13 must-have tips for choosing the right air duct cleaning company

Irrespective of the weather outside, technology has allowed humankind to create the ideal weather inside their house. With the help of advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, you can create your own ecosystem in your house. Several things constitute the HVAC systems, but the air ducts are of prime importance. They function as conduits to supply air, return air, and exhaust it from the home itself. But, like every other appliance, even HVAC systems need maintenance, especially air ducts. If the air ducts aren’t cleaned at regular intervals, gradually every visible surface will be covered in a thick layer of dust, dirt, and debris. These are the usual contents inside an air duct, but they are not visible to you as air ducts are hidden in the inner structure of the house. It is easy to forget about their existence. The usual “out of sight, out of mind” mantra doesn’t work here as the air ducts will end up being clogged with pollutants.

It is essential to get the air ducts cleaned once in a while. A word to the wise—do not attempt to DIY the air duct cleaning process. Let professionals handle this as there are several things that can go wrong. In an attempt to save money, you might end up incurring more costs. So, use the browse through the Internet and put your research skills to use. There are certain things you need to know before you begin your search as this will help you streamline your quest to find the right duct cleaning company better.

What are the things to know before opting for air duct cleaning services?
Most people will find it hard to refuse an opportunity to get their air ducts cleaned at a cheaper price. However, these things never materialize the way you want them to. So, it is essential to be prepared to deal with the worst-case scenarios. If you are a novice at this, there are certain caveats you need to be well-versed with as they will prove effective in keeping scammers at bay. So, ensure that you gain the much-needed knowledge and acquaint yourself with the common techniques that some cleaning companies use to hoodwink innocent homeowners.

  • Gauge whether the air duct cleaning is necessary or not: An important task you need to conform to before you call the duct cleaning services is to determine whether the air duct actually needs cleaning. For instance, if you are moving into a newly built house, you might have to conduct an immediate air duct cleaning. As a lot of construction debris, drywall scraps, and sawdust might end up in the air ducts post-construction, an air duct cleaning becomes necessary. Experts suggest that it is essential to get the air ducts cleaned every 7 to 10 years unless a family member has breathing issues; then you will need to get the air ducts cleaned more frequently. In such cases, you can get the cleaning done at a more affordable price. All you have to do is contact your HVAC provider and upgrade the furnace filtration in this situation. Doing so is more sensible than spending money every year on duct cleaning services.
  • Include HVAC system cleaning as well: Usually, people assume that air duct cleaning is enough to improve the quality of the air in the house. However, this process is incomplete without a thorough cleaning of the HVAC system. But, there’s a catch here. Most duct cleaning companies aren’t allowed to touch the HVAC system unless they have a valid HVAC license. In case you wish to have your HVAC system cleaned as well, you can ask the cleaning services for their license number. This helps you crosscheck the legitimacy of the duct cleaning service’s offer on cleaning the HVAC system.
  • Beware of upsellers: If you are getting your carpets cleaned, do not fall for the classic upselling trap that naive homeowners often fall into. Carpet cleaners often upsell their cleaning skills by offering to clean your air ducts along with the carpets. The rock-bottom price might appeal to your desire to save more money, but it can have serious repercussions. So, do not take the bait. There are several instances when carpet cleaning companies assert to clean your air ducts for a meager price. However, this “cleaning process” involves removing and vacuuming the registers, sticking their vacuum into the duct at the register, and re-attaching the register once they are done. This isn’t how professional air duct cleaning services work. It is imperative that you do not treat air duct cleaning as an add-on service and do not take up on the offer presented by the eager carpet cleaners.
  • Do not fall for unsolicited pitches: There are several scams when it comes to air duct cleaning companies. A popular way of conning people is to call them and inform them that the cleaners will be in their neighborhood the coming week and will charge a ridiculously low price of about $25 to clean their air ducts. Do not fall for such scams as most of them don’t pan out, and the ones that do, the results are quite disastrous. So, be on guard against such scammers. You might end up shelling a lot more than just $25.
  • Do not cave into the mold scare tactic: This is one of the oldest tricks most cleaning companies use to turn inquiries into a complete deal. Certain companies put a mold test kit in the house and hope that the test results will prompt you to take immediate action. If the mold test kit yields positive results, you will be advised to get your air ducts cleaned immediately. So, if any company asks you to get your air ducts cleaned due to a mold problem, double-check their inference by using your own test kit. You can buy this from any home improvement store.

How to choose the right air duct system cleaning company?

If you feel that you are qualified to make the right decision because you can identify scams, then gear up; this is just the groundwork. The real work begins at finding a duct cleaning company that meets your expectations. Identifying scams is just the first part of your journey to find a legit air duct cleaning company. There are several factors that go into the process of choosing a reliable duct cleaning company. It is essential to be well-acquainted with the various dictates of choosing the right duct cleaning service provider for your home.

  • Extensive background research is a must: While looking for the right air duct cleaning services, you must conduct intensive background research of the company. You can inquire about the company’s experience in cleaning air ducts. In case the company is relatively new to the air duct cleaning business, you can ask the employees about their prior experience. While you are at it, ask the companies for referrals from past clients to check whether the customers are satisfied with the services. You can even consult with your friends, neighbors, or other homeowners for referrals or recommendations of other air duct cleaning services. Another great way of finding the right air duct cleaning company is to use the handiest tool available at your disposal—the Internet. You can directly visit a company’s website and read the customer feedback testimonials as it will help cement your decision.
  • When in doubt, contact the BBB: The BBB or Better Business Bureau is a private, non-profit organization that keeps a record of all the complaints that are filed with them against companies. If you have shortlisted certain duct cleaning services, you can run it by the BBB. This will give you a fair idea about the air duct cleaning company’s standing in the market. The BBB investigates how well a particular company handles the complaints against them, and the company is rated and graded on this basis. You have complete access to check out almost any company with the BBB. This proves to be quite beneficial as it offers parameters to compare the companies, and helps you make an informed choice. You can even base your decision on the ratings offered by the BBB. For instance, if a particular air duct cleaning service is graded F by the BBB, it is sensible to not do any kind of business with them.
  • Insurance is a must: While you are looking for air duct cleaning companies, shortlist the ones that have insurance. This insurance comes in handy if you need reimbursements in case your home or any other personal property was damaged during the cleaning process. Although such situations are avoidable if you choose duct cleaning services that have experienced employees, it is always sensible to stay prepared for every possible scenario.
  • Choose from NADCA-certified companies only: Another cardinal rule while browsing for the best duct cleaning services is to ensure that all the top contenders are NADCA certified. NADCA or the National Air Duct Cleaners Association is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to publishing standards for safety, evaluation, and cleaning of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning ducts. This organization even offers several certifications for HVAC companies and professionals and has its own anti-fraud task force. The NADCA-certified duct cleaning services are trained and function in compliance with all the rules and regulations pertaining to safety while handling the process. You can confirm whether the duct cleaning companies are a part of the NADCA by visiting their official website. You can view the list of cleaning companies registered with the NADCA before hiring one. It is essential to adhere to this parameter as the members of this group have to follow a strict code of ethics and carry liability insurance to retain their membership. These companies can also address issues with the HVAC system along with ductwork.
  • Check the type of treatments the company offers: When you are on the duct company’s website, check the type of treatments it offers. Whether they use chemical treatments or chemical bio-acids for cleaning purposes is an essential factor to consider while choosing an air duct cleaning service. These treatments are quite effective in cleaning the air duct and even preventing the future growth of biological substances in the air ducts. However, these chemical treatment methods can be harmful to your health. As a majority of these duct cleaning services offer chemical-based treatments, you need to find an intermediate solution. You can check with the cleaning company regarding the chemical products they use. All you have to do is go through the product label and read and verify the instructions pertaining to its use. This will help you understand how to protect yourself from any sort of harmful emissions.
  • Verify and compare the services: Usually, air duct cleaning companies check your system for any existing asbestos as this would require them to use specialized cleaning procedures. Legit duct cleaning companies take measures to protect you and your pets from any contamination that can be a by-product of their cleaning process. These cleaning companies even protect your personal belongings. Another important task that every authentic duct cleaning company has to perform is to properly seal and insulate any visible holes that might have formed during their cleaning process. Shortlist companies that provide these services.
  • Substantiate the rates and fees: Price is often the determining factor when it comes to choosing anything. So, before you finalize any duct cleaning company, get an estimate of the total expenditure. Determine whether the company will charge you by the hour or according to the treatment process they will undertake. There are instances when disputes pertaining to the price arise when the work is in motion. To prevent unnecessary hassles from popping up in the midst of the process, obtain a copy of the written agreement, which outlines the costs and fees you will be incurring.
  • Determine the time taken for the entire procedure: Getting the air ducts cleaned is not a small task. It is essential that you discuss with the duct cleaning company about the time taken for the entire procedure. This allows you to make arrangements beforehand. So, address your concern regarding the time frame; whether it will take a few hours, several days, or if the cleaning process will be split over a series of days.

