Narcotics and Foot Pain – A Poor Combination

The use of narcotic medication to treat body pain is a common practice for many doctors and other health care providers. Narcotics are effective at relieving many types of pain, and are safe if properly used. The use of narcotics to treat severe foot pain is a practice that still enjoys some popularity, primarily amongstst non-foot specialists. Unfortunately, unlike pain in the rest of the body, foot pain often has a mechanical cause directly related to the way one's foot structure functions when walking. The use of narcotic pain medication for foot pain will often lead to a worsening of the condition causing the pain. This article will discuss the nature of narcotic medication, foot pain, and how the two do not need to work well together.

Narcotic pain medication is part of a large family of prescription drugs called opioids that effect the way people perceive pain sensation. These drugs typically bind themselves to cells from tissue found in the central nervous system and gastrointestinal system. The part of a cell an opioid binds to is called the opioid receptor. The medication binds itself to this area, and the end result of a complex process that follows is reduced pain sensation, increased pain tolerance, and euphoria. Unfortunately, some side effects can occur despite a good track record of safety when used properly. These can include sedation, a reduction in breathing ability, and constipation. Dependance on these drugs can also develop if they are taken long enough. When someone becomes addicted to pain medication, the dependency effect as well the euphoria created by the drug reinforces the body's desire to continue on the medication, even if it is not medically needed. By stopping the medication, a withdrawal effect can also develop, limiting the ability of an addict to discontinue the medication.

The traditional use of narcotic pain medication was for chronic, unrelenting pain. This type of pain is seen with terminal cancer, major surgery recovery, or during severe injuries like burns and major fractures. Recently, the use of narcotic pain medication has expanded to many types of pain, both acute and chronic. The masking of the pain can be beneficial for people to help restore a normal life without pain. This works fine if the pain is from an inflamed gallbladder, back arthritis, or rib fracture. When the source of pain comes from a foot injury, a more unique approach must be taken to control the pain, as simply 'feeling better' can often lead to a worsening of the injury that caused the foot pain and a delay in healing.

Most foot pain is due to an injury that occurs directly or indirectly as a result of some abnormality of the foot structure. For example, the vast majority of heel pain is due to an injury of a ligament in the arch called the plantar fascia. This injury is usually due to flat feet or high arches causing strain or shock, respectively, on the fascia. Without the abnormal foot arch structure, the heel would not hurt. The same can be said for many other common sources of foot pain, including Achilles tendonitis, arthritis, neuromas (pinched nerve), most toe pain, pain in the ball of the foot, bunion pain, and many causes of pain around the ankles. The common factor seen in these various conditions is the development of inflammation in the foot as a result of the body's overzealous attempt to heal the injured tissue. The treatment for these conditions ideally needs to revolve around supporting the injured foot, restricting motion at the injured area, and reducing the overzealous infection the body creates during the healing process. By reducing the inflammation, the pain is reduced. With this and proper support, the body heals efficiently without excessive pain.

Unfortunately, the use of narcotic pain medication only addresses pain control, and not inflammation or foot structure. Narcotics do not help at all with pollution, which is the true source of most foot pain. These medications will only reduce the body's perception of pain, allowing the inflammation process to continue. This will delay the body's ability to heal the foot for two reasons. Firstly, the excess of inflammation not reduced by the narcotic medication will continue and the body will heal when it is good and ready. Often this time period will be for much longer than what is really necessary, since the body forms an overzealous reaction to injury just to be on the 'safe side'. Secondly, with narcotics, the tension of many people is to resume activity as normal, since the foot does not hurt as much. When foot pain is correctly reduced because of inflammation reduction, increased activity may not be as harmful if proper foot support is still maintained. However, if foot pain is simply eliminated by a narcotic pain medication only, the feeling of 'normal' invites many into mistakenly resuming their activity as usual. This only worsens the foot injury and increases the inflammation, as the true nature of the injury is masked by the pain relief.

The foot is unique in that it receives the weight of the body above it and the stress of walking below it. Injuries to the foot need much more support and rest than any other part of the body. Narcotic pain medication use for foot pain allows excessive activity too early in the healing process, and should not be used for most types of foot pain as it does not address the underlying cause of foot pain: inflammation as a result of mechanically-caused injury. There are times in which narcotic pain medication is acceptable, and even advised for foot pain. Severe crushing injuries, fractures, burns, and other injuries that have nothing to do with foot structure or normal infection can benefit from pain control. However, narcotic pain control in fractures should be short term, and strict control of motion and activity is necessary, even if the foot 'feet better' with pain control. Foot pain from surgery can also be treated with narcotic pain medication in the short term, as much of that pain is due to the cutting of tissue. Most people require only a brief period of pain control following foot or ankle surgery, which does not usually exceed 3 weeks in most cases.

Narcotic pain medication has its place in the treatment of pain in the body. When dealing with most causes of foot pain, the combination of a likelihood of worsening the foot injury, delaying healing, and the problems of narcotic addiction make the use of these powerful drugs ill-advised. Properly addressing the inflammation of the injury, supporting the foot, and dealing with the abnormal foot structure that often led to the painful condition in the first place are far better ways to treat foot and ankle pain.

Jungle Party Theme – Go Tarzan Wild While Planning Your Jungle Theme Party!

Jungle party themes are one of the most fun party ideas to plan, organize and attend. Whether it is a birthday party theme, special occasion theme or a Halloween party theme, everyone enjoys being party of a jungle party.

The ideas and party decorations seem endless and easily available; let's look at a few of the possibilities that fit in with the jungle party theme that can be used.

Jungle Party Ideas

  1. One of my favorite things that was used at a party in the past was using some old tan rope (you can buy some new rope from a department store that will work as well), fray the ends of the rope and cut into different lengths. Hang the rope (which will mimic the vines of the jungle) from the ceiling, rain gutters on a house, swing sets or anywhere else you can think of. Get some small stuffed monkeys, a stuffed parrot and medium Tarzan and Jane blow up figurines and hang them from these vines. Instantly this creates that jungle theme feel and your guests will like the effect.
  2. Make a large cupcake birthday cake (they are usually 25 times larger) and decorate it to look like part of the jungle and have a small fondant monkey grabbing the sides with his arms and peaking up the edge of the cupcake so the monkeys face is looking up to the top of the cupcake. It looks like the monkey is trying to climb up the side of the cupcake. Serve this large cupcake to the older guests and have some smaller (regular size) cupcakes decorated with smaller jungle animal figurines on each one. These work out great for the youngger guests at the party and they feel special getting their own.
  3. Download some jungle animal sounds and put them onto a iPod or MP3 player and play them over a music system on a loop so it plays them over and over. This makes the guests feel really into the theme of the party. Also download a copy of the Tarzan Yell and place it through out the animal sounds.
  4. Play some jungle themed movies for the youngger guests, there are many jungle cartoon videos that will keep their interest entertained.
  5. Serve some Jungle Juice that is made up of equal parts of 7-UP or Sprite pop with cranberry juice. Just before serving add one frozen pink lemonade juice and mix together. Add tropical fruit such as bananas, pineapple, kiwi and mixed berries, everyone likes Jungle juice!
  6. Put "caution" or "do not enter" tape in certain areas with signs warning of wild beasts and animals seen roaming in these areas.
  7. Add a safari tour around the house and yard, to make it interesting print off pictures of various animals and hide them in the bushhes, plants and behind fences. See if the guests can find them for prizes, make sure to give hints through the tour as to what animal they should be looking for.

