5 Ways to Maximize the Use of Rental Equipment

Engineers working at a construction site

As the owner of a company that uses heavy equipment, you are aware of the idea that time is money. This is because when you use equipment for hire, the bill gets higher every day. That is why you should remember the following tips to get the most of your use of rental equipment.
Know What You’re Renting

One of the best ways to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth is to rent only the equipment that you really need. Many people think that they should rent a particular piece of equipment because they need it or they rent too many units. If you do this, you’ll just end up throwing away money. Have a solid grasp of what exactly you need and rent only those pieces of equipment.

Check For Hidden Fees

Watch out for a few hidden fees that pop up when you’re renting heavy equipment. Sometimes, you just can’t help but encounter them. However, being aware of them allows you to skip out on some of them. This is especially important since these “surprising” fees can pile up.

When you’re still in the planning phase, be sure to check out the company’s website for potential fees. Even if they’re not upfront about it, always assume that they’re there. They can be anything, such as fuel fees, transport fees, and the like. Just ask about any charge so that you have a clear idea of what to expect.

Time Your Rental

One of the essential tricks that you need to remember when it comes to rentals is proper timing. Keep in mind that you pay for the time that you rent it. If you rent it too early, something may happen that when the equipment arrives, you’re not using it just yet but you’re already paying for it.

You also don’t want a rush rental, as it means asking for the equipment the day before the job. This usually requires an additional fee just to get the equipment to you on short notice.

Check the Weather

Engineers at a construction site

When you work with heavy equipment, the weather is going to be very important. Heavy rains and inclement weather are going to make using rented equipment difficult and dangerous. You don’t want accidents to happen when rental equipment is involved because you’ll end up paying for the equipment and potential damages. If you see bad weather coming, especially if it is going to last several days, cancel the rental or don’t rent at all.

Train Your Workers Properly

To avoid accidents and other problems, train your workers to use the equipment properly. Better yet, hire trained operators who know how to use the equipment. This is a good way to keep your workplace safe, as well as maximize the use of the equipment.

Renting heavy equipment helps reduce the costs associated with operating your business. However, the expenses stack up if you don’t use the machines properly. Ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money by following the tips above.

Best in the Business: 3 Powerful Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur smiling in his office

What makes successful entrepreneurs successful? At its core, it’s the habits. The set of routines embedded so deeply in their lives that allowed them to improve their skills and knowledge further. It’s proof that business success isn’t achieved overnight, but in increments — through small, fragile steps. If you’re planning to start your own business soon, as early as now, embrace these habits of successful entrepreneurs:

Thinking forward

People who have made it big in the industry dreamt big for their business. They are visionaries. They look to the future and they see opportunities. Just look at the legacy of Steve Jobs. Who would have thought in his time that a small device can single-handedly do what a telephone, a music player, a computer, and a game console do? He did. It’s important to have that same attitude of forward-thinking when starting a business.

Begin by observing trends in the industry you’re entering. Learn about its history and try to predict yourself where it’s headed to. Or, try another approach: envision what the world’s biggest problem would be years from now and take that as an opportunity to launch your business. The principle is to always look ahead.

Prioritizing the market

Successful entrepreneurs always have their audiences in their mind. For sure, you’ve heard about the radical change Howard Schultz did when he returned as CEO of Starbucks in 2008, at a time the company was going unstable due to the economic downturn. The organization solicited ideas from customers. They retrained their baristas. Schultz even asked people to email him directly for concerns. It paid off in the end, as their sales and stocks increased.

You need to have the same passion for your target market. Especially when you’re entering the competitive world of the foodservice industry. Listen intently to what your target customers are saying. Use surveys. Interview people. Perform social media listening. When exploring an opportunity, let’s say an ice cream franchise, ask for case studies and market research.

Taking risks

Businessmen in a meeting

Risk taking is almost equal to entrepreneurship. You can’t be a step closer to success if you don’t make that first, uncertain step. You can’t even start anything in the business if you stay in your comfort zone. While risk takers may seem like daredevils who have no care about anything, risk-taking in business doesn’t mean embracing any opportunity haphazardly. You have to do it with care and strategy. This is what sets apart successful entrepreneurs from the rest.

