having someone constantly feeding you the latest information on what's happening in the world.

Also make sure that your readers and subscribers are not overwhelmed by detail. They feed each other the right amount of detail. If the reader wants to know more, you can simply click on the button and go to the website where the information came from. It is a source of information may be used for RSS feeds:

* Forum

* Blog

* Article

* News

Feeds are especially useful for radio and TV news on various topics such as homes for sale, upcoming events, auctions, legal aspects, providing employment and entertainment. The possibilities of their use are virtually limitless.

When people subscribe to your feed, they know they can count on you to provide valuable information and keep updated on all the information you need to know. You, however, could use RSS to publish articles of interest (or information that adds value to others) that you want to make sure people are aware. Sure, visitors have the opportunity to withdraw from the stream at any time they want.

Use RSS feeds as a marketing strategy and provide the subscribers with recent information.

Planning a Truss Roof Loft Conversion? Let Telebeam Take the Strain

The Telebeam system is a revolutionary new way of organising the conversion of a truss (or trussed rafter) roof into a usable space. Not only will this method of loft conversion give you an extra room, or rooms, but it will also add value to your house.

Traditional methods of converting a trussed rafter roof involve replacing the ‘W’ sections of trusses with steel joists which usually run between load bearing gable walls. New vertical supporting timbers and floor joists are then run from these steel joists to support the existing roof before the internal trusses is removed.

Once the additional supports are in place the ‘W’ sections of roof trusses are almost totally removed. The roof trusses at the apex are usually retained in a much shortened state because they have to carry the new horizontal ceiling joists forming the new flat area of ceiling, as well as the regulation insulation materials.

As you can imagine, installing lengthy steel joists into a roof that is already ‘full’ of supporting trusses is the trickiest part. Either a section of one gable end is temporarily removed to allow the steel to be inserted longitudinally, or areas of the roof tiles are removed and the steel joists are inserted in sections and then bolted together when in place.

The Telebeam system does away with the need to insert substantial load-bearing steel joists by retaining the load bearing triangulation, eave to eave, rather than between load bearing walls. With Telebeam only the three lowest rows of roof tiles need to be removed temporarily. Then the roofing felt is turned back to allow the telescopic beams to be slid in alongside the current floor joists, attaching to the wall plates either side. As their name suggests, the TeleBeams are telescopic and adjust to the span of the building. They do not rely on any internal support and work for any roof pitch.

The vertical stud walls at the edge of the new room transfer the roof load down onto the Telebeam system and the original horizontal wooden joists take the horizontal (spreading) load. The ‘W’ sections of roof trusses are now redundant and most of them can be removed, retaining the roof trusses at the apex to carry the new ceiling collar as before. The new floor can then be fixed directly to the Telebeam system, insulation can be added underfloor, between the rafters and within the new ceiling, and the rafters, ceiling and stud walls can be boarded over and a plastered finish applied.

TeleBeam systems are available in spans up to 8.4 metres so they are ideal for almost any size of roof.

Advantages of the TeleBeam system:

a) Incorporates roof and floor support in one LABC (Local area building control) approved system.

b) Minimises loft conversion costs – the TeleBeam system costs about £5,000 + vat for a 2/3 bedroom house (the installation is not included in this figure).

c) Maximises available headroom.

d) Available in spans of 5.8, 6.2, 7.0, 7.8 and 8.4 metres.

e) No additional timber floor joists are required.

f) Beams slide into the roof space by removing just three rows of tiles from one side of the house.

g) Reduced scaffolding/access costs.

h) Telescopic beams fit most buildings and roof pitches.

i) No specialist installation skills or tools are required.

j) Easy to follow, step-by-step instructions.

Petrified Wood Flooring – Pros and Cons

A lot of people today are considering getting petrified wood flooring. If you are one of these people, then you ought to be aware of the different pros and cons of getting this type of flooring.

Before we tackle this, what actually is petrified wood? Well, it is actually a sort of fossilized wood. Through a process taking thousands of years, the wood has become crystallized and has become rock-hard.

This presents one of the biggest advantages of this type of wood: durability. When you make use of this as a flooring material, you won’t have to worry about it showing wear easily. After all, it has lasted thousands of years already, right?

We all know that durability is very important when getting any type of flooring material. This is simply you will be using that material to be trampled on day after day. Since petrified wood costs so much, you do not want to end up having to replace your flooring every few years.

