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Daycare Hunting: 3 Essential Questions

Children enjoying daycare“Choosing a daycare is one of the most important decisions that a parent is going to make,” says Linda Anderson, the senior director at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Academy. And she couldn’t be even more right.

Parents need to look for a daycare center that meets the highest of standards if they want their child to grow up right. With many Phoenix daycare centers out there, however, it’s possible to be overwhelmed. To help you get through this challenging task, here are some important questions to ask:

1. Where do you start looking?

A good starting point is the recommendations of friends and family members. If that isn’t enough, roam around the neighborhood and look for a daycare center in your area. This makes more sense, as it’ll be convenient for you and your kid. If you want a more efficient search online, narrowing down your options is ideal. Choices in child care differ — there are formal child care centers, family day care, and in-home care. Know your and your child’s preferences first then start browsing.

2. What should you look for in a daycare?

The first thing you need to be on the lookout for when visiting a potential daycare is how the staff interacts with children. In an ideal setup, the caregivers should be actively playing and interacting with each child. Children need all the attention they can get, so it’s best that their first caregivers are warm and responsive.

3. What are their policies?

It’s essential that you and the daycare are on the same page in terms of parenting philosophies and particulars like discipline, television hours, feeding, and sleeping. Before committing to anything, talk with the administrators and caregivers in the daycare you’re eyeing.

As parents, you want the best for your children. While choosing a daycare is one of the essential decisions you’d make, it’s also one of the most challenging. Ask yourself these three important questions to get the best.

April 25, 2018 at 2:16 pmStraight Study

Four Tips for Saving on Warehouse Storage Expenses

Two businessmen talkingIf a business is to maximise its profits, the company must ensure that operations cost is brought down. One of the things that contribute to a high operations cost is storage expenses for finished products.

In whatever industry you are in, warehouse productivity is an important factor. These are four things that can help in decreasing the cost of warehouse storage for your company:

1. Get great shelving.

Retail shelving is an important feature of a good warehouse. You will need shelving solutions that are cost-effective, customisable and accessible. It should make putting stocks and removing products easy.

This is why long-span shelving is great for your business. The great thing about it is that it is strong but not too heavy and can hold a wide variety of products. Search for a supplier of heavy-duty long-span racking system near you.

2. Maximise the storage options you have.

You may not realise it, but the space you utilise in the storage facility contributes to the costs. You need to maximise the space you have by storing more in it. You also have to consider the ease of accessing a particular set of products as time is also a resource for the company.

3. Implement inventory protection mechanisms.

Billions of dollars are lost yearly in warehouses all over the world. You must protect these products and supplies against damage, theft or misplacement. You could do this through several different mechanisms such as proper packaging and employee training.

4. Use cross-docking techniques.

Cross docking is when products are directly sent to customers instead of through middlemen. Cross-docking terminals help in the efficient transfer of goods.

The key to bringing down the expenses of factory storage is by optimising what you already have and making proper use of new additions to your facility. This way, the warehouse will be more efficient than it already is.

April 18, 2018 at 5:37 pmStraight Market

4 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Exporting

Export concept shotNow that you’ve determined that there’s a real demand for your products globally, you can further explore the idea of exporting. But do note that making your products available globally requires much more than making a feasibility study and analysis.

Improve the supply chain efficiency.

Your logistics performance has a significant impact on your export capabilities. You need to make sure that you have a foolproof system in place. This involves the simplest things like choosing the best supplier for a metal strapping tool for better packaging and engaging with credible partners for innovation processes.

Boost your domestic operations.

According to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, you can’t expect to penetrate markets overseas successfully if you don’t have solid domestic operations. Identify the gaps in your processes and find solutions to improve efficiency and productivity.

Attend export coaching courses and sessions.

Doing business domestically is very different from going global. Don’t venture into it blindly. You need to learn the basics of exporting to make sure that you follow all the requirements and policies. You also need to educate yourself on export pricing and marketing.

Get market insights.

