CategoryBusiness

Licensing, Bonding and Insurance for General Contractors and Small Construction Business

Licensing
Licensing your business may be required by your state depending on the trade you perform. In most states, a license is required for the more technical trades, such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC contractors, and fire protection contractors. Other trades, including general contractors, may not need a state license to perform work. Typically an annual fee is required for a license, and an employee of your firm must take a written text to qualify for a state license. If that employee leaves your firm, the license is no longer valid and someone working for your company must take the exam again.

At the local level, licensing requirements vary widely. Each town, regardless of size, may require certain contractors to obtain a local license to work in that municipality. These licenses are usually valid for one year and are not very expensive.

Your local building department will know what state and local licenses you need. Before bidding any job, contact the building department to make sure you know what you will need and what it will cost. The building permit application lists all of the contractors on the project, along with their state and/or local license numbers. Until every firm on the list is properly licensed, they won’t issue the permit and the work can not proceed.

Bonding and insurance
The most common types of bonds are performance and payment bonds, bid bonds and permit bonds.

Performance and payment bonds – When a general contractor is awarded a job, it is up to him to decide which subcontractors have to provide a performance and payment bond. The subcontractor’s bonds give the general contractor a layer of protection, just as his bond helps to protect the owner.

Performance and payment bonds are actually two different types of bonds but are usually referred to collectively. A performance bond is basically a guarantee for the owner of the project from a bonding company that you will complete the project. If during the course of a job, you go out of business, fail to comply with the requirements of the contract documents or get terminated by the owner, the bonding company must step in and finish the project. The payment bond is similar, but it guarantees you will pay the subcontractors and suppliers that provide labor and materials in the performance of your contract.

Work with a knowledgeable bonding agent to establish a relationship with a bonding company. If you don’t know a bonding agent, contact the National Association of Surety Bond Producers at (202) 686-3700 or visit http://www.nasbp.org to get names of agents in your area. Bonding companies will require you to provide your current and prior three years of financial statements and your current uncompleted work on hand schedule to review your company’s qualifications.

Unlike an insurance company, which does not have any recourse against you after they pay a claim on your behalf, the bonding company will seek reimbursement for any costs they incur to complete your contract or pay your subcontractors. Therefore you must have liquid assets either within your company or personally or you won’t be able to obtain a bond. The cost of these bonds is typically 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent of the contract value.

Bid bonds – The bid bond is usually provided at no cost, but you can’t get a bid bond, if you don’t already have the ability to obtain a performance and payment bond, as described above. A bid bond gives the project owner some protection in the event the low bidder refuses to honor his bid within the allotted time. If this occurs, the bonding company will pay the owner the difference between your bid and the next bidder up to the amount of your bid bond (typically 5 percent or 10 percent of the total bid). The owner in turn can use this payment to offset the cost/time impact of having to re-award the project to another firm.

Your bonding company will need to know the value and description of the construction or remodeling project during the bid process, in order to provide the bid bond for delivery with your bid. If the bonding company must pay the owner for a bid bond on which you defaulted, they will seek reimbursement from you.

Permit bonds – The permit bond is a requirement of the municipality in which your project is located. If you fail to comply with the municipality’s construction rules and regulations, they will make a claim against your license and/or permit bond. These bonds are easier to obtain, and don’t require the same financial information as the performance and payment bonds. As the contractor, you are agreeing to comply with all of the rules and regulations of that municipality when you apply for a permit or a license.

Insurance for your small or a small construction business can be very complex. There are many types of coverage – some required by law, some optional. The basic forms of insurance required of most contractors are:

  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance provides compensation for medical care for employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue his or her employer for negligence. Coverage A for Worker’s Compensation is typically statutory depending on the state where the policy is written. Coverage B (Employers Liability Insurance limit) is based on requirements in the contract.
  • General liability insurance protects your company against bodily injury and property damages suits from third parties for negligence.
  • Automobile liability insurance provides liability coverage for any auto owned or leased by the company. This policy also protects the company against auto liability claims made against the company caused by company employees driving their personal automobiles while on company business.
  • Excess or umbrella liability insurance is liability coverage over and above the primary liability coverage provided by the underlying general liability, workers compensation and automobile liability policies.

While the types of coverage listed here are the minimum required for most contractors, some projects will require specific coverage limits, as well as other related language and endorsements that your insurance carrier must provide. Send the requirements to your agent before you bid a project to ensure you can comply.

Additionally there are many other types of coverage that a business owner should be aware of such as insurance for Equipment, Employee Dishonesty and Crime, Property Insurance for your building and its contents, Design Professional Liability, Builder’s Risk and Employment Practices Liability Insurance to name as few.

You should consult with an insurance agent to determine what coverage and limits will suit your needs best. Coverage is provided on an annual basis, so you will need to renew coverage each year. It’s a good idea to get at least three separate quotes and compare.

For more information on licensing, bonding and insurance for your general contractor or small construction business, contact the American Subcontractors Association

For information on Performance and Payment bonds click here.

Automatic Pest Control System – Is There Such a Thing?

We all know what ‘automatic’ means – the ability to operate independently. An automatic car wash or a sprinkler (irrigation) system both come to mind as examples.

‘Pest Control’ is defined as the act of controlling pests. Typically, pest control is a service provided by pesticide professionals who come to your property and spray chemicals.

So what could be an Automatic Pest Control System? That would be a system that runs independently to accomplish controlling pests. Huh? Is there such a thing?