These tips will help you make an informed decision. Choosing a duct cleaning company that offers what it promises at an affordable price, without flouting safety rules can be taxing. But, investing your time on research and inquiries will save the headache that follows shoddy work done at dirt-cheap rates.



Understanding different categories of water damage for home restoration

Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” This statement can be true as you don’t simply go online, browse through the first property search, and readily purchase the first available option. You take utmost care in selecting your home and taking care of it. But there are some things that are not under your control, which will threaten to compromise the foundation of your home.

A damage to your property is inevitable, and you must be ready to handle the situation and its challenges. Wind, hailstorms, torrential rains, and snowfall can result in the wear and tear of crucial components of your home. It is important that you know what should be done during such an emergency. One of the biggest threats can be the risk of water damage. From a simple faucet leak to excessive flooding due to rising water levels, severe water damage can compromise the structural integrity of your home and can even make it completely inhabitable.

So, in difficult times, you will take the necessary steps and do everything you can to protect your home. The question then arises as to how can you protect your home from water damage? The answer lies in being fully aware of the process of water damage restoration.

Understanding the process

Water damage largely affects your primary source of usable water. It is one of the reasons why a prompt and efficient emergency water cleanup service must be hired. The first inspection is a step that will provide you with an estimate of the work that will be done, and help source services that tackle such repairs on a regular basis. A first inspection determines the type of service required as every repair job is unique depending on the category of water damage. A professional water mitigation contractor will conduct the first inspection to assess the category of water damage, the level of water intrusion, and the services necessary for a proper restoration. The contractor will give a quote or an estimate of the damage done and the cost of restoration on the basis of a report. Note that there are three main categories of water damage to assess the scale of restoration.

Three primary categories of water damage

  • A Category 1 classification indicates sanitary water damage where the source of the water leak is not contaminated. These include water leaks from broken tanks, pipes, and sources of clean water supply.
  • A Category 2 leak is from toilet overflows or water containing detergents, and residue from your washing machine or dishwasher. The risk of contaminating the surrounding environment is fairly low in this case.
  • A Category 3 leak is a major problem as the surrounding environment is contaminated with an unsanitary source of water. Sources include water from a sewage leak or flood damage due to bad weather. Key materials that make up the structure in and around your home including drywall and insulation must be replaced to restore your home.

There are four common levels of water intrusion applicable to individual damage categories. The contractor must assess both the level of intrusion and the category of damage to provide an approximate time period for the restoration. For example, a simple leak or burst pipe is a class 1 intrusion and can be fixed in a matter of hours. Classes 2 and 3 vary in terms of damage depending on the source of the leak. A class 4 intrusion due to major flooding damage requires a complete overhaul.

Depending on the type of damage, both local and national water damage cleaning companies provide premium services. Here is a detailed overview for more clarity on each category of restoration.

Category 1 restoration

A Category 1 water damage is not so severe as a minimal amount of water leaks from a single point of entry. There is little mitigation necessary to inspect the damage and the containment area is relatively small. Common examples include a burst pipe, a burst hot water tank, or even toilet tank flooding. The loss originates from a sanitary source of water and does not pose any major health risks. However, a basic restoration is possible only after the source of the leak has been identified and plugged.

Water vacuum removal, air mover drying, and water containment are some of the ways that can help prevent the water from leaking among the basic services. The extent of additional repairs and home improvements necessary to restore your home will depend entirely on the severity of the leak. Ensure to keep in mind that local water damage cleanup services can tackle this type if only if it constitutes residential damage. The cost of restoration will vary among services depending on a number of factors. The website of National Disaster Recovery can help you narrow down the top contractors in your area.

Category 2 restoration

Water discharge from household appliances primarily results in Category 2 water damage. Alternatively referred to as “gray water,” flooding due to inefficient plumbing can cause severe water damage. Due to high porosity, the amount of water absorption is high. Note that gray water also poses a significant health risk due to inherent contamination via exposure to chemicals and compounds used for washing and rinsing purposes. Basic services and cleanup for this type of damage is similar to that of Category 1. However, the technicians have to exercise caution as the cleanup involves removal of both biological matter and detergents from various appliances.

Category 3 restoration

A Category 3 restoration is nothing short of a logistical nightmare. It originates from a contaminated water source. We are talking about complete overhaul wherein everything has to go! Only a premium service can tackle this magnitude of restoration. Everything from leaking faucets to irreversible sewage water damage must be tackled in a timely manner. Here is a detailed overview of the services under Category 3 restoration and what to expect from each one.

Content and document restoration

The first thing that comes to your mind is the collection of important documents, paperwork, and any physical contents kept in and around the household. Damage from a steady water leak can affect walls and insulation. Does this mean goodbye to old photographs and those priceless first editions? Not necessarily as residential document drying services can salvage most of what was damaged. A team of experts uses advanced tools and techniques to sort moist documents, remove moisture, and chemically treat stains.

Appliance leaks and repair

Household appliance leaks can gradually cause wear and tear. Water heaters, in particular, pose a serious risk of damage that can incur high costs. You must look out for signs of water damage due to the corrosion of internal components of the appliance. If the heater lets water accumulate at the bottom of the apparatus, it is a clear sign of a water leak. A whistling sound and shortage of hot water despite turning up the heat settings in the appliance also indicate damage due to corrosion and wear. Professional services not only help reverse the damages but also help prevent the possibility of appliance failure.

