Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Managing a Vacation Property from a distance

Well, you have a vacation house on the beach, or at the mountains or maybe in the middle of the city! The point is that even though you took the plunge to purchase it (or maybe you had an unexpected inheritance), you are not quite ready or willing to move in permanently. Still, there are costs for the upkeep and a great way to afford them is to actually rent it as a vacation home.
Now, if the property is so far away from you that it won’t allow you to go there on a weekly or even semi-weekly basis, there are some things you should consider.

In order for you to actually rent the place, people need to hear about it! You can advertise it on many websites and even your own social media, word to mouth has always been a great way of connecting. You efforts will depend on how much you want/need to rent the place. Maybe you need to make just enough to cover expenses, maybe you want it as a second yet regular income. If it’s a once-in-a-while type of thing, word to mouth will do. If it’s more of a steady thing, you need to further advertise.

You need someone to keep the place spotless between guests. You might even offer a service of cleaning during the stay, but that’s not usually the case. When people rent vacation homes, it’s just that, another home, so guests do their own cleaning.
A cleaning person or crew can be helpful to keep an eye on the house. They can be the ones to tell you how the place was when the guest left and if everything was in order.

Check in-out
Even if you’re not within driving distance, you can manage the reservations, the rules and the check in and out through e-mail or phone. If your property is within a condominium, there’s probably an office where the key exchange can be made.
A lockbox can be used and the guests get the combination before arrival. When they leave the place, they leave the key as well. The cleaning person or crew can also be in charge checking this.

Even though e-mail is good for the previous steps, once the guests have arrived, there needs to be a contingency plan. Vital things can break (heating, gas, power) and need to be fixed right away. Make sure to keep a list of available and reliable professionals that the guests can contact in case of an emergency. The better the relationship you keep with these professionals, the faster they will respond.

And if all of this seems like too much trouble to handle yourself, you can always hire a managing company. Generally you can find them locally where the house is. Yes, it will come to a relatively high rate (up to 30% of the rental price) but you will get peace of mind. Having someone to take care of the property and everything that the renting entails, will guarantee that your house and your guests are both satisfied and safe.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Using Distributors for your products

If you are a manufacturer of a product in large amounts, unless you want to go yourself through the hassle of getting it out there and everything that it entails, you will most likely need a distributor.
Doing so will mean that you won’t have to worry about over stock storage, extended sales force, travelling and such.
However, there has always been a bit of a bickering between manufacturers and distributors. Here are a couple of common mistakes and thing to take into account when considering this selling channel.

What’s is it exactly?
A distributor are entities (generally not too large, a couple of branches) that buy stock to then re-sale. They will sometimes choose their market, but most of the time they will be given that instruction by the manufacturer.
They work better for products that do not require technical assistance. The usually deal with products that the customer can take home immediately. If it were, for example, machinery that needs a complex installation by a professional, then selling through a distributor may not be the right choice. The logistics of combining technical service would be far too complicated.

Spreading yourself too thin
A common mistake is to get too many distributors, that way the efforts of selling are useless. Money and time will be better used on the training of the sales force.
Reaching out to too many distributors will result in a lack of background research for each of them. Often times, the distributors are run by people that don’t pay enough attention to detail and are, for example, under stocked. This will, indirectly, damage your image since customers will look for your product where it’s expected to be and by not finding it they will blame you, not the store.

Providing a helping hand
Distributors sometimes lack a powerful sales force. A good way to manage this is to, as manufacturers, offer extensive training on the products. If the cost of getting the people into your premises is high, you should at least develop a program for them to be trained at their own stores.
Another mistake made in marketing efforts. If the distributor needs to make extra efforts to enhance the brand through signs, brochures and advertising, then it won’t be worth their while. These marketing efforts should be done by you and not just assume that they know what to do.

