The Importance of Regular Home Improvement

Home improvement, by definition, is making changes to one’s home by making improvements on the house’s looks. Home improvement is usually done by professional contractors, handymen, and even the house owner himself. Home improvement is important because real estate’s value appreciates more if a property is well-maintained. Home improvement is seen by many as unnecessary cost. However, losing value of a real estate is usually caused by neglect in a property’s maintenance. Therefore, in the long run, regular maintenance is crucial for the property’s value to appreciate.

Regular home improvement jobs and renovations will surely make your current living conditions more favorable. People do not easily notice that some areas of the house need improvement. In the long run, regular maintenance will reduce the serious structural damages to your property. It is also important to note that there are different maintenance schedules for different areas of your house. For instance, plumbing should be checked monthly. Ovens, heating systems, smoke detectors, and the like should also be checked monthly to prevent unfortunate disasters. The garden area should be maintained regularly and should undergo rigorous maintenance every four months. This is to prevent insects and termites infestation which can cause significant damage in infrastructure. The landscape of a house should also be in good appearance to help preserve your property’s value. Refrigerators should be checked every three to four months. Check for faulty or loose wiring and avoid energy overload. The roof, on the other hand, should be checked at least every six months. Check for shingles and leaks and take care of them right away. Watch out for blocked gutters as this can lead rainwater to go inside your house. If your house is made mainly of wood, have a regular termite exterminator team visit your house.

Aside from these standard areas in the house that need improvement, remodeling or renovating is also a good idea. It can also add value to real estate. Remodeling can be as simple as changing the paint color in your living room or laying a different color of carpet in your bedroom. Something this simple can make significant changes in your house’s ambience. Renovating can be as major as tearing down the common wall of two rooms to make them one big room. Tearing down walls creates a bigger space which can be used for many purposes. Additional extensions can also be done. Additional space that can be used as garage space is useful. Home improvement tasks that require massive construction should be done by professional contractors. Make a list on what you want changed inside your homes and consult with a team of contractors. This way, you will have an idea on the costs that will be incurred as well as the extent of the repairs and improvements you can do.

Home improvement is important because essentially, it is considered taking care of your home. Aside from the additional value it gives your property, preventive maintenance and remodeling is always good to decrease future damages in your property.

The Role of Technology in Education

In the current age we live in, technology has become an important component. Every day there is some new gadget or software that makes lives easier and improves on the technology and software that already exists. Making lives easier is not, however, the only role technology plays in our lives.

Technology is playing an increasing role in education. As technology advances, it is used to benefit students of all ages in the learning process.

Technology used in the classroom helps students adsorb the material. For example, since some people are visual learners, projection screens linked to computers can allow students to see their notes instead of simply listening to a teacher deliver a lecture.

Software can be used to supplement class curriculum. The programs provide study questions, activities, and even tests and quizzes for a class that can help students continue learning outside the classroom.

Technology has also become part of many curriculums, even outside of computer and technology classes. Students use computers to create presentations and use the Internet to research topics for papers and essays.

Students also learn to use the technology available to them in computer and tech classes. This ensures that after graduation they will be able to use the technology in a work setting, which may put them ahead of someone who didn’t have access to a particular technology or software in their own school setting.

As technology advances, students have better access to educational opportunities like these. When something new and “better” is revealed, the “older” technology becomes more affordable, allowing it to be used in educational settings, even when schools are on a tight budget.

Technology has also advanced to help children even before they’ve started school. Educational video games and systems for young children helps them prepare for school and in some cases get a head start on their education.

There are people who may say children are “spoiled” by technology. Instead of being able to add a long column of numbers in their heads, for example, they turn to a calculator. Regardless of these arguments, technology is an important part of today’s society. By incorporating it into the classroom, students will be better equipped to transition from the classroom to the work place.

Restaurants Kinds and Characteristics

Broadly speaking, restaurants can be categorized into a number of categories:
1. Chain or independent (indy) and franchise restaurants. McDonald's, Union Square Cafe, or KFC
2. Quick service (QSR), sandwich. Burger, chicken, and so on; Convenience store, noodle, pizza
3. Fast casual. Panera Bread, Atlanta Bread Company, Au Bon Pain, and so on
Family. Bob Evans, Perkins, Friendly's, Steak 'n Shake, Waffle House
5. Casual. Applebee's, Hard Rock Caf'e, Chili's, TGI Friday's
6. Fine dining. Charlie Trotter's, Morton's Steakhouse, Flemming's, The Palm, Four Seasons
7. Other. Steakhouses, seafood, ethnic, dinner houses, celebrity, and so on. Of course, some restaurants fall into more than one category. For example, an Italian restaurant could be casual and ethnic. Leading restaurant concepts in terms of sales have been tracked for years by the magazine Restaurants and
Institutions.