Regular inspection of the heating appliance, installation of a catch pan for efficient and safe disposal of wastewater, and automatic shut off valves collectively reduce the likelihood of appliance failure. Installing a premium quality insulation blanket around the water tank will keep the temperature in check and reduce the risk of damage due to extreme temperature changes. As a precaution, it is advisable to opt for energy-efficient tankless water heaters, eliminating the need for a storage tank. Professional water damage restoration services can help install these safety systems to further reduce the risk of a leak.

Sewage and wastewater

Inefficient plumbing can cause sewage and wastewater to leak into spaces in and around the household making it a very unsanitary place. The source of the leak can be an internal structural fault in the plumbing and sewage exit system. A simple block can cause contaminated water to back up the pipes and trigger unexpected flooding. In such a case, major sewer repair and flood damage control are required to clean up and restore spaces. A professional grade restoration will result in the removal of all contaminated water, furnishings, carpet, and even the flooring if necessary.

Furthermore, air movers decontaminate the atmosphere in the affected area to help dry the space until repairs can be carried out. Experts also clean and sanitize the complete room to prevent the spread of deadly viruses and illness-causing microbes. Note that the process for a Category 3 sewage leak is time-consuming and can be expensive. The contractor has to plan and map out the individual services in the aforementioned sequence to contain the leak.

Basement flooding

Basements are the first areas to flood, and chances are it is the last place you will look for the source of a leak. Also, heavy flooding or rain damage can completely destroy a basement due to poor space allocation and inadequate plumbing. Groundwater saturation due to heavy rains or unexpected flooding can force the water to seep into the basement through foundation leaks. The leak increases the hydrostatic pressure and can compromise the structural integrity of a home. Here, experts identify the leak and plug it. The pressure should be brought back to normal by using industrial grade equipment. Quick response is key to manage even the worst possible Category 3 leak.

Roof repairs and restoration

The roof is one of the most vulnerable structures prone to water damage. Heavy rain, shifting winds, and multiple inches of snowfall can lead to failure of roof structure. Aging roofs, saturated roofing materials, wind damage, and the buildup of ice dams will compromise the structure. The risk of water damage is high, as rapid melting and cooling of ice forces the water to accumulate in the exit pipes. You must call for a residential roof cleanup service to fix the external source of the leak.

Carpet and upholstery cleaning

Often, heavy flood damage renders the carpet worthless. Professional services provide carpet cleaning, drying, and floor restoration services. Multiple factors must be taken into account before the carpets can be cleaned. These include the age of the carpet or upholstery, the duration of water damage, and the type of water damage. For example, it is easy to manage water damage caused due to a flood from a clean water source. The water damage also does not pose any significant health threat to humans. However, gray water sources include discharge from washing machines and overflow from dishwashers. In such cases, the carpet or upholstery will need complete replacement. A prompt restoration will reduce the risk of health complications due to exposure to unsanitary sewage and drain water for Category 2 and 3 leaks.

Drying and dehumidification

The walls, insulation between walls, space under the flooring, HVAC systems, and vents are common areas prone to water damage. For this purpose, drying and dehumidification is done to ensure the structural integrity of the surrounding support columns and drywall. One should remember that water removal is not possible without plugging the leak first. After the process, air movers help evaporate the remaining water quickly and efficiently. Powerful dehumidifiers help extract the moisture from the air after drying.

The process is necessary for a Category 3 restoration owing to unsanitary water sources. Water vapors from the resulting spill pose a health risk to the people in the household. The technicians take periodic readings to ensure the moisture content in the air is minimum. Humidity also triggers the growth of mold within just a couple of days of water damage or a leak. Mold can grow out of control quickly and can cause structural damage if left unchecked.

Popular franchises for various categories of restoration

  • 911 Restoration
    The franchise caters to both residential and commercial customers providing a wide range of services that can tackle substantial Category 2 water damage.
  • 1-800 Water Damage
    The franchise offers timely response and quick grievance redressal right from the first inspection to the final handover after restoration. It focuses on maintaining key partnerships with insurance companies, property management companies, and water-related services to help streamline the process.
  • Servpro
    Servpro is one of the oldest and premier services providing a complete restoration for Category 3 damage. It is also one of the best disaster management response companies in over 647 locations across the country. The franchise is known for its award-winning quick response and great turnaround time for professional services in water damage restoration. It is important to note that the companies mentioned here provide services for all three categories of water damage.

Now that you know how the services work to help you rebuild your home, it is essential that you seek a quote first before starting any type of repairs. You must have an idea of how much the repairs and restoration will cost to make the necessary arrangements in advance. Owning your own home instills a sense of pride, and allows for personal freedom – keeping it in shipshape becomes your responsibility. So don’t hesitate to call an expert if you face water damage.



A comprehensive cheat sheet for successfully renting a storage unit

Moving to a new place or downsizing the size of your house can be a tedious task. The process becomes tougher if you are in the midst of the moving process and need to temporarily store your precious belongings someplace else. Asking a friend or relative to store your belongings might not be a comfortable option for you. Instead, you can store your belongings safely in storage units that are meant exclusively for these purposes. Storage facilities offer a dedicated space to their customers who seek to store their belongings in that space for a set period of time.

You can think of the storage facility as your landlord. The only difference here is that you have to deal with this “landlord” once or twice when you sign up and move your possessions. As long as you adhere to the contract and pay your rent on time, you have the storage unit all to yourself. However, choosing a reliable, reasonable storage facility is not an easy task. There are several factors you need to consider before you decide to trust the company with your belongings. It is easy to get swayed by low prices, but there are other factors involved as well. It is essential to consider the options with due diligence as you will be entrusting the storage company with your precious belongings. Which is why you will need all the help you can get, especially if you are a novice at this. Rest assured, as help is on its way. This will ensure that you are up-to-date with all the parameters of making the right choice.

The two major types of storage options
Before you decide on renting a storage space, it is sensible to explore the various options at hand. There are two major types of storage options, and they are:

  • Full-service storage: In this type of storage option, the storage company will offer “valet-style” services to you. Everything, right from picking up your belongings to ensuring that they safely reach the storage unit, is managed by the storage company. Top full-service storage providers even let their customers pick the date and time for moving their belongings. The customers can request and schedule the pick-up or return as per their convenience. Full-service storage options are fast gaining popularity as they save the customer from a great deal of hassle. Moreover, all the belongings will be delivered safely to the storage unit. These service providers even take pictures of the storage unit and document your belongings. So, even if you don’t remember which items were moved into the storage unit, the photos will prove helpful. In such cases, checking your online inventory list will also reveal the contents of the storage unit.
  • Self-storage: Self-storage units are, undoubtedly, the most popular storage unit option among the general public. Though people have to undertake the major responsibilities, the affordable rent structure makes it a feasible option. Such facilities offer a safe, secure, and inexpensive way of storing your extra personal belongings; you can store your furniture or other large items. Self-storage unit providers spell it out clearly to the customers that they have to move their belongings to the storage unit on their own. Moreover, if they wish to pick an item from the storage, they have to do so themselves. In fact, even documenting the belongings is the customer’s responsibility.