This type of flooring is also prized because of its beauty. There’s nothing quite like the look offered by the fossilized wood. Although a lot of people may say that hardwood is the most beautiful type of flooring material, they most likely have not yet seen just how beautiful wood can become.

This beauty is also the reason why its value is so high. If you thought that authentic hardwood was expensive, wait until you see the order list for petrified wood flooring. However, this disadvantage is also compensated by the fact that getting this type of flooring definitely increases your house’s resale value. This means that if you should decide to move, this type of flooring material will definitely help you clinch the sale fast.Another truth about it is that it is not really wood anymore. As mentioned before, it becomes rock-hard. This means that nailing it down is not really an option. You also can’t use it to design a floating floor. Actually, this flooring material usually comes in the form of tiles, much like ceramic. You might try gluing it down but that will leave you with a very unsteady surface. The only option that’s left is to use cement to hold it together.

It also requires a whole new level of maintenance. This flooring material needs to be polished in order to keep its luster. It is also quite prone to staining. The problem with this type of flooring is that you can’t really sand it down like hardwood. Well, actually, you could try, but it will take far more work and effort than you think.

However, it rises above regular wood flooring in one factor: water-resistance. With petrified wood, you get something that does not need to be treated with special chemicals in order to prevent water damage. This means that if you get this type of flooring material, you can use it as flooring for your bathroom or at least areas outside them.Another advantage is sort of circular in its logic. Because of the virtues of the wood mentioned above, people find it prestigious if you have them. This means getting this type of flooring material will help you wow your guests. In fact, a lot of people buy petrified wood flooring simply for the prestige and end up totally amazed by its virtues.

Why Are Copper Roofs a Good Choice?

Many people get a puzzled look on their faces if you mention copper roofing, even though it is growing in popularity. For some people it is very difficult to picture an entire home or business with a copper roof glowing in the sunlight.

But copper is showing itself as a really good option for roofing material. There are many reasons for this, and as advances have been made in the industry, that list has just gotten longer. One of the best things about copper as a roofing material is that it will not need to be replaced. It easily lasts a lifetime and is extremely durable against the ravages of time. It is also bug and rodent-proof. Unlike some kinds of roofs, unwanted critters cannot burrow into metal or eat it.

One thing about copper that is making it stand out is that it is resistant to many natural disasters. For instance, in places that are prone to wildfires, it is a popular choice because burning embers are extinguished on the copper rather than igniting the roof. Snowfall also just slides off of copper roofs. Homes with copper roofing have also been known to survive hurricanes better than those with other types of roofs.

There two main types of copper roofing. It can come in large sheets of copper, or in copper shingles. Either one will give you all the benefits, but it is up to you which you get. Copper shingles are often less expensive to buy and have installed.

Copper roofing is sound from an environmental standpoint because of its longevity, and the fact that most of it is made from about 75% recycled copper.

Some people worry that a metal roof will be loud when it is raining or hailing. The truth of it is that when you are inside, you will not notice the noise any more thou would with any other type of roof. Also, contrary to what some people say, a copper roof will not attract lightning just because it is metal.

Something many people do not realize when they think about copper roofing is that is does not retain its bright metallic color. Due to oxidizing and a process called patina, the copper turns a jade-green hue. In this state it is highly resistant to corrosion. Copper roofs are easy to clean with a mild cleaning solution and a telescopic brush as well.

A copper roof may be expensive, but it will be well worth it when you don’t have to repair or replace it. If you plan on owning your building for many years, copper roofing is an investment that will pay off over time. The installation is also more reasonable priced now than it was even a few years ago due to the fact that many roofing companies have the ability to properly install copper. Up until recently you would have had to contract a company that specialized in metal roofing and copper.

Not only does a copper roof have benefits in the form of lifespan and resistance to natural disasters, it is beautiful. Copper adds a sense of refinement and stateliness to the buildings it is installed on, and can add a classic touch to the entire property.

If you look into the perks of copper roofing more, and compare it to other types of roofing, you will probably discover that copper is the best option for your home or business.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker: A Short Summary

In this poignant epistolary novel that relates the story of two sisters Celie and Nettie, Alice Walker condemns racial and sexual oppression and severely criticizes the brutality that victimized the black women especially in the South. This is an extraordinary tale, painful and uncomfortable that plays out over two decades of Celie’s life through her letters beginning at age 14, when she is sexually abused by her stepfather, who later removes her children.