Yes! In fact, there are several automatic pest control systems. The chronology and some input on how effective they are is described below:

The first automatic pest control systems were the mosquito propane tanks that emitted carbon dioxide. These machines were to be placed on a property away from where people were located. Supposedly, the carbon dioxide would lure the mosquitoes away from the people. But since there was no offering of a blood meal from the false carbon dioxide, the mosquitoes would still find the people and bite away.

The next generation of automatic are the mosquito misting systems. These are comprised of a series of tubes and small mister heads that are mounted in and around properties to control mosquitoes. There is a large, 55 gallon barrel that holds the chemicals. Periodically, the tubes are pressurized with the chemical that is released into the air to kill mosquitoes. These systems use synthetic pesticides that are harmful to bees (and small pets). If the wind is blowing or if the delicate mister heads get damaged, the chemicals go elsewhere in the environment. It is also cost prohibitive to cover an entire property.

So far, we’re only talking about mosquitoes but there are many other pests. What about ants? Don’t you want to control roaches, termites, and turf pests as well as mosquitoes?

The Automatic Pest Control System has now grown up. We’re talking about a revolutionary process that uses an irrigation system to deliver food-grade, non-chemical, cedar to control pests. Cedar – just like cedar chests and cedar closets where you never see a bug. That is because cedar controls pests!

With this system, mosquitoes are targeted. But so are fleas, ants, roaches, ticks, chiggers, garden pests like aphids, white fly and mole crickets plus many more. This set-it-and-forget-it automatic pest control system requires only a refill of the reservoir maybe once every two months.

Controls mosquitoes plus a gazillion other pests? Now that is an Automatic Pest Control System!

For information on termite control Middletown click here.

Types of Bedbug Exterminators – Methods of Killing Bedbugs

A bedbug infestation is something that a homeowner should address right away when it becomes apparent. These parasitic pests feed on the blood of people as well as other warm-blooded creatures. Some people mistakenly believe that bedbugs are hard to spot because they are virtually invisible to the naked eye. This is simply untrue as adults can be as long as 5 mm and 2 mm wide. The newly hatched young, or nymphs, are translucent and difficult to spot. These creatures are often mistaken for carpet beetles or other small bugs and may go unnoticed for a while.

Bedbugs are not completely nocturnal creatures, but they feed generally at night on humans since that is the most opportune feeding time. The beginning stages of the bedbug infestation can be hard to identify since the red, swollen, itchy spots that appear on a person’s body in the morning may be mistaken for mosquito bites or spider bites. While the bites from these bugs can be painful, they are not generally serious. Of course, spending the night with bloodsucking bugs is by no means a pleasant experience. Exterminating bedbugs can be done in a number of different ways.

Bedbug exterminators may use chemicals as a way of getting rid of these nasty little bugs. If chemicals are going to be used, the homeowner should take care to ensure that children and pets are kept out of the treated area for the proper length of time. Any furniture or materials that are removed from the room where the treatment is taking place should be carefully sealed to ensure that there are no bedbugs hitching a free ride into another room. An experienced exterminator will also recommend that an individual wash and dry their clothes and linens at a very high temperature for a minimum of 10 minutes.

An exterminator may also use of vacuum as a means of removing eggs and larva. These bugs are not very tolerant of extreme temperatures so a pest-control expert may also recommend that furniture be left outside, if possible, for a few days to help kill off any remaining insects. Some exterminators have taken advantage of the fact that these bugs cannot tolerate drastic temperatures and have begun to utilize heaters which raise the temperature in a room to beyond what is survivable for the bugs. The exact treatment option may depend on the exterminator’s expertise and each individual homeowner’s situation.

For bed bug treatment in Phoenix click here.

Portable Hot Tubs and Spas – Easy Way to Relax

Relaxation and hydrotherapy are two of the main reasons why people choose to buy portable spas and hot tubs. With warm, soothing water and massaging jets, spas and hot tubs provide an easy way to unwind and to find some relief from the tension and stresses of everyday life. Of course, many purchasers also enjoy the unique social environment that hot tubs create. Whether you want to gather with friends and family or add some extra romance to your relationship with your significant other, spas and hot tubs can provide you with exactly what you need. Best of all, there are many different brands, models and features available on the portable hot tub market so you can select a hot tub or spa that meets all your needs and preferences for the ultimate at-home relaxation.

While just about all portable spas and hot tubs are great for relaxation, it’s important that you purchase a model with the specific features and characteristics that will enhance and maximize your enjoyment of your hot tub. For example, if you want to use your portable hot tub as a remedy for arthritic pain, back pain or stiff muscles and joints, the placement of the hydrotherapy jets is an important consideration. You need to make sure that the hydrotherapy jets of your particular model are appropriately placed such that they will target and massage the particular part or parts of your body that you wish to soothe and relief of pain. Adjustable jets are also a good feature to look for, as they will allow for a more customized experience.

Other important considerations to keep in mind when looking at a selection of portable spas are size and seating arrangement. You need to think about how many people will be using your spa and for what purpose. If you have a large family or plan to use your hot tub as a focal point of parties, you will probably want to choose from a selection of portable hot tub that will seat several adults. In other circumstances, a more moderately sized spa may well be suitable for your home and lifestyle.

Luckily, portable spas are available in many different sizes and with many different seating configurations. From models designed to seat three adults to those with a capacity of up to six adults, there are many options to choose from. Naturally, in addition to size, it’s also important to take note of the level of comfort provided by the spa’s seats. If the seats are not comfortable, your relaxation and enjoyment could be significantly diminished. On the other hand, many portable hot tubs feature contoured seating which is specifically designed to offer maximized comfort which, in turn, maximizes the level of enjoyment you get out of every single one of your hot tub experiences.