As they’ve been taking risks all their life, they’ve learned how to master this gambling game. They know which opportunities are worth betting at and which should be avoided at all costs. It takes a while to be comfortable and smart at taking risks. What you can do for now is to learn as much as you can about the industry you’re getting into. Read books. Enroll in classes. Surround yourself with risk-taker entrepreneurs.

Again, successful entrepreneurs aren’t built overnight. They become who they are because of the good habits they’ve formed throughout the years. As early as now, adopt these entrepreneurial habits to boost your chances for business success.

How Much Does It Cost to Own a Popular Snack or Fast-food Franchise?

Food business owners

A snack or fast-food franchise remains a profitable option for aspiring business owners this year, yet with the related benefits come at a hefty price tag.

Those who have been thinking about joining a well-known brand should be prepared to invest at least $116,600. This initial investment will allow you to have your own Subway store. Take note that having capital is only the first step. You should be ready to pay 8% of gross sales, which would serve as royalty fees on top of a $15,000 franchising fee. It makes sense to consider other low-cost alternatives, such as cookie or pretzel franchise opportunities.

Established yet Expensive

If you think that a Subway franchise is already costly, then buying a McDonald’s franchise might make some people question the viability of being a franchisee. It would cost you at least $955,000 in unencumbered assets to own a store. Most people buy an existing store either from an existing franchisee or from McDonald’s since this only entails a 25% down payment instead of 40% if they buy a new store.

Some brands even require prospective franchisees to meet a specific requirement on liquidity and net worth. For instance, hopeful Pinkberry franchisees must first have a net value of $400,000 and $200,000 of cash liquidity.

Low-cost Alternatives

Given the steep price of owning a well-known franchise, first-time business owners should just focus on smaller and affordable brands. Some of these include buying a pretzel store, and running one can be a good choice due to stable demand.

Sales of pretzels in the U.S. reach more than $550 million every year. Most of these are sold in Pennsylvania where the person eats an average of around 12 pounds of pretzels per year, compared to just two pounds for the average American elsewhere. It’s safe to say that the state is the pretzel capital in the country. Whether or not you decide to run a pretzel store, negotiating a franchise agreement will be important.

Negotiating a Deal

Business people discussing

Otherwise known as an adhesion contract, a franchising deal between franchisors and their members allows the former to enter into a binding agreement without making changes. Franchisors often have the upper hand in these contracts, but there are times when they can make some amendments.

These adjustments could stem from legal counsel from either their own or the franchisee. Hence, hiring a competent lawyer is essential to franchisees. Some of the changes that can be enforced in an adhesion deal include the provision of more resources from the franchisor, better marketing, and advertising support, and financial assistance for your business launch. It could also be specific changes to franchising fees or royalty expenses.

When choosing a franchise, keep in mind that paying a huge upfront fee doesn’t always guarantee success. Banking on a brand’s strong market presence would not be enough to sustain your business. You should also be aware that most new companies fail to exist beyond their first year, so choose a brand that you trust.

Redefining Retail: Why Shopping is Better at Boutiques

Studies comparing retail trade sales in 2017 to that of 2018 show that sales for clothing and accessories went up by 4.7%. This shows that online shopping hasn’t completely taken over the retail industry. In fact, small independent businesses are continuously thriving, earning large sums despite having three physical locations, at most.

Boutiques provide the market with different benefits that online shops can’t offer. The physicality and actuality of the goods alone make in-store shopping a greater, more enjoyable experience.

Shopping Experience

Nothing beats the shopping experience of being in-store. This is especially important to consider when weighing the benefits that clothing store franchise opportunities bring.

While it can be beyond convenient to access an online store on your smartphone, being able to actually try the clothes on and examine them makes shopping in-store a worthwhile activity. More often than not, cameras can’t exactly capture the specific colors, dimensions, and even the sheerness of a garment. For example, what appears to be opaque in photos can be see-through in real life. In-store shopping affords you the real deal.

Boutiques let you fit, examine, and take in the feeling of wearing the clothing item that you like. Sizes and other colors can be readily available, letting you choose from different options as they are. This allows customers to get exactly what they want, reducing the chances of returns and refunds.