Celie’s real nightmare begins with her marriage to Albert, who rather needs a servant than a wife to take care of his four children, look after his house, and work in his fields but Celie is happy to marry him to save her younger sister Nettie from her father’s clutches. However the latter constrained to leave for refusing the sexual advances of her sister’s husband goes to Africa as a missionary after promising to write to Celie. With this painful separation and a complete silence from Nettie, her life worsens and Celie begins writing to God; a correspondence without any hope of reply but yet these missives save her from despair… She continues addressing to “Dear Good Lord” and relates her miserable condition, describing the nightmare of the violence and isolation but also hope, when her husband brings home his mistress Shug Avery for Celie to nurse her back to health.

This girl unlike Celie is sexy and independent and with Shug she discovers the mystery of Nettie’s silence for her husband has been hiding her sister’s letters in a locked trunk and finding them unlocks a new world to her. With the sensual Shug Avery, Celie familiarizes with her body, learns self-esteem and also love; realizing the full extent of the abuses suffered from her husband also gives her the strength to start a new life with Shug. Her sister’s letters completely transform her when she learns that her father was not actually her biological parent and her childhood house actually belonged to her and Nettie since their mother passed away.

These letters also reveal that her sister Nettie is living with a Reverend who has adopted her two children and several decades later, when they return the sisters at last have a blissful reunion. In this excellent novel, the author uses the themes of violence and sexual abuse to a stunning effect and the development of the main character Celie, displays her transformation from an unhappy, miserable person into a happy, successful, independent woman.

Using Color Psychology to Sell Your Home

When painting your home for resale, choosing the right colors can make a huge difference in your paycheck at closing. For instance, did you know that the exterior color of houses selling most quickly is a certain shade of yellow, but that choosing the wrong shade of yellow can kill a sale?

You’ll find many brochures in paint stores, showing various combinations of exterior paint colors. But most people don’t realize that most of those combinations actually include three colors, and not just two. Limiting your exterior paint scheme to just two colors also limits your income potential.

For a fast sale, think fun colors and go for a third, or even a fourth, exterior color. Think “Disneyland Main Street,” where every shop is painted in glorious multi-colors. Adding more colors will also add definition to the various architectural details of your home. Use gloss or semi-gloss paint on wood trim.

The Psychology of Exterior Colors

When choosing exterior colors, take the sales price of your home into account. Certain colors, especially muted, complex shades, attract wealthy or highly-educated buyers, whereas buyers with less income or less education generally prefer simpler colors. A complex color contains tints of gray or brown, and usually requires more than one word to describe, such as “sage green,” as opposed to “green.”

On the other hand, simple colors are straightforward and pure. Generally, houses in the lower price range sell faster and for higher prices when painted in simple colors like yellow or tan, accented by white, blue, or green trim.

The Psychology of Interior Colors

Using colored, rather than bland, white walls will increase your profit potential. Lynette Jennings tested the perception of room size and color, and discovered that a room painted white appeared only appeared larger to a few people when compared to an identical room painted in color – and the perceived difference was only about six inches! Most people also look better when surrounded by color, and feel happier, and since buyers pick houses that make them feel happy, that knowledge can put dollars in your pocket at closing!

Entryways should bring the exterior colors into the house. Repeating shades of the exterior throughout your home will make the entire home seem to be in harmony. Living and family rooms painted in a slightly lighter shade of the exterior color will ensure that you’ve picked a color your buyers like, because if they didn’t like your exterior colors, they wouldn’t have bothered to look inside. If they loved the exterior colors, they’ll love the interior, too.

When choosing interior colors, consider the use of each room. For instance, kitchen and dining areas that are painted in “food colors,” such as coffee browns, celery greens, and scrambled egg yellows, feel natural.

Since, deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity, I like to paint master bedrooms a medium shade of green or blue for warm selling seasons, and rouge red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy tones of green, blue, or a pale shell pink. (See the chapter on the Psychology of Color in my book “Joy to the Home: Secrets of Interior Design Psychology” for further information.)

