Cross Pens Make Outstanding Gifts

If you need a special gift for a special occasion, birthday, graduation or special holiday gift; consider the gift of a Cross Pen.

It can be hard to find a good gift for a graduate. A Cross Pen will make an outstanding gift for the graduate that is just going forth into the professional world. First impressions are everything on job interviews and when networking. Having a really nice pen to take down important names, numbers or notes just looks more professional than a leaking, blotting cheap pen.

You can further personalize your gift of a Cross Pen by having it engraved. People tend to keep specially engraved gifts for years upon years. Cross pens can be refilled and used again and again so the engraved gift you give will be useful forever to your pen recipient.

If you need a special gift for your Dad for Father’s Day, consider a Cross Pen with a special message. If your father has retired, the pen will still come in useful for jotting down notes, signing necessary documents and even just writing checks to pay the bills. Choose a humorous saying that means something between you, a simple “I Love You” or his initials will all make great engravings for the pen.

Along with an engraved Cross Pen, you can make the gift complete with either a personalized portfolio to hold appointments (written with a Cross Pen of course); and add in a leather Cross Pen holder for the person that travels or is on the go. The holder fits right into a carry on bag, suit pocket or purse and keeps their Cross Pen neatly tucked away until it is needed.

Cross Pens are constructed to be high quality, non-leaking and always deliver a clean line. This attention to detail in their design has made Cross Pens one of the most recognized names for fine writing instruments around the globe. An engraved pen is an outstanding gift for your groomsmen or bridesmaids. You can have the special date you all celebrated together engraved on the pen and give each of your wedding attendants a special pen as a memento of their participation in your special day.

If you’ve been searching for a good gift and you want to get a special someone a gift that they can use for years to come, consider a personalized Cross Pen that lets them know that they are special to you and they are often in your thoughts, even when they don’t see you face to face.

How to Start a House Cleaning Business on a Tight Budget

“If you use Emotion and Love to drive your sales and your business, you will create Loyalty Beyond Reason. And I promise you, you will build relationships and enjoy a business that exceeds beyond your wildest expectations”

First of all, before you decide to start your cleaning business, make sure this kind of work is right for you. You will need to be in good physical condition. Cleaning is very hard strenuous work. You will need to have good customer relation skills. You will need to have basic office skills and some accounting skills.

If you are planning on leaving your full time position to start a cleaning business, make sure you have at least six months of savings. Or keep your full time job and start out part time.

Research all the aspects of the cleaning service business. From customer service to advertising, taxes, employees, insurance and bonding, what to charge and how to clean a home professionally. Cleaning your own home and cleaning professionally is totally different. Learning how to clean professionally takes a lot of time. When a client pays for your services they expect to come home and find their home spotless.

Getting those first clients takes time, persistence and patience. You will not get a hundred clients overnight.

Obtaining Those First Clients The hardest part of starting your own cleaning service is obtaining those first clients. Most clients want to know how long you have been in business and want references. The best thing to do is let clients know that, yes, you are new to the business but that you have thoroughly researched all aspects of the cleaning business and assure them that you know what you are doing and that you are quit capable of cleaning their home to their specifications. Be confident. I can’t stress this enough. Clients love to see confidence. It relieves their worries and lets them know that their home is in good hands.

References: To get a few good references when starting out, ask some friends or family members if you can clean their home for free or at a discounted rate. The sound of working for free may not be appealing but it will be worth it to get some good testimonials.

When cleaning those first homes, go for quality, not how fast you can clean the home. Cleaning efficiently takes a long time, but you will get to the point where you can do a thorough cleaning in a short time. After cleaning make sure you go back and double check all rooms to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Impress those first clients and word of mouth will spread soon.

Advertising Your company image is everything. Before you start advertising, decide what image you want to portray on your advertising material. Your image is very important. Be consistent with all your advertising. If you have a logo be sure to use it on all your advertising materials. I think it is best to have a website developed before you start advertising. When advertising, stick with the same logo and colors.

Advertise in Local Paper: Start by running a text ad in your local newspaper. Try to come up with an eye catching ad. Do not sell your services on low rates, sell your services on your quality of work and what you can do for the client that other companies don’t. There is a lot of competition in the cleaning service. You have to stand out from the rest.

Magnetic Signs or Lettering for your Vehicle: Having your business name and contact information on your vehicle is a great way to advertise. We use the vinyl lettering. The lettering looks much more professional than the magnetic signs.

Flyers: You can print nice flyers on your home computer, but I would suggest investing in some professional flyers. Hang flyers at Hair Dressers, Laundromats, Restaurants, Bakeries, Grocery Stores, etc. Put flyers on car windows at local groceries stores and businesses. You can even go door to door in neighborhoods you would like to work in. You cannot put them in mailboxes. but you can put them in the front door.