Jungle Party Decorations

  1. Let's face it; everyone likes to hit a pinata. There are pinatas in the shape of a monkey, parrot, tropical palm tree, pineapple and more. If swinging a stick is not an option then opt for the pull string pinatas.
  2. Jungle party costume, it does not matter if you are having a general party or a birthday party. The addition of a couple costumes really sets the theme and mood in action. Birthday costumes are becoming a real popular item, the birthday person gets a costume that fits the theme and then also wears it for Halloween of the same year. It makes it a double whammy plus the theme is celebrated all year. Have one of the hosts dress up as a Safari Guide with the desert hat and make sure they are armed with a toy hand gun or rifle to protect the guests. The guide can really have a lot of fun with the guests around this theme.
  3. Removable wall decals are also becoming very popular for parties all alike. After the party they can easily be removed and put up in a kid's room for the year. Change it up each year which makes the look and feel for the kid's room very special.
  4. Jungle party kits make contain everything like the plates, cups, utensils and napkins all in one easy package. They are very affordable and make the dreaded clean up time a breeze! Some of them may also contain table or party favors as well, be sure to check them out.
  5. Clump your inside green plants together in corners of the room to play the whole jungle plant theme. This just helps make the party rooms feel more like the jungle, add a rubber snake or two in them to complete the look.
  6. Add some maps of Africa and the Rainforests so the guests can have a look at these countries we usually do not talk about a lot. Point out some of the more popular animals found in the jungle and safari showing your guests where the animals call home.

These are just some ideas and suggestions that you can use in your very own jungle party, there are numerous jungle party supplies available for this theme. So do not be afraid to go jungle wild and enjoy planning this event!

Various Types of Indian Hardwood

Indian is the home to some of the best furniture pieces. Indian craftsmen use their superb skills and ideas that have been passed on for generations, to make furniture that speaks of quality and durability. Many furniture and antique collectors believe that a collection is not complete if it does not have Indian furniture pieces, especially wooden furniture.

Among all the pieces that are manufactured in India, hardwood furniture is the most common type. Indian hardwood furniture is revered all across the globe and has found a place in the home of the rich and famous.

Following are some of the most popular types of hardwood that are used by the Indian furniture manufacturer.

Mahogany

This is one of the most expensive woods available in the world. The cultivation of mahogany is controlled by the Indian government and it's only grown for meeting commercial purposes. The tree is not allowed to be grown by all and sundry and one has to furnish before the government valid reasons as to why he wants to grow the wood. Mahogany has a reddish-brown color and is a finely grained wood. It's highly durable and capable to resist shrinking, warping and swelling. It's extensively used for the manufacture of quality furniture like wood facings, veneers, cabinets, tables and cabinets.

Walnut

Walnut wood sports a fine texture, has considerable strength and easy to work with. The wood is resistant to warping and shrinking and is friendly to almost all types of finishes. Walnut wood is mostly used in the making of veneered and solid furniture, gun-stocks, cabinetry, wall paneling and novelties.

Oak

Oak is a common wood used in the making of Indian wooden furniture. Beside its durability, oak enterprises good bending qualities. The wood is considered to be good for trimming, boat framing, flooring and the manufacture of wooden desks.

Maple

Although not found in abundance in India, maple has immense hardness and strength and is a well textured wood. Maple mashes are considered to be good for flooring as it has moderate shrinkage. Maple wood is also used for making furniture and other woodenware like bowling alleys.

Cherry

Cherry is a less-frequently used wood. It's close-grained and resistant to shrinking and warping. The color of the wood turns red when it's exposed to sunlight. The wood ages well and is often extensively used for making cabinets and novelties as well as solid furniture handles.

Rosewood

Rosewood has a dark and reddish-brown color and is close-grained hardwood. Of late this type of wood has witnessed consideration interest among Indian wooden furniture manufacturers. Beside, demands from the western world are also fueling its popularity. The wood comes with an exclusive fragrance, takes high polish and is difficult to work upon. The wood is good for making piano cases, musical instruments, art projects, tool handles, furniture and veneer.

Teak

Teak is moisture resistant. It's resistant to cracking, warping and decay. It's best used for making fine furniture, ship building, paneling, windows, doors and floors. Teak is also a great construction wood.

Important Tips For Laminating the Paper to Wood

Lamination is the process that the two materials will be united to be one. Laminating your paper to wood is the technique that is very useful for displaying the photographs or even other essential documents. Glue is one of the easiest ways in laminating the paper to wood. Paper is the tricky material to work with just like the laminate material, as it will be fragile, and the glue may eat away at it over the time. The non-acidic glue of the archives is the great type to work with when you are laminating paper, as it will keep the paper from yellowing or even aging quickly. Here is more information for you.

For the first step, you can sand a wood piece with the 220 grit sandpaper in order to remove all rough edges. After that, wipe the wood with the damp cloth when you have finished in getting rid of the dust. Then, wait for your wood to dry.

For the second step, you need to put the acrylic medium glue at the back of your paper and also position it on your wood board. The acrylic medium glue will hold the paper to the several of surfaces and can also be used in creating the texture. If you cannot find the type of this glue, your can use an acid-free liquid glue.

For the last step, you should paint the surface of your wood with the layer of your acrylic medium glue. You can use the smooth, downward strokes in applying the glue. You need to wait for it to get dry and then sand it with the 220 grit sandpaper in removing the bubbles. After that, paint the other layer over the surface and then wait for it to get dry. Remember to sand it in removing all bubbling in the surface.

Views From Seats Around The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Track

In part 3 of this series we describe the various seating views on the outside of the south end of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The south end of the Brickyard covers slightly more than a mile of track and includes the Southwest Vista, the South Vista, Grandstand G and the Southeast Vista.

RESERVING YOUR SEATS: At the Brickyard 400 all seats are reserved. But if you want to reserve the same seat year after year, you must purchase your tickets from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) directly. Getting on the renewal list requires you to not only purchase your tickets from the IMS, it also requires you to purchase your tickets each year right after the race. Once you get on the IMS ticket purchasing list you can also ask to be placed on the list to upgrade your tickets as better tickets become available.