Selling Season

Always consider your selling season (the time of year you’ll be marketing your home) and climate when choosing colors. Estimate the amount of time you’ll need to get your home ready for sale, and then add on extra days for unexpected delays. Use cool colors, such as blues, greens, and grays, to sell during spring and summer, and warm colors, such as yellows, reds, and maroons, when selling in the fall and winter.

Color Intensity

My husband and I usually use lighter colors when painting the exteriors of our investment dollhouses, because it makes them appear larger. On the other hand, our cabin in the woods looks richer when painted a darker color. When we decided to have it painted, I considered the usual cabin colors of dark brown and barn red, but fell in love with Olympic’s gorgeous “Gooseberry” plum color.

When getting ready to paint your house, look at the colors of neighboring houses and choose colors that harmonize, yet stand out from the crowd. Colors that clash badly with other houses will detract from the overall neighborhood.

At the beginning of the article, I told you that homes with yellow exteriors sell the quickest. But which shade of yellow sells best? First, the yellows to avoid: yellows with green undertones look sickly to most buyers, and yellows with orange undertones give buyers an impression of cheapness.

The best-selling yellow exterior color is actually a pale, sunny yellow, especially when complimented with one or more carefully-chosen accent colors. For instance, a semi-gloss white trim will give your home a clean and fresh look, and adding a third color, such as green, can make your home even more attractive to prospective buyers.

Colors affect human beings in many ways, and by using the principles of Color Psychology, you can make your home stand out from the competition, sell more quickly, and at a higher price.

(c) Copyright 2014, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

Plastic Septic Tanks Are All the Rage – Advantages & Disadvantages

Plastic septic tanks have become widespread in recent years. Much of their popularity can be attributed to their ease of manufacturing, low cost compared to alternative effluent tank types, and ease of installation.

You can even find plastic septic tank models that are placed above ground. They are not nice to look at, but you could disguise them and if the ground where you live is unsuitable for an effluent tank, then an above ground arrangement may be your only option.

What follows is a quick list of advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of.

Advantages of Plastic Septic Tank

  1. Plastic is a resilient material and is not as likely to crack as other materials that you will find in the market place
  2. Plastic tanks that are suitable for a normal sized home are light enough to be moved around the property by a few people; whereas, a concrete tank requires a crane.
  3. These types of tanks are quite inexpensive because of their ease of manufacture and installation
  4. You do not have to worry about these tanks rusting since there are no metallic parts
  5. These tanks will also never corrode and will remain water-tight as long as they are not abused

Disadvantages of Plastic Septic Tank

  1. Plastic is a very light-weight material and if it is buried improperly it will literally float to the ground surface
  2. Plastic is structurally weaker than concrete or cement, so it will not be able to hold as much septic effluent as similar sized effluent tanks
  3. At the moment, plastic effluent tanks are not legal in all states or countries
  4. Damage can easily occur during installation because the plastic is so light and easily dropped

Plastic septic tanks are often relied upon when a cement effluent tank is not suitable for your property. For example, the ground may be too rocky or the area where the effluent tank needs to go is impossible to reach by crane. There have been instances where plastic tanks were approved in states that do not normally allow them because there was no other alternative.

Two Killer Steps to Attracting a Girl Who Already Has a Boyfriend – Tactics to Seduce Attached Women

Have you ever met a girl and got attracted to her, only to find out what she is already going steady with another guy? The truth of the matter is – if a girl is hot enough, usually she is already in a relationship. What this means is that you’re already facing competition even before you start courting her. Disheartening, isn’t it?

Don’t fret, buddy – I will show you how to make a girl attracted to you, even when she is already attached. And all you need to do is to follow two simple steps.

However, there is a caveat which I have to tell you. If the girl that you want to attract is already happy with her boyfriend, there’s nothing much you can do, really. But, see this on the flipslide – if she decides to go out on a date with you anyway, it’s a surefire sign that her relationship with her boyfriend is not as fine and dandy as it seems. Which means that you have got a shot.

How to make her ditch her boyfriend for you then? Follow these two steps and you will have your work cut for you.

Step 1. Connect with her intensely and full of emotion. The keyword here is ’emotion’. There’s no chance in hell to ‘rationalize’ with her to make her leave her boyfriend for you. Therefore, you must evoke emotions so that she feels pleasurable when she is in your company. Couple this with the unhappiness that she feels when she is with her boyfriend, you will stand an outstanding chance to win. This is the extension of the ‘pain-pleasure’ principle used in the field of hypnosis and NLP.