CHAIN ​​OR INDEPENDENT
The impression that a few huge quick-service chains completely dominate the restaurant business is misleading. Chain restaurants have some advantages and some disadvantages over independent restaurants. The advantages include:

1. Recognition in the marketplace
2. Greater advertising clout
3. Sophisticated systems development
4. Discounted procurement

When franchising, various kinds of assistance are available. Independent restaurants are reliably easy to open. All you need is a few thousand dollars, a knowledge of restaurant operations, and a strong desire to
Succeeded. The advantage for independent restaurateurs is that they can 'do their own thing' in terms of concept development, menus, decor, and so on. Without our habits and taste change drastically, there is plenty of room for independent restaurants in certain locations. Restaurants come and go. Some independent restaurants will grow into small chains, and larger companies will buy out small chains.

Once small chains display growth and popularity, they are likely to be bought out by a larger company or will be able to acquire financing for expansion. A temptation for the beginning restaurateur is to observe large restaurants in big cities and to believe that their success can be duplicated in secondary cities. Reading the restaurant reviews in New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, or San Francisco may give the impression that unusual restaurants can be replicated in Des Moines, Kansas City, or Main Town, USA. Because of demographics, these high-style or ethnic restaurants will not click in small cities and towns.

5. Will go for training from the bottom up and cover all areas of the restaurant's operation Franchising involves the least financial risk in that restaurant format, including building design, menu, and marketing plans, already have been tested in the marketplace. Franchise restaurants are less likely to go belly up than independent restaurants. The reason is that the concept is proven and the operating procedures are established with all (or most) of the kinks worked out. Training is provided, and marketing and management support are available. The increased likelihood of success does not come cheap, however.

There is a franchising fee, a royalty fee, advertising royalty, and requirements of personal personal net worth. For those lacking substantive restaurant experience, franchising may be a way to get into the restaurant business-providing they are prepared to start at the bottom and take a crash training course. Restaurant franchisees are entrepreneurs who prefer to own, operate, develop, and extend an existing business concept through a form of contractual business arrangement called franchising.1 Several franchises have ended up with multiple stores and made the big time. Naturally, most aspiring restaurateurs want to do their own thing-they have a concept in mind and can not wait to go for it.

Here are examples of the costs involved in franchising:

1. A Miami Subs traditional restaurant has a $ 30,000 fee, a royalty of 4.5 percent, and requires at least five years' experience as a multi-unit operator, a personal / business equity of $ 1 million, and a personal / business
Net worth of $ 5 million.

2. Chili's requires a monthly fee based on the restaurant's sales performance (currently a service fee of 4 percent of monthly sales) plus the greater of (a) monthly base rent or (b) percentage rent that is at least 8.5 percent of monthly sales .

3. McDonald's requires $ 200,000 of nonborrowed personal resources and an initial fee of $ 45,000, plus a monthly service fee based on the restaurant's sales performance (about 4 percent) and rent, which is a
Monthly base rent or a percentage of monthly sales. Equipment and preopening costs range from $ 461,000 to $ 788,500.

4. Pizza Factory Express Units (200 to 999 square feet) require a $ 5,000 franchise fee, a royalty of 5 percent, and an advertising fee of 2 percent. Equipment costs range from $ 25,000 to $ 90,000, with miscellaneous costs of $ 3,200 to $ 9,000 and opening inventory of $ 6,000.

5. Earl of Sandwich has options for one unit with a net worth requirement of $ 750,000 and liquidity of $ 300,000; For 5 units, a net worth of $ 1 million and liquidity of $ 500,000 is required; For 10 units, net worth
Of $ 2 million and liquidity of $ 800,000. The franchise fee is $ 25,000 per location, and the royalty is 6 percent.