It may take many years before you earn the right to purchase prime tickets, but if this is your goal, you better get started now. The IMS will allow you to reserve your seats for your lifetime and then they will allow you to pass your renewal rights to your children. They will not, however, allow your children to pass it down to their children.

GRANDSTAND INFORMATION: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway offers grandstands on the inside and the outside of the track. All grandstands on the inside of the track end with Terrace in its name. Grandstands on the outside of the track include Vistas, Paddock, Penthouse or a Grandstand with a letter in the name. The IMS has removed all infield grandstands in the turns. If your seating chart shows grandstands on the inside corner of the speedway, it is outdated. See the updated seating chart at the Brickyard 400 Seat Photos on this website for an updated seating chart. The following list provides detailed information about each grandstand at the speedway.

SOUTHWEST VISTA: The views from the Southwest Vista located at the end of turn 1 at the south end of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway provides a view of turn 1, the short chute and turn 2. The seating in this grandstand is bench style with no backs . There is no roof covering these grandstands. As with most other grandstands at the Brickyard, the best views are up high in the stands. You must have seats in the double letter rows in order to have a good view of the track. There is no view of the front straightaway from this grandstand. The closest parking to this grandand would be the Main Gate Lot and Lot 2.

SOUTH VISTA: Sitting on the outside of the track between turns 1 and 2 is the South Vista. This grandstand provides views of Turn 1, turn 2 and the short chute. No view of the front straightaway or the back stretch is possible from these seats. The seats are bench style with no backs. There is no roof structure covering this grandstand. The closet parking to this grandand would be Main Gate Lot and Lot 2. Double letter rows offer the best view of the track. Seating in the single letter rows have a somewhat less expansive view of the track and are partally constructed by the catch fence.

GRANDSTAND G: This grandstand sits on the outside of the track in the south short chute. The seats in this grandstand are bench style with no backs and there is no roof covering the seats. The Main Gate Lot and Lot 2 would probably be the closest parking lots. The best views are high into the grandstand. This grandstand is somewhat smaller, height wise, than the South, SW and SE Vista grandstands. From this grandstand you can see turns 1 and 2. Views from the seats in the single letter rows are more constructed by the catch fence.

SOUTHEAST VISTA: This grandstand sits in Turn 2 on the outside of the track. The seats in this section are bench style seats with no backs. There is no roof covering this grandstand. Best views of the track from this grandstand will be found in sections 17, 18, 19, and 20 high in the double letter rows. The Main Gate Lot and Lot 2 would probably be the closest designed IMS lot. Views from the single letter rows are somewhat obstructed by the catch fence.

Benefits of Wearing A Wonderbra

Who does not know the Wonderbra? Every woman knows the benefits of wearing a Wonderbra, even men do. This is the most famous brand that has created a trend among the less-endowed women. After its sensational launch in the United Kingdom, the Wonderbra made its way to the United States and debuted in 1994. If we look into statistics, one was sold in the United States every 15 seconds during the peak of the Wonderbra.

The Wonderbra became popular because of how it was created to give every woman its maximum benefits. Each cup of the Wonderbra has three components. The back and under-wire were angled for maximum support and breast enhancement. Cookies or removable pads are included which helps boost the breasts. The gate back and rigid straps provide support and enhance the cleavage. With these components, the Wonderbra lifts the breasts up and closer together, thereby, creating a look of larger breasts and a dramatic, sexy cleavage.

There are many remarkable benefits of wearing a Wonderbra. Listed below are some of the major benefits that you can get with this product:

  • No side effects
  • No surgery needed
  • No breast implants means no risk complications
  • No drugs, no medical or chemical compounds
  • No exercise or lifestyle adjustment required
  • No equipment needed
  • No large expenses since it is relatively affordable

In order to get the maximum benefits of wearing a Wonderbra, you must get your right bra size. Remember that wearing a wrong bra size gives you discomfort. Buying a wrong size of bra is a common mistake women make. It is evident that women bodies come in different body shapes and sizes so you have to find and wear one that best fits you. In order to get the best bra size, you just need to take two measurements. First, take a tape measure and hold it 1 inch below your bust line. Next is to measure around and over your breasts, commencing with a point 1 inch below your shoulder blades.

After learning the benefits of wearing a Wonderbra, you are now ready to choose the best style and fit for you. It comes in different styles and colors. There are push-up bras, special occasion bras, seamless and strapless bras to name a few. You have the freedom to choose your very own a Wonderbra. They are available both in stores and online.

So if you truly agree with the look of natural lift this Wonderbra can give you and if you truly accept that the increase in breast size is in appearance only, then a Wonderbra is meant for you. Also, if you are more interested in a larger breast appearance than increasing the size of your breasts through surgical procedures then there is no stopping you to avail of the Wonderbra.

The benefits of wearing Wonderbra are truly unmatched as this product works remarkable wonders in its natural form. With a Wonderbra, a fuller and seductively shaped breast is created. You do not only look great but you will feel even more attractive.

Car Sales – Tired of Working 60 to 70 Hours Standing on a Concrete Lot?

I keep running into people I know from the car business that are tired of putting up with the hassle of selling every day to make chump change and have to start over from scratch with new prospects. The dealership keeps most of the money made while they do most of the work. Just when they think they are building up a nice pool of clients that will refer friends and come back to purchase future vehicles, they lose them to another dealership that just moved into town.

Consumers are getter smarter and harder to sell. It is just too easy for them to find what a car should be worth when it is new or used, and even find other cars for sell at better prices on Craigslist, Ebay, and other online sites where deals on cars for sell can be found .

It is too easy for them to use that information and negotiate you down and out to where you lose almost all of your responsibilities if you still want to make a sale.

They are exhausted with the battle of working till their joints ache standing around on an asphalt lot praying that somebody will step onto the lot just so they can fight over that customer with other sales reps like a pride of lions hunting a wounded gazelle.

They are sick of losing deals to their own dealership's sales reps while they were on lunch break or a day off when the customer came back looking for them.

If you were offered a $ 70,000 base salary as well as an additional $ 300 for each sell you made, I would not blame you for wanted to stay where you are. That would never happen though. They keep selling you on what a great deal you have being able to have customers come in from the dealership paying for the advertising, etc.

But regardless of what the dealership does in advertising, fancy balloons, special offers, etc., those vehicles will not sell themselves. You go for a test drive with your customers and answer their questions for what looks like an eternity. You know they are interested, but just can not make up their mind. You can not pressure them because you may lose the deal. They end up wanting to think about it because they want to go over their finances with their spouse. They come back the next day and want to test drive it again with their spouse. You let them and then answer more questions. They tell you about what other better deals they found online and that their mechanic said they should not pay your price unless you agree to fix something first. You do all of this work and then have them back out last minute and buy something on eBay or Craigslist.

Even if you were to make a sale on a $ 70,000 vehicle, will you make more than $ 300?

You are at the mercy of the car lot. If nobody shows up, you have nobody to sell to.