Door Hangers: Door hangers are a great way to get new clients. Pick the neighborhood you would like to work in and hang the door hangers on the doors. When people get flyers or ads in their mailbox they usually throw them away with the junk mail. But if there is a door hanger on the door they will take the time to look at it.

Business Cards: Start passing out your business cards to friends and family members. You can also ask your local businesses if you can leave some cards on their counters.

Referral Program: A great way to obtain new clients is through a referral program. Offer existing clients a discount when they refer a friend. You can give your existing clients a discount when the friend uses your services three times.

Website: These days people live very busy lives so they use the convenience of the internet to shop for the services they need. A lot of working women will shop for services while at work. Everyone that has a business should have a website. It shows clients that you are serious about your business and allows them research your business in their own time.

Cleaning Products: By using all natrual products, you can offer your clients a healthy cleaning experience and protect ourselves against harsh chemicals. Clients love the natural cleaning products with essential oils. They come home to a healthy clean home filled with the wonderful scents of aromatherapy essential oils.

Tip: Always carry hand sanitizer and wash your hands often while cleaning homes. Wear gloves when cleaning bathrooms. You will be exposed to a lot of different germs in clients homes.

Remember most customers prefer that you bring your own cleaning supplies. That way they do not have to worry about going to the store for cleaning supplies before you clean. Some customers have special cleaners for certain appliances or floors in their houses. These customers usually will have these cleaners on hand for you to use. We almost always use the customers vacuum cleaner. That way you do not have to carry a heavy vacuum from house to house.

What to Charge I mentioned earlier that you should sell your services on your quality of work and not your low rates. If your rates are too low, clients will think that your work is sub-standard and that you are not experienced. Also you want to attract the clients that can afford your services. I made the mistake of pricing my work too low when I first started out. Cleaning is hard work, charge what you are worth. As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for.”

Some companies charge by the hour, some charge by the room, some charge a flat rate per home and some charge by the square foot. I think it is better to charge by the home, not by the hour. If a client knows they have to pay one set fee, they don’t care if you take 2 hours or 5 hours. Also your clients will know what they are paying up front and won’t have to worry about added expenses.

No two houses are the same. And there is no set charge for all homes. You have to clean for awhile yourself to get some experience and to work out a system to clean efficiently. Only you know what you want and need to make. Decide what you need to make hourly to cover all expenses and still make a good profit.

A word of advise: Make sure when you start your company that you charge what you would charge if you had employees. Some people make the mistake of under charging when they start out just to get customers and then later on when they grow and need to hire help they aren’t making enough money on their houses to pay help. Don’t under price your work. Cleaning homes is very hard physical work and you didn’t get into this business to work for nothing.

New Construction Cleaning If you decide to do this type of work you will need more equipment. You will need ladders, window cleaning kits with long extensions, a shop vac, etc. These types of jobs are usually 2 to 3 person jobs. New construction cleaning requires a lot more cleaning. You may have to remove stickers and labels from windows and bathroom showers, sinks and toilets. Some require that you clean the vents to remove dust from construction work. There will be ceiling fans to clean, scrubbing floors, and cleaning woodwork to remove dust. New construction cleaning rates depend on the area you live in.

Insurance and Bonding. You need to be an honest person and somewhat personable. People will need to trust you to be in their homes. Most clients are concerned about having someone new in their house, with good reason. You should be bonded and fully insured. Liability insurance rates depend on your insurance carrier and where you are located. Each person you hire will increase your liability insurance. It’s well worth the cost. You can pay quarterly or yearly. You can purchase your bond through your local insurance company. You will need to renew the bond every year. *Note: if you hire employees and cover them under your insurance, they must be an employee on payroll and not a sub-contractor. If you employ them as a sub-contractor your insurance will not cover them. If they are a sub-contractor they are required to carry their own insurance. You

Hiring Help If you start out cleaning the homes by yourself, you will eventually get to the point where you need to expand your business. Start out with one part time employee. Train her and let her take your place one day a week. Then have her take your place 2 days a week and so on. This will give you the free time that you need to market your business and obtain more clients. After you get more clients you will be able to hire more part time help. Eventually you will be able to stop doing the cleaning yourself and just run the business end, which is the only way you will be able to grow your business. When training new employees, always, either train them yourself or have a lead person train them. Make sure there is a lead person on each and every cleaning job. Employees have a tendency to slack off when they are on their own.

Growing Your Business You will eventually get to the point where you have enough employees and lead people and you will be able to stop working in your business and start running your business. You will find that after awhile it will get to be too much trying to clean everyday and at the same time giving estimates, answering calls, scheduling, doing book work, obtaining new clients, etc.

