Monday, November 23, 2015

A Truckers' Life - Working Man in the Transportation Industry

I know a lot of working men, heck, I'm a working man myself.  I just recently posted about my tree removal companies' new website, which sort of plays a role into this weeks post.  I took my company, which has been around for 10+ years, and started to modernize it by getting it only.  I want to tell the story of a similar situation, where a regular working guy started his own company and had to work hard to build it up, including mordernizing and scaling up, hiring employees, getting loans, all that sort of stuff. What I did wasn't nearly as complex, but it still shares some similarities.  It's still an old fashioned business working to make themselves modern and relevant in a changing economy.

The Story - It Started With a Truck

Big Rig in the Shipping Industry
So my friend Kevin was working for at least 5 years, saving all his pennies, and he was finally able to buy his own Semi-Truck.  A big expense that put him in the hole for a pretty large sum, be he was happy about it.  He could now do his own work and make his own deliveries, keeping a bigger share of the profit.  Until then he had been working for various transportation companies and they would pay him a wage, but he was close enough to the action to know that the real money was being kept for the big-wigs in the corporate offices.

He didn't want to stay an underling forever, so he figured the first step would be to get himself his own wheels.  He could make deliveries, shipments and keep all the money for himself.  He thought it was a rather simple plan, but sadly it wasn't so simple.

After all the expenses, and taxes, and man-hours, and gas, Kevin was only bringing in a little bit more than he was making as a wage worker.  Plus he had all the extra headaches of handling with bureaucracies and payment processing, it was kind of a mess.  He started realizing that this thing would only work if he wasn't the one to do both the management and the manual labor, he needed workers of his own. 

And Then Came More Trucks...

So he was wondering what to do, because he only had the one truck but needed to quickly scale up.  He didn't want to wait around for his pennies to pile up again.  He tells me that if he would have waited, he'd still be working that one truck (this was 10 years ago)... So he asks around about companies that help to build corporate credit of a transportation company, and is eventually able to land a large loan that helps finance 3 more trucks.  He now has a fleet! 

Being in the transportation industry for the last several years he has plenty of contacts so he's able to get workers without a problem.  He also knows which ones are the slackers and which ones of the good workers, so he's able get a solid work force going.

And The Rest Is History...

Kevin still operates his trucking company and it has yet to reach global and worldwide renown,  but he is still a success story of a working man.  Hopefully I can be one just like it, take an old trade and moving it into the new age with a little bit of innovation and a whole lot of will power.  Cheers to Kevin!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Shameless Self Promotion - My New Site (Tree Service and Removal in Long Island)

Granted this is a little bit of shameless self promotion but I figured if I don't get to promote my own stuff on my own blog then WHY OWN ONE?? So anyway, I will make a little short and sweet (as I don't know how to be very verbose this)...

I've started to take my Tree Service and Removal company online... I've created my Google Profile as well as my Google My Business account and have started to look around for some insight on how to get some good web design on the site itself.

What is a Tree Service?

What is a Tree Service?  Well, don't mind if I do.. My company does all sort of tree trimming and pruning, as well as tree removal and tree trunk grinding... My company is based in and services all areas of Long Island, including Brooklyn and Queens.

Now, a bit more of a shameless promotion, because why not... If you live in Long Island and own a home or property, chances are you may want to have a tree removed or get some branches away from some power lines.  Storms come and can knock down the old trees in your property, and the best way to handle this is to be proactive and remove those old branches or old trees before they become a problem.  Trimming and pruning will also cost you a lot less than fixing a downed powerline or a caved in roof...

What If I Don't Live in Long Island?

Congratulations, you probably save a lot of money on property taxes.  But all joking aside, there are plenty of similar arborial services all throughot the country, it just so happens that my company only serves Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens (and we've been known to go into Manhattan on occassion).

So without further ado, here is my site:

We've been in business for over ten years but just recently had the wisdom to get ourselves a website.  I hope it looks good and doesn't look crappy... I hate when websites look crappy (that being said, this blog aint all the pretty, but its what Blogger gave me!).

What do you think of the image we used?

Tree Service and Removal with a Chainsaw

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

How I Converted My Van to a Minibus

A minibus is typically defined as a multi-passenger vehicle that is larger than a minivan and smaller than a bus, but did you know that there are several different types of minibus? Whether they are being used as taxis or for school transport, minibuses come in all shapes and sizes and are used around the world.