Full-service vs. self-storage: What a dilemma!
This is a tough call as both types of storage services have their own perks. Usually, customers opt for self-storage as it is affordable and easier to use. They prefer transporting their own belongings. This allows them the luxury to decide the time and day convenient for dropping off their belongings in the storage unit. So, if you have complete access to a car and aren’t planning on storing a lot of things, you can consider opting for the self-storage unit.

However, self-storage is not always a viable option for those living in large urban areas as driving and parking can be an issue. In such cases, opting for a full-service storage provider is a sensible move. Also, for city-dwellers who stay in apartments with elevators or stairs, full-service storage services come in handy. They’ll help you move and handle all your belongings with care. In such cases, you will be relieved as the vital responsibility of moving and dropping off your belongings is done by the company.

Steel or wooden storage units: Which should I choose?
Most storage units are made either of steel or wood. However, opting for steel-framed storage units is hands down the most popular choice. In addition to being sturdy, steel storage units are the most weatherproof type of storage pod. If you decide to opt for an outdoor storage unit, it is advisable to choose a metal storage unit for obvious reasons. However, if your budget doesn’t permit renting a steel storage unit, you still have the option of choosing a wood storage unit with a waterproof covering on top.

Finding a storage unit near you is easy-peasy
Finding a reliable storage unit provider can be an overwhelming task, especially if you are doing it for the first time. Fret not as there are thousands of good storage unit facilities located throughout the country. You can find the nearest storage unit facility near you by using the store locators on the Internet. All you have to do is type in your zip code or your city and state of residence, and hit the “find storage” button. The store locator will pull up quotes from the storage unit facility near your location. All you have to do is compare the quotes and read their contract diligently. Some of the popular storage facilities include Extra Space Storage, Public Storage, CubeSmart, and U-Haul.

Choosing the right-sized storage unit is necessary
There are three types of storage unit sizes: small storage units, medium storage units, and large storage units.

  • Small storage units: The small storage units are sized 5’x5’ and 5’x10’. The 5’x5’ units are the size of a small walk-in closet and are meant for storing personal items, clothes, boxes, skis, small furniture, children’s toys. The 5’x10’ units are meant for small furniture, sofas, chairs, box spring and mattress, chest of drawers, business supplies and records, and small items and boxes.
  • Medium storage units: There are two types of medium storage units — 7.5’x10’ units and 10’x10’ units. The  7.5’x10’ storage units can store furniture and other items that 5’x10’ units can store, and the 10’x10’ storage units can unit store the contents of a one-bedroom apartment along with all major appliances, boxed items, furniture, and other supplies.
  • Large storage units: There are three variants available if you opt for large storage units: 10’x15’ units, 10’x20’ units, and 10’x30’ units. The 10’x15’ units will allow you to store items of a two-bedroom apartment along with the appliances, furniture, boxed items, and supplies. If you opt for the 10’x20’ storage unit, you can store the contents of a three-bedroom apartment along with all its contents. The 10’x30’ storage unit is the largest storage unit you will come across. Such storage units can hold the contents of a four-to-five bedroom home along with all the home appliances. Moreover, these storage units are even used for storing commercial equipment as well.

Now that you are acquainted with the differently sized storage units, it becomes easier for you to make a decision. You will have to base your decision on the basis of which items you wish to store.

Key features of the ideal storage unit
Before you decide on a particular storage unit provider, you need a checklist to ensure that you are making the right decision. There are several factors that need to be crossed off the list before you sign the dotted line. Storage units are equipped with certain features and the best ones will offer almost each one of these to their customers. So, look for these key features while looking for a storage unit near you.

  • Degree of accessibility
  • Number of locks
  • Climate control
  • Video monitoring
  • In-person surveillance
  • Sizes offered
  • Overall safety and the security of the facility

In addition to these essential features, another factor that vouches for the storage facility’s credibility is the reviews it received online. To determine whether a particular storage unit facility is the right one for you, visit online consumer forums. The reviews are mostly accurate and will help you make the right call.

Dos and don’ts for storing items
Though you will be paying for the entire storage unit, you shouldn’t stuff it with all your belongings. There are certain items that shouldn’t be stored in storage units. It is dangerous to store flammable items like fireworks, chemicals, fertilizers, paint, narcotics, gasoline, and propane tanks. Also, it is advisable to not use the storage units for perishable items like food, medicines, and plants. It is essential that you familiarize yourself with the various rules and regulations of the storage facility before loading up the unit. Usually, the storage facility provides its customers with a list of items that they can and cannot store in the storage unit.

Chalking out money matters
Price is one of the major determining factors in your quest to find the right storage unit. According to the online storage marketplace SpareFoot, the average monthly price of all unit sizes is $87.15 a month. This amount is calculated considering the average price per square foot to be $0.97. However, there are several other factors that affect the rent of the storage space. They are:

  • Location: Like every other piece of real estate, the rent of the storage spaces varies according to their location. Those living in large urban areas might find the storage facilities to be more expensive than the ones on the outskirts of the city. If you aren’t keen on paying a lot of money on renting a storage unit, then try opting for storage facilities in a nearby suburb.
  • Time: The amount of time you will be renting the storage place also determines the overall price. Usually, self-storage facilities are more flexible when it comes to allocating storage spaces; they even allow you to store your belongings for a week! Whereas, with full-service storage facilities, the rentals will be leased out on a monthly basis.
  • Size of the storage unit: As established earlier, the number of items you wish to store will determine the size of the storage unit best suited for you. However, even the storage size has a major role in deciding the rent of the storage space. It is common knowledge that the bigger the storage space, the higher the monthly cost. So, it is essential to determine which items go into the storage facility as this will be the deciding factor here.
  • Services offered: Self-service storage facilities are cheaper than full-service storage facilities. As full-service storage facilities take the entire responsibility of moving your belongings and storing it, you will be shelling out more money.
  • Essential features: If you wish to store items that can succumb to extreme temperature, you will have to opt for climate-controlled storage units. Such storage units cost 15 percent more than the regular ones. Also, if you wish to access your storage unit any time of the day, you will have to find 24/7 storage unit facilities near you. Such storage facilities charge more money than the ones that offer limited access. Also, if you are using the storage unit for storing valuable items, you will need to consider a storage facility that offers impeccable security features. However, even if the storage facility is completely secure, there are chances of a break-in. Which is why most storage facilities require the customer to have insurance. It is a sensible decision to insure your items as it comes in handy while replacing broken or stolen items. However, you need to check the policies of the storage facilities as some of them offer protection for items against damage or loss, free of charge. Your preferences for certain features in the particular storage unit will play a major role in determining the rent.

Inquire for rental specials and discounts
A cardinal rule to follow when you are out shopping for anything is to always try bargaining or look for discounts. This is applicable to your storage unit as well. Before you decide on the final figure, you should inquire whether the storage facility offers any rental specials or discounts. Usually, storage companies offer the first month free or for $1! However, it is essential to read the contract carefully as the meager rent might lock you into a 3- or 6- month deal.