In addition to hydrotherapy jets and seating, there are many other features and accessories which can further enhance your entire hot tub environment. For example, top-of-the-line digital controls and in-spa lighting are common amenities that can be found in many portable spas and hot tubs, especially those offered by highly respected manufacturers. Some portable hot tubs also feature waterfalls, which can add points of interest as well as soothing sounds. It’s also possible to add additional amenities and features to your spa environment with spa and hot tub accessories. These can include everything from towel racks and drink holders to pillows and cushions, all of which can make portable spas even more relaxing and enjoyable.

Once you choose the perfect spa or hot tub for your home, there are still a few things you need to keep in mind with regards to installation and safety. While most spas are quite quiet, you may not want to place yours too close to a bedroom, depending upon the preferences of you and your family. Also, it’s often a good idea to place your hot tub in an area where it will be relatively protected from wind, falling leaves and strong, direct sunlight. In terms of safety, it’s vital to ensure that the installation is performed by licensed professionals and that your portable spa or hot tub meets all safety standards. If children live at your home or are likely to visit, a sturdy spa cover with safety locks is a must.

Once you have decided what features and amenities you are looking for, it will be time to find the perfect model at the perfect price. Fortunately, high quality portable spas and portable hot tubs can be found for great value if you know where to look. For example, direct online retailers such as Intheswim.com offer a wide range of excellent models and brands to choose from at very affordable prices. These retailers also offer a great selection of hot tub and spa accessories. Once you have everything you need and installation is complete, you will be ready to begin enjoying hours of fun and relaxation in your very own portable home spa or hot tub.

For information on hot tubs in Columbia SC click here

Sprinkler Repair – Fixing A Faulty Valve

As sprinkler repair experts, a common problem we see very quickly in dry climates is a faulty valve. This article describes how best to diagnose and repair a faulty valve by replacing a failed solenoid. Although electrical components are relatively reliable, a common point of failure is the solenoid. The reason for this is that a solenoid is both an electrical and mechanical device. A fixed wire coil surrounds a mechanical piston, and when an electrical current is applied to the coil, a temporary magnetic field is created which induces motion in the piston. This motion of the piston is used to mechanically open and close the water valve.

Here is a tip on how to diagnose a faulty solenoid. In dry climates, like the Dallas Metroplex, or during periods of little rain, one section or zone of a sprinkler system will look different to the other zones. Either the sprinklers in that zone will not switch on, or they will be on continuously. Solenoid failure has the symptom of a valve becoming inoperative, either remaining in the closed position, or remaining in the open position. Normally this will disable an entire sprinkler zone, so is usually easy to diagnose. This is a common sprinkler repair.

Replacement solenoids are available for most valves, and it is a relatively straightforward job to replace one. Here is a tip before starting the job: make sure you have identified the exact make and model of the valve, as there are many variations of solenoids which are incompatible. Check with your sprinkler repair company or hardware store that an exact replacement is available before starting work. The only tools required are a pair of wire cutters and a pair of pliers.

Important advice: ensure that the main water supply to the sprinkler system is turned off, as removing the solenoid means the valve will be fully open at that time, and water will shoot up through the solenoid body if not turned off. Tip: often the shutoff is either located near the main home supply, or next to the main valve box, so look in those two locations first. Once the water is turned off, assuming the faulty valve has been identified, the repair can begin. With a pair of wire cutters, cut the 2 wires going to the solenoid. It may be tempting to just disconnect the existing screw connectors which are near the valve, but these are often corroded and it is better to make a clean-cut.

Once the solenoid is free from the existing wires, it can be removed by turning it counter-clockwise, and the new solenoid installed by turning it clockwise. Ensure it is tight enough for a water-tight seal. Once installed, strip about half an inch of insulation back from each of the supply wires and use a fresh screw nut to connect the solenoid. There are two wires to be connected, the supply wire and the common wire. The common wire is typically white to make it easier to identify.

Here is some very important information which will prevent problems happening some time later (following this advice will cost a couple of dollars more today, but can save difficult problems later on): Once the connections are tight make sure to always use a special water-tight cap over the connections. Sprinkler grease caps are available from local sprinkler supply stores. These caps are plastic tubes filled with grease; the connectors are pushed into the grease, and the folding top snapped down. This ensures the connectors are surrounded by grease, which prevents water entry and corrosion. This simple and inexpensive step will help prevent intermittent problems due to corrosion occurring later. Once the grease caps are closed, the solenoid sprinkler repair is complete.

In a dry climate, ensure that any grass that was damaged by an inoperative solenoid valve receives enough watering to recover, before returning the watering schedule to its normal setting. In wetter climates, it may be possible to just resume normal watering.

How to Find a Reasonably Priced Bankruptcy Attorney?

If you are facing bankruptcy you are probably experiencing severe financial problems. The last thing you want is to incur more expenses. You may be thinking that you would not even need a bankruptcy attorney if you could afford to have one in the first place. However, one of the expenses you should never cut back on is a good bankruptcy attorney. The field of bankruptcy is a complicated one with many minefields. You cannot go without the expertise or skill of a good bankruptcy attorney during this process. There are far too many opportunities to get something wrong and destroy your entire case. You will be much better off if you hire a bankruptcy attorney. What is complicated for the every day man and woman on the street is a daily activity for bankruptcy attorneys.