Convert it: Vans
Van conversions are the most basic type of minibus, and are just what they sound like: van bodies converted into larger passenger vehicles. They take all kinds of shapes and sizes, but will typically add a higher height roof, more seats, additional windows, and any other items – like a door – that will accommodate more passengers. Ford and Mercedes-Benz are two car manufacturers who produce vans often used for minibus conversions. Obviously, van conversions are great for smaller minibuses, as they do not allow for extreme changes to body or chassis size.

Build it: Body
If a simple van conversion won’t do enough for your minibus needs, there are many companies who prefer to do an entirely new body on an existing chassis, either from a van or truck depending on size needs. In the US, small school buses are typically designed in this way, and in parts of Europe and Asia it is not rare to see body builds that literally look like they are placed on top of existing pieces. Body built minibuses are an excellent choice for mid-range minibuses in size and price, because they are more customizable than a van conversion, but sometimes cost less than a new manufacturer-built minibus.

Born this way: Purpose Built
When exploring on holiday in the United Kingdom, we recommend hiring a vehicle, yes England has fantastic public transport, but being able to explore an area in your own time is much more enjoyable, we keep out news page up to date with lots of interesting road trip ideas for your rental vehicle. You may wish to rent a van, if you decide to turn your holiday into a workation!
Remember, even converted van minibuses are often held to specific laws and regulations governing how minibuses can be used and who can use them, so no type of minibus is allowed special clearance with these rules. Always be sure to check local laws, and be sure you have selected the right minibus for your needs.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Keeping My House Clean - A Guy's Perspective

The state of a house (how clean it is) speaks volume about its inhabitants, and for guys, this can sometimes not speak so kindly.  As I've grown from a bachelor to a family man I've had to evolve on my cleaning habits, and this means making some fundamental changes to my day-to-day life.

And this is an important point to make, cleaning is a daily thing, but domestic cleaning might not be something that we are very keen on following. Nevertheless, cleaning the house should be a routine that is easy. For most people (guys in particular), they dread cleaning because they at times end up doing it twice or spending twice as much time as they had initially planned. Here is where hiring a domestic cleaning company to do the cleanings chores may come in handy. I've used them in the past, and flirted with this idea even recently, but I've decided to take care of it myself.

This may sound pathetic, but I actually had to do some research and found that you can find some excellent guides on Youtube and other sites on the web. This one for example:
Knowing where to start is very important. Most cleaning experts know that the best place to begin is any that requires the most cleaning and hygiene. As such, the kitchen is often the first place, followed by the bathrooms, the bedrooms, and then the living rooms.

 • For the kitchen – cleaning will start with ensuring there are no dirty dishes. The next step is to clean the skin and wipe down the countertops and the stove using a sponge or cloth and an appropriate all-purpose cleaner. The floors will be the next issues that will need a bit of sweeping and mopping to ensure they are spotlessly clean. Once everything is clean, all the kitchen towels can be washed and hung to dry then folded and stored appropriately.

 • For the bathroom – cleaning will start will organizing the room putting everything in it right place. The next step will be to wipe the skin, scrub and wipe the bathtub, or scrub and wipe the shower glass or curtains. The toilet will be next in line; swoosh the bowl with a brush, flush the toilet, and then wipe it from the rim to the seat. You can then work on the mirrors and walls to wipe any splatters before you proceed to apply a shower mist on the shower curtains or glass.

 • For the bedroom – start with making the bed then fold and hang the clothes and put them away. Pick up all dirty clothes and take them to the laundry room and then open the windows before doing a bit vacuuming.

Don't let this be your room.
• For the living room – start with picking up any items laying around and then dust, vacuum, and tidy up the sofa. You can then concentrate on cleaning the floor and rugs, which will need a bit of sweeping and vacuuming. Once you have handled the dirt, you can shift focus to the tables and cabinets to wipe off any dust and get rid of prints and unwanted spots.

