“Pimp My Ride”: The Reality (And What You Should Do Instead)

Rusted Pickup Truck Abandoned Old Car Oldtimer

The starting point for “Pimp My Ride”

Pimp My Ride was a wildly successful TV show hosted by rapper Xzibit. It spawned the phrase “pimp my ride” to largely mean “improve my car in some way”– which is ironic, given what the TV show actually did to people’s cars. The premise of the show was simple; take a rusted, battered car and turn it into something showstopping.

While the show may be gone from the airwaves, it’s not been forgotten, especially by those who handed over their vehicles to the show. You may have watched a few episodes yourself and wondered how it was possible; perhaps even inspiring you to play with modifying your car. The next time you eye a modification and wonder if you should pimp your ride, it’s worth remembering what the phrase actually means– and why it was the beginning of a highway to hell for the owners featured on the show.

Pimp My Ride Rendered Cars Undriveable

Imagine what it’s like for the car owners of Pimp My Ride. They get the call to confirm they have been accepted for the show. They’re going to be on TV! Their not-so-great car is going to be given a dream makeover! What could possibly be more exciting?

Well, let’s go with “having a car that’s driveable”. That’s not particularly exciting for the most part; the majority of us automatically expect that our cars will be driveable, right? That’s their primary function, so why would someone who’d been featured on Pimp My Ride be excited about their car being driveable?

Because most of the “modified” cars that went through the show were rendered completely useless. Those that did get through their “pimping” and were still able to be driven were the lucky ones. It turns out if you add a huge stereo system to an old and rusted car, it doesn’t drive very well– who knew?

(Answer: everyone knew.)

Most Pimp My Ride Cars Were Illegal

If you’re driving and a car traveling in the opposite direction breaks the line and hits you, then that’s an annoyance. You have to deal with any potential injuries, contact a car accident lawyer, and deal with repairs to your vehicle. It’s an inconvenience, but you’re a reasonable person– accidents happen.

Now let’s say you’re driving and a car traveling in the opposite direction has an arcade machine, a TV, or any of the other “upgrades” offered by the show on board. Unsurprisingly, these mods have been distracting the driver. Are you still feeling reasonable about the crash? Or are you furious with the driver, the show, and law enforcement for allowing cars like this on the road? We’re betting the latter– and here’s the fun part: most of the modifications were completely  illegal. They were for the TV show only.

Former winners have explained how many of the modifications were removed pretty much as soon as filming finished.

Modifications Can Be Fun; But Not “Pimp My Ride” Fun

Adding modifications and upgrades to your car can be enjoyable and result in a better ride experience. However, Pimp My Ride is best looked back on as a work of fiction that was presented as reality. Fun, but not something any sensible driver would ever want to emulate!

It doesn’t seem everyone got the memo, though…

So, where does that leave the eager driving who wants to improve their car? By now, you know that the Pimp My Ride method of modification is definitely something that you’re going to want to avoid, so how can you modify your car without making the same mistakes?

Here are a few ideas that will give your car a touch of personality, without breaking the bank– or the law.

#1 – Go Crazy With Paint

The color of your car is one of the most expressive things about the vehicle. There’s a thousand and one pearl grey or metallic blue cars, so choosing anything remotely unusual will ensure your car is able to stand out from the crowd. You could go for an unusual single color, or paint entire intricate patterns if you have an artist’s touch.

There’s a fun upside to making your car’s paint more individual; it means your vehicle is less likely to be stolen. The reason behind this is simple; the more a car stands out, the more likely it is to be tracked by the police or owners. The common paint colors are far more likely to be stolen than more unusual colors, such as pink. So not only can you give your car an individual flair, but also help reduce the likelihood of theft, too.

#2 – Be Careful With The Sound System

Who needs a trunk when you can have volume?

One of the most common modifications that people do to their vehicles is to the sound system. Rather than the often-low-powered system that comes as a manufacturer’s default, people like to boost the sound with extra speakers and sound boosts.

That’s all well and good, but there’s a real risk to playing with the sound system of a car. First and foremost, you could invalidate your insurance. Changing the stereo of a car involves playing with the electronics, which can have a number of knock-on effects that make the car harder to drive. Insurers don’t like to insure cars that are harder to drive. If you do want to modify the sound system, it’s not a DIY job; ask a licensed professional to do the work, and inform your insurance as soon as it’s complete.

It’s also worth remembering that your car needs to fall within parameters of noise control and pollution. If you want to pump the volume in an isolated area, that’s fine, but in residential neighborhoods, you need to keep the volume turned way down.