How Much Does a Bankruptcy Attorney Cost?
There is no fixed fee for a bankruptcy attorney so it is impossible to predict exactly how much you will have to pay your attorney. There are many things that determine the fees (continue reading to learn more about them). But, it is possible to make a general estimation of how much you should expect to pay. Note that the fee that you pay is for his or her service and assistance. It is not the total mount that you will have to pay for the entire process. For example, when you file for bankruptcy you will have to pay a filing fee. For now, you can pay something from $800.00 to $2,000.00 in case your case is a normal one.

What Determines Bankruptcy Attorney Fees?

– Location:
The area in which you find a bankruptcy attorney will greatly determine the fees that you have to pay for his or her services. For example, if you hire an attorney in the Upper East Side of Manhattan you will have to pay more attorney fees than someone who hires an attorney in Brooklyn which is a cheaper area of New York City. If you live in an expensive area you can save on the fees by hiring an attorney from a different location. Just make sure that the attorney you hire has experience in the court in which you are filing as procedures sometimes differ from court to court.

– If you want to save money on bankruptcy attorney fees you should talk directly to the attorney that you are interested in hiring. Firstly, only the attorney will be able to tell you exactly how much you will have to pay for their services. Also, many attorneys are willing to negotiate their fees. If you are in a very bad situation you can use this to show the attorney your financial limitations and have them bring down their fees for you. Note that if your case is a very complex one it will be harder to renegotiate attorney fees as your case will not be run of the mill and will require more time and expertise on the part of the attorney. They too have financial responsibilities.

– If you really do not want to pay a large amount of bankruptcy attorney fees you should consider hiring an attorney who has just completed his training. Their fees will be significantly lower than an attorney who has had many years of expertise handling different kinds of bankruptcies. However, only hire an inexperienced attorney if your case is fairly standard and will not be a challenge for them. If your case is a complex one, you cannot take the risk of hiring someone inexperienced who could mess things up for you.

For information on Legal Giant click here.

How to Choose a Reputable Locksmith Company

Do Your Due Diligence

Have you ever been locked out of your car or home? Either you can’t find your car keys or you locked yourself out of your home. First thoughts are typically to turn to family and friends for help or a set of spare keys, but this may not work out. Next steps are to contact a locksmith in your area. However, before sealing the deal with the locksmith business, you need to consider the reliability and honesty of the company. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, has uncovered that some locksmith companies may advertise in your local telephone book, but may not be local at all. Worst, these ‘technicians’ may not have qualified professional training at all and can cause further damage to your property.

Check Locksmith Locality

This has been noted and reported by the FTC in the past: A company not located in your area has a name for its business that is similar to the name of other local locksmiths in the area. This company advertises in the yellow pages and online directories using a local address and phone number. However, in actuality, there is no store front and the local number is transferred to a place far from your local town. Then, you may not be given a quote for the locksmith service or given a false quote. When the locksmith arrives, he may want more money and you feel pressured and stuck. If the locksmith only accepts cash, that is also a sign that the business is not an authentic local locksmith.

Sometimes you can detect these falsely “local locksmiths” as they may have multiple listings – sometimes over 30 listings in a single phone number. All these listings are under different names, but the phone numbers are all directed to a single central call center. There, operators, who may not be trained individuals, are sent to your location.

How to Best Choose a Locksmith Company

There are reliable and honest local locksmith companies out there. The best piece of advice is to do your research and due diligence before you find yourself locked out or in an emergency locksmith situation. Perhaps you are thinking about increasing your home security by installing deadbolt locks, changing locks and door keys, or even installing a home alarm system. This is an excellent time to sit down in front of the computer and research different companies. Be sure to read reviews, check that they have a local address and phone number, and compare quotes over the phone. Additionally, reach out to co-workers, family members, and friends for any personal recommendations they may have.

Once you’ve found a reputable locksmith, keep the company’s contact information in a safe place such as your wallet, phone, or address book. This can save you time, anxiety, and money in the future.

Tips for Emergency Locksmith Situations

Of course, if you are dealing with an emergency locksmith situation such as being locked out of your car, home, or office, you don’t have the same luxury of sitting in front of the computer and thoroughly checking the legitimacy of the locksmith companies. Here are some tips for such scenarios:

  • If you’re locked out of your car and have a roadside assistance service call them before a locksmith. Many times, these lock out services are included in the membership or even though the car dealership or insurance company depending on when you bought the car.
  • If a company answers the phone with a generic phrase like “locksmith services,” rather than a company-specific name, be on your guard. Ask for the legal name of the business. If the customer representative does not give an answer, call another locksmith.
  • Get an estimate for all work and replacement parts from the locksmith before work begins.
    • Ask about additional fees before you agree to have the technician come to your location. Companies may charge extra for responding to a call in the middle of the night or for driving long distance. Ask if there is a charge for mileage, or a minimum fee for a service call.
    • Never sign a blank form authorizing work.
    • If the price decided on over the phone does not correspond to the price of the work when the technician arrives, do not allow any work to be done.
  • Ask if the locksmith is insured. If your property is damaged during the work, it’s important for the locksmith to have insurance to cover your losses.

For information on a locksmith in Delray Beach FL click here.

A History of the T-shirt

Know the history of the tee? How did the t-shirt get its start in the beginning of the twentieth century? How did the t-shirt become an American favorite? We’re now into the twenty-first century, and the t-shirt remains as popular as ever.

T-shirts of yesteryear were nothing like the t-shirts you know today. It was common knowledge that the first t-shirts, as you will learn, were clearly considered something to be worn underneath clothing. Certainly, the t-shirts of old were not part of a stand-alone industry, nor were they a mode of advertising.