Take care of your distributors
If you do decide to use this sales outlet, you have to make sure you take care of that relationship. You do need them and they will get other offers if you don’t make it worth it. Do this by treating them as a part of the company. Send holiday gifts, newsletters, have conferences.
Another way of nourishing that bond is to respect their margins. Like you, they need to make a profit out of the transaction. Just because you are the one that provides the product it doesn’t mean that you can hold them hostage. They can (and will) change manufacturers.

Make sure you check out the Distributors section of iNetGiant. You will find plenty of options to broaden your sales force. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Beginners: being a sales representative

If you’re looking to change careers or even to start one, being a sales representative is a good way to go. However, though you may have some experience if you were a boy or a girl scout selling cookies or raffle tickets, this is tough work. It can get extremely frustrating due to a high rate of rejection. At the same time, though, it can be very rewarding both professionally and financially.
A sales representative is the person that stands between someone that needs something and the company that fulfills that need, either through a product or a service.
There are some things to take into account if you’re just now beginning to explore this potential work field.

Too shy to talk?
It’s important that you know that there’s something you have to admit even before you start educating yourself in the matter and start looking for sales jobs: it won’t work if you’re shy. You have to be ready to talk to people, engage in conversations, and many times, canvas through neighborhoods knocking on every door, trying to make a sale. That’s particularly tough because the people that you approach weren’t actually looking to purchase something, they were not expecting you; it’s your job to convince them and make the sale.
So, if this is something that seems unlikely for you, you shouldn’t go any further. At the end of the day, this feature of yours is non-negotiable. Pun intended.

There’s no formal training for a sales representative, meaning you won’t find a particular college curriculum for this. There are some college degrees that might help you indirectly.
On your own, you could highlight your natural skills by taking drama, speech and communication classes. It can’t hurt, right?
However, there are industries that do require some background knowledge. A pharmaceutical representative will be expected to have a clear understanding and knowledge of science or even medicine.
You definitely need to have a deep grasp of the product or service you’re selling, otherwise it won’t work. You can’t really play it by hear. Some companies provide training for their representatives because they want them to use specific sales tactics and speeches. Others will just let you do your own thing as long as at the end of the day you provide them with accomplished sales.

A representative’s salary will vary depending on what you agree with your employer. This will also depend on either the high or low demand of the product you’re selling. If there’s a lot of competition, you will most likely not get the most stable deal. On the best case you will get a salary with bonuses when meeting a pre-established sales quota. The most common cases are a salary and commissions and the worst but very common scenario is commissions only. If you’re just starting, I wouldn’t recommend a commissions-only deal since you could go months without having any money coming in. This will depend of course on what’s your main source of income and if you rely on this money to make ends meet or not.

Make sure to check out the Representative Wanted section of iNetGiant. If you already did your homework, this is a great source of future employment. 

Buying Wholesale

If you’re thinking of opening a retail store, you have to consider everything that it entails. Retail means selling products and for each product sell you need to have a profit, and the only way to do this is to buy said product in wholesale.
It’s a matter of finding the right product at the right place and at the right time. You will need to do a little research, but here are some things to take into account.

What to buy
Starting a business requires a lot of market research as far as what people want. There are several ways of doing this, but one that not many people think of is actually going to the competitors yourself and investigate. Look at the products they sell, the brands, the prices, the top sellers and the least sold (usually on clearance or on sale).
If the store you go to is not a direct competitor (for example if it’s far away), the owners might even share with you where they get their products from.
Another way of finding out what the customers need is to attend Tradeshows. You can find out online where and when they happen near you. Know that they’re not open to the general public so they will ask you to prove your business (through tax id, permits, etc).
The customers themselves are a great source of information. If they can’t what they’re looking for, they’ll ask you for it to see if you’ll have it in the immediate future.