#3 – Change The Upholstery

The upholstery is superficial, and you should be able to do whatever you want with it without causing an issue with your insurance. You could swap the fabric, install entirely new material, or use dyes to create a truly unique look. It won’t modify the way your car drives, but changing the upholstery does give a personal touch that can look incredible– definitely one of the easiest mods to DIY.

Have you ever been tempted to modify your car?

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The Challenges For A Small Business In The Catering And Hospitality Sector

Getting started in a new business is never easy, but it can certainly be exciting. It brings a lot of freedom when it comes to making all the decisions. And you know your success depends only on you. Best of all, you’re in the top position from day one! But there are many challenges and obstacles that all businesses need to face. If you’re hoping to get started in catering and hospitality, you may have even more to worry about:

Licensing

The first challenge you have to overcome is the red tape for licensing and permissions. The premises from which you operate must be fit for purpose and approved for the work you’re doing. You may also need to be personally licensed to sell food and beverages. It’s important you keep in contact with your local authority representative to ensure you have everything in place before you start trading. And yes, there will be costs involved here.

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Equipment

Setting up a commercial kitchen or bar is another challenge new business owners face. Big brands like Beverage Air manufacture most of what you might need to get started. Find an equipment supplier that knows how to help you figure out what your kitchen needs. You might want beverage fridges on the shop floor for customers too. In some places, your equipment will need to be checked for safety every few years. Find out what you need to know before placing your order.

Health, Safety & Hygiene

Health, safety and hygiene are the most important things you need to consider. In fact, you should be thinking about them every hour of the day! Not only does the health and well-being of your customers become your responsibility but so does the safety of your staff. They must be trained and sometimes certified to use certain pieces of equipment. You’ll need to provide all the facilities customers need to be comfortable while on your premises.

Can’t Cook and Serve!

Whether you’re opening a small sandwich kiosk, or you’re about to launch a hotel, you can’t be in two places at once! You either handle the food, or you handle the money. This means you need at least one other member of staff with you at all times during opening hours. You might hire someone casually, but you might get more loyalty, commitment and performance out of a payroll employee. Consider the training required as well as the ongoing appraisals. Don’t forget – they will need vacations too!

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The Personal Touch

Hospitality thrives with a personality in charge. Get to know your customers and make sure they have opportunities to get to know you. People like to feel special when they’re eating and drinking in your establishment. After all, repeat business or loyal customers are easier to acquire than new ones every single day. Offer rewards schemes, and don’t forget the personal touch!

No business is guaranteed success. It takes hard work, astute marketing skills, and a friendly personality to make in the hospitality sector. So what are you waiting for?

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Tax Return Terrors: How Freelancers Can Cut Their Costs

Going freelance is one of the most popular career choices of this generation. Now, more than ever before, people are choosing to set up a home office and spend their days there. Of course, technology has made this lifechoice more workable than ever before. When you think about it, it’s no wonder that people are making the most of the opportunity. After all, who wouldn’t want to work from the comfort of their home?

But, it would be naive to assume that the freelance route is a solely happy one. While there are obvious benefits to being your own boss, there are major downfalls too. And, never do they make themselves more plain than when tax time comes around. Rather than leaving things to your employer, you have to turn your hand to the ever-nightmarish self-assessment. Worse, you feel every single penny that you lose when you’re doing it.

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The good news is, there are a few different ways for freelancers to keep taxes to a minimum. In fact, for the most part, work like this is encouraged. The trouble is, we don’t all know the tricks of the trade and end up paying above the odds. Which is why we’re going to look at a few ways you can keep your taxes down.

Set up as a company

When you first go freelance, the company vs. sole trader situation can get a little confusing. But, to break it down for you, operating as a sole trader means that you’re liable for your enterprise. If you get sued, for example, it all falls on you. And, when it comes to taxes, you’ll be paying from both your salary and your profit.

 

But, if you set up as a limited company, as outlined on sites like howtostartanllc.org, you stand to gain company tax benefits. Hence, you’ll only need to pay tax on your income. Done right, this could halve the amount you pay out.

 

Educate yourself about deductions

 

Any freelancer knows that they have to deduct expenses on their assessment form. But, what less of us realize is just how many deduction opportunities there are. For a full list, head to sites like https://www.upwork.com. Your findings will astound you. Often, you can deduct for using a home office, and even get money off your internet bill. Doing your research is the only way to ensure you’re deducting everything possible.