Believe it or not, before the 20th century, there was no consensus that underwear should be included as an essential part of one’s wardrobe. Most late 19th century folks wore something like an extended shirt called the “Spiral Bustle.” Then in 1901 the predecessor to Hanes introduced for sale through catalog men’s underwear, a two-piece set.

The birth of the t-shirt appears to be accredited to the navy (and lots of sailors). No one seems to know for certain when the first t-shirt was made. As early as 1913 the U.S. Navy adopted a revolutionary new garment, a short-sleeved, crew-necked, white cotton undershirt. This garment was to be worn underneath a jumper. And what was the purpose of this undershirt? One must avoid scandalous sights, otherwise known as sailors’ chest hairs. The standard issue shirt had somewhat of the silhouette of a “T”, thus the name “t-shirt” was born.

It is also notable that during WWI while European soldiers were wearing cooler, comfy, lightweight, cotton undershirts in the humid, hot summer days, that American troops took notice. These duds were nothing like the American wool uniforms soldiers wore.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary listed “T-Shirt” as an official word in the American English language by the 1920’s. Around the late 1930’s that companies including Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Sears & Roebuck began the marketing of the t-shirt.

As of W.W. II, the Army and 12 million Navy sailors had t-seasy rider,hirts as standard issue underwear. “Skivvies”, these new, inexpensive undergarments became known as. America saw, began to get comfortable with, and reveled secretly, daily news images of their wartime sons, wearing t-shirts (dressed barely, but with pants of course). Underwear was being worn as outerwear. Rules were flaunted about undergarments. Taboos were violated with this show of male sexuality.

Still, by and large, the t-shirt was an undergarment meant not to be seen. In 1934, however, Clark Gable shocked everyone, as he stripped off his dress shirt in the movie “It Happened One Night,” to reveal no t-shirt at all. Women swooned, and men as well. Still, the t-shirt kept itself under wraps, to be worn primarily underneath a work or proper dress shirt.

The idea continued to quickly catch on, and due to simple design, a few years later, with the leave of many sailors during the war, the popular civilian “union suit” was reduced to a “singlet” or “jersey.” In 1938, Sears introduced a t-shirt they called a “gob” shirt (named after sailors). A “gob” shirt cost 24 cents. The t-Shirt would become an empty canvas, which was allowing men to present themselves in an erotic sense and show their gender.

The t-shirt was becoming appropriate to wear as an undergarment or as an outer one. The Marines standard issue white t-shirt was replaced with sage green for camouflage purposes. In 1944, the Army surveyed enlisted men as to preference of sleeves or sleeveless. Most preferred sleeves, due to better appearance, absorption under arms, among other reasons.

The t-shirt would never be the same. Along with worldwide upheaval, WWII brought along as well the first printed t-shirts. On display at The Smithsonian Institute is the oldest printed shirt on record. This t-shirt is from Governor of New York Thomas E. Dewey’s 1948 presidential campaign and sports “Dew-It with Dewey”.

After the end of WWII, the t-shirt became the garment able to clearly display and advertise it all: cultural affiliation, class, and sexual orientation. 180 million t-shirts were sold in 1951. The rise of the t-Shirt can be traced back to the movies, and of course those big-screen movie stars: Marlon Brando, John Wayne, James Dean, and a young Elvis Presley who did their part to make the t-shirt, outerwear appropriate, or sexy to say the least.

1951’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” featured Marlon Brando’s portrayal of Stanley Kowalski, lovelorn, brutish, and primitive, riveting viewers as his buff pectorals and abs revealed themselves as unveiled by a stretched, paper-thin t-shirt. Some felt the picture created was one of a dangerous, incoherent kind of manhood, a sexualized brutality.

1955’s “Rebel Without a Cause” showed James Dean wearing a t-shirt without another shirt overtop. He made the t-shirt cool, a contemporary symbol of rebellious youth. Still, t-shirts were meant primarily for men.

In 1959, Plastisol, a stretchable ink was invented, starting a revolution in t-shirt design. After that came the iron-on transfer, and finally litho transfer. Thus was the birth of the t-shirt industry. Now marketing geniuses, like Walt Disney, “flocked” letters and simple designs onto t-shirts to be sold as souvenirs to both men and women.

Still the advertising evolution of the t-shirt would be slow. The military was first to stencil company and rank on their t-shirts. Also, Ivy League Universities made clear advertisement of fraternities on their tees. Budweiser was the first to do actual “corporate-advertising” in the late 1060’s, when they sported a Bud can on their company tees.

During the ’60s, the hippies abandoned traditional dress for tie-dye. Of course, the t-shirt became one of the cheapest and easiest garments to purchase and dye. Folks began tie-dying and screen-printing basic cotton tees, helping it to even bigger commercial success. In 1969, t-shirt wearing hippies took on the Establishment in Easy Rider. Also, advances in printing and dying allowed more variety and the introduction of muscle shirts, scoop necks, v-necks and tanks into modern fashion.

Throughout the late 60’s and 70’s, the American Tee was in full bloom. Rock and Roll bands began to realize that they could make significant amounts of money selling their t-shirts. Professional Sports caught on and soon the officially licensed t-shirt became hot merchandise. 1977’s “The Deep”, helped to form the sexual revolution of the 1970’s by means of Jacqueline Bisset’s wet tee.