Where to buy it
There are several ways of acquiring wholesale products:
Straight from the factory: You need to do some research, but contacting a manufacturer is a great way of getting the best price for your product. However, they sometimes don’t sell to retailers but they will sell to distributors. If that’s the case, you can ask them for a list of distributors where you can find your product then.
Take into account that while manufacturers are a great choice, they will most of the time sell in large quantities. This may not be exactly what you want. Make sure you understand the shipping rates and estimated dates of arrival.  
Go to the distributors: While through this option you will get a smaller profit on your product than if you bought directly from the manufacturer, it’s still a great way to buy wholesale. Think of the hassle you saved by going to someone that already went through it. Their prices will be a little higher since they need to make a profit as well, but it will be easier and faster because most likely you will be able to take home with you what you need, the same day. Chances are you will buy from them much less products than what they bought from the manufacturer.
Importing from another country: if the product you need comes from a foreign country that should not stop you. Imports are not so complicated, however, you should consider the shipping rates and dates and other factors before committing.
They will come to you: Once your store is already open, product sellers may come to you. They need to sell, you need to buy, simple as that.

Make sure to check out the Wholesale category at iNetGiant, you can find many products for your retail store.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tips for a successful Open House: Part 1.

When you think of preparing for an open house you mainly think of getting the house clean, and well maintained, right? Right, but that’s not quite enough. There are plenty of things to consider when you are thinking of having an Open House.

Use every resource available
Get a good “rider”. These are the signs that you can hang on top (or the bottom) of your already set FOR SALE sign. You can get them easily, pre-made and it can go on and off your sign, once you’re ready to have the event. A week before “Open House this Sunday”.
Advertise online: there are plenty of sites both of Real Estate and Classifieds (like iNetGiant) where you can post your Open House as an event. You can post as much information as you need and it can be ongoing, not just for the day of the Open House, but for further information for potential buyers. This can be a go-to information place if you (or your realtor) need to refer a buyer to the property and it’s characteristics.

Be there but don’t be there
There are opposite opinions regarding the state of the house for when the potential buyers arrive.
Some people think that it’s good for the house to have a presence of a family or of someone actually living there, it makes it easier for them to imagine themselves in that position. That feeling can be conveyed through family portraits or anything that resembles an actual life.
Others think that by keeping those items during the Open House (and not taking down the portraits for example) you are making the buyers nervous, like you’re not ready to let go of the place and it’s harder for them to imagine themselves in that property.
Whatever you decide to do with your items is your choice. However, no matter what, you should not be in the house while the potential buyers are around. This will make them not be able to voice opinions and thoughts. It’s much better if the buyer and the seller don’t know each other that much time ahead.

Neighbors are buyers too
Though it may not be exciting to have people, that you see every day but don’t really have a relationship with, go through your closet and cabinets, it’s always good to invite the surrounding neighbors to the Open House.
People tend to pay attention to available properties around them. Even if they’re not interested for themselves, they may know someone that is, and since they already know the neighborhood, they might be the best advertising that you have, and it’s free!
You can even invite them personally. Let them know that the event is going on so they feel included in a sense of community consideration, and they can also see the place themselves.

Make sure to take a few cautionary measures, after all, it is your house that you are opening to the public.
·         As a security measure, have the potential buyers show you proper identification.
·         Don’t let the groups get too big without supervision. Maybe groups of no more than three, with someone walking with them.
·         Store valuables.

House Exchange: a family adventure

Travelling is an important decision that is not to be made lightly, not only because it entails scheduling, but because it demands large amounts of money. Travelling as a family is even harder! Add to that school schedules and double the budget!
Well, what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you could be a part of a system that allows you to save money and still have a great vacation? Participating in a House Exchange allows you to experience things in a different way, and save a lot of money and not to worry about peak season. In this article I’ll tell you why a home exchange as a family is especially appealing.

Saving money
Well, this applies to all House Exchanges, not just to those made as a family. So, the budget will feel a lot more comfortable since you don’t have to take into account accommodation. The deal is that you leave your house and go into another one, and that family will move into yours. Typically there’s no money involved. Sometimes the site that manages the exchanges will ask for a member’s fee, which some people take as a validation of that exchange being more “legit” than others. Usually, though, it’s managed through a sort of honor code and no money involved –You take care of my house and things and I’ll do the same-. A way to feel safe is to read reviews of users which are always helpful.