Distributing your products to a different market means you have to factor in more determinants. These include financial risks, cultural gaps and political dynamics. Get access to insights on market behaviour and assessment of the competition to remain relevant.

The decision to export shouldn’t rely on identifying your export potential. You need to make sure that your company is ready for it. Do market research, improve your operations and increase your supply chain efficiency. It’s a huge endeavour to take on, so make sure that you are well equipped.

April 17, 2018 at 8:02 amStraight Study

A Guide to the Various Types of Auto Loans

Approved Car Loan ApplicationAbout 85% of new car purchases are financed through loans. Approximately half of the people who borrow money to buy a car get their loans from car dealerships while the rest get their financing from credit unions and banks.

There is an 80% chance that you will be borrowing cash for you to get the keys to your new ride. As such, it pays to understand the various types of loans as well as the best auto loan rate in Utah. That said, this article focuses on your auto loan options.

Unsecured vs. secured auto loans

With a secured loan, the car acts as the collateral to the loan. That means the financing company has the security interest indicated in vehicle title. So if you default payment, the financing institution will seize the vehicle.

Other financing institutions offer unsecured loans. This means the lending institution has no security control over the vehicle. Consequently, these loans are only offered to people with substantial assets and income, as well as those with high credit scores. Additionally, due to their high-risk nature, these loans come at a significantly high-interest rate in comparison to the secured loan.

Simple interest vs. pre-computed interest

Pre-computed interest is calculated based on the total amount of the interest rate over the period of the loan. The total figure is then divided by the number of months you will be paying the loan. That means your monthly payments will include the specific amount of interest regardless of the remaining loan balance.

Simple interest loan, on the other hand, calculates the interest rate based on the outstanding loan balance. That means, if you took a car loan for $10,000 and you now have an outstanding amount of $5,000, the interest will be calculated based on the $5,000 and not $10,000.

Regardless of the auto loan that you want, shopping around is worth your while. Picking a loan is not just another paperwork procedure in car purchasing process. The loan is a purchase by itself and is likely to cost you thousands of dollars.

April 7, 2018 at 1:00 amFinance

How to Qualify for a Jumbo Loan?

Man computing using a calculatorA jumbo loan is the kind of mortgage you need to buy a property with a jumbo price. It chiefly refers to the size of the loan, but its classification depends on what’s considered the “conforming loan” in the region. In Utah, the difference jumbo and FHA loan limits can be about $150,000.

Unlike conforming loans, jumbo loans are not guaranteed by the government. In other words, the lenders that issue them a big risk appetite. Considering they don’t follow the underwriting guidelines of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, qualifying for a jumbo mortgage is harder than usual. As only a few lenders offer jumbo loans, their interest rates are naturally higher.

If you’re planning to apply for this kind of mortgage in Salt Lake City, here’s what most lenders are looking for:

Extra-Large Down Payment

Jumbo loan lenders might be open to taking greater risks, but they’re not willing to provide 100% financing. In most cases, you’re expected to put down at least 20% of the total property’s price. On the bright side, you won’t have to pay for private mortgage insurance for years, which offers no personal benefit to you.

Low Debt-to-Income Ratio

Applying for this mortgage puts your income under closer scrutiny. Your prospective lender will go great lengths to make sure you have an unquestionable capacity to repay for it. Apart from providing evidence of your employment and earning potential, you’ll also need to provide plenty of other assets.

Excellent Credit Score

Of course, stellar credit standing is a prerequisite for jumbo loan approval. The lowest FICO score to qualify for it is 700. Obtain a copy of your credit report and identify any error in your file before speaking with a lender.

Most people don’t qualify for jumbo loans for good reasons. Securing a mortgage of such size is a privilege, which can be abused without stringent qualifications.

March 30, 2018 at 1:00 amFinance

3 Business Exit Strategies for Owners

Business man and women discussing dealsIt’s challenging to open your own business, and it’s equally as challenging to run it and succeed. However, what most people don’t discuss is the fact that it’s the most challenging to let go of it. Businesses close for a variety of reasons. Whether you’re closing yours for health, financial, or personal reasons, it’s important to seek professional help.