Your back and feet ache and throb at the end of a long day.

You are away from home more than you would like to be.

As a child, when people asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up, did you tell them, "I want to stand around on a concrete parking lot for 70 hours a week waiting for people to show up that I can convince to just be happy settling for buying a sub-par vehicle because they can not afford the one they really want. "

It is getting harder and harder to make car sales. Especially with our economy being how it is with major dealerships closing their doors.

You need to take a look at starting a home based internet business. The industry is growing at an exponential rate and you can be a part of it.

Portable Quilt Display Racks and Their Multi-Purpose Features

A portable quilt display rack is the ideal choice for flaunting any sizes of quilts, backdrops, and other hanging wares during trade show events. It's sturdy, versatile, compact, lightweight, and very handy. For exhibitors who are searching for a fully functional product, a portable quilt display rack might be just the solution fit for your needs and budget.

A portable quilt display rack is a really great investment. Why? Well, it is quite hard to attract a crowd if you'll just place your quilts on the floor – visitors would not be able to see your quilt collection from a distance. And it would not really help if you'll just tape them on the wall – it might come off as very unprofessional and messy. That's why portable quilt racks are highly recommended to use in trade show exhibits because they keep everything in order fashion and easy for both the exhibitor and potential customers.

A traditional wooden quilt stand is the ideal furnishing for storing your quilts … at home. But if you plan to bring them everywhere, like in trade shows or in class, you might want to try and focus your attention on the portable types. These are usually available in steel construction, specifically aluminum, and could weigh around 14 to 17 pounds. A standard model is composed of a single horizontal beam that's supported by vertical beams at each side. Most of the products in the market have fully adjustable horizontal beams, which could extend up to 10 feet to match any length of your trade show backdrops or quilts. The tripod feet can be made wider to increase their stability.

It would not really be a big problem if you have multiple pieces to hang on your quilt racks. You can buy quilt racks that have a tower-like effect, which allows you to hang 2 or more expandable rods on top of each other by using clips or S-hooks. You can also connect several quilt racks together using a guild hub, so you can arrange them in different directional patterns.

Just because it's called a "quilt" display rack does not mean that its use is limited to such items. Quilt racks would also be useful as in-store displays to advertise latest store deals, services, and products. You could also use these to hang curtains, which could then be use to surround your exhibit space. Teachers can even use these to feature class artworks or as teaching aids. Photographers are also fond of using these to hold their background graphics during their outdoor pictorial sessions.

There are many ways where you can buy quilt racks nowdays. But people still find the internet as the best source of wide collections of quilt exhibition stands and, not to mention, the best price deals. Depending on the brand and online store, you could purchase these at around $ 80 and up. You can try checking out portable quilt display products from Iron Pals, Amazon, and Quilters Husband.

Muscle Mass Tips – 3 Keys to Building Muscle While Burning Fat

Most trainees usually pick up their first barbell for two reasons: huge muscles with shredded definition. Of course everyone wants to be huge with chiseled cut's, so they should train to build muscle mass while burning fat, right?

Now here's the kicker ….

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to build huge muscles without earning some extra body fat, PERIOD!

The reason? Because to build muscle mass it is necessary to consume a surplus of calories to achieve optimal protein synthesis.

Since your body can not put 100% of it's caloric surge towards muscle growth, there will always be a caloric excess adding to your body fat, making it impossible to burn fat and gain muscle simultaniously.

Your goals should focus on building muscle mass, and then reducing body fat; Not gaining muscle and burning fat simultaniously.

It's easier to burn body fat once you've built up your muscles, so obviously starting off by building muscle mass is the quickest route. So once again; focus on burning fat only after you have gained serious muscle.

3 key tips to achieve this are:

1) Do not go crazy on calories …

Work toward a program of "optimal nutrition", simply shoving more food down your throat that has nothing to do with gaining muscle mass, and you will probably get fatter.

When eating to gain muscle; a mere 15-20% more calories over what you would typically take in to keep yourself at your current weight will achieve muscle growth without gaining extra fat.

2) Consume quality food sources …

To insure maximum muscle growth, consume only lean, quality proteins, natural / full fiber carbohydrates, and unsaturated fats.

Stay away from sugar and if there is a farmer's market nearby, try shopping from there for fresh produce.

3) Throw in a moderate amount of cardio.

During a mass building cycle, try adding 2-3 cardio sessions weekly to increase your body's ability to restrict fat gains. Long duration cardio can cause you to break muscle, so stick to high intensity / low duration sessions of cardio lasting no more than 10-20 minutes.

How To Read Your Construction Industry Financial Statements

How to Read Your Financials

Many smaller and mid-market companies in the construction industry find that critical information is misunderstood or ignored because their reports and schedules are inaccurate, often because the reports are used primarily as a tool for the accountant to prepare a tax return or to fulfill a bank -reporting obligation, so they do not contain enough information for you to control your business.

But your reports and schedules, when organized, will inevitably help your profits. They represent the "financial control" of your business. It is imperative to understand how to read your financials.

A Balance Sheet
In simple terms, a balance sheet is a snapshot of the assets and liabilities of your company in a particular moment in time. It shows where you stand with what you own and what you owe on a particular date. Your assets are listed "at cost" minus any depreciation or amortization taken over the ownership period of the asset; nothing is shown at fair market value. Your balance sheet should list the amount of money the stockholders will receive before capital gains taxes on liquidation, plus or minus the fair market value of the assets versus the value stated on the balance sheet, (or the "short fall" if there is a negative equity).

The purpose of the balance sheet is to control the accuracy of the income statement. If your balance sheet is substantively inaccurate on the opening or ending date of the income statement period, then the income statement will be substantially wrong. For example, the income statement for the year ending 12-31-06 would need an accurate balance sheet dated 12-31-05 and 12-31-06.

I met with a new client recently whose accountant not only lost his records for the past three years, but could not locate his records for the current year. Knowing that accountants do not ever lose that many records and knowing that accountants normally back up their computer records, I knew we had a big problem. My client thought he had generated about $ 6 million in revenue from the past twelve months as a result of the revenue generated from his high-end New York City co-op remodeling projects. He had pretty good job cost and billing data but needed bank financing. He had a horrible bid-to-award ratio, and he needed guidance with his plan of revenue and profit for his company.

He needed to know:
• What his margins should be in order to win bids
• How to identify who his customers should be
• If his bid margins allowed for profit after general conditions and overhead
• Whether he was making money or losing it
• What had happened to his business over the last three years

My client and I were in a situation where we could not wait for his new accountant to slowly reconstruct his last three years of records, so we sat down and created a balance sheet. I interviewed him to determine what he owned and owed, located records which included his bank statements; accounts receivable; retainages receivables; an inventory of his trucks and computers; his vendor and subcontractor payables; the amount of debt on his trucks, cars and equipment; the jobs he had in progress; and the estimated costs of those jobs to complete. With that information, I created a balance sheet that covered the beginning and the eleventh month of his fiscal year.