What about the t-shirt in the ’80’s and ’90’s? Remember Don Johnson’s designer-tee and Armani suit combo ala Miami Vice? And what about the most memorable recent tee-film from 1996 “Mission: Impossible”, just a bit of Tom Cruise, clad in tee, doing some serious hanging from a wire. The 80’s and 90’s both saw amazing production of t-shirts with improved mechanics of printing them in increased volume for increased availability. The American t-shirt has now become known as a commodity item. More than one billion t-shirts were sold in 1995.

And now, with the advent of the internet, the t-shirt continues to become even bigger. Tee art symbolizes the cultural and social climates of our generation. Tees tell the story perfectly, and now more than ever, the t-shirt is becoming an even more individualistic mode of personal expression.

For information on t-shirts click here.

Online Games – Entertainment at Its Best

Man cannot live without entertainment. It’s a way of amusing himself in his leisure time. Entertainment can be passive such as watching a movie or opera, or active such as recreation or sports. Games are an active form of entertainment that provides relaxation and diversion. With the development of computer technologies and internet, online games have become the most popular way of entertainment among people including kids.

Online games are played using computer network. They are mostly free and enable the players to enjoy their time without any cost. These stuff range from simple text based games to those that include graphics. There are single player and multi-player online games. Single player online games are played by a single person for his own entertainment whereas a multi-player application is played by a lot of people creating an online community. This serves as a platform for social interaction.

Online games are sorted according to classifications based on their platform, publisher, date, character of franchise, feature, region, genre, technology, license, reception and so on. The most popular types of online games come under the classification based on genre. They are:

  • Action games which include fighting, shooting and platform games that emphasizes on physical challenges such as good hand-eye co-ordination and high reaction speed. There are action-adventure games in which elements of action are included in adventure games. They are more popular than pure action games as it includes both reflex as well as problem-solving.
  • Casual games which include puzzle, hidden object, word & trivia, card & board game and so on. This can be played online either in a personal computer or in a mobile phone using a one-button mouse or cellphone keypad. These are extremely simple and do not require any special skills. Final stage is reached quickly and so people can play such games during their work break.
  • Role-playing games which include online text-based role-playing games and massively multi-player online role-playing games. In online text-based role-playing games, there are many players who require some type of text based interface and an internet connection.
  • Simulation games which include business, city building, space flight simulator, war games and so on. Various activities in real life are replicated in this type of game. There is no special goal in this game; it involves just running around playing as the character.
  • Sports games which include playing online a variety of sports such as cricket, soccer, volley ball, formula one race, and so on. The player needs to understand the real sport in order to play online sports game. The games allow testing of precision and accuracy of the player. Online sports games are popular and competitive like real world sports. The names and characteristics of real teams and players are featured in most of the online sports games that makes it interesting and demanding like the real world sports.
  • Strategy games mainly include board puzzles that require the skill of thinking, planning and making decision to win the puzzle. This type of things takes time to play and complete. There are some action, puzzle and simulation games that require strategic thinking but they are different from strategy games. Strategy games do not involve physical challenge, but it involves conflict between the players to out-think their opponent.
  • Arcade games are played in coin-operated machines placed in public places where people are likely to have free time. Now it can be played online competing with other people to gain a high score. This game is more unrealistic and mainly focuses on experience in playing the game quick.

Most of them are free and it needs only access of internet. It can be played by people of all ages. There are online games for kids as well. This enable in their learning procedure and in their developmental skills.

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Siding Installation: Price Vs Value


There are many things to consider when looking for a professional to transform your home. Depending on the project, some things are more important than others. But in every case, the single most important thing you’ll need to consider is whether you’ll choose the best price or the best value – they are rarely the same thing. Case in point is a homeowner that contacted me for a quote to install siding and replace the roof on their house.

I first met with this customer in September and offered our services as a roofer and siding installer. Hearing nothing back, I followed up in December to see if they had made a decision or if I could answer any more questions. At this time they said we did a great job of presenting ourselves, but they went with somebody else due to price. Although I was disappointed, I understand that this happens.

Rather than chalk it up as a loss, I decided to take the opportunity to learn more about the competition. After learning who the homeowner hired to install their siding, I took a close look at the quality of work, cleanliness, and project management. The first thing I noticed was that the siding had been installed before the roof. I always prefer to do the roof first to avoid the risk of damaging brand new siding while tearing off the old roof. Doing the roof first also allows me to cut back the old siding and make sure all the flashing gets installed perfectly – which can’t be done if the siding goes on first. It’s possible that the weather played a role in the other contractor’s decision, but I’d still prefer to wait until the weather cooperates and do what’s the best for the customer.

The siding the customer requested was popular brand of fiber-cement siding with very detailed installation instructions that have changed over time. This is why when we install this product, we print out the installation instructions the day we begin the job to make sure there have been no changes and our customers receive the warranty protection they deserve.

Like most building products, this cement siding’s warranty specifically states that improper installation can void the warranty. Unfortunately, I found two such problems in the installation that could have been easily avoided. The most glaring is that the siding was installed right up to the roofline rather than providing the “two-inch minimum clearance between the roofing and the bottom edge of the siding” that is clearly called for in the installation instructions. The second thing I noticed was that the siding was sitting out completely exposed to the elements throughout the project. “Store flat and keep dry and covered prior to installation” – again this quote is from the installation instructions.

One more thing I noticed was a tremendous amount of “face nails,” or nails where you can see them, in the siding. Although not specifically wrong, “blind nailing,” or nailing under the overlap of the previous pieces, is the preferred method of installation for lap siding products.”