Business sales consultancy services in Utah provides more than just guidance in selling your business. It might not be discussed as often, but business exit strategy is also something that happens when you run one. Therefore, gaining enough knowledge on how to do so without incurring losses should be done.

1. Shut it down

Some business owners would prefer shutting down the business early on, while it’s still on a good stature to minimize the losses they would incur. While this is one of the easiest ways to manage your exit, it’s not always the best decision, especially when your brand still has value.

2. Pass it on

If your brand is still recognized and you still have a fairly good foundation, another good option would be to pass it on to relatives or even your children. That way, your years of your hard work would still be operational.

3. Sell it

There are various ways to sell a business. You can sell it to a friend whom you trust, for instance. You can also sell it to business partners or employees who would want to continue the venture. This will give you a peace of mind that your business is in good hands. If not, putting it up for sale to the public is always a way to sell it immediately and properly.

Parting with years of your hard work is not an easy thing to do, especially if this is your first business. However, finding a good exit strategy can definitely help you transition faster and easier than you imagined.

March 29, 2018 at 1:00 amDirect Service

Top Options for Financial and Retirement Planning

coins in a jar labeled retirementThere was a time when people could make do with their Social Security checks and any pension plan their company has when they retire. That time has passed.

Rising costs for basic needs make financial and retirement planning necessary. Among the top options for you are IRAs, Roth IRAs, and 401(k)s. Here are the pros and cons to help you decide.

IRAs

The IRA or Individual Retirement Account is a good option if you have some money to put away and you want to be in control. You can choose where to put it, such as a bank or brokerage firm. You can also put in cash, stocks, or bonds. The good thing about IRAs is you pay taxes on your investments when you are ready to use the money. You can also add IRA contributions to your tax deductions if you don’t have a 401(k).

The problem is that the IRS limits your yearly contribution to just $5,500 if you’re not yet 50 years old. The limit rises to $6,500 once you hit 50 years old. You also pay a penalty if you take money out of the IRA before the age of 59.

Roth IRAs

A Roth IRA is a good option if you are young, you have some extra money, and you expect your income to rise. This is because your taxes will probably be higher when you get older. Putting money aside now while you pay lower taxes means you’ll have more money in the account by the time you retire. They are like regular IRAs except that you pay taxes on your contributions.

However, you do not have to pay taxes when you use the money after retirement age. The good thing about a Roth IRA is you can withdraw money from the account at any time without penalty. The bad thing is you have the same limits as a regular IRA in terms of the amount you can contribute to an account.

401(k)s

A 401(k) is a retirement plan sponsored by your employer. They deduct your contributions from your pay automatically. You can contribute up to $18,500 a year ($24,500 if you are over 50) to an account. Whatever you contribute is exempt from taxes, although you do pay taxes when you withdraw the money. The employer may also choose to match your contributions, so this is free money.

The problem is you do not get to choose where to invest the money. The employer might also require that you stay with the company for a set number of years before they can get the employer contributions. The fees for managing a 401(k) plan can be high as well.

Choosing the right plan will depend on many factors. The top options are generally sound, but it will still depend on your situation. Consult with a financial expert to get some pieces of advice on financial and retirement planning.

March 22, 2018 at 9:30 amFinance

Reasons to Harvest Rainwater for Home and Garden Use

Rainwater absorberWater scarcity is a major concern in many places around the world. Even in areas where there is a reliable supply of potable water, people are encouraged to conserve water. One way to do this is by harvesting rainwater.

Farms, barns, and commercial gardens aren’t the only ones that can benefit from rainwater harvesting. The practice of collecting and storing rainwater brings plenty of benefits to households as well.

According to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, at least 26 per cent of homes in Australia are now using collected rainwater for household use. Even if you only have a small area for storing water, there are slimline rainwater tanks that can easily fit in limited spaces.

Here are some reasons why you should consider installing a rainwater collection system at home.

Reduced water bills

Water prices across Australia are expected to increase to help costs for government investment in infrastructure such as dams, desalination plants, and the wider coverage of piped water networks. Rainwater harvesting reduces dependence on mains water supply. This translates into reduced water bills.