Step 2. Amplify the weaknesses of her boyfriend. This is a highly sneaky way to tip things to your favor. Ask her to define the ‘perfect’ relationship. When she does that, she will inevitably compare this ideal relationship with the one that she has got currently. The boyfriend will look flawed compared to this, putting him in a disadvantaged position.

8 Pros and Cons of Software Engineer Contract Work You May Not Be Aware Of

From September 2008 to March 2010, contract work increased 2% and part time jobs increased 16%, while temporary, permanent and full-time positions decreased significantly (-19%, -36%, -4% respectively). Read on to discover why software engineer contract work may prove to be a safer, smarter career move for you.

Software engineer contract work offers many benefits over permanent positions, although it has its downfalls. Here are some characteristics of contract work which may help determine whether or not it is a good fit for you:

Contract work pros:

Money – usually the pay will be better than permanent positions since there is less overhead incurred by the employer.

Flexibility – since you are paid on an hourly rate, you are not obliged to go over your set weekly hours. In many cases you are on your own time. Also, taking contract positions allows you to work on several different projects with different companies.

Experience – contract jobs allow you to gain experience and training in several different areas of expertise. This can be a great resume builder, however, you want to avoid being labeled a job-hopper, so show some concentration in specific areas.

Work from home opportunities – many contract employment opportunities are work from home. While some employees feel the need for a structured environment, many love the freedom offered by working from home (and its gas saving benefits!). If you work from home, you may qualify for a tax deduction for a home-based office.

Tax-deductions – contractors can claim tax-deductable business expenses. Make sure to keep record of any money you spend on office supplies, phone calls, and anything else related to job expenses. Also keep a log of the amount of miles that you travel in your car to get to and from your contracting job, as this can be another deductable expense.

Contract work cons:

Less benefits – this isn’t always the case if you find a generous company that is willing to negotiate your contract terms.

Uncertainty – during the economic downturn the average job-seeker was searching primarily for job stability. Now that things have eased up, contract work is gaining back its desirability for those who enjoy its benefits.

Taxes and health insurance – While full-time employees have taxes withheld from their paychecks, contractors must take care of their own taxes. Contractors are responsible for paying self-employment tax, which covers social security and Medicare. Additionally they are responsible for paying estimated taxes, which consists of self-employment and income tax in quarterly installments based upon what they expect to earn in the year.

Contract work can be highly beneficial to some, while not so fitting for others. Since much of software engineer work is project based, many of you in the field should be comfortable with this position type. In many cases software engineer contract work will be the most sensible choice for those in the industry and I highly recommend experiencing it at some point in your career. It can always be used as a gateway into a permanent position and is a great way to test if the company is a good fit for you. Always remember, over 70% of contract jobs turn into permanent positions, so there is a good chance it will open up opportunities down the road (Source: IBISWorld).

Employment agencies are often a good resource for finding contract work. Another option is to use freelancing resources.

How To Prevent Moldy Bread In The Kitchen

Bread rises when combined with a fungus called yeast. Mold loves bread for the same reason yeast does. As a baked blend of moist fertile nutrients, bread creates a perfect mold-friendly environment. The spores spawn in a warm and willing host, in this case an innocent loaf, and soon the familiar green and white fuzz ruins the family meal.

In such a warm, wet and open air environment as the average home kitchen, it’s easy to see how quickly a loaf of bread can go south. Molding times vary from climate to climate, just as moisture and other environmental factors do.

To prevent moldy bread, all one has to do is understand enough about mold to prevent it from growing. That is an idea easier written than wrought, however, since mold is a very common fungus. Mold spores exist everywhere, but they prefer a warm, food-rich environment with the added necessity of moisture.

There are several ways to delay the growth of mold, at least until the loaf may be consumed. One delaying method is freezing. Freezing prevents the growth of mold by removing all the moisture. Simply divide the loaf into a series of one or two slice freezer bag packages. If a family quickly gobbles through a whole loaf, wrap the entire bread package for freezing. When placing the bread into the freezer, care should be taken to do so inside its original inner plastic liner. This liner inhibits moisture from forming in the bread. In this way, bread can be kept up to six months in the freezer. After that, it will lose some of its quality.