What do you get for all this money? Franchisors will provide:

1. Help with site selection and a review of any proposed sites
2. Assistance with the design and building preparation
3. Help with preparation for opening
Training of managers and staff
5. Planning and implementation of pre-opening marketing strategies
6. Unit visits and ongoing operating advice

There are hundreds of restaurant franchise concepts, and they are not without risks. The restaurant owned or leased by a franchisee may fail even though it is part of a well-known chain that is highly successful. Franchisers also fail. A case in point is the highly touted Boston Market, which was based in Golden, Colorado. In 1993, when the company's stock was first offered to the public at $ 20 per share, it was eager bought, increasing the price to a high of $ 50 a share. In 1999, after the company declared bankruptcy, the share price sank to 75 cents. The contents of many of its stores were auctioned off at
A fraction of their cost.7 Fortunes were made and lost. One group that did not lose was the investment bankers who put together and sold the stock offering and received a sizable fee for services.

The offering group also did well; They were able to sell their shares while the stocks were high. Quick-service food chains as well-known as Hardee's and Carl's Jr. Have also gone through periods of red ink. Both companies, now under one owner called CKE, experienced periods as long as four years when real incomes, as a company, were negative. (Individual stores, company owned or franchised, however, may have done well during the down periods.) There is no assurance that a franchised chain will prosper.

At one time in the mid-1970s, A & W Restaurants, Inc., of Farmington Hills, Michigan, had 2,400 units. In 1995, the chain numbered a few more than 600. After a buyout that year, the chain expanded by 400 stores. Some of the expansions took place in nontraditional locations, such as kiosks, truck stops, colleges, and convenience stores, where the full-service restaurant experience is not important. A restaurant concept may do well in one region but not in another. The style of operation may be highly compatible with the personality of one operator and not another.

Most franchised operations call for a lot of hard work and long hours, which many people perceive as drudgery. If the franchisee lacks sufficient capital and leases a building or land, there is the risk of paying more for the lease than the business can support. Relations between franchisers and the franchisees are often strained, even in the largest companies. The goals of each usually differ; Franchisers want maximum fees, while franchisees want maximum support in marketing and franchised service such as employee training. At times, franchise chains get involved in litigation with their franchises.

As franchise companies have set up hundreds of franchises across America, some regions are planned: More franchised units were built than the area can support. Current franchise holders complain that adding more franchises serves only to reduce sales of existing stores. Pizza Hut, for example, stopped selling
Franchises except to well-qualified buyers who can take on a number of units. Overseas markets institute a large source of the income of several quick-service chains. As might be expected, McDonald's has been the leader in overseas expansions, with units in 119 countries.

With its roughly 30,000 restaurants serving some 50 million customers daily, about half of the company's profits come from outside the United States. A number of other quick-service chains also have large numbers of franchised units abroad. While the beginning restaurateur quite rightly concentrates on being successful here and now, many bright, ambitious, and energetic restaurateurs think of future possibilities abroad. Once a concept is established, the entrepreneur may sell out to a franchiser or, with a lot of guidance, take the form overseas through the franchise. (It is folly to build or buy in a foreign country without a partner who is financially secure and well versed in the local laws and culture.).

The McDonald's success story in the United States and abroad illustrates the importance of adaptability to local conditions. The company opens units in illegally locations and closes those that do not do well. Abroad, men are tailor to fit local customs. In the Indonesia crisis, for example, french fries that had to be imported were taken off the menu, and rice was substituted. Reading the life stories of big franchise winners may suggest that once a franchise is well established, the way is clear sailing. Thomas Monaghan, founder of Domino Pizza, tells a different story. At one time, the chain had accumulated a debt of $ 500 million. Monaghan, a devout Catholic, said that he changed his life by renouncing his greatest sin, pride, and rededicating his life to '' God, family, and pizza. ''

A meeting with Pope John Paul II had changed his life and his feeling about good and evil as '' personal and abiding. '' Monaghan's case, the rededication worked well. There are 7,096 Domino Pizza outlets worldwide, with sales of about $ 3.78 billion a year. Monaghan sold most of his interest in the company for a reported $ 1 billion and announced that he would use his fortune to further Catholic church causes. In the recent past, most food-service millionaires have been franchisers, yet a large number of would-be restaurateurs, especially those enrolled in university degree courses in hotel and restaurant management, are not very excited about being a quick-service franchisee.

They prefer owning or managing a full-service restaurant. Prospective franchisees should review their food experience and their access to money and decision which franchise would be appropriate for them. If they have little or no food experience, they can consider starting their restaurant career with a less expensive franchise, one that provides start-up training. For those with some experience who want a proven concept, the Friendly's chain, which began franchising in 1999, may be a good choice. The chain has more than 700 units. The restaurants are considered family dining and feature ice cream specialties, sandwiches, soups, and quickservice meals.