I guess I don’t understand why, in a situation where it is not necessary, would they face nail that much? Yes, there are instances where it is necessary, but I can assure you this was not one of them. Lastly, I noticed that the siding was installed with a variety of “reveals,” which is to say that the exposed portion of each piece of siding varied slightly. The obvious result of this is that the siding will look crooked, and this siding did.

So, did this customer get a better value? No. They paid a lower price upfront and received a service commensurate with the price they paid. Is saving a little money worth voiding the warranty protection of the product? Or having crooked siding? I just really hope that nothing goes wrong for this homeowner because they may not have warranty protection when they need it.

Brian Buresh founded Buresh Home Solutions in 2003 and has been providing home improvement services to homeowners in Central since its inception. BHS is a full-service home improvement company, offering kitchen and bathroom remodeling, basement finishing, siding installation, roofing, interior, and exterior painting, handyman services, and much more. BHS service territory includes areas within a 60-mile radius of Des Moines and over 70% of all of BHS business comes from referrals from past customers. Continue reading

Aromatherapy Diffusers – Top Tips

In learning to use the best aromatherapy diffusers in Australia it is important to first understand the theory behind diffusion. This is the process of dispersing essential oils so that the aroma will fill an area with fragrance. There are many different techniques that can be utilized for this purpose. While simple methods do exist for diffusing essential oils in a room without using a special tool, there are also many different aromatherapy diffuser devices that can be used for more elaborate diffusion.

One of the easiest aromatherapy diffusers to utilize is simple facial tissue. By placing a few drops of essential oil of your choice on a tissue and then placing it in the room, you can quickly and easily create a wonderful fragrance in your environment. It should be noted that while this method is very easy to use and be used practically anywhere, this method will only emit a slight amount of fragrance. If you want something more noticeable, it will be necessary to utilize a more elaborate aromatherapy diffuser.

A steam aromatherapy diffuser can also be utilized to place a couple of cups of boiled water and adding several drops of the essential oil of your choice into the water. This method can be used for a variety of purposes, such as freshening a room or treating a cold. There are some disadvantages to this method; however. For example, while the aroma is diffused quickly, it does not last particularly long.

Candles also prove to be wonderful aromatherapy diffusers. For this technique, any candle will work. Simply light it and allow it to burn for a few minutes and then extinguish it. Place a single drop of essential oil on the melted wax and light the candle once again. The only problem with this method is that you must be extremely careful because essential oils are flammable. You must make sure the oil is placed on the wax and not the wick of the candle.

There are also numerous aromatherapy diffuser products currently on the market that are quite safe and provide long-lasting fragrance. One of the best aromatherapy diffuser products currently on the market is lamp rings. These rings can be placed directly on a light bulb to hold essential oil. The heat from the light bulb will heat the oil and diffuse the scent into the room.

Candle aromatherapy diffusers are another inexpensive diffusion option that can offer a nice scent in practically any location. Due to the fact that they do utilize candles; however, caution should be exercised.

A nebulizer is also a good choice if you are looking for an aromatherapy diffuser that will provide a lot of therapeutic benefits in a small space.

How You Can Benefit From Traffic Lawyers


The law is a complex and varied topic and there are many different areas of the law – some of which are related and others of which bear little relation to each other. Finding the right lawyer for your particular needs is highly important if you hope to be able to win a case in court and avoid a heavy fine or other penalties or conversely if you are trying to get compensation yourself. If you need criminal lawyers for instance then this will be for a criminal court case, whereas divorce lawyers can help you in a divorce settlement of course.

It’s very important that you choose the right type of lawyer for the particular areas of the law you are dealing with because this will ensure that they have the most relevant knowledge and experience to help you win your case rather than a more broad knowledge that is less relevant and in-depth.

Traffic lawyers then will help you in cases where you are in dispute over an accident or a ticket. If for instance, you find yourself on the receiving end of a traffic ticket or speeding ticket that you don’t believe was your fault, then you might opt to use traffic lawyers in order to argue your case and avoid getting the points on your license and the nasty fine. Meanwhile, you might choose to find a traffic lawyer in the instance that you have had a car crash and don’t believe it’s your fault.

Traffic lawyers can help in either of these situations in a variety of ways. For instance, in the case of a speeding ticket, there are many loopholes that might help you to get around the matter. For instance, if the speed sign or even the road sign were to be blurred or in anyway illegible then that could help you to fight a ticket (as you could really argue that you were unaware of the limit). Traffic lawyers play an important role here because there are many cases where people end up paying for tickets that they didn’t deserve – and if you end up losing your license as a result then this can end up very drastically altering your lifestyle for the worse.

In the case of a traffic accident then you might use a traffic lawyer to either defend yourself or to prosecute someone else in a civil litigation case. Here the roles of a traffic lawyer and criminal lawyers might overlap in cases where you are being prosecuted for criminal driving – such as a hit and run.

Here there are various bits of evidence that can work in your favor if you are innocent. For instance, a mark on the road might tell the court where you started breaking or your precise trajectory. Likewise, witnesses and CCTV might be able to indicate more details, as can the nature of the damage to the vehicles and/or property. As such it can help you greatly to act quickly when you suspect you are going to need a traffic lawyer to take the names and numbers of potential witnesses and to make a note of any details that might be relevant at a later date.

Summer Time Water Slide Fun

Summertime is a great time for kids and water slides. Kids love to play and be off school during the summer. There is nothing better for creating memories for your kids than renting an inflatable slide for their birthday party, a block party, or just for your kids to have a great time!

Phoenix water slide rentals have gained in popularity over the past few years. They are a great alternative to regular bounce houses during the hot summer months of the year and are a great option for a fun and healthy children’s activity. They are a great thing to have when your kids want to cool down and have a good time with their friends.