If there is no freezer, bread may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or bag. Making certain to force as much air from the container as possible, seal the bread inside it. Much of the oxygen required for mold to grow has just been removed from around the bread. A good quality breadbox is another room temperature option. Real wood or ceramic are often the bread bakers’ breadbox of choice as bread is said to stay mold free for a longer time when placed in such containers. Storage is especially important for homemade bread. Big commercial bakeries add mold inhibitors to the recipe for store-bought bread. These inhibitors delay molding and extend the shelf life of their product.

Some buyers prefer to prevent bread mold by choosing different types of bread to bake or buy. If only one kind of bread performed the same in every climate, this would be possible. In general, white bread molds faster than whole wheat or rye bread. There can be exceptions, however, and those exceptions vary from brand to brand to homemade and beyond.

For homemade bread, there are a few actions that may be taken to extend bread use. Sourdough leavening for bread is mold resistant because of its active fermentation process. Combining sourdough with other bread recipes can help delay the growth of mold. Adding oil to any bread recipe may also help.

With a bit of prevention and planning, there’s no reason for mold to take away one’s daily bread.

Will a High Efficiency Air Conditioning System Pay for Itself?

Home HVAC (Heating Ventilating Air Conditioning) systems in most climates will be a major user of energy. In warm climates it can account for 60% or more of your total electric bill. If your system is ten years old or older it is a prime candidate for an upgrade. Air Conditioning systems are rated by SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). This is sort of like a cars MPG rating. The higher the number the more energy efficient and less power it will consume for the amount of cooling compared to a lower SEER rated system. A system 10 years old or older were likely rated 10 SEER or less when new. As they age they can lose efficiency due to compression loss and heat transfer restrictions like a dirty or damaged coil. If you have an older unit in need of repairs you might be tempted to spend the few hundred or few thousand dollars it may take to get it up and running rather than the thousands it would take to replace with a high efficiency system. Repairs can many times be the best alternative with a tight budget or in a case where you don’t plan to stay in the home long enough to get a ROI (return on investment) from the new system.

But in the long run it can cost more to repair an older unit then replacing. If you have an average 2,000 square foot home with a 4 ton air conditioning unit, it could cost somewhere around $5,000.00 to replace plus or minus a thousand or so depending on the grade of equipment and what all is involved with the installation. If this hypothetical system needed repairs in the typical $600-$1,000.00 range it might seem like you save around $4000.00 by repairing instead of replacing. But you have to factor in operating cost and future repair and maintenance to get a true cost comparison. If your system is starting to need repairs in that price range the chances are good that year after year it is going to need even more repairs as it ages. If you are adding refrigerant because of a leak and not repairing the leak you are guaranteed at least one, but probably several service calls a year to keep it cooling. Finding and repairing small pinhole leaks in the coil can cost a lot as well. Repairing coil leaks can be very difficult. When the coil starts to leak it is likely there are many small pinhole leaks in the tubing where the fin makes contact with the tubing. This is due to electrolysis caused by contact of two dissimilar metals and the presence of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that have condensed onto the coil that contribute to the formation of these pinholes. Repairing them is a tricky process and can result in less than desired results. Repairing one leak can just open another one nearby. Even if you are successful the efficiency of the system can never be returned even to its original low 10 SEER rating much less improving it. Charging a leaking system to “get by” also just contributes to the cost of operating that system. You have the service costs plus the increased operating cost as the system losses refrigerant and become less and less efficient.

So let’s look at that $5,000.00 system verses maintaining your old system over a period of just five years. Up front we already know you will have an expense of about $1,000.00 to get the system even operating at a low efficiency level. So now we are down to $4,000.00. Now let’s say you average a very modest projected $350.00 in maintenance and service cost for years 2 to 5. Now that new system is costing you just $2,600.00. Most systems will have a 10 year parts warranty so even if something did fail at least the parts would be covered. The labor for repairs on the new system will be at least 1 year and up to 10 years can be added for around $500.00 on most systems.

We haven’t even talked about energy cost savings yet. According to operating cost comparison software using 0.11 cent a kilowatt hour and a modest increase in rates of 3% a year you would save $2,092.00 on air conditioning cost by upgrading to an Energy Star rated 14 SEER system from 10 SEER system. And this is assuming your a 10 SEER system is still operating at 10 SEER. I can tell it won’t be. Savings will vary.