Remember one of the most important qualifications for a cleaning service is TRUST. A client has to know they can trust you alone in their home. After you acquire a few cleaning positions ask the clients if you can use them for a reference. Most of the time they are more than willing to let you use them for a reference. This is how you build your business and acquire new clients is through referrals. Be dependable. Most clients will want to be set up on an every week or every other week schedule on the same day of the week. Try to always keep this same schedule unless the client asks you to switch to another day. If you have to cancel a cleaning date, make sure you try to reschedule at the earliest possible date to make up the cleaning.

Park Benches – Perfect for Creating an Inviting Outdoor Environment

A great way to make an inviting outdoor environment is to use park benches on your property. It does not matter if they are simple or elegant, a park bench will show your neighbors that you would like the outside of your home to be enjoyed by everyone. Park benches are also a great way to meet people since when people see a park bench in a nice outdoor environment, they usually want to sit down and relax for a while.

In a way park benches are a sort of open invitation for people to have a seat and relax enjoying the outdoors. They can sit down and take advantage of whatever you have around the outdoor areas of your house whether it be a beautiful garden, a pond, or just a nice open space to have a seat. Park benches will also create some beautiful outdoor areas where you can sit with friends and family just visiting or having a little get together. They are also a great place to sit with your neighbors and catch up on the gossip in the neighborhood! The inviting atmosphere that park benches bring about can be a great social atmosphere while enjoying the outdoors.

Park benches are also not especially for the backyard or front lawn as they can also be placed near the front entrance to your home or driveway. Having a park bench placed in the front of your property will give the message of openness to everyone passing by. If you do not want people lingering around your property you should not place park benches where people will be walking by as it can be sending the wrong message when in reality you do not want them hanging out there.

Park benches, along with most types of benches, can be made from a wide variety of materials such as wood, concrete, and metal. Some of the more attractive benches can be made of wood as there are several types of wood that are common with benches. Pine is attractive but is not one of the longer lying woods. Cedar and oak last a little longer and are very attractive woods as well. One of the better woods for benches is teak, which lasts longer and is a very beautiful wood.

One way to ensure that your wood park benches last longer is to weatherproof them. If you do not weatherproof your wooden park benches they can warp, split, and become brittle as well as being less resistant to insects. For metal benches it is also a good idea to coat the metal with some type of rust resistant covering to make sure that the metal does not rust and will stay more stable for a longer period of time. There are many styles of park benches to choose from whether it be a Hyde Park teak bench or a personalized concrete park bench. The style is up to you as they can be great additions for around the outside of your home.

Out of Home Advertising Spotlight – Truckside Advertising

Truckside advertising campaigns are used to broaden the reach of a national, regional or local campaign. They add variety, frequency and value to a broadcast campaign or can stand alone as very efficient campaigns.

For those trying to "go green," truckside advertising is a great, though often overlooked, alternative to mobile billboards. Truckside ads are posted on working trucks that will be out regardless, while mobile billboards are on trucks that operate solely for advertising purposes.

Benefits of the Medium –

Truckside advertising can be used as a broad branding medium or as a target-specific medium (such as retail trading zone areas). If advertisers want to add a bit more to their truckside campaign, event promotional options can make great additions.

Truckside advertising is not bound to any demographic market or geographic location, so the reach is endless. This mobility allows for coverage where other types of OOH may not be available.

Truckside also provides the option of a national mass reach campaign, known as "Over the Road". This flexibility in campaign execution makes truckside advertising appealing to both large national companies and smaller companies alike.

Many national advertisers learned on the concept years ago when trying to get their brands in front of consumers in a timely, efficient manner. Truckside easily accomplishes that task because of mobility – an advertiser's message can travel from New York to Los Angeles on one media vehicle. Plus, posting full-color graphics to trailers allows for greater impact.

How It is Purchased –

* An advertiser can buy General Market GRP showing levels.

* An advertiser can purchase dedicated routes to reach specific demographic targets or geographic areas. These smaller routers make it an efficient medium for local and regional companies.

* "Over the Road" advertising can be used as a mass medium to reach markets across the US by purchasing a campaign along Interstate routes. It can also be used for regional coverage.

Markets Available –

Market availability is unlimited. About 95% of the US population can be reached using truckside advertising .

How it is Measured & New Technology –

Tracking systems (such as GPS) have been available for a number of years. However, new companies have emerged that measure audience circulation, impressions during a certain period, and other types of campaign auditing. Some fleet media companies offer online Internet systems allowing advertisers to pinpoint the location of their mobile fleet ads in real time. Some services can also provide data that can be interfaced with other databases to produce demographics by route, fleet or time of day.

SAMI (Satellite Automated Media Information) web-based technology, for instance, addresses the needs of agencies and advertisers by providing credibility through audience measurement and tracking. It allows advertisers to schedule, track, sell and audit their truckside advertising campaigns. Proof-of-performance reporting is available next day, including maps and digital photos. One company currently offering SAMI technology is Moving Images Media, with truckside advertising available everywhere in the US