Let's emphasize this point again: Work in a restaurant you enjoy and sometimes would like to emulate in your own restaurant. If you have enough experience and money, you can strike out on your own. Better yet, work in a successful restaurant where a partnership or proprietorship may be possible or where the owner is thinking about retiring and, for tax or other reasons, may be willing to take payments over time.
Franchisees are, in effect, entrepreneurs, many of whom create chains within chains.

McDonald's had the highest system-wide sales of a quick-service chain, followed by Burger King. Wendy's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC came next. Subway, as one among hundreds of franchisers, gained total sales of $ 3.9 billion. There is no doubt that 10 years from now, a listing of the companies with the highest sales will be different. Some of the current leaders will experience sales Declines, and some will merge with or be bought out by other companies-some of which may be financial giants not previously engaged in the restaurant business.

Living in the Philippines – Best "Passive" Businesses to Start

For those OFW’s and foreigners wishing to start a business, but not wishing to involve themselves with the stress of a business involving day-to-day operations, employees, landlords, inventory, and so forth, there are several available opportunities for foreigners living in the Philippines. Buy fixer upper properties, improve them, then rent or sell them.

1. Buy Fixer Upper Properties, Improve Them, Then Rent or Sell Them. This is a great business for those of you who have experience in your home country in buying, fixing up and renting or selling properties. Over the past 10 years, a lot of people got involved in this kind of business in their homeland.

With the overall economic problems in the world the past couple of years, the Philippines has not been immune, and there are a lot of properties in a state of disrepair, as well as lot of distressed and foreclosed properties.

2. Build An Apartelle. An Apartelle is an apartment building where all but one of the units are rented out long term, and you are left to operate on a nightly or weekly basis, like a hotel – hence the combined name of apartelle. These are common in the Philippines.

This business will require a heavier capital investment, yet with the right property and by focusing in the more rural areas or smaller cities, you can construct a small 4 unit apartment building for Peso 3,000,000 – not counting cost of the land.

You would want to rent out 3 units on a long term rental basis, and keep one for short term rentals – for the many traveling salesmen that frequent the countryside. They like booking into such short term apartelle units rather than the much more expensive hotels in the area.

3. Condotels. I have not given this business my “thumbs up” in all instances. Condotels have been heavily touted and promoted the past several years and there have been many, many new condominiums built in Manila, and now even in Cebu and starting in Davao.

The problem is that although the developers offer great down payment terms (usually around 30% down financed over 3 years) and in some cases carry back the mortgage and finance for perhaps 10 years, the interest rates are incredibly high, and the split of rentals with the management team runs around 50%/50%. There is also always a nominal monthly maintenance fee.

What looks like “cheap” entry point and cash flow out each month, in many cases simply becomes a bet on long term property appreciation – finding someone willing to pay you more for it than you paid for it.

This is because with all the inventory on hand, there is a surplus of condos which have been into hotel type rental pools, but not enough visitors to rent them all.

Consequently, what an investor thought would be a good positive cash cow, turns out to be a continuous negative cash flow – not what a new retiree to the Philippines is looking for to supplement his pension or annuity! This type investment will only drain you pension.

However, having written all this, I HAVE FOUND the past several month two exceptional condotel investments which DO meet my criteria of creating good ongoing rental income.

4. Farming. The likely cessation of the Agrarian Land Reform Program (CARP) will give the rural sector renewed confidence to invest in agricultural production capacity. CARP has held back investment in both production capacity as well as farm acquisition. An end to CARP will mean higher land prices since land will be valued for its higher income producing potential.

However, higher land prices are simply a “serendipity”, an added value, to the type of farming business I am writing about. I have found an extremely unique business opportunity, which will generate a great ROI (return on investment) and is completely passive. It has been structured by the developers (all foreigners) to be a one turnkey investment price. The price includes cost of the land, plus all

Clearing, planting, cultivation and harvesting for the first 5 years.

The business has been priced to fit the capital investment budget of the average foreigner retiree, and all landowners will be members of a cooperative which will share the farming equipment (tractors, equipment shed, and others). The farm will be “farmed” by the developer’s management team

The hottest trend now is in organic farming, and yet it is only in its infancy stage in the Philippines. There is one export product in particular which has caught my attention – the pili nut. The Philippines is the ONLY country with which produces and processes this nut in commercial quantity.

The current status of the pili is equivalent to that of the macadamia some 30 years ago. It has huge potential to develop into a major industry. They are in demand not only in Hong Kong and Taiwan but also in Singapore, Korea and Austria.