Keep accurate accounts

Of course, you’ll find it difficult to deduct anything if you don’t keep accurate accounts. Far too often, we end up losing receipts and paying for business supplies from our pockets. With one or two items, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But, when you consider the cost of those items, plus the tax you could’ve saved, the mistake soon adds up.

Filing Cabinet Regulation Hanging Files

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Getting your accounting system under control is all it takes. Invest in filing equipment, and make sure to put relevant receipts and bills there as soon as you get them. That way, they’ll be ready and waiting when you come to fill your form.

 

 

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The Do’s And Don’ts Of Renting Out Property

There are plenty of ways to make some money with a property. You may want to consider renovating older property and modernising to make a quick profit. You may like to move up the ladder with your property and invest in bigger each time. However, the most popular way investors capitalise on the property market is renting them out to people that just can’t afford to get on the ladder, or need to be in locations only temporarily.

 

However, while there are plenty of properties out there ready to be purchased that are more than suitable for the rental market, there are still a few guidelines that you need to follow. So whether or not this is your first attempt at buying to rent, or you have a whole portfolio of properties, I thought I would share with you some of the do’s and the don’ts of renting out a property.

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Don’t be too hasty with your decisions and forget the power of research

 

There will always be a lot of properties out there that you may want to consider investing in, but we can get a little hasty and excited by the prospect and forget to do the valuable research that should go along any property purchase. While there will always be a demand for affordable houses for rent, you will still need to make sure that your investment is going to stack up in the long-term. Think about the location you are buying in. Whether there are any improvement schemes or upcoming regeneration to the area. Think about what the prices are in the area, is their scope to expand your investment or make more profit in the future. Will you need to make any improvements to the property before you rent it out? Is it a livable space? These are all questions and observations you can make with extensive research online, which will enable you to make sure that the important decision you are about to make is the right one.

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Do choose the right rental market for you

 

You may be surprised to read that there are a number of different rental markets to consider when buying a property. You could consider buying near universities or colleges where you can rent out to students for each school year. This can be quite lucrative as a house can be adapted to accommodate more than one student. Helping you to increase your rental profits. You could also think about the area being close to the city center, or being in a family suburban location where you focus more on renting to families.

 

Don’t be tempted to overcharge on the rent

 

Determining the rental cost can be quite tricky, and it might be tempting to charge what you think the property is worth. But this could cause you more problems by pricing your property out of the market. Instead, you will need to focus on the area and the average cost. An agent could be in the best place to advise you on how much to charge.

 

Do consider other costs that you may need to budget for

 

Of course, you have the initial outlay of the investment, but other things to consider would be the insurances involved to protect the property. You also need to think about the legal costs involved, and whether you have any other insurances that help to protect you for things like when renters don’t pay their rental payment. You also need to have some sort of emergency fund set aside for when things go wrong. You may find that things go wrong over the time of the rental period, or you may have to make emergency or standard repairs the longer you own the property.

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Don’t forget to read the fine print

 

On all things property related, there are deeds and regulations. It might be to do with the property or it could be specific to the area. Make sure in all cases you read the fine print to avoid any possible drama or financial implication in the future. However, the research only just gets started with the purchase, as a landlord there are other things to consider. You need to ensure that you have the right contracts drawn up between you and your tenant. Or of you have an agent acting on your behalf, that you ensure that the contract you draw up is in your interests as well as the agents.

 

Do be open-minded with your choice of tenants

 

There are many schemes in which a tenant can take on a property. People can get help from government schemes as well as benefits to help them pay for their rent. Some landlords refuse to take any type of tenant other than a private renter, but this could be closing your market in regards to obtaining someone to rent in your property long-term. In some ways, someone receiving a benefit of some kind means that they may always be able to pay the rent. So you have to ask yourself whether it is worth being open-minded to different types of tenant circumstances.

 

Don’t be tempted to manage it yourself unless you are confident to do so

 

Managing a property rental yourself means that you are in the position of ensuring al checks are carried out on the tenant, and that you get your rent each month. You will be the contact they ring at any time of the day or night when something goes wrong. So it’s important to make sure you only do this is you are confident in managing the property. For a small fee, an agent can take care of all the hard work for you.

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Do inspect or have the property inspected regularly

 

Unfortunately you can’t always trust your tenant. No matter how good you think they are. You are allowing them to stay in your property for a fee, and you need to ensure that they are treating it with the respect it deserves. So try and consider having it inspected regularly to ensure that the property is in good condition, and that any repair work isn’t needed. It isn’t always about not trusting the tenant, but more about protecting your asset.