Fast Fashion

Independently owned boutiques can quickly reproduce looks fresh off the most recent fashion shows, without the hefty price tag. The rapidly changing demands of customers today require boutiques to release items in line with what’s trendy. By selling affordable and fast fashion choices, customers can be on-trend while sticking to their budget.

person with a lor of shopping bags

This constant introduction of clothing items and other products is advantageous to retailers because it encourages fashion enthusiasts to visit your boutique more frequently. Fashion consumers are more attracted to items that are of seasonal or limited availability.

In addition, with inventory, boutiques have the benefit of cost efficiency. Excessive stocks from previous lines can be re-released once that trend comes back in the spotlight.

Brand Loyalty and Trust

An important part of a customer’s shopping experience is customer service. From sizes to alterations, in-store associates provide immediate assistance to shoppers. Today, customers would rather transact with small businesses because of the personal connection they have with the people who run it. Having face-to-face transactions make for real and authentic moments – something customers don’t usually get when shopping online. The owners and employees make a big impact on building trust and influence as they are the face of your brand. This is what makes people trust your brand, so you can be sure that they will keep coming back for more if you provide them with positive in-store service moments.

By giving customers unique shopping experiences and consistently keeping abreast with industry trends, you are sure to build and nurture solid relationships with your market. Leverage the opportunities and benefits of being in retail – this will not only help your small clothing business grow but will also positively impact the retail industry.

Australia’s Coworking Scene Just Got a Bit More Cramped

Coworking space

Australia’s coworking scene just got bigger as corporations have started to see the benefits of coworking and are slowly adopting the practice. What used to be a haven for freelancers and independent contractors is now becoming the new face of corporate employment.

The Demand Just Got Bigger

As corporations begin allocating part of their workforce into coworking spaces, the demand for these spaces has shot up. Coworking franchises in different cities are experiencing higher membership rates with some of them operating at full or almost full capacity. In the past year, the number of companies with more than 15 employees working in coworking spaces has more than doubled.

Companies would rent large coworking spaces to house whole divisions, often leaving no room for freelancers and other individuals. This has led to a proliferation of special sections of coworking spaces that differ to the standard shared office setting; whole parts of coworking spaces are cordoned and locked, often having their own IT networks and phone connections.

Even big tech giants Microsoft and Palantir rent coworking spaces at Sydney. The spaces rented by these two companies are under lock and key. Although the entry of big corporations has a negative effect on individual members, franchise owners of these coworking spaces are reaping big money. Initial investments in coworking franchises used to take two to three years to recoup, but with the greater demand for large flexible areas, return on investment rates have been cut down to less than two years.

Putting Employees First?

Corporations will always state that they have adopted the coworking practice to benefit their employees. However, you probably know that their primary reason is to lower overhead costs. By using coworking spaces, corporations can expand their operations without the inconvenience accrued from renting a bigger building or developing a standing structure. They can shift the location of their services for specific market needs or for local marketing campaigns. Though corporate employees in coworking spaces are more efficient, less stressed, and happier; these are just added bonuses. The driving force of most corporations is still cutting costs while maximizing profits.

Edging Out the Little Guys

Woman working at a coworking space

The advent of corporate employees have pushed freelancers and independent contractors to smaller shared office spaces and even residential coworking spaces. Though a number of individual members still thrive in large coworking spaces, the number is dwindling as corporations allocate more of their employees and propose more agreeable terms to coworking brands.

Freelancers and independent contractors can still find online listings of shared office spaces, but the days when freelancers dominated the coworking scene is long gone. Thankfully, more coworking spaces are scheduled to open and even residential homes are turning into makeshift office spaces.

The face of coworking has changed drastically. Corporate employees are taking over space once ruled by freelancers and independent contractors. Coworking spaces have become a little colder and a little more restrictive. Hopefully, corporations will stop thinking about their overhead and realize that what makes coworking effective is the freedom given to its workers.

Three Ways of Handling Solid Waste

Row of garbage bins

Following a solid waste management plan and using the services of waste management providers are proving to be effective for not only cost reduction, but also environmental sustainability.