Living the real life and spend some quality family time
What I love about travelling is to really experience the city I’m going to spend time in. I like to see how the real people live. I remember being in Paris and thinking, this is what I’ve always dreamed of, yet there are thousands of people that woke up every day of their lives and this is their reality.
You can’t experience it, really experience it, if you’re stuck in the middle of the touristic areas. Though that’s not necessarily a bad thing, a House exchange might let you explore the surroundings of the center of the city. You will most likely get to live the real life.
You will become acquainted with the local grocery clerk, hang out at local bars, walk around those streets that the travel books don’t tell you about.
Also, the whole idea of a family vacation in a home is to spend it as a family, in the home of another family. So, when dinner time comes, you can all sit around a table, just like home and spend quality time, just maybe in another country!

Kids have fun
An important thing to notice when looking for potential families to switch houses with is to select those that have kids around the same age as yours. This is important because it’s going to make things a lot easier when it comes to entertaining your children. A house full of toys and books for them to play with and read while you relax will be a feature that no hotel will provide fully.

Make sure you check out the House Exchange section at iNetGiant, you might find the perfect spot for you and your family! 

First thoughts into a Home Business

Your life dictates that you need to start your own home business. Whether it’s because you are a stay at home dad or mom but still need the income, or you’re looking for ways to expand your finances. Some extra money can’t hurt.
The only thing you know is that you need for your business to be run from home, yet, you don’t exactly know what that business is exactly. Remember, just because it’s in your own home, doesn’t make it any easier, it just makes it closer.
I’m going to walk you through some of the thoughts you need to have before you even start with your new adventure.

If you can, do what you love
Since this is, ideally, your choice, try to make it the best one for you. What do you love to do? What did you dream about when you were growing up? You most likely ended up in jobs that were practical, but didn’t really say anything to the passionate part of your soul. Now is the time! Write down a list of everything you wanted to do and that could potentially be a business. Look deep inside your skill set and combine those two.
A good way to know if you really love what you could potentially do is to imagine yourself actually doing that task, with no pay. Try to think of yourself going through an internship of something you love. Do you still love it? Didn’t think so. Do this exercise as many times as you need to. The list of things you like/love will be a long one.

Not everybody can be an astronaut
Now go back to the list and with all honesty, cut down the jobs that are not realistically possible for you to do from home, or from your personal characteristics. For example, you won’t be able to run a gym if you don’t like sports, exercise or even know anything about it.
If what you like is animals, you probably won’t start by being a vet. You could go to school to become one, but chances are you won’t at this point. However, there are many things that you could do. What is it that you like about animals? Think about that. You can start a pet toy store, a grooming service, a dog-walking business, a pet daycare. The possibilities are endless at this stage.

What’s out there
Now that you are narrowing your list down and actually developing it into actual possibilities, it’s time to do some research. Find out online if businesses are looking to expand. Often times they will offer franchises that you could launch from home. Look into the areas that you are most interested, for example, education and look for opportunities there. Sometimes the best way to start a home business is to further develop one that already started.

Who did it before
A great way to do research is to talk to people that have already been where you are now. Talk to people you know (or even people you don’t know) in the industry you want to be a part of. People that have their own businesses really like to share the knowledge of experience and save you some of the troubles they went through.

Look through our Home Business category at iNetGiant and find plenty of opportunities for you.

Telework: pros and cons

Working from home could be a solution to childcare issues, rising gas prices that make the commute a ridiculous expense; or even if you’re a world traveler that would rather open your laptop in any country in the world every three months and still work for the same company for five years. Well, that last example might be a bit of an overstatement, but you get the picture, right?
However, telework does not suit every worker. Let’s explore several aspects of the work life and you can decide if it’s the right fit.