 

Don’t be afraid to place restrictions in the terms of rental

 

Many landlords consider having hefty terms that a tenant needs to agree to before a contract and lease can be signed. It may be very specific about painting walls or having pets, or it could be more lenient whereas you require permission before anything is done in the property. There have been landlords that have been so specific even about hanging pictures on the walls with nails. After all, it is your property and investment, and you can decide how it is treated. Having this in the lease protects you in the future, if you find that any of your regulations have been ignored.

 

Finally, having a decent agreement in place and black and white guidelines laid out should mean that you as a landlord should have no issues when renting out to somebody. What this sort of investment does, is enable you to have your money tied up and earning a profit in the bricks and mortar, but also enables you to earn a profit on a month by month basis. Anything over and above a mortgage commitment should be put to one side so that any property expenses can be paid for out of the pot. I hope this helps you to be more clear about what you should and shouldn’t do when renting out a property.

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Is Your Company Compliant?

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Of all the things your business needs to be, compliant isn’t one of the most exciting. Reputable, prosperous, fruitful – these are all exciting prospects that most business owners would love to assimilate with their companies, but complaint? Not so much. In reality, we all know that our businesses need to operate to a certain standard, but compliance is definitely not one of the most exciting areas that you have to take care of. Either way, it has to get done. So, you’re going to want to get this one ticked off of your list and fast. But what does it mean for your company to be compliant?

The main idea of making sure that your business is compliant is to make sure that you’re operating in a manner that is considered within the law. But this can be across a wide range of areas, and not just legal concerns. As your business grows and does well, it’s in your own interest to make sure that you’re operating as you should be in each area. You want to protect your business, so in order to keep trading, you should make sure that you tick all the boxes you have to across each of the following areas of compliance.

Finance

One of the most common areas of compliance across any business if finance. This may be one of the areas that you’re most familiar with. But, it’s also important to ensure that you are operating above board when it comes to your finances. The legal implications of not doing this are not worth the risk. So ensure that you’re recording all of your business finances and transactions, and writing off your expenses fairly and in compliance with your local tax law.

Taxation

Following on from this, you may also want to consider taxation compliance. There is a lot you need to know about filing taxes, so make sure you are familiar with everything. Even if you hire an accountant, you should try to understand as much as you can to ensure that you are accountable for what you are declaring. Because it is vital that you declare everything fairly and that you’re paying the relevant taxes as you should be.

Employment

There there’s also human resources (HR) compliance to consider. Even if you have a small company with only a handful of employees, you may be bound by the relevant employment laws in your area. So it’s vital that you read up. You’re going to want to make sure that you have the right policies and procedures in place to keep yourself compliance and ensure that your staff is content too.

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Insurance

By law, you may also be responsible for arranging certain insurances. In order to be compliant with your state laws, you are going to want to take out the right policies and ensure that the cover you for the necessary requirements. To do this, you may want to speak to your local state department as your insurances could vary by your business type, your turnover, and your business size. However, it’s likely that you’ll require liability insurances as a minimum.

Data

Then, you should also think about how your business operates with its data. In this guide to data protection, you should be able to understand what is required of you. Not only should you aim to be compliant to protect your own interests, but also to ensure that any customer information that you hold is kept safe and secure and that you’re not liable to any lawsuits.

Verification

Next, you could consider the compliance you have with the way you operate your business. Depending on the industry you work in, it may be a standard procedure to check the identity of your customers. But to do this, you may need real-time identity verification to provide the assurance you need in today’s digital world that will help you operate smoothly. When your customers need to be verified in order for you to supply your product or service, you will have to ensure you have that verification process in place to stay compliant with industry standards.

Health & Safety

Finally, there’s also health and safety to think about. Even if you’re a small business, you may be liable for health and safety laws. So, you’re going to want to check what is expected of you and work to put the necessary plans and policies in place to ensure that you’re compliant with local laws. In doing so, you should be able to reduce your liability should things go wrong.

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These Business Mistakes Could Get You in Huge Trouble

Everyone makes mistakes, but some are bigger than others. There are mistakes that might make you stumble, although you ultimately learn and grow from them in the end. Then there are those mistakes that are so big, you might learn a lesson, but it’s a bit too late. When you run a business, there are some incredibly unfortunate mistakes you could make. If you’re not careful, some of them could get you in big trouble. You could find yourself on the wrong side of the law, even if you never meant to be, or you could find your business’s reputation in ruins. Avoid making these big business mistakes, and you can protect yourself and your company.