Finally, satisfied that we had two "good" balance sheets, we simply computed the change in his equity section from one date to the other, adding back in the dividends that were checks other than payroll or expense reimbursements to itself during that period. Then, we looked at the payroll records to compute what he earned in salary during that same eleven month period. Our final step was to combine what he earned in salary and profit for the eleven months reviewed. The combined information, within a quick couple of hours, gave us the amount the client had earned. So, when you are unsure of your financial situation, use this short-cut to make sure your balance sheet is correct. Otherwise, look no further at your financials; they will likely be inaccurate and useless.

Estimated Cost to Complete Jobs / Projects
It is my experience that nearly all contractors use the "percentage of completion" method of recognizing revenue and cost other than the residential developer / builders who use the "completed contracts" method of accounting for revenue and cost. "Completed contracts" means just that: When the job is completely done, you "book" or record the total income and expense of construction on the income statement. No income, job expense, profit or loss related to the specific job is to be recorded on the income statement until the home settlements. Prior to that, the job costs appear as an item on the balance sheet named "work-in-progress." Revenue appears as customer deposits, deferred revenue or an item of debt.

"Percentage of completion" means that revenue is recognized as income at the rate the job is completed. Job costs are recognized at the rate that they are incurred in ratio to both revenue recognized and total job costs expended to date, plus what is estimated to be incurred to complete the job. Your balance sheet will have an asset entitled "costs in excess of billings," meaning that you have costs you have not or can not bill right now to the customer on jobs in progress. A liability account, or "billings in excess of costs" means that the contractor has billed the customer for work not yet done – which is where all contractors would prefer to be placing the contractor ahead of the customer on a cash flow basis.

If the costs in excess of billings are greater than the billing in excess of costs, you will likely have a cash flow problem. This means that either you are spending faster than you are billing, your project managers are behind in getting their bills out, or you have costs on your balance sheet that are really losses such as job overruns or change orders that are not or will not be approved. All jobs with costs in excess of billings should be lumped together under a liability account on the current asset side of the balance sheet. Always double-check for losses not yet recorded. You, as an owner, may not know about the losses. A project manager may simply fall behind in billing, which costs you interest expense, poor vendor relationships, cash heartache and sleepless nights.

If your "bills in excess of cost" are always substantially higher than your "costs in excess of billings" it is good for current cash flow as long as that difference is rising. However, this will give you a false sense of cash security once the job comes to an end because the cash flow slows down. The excess billings over costs are not profit; they are simply a positive cash flow timing difference that will change from time to time.

The "schedule" of closed jobs and the open jobs "estimated costs to complete" should be prepared more than once a year when the accountants request it. This maintains a current review of each job's status and addresses problems while the job is ongoing, since you will have problems to face during the project. Do not wait until the job-close-out meeting to address them, when everyone wins they'll do better next time. Instead, confront problem situations earlier in the project. Review schedules and reports to estimate an opportunity to bid higher or correct a problem in the bid process. This is critical to remodeling companies, as most problems occur during the preconstruction process, specifically in estimating errors or "buy out" of material errors, and in remodeling, jobs are shorter, problems become permanent losses quickly, and persist more often than not in new jobs before the problem is identified.

The Benefits of Regular Reporting
Our firm instituted a weekly job review and estimated cost to complete process for one of our remodeling company clients, Xylem Builders, Inc (t / a Archadeck-South Shore & AX Builders). Job margins for the client increased by twenty points as a result of immediately identifying problems and making corrections in preconstruction in new jobs. The company has never incurred a monthly loss in now over a year, sales have continued to rise, they have attained a positive equity after 3 consecutive years of losses … all within two months of implementing weekly job reviews and estimated cost to complete. As previously stated, remodeling projects begin and end quickly, so mistakes will hurt the current job and likely repeat in new jobs. Those mistakes do not have to be repeated if you institute weekly reviews and estimates.

It can be difficult and time-consuming to correctly prepare an estimated "cost to complete schedule" for larger jobs in their early stages, yet it is worthwhile. You may continue to assum your estimate is correct. However, the estimator, project manager, job superintendent and controller must review a job early on to determine what is needed to complete and extremely improver looming problems as early as possible. That step will create better value engineering, change orders will be billed in a timely manner and job profit will increase.

Schedule of Cash Flow and Working Capital
The schedule of "cash flow and working capital" provides a map of where your cash resources covering the period of the income statement originated. It consist of profit, new loans or repayment (principal due more than twelve months in the future), purchases or sales of capital assets and depreciation. All of these have the effect of increasing or decreasing cash. An accurate reading of the schedule allows for better billing practices, better collection practices and advances slower paying of vendors and subs. It shows where and how money was used to absorb losses, the debt principal repayments and may contribute to faster paying of bills. It advances poor billing practices, slow receivables and reflects retention receivables, purchase of equipment or other assets. If the opening and closing period balance sheets are correct, then this schedule will be correct. Remember, though, if the balance sheets are not correct, do not waste your time looking at this schedule or any other financial statement because they will be wrong!

Working capital is defined as the total of "current assets" consisting of your cash, receivables, retainages, costs in excess of billings, work-in-progress, inventories and prepaid expenses minus your current liabilities. Your current liabilities are complied with your lines of credit, principal payments of debt due within twelve months, accounts payable, accrued expenses, accrued payroll, accumulated taxes, bills in excess of costs, customer deposits and deferred income. A greater than 1: 1 ratio is important.

Your bank may require a defined working capital ratio, so check your loan documents. If your actual ratio is too high, you're probably wasting the use of your cash and resources by making them too idle. A good business analyst will determine the amount of excess working capital / cash that is funding the income statement profit versus normal operations. I have seen many multi-generational businesses with excessive working capital, but upon quick analysis of a profitable income statement, I saw a generous financial income derived from discounts from vendor early pay, interest income and low interest expense. It was a poor business operation masked by the working capital wealth of the company.

Income Statement
Your income statement should be a validation of what occurs with your jobs in the field, assuming that your opening and closing balance sheets are correct. Your income statement should be in the same category as your job-cost comparison to your estimates, and it should be in a format that highlights whether components of your business are operating according to plan. In order for your income statement to be used as the effective management tool and "sanity check" that it was meant to be, the following components must exist:

• It must be an accrual, not cash basis statement. Accrual means you have recorded all your receivables and debt inclusive of payables on the balance sheet.

• It must include not only numbers next to the expense categories but also percentages of revenue next to the number.

• The only revenue in your top line should be job revenue. No interest income, rebates, purchase discounts or sales of equipment should be included.