According to the same cost comparison software, government studies have also shown an increase in home value of around $7,800.00 by making this upgrade. When we expand the time frame out to the expected average life span of the system to 20 years your savings is over $10,000 in operating costs.

So waiting till that old system completely fails to replace it can cost you much more in energy cost and comfort then replacing it now.

The Top 2 Handheld Portable Nebulizers

With handheld portable nebulizers you can now enjoy the freedom of being anywhere without having to worry about breathing problems. There are quite a few brands out there that you can go for, but from the consumer reports and research it comes out that there are only two which are the best ones. The handheld portable nebulizers actually offer great performance in spite of their tiny package. These nebulizers are have two sections, the compressor and nebulizer, which are built into a small handheld device. They can weigh anywhere from around four ounces to 4 pounds. Obviously, lighter the nebulizer the more expensive it is. Here I would like to bring to light two most popular and excellent brands that have found favor with customers all over America.

The Omron NE-U22v nebulizer: This handheld portable nebulizer is actually considered the best nebulizer on the market today. It uses two standard ‘AA’ batteries, It’s really so compact that it can be put in a pocket or purse with ease. Even kids can use it and carry it in a backpack. Even though it is small, it packs a punch as it creates dense fumes to penetrate the lungs. One great thing that consumers say about it is that this handheld portable nebulizer never wastes even a drop of medication. It can be used in any position, lying down, upright or even standing on one’s head. It also uses Vibrating Mesh Technology, so there is no noisy compressor. It is totally silent!. Absolutely no ‘vibration’. Perfect for school, work, camping, airplanes, or any environment where you want to take a discreet treatment without having to plug in.

MABISMist II Handheld Ultrasonic Nebulizer: This is another brand name that is quite well-known. This handheld portable nebulizer is also versatile as it can be taken anywhere and everywhere with ease. It is a Small Volume Nebulizer (SVN) that transforms liquid medications into an aerosol mist. It delivers fast and silent treatments within 6 minutes as it uses an advanced ultrasonic technology. However, it is a little heavier than the Omron nebulizer and a little cumbersome because of its bigger size.

There are many choices for the patient for handheld portable nebulizers which are powered by rechargeable batteries. If it makes it easier for the subject to take his breathing treatment with him which allows him to keep up with the regime, then a handheld portable nebulizer is preferable to a full-sized machine. Nebulizers by Mabis and Omron range from compact bedside nebulizers to fully portable nebulizers. Nebulizers by Omron and Mabis have stood the test of time and have always been an efficient and effective method of delivery in both preventive and acute aerosol delivery.

Health & Afflictions Determination Using Zi Wei Dou Shu (ZWDS)

In my previous article, I touched upon determination of health problems and afflictions using the Chinese Astrology method Bazi (also known as 4 Pillars). To do a more holistic assessment, we can also complement it by employing another Chinese Astrology method called Zi Wei Dou Shu (ZWDS).

We can start off by assessing the stars in the Health Palace. But it is not a necessity because one’s decade luck moves every 10 years and the decade Health Palace could be any one of the palace in the Zi Wei Dou Shu chart. In addition, sometimes it is triggered by stars clashing the Health Palace instead. To understand how stars can clash Health Palace and how decade Health Palace moves, readers may visit my blog or forum to read and ask.

Let’s start with the most feared killer, Cancer. Cancer is usually triggered by the Lian Zhen star or Tian Tong star in ZWDS but they must be accompanied Hua Ji star. When either of these stars are triggered simultaneously with Wu Qu, we can refine it further as nose cancer or breast cancer.

As for cardiac arrest or heart related ailments, it is usually triggered by the Tai Yang (also known as Sun) star while hypertension and stroke usually revolve around Tian Ji star. Liver and gall related ailments would usually see the activation of Tian Ji and Tan Lang star. Gastrointestinal problems are usually the result of Ju Men, Tian Liang or Zi Wei star. Injuries would usually be a result of the Goat’s Blade and Tian Xing star.

Well, what about modern day sexual diseases including HIV and Aids? They are usually the result of simultaneously triggering Tan Lang and Lian Zhen simultaneously. Hence, any reader with both stars housed together should take care not to engage in casual sex. Your one night of romp could be lethal!