Fortunately, Sydney has increasingly placed a lot of emphasis on waste management, especially in regards to human health. However, much more is still possible for effective handling of solid waste. The best waste management strategies are applicable for a wide range of facilities for commercial, industrial and residential customers.

A close look at solid waste plans of this kind reveals three common strategies that seem to work everywhere:

1. Waste Recyling

Recycling brings positive change in many aspects. It is beneficial for both the economy and the environment. As consumption of products increases, the depletion of natural resources increases. Environmental degradation emanates from energy intensiveness of the handling of virgin raw materials from extraction to processing. Recycling products reduces this negative effect.

The population of Sydney has increased over the years, and recycling has helped reduce the need for extra incinerators and landfills. The most notable thing about recycling is that the process usually comes at no cost. In the past, recycling was probably more expensive, but the growing demand for recycled products has made doing the right thing cheap. In some regions, the demand for feedstock is already surpassing the supply, meaning that recycling is gaining more value.

2. Packaging Reduction

Waste reduction is the message for everyone who wants to reduce solid waste and other forms of waste. Proper handling of packaging can have a significant effect on the amount of waste that finds its way into the environment. This calls for collaborative efforts among retailers, consumers and manufacturers.

Many packaging companies have been using a number of strategies to minimise solid waste. The idea behind these strategies is to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfills. Some have managed to eliminate packaging completely. For those whose product integrity will reduce from elimination of packaging, minimising packaging can help. Some ways to reduce packaging are:

• Change type of packaging
• Use consumable packaging
• Choose single material packaging
• Modify structure of packaging

3. Reducing the Number of Items Thrown Away

Woman holding plastic bottle

This is the simplest and most obvious strategy for combating the solid waste menace. The regulatory strategies to support this method are working in some states. A good example is California where a 1990 law led to a 25% reduction for waste diverted to landfills. Applying some basic principles at home or elsewhere can help reduce the amount of solid waste thrown away:

• Replace bottled water containers with a refillable container
• Use reusable bags for groceries
• Change how you print documents, e.g. reduce printing, print on both pages
• Follow trash reduction goal
• Recycle cardboard and paper

Humans are outdoing every other organism in the generation of waste, yet the backlash of this comes back to haunt us the most. If solid waste management is poor or inexistent, people and the environment will soon start to suffer the consequences. To take care of human health and the environment, it is time solid waste management provides Sydney and other stakeholders upped their game.

How Much Do You Need Maritime Insurance?

a boat near the shore

Marine insurance policies are not anything that, as a shipper, you should be having any doubts considering. What you only should be inquiring about here is whether the policy that you are getting is enough to cover your shipping concerns. Ideally, these concerns range from losses to damages. And, it does not matter whether you own the shipping facility or the cargoes, or you run the terminal. All these are candidates of obtaining marine insurance policies as insurance cover for the goods in transit.

Get the right policy

With the right policy, you get comprehensive insurance to curtail your exposure to any financial loss or damage. But, it is quite unfortunate that not every shipper values the importance of full-cover marine insurance. As a result, they suffer great losses from taking up such risks when they lose cargos, or global shipping policies change, and they have to reroute. Other charterers, as well as shipowners, keep facing unforeseen disputes in high magnitudes that could disrupt day-to-day shipping operations. In the worst case scenarios, these disputes have even rendered some shipping companies bankrupt. But, all these can benefit from freight demurrage and defence.

So, why an FDD?

To curb any risks to cargo theft

One of the most unexpected and costly losses any shipper can incur is from cargo theft. Moreover, the impact trickles down to affecting trust in manufacturer-distributor and distributor-supplier relationships. With the rise in fake identities and fictitious pickup processes, cargo thefts keep being on the increase. And, on that, every cargo is a potential target. So, buy an FDD insurance early enough before you encounter cargo theft.

To cover at-sea container losses

World Shipping Council records that shipping companies have recently been losing about 1390 containers each year at sea. Some of these cases are from catastrophic events, but a high number of the losses are from ship malfunctions. Unbalanced loading of containers has also been among the leading causes of these at-sea container losses. The council, however, notes that this is a lower figure to the number that they lost in the previous three years. But, while that is a great relief to shippers, do not wait until you suffer the financial strain of losing your cargoes at sea. With an FDD, you cover these losses to every extent.