• The costs of construction must be detailed to identify construction labor and payroll added costs, subcontractors, materials (not net of early pay discounts), equipment rentals, revenue-driven liability insurance, superintendents' costs or other direct costs of construction as detailed in the estimate and tracked in your job cost reports. Some or all of these are your "direct job costs". Labor, materials, subs, equipment rental, permits, direct insurance, etc., are at a minimum included on your job cost reports, regardless of software, and in the estimate.

• Indirect construction costs such as mobilization, trucks, pagers, cell phones, supers, trailers, etc., may be what you call "general conditions." Define what you mean by "general conditions," and categorize these costs separately on your income statement. This will allow you to see if the general conditions you are using in your estimates are making or losing money. General Conditions should be a profit center.

• Categorize your preconstruction costs of estimators and bidding / selling expenses separately on the income statement. Divide the number of bids or estimations produced into this total, and see what it is costing you to bid. Add that to your bid-to-score ratio and you may find that not only are you wasting money in bids you'll never get but also how much you are wasting.

• Keep the office and support staff under an administrative expense category. Be sure to allocate the workmen's compensation insurance, vehicle and equipment insurance, depreciation, payroll taxes, benefits, safety and training to the indirect or general conditions as appropriate.

• Show purchase discounts and interest income as "other income" after computing profit or loss from the construction operations. These are financial incomes which are earned due to ownership, equity and working capital, not from operations.

• Compare the percentage of gross profit from jobs completed and jobs in progress to your income statement. This should be done before general conditions are deducted when you compare the percentage of gross profit. Be aware of additional profit that you may earn in gross profit from the labor rate that you use in estimating versus your labor rate posted to job cost sheets or categorized on your income statement. If you use your own equipment in construction in lieu of renting it, separately analyze these costs to see if you are making or losing money in this regard. If you are approaching a profit from this, that's great, but it will likely distort the gross profit from construction if your estimate utilized a fair market rental rate.

Meet regularly with your outside accountants if they are construction knowledgeable or your construction business advisor and / or your controller on a monthly basis to review your balance sheet, income statement, working capital, source and use of funds statement and completed jobs / estimated costs to complete schedules. It establishes control in your business. It also helps create the "sanity" of profit, helps avoid the "insanity" of making the same mistakes over and over again and advances you from losing profit-or your construction business itself.

Antiques – Wood Basics

Oak, mahogany, walnut, pine, rosewood, maple, elm; you may have some or all of these woods in your home. But, do you know how to tell the difference among them? In this month's column, we'll talk about the different kinds of wood that are regularly seen in antique furniture and some common decorative treatments.

The Basics
Wood is hard or soft. When I say hard, I mean that the wood is weak, whereas, a soft wood is supple. A good trick to tell the difference between hard and soft wood is that if you press your fingernail into a soft wood such as pine, it leaves an indentation. But, this does not happen with a hard wood such as oak.

Wood is coarse-grain or close-grain. In coarse-grain wood, the age rings in the wood are far a part, giving it an uneven appearance. In close-grain woods, the age rings in the wood are very close together, giving it a smooth, delicate appearance.

Sometimes, wood is stained. Lighter woods such as oak, elm and maple can be stained to resemble a darker mahogany or rosewood.

Some woods (mahogany, rosewood, burl walnut) are perceived to be more valuable than other woods (elm, maple, spruce). The reason for this is availability. Woods that need to be imported are more expensive than home-grown woods. Woods that are abundant are not as expensive as woods that are scarce.

Oak
Oak is a coarse-grain hard wood found in Europe and North America. Starting in 17th century Europe, oak was used to make furniture found through the home. There are several varieties including red oak and white oak. Young oak is pale in color. But, over time and with polishing, oak darkens into a rich brown color.

Mahogany
Mahogany is a close-grain hard wood native to northern and central South America and the West Indies. Mahogany was a popular choice in England during the mid-18th century for fine furniture making. It is a dark red color sometimes, however, it is dark brown. Red mahogany is found in the West Indies and brown mahogany is native to South America. Mahogany furniture continues to be desirable today.

Rosewood
Rosewood is close-grain hard wood indigenous to India, South America and the West Indies. Rosewood is named for the rose scent that releases when it is cut. Occidentally, I find that people confuse rosewood and mahogany. Both woods can be red in color. However, when you look closely at rosewood, you'll see fine black (and sometimes white) rings that are not present in mahogany. Another trick to tell if an item is rosewood is to pick it up. Rosewood is a very heavy wood, heavier than mahogany. In the 17th century China, rosewood was a popular choice for fine furniture makers. As well, in 19th century Europe, it was used to construct better-quality furniture for fine homes.

Walnut
Walnut is close-grain hard wood found in Europe and North America. The color varies from light to a very rich golden brown color and it is not uncommon to find walnut stained to look like mahogany. Sometimes, disease leads to the unexpected. Burl walnut, the most prized form of walnut, results from a disease that attacks the tree causing a beautiful scrolled, close-grain. These days you see the look of burl walnut replicated in the plastic interiors of some higher end cars.

Pine
Pine is a pale, knotted soft wood with a wide, straight grain. It grows in Europe and North America. Pine was often used in furniture intended to be painted. Everyday furniture – kitchen tables and chairs -were often made from pine.

Maple & Elm
Maple and elm are coarse-grain hard woods found in North America and Europe. They were frequently used in utilitarian furniture. Often a veneer of a finer wood was applied to these woods.

Veneers
Veneering is a technique where a very thin sheet of a more expensive wood is glued to a less expensive wood. Using less expensive woods such as elm and maple and adding a more expensive mahogany or walnut veneer allowed furniture makers to provide furniture that was affordable for a larger clientele. You may hear an antique dealer say; "This table is walnut on maple." The dealer means that the item has a walnut veneer and underneath the actual item is maple. A walnut on maple table is less valuable than a solid walnut table.

How do you tell if your furniture is veneered? Look at the edges of the piece. If you see what appears to be a seam, it is veneered. On the other hand, if the edges of the piece are seamless, it is solid.

Early veneers from the 17th century were hand-cut, so they could be uneven. But, in the 19th century veneers started to be cut by machine. This allowed the veneers to be cut very thin and even. Depending on the way the wood is cut, veneering produces different effects. Butterfly veneering occurs when two opposing end grain veneers are diagonally cut from a branch. They are applied to mirror each other.

Marquetry / Parquetry / Inlay
Marquetry is a technique where various kinds of wood are applied to a surface to produce a picture. Flowers and birds were often the subjects. Exotic woods such as ebony, satinwood and tulipwood were frequently employed.

The difference between marquetry and parquetry is the subject matter. Parquetry is a veneer that uses geometric patterns. Nowadays, you see it in parquet hardwood floors and ornate chess and backgammon boards.

Inlay is a decorative treatment where materials other than wood are cut into a design. Inlays were often made of bone, ivory, mother of pearl, brass, tortoise shell. Marquetry, parquetry and inlay first appeared during the Italian Renaissance.