Pay attention to the gate and office hours
When you finally find the right storage facility, compare the gate and office hours. It is a common practice for storage facilities to post only their gate hours. This is done with the intention of making people think that their storage facility is open beyond office hours. However, there’s a catch here; the gate hours are usually the hours in which you can access your storage unit, but the office hours are shorter. Longer gate hours are suitable for those who wish to have more flexible access to their storage units. However, if you wish to speak to someone for addressing any issue, you can do that only during the office hours. So, ensure that you check the gate and office hours before you finalize the deal. It is essential to have reasonable access to your storage unit and subsequent assistance from the office staff.

Choosing the right storage unit is indispensable to your desire to keep your belongings safe. Moreover, you shouldn’t compromise on the security and other features for saving money. In fact, doing so might actually turn into a costly affair if your belongings break or are stolen. Since you are a part of the technologically-inclined 21st century, you will have access to all the information pertaining to your task of locating the best storage unit facility near you. Also, while you are at it, some security measures from your end can never go waste. So, go ahead, consider spending money on a strong lock. At the end of the day, your quest for the perfect storage unit is guided by the desire for peace of mind. And, this will surely help you attain it.

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Here’s how to choose the right HR performance management software

Performance management is one of the most important functions of the human resource department. HR personnel closely work with key people of every department to assess employee performance for the betterment of the staff as well as the company. Today, the HR department of most companies use performance management software to streamline this function.

What makes performance management software useful? There might be many answers to this question, but one factor that remains constant is the software’s features. Features undoubtedly determine the usefulness of performance management software. All performance management software offer a set of features that can help an organization achieve its performance goals.

While choosing software for performance management, an organization must consider the features that they require. Mentioned below are eight features to look for in performance management software. These features can help an organization improve its overall performance and productivity.

Features: The backbone of any performance management software

  • Compatibility: Due to the availability of several HR management software, organizations might face difficulties in finding the right software which will be compatible with their existing technology. Therefore, it is essential to check this feature while opting for any performance management software.
  • Immediate and continuous feedback: Today, there is no longer a system of annual performance reviews and feedback in the fast-paced corporate world. Instead, employers give and receive feedback continuously for managing employee performance. It increases motivation, enhances performance, and elevates engagement between the employees and their employers. With the right use of an HR performance management software, companies can offer performance-related feedback anytime, anywhere.
  • Performance measurement: The performance measurement feature provides comprehensive information about employees’ talent. This information can help managers understand their employees’ strengths, development opportunities, and career goals as well.
  • Job specific reviews: As there are several departments in any organization, it can be helpful to have a performance management software that allows employers or managers to create and customize job-specific performance assessments for accurate reviews.
  • Ability to set and convey new goals: Performance management becomes fruitful when one has the ability to create dynamic goals within the performance management software. This feature also offers a place where one can update their career objectives over time. The management can then ensure that the employee’s career goals are in line with the company’s objectives. It can also be a powerful tool for corporations that want to promote career transparency.
  • Reports: Efficient performance management software must have a feature where managers can generate reports based on employees’ performance.
  • Succession planning: Here, succession planning means having the right tools that will help an employee adjust to their new role within the same organization. The performance management software must have this feature along with career development tools and coaching tools to ensure seamless and proactive succession planning.
  • Actionable information: A performance management software should be able to provide insights that would help an organization understand the areas of improvement. These insights can come from performance metrics and 360-degree feedback. Moreover, to successfully utilize performance management software, an organization must be able to align the performance metrics with its business objectives.

Top HR performance management software
The features mentioned earlier play a significant role in ensuring the efficiency of a performance management software. Therefore, as a small, mid-sized, or enterprise-class business, it is important to learn about as many performance management software as possible that will deliver the desired outcome.

Given below are seven popular HR performance management software.

Performance Pro by HR Performance Solutions
Performance Pro is a cloud-based performance management and appraisal solution ideal for companies with a strength of 50–1000 employees. This software allows users to promote performance management practices while focusing on employee development, coaching, pay-for-performance, and goal or strategy alignment.

Performance Pro offers a free demo to companies. The price of their software starts at around $16.00 per year per user. Additionally, their team provides extensive training through documentation, webinars, live online chatting, and in person interaction to ensure compatibility.

This performance management software provides features like 360-degree feedback, applicant tracking, compensation management, onboarding, performance management, and recruiting management.

Companies from the following industries use Performance Pro:

  • Marketing and advertising
  • Automotive
  • Financial services
  • Non-profit
  • Hospitality
  • Construction

Performly Talent
Performly Talent is another cloud-based performance management software. Performly is innovative and has an interface that allows companies to adopt technologically advanced performance management practices. Thus, it can help an organization utilize their human capital productively.

As far as the competitive edge is concerned, Performly’s performance management features are based on the latest trends, which makes this brand slightly different from others in the market. Additionally, companies that believe in constant productive feedback can rely on Performly as it provides continuous feedback while focusing on the business objectives and results.

Performly Talent has a customer base that comprises of a diverse set of companies from different industries across the globe. Some key companies that use the software are into the following industries:

  • Transportation network
  • Management consulting
  • Real estate
  • Telecommunications
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Internet

BirdDog HR focuses on the performance of an employee from the day they join a company by engaging with them from the start. Companies from all industries including federal contractors, technology, manufacturing, and financial services can benefit from this performance management software.

BirdDogHR comes with over a dozen features while retaining its user-friendliness. Some key features include employment branding, goal monitoring, skill development, gap identification, scorecards, knowledge management, and performance management.

BirdDogHR has received great satisfaction ratings from companies like Zachry Group, Leopardo, Bison, SpawGlass, and more. Some other companies that use BirdDogHR belong to the following industries:

  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Energy
  • Financial services
  • HVAC
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil and Gas
  • Services
  • Wholesale and supply

Communication is key when it comes to productive feedback. TowerMetriX provides tools for performance management as well as a comprehensive set of communication capabilities that can help an organization maintain an open communication channel between the employees, managers, team leaders, and more. An efficient communication channel can lead to the empowerment of teams within the organization and increase transparency among employees and their managers.

Furthermore, to make the most of any given performance management software, companies need to focus on continuous learning and employee growth. Features that come with TowerMetriX enable a company to consistently pay attention to all aspects of learning and growth.

Some customers of TowerMetriX include Derry Township School District, Helios HR, Meadows Casino, and The Rhodes Group. Some other industries which employ the services of this HR performance management software are:

  • Gambling & Casinos
  • Construction
  • Outsourcing, consultancy, recruiting
  • Education

Workday Human Capital Management
Workday offers performance management under its Human Capital Management suite. It provides organizations with real-time insights, predictive analysis, and global visibility. One of the best features of this software is its ease of use as most of its tools are self-explanatory. Easily fetchable embedded reports is another feature of this software that allows users to analyze employee performance.

Additionally, organizations can be sure that the information they enter in the software remains secure as Workday partners with the most reliable and secure providers of data-centers.

Some popular companies that trust Workday’s enterprise cloud suite for performance management include Netflix, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Sanofi, Abbott, Bank of America, and TripAdvisor.