Voila!  There you have it.  For me it takes about 2-3 hours if I'm not rushing, and I do this once a week.  If I split up the tasks with my wife, it goes even quicker.  I've never been a big fan of cleaning, but making it a process that's more akin to a project task list, and less akin to "chores", makes it easier for me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

My Tips To Help You On Your Moving Out Day

I recently helped a close friend of mine move from her old apartment to a nice new house on the edge of town. The process was more involved and stressful than I would have imagined, and I figured people could learn a lot from our experience, so I decided to put a little guide together on the best way to prepare for and execute the moving/removals process. Hope you all find this helpful!
Moving out of a place can be quite hectic. This can be even worse if one is not properly prepared for the day. It can end up being messy, certain household items or even documents can get lost in the process and this can lead to utter disappointment at the end. To avoid this, one must always be prepared by the time the moving out day arrives. How to do that? Well, my first suggestion would be to do what I did when I was personally moving, and that is to utilize a removals Bournemouth company. Using a professional is so much less stressful (and back breaking) then doing it on your own. However, not everyone has the resources to hire a company, as my friend Nancy did not. These tips are applicable if you are doing it yourself, or hiring a professional.

It is always important to ensure that all of your documents are properly filed to avoid losing them. Make sure that you put the most important documents in a file and store them in a specific box. This way, when you get settled in your new place, you will have all the items in place.

Another great tip is to start packing early. Do not wait until the eve of your moving day to start packing. This will lead to confusion and some items being misplaced. When you pack early, you get enough time to ensure that all of your items are well-placed and it will also help you in getting rid of the things you don’t need.

Organization is key when moving out. The more organized you are when moving out of your old place, the better it will be for you when you start to unpack in order to arrange the items in to your new place. Mark all the boxes in order of which rooms they belong to, that is kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom and any other rooms you might have. Also ensure you label which boxes have fragile items to prevent them from getting damaged.

If you get people to help you out during your moving out day, this will very advantageous. Doing everything by yourself can prove to be pretty tedious. If you have friends or relatives who can help you out, ask them in advance.

Moreover, if you can move some of your things from the old place to a new place before the moving out day, then do so. This will help you avoid packing all the items at once and will reduce the job you have to do considerably.

Above all, always ensure that you have all documents that indicate your lease agreement in order. This way if there is any deposit that you need to collect you will not have any problems with that. Often people forget that a big portion of the moving process is not just a physical process but a legal one as well, so don't let that trip you up.

Well, that's all I have for now. Here is a helpful video that I found, see if you like it to. Until next time!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Change of Scenery" for My Home - Redesigning, Rearranging and Space saving

I recently started to redesign the interior of my house.  It's part of an overall larger project where I want to "freshen" my home, with some new paint and stuff like that.  I think one of the biggest aspects is going to be creating a "change of scenery", where it's the same home, but feels different because of the layout, colors, accessories, etc.  I really think it's going to be a big improvement.

Re-Designing and Re-Arranging (De-Cluttering)

So far I've found one of the best methods has been to re-arrange my current layout of furniture, stand-up cabinets, wall pictures, mirrors.  Pretty much anything that isn't bolted down has the potential of being moved around.  This gives a completely different feng shui to the whole situation, and it is exactly what I want out of this whole redesign.

This was a shot of my cluttered living room.  THIS is what I mean when I need a fresh, new, change of scenery.  Having the old situation would lead right back to this mess, because of the fact that I'm set in my old ways.  A brand new situation, fresh and clean, would jump me out of my old complacency (hopefully).

Saving Space

Generally speaking one of the benefits I've seen from this project has been the saving of space.  I've found and discarded lots of crap I really didn't need, and the moving of furniture really started to open up the space to where I felt free-er (if that's a word). 

It also brought up the key subject of the laundry room.  The laundry room has been a source of discontent between me and my wife for years.  If you look at the picture above you will notice that there are towels strewn about the table-top, this is because of the fact that our laundry room is cluttered and a mess and doesn't have room for a proper folding table.  So I decided to turn this "fall-cleaning" into an opportunity to change that. 

Laundry Room Tetris - Stacking the Washers

What do I mean by "Laundry Room Tetris"?  Well, unlike all the other areas of the house, the laundry room is a place where the largest appliances (i.e.the washing machine and the dryer) can be moved around and even stacked on top of one another (that is, if you have a front loading washer, which I would recommend).  After doing some research as to the right stackable washer and dryer to buy and eventually buying one from the Stackable Washer and Dryer Co. (neat name), I was able to save a tremendous amount of space.

Stacked Washer/Dryer After a Redesign - Looks Cool eh?