Gilding
Gilding is a technique wherein gold leaf is applied with gesso (a plaster-like substance) to wood. It is highly decorative and was popular during the Italian Renaissance and the Louis period in France.

Pros and Cons of Critical Ilness Insurance Coverage

Critical illness insurance is a relatively new type of policy that is frequently misunderstood. Today, we will clarify what it is, and what it covers.

How Does Critical Illness Insurance Work?

Critical illness is similar to term life insurance, except it is paid out when you are diagnosed with an illness covered by the policy, rather than being paid out upon death. However, some people confuse this type of insurance with disability insurance, which substitutes your income if you become disabled.

Illness insurance, like term life insurance, is paid in a lump sum, should you be diagnosed with a pre-defined disease such as cancer. You decide how this amount will be spent – some people put it into additional medical treatment (especially if there are some treatment methods that are not covered by provincial healthcare), others decide to take time off work to spend with family, or to travel.

As with many insurance products, this type of insurance plan comes with an extensive insurance quote, application and underwriting process that the insurer analyzes before you can get a policy; and as with any insurance policy, a critical illness policy comes with both pros and cons.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of this type of insurance.

Pros of Critical Illness Insurance

There are several positive aspects:

  1. Funds that can help where needed: The lump sum you receive if you are diagnosed with a critical illness will allow you to get better treatment and, hopefully, fully recovery in some cases. You can also spend these funds on other needs or projects (such as travel or taking items off your bucket list).
  2. Protection for your own business: If you have your own business, you might need to work part time, after being diagnosed with a critical illness (reduced work hours are common when extensive medical treatment is required). It closes the financial gap created by your reduced hours at your company. With the funds, you could hire somebody to help out with your business.
  3. Stackable protection: Unlike disability insurance, critical illness coverage is “stackable”. With disability insurance, coverage is limited because it is based on your income, and you cannot go over that limit even if you have several disability policies. You can, though, have several policies with varying coverage amounts of different diseases. If you have, for example, two policies with benefits of $250,000 and $300,000, you can get a $550,000 payout when you make a claim.

Cons of Critical Illness Insurance

  1. Expensive: This type of insurance policy is not cheap. As an example, a Term 10 insurance policy with $500,000 coverage (Term 10 means a policy that covers you for 10 years) for a 35-year old non-smoking male without any pre-conditions costs around $180/ month (exemplary quote) whereas a Term 10 life insurance policy with coverage of $1,000,000 for the same person costs around $50.
  2. Definitions matter: If a diagnosed disease, such as a heart attack, is not aligned with the definition of this illness in the policy, your claim may be not paid.
  3. Does not cover you immediately: Policy typically comes with a waiting period (e.g. 90 days) during which you are not covered.
  4. Payout is not immediate: If you are diagnosed with a critical illness, there is “survival period” – (e.g. 30 days). If you die within that period, your claim will be not paid.

Summary

Critical illness insurance provides solid coverage for being unexpectedly diagnosed with a serious disease, but this coverage comes at a cost. It’s a good idea to work with an insurance broker to get a critical illness insurance quote and to apply for a policy. Brokers have access to multiple insurance companies and will help you navigate through the complex application process, especially if you have medical pre-conditions.

10 Ways to Help Your Dog Get Over Their Fear of Being Alone

Being social animals, dogs HATE being left alone. There are always exceptions to the rule, but for the most part a dog wants to be with their pack, be it you, your family, another dog, a cat, or even a bird. There is a sense of insecurity and vulnerability when left alone. Feeling abandoned, some will panic. By relieving himself all over the house, a dog reassures himself this territory is his. His path of destruction is simply a way of reducing boredom and separation anxiety.

Dogs whine, bark and howl intuitively, in hopes that you will hear and return to them. When separated in the wild, it is how they find each other. They have no concept of work, shopping or school. To your dog, each time you leave the house, you have gone out on a hunt without them, and may never return.

A closed door to your dog is tantamount to popping a boulder at the entrance of their den. NEVER put your dog in a room with a closed door. Use a half door (it is less defining) or baby gate, so they can smell, see, hear and sense that they are not completely cut off from their comfort zone and environment.

There are a number of steps you can take, to help your dog feel less anxious while you are gone. First and foremost, dog proof the area, just as you would for a child. Remove anything they can chew or choke on, remove all chemicals, raise wires, unplug anything electrical they have access to. They will get into anything, when bored or feel anxious. Most dogs sleep practically the entire time you are gone, when in a protected restricted area or crate. That's why they are so full of energy, as you walk through the door! Give them a comfy bed, a few safe, tough toys or chew items, a couple of trips, and just enough water to wet their whistle.

10 suggestions for helping your dog feel less anxious when you leave the house are:

1. CRATE / WIRE – A crate is not as cavernous as an empty room or the entire house. Most dogs are quite comfortable and surprisingly to some, feel extremely secure in their crate. Inherently, to them it's a sheltered, secure den.

2. GATE: Certain dogs do not mind being restricted, as long as they can see what's going on on the rest of the house. If that's the case, a high quality baby or dog gate is a great solution to the problem. Your dog will not have the run of the house for a search and destroy mission, yet they will not feel rejected. It is also a great way to keep the dog from being underfoot, yet feel included, when you have a house full of guests. Make sure your dog learners to respect the gate, before leaving them for any extended period of time.

3. COMPANION – Another dog would be terrific, but it does not need to have a dog. Many enjoy the company of any animal, be it a cat, rabbit, or bird. Oddly, while living under the same roof, dogs often bond with these unnatural "pack members."

4. ENTERTAINMENT – Find safe, quality, durable toys or chew items to help keep him employed. Rotate them, so your dog looks forward to something "new".

5. NOISE – White noise works wonders. A radio, in another room, with the volume set low, on a soft music, talk show or even the weather channel, offers your dog a sense of tranquility and human companionship. It also helps filter distracting outside noises.

6. OBEDIENCE TRAINING – Find a local trainer who applies positive reinforcement, punishment-free methods of training. Spend quality time everyday working on obedience skills with your dog, to build up their self-confidence. They appreciate your undivided focus on them, and you get a well-behaved dog. It's a win-win situation.

7. EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE! – Tire your dog out, BEFORE you put them up for the day. A vigilous 20-30 minute walk, or tiring game of "FETCH" before leaving them, will help take the edge off. A tired dog is a good dog!

8. HELLOS & GOOD BYES – Keep the hellos and good-byes low keyed. Do not make your entrance and exit melodramatic. Your dog feeds off your behavior and emotions. If they whimper, whine or bark as you leave, go back, make a firm correction, then ignore them, and walk out the door.

9. CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE – Nearly all of us are creatures of habits. We do not realize it, but unconsciously we follow a pattern routine, before leaving the house. Dogs are very in-tuned to it. Change your routine daily, so your dog does not get anxious, sensing your departure. Get your keys BEFORE your brush your teeth. Put your shoes on, then grab a magazine and act as if you are reading it or pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit. Then get up and walk out the door. No good-byes! When they see you are not going through your regular departure ritual, they will drop their guard, and be less anxious.