To cover shipwrecks and pirate attacks

two boats

Shipwrecks and pirate attacks are nearly impossible to predict. The chances are even getting higher year by year with the increase in the number of pirate attacks. Climate change has also contributed a lot is the rise in sea storms and tsunamis, which have capsized cargo ships and destroyed cargo loading terminals. These have cost shipping companies unexpected multi-billion losses which most shippers have found it difficult to recover from.

Cover every possible damage

Cargo damages are a common cause of financial loss in shipping. Even with every safety measure in place, damages can happen as a result of inadequate ventilation, and faulty packaging. Add to that the aforementioned reasons to insure your cargo, containers and terminal, and you will learn that there is little that you can do to avoid these cases. And, these are to mention but a few. However, with freight, demurrage and defence insurance you get full-cover insurance for each of these instances.

Compact and Sleek: Your Shipping Container Home Office

Shipping container

There is a reason shipping containers have become mega popular these days. They offer much flexibility and could serve a wide range of functions. They could be employed at residential, commercial, and industrial properties since they could turn into every kind of room that you need exactly.

If you need a spare room to turn into your home office but you cannot have one inside the house, bringing in a shipping container shed could be a nice idea. That way, you will have an office feel without really going too far away from home, which means you are not separated with your mommy and wifey duties while you perform the tasks that your career requires.

A shipping container office is ideal for homemakers who are blessed with a home-based job. They can ably perform two different tasks at a time, juggling work with their primary responsibility in the house and getting satisfaction for both.

How can you achieve a winning home office design using a spare shipping container and some wits?

1. Have the perfect plan

As with any kind of project, working with a nice plan is the best way to start. A comprehensive plan that will cover not just design issues but budget issues as well will help you through the completion of the project. In the process, you must be able to tackle any possible concern that would come up along the way. For a good plan to work, get a little help from the following guidelines:

  • Establish a workable budget. Be specific of how much you could actually spend so you can develop a realistic plan based on your financial capabilities.
  • Decide on your preferred office design. Your home office must be styled according to your working habits, your job’s demands, and your own personal preference, of course. You are going to use the office. It is but right that you decide how you want it to be without going over your declared budget.
  • Make the most of your shipping container shed. One of the best things about these sheds is that they are almost complete. You only need touch-ups here and there to turn it into your most ideal workplace. It is very crucial that you maximise the sturdy construction and just take out those that you need to in order to suit up to your desired office design.

2. Find a good shipping container source

Shipping containers

The quality of the shipping container actually defines the quality d value of your home office. It is very important, therefore, that you find a good source. Choosing the best unit will define the success of your project.

To start with, never pay for a container shed before you lay your eyes on it. Make sure you are able to inspect the unit thoroughly before you consider the purchase. It is through an inspection that you will be able to establish if it is the right unit, of the right size, and in the best condition worth making an investment for.

Shipping containers are a spare room that you can turn to anything you like, much more into a home office. But you should not throw caution into the wind and buy blindly. Making educated, well-informed decisions are absolutely crucial to make sure you are making the most of your hard earned money.

The Struggle is Real: 3 Types of Fear Almost Every Starting Entrepreneur Experience

Female entrepreneur working

It’s not surprising that many people refuse to push through with a business idea or opportunity, even given the fact that it has a lot of potential. Starting an entrepreneurial endeavor is just beyond the comfort zone of most people. Simply put, it’s frightening.

If fear is keeping you from making your dream business a reality, the solution lies not in cowering to that paralyzing fear, but to make the effort to get past it. The first step in overcoming that is to know what exactly you’re afraid of.

Here are the common types of fears entrepreneurs have when starting their business:

Failure

You’ve probably heard of the harrowing statistics that 90% of start-ups fail in their first year. Or, perhaps, you personally know a friend who has dedicated all their life, savings, time, and energy to a promising business idea, only to find it crumbling down years later. The reality of failure in business is crystal clear. Indeed, this is one of the hard pills to swallow in this line of work.

Here’s an encouragement: You’re not doomed because you can build safeguards to keep your business from failure. Strengthen your foundations right from the start. Create a thorough yet simple business plan, then create a Plan B, C, and D. Improve it as you go along and make mistakes.