Workday has a customer base from many different industries like:

  • Hospitality
  • Insurance
  • Education
  • Life sciences
  • Manufacturing
  • Media and entertainment
  • Nonprofit

TalentGuard Performance Management
This HR performance management software is designed to help small and mid-sized organizations assess, manage, develop, effectively lead, and reward employees. Additionally, the software offers services where the management can evaluate employee performance based on their competency, role-based skills, their development goals, and career objectives.

An interesting fact about TalentGuard Performance Management software is that its design allows the user to create customized assessments that specifically focus on behavior, career and succession paths, job responsibilities, and development plans.

Some of the companies that use TalentGuard’s performance management software include Central City, Endsight, INTEC GROUP, Shaw Sports Turf, Vertech, and more.

TalentGuard has a customer base from many different industries such as:

  • Banking and finance
  • Biotechnology
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Fitness
  • Food and beverage
  • Retail and design
  • Real estate
  • Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Entertainment
  • Government

SAP SuccessFactors
This performance management software created by SAP is designed keeping in mind the comprehensive needs of small and mid-sized businesses. The same software can be used by enterprise-class organizations as well.

SuccessFactors helps an organization with talent solution, collaboration, streamlining core HR functions, and workforce analytics. Thus, it can collectively improve and manage the overall performance of an organization. Furthermore, SuccessFactor throws light on the biggest challenges the organization faces and provides end-to-end integrated business solutions to those challenges.

Some popular companies using SuccessFactors are Accenture PLC, Aasonn LLC, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Cascades Inc, and ARM Holdings. Industries that use SuccessFactors are mentioned below.

  • Computer software
  • Information technology and services
  • Staffing and recruiting
  • Management consulting
  • Manufacturing
  • Chemicals
  • Construction
  • Financial services
  • Food production
  • Human resources

Each software mentioned above has its own unique selling point and advantages that cater to a given type of organization. Reading the feedback and testimonials of customers can help an organization make a buying decision.

A look at the pros and cons
Learning about the advantages and disadvantages of performance management software is just as important as knowing about their features. Therefore, here are a few pros and cons of utilizing a performance management software that will help an organization make a sound decision:


  • With the use of performance management software, the management can successfully keep everyone in the firm informed and connected.
  • Improved communication due to performance management software can help employees and managers build a positive professional relationship. They can also discuss and solve the problems that they face while working.
  • The right performance management tools can help managers identify bottlenecks and inefficient employees.
  • The use of performance management software provides productive feedback. This information can help in successful career planning for employees as well as the human resources department.


  • Incorporating a performance management software can be a lengthy and complex procedure for some organizations.
  • It can be hard to communicate and train everyone in the organization to efficiently use the software.
  • Even a minute technical glitch can act as a barrier in the entire process of performance management. Additionally, it may be hard to get prompt support at that time.
  • Data is crucial for every company. Therefore, it is important to buy a highly trustworthy performance management software that would not misuse the data provided by the client/company.
  • A faulty performance management software can lead to errors in evaluating an employee’s performance.

Trends in performance management software
Trends are important in the world of business. Companies looking for performance management software should be well-versed with the latest trends to ensure they stay ahead in their game. Below are seven performance management trends that every company and software maker should know about.

  • Employee wellbeing is slowly becoming just as important as employee performance.
  • Feedback is useful as long as it is supported by regular mentoring, coaching, and conversations.
  • Meaningful performance management with a human connection can help every organization achieve its goal.
  • The use of artificial intelligence can make performance management software more efficient.
  • Performance management will be focused on manager impact more than completion rates in the future.
  • Using performance management software for employee development is more important than using it only for appraisals.
  • Performance management software that focuses on improved communication will be more fruitful.

The take-back
Performance management is critical for the success of any organization. Therefore, every organization must put a lot of thought into choosing a software for managing the performance of their employees.

It is important for companies to learn more about the latest trends and predictions related to performance management software. Additionally, looking for features that follow these trends will help a company stay ahead of its competitors by ensuring optimal employee performance.



Promotional products and how they help your business

Smart shoppers today might love an engaging read that highlights the business or a video that summarizes everything about it. But this does not mean that businesses should stop investing in promotional products altogether. With the traditional forms of advertisement costing a pretty penny, small businesses need to look for techniques that are cost-effective and extremely impactful. Many still prefer promotional products as an alternative to a sensory overload caused by the bombardment of information on digital platforms.

Branded giveaways and promotional seminars still attract customers the same way they used to back in the day. It goes without saying, people are putting lavish efforts to promote a brand or business online, especially on social media. But a custom coffee mug can still generate the same amount of interest for the business. It all depends on the type of product and the promotional strategy you plan to use.

The cost of bulk ordering and customizing a promotional product is something even small businesses can pay to boost their marketing campaign. The best part of this is that your potential customers get to enjoy a few freebies now and then, which they will definitely appreciate.  

Low-cost promotional items for your small business
Not everything that is expensive is necessarily the best choice. Promotional products do not need to be extravagant since everyday items are much handier and appreciated. While things like plaques, or ceramic showpieces look pretty enough, you know you would much rather have a comfortable T-shirt you can lounge around in. It is essential to plan smart, rather than plan big when it comes to promotional items.

What products can be used to promote a business?
Clothes, caps, calendars, writing instruments, desk accessories, USB drives, power banks, bags, and even umbrellas are the top promotional products owned by consumers in the country. There are promotional products that every business could be considering and then there are products that your business must absolutely consider. To ensure that a promotional product piques your target consumer’s interest in the business, it is important to understand the demographic that influences your strategy. While every consumer is different, they all have one thing in common; the excitement they share on receiving a brand-new product. Something that they can use in their day-to-day lives. Products are a much better way of getting the brand name out there as opposed to a digital promotion that merely gives your consumers a gift voucher or discount code that is used once and forgotten about.

Here are some top choices for promotional products available at a fairly negligible production cost for your perusal. These products add immense brand value to your company through indirect advertising.

Personalized magnets
It is a timeless marketing strategy and the baby boomer generation can relate to the nostalgia of fiddling with refrigerator magnets, especially the ones that come in different funky shapes and sizes. Still used extensively throughout households in the country, it is something that catches your attention almost every day in the kitchen. Studies show that consumers recall the names of a brand or a business better with a promotional product. It is a constant reminder that gradually generates interest in the product/brand. A business card magnet customized with all the relevant contact details will increase the reach and spread awareness about the brand. The consumer will be able to use it on a frequent basis with the information right there in front of their eyes. Remember, out of sight is out of mind which is why personalized business card magnets are better than a pop-up advertisement, especially in the case of the product advertised being a household item or the likes of one. Bulk orders for color prints will cost you less than 20 cents per card and this mini-billboard advertisement can help you promote your business easily. Advertising without really advertising is the only way to stand out of the clutter and a product as simple as a refrigerator magnet can help you always be within the notice of your customer.