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Being Lax on Health and Safety

Your employees need to be safe while doing their jobs. Also, any members of the public who could be at risk when on or near your business premises also need to be protected. You could be in huge trouble if someone becomes ill or is injured because you neglected your responsibilities as a business owner. Having a solid strategy for dealing with health and safety is vital. You can see more from fallprotectoinpros.com, where you can learn about preventing falls, one of the leading types of workplace accident. You should also make sure you have worker’s compensation protection and public liability insurance.

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Failing to Treat Employees Fairly

Treating your employees fairly can involve a number of factors, starting with your hiring practices. You need to follow the law in regards to equality, from asking the right interview questions to making hiring decisions. You also need to consider factors such as fair pay and minimum wage, creating a safe and equal work environment, and offering benefits to employees. Having an HR department makes it a lot easier to stay on top of these things and ensure your business is operating legally.

Getting Your Finances Wrong

Money keeps your business running, and getting the numbers right is essential for its survival. It’s not just important for good business, though. You also need to make sure your finances are correct so that you stay on the right side of the law. For example, filing your taxes requires you to make sure you’re careful about your numbers. Using an accountant is best practice if you want to report your income and expenditure as accurately as possible. Find out the benefits of using an accountant at kashflow.com.

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Failing to Check Intellectual Property Ownership

You’re releasing a new product, or perhaps naming your business or product. Have you checked patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property registers? If you haven’t, you could soon find that someone who has registered their intellectual property isn’t happy about you using a design, a name or a slogan that belongs to them. Checking to make sure you’re not using something you shouldn’t be can be tough, but you can get help from a professional service or lawyer.

You don’t want your business to be finished before you can really get started. Avoid these massive mistakes, and your company can live to see another day.

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Threats to Your Small Business That Will Prevent It From Gaining Success

Small business owners all over the world have one thing in common: a dream. They wish that in the future, their small business will grow from the humble beginnings of a startup and reach international recognition. They dream that their business will have thousands of employees, hundreds of office locations and a product to be reckoned with. Sadly, those dreams will quickly be stamped out by these following issues if they aren’t taken seriously enough. From fraudster employees to copycats, here are the threats you need to look out for as you’re running your business.

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Lack of Continuity

 

When your business suffers an accident, such as being burned down in a fire or when your internet connection goes down, you need to have a continuity plan. In short, this is essentially a backup plan that you engage when something goes wrong. For instance, if you work exclusively in the cloud, then you’re technically immune to any kind of hardware failures, but you won’t be able to work without an internet connection. On the contrary, if most of your work is stored on physical mediums at work, then an office fire or flood could destroy the hardware and it will forever be lost. The best solution is to mix both mediums and hatch a continuity plan.

 

Fraudulent Employees

 

When employees commit fraud, there are no second chances. You need to terminate their contract and replace them as soon as possible. Luckily, there are services like MCC4Tax that will prevent your company from suffering the consequences of something like tax evasion that was committed by a fraudulent employee and not by you. Fraudulent employees could also mean employees that pretend to be something they aren’t. A good example of this is when an employee claims to know certain skills and does a half-arsed job when asked to work. Get rid of these types as soon as possible and ensure that your recruitment process combs through every bit of history your new recruits have.

 

Spreading Resources Correctly

 

One of the biggest decisions a business owner has to make is the choice between diversification and specialisation. One one hand, diversification helps you reach a wider audience, but specialisation helps you build a loyal fan base. The decision to diversify or specialise ultimate comes down to you as the business owner, but it’s worth analysing the advantages and disadvantages of both in your situation. For instance, if your main product is a smartphone, then diversifying it to have a large screen model might spread your production resources too thinly because there isn’t enough demand to make it worthwhile. On the contrary, specialising your current product and creating an updated version might alienate new potential buyers because you have a niche in the market.

 

Copyright Disputes

 

Lastly, let’s not forget about copyright disputes. If a copycat is trying to mimic your product, then you need to hire a lawyer as soon as possible and send a cease and desist letter. If they don’t respond, then take legal action and shut them down. Copyright disputes also work the other way, however. For example, if you’re randomly stealing images from the internet to use on your website, then you might have a nasty surprise when someone claims you’re using their work without their permission, and this could result in expensive image copyright fines that could set your business back.

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