A loner or the life of the office
While many people enjoy the company of colleagues, lunch breaks and talks by the water cooler, some people dread the Christmas parties and all work related events. You either spend time thinking what you get for your coworker for a Secret Santa, or you just pick up the first thing you see at the dollar store. It’s not about being a good or a bad guy; it’s more about the fact that while some of us enjoy and thrive in the company of others, some of us enjoy the quiet and rather work that way. Which one are you?

Supervision needed
Well, with this one is a matter of taking a deep look into yourself and admitting whether you need constant supervision to fulfill your tasks or not. If you are the kind that will procrastinate with no end and will get very little done throughout the day, this may not work for you.
If you, on the other hand, are able to ninja-like concentrate and sort out distractions and the temptation to update your Facebook status or NOT look at that video on YouTube that someone told you about. If you are able to escape the downward spiral of internet distraction, then you will do just fine.

Home Daycare Center
This may not apply to all of you, but if you have children and expect this to be the answer to all of your babysitting/daycare troubles, think again.
Ok, It might work, I-m not saying that it won’t. You just have to analyze how much attention each task needs. Does your job allow you to stop mid-task to tend to a crying 3 year-old? It’s a matter of discipline and organization. You can do it, no doubt, I just want you to see the potential obstacles before you dive into the home-office.

Work space
Speaking of home-office, do you have a work space? The kitchen table does not count. If you can see leftovers from last night’s dinner, it’s not a good work space. Can you see the TV? Is the remote within hand-reach? If it is, move away!
You need a place you can walk in and out of to make it seem like a regular day at the office. You need to work there and get in working-mode, a place that will remind you of your responsibilities.
Oh the same subject, are you office dependant? Do you need in-house tech support? A secretary to take your calls and make appointments? If that’s the case, maybe working from home is not the best choice.

How to work from home
  • ·         You need to figure out if your company already has a policy for that. If other people are doing it, just research on those cases. Or even if they don’t have, do your homework and help them develop a telecommute program.
  • ·         Prove to your boss that you can be as productive or even more productive than in the office. Develop certain metrics to track your work (if you don’t already have them).

·         Begin slowly. Maybe a couple of days a week before jumping full on into your home space.

You can work from home even if you don’t work full time for a big company. Check out our listings for telecommuting jobs at iNetGiant

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Car reviews: 2011 Dodge Avenger

You know what you like and what you need, so if you’re thinking of getting an Avenger, the 2011 edition has some improvements that will suit you. This car is not a superstar and compared to other Sedans, it has its pros and cons. However, you may not be looking for a superstar at all and this perfectly good car will do the trick.

New and improved interior
It may seem like an overstatement in most cases where the differences lie mostly in the mechanical aspects and only a few brushes into the interior design. However, the Avenger has actually improved its inside’s prettiness. The most heard complaint about previous models was that the materials felt and looked cheap and outdated; and that it resembled a rental car. The previous Avenger was nothing to be proud of.
The 2011 has had an incredible makeover that shows in its contoured dash, new steering wheel and materials that are sort to the touch of its driver.
The magnitude of the cabin is essentially the same, with a decent amount of leg room, though if the car will be filled with adults on a daily routine, this may not be the greatest of choices among sedans.

The models
The 2011 Dodge Avenger is available in the following levels:

·         Full power accessories
·         17’’ steel wheels
·         AC
·         CD player and auxiliar audio jack
o    4 speaker stereo
·         Cruise control
·         Steering columns (tilt and telescoping)

Mainstreet (everything the Express has, plus the following)
·         Heated outside mirrors
·         AC with climate control
·         Alloy wheels
·         Leather steering wheel
·         Satellite radio
·         Power driver seat

Heat (everything the Mainstreet has, plus the following)
·         18’’ wheels
·         V6 engine
·         Rear spoiler
·         Foglights
·         Remote ignition
·         30GB Touch screen stereo
·         Heated front seats