A pen is mightier than the sword but is it mighty enough to promote your brand? The answer is a resounding yes! Not as an alternative to direct violence; in contrast to the historic adage, but for three specific reasons. The form of stationery is affordable, readily available, and everyone uses them. From signing permission slips in high school to filling a 401K claim after retirement, everyone needs a pen. It is perhaps the most effective and overused marketing gimmick, but it bears results every single time. The pen provides access to valuable advertising space for businesses, one which will remain in sight for a greater part of the day. The more they will look at the logo or your brand name, the better are the chances of your business gaining a new customer. Since a small business cannot allocate a major chunk of their investment in commercial advertising, promotional avenues like gifting and personalized products offer an affordable solution. Tax season is just around the corner and there could not be a better time to bulk order some custom pens and give those freebies away at the local kiosk or your next business seminar. As more and more consumers are becoming tech-savvy, simply presenting them with a ballpoint pen that sports your brand logo will not be enough. Instead, gift them a combo pen, the ones that are both a stylus for the smartphone and an ordinary pen for tackling paperwork.  

Coffee mugs
The motivation that you get from a fresh cup of Joe is something that you just cannot compare to those Monday morning quotes. It is also the perfect opportunity for you to promote the business brand name. To do so, you have to understand the key demographic of your audience and ask the question repeatedly, what will the consumer like? Some people enjoy coffee mugs that feature a motivational quote while others might love a photo mug of their pet. Some might find coffee mugs of vivid shapes and size amusing. Whatever the case may be, you have to understand that a generic marketing copy may not necessarily work with today’s smart consumer. Finding out what works best for the consumer will allow you to personalize products to promote and promote your brand. Custom brand messages and personalizations increase the likelihood of the consumer keeping the product and also using it on a daily basis. Coffee mugs provide you with just the right amount of space and utility that further appeals to potential consumers. Don’t skimp out on quality as it may be perceived as what your business is all about. Keep in mind that the devil is in the detail. You also have the perfect opportunity to motivate your employees with coffee mugs, each with its own personal message. Present the employee of the month with a picture mug that captures that moment of elation on the day you congratulated the employee. He or she will also be reminded of their contribution to the success of the business every single coffee run!

You cannot put a price on gifts, but you certainly can put your brand name/logo on it making the product a wonderful example as a promotional item. Most people think of product promotions as an expensive means of advertising the brand or business. However, this perception is far away from the truth as small businesses simply don’t have the capital to spend extensively on commercial advertisements. Rather, a promotional run offers a cheaper alternative to get the word out about your business in comparison to billboards and commercials. Small businesses are prone to use apparels as one of their primary modes of advertisement. So here is where you need to get creative and come up with a design that not only promotes your business brand effectively but also adds personal value to the underlying message in your company’s slogan or tagline. It is also how mainstream brands enjoy a loyal customer base today and have managed to retain the audience by way of smart promotions, offers, and deals. Check out the posts on social media with people sporting hoodies and full sleeves with the brand name scrawled across in bold. Add a hashtag, a contest, and voila, you’ve got yourself a viral post! Every now and then, a fitness brand is a sponsor partner for events like marathon runs. The runners all then sport the apparel during their run, lending more publicity to the brand. Unknowingly, these participants have already promoted the sponsor brands by posting pictures about the run and tweeting about the outfit.

No seminar is complete without a goody-bag! Often times, people find themselves flocking to a free seminar for a couple of hours. While some go there to learn about a new product or service, others go for the free donuts and coffee. And then there are some who just want to get their hands on the small bag of delightful surprises. For business owners and entrepreneurs, it is the perfect opportunity to label their brand on those bags and ensure that word gets out. Mind you, people are becoming more and more concerned about the environment so a tote bag made out of biodegradable materials will be much better received than a leather product. A beautiful, roomy tote bag is sure to attract eyeballs and one won’t even need to keep telling others where they got it from. Your potential customers are also your loyal brand ambassadors, and this is one tip you must not forget. Your customers will choose to use your promotional product in their day-to-day activities if you simply making an interesting product that stands out of the pack.

Glasses and bottles
Everyday use items like glasses and bottles are another great promotional opportunity for business owners to capitalize on indirect advertising. If you are a fitness brand, then your business will certainly benefit from this type of promotion as fitness enthusiasts always carry a water bottle to the rec center, be it for a morning of intense cardio or peaceful meditation. Smart consumers are also environmentally conscious which is why they will refrain from using one-time-use plastic bottles. Shaker bottles make the perfect branding tool as your business name or logo will be right in front of their eyes for a major part of the day. A cool, vibrant, shaker is sure to get the attention of people. If not direct, it is still a great way to encourage potential customers to talk about in which seminar they got the promotional item and where can their friends get one. Before you know it, attendance at the next big expo or promotional event has doubled in size all thanks to the colorful little logo on the side of the bottle that managed to rouse someone’s interest.

A promotional drive is the best way for your small business to get the word out and give something back to the local community in turn. Yes, not all promotions have to advertise your business. Rather, your business can sponsor a local event or charity drive to enhance positive customer perception about your mission and vision in the long term. Think about how much the neighbors will enjoy a nice BBQ lunch to raise money for a charity of their choice. Why not sponsor the apparels for the local kids’ soccer team? The little ones running around in t-shirts that sport your brand logo and name in bold letters make for adorable photo-ops. A playful yet efficient way to create brand awareness is while promoting and supporting a good cause. The few extra goodwill points won’t hurt as you try to pave the way for your business to get recognized.



Top 3 email marketing services for small businesses

Starting a new business can be a challenging task, and getting it right in the first attempt can be equally taxing. To ensure that your business expands to different horizons, you need the right marketing tools to aid in this endeavor. Email marketing services are one of the most important marketing tools whose effectiveness is often downplayed.
Choosing the right email marketing service for your business can prove immensely beneficial, as it helps you establish a direct contact with your customers, and you wouldn’t be spending oodles of money doing so.
So, below are the top 3 email marketing service providers, ideal for small businesses, which ensure that you communicate effectively with your client:

Constant Contact
This email service provider is one of the most reliable email marketing services that has been garnering popularity owing to its usefulness and simple interface; even a novice can easily use this email marketing tool without any hassle. Constant Contact allows you to manage your email lists, contacts, and email templates with great ease. It even provides its user with easy tracking and reporting, an image library, built-in social media sharing tools, and 1GB of storage for their files. In fact, Constant Contact even offers online training and live seminars in several neighborhoods, thereby, making it the perfect marketing tool for small businesses.

Here’s a robust email marketing platform that has proven quite useful for marketers, professional bloggers, authors, and small businesses. ConvertKit is quite powerful and easy to use. It even allows the users to offer various content upgrades and incentives to their clients with the email signup forms. Moreover, even the auto-responders are easy to manage, and you can successfully send drip emails. Additionally, ConvertKit even offers email-based support to its users and has an extensive knowledge base along with great learning material.

Drip has been hailed as one of the most robust email marketing platforms that have been successfully catering to eCommerce websites, marketers, and bloggers. It is quite popular with various audiences, as it offers a wide range of tools along with their smart email marketing platform. People often choose this email marketing service provider because it is quite beginner-friendly and offers several add-ons available for popular website builders like WooCommerce and WordPress. Drip outranks most of its competitors, as it offers several intelligent marketing automation tools, list groups, smarter email segmenting, and a plethora of amazing features that can allow you to contact specific audiences in your email list.