10. DOG WALKER / DOGGIE DAYCARE – If your dog must be left alone for 8 or more hours per day, consider using a dog walking service, and / or enrolling them in a doggie daycare at least twice a week. Not only will your dog will appreciate the social interaction with humans and dog playmates; it breaks the monotony of their day, and gives them something to look forward to.

Work at building up your dog's self-confidence and break down their anxiety of being left alone, by short separation exercises. Begin with 5-10 minutes; then slowly lengthen the time. It takes a fervent commitment on your part, but it reassures your dog, you will return to them.

BOTTOM LINE: Ultimately, nearly all dogs adjust to human routines. However, there are a few, who will never adjust to being left behind. To keep them, your house and belongings safe, definitely work on crate / wire kennel training. Your dog will gradually get adjusted to it.

Decorative Concrete – What You Should Know About Cracks & Color Variations

Although I normally espouse the wonders and joys of decorative concrete applications, I feel I should also inform about the other side of the coin: no matter what the color or stamp design reflects, it is still concrete. Your new patio may look like a gorgeous slate, but it is not. It is concrete. What does this mean? Well, it means that although concrete has limitless design options and can me formed into almost any design, mimicking many other building materials; it does have minor limitations. A seasoned decorative concrete contractor knows this, and will install the concrete according to industry standards in order to best prevent cracks or color mishaps.

That said, these issues do arise on occasion. Let us begin with cracks in your brand new stamped concrete pool deck. Firstly, expansion joints are cut into the concrete to prevent cracks from occurring. However, everything from heavy loads traveling on the stamped concrete to land settlement underneath the concrete can cause a crack regardless of expansion joints. Proper cutting of the joints should alleviate this issue, and more often than not, it will. Secondly, when concrete cures it shrinks. This can cause cracks as well and even the most experienced concrete contractor cutting the best expansion joints in the world will not always win that battle. Lastly, a somewhat common "side effect" of stamped concrete is hairline cracks forming around the lines made by the stamping tools once the surface begins to harden. This is called "crusting" and typically will occur due to sun and wind. Obviously, sun and wind will quicken the hardening of the concrete surface. Another reason crusting occurs is due to the color of the concrete. Darker colors, as we all know, draw the sun's rays and absorb the heat. Stamping tools with deeper grout lines for creating designs like random stone or slate patterns often aggravate the crushing. Many people feel that these hairline cracks add to the look of the stamped concrete design, giving it an "Old World" look. This aged appearance typically lends to the overall design. These imperfections are generally thought of as appealing. Although cracks can be repaired, the end result of the repair tend to be much more obvious than the unrepaired crack.

Now let us move on to coloring mishaps. Actually, "mishaps" is not the correct word here. A "mishap" would occur via accident. What I am referring to here is customer acceptance of the finished color on their new concrete. Depending on the method of coloring concrete (and there are quite a few) different factors come in to play in order for the concrete contractor to mix up the color chosen by the customer. However, as the customer there are a few things required of you in order to be sure you are receiving the color you want. A good practice would be to find photos of finished colored concrete patios, et. al. that show the color that you are chasing to achieve, and submit to your contractor. However, understanding that there are variables involved with coloring or staining concrete that can affect the color exit is key. Sometimes, the stars align and the concrete color turns out exactly as envisioned. And then there are times when this simply is not the case.

For instance, here are a few conditions that can, and most times will, cause color variations:

  • Customer is not available during color mixing. This will be a problem because if the customer is not present to approve color prior to installation, he / she may end up with a beautiful new colored concrete patio in a shade too dark or too light, or just not right. It is important for the customer to be present during color mixing to ensure happiness with the color.
  • Concrete job requires more than one truck load of concrete. Color will vary slightly from one batch to the next. This is to be expected and should be understood from the beginning.
  • Finished concrete color does not match sample chip or color chart. Never expect the final exit to completely match up to the sample chip or color chart. Samples are just that: samples. Sample chips and color charts are meant to be more of a guide to the color. Mixing concrete color is not an exact science and should not be thought of as so. After all, even the best decorative concrete contractor in the area is only human!
  • Placing concrete at different ages. Placement of concrete at different ages will cause a slight color variation. This should be kept in mind during larger concrete projects, though it should not be more than a slight variation.

Keeping all of the above in mind, as well as understanding that job site conditions and seasonal weather issues can affect the final outcome, should have a happy customer in the end. However, a homeowner not aware of such things, but has a definite idea of ​​what he / she wants in terms of color, can end up disappointed. The contractor does not want that, and certainly the homeowner does not want that. An understanding from the get-go that color variation is a normal occurrence should keep the customer happy through to the end.

Obviously, nobody wants to spend their hard earned cash on a concrete job that they feel is imperfect. As with any significant home improvement purchase, proper research on decorative concrete applications will school you on what to expect in terms of installation, appearance, design, maintenance, and repair. The most important aspect of this article is the desire to make the customer happy by keeping the lines of communication open between you, the homeowner, and your concrete contractor; as well as preparing you with important knowledge to consider when designing your concrete project.

A Work Day in the Life of a Construction Estimator

Today the world is expanding at a great pace. Today the time has come when everyone wants to migrate from rural areas to urban areas. It may be due to better job prospectus, better educational and career opportunities, and better health services. Whatever may be the reason but the ultimate truth is that the cities are expanding like universe which have created a serious problem of housing and sanitation in cities. The requirement for a large number of houses has made the construction field very competitive. When two decades before there was no good scope for a construction estimator job, today one can choose a good career in construction. The construction estimator job is a very career oriented in present time.

The job requires a good skill in the field. It requires a lot of hard work including physical work and consistency. His work day starts from taking round of work sites and briefing construction supervisors, labor in-charges and other agencies involved in the construction. He meets a lot of people to complete his job. He estimates the advance expenditure for the building construction and makes the arrangement of finance. He keeps in mind various factors like weather conditions like rain or snowfall which can hamper the work. If the work is hampered due to foul weather then it will cost to the company very high.

Usually where he takes the project, he has to plan in a perfect way and has to ensure that the plan gets in shape and also executed perfectly. It is very important to complete the construction in time so that the government or the client does not find any penalty or black list for future contracts. Normally construction involves: bridges, flyovers, roads or any government buildings and if the construction is not completed in time the agency will fine or may black list. It may damage the reputation of the company. So a construction estimator job is very important for the reputation and survival of the company. If he is working on any project and finds it profitable but he may have to continue that so that he can get other projects and profit can be adjusted in new project. He has to be very mature, understandable and tactful in dealing with various government agencies. His job is always tricky. When any project is completed, he must congratulate his subordinates and any incentives may be given as per suitability to encourage them.