Lux (everything the Heat has, plus the following)
·         Leather seats
·         Bluetooth
·         (the Lux models is a 4 cylinder and has no spoiler)
Performance features
This may not be, as I stated before, the superstar of cars, but it has nothing to envy to the rest of the sedans.
The express and Mainstreet Avengers have the only option of a base 2.4 liter inline-4 cylinder engine with 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque; and while the Express has a four-speed automatic transmission, the Mainstreet, Heat and Lux come with a six-speed transmission.
The four-cylinder is expected to run 21 miles per gallon on the city versus 30 miles per gallon on a highway, which leads to 24 miles combined.
The Heat and the Lux enjoy a 3.6 liter engine with 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. As far as fuel economy, this engine is expected to run 19 miles per gallon in the city versus 29 on a highway, which leads to 22 miles per gallon on combined routes.

Safety matters
As a standard for all of the available Dodge Avengers you can find:
·         Active front seat restraints
·         Airbags
o    Front seat side
o    Full length side curtains
·         Antilock brakes with brake assist
·         Hill start assist
·         Traction and stability control

Make sure to check out or wide variety of cars available at iNetGiant. You will find every brand, every make, every model. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Car reviews: 2011 Chrysler Town & Country Touring L

You decided to change your car. Maybe the family got bigger and a simple car just wouldn’t cut it. You wanted the practical aspects of a minivan, yet you needed to keep it stylish and upscale. A brand new car was maybe a bit too much of an investment but you knew you could still find a car that would fit you perfectly. So you went for the Chrysler Town & Country Touring L. Great choice, I must say, if James Bond had to take his kids to soccer and still keep his favorite car features, this is the car he would pick.

The 2011 model had several improvements both in the exterior and the interior, and had a few mechanical adjustments as well.

General aspects on the outside
·         17’’ alloy wheels
·         Xenon headlights
·         Auto dimming side mirrors

General aspects on the inside
·         Leather upholstery
·         Heated
o    Font seats
o    Steering wheel
o    Second row seats
·         Keyless and remote ignition
o    Keyless entry
·         Bluetooth
·         Navigation system
·         DVD entertainment center for the rear set
·         Premium nine speaker audio system
·         Power adjustable front passenger seat

Renewed inside
The 2011 Town and Country may have subtle changes compared to previous models, however, they make a difference. The dimensions are practically the same, though the feel is completely different. The cabin’s upholstery and design translate into a luxurious experience for the driver.
But not all the changes are superficial, they are also quite functional. You want this car for its style and also its benefits.
The Town and Country’s Stow and Go row seat fold into the floor flat. It is not necessary to remove the middle row to accomplish full cargo capacity. It’s very easy to operate and it can be done in a daily basis, depending on your car routine and needs.
The third row seat (with its 60/40 split) can de flipped to the back and create a different yet comfortable seating space.
If the rows remain untouched, the space available is 33 f³, but if you fold the second and third row seats, that space goes to 143.8 f³.

Renewed performance
You like the way it looks, but you still want to feel good when driving it. Well, that can easily be accomplished. You’ll enjoy its 3.6 liter V6 engine with a 283 hp strength through a 6-speed automatic transmission. Though these features also allow fuel economy. You can get 17 miles per gallon in the city, versus 25 miles per gallon on a highway.
It will depend on your routine and what you do with the car, but the Town and Country can get from 0 to 60 miles 8.3 seconds.

And if you’re mostly concern about safety, this car gives you top-notch amenities:
·         Traction and stability control
·         Antilock disc brakes
·         Active front head restraints
·         Air bags
o    Front seat side impact airbags
o    Side curtain airbags with full length
o    Driver knee airbag
·         Rear cross-path detection system
·         Blind-spot monitor 

In conclusion, this is a great car that combines the best of both worlds. It's functional yet stylish. It doesn't get any better than this. Make sure to check out our wide variety of cars for sale at iNetGiant. Every brand and maker, you'll find the best deals in town!