Benefits of using a ERP management software

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a compilation of tools and applications that collect, store, interpret, and manage data for a business. An ERP management software is made of multiple modules to oversee a complete business administration. The accounting, corporate governance, corporate law, economics, finance, marketing, and allied aspects of a business enterprise can be easily managed using an ERP management software.
Below are the top benefits of using ERP management software:

An ERP management software automatically eliminates processes that are repetitive in order to save time and efforts that are taken to manage information manually. The system streamlines business processes, irrespective of the size of the venture or enterprise, thus, optimizing information management to promote operational efficiency.

Database management
Access to information is crucial when it comes to database management, which is where an ERP software plays a pivotal role. The software unifies data from all the departments on a centralized server for easy access and utility. Consolidation of information also increases the quality and reliability of the information.

Report generation
Unified access to information from a central database enables you to generate accurate reports. An ERP management software offers many analytical tools that aid in corporate planning to improve operational efficiency. The tools provide users with insights and data metrics that assist in efficient enterprise resource management.

The implementation of an ERP software in an organization also helps the upper management forecast strategies that can make the enterprise more profitable; thus, the software helps the organization in achieving its vision. Easy access to accurate information makes forecasting reliable, which benefits the organization in the long run.

One of the main benefits of using ERP management software is collaboration. On-demand access to information enables employees on all levels of the organization to collaborate effectively on one central server.

User permission settings
An ERP management software offers a setting called user permissions, this setting allows people with the right authorization to access, utilize, and share information on the company server. Authorized access also keeps track of the information that can be traced back to the individual who shared it to the database.

Cost-effective software
An ERP management software automates multiple processes to reduce the time and efforts taken to manage information, which in turn saves a lot of money. Implementing an ERP system also significantly reduces the need and dependence on the IT administration and application support.



4 tips for choosing the ideal email marketing service provider

Email marketing is a cost-effective way of publicizing your business and keeping your clientele updated about the different offers or new services you have to offer. Even small businesses can opt for email marketing software because they are quite cheap and fulfill the purposes of managing and establishing contact with the clients.
As there are a plethora of email marketing service providers, choosing the right one can be a task. So, here are some effective tips to ensure that you make the right choice.

Integration with the contact database
You need to choose an email marketing software that can be seamlessly integrated into your contact database or customer relationship management (CRM) system. Doing so proves extremely convenient in generating targeted mailing lists or selections based on factors like interest, place, position, or customer category. In the absence of such an email marketing software, handling and updating the mailing lists manually can prove quite time-consuming and expensive. So, choose an email marketing tool that can easily integrate with your contact database.

Reading and viewing options
Another important factor you need to consider while choosing the right email marketing platform for your business is the whether it offers multiple reading and viewing options. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, people do not log in to the traditional desktop setting only to read their emails. This means that you will need an email marketing software that offers functionality in the form of mobile-optimized templates. Your clients should be able to access their emails on their mobiles devices, and it should be properly displayed as well.

Mailing statistics
If you are conducting a mailing campaign, you’ll definitely have to track the result to gauge the success rate. So, you need to choose an email marketing tool that allows you to track results and view the statistics that display the number of emails opened, sent, link tracking, start/end date, time, lists, and more. Moreover, it will be more convenient if it’s presented visually, as it makes reporting to the organization hassle-free.

Response handling
Irrespective of the size of your business—small, medium, or colossal—you need to pay attention to the email response handling. Smaller businesses that cater to around 1,500 people per month would require moderate response handling system, and some part of the task will have to be done manually. However, if your business caters to a wide audience, you’ll be handling mass amount of emails; therefore, you will have to choose an email marketing tool that allows you to send automated responses or collect customer responses into tickets.



Needs, benefits, and applications of performance management tools

Communication is one of the most effective tools in an organization and plays a vital role when it comes to performance management. Also, communication with a proper feedback mechanism in place is one of the most useful functions of premium performance management tools and software.

Large companies and organizations develop certain processes to enhance the performance of employees and ensure that their output aligns with the company’s mission and vision. These enhancements ensure a steady growth in the organization and simultaneously boosts the employee’s morale by way of appraisals.

Need for a performance management system

  • One of the main functions of employing these systems is to enhance employee performance across the various levels of the organization.
  • Performance management tools also help promote two-way communication that strengthens the employer-employee relationship.
  • Information management is optimized using this system that ultimately ensures an effective communication channel.
  • Performance management tools and software also help create a work environment that promotes a continuous learning process to enhance skills and ensure personal growth for the employees in an organization.

Benefits of performance management tools and software

  • Performance management tools and allied functions address issues related to job satisfaction, which is one of the most important parameters when it comes to employees.
  • The systems ensure proper evaluation and assessment on the individual, department, and even company level to keep various output parameters in check that would not be possible otherwise.
  • Employment of these systems also enables businesses and enterprises to take a broad spectrum approach while analyzing employee and business perspectives.
  • The approach is effective in increasing the efficiency and output of both employees and the employer, thus helping the organization achieve its goals.

Applications of performance management tools and software

The software and systems in place will help upper management forecast what needs to be done to achieve organizational goals and enhance operational efficiency.

Performance management tools and software feature functions that save time during data collection, analysis of performance, and generation of reports that assist in operational analysis.

Improving performance gaps
Optimizing performance is one of the primary functions of these systems employed by businesses and enterprises. The systems identify any gaps in the processes in place to facilitate various business needs and carry out allied tasks.



6 factors to choose the best performance management tools

Performance management tools and software help boost productivity and improve the overall performance of an organization. The management software has some features and functions that help the organization optimize resources, and help its labor force achieve their vision and goal.

Technological advances further enable organizations to follow a strategic and goal-oriented approach. Apart from business management techniques, popular performance management tools and software provide a feedback mechanism to ensure employee efficiency.

However, with many vendors and software options available in the market, you must consider the following points to avoid any confusion. Ensure you get the best deal while purchasing or subscribing to a premium performance management service.

Business needs
Consider your business needs to assess the type of performance management tool or software that will prove beneficial for steady growth. You must ask why your business needs the tool or service, and how the tools and software will benefit you for the premium price paid.

Choose a vendor
Most vendors offer an all-round solution for businesses and enterprises. However, vendor support and solutions are among the many factors that you must consider before buying performance management tools and software. Your business needs must align with the products and services available with the vendor, primarily to ensure efficient implementation, support, and workflow management.

One of the most vital functions of a performance management tool and software is a real-time feedback mechanism. Feedback will provide much-needed insight to improve business decisions and address enterprise issues in a timely and efficient manner.

Performance analysis
The upper management will be able to gain insights and assess overall performance with the help of reports and analytics that form part of the premium software. It is imperative to collect and analyze the data on vital parameters that drive the workforce on an individual, team, and company level to optimize business efficiency.

Ease of use
Performance management tools and software must be easy to use and implement in the existing business structure. Seamless integration is essential to ensure proper workflow management as not every user will be tech savvy.

A premium price does not necessarily guarantee premium services which is why it is imperative to compare product functions to assess whether it is worth buying.