You can set up an inflatable slide almost anywhere. Most of them fit in normal-sized backyards, but some are very massive and may only fit in the largest of backyards or at a park. Some parks, however, do not allow these big slides due to the park’s possible liability.

When you are renting an inflatable water slide it will be very important that you rent from a company that cleans and sanitizes their slides after every weekend use. This is important because these slides can be messy depending on where they are set up. Kids running around in the grass with a lot of water around means sometimes there will be mud. If the inflatable rental company you buy from does not clean their units, you will get a muddy slide!

Inflatable slides are a great way to cool down the upcoming summer! Make sure your kids have one of their own for their party!

Summer Time Water Slide Fun

Summertime is a great time for kids and water slides. Kids love to play and be off school during the summer. There is nothing better for creating memories for your kids than renting an inflatable slide for their birthday party, a block party, or just for your kids to have a great time!

Phoenix water slide rentals have gained in popularity over the past few years. They are a great alternative to regular bounce houses during the hot summer months of the year and are a great option for a fun and healthy children’s activity. They are a great thing to have when your kids want to cool down and have a good time with their friends.

You can set up an inflatable slide almost anywhere. Most of them fit in normal-sized backyards, but some are very massive and may only fit in the largest of backyards or at a park. Some parks, however, do not allow these big slides due to the park’s possible liability.

When you are renting an inflatable water slide it will be very important that you rent from a company that cleans and sanitizes their slides after every weekend use. This is important because these slides can be messy depending on where they are set up. Kids running around in the grass with a lot of water around means sometimes there will be mud. If the inflatable rental company you buy from does not clean their units, you will get a muddy slide!

Inflatable slides are a great way to cool down the upcoming summer! Make sure your kids have one of their own for their party!

Can You Really Make Money With Damsel In Defense?

What Is It?
Damsel in Defense is an MLM that focuses on selling self-defense products for women, including products for women to carry and those for the home.

Short Review
The product line of Damsel in Defense isn’t what you typically find at an MLM, but that’s where the uniqueness of the company ends. I do actually like the (idea of the) products! Essentially, the company is yet another MLM that is targeted at women and focuses on the idea of empowering. In this case, the products themselves are promoted as ways to empower women as is the opportunity. Realistically though, the chances of making money from this company are the same as most other MLMs, slim, at best.

Product Breakdown
So, the product line at Damsel in Defense is a little bit unusual. As the name suggests, the company sells self-defense items that are targeted at women.

It supports charitable causes
In line with their mission-driven marketing, Damsel in Defense supports many women’s charities and does good work for women’s causes.

Damsel in Defense Complaints
Now that we have covered what we like, it’s time to have a look at some of the complaints and see if these are deal-breakers or not.

Lots of Recruiting
To earn more, chances are you will need to recruit a lot of people in your downline in order to earn a percentage of the sales they make. This means hosting in-home parties and trying to recruit people to grow your network.

So, Join Damsel In Defense.

Stamped Concrete – Should It Be Considered for Your Home Improvement Project?

Why would you possibly want to use stamped concrete?

Are you in the market for a new concrete driveway, walkway, path, patio or pool deck? Why would you consider using stamped concrete? Do you know what stamped concrete is?

Stamped concrete is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Concrete is poured into a mold containing metal rebar or fiber frame. Once it begins to harden, the concrete is stamped with fiber molds lined up side by side or rolled on with a roller. Sounds simple enough? Well, it is. Even though the process is pretty simple, the results are actually pretty impressive. Due to the wide variety of stamp patterns, you can pretty much create any design that you can imagine. You can create the look and feel of an English walkway or a cobblestone path. Stamped concrete is flexible enough to accommodate any design scheme or landscaping look.

Some of the most popular stamps are:

Ashlar Stone

English Cobblestone

Canyon Stone

Vermont Slate

Fractured Slate

Cobblestone Running Bond

New Brick Herringbone

Another benefit of using concrete for your project is the wide variety of colors available to you. You can make use of these color options in your concrete project in a variety of ways. You can use concrete stains, color hardeners, integral color, or concrete dyes. Ask your concrete contractor which type of coloring method to use for your project. The methods used will depend on the type of project and whether it is indoors or outdoors. Some methods are not weather or UV resistant. The method of coloring and color tone that you choose will make a dramatic impact on the look and feel of your project. Do you want a soft, neutral look or a very bright and vibrant feel? Stains, for example, will give a more natural look, whereas dyes will generally give you a brighter tone. Be sure to discuss the availability of color choices and methods with your concrete contractor to ensure they have exactly what you are looking for.

Does it sound like stamped and stained concrete can give you what you are looking for? Sure it can, you say, but what about the cost?

Like most things, the cost of your concrete project will depend on several factors:

The cost of installation (labor and materials) in your area.

The complexity of your project.

The amount and type of coloring used.

A simple project with one type of pattern and color will run around $8 per square foot. If you add multiple colors and a border your cost will increase to around $12 to $15 per square foot. If you want to go all out with a variety of patterns, borders, and colors, your price will rise to around $20 per square foot.

While your initial cost of stamped and stained concrete will be higher than asphalt or plain cement, it is considerably cheaper than using natural stone and brick. Stamped concrete is also more durable and requires less maintenance (like yearly sealants) than asphalt and cement. Low required maintenance makes stamped concrete cheaper over the life of the project. Plus you must consider the benefit of a boost in home value due to the considerable increase in “curb appeal” that stamped concrete provides.