Gather a great team of talents and never stop training them. Organize your finances. If you need to start small to keep the funds from easily draining, do it. Explore businesses that are working already in the market, like retail clothing or restaurant franchise opportunities. With tried-and-tested models, you can reduce the chances of business failure.

Inadequacy

Many starting entrepreneurs feel that they’re simply incapable of doing what they plan to do. They’re afraid that eventually, they’ll screw up and people will see what they ‘really’ are: incompetent. If this is the type of fear you’re feeling, you need to drown that little voice of self-doubt.

Most often, what it says is not true. Take concrete actions that would let you internalize your competence. For instance, attend conferences and seminars that would enrich your understanding of the industry you’re getting into. Read publications and stay updated with trends. Enroll in business classes, if necessary. This will all help improve your knowledge and skills, and thereby increase your confidence in yourself.

If you’re going to push through with buying a franchise, you’ll be able to take advantage of the brand’s training programs, which would give you the boldness you need in supervising your very own franchise.

Rejection

Entrepreneurs handshake

Some experience this when pitching to investors. Others struggle when it comes to introducing a new product to the market. It’s hard not to take rejection personally. Besides, it’s your own idea being ‘axed’.

For the most part in business, rejections are necessary. Mainly due to how it makes entrepreneurs thick-skinned, a trait crucial to businesspeople who want to stay in the business. This industry you’re entering is a cutthroat industry, and it leaves no space for the sensitive and fragile. Furthermore, you need a few no’s sometimes to finally get your idea right. The point is you have to see beyond the rejections you’ve received. Look for the value it adds to your character and the business.

Are fears keeping you from starting your business? Don’t let them. Know what you’re afraid about, and conquer them with determination, hope, and courage.

Keeping Safe on the Road with Construction Safety Equipment

Roadwork

Construction sites can become road obstructions if they do not use proper signage and safety products. They could even mean danger for the workers and the general public. Protecting people makes it a must to make street work safety a requirement.

Workplace safety can be challenging at road construction sites. There are heavy equipment, ladders, uneven flooring, ramps, and heavy material that can be found in the area. These require warning signs, hazard lights, and even special safety clothing to protect workers.

The welfare of workers is always at the forefront of workplace safety. Governments all over the world have made it mandatory for businesses to follow safety practices and require standard safety equipment in their work. For road construction projects, reflective vests and hard hats are part of these equipment standards.

But there are two essential elements to help keep street works safe: the signaller and the road safety or warning flag. One could not work efficiently without the other, and they both play crucial roles in regulating traffic flow around the construction site. They also protect the workers and give motorists a heads up about the work in progress – minimising the delays and the risks of accidents in the process.

The Flagman or the Signaller

The flagman has to stand up and manage the safety flags. This flagman or signaller needs to wave the flags to indicate the movement of traffic. He could also help pedestrians, the motorists, and the workers by signalling that construction in a specific area is ongoing.

But a flagman also needs the appropriate barricades, traffic lights, barriers, lane control devices, and other signalling tools. Safety flags are only part of the safety gear and could not be used alone. If it is a huge road construction site, the use of every possible road safety feature is a must, and you also need a couple of flagmen at that.

The Road Safety Flag

The road safety flag helps redirect traffic and control the crowd, are swayed to give passing vehicles and pedestrians a heads up about the construction work in a particular site. It is mostly made of reflective orange fabric that is visible even in the darkness. Although they can be made of different materials, most flags are made of waterproof and durable materials.

Safety flags are also useful at parking lots. Big construction equipment such as forklifts and oversized truckloads also make use of similar flags to signify any possible hazard.

Traffic Barriers and Cones

Traffic cone

These barricades have lights that act as a warning signal. They are often used for street work and construction. There are different kinds of barricades, but for lighter work, some people prefer to use traffic cones or A-fram barriers. They can be made of concrete or even water-filled jersey barriers, but it all depends on the size of the construction project.

Safety equipment is essential for any construction project, not only to make the project successful but also to protect workers and the general public. They are cost-effective equipment that will prevent accidents and injuries.