The new "vertical" orientation of the washer/dryer (see picture above) opened up enough floor space for me to put in a nice folding area, store some soaps/detergents underneath the table, and releived some of the pressure of having the laundry spill out into the living room set.  Overall it was a big win, and since we needed new washing machines anyway, it wasn't a crazy extra expense to get front loading/stackable ones.

New Paint Job - A Breath of Fresh Air

Now to sort of finish up the whole shebang, a new paint job will be absolutely wonderful.  It sort of seals up the new design and re-inforces the whole "new scenery" idea.  Have you ever been in a house with a redone paint job/color scheme?  It's like being in a new place entirely.

So that's why I decided to wrap things up with a new paint job.  We decided to go for a soft-yellow in the living room, and a earthy-cream in the kitchen and hallways.  We think this will give us a fresh new start for at least the next couple of years.

So what do you think?  Leave some comments with your thoughts, I'd love to have this start a conversation!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Generous Gift to My Son

It was my son Gregory's 6th birthday this past week, and I felt a need to get him something.  I didn't know what to get the kid, considering he's got nearly all the video games and toys that I can imagine exist for toddlers of his age.  Me and my wife were discussing this issue, and how to go about fixing it... We came upon a solution which we think may be, indeed, the best gift (birthday gift, anyway) that we've given our son in a long while...

Remember treehouses?  Those things were great... You could escape the world and have your very own little hideout... Just a great imaginary (and not so imaginary) world of fun...  What a great gift it could be to give that to a kid... So much better than a x-box, ipad, or some other breakable electronic device...

But building a treehouse might be a royal pain... I mean, I'm not architect and I'm not a carpenter either... So we figured the best way to go about this would be to either hire someone to build it or see if something came pre-made...

Luckily we found what we were looking for... Apprently backyard swingsets come in all types of shapes and sizes... Including ones that have built in cabins (very similar to the treehouses of american lore)... So we figured this was a perfect opportunity to get something built and set up in the backyard wihtout having to resort to drafting our own blueprints (and worrying about safety, a big concern with a little one).

Long story short, Greg loves it, and the installation process didn't take long at all.  The swingset was so beauitful that the installation company actually uses it on their website!

I'd highly recommend you give your kids more things to do outside... It's not exactly the best time of year to be picking up a new swingset (best to do that in the springtime, before the best weather days of the summer and after the cold days of the winter).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Monthly Challenge - Learning a New Language

Upon reading the title to this post it comes across as a bit misleading.  Of course I don't expect to learrn a new language in just a month, but akin to Morgan Spurlocks "30 Days" challenges I think taking a new approach to life every month is an important thing to do.

Learning a new language is something I always thought I missed out on as a kid.  I didn't really take to Italian classes as much as I should have (I took it all throughout junior high school and high school).  While I think Italian was an interesting choice (didn't want to do spanish with everybody else and didn't like French at all), it may have been a better choice to just go with the flow of spanish classes, since it's nearly a standard language amonst new york, california, etc.

But now that I'm approaching it as an adult, I almost want to go even further, trying to learn a new language and a new alphabet... Chinese might be the wave of the future (i.e. a billion people and a government buying up all of the US debt), but I always had an affinity for Japanese.  Maybe that will be my ticket to a new and enhanced mind set in the coming few years.  I've heard that learning anew language forces your brain to use more areas that wouldn't be used otherwise.

How would I even get started doing this?  Well, there is the Internet, for one.  They have all types of stuff over there.  I started to do a little research and found an interesting article which breaks down some of the common ways to learn and barriers to learning a new language.  I thought it was interesting so I wanted to summarize it here:

Overcoming Fears - This is a big one, as most people are all amped up to learn something until, of course, they face the first true challenge or difficulty, then they give up.  I have to overcome the fear of failure in order to even come close to succeeding (true in all manners of life).

"Use a combination of resources" - I thought this was interesting because it speaks to the fallibility of textbooks as well as the uncomprehensive nature of conversational learning.  Sure, we all learn our first language just by conversation, but we have to be taught spelling, grammar and reading from books and teachers.  Combining those factors is how we can truly dominate the learning process...

"Don't give up" - Probably the most important factor of all time, for anything, ever.  Just keep going, even when you are sick, tired, depressed and feel like failure is absolutely imminent, this is when you will finally succeed.  I have to learn to remember this one.