Rebates

The initial cost of having a rainwater collection system installed can seem high – there’s the upfront cost of supplies and installation, and also the costs of electricity and ongoing maintenance. But don’t worry ‒ if you have a rainwater collection tank, you may qualify for rebates from the government. The rebate would depend on the size or volume of your tank and how you use the water you have collected.

Water availability

Having stored rainwater provides a backup supply should a problem occur with other water sources.

Good for the environment

Aside from conserving water, rainwater harvesting reduces reliance on rivers and other waterways. It also decreases storm water runoff, which can cause flooding and creek scouring.

If you are thinking of ways to do your part in protecting the environment, whilst saving money in the long term, harvesting rainwater is definitely a smart move.

March 20, 2018 at 9:00 amInfo Tech

4 Tips to Make Leak Detection in Tanks Easier

Guy checking the water tankA leak in the water system may not be too alarming, but it does have a lot of consequences. Thankfully, there are many ways to ensure that leaks are detected early. The following tips are proven ways for this to be done:

1. Build the tank above the ground

One of the greatest things about building a tank above the ground is the fact that it makes leak detection so much easier. You just look up and see if water droplets are falling. Building a tank this way also makes the repainting much simpler. Additionally, it can be transferred easily. You may tap a firm like Heartland Tank Services to help you in building and maintaining aboveground storage tanks. It can also help you to meet API 653 requirements.

2. Look for wet and discoloration stains

For pipes and tubes that have leaks, they will most likely affect the other things that surround them. For example, wet and discolored stains on the walls and ceilings are a usual effect of water pipe leaks.

3. Install a leak indicator

For those who have a bit more money, a leak indicator is an effective way to detect leaks while they are still small.

4. Drop some food coloring in the toilet tank

Detecting leaks in toilets, meanwhile, demand a different approach. They are among the most common form of water leaks, and they are usually very costly. To help see whether you have a leaking toilet, put some droplets of food coloring or dye into the toilet tank. Do not flush the toilet for 30 minutes. If after 30 minutes, you see some color going into the bowl, there is a leak.

Vigilance is a key aspect in detecting leaks in a water system. Multiple steps and actions have to be done for there to be an effective leak detection process in place.

March 20, 2018 at 1:00 amStraight Study

A Bright Future for Healthcare RCM Services

healthcare providersRevenue cycle management (RCM) makes the administration of medical institutions easier and efficient. As more people seek for better healthcare, hospitals and clinics have to adapt to meet such demand; hence the need for effective healthcare revenue cycle management service.

RCM services consist of many solutions, like medical insurance claims processing, medical billing, and medical coding, all of which require data accuracy and quality management. These services may come directly via a purchase of RCM software solutions or through outsourced services.

With expectations from the current universal healthcare debates, you can expect the industry to grow in the near future.

Positive growth outlook

According to the latest Future Market Insights report, services that facilitate revenue cycle management in the healthcare industry will see an influx of demand in the foreseeable future. This was apparent during the previous years as about half of earnings in the global healthcare RCM software market were attributed to services.

The same is true with other non-software related services. Although the RCM software market will see growth in 2017 to plateau as the market matures, the revenue shares of the industry’s software and services segments are optimistic with healthcare RCM services gaining more ground in terms of adoption.

More outsourced services, stable software demand

Outsourced services are growing faster than software services in the RCM industry. Although the software solutions segment is the bigger segment due to the ease of securing a solution, outsourced services offer some support that software may not readily provide.

Outsourced healthcare companies provide all-around healthcare and medical services. From pre-registration, appointment scheduling, medical billing, and to medical coding, these companies do all the work for a hospital or clinic needing outside support for their healthcare services administration.

RCM services in both software and outsourced forms aim to modernize the administration of healthcare services. They limit costs and improve productivity by reducing present write-offs, hastening the revenue generation cycle, and enhancing the patient-provider relationship.

March 17, 2018 at 1:00 amFinance