Monthly Archives: July 2018

Chatbot and marketing concept

How Real Estate Companies are Using Chatbots to Their Advantage

Chatbot and marketing conceptOne interesting aspect of digital marketing that’s piqued the interest of many entrepreneurs today is the technology called chatbots. Imagine landing the perfect retail property in Vancouver using a messaging interface on your mobile phone or laptop.

Sounds crazy? Well, that’s what chatbots can do. A chatbot can interact with a customer and gain conversion using a chat interface. It can be programmed to respond to specific questions or it can be as advanced as artificial intelligence that can understand a language and become smarter as you continue to interact with it.

That said, here’s how the real estate industry is taking advantage of this technology:

Building Trust with Their Prospects

By making their information available in a chatbot conversation, real estate companies can gain the trust of their prospects. They can even program their chatbot to send out daily helpful tips that are customised to what the prospect is looking for.

Spending Time with the Right People

Chatbots can filter out people who are actually looking to buy out of the sea of people who are just enquiring. They do this by having the prospect go through a series of qualifying questions, giving them only the information that meets their requirements. Once they pass the qualifications, the agents can step in and have a face-to-face encounter with an actual buyer.

Qualifying Potential Agents for Your Team

Not only do chatbots qualify leads, they can also qualify those applying to be real estate agents. Interviews can be handled through the chatbot and it will send a message to the HR team to call those who pass the qualifications.

Give Prospects Exactly What They Want

Since chatbots can be programmed to ask the right questions, they can provide the exact information to their prospects based on how they answered the questions. When people get what they want, there’s a bigger chance of turning them into actual customers.

It is not going to be long before more advanced technologies emerge and make buying or selling real estate easier. Anyone can use a chatbot to their advantage. Real estate chatbots are definitely starting to make history in their industry today.

How to Increase Your Water Heater Efficiency

Repairman Inspecting Water HeaterWhen it comes to water heaters, efficiency can be the difference between a regular bill and huge heating costs. An inefficient water heater will drain your cash and impact the environment negatively. The good news is that you can boost the efficiency of your commercial or domestic water heater.

According to the figures released by the Australian Department of Energy, water heating accounts for about 25% of a household energy use. There are only two ways to reduce water heating costs: to heat less water or boost the efficiency of water heating systems. Whether you are using an electrical or gas central heating system, these tips will help boost efficiency.

Remove sediments

Clean your water heater to remove sediments and impurities that may be affecting the boiling process. To remove residue, turn off the cold water valve, place a bucket beneath, and turn on the hot water valve. Wait for the tank to lose pressure before removing sediment. This process can be complicated and is, therefore, best done by a professional.

Install efficient faucets and showers

Showers and leaking faucets account for a huge percentage of water loss in homes. Install a low flow showerhead to reduce water output in the shower. You should also conduct regular checks on faucets to ensure that they are in a good working condition. You should also fix or replace any leaking pipes and faucets.

Insulate water pipes

Pipes have a responsibility to transport water from the tank to the shower and faucets. If they aren’t appropriately insulated, showers can lead to loss of heat. Make sure to insulate pipes and water heater tanks to keep water warm, resulting in more heated showers and low bills.

Heating expenses make up a large part of your expenditures on utilities. However, these large heating bills may be as a result of an inefficient water heater. Taking that extra step to make your water heater more efficiency could leave you with more money after paying your bills.

Kitchen Design: Small Improvements That Make a Big Difference

a kitchenKitchens are more than a place for preparing food—it’s where most family conversations happen, and bonds with friends strengthened. So, it’s understandable that most homeowners splurge on their kitchen renovations to improve the look and function of the space. If you have the budget, well and good. But if you don’t, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to stay with an ugly kitchen.

There are many small kitchen improvements that can make a big difference to the entire space. Here are some of them:

Organize Better

People don’t notice this, but sometimes, it’s just the clutter that makes the space unsightly. If you have too many items in your kitchen, throw out the unnecessary and keep in cabinets what’s needed. Consider visiting an RTA kitchen cabinet store like Knotty Alder Cabinets to know your storage options.

Paint the Walls

Have you been looking at the same gray walls for decades? That’s probably the reason your space looks drab. Remember, colors affect the mood in the kitchen. Change the walls up a bit. Apply fresh paint.

Blue is a good choice, as it creates a crisp, clean look. You might just want to consider layering different shades of this color, so the kitchen look isn’t monotonous.

Fix Your Lighting

Lighting dramatically affects the look of your kitchen interiors and the way people feel about the space. Overly bright kitchens make people restless and offer no visual variety. Lights that are too dim make kitchen design not visible; plus, they can make people sluggish, which is a no-no for a space like the kitchen.

So, invest in good lighting. It’s best to have recessed, pendant, and under-cabinet strip lighting. These will effectively give accent to kitchen design and create the right kind of mood for people spending their time in your kitchen.

You don’t have to make big changes just to make your kitchen look better. Sometimes, a fresh, new paint, functional cabinets, and good lighting are enough to make a difference.

Waste Management Services

Strategies to Starting a Green Workplace Initiative

Waste Management ServicesIt is never too late to join the ecological bandwagon towards responsible business practices that conserve energy and cut costs in the long run. Not only that you help the environment but also your company’s bottom line when you institute a Green Workplace Initiative.

Here are a few practical steps to getting started bringing sustainable practices in your workplace.

Engage Employees in Working Towards Sustainable Business Values

  • Involve the employees in the effort to commit to an environmentally conscious workplace.
  • Select a committee of individuals from across different departments passionate about conscious living and environmental issues.
  • Work with the committee to develop programs and training materials for existing employees and new hires alike.
  • Consider allocating a small training budget to cascade the plans designed by the committee to help employees understand the new guidelines and motives behind them.

This will help the rest of the employees align their personal values with the business goals of a Green Workplace critical to the efficacy of the whole effort.

Start with the Basics

Fortunately getting started with a Green Workplace initiative does not require too much technical know-how in the beginning. Just start with the basics of translating conscious living values and practices into the workplace setting.

  • Promote the prudent use of office supplies and resources and replace single-use pantry supplies like paper plates and cutleries to reusable versions.
  • Manage waste paper efficiently and effectively for recycling. Cascade easy-to-follow instructions on settings for optimising energy used by individual workstations.
  • Replace CFL light bulbs to recyclable and energy efficient LED and OLED light bulbs to cut on energy consumption.

Encourage Employees to Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

  • Encourage employees to be mindful of their carbon footprint by promoting carpooling, biking and telecommuting.
  • Provide bike racks and locks at the office lot to encourage bikers to ride to work.
  • If budget allows, provide a salary loan program to enable non-bikers to purchase a bike immediately.
  • Organise carpool routes based on employee home addresses and if possible, consider vans for hire as employee shuttle services with predetermined pick-up points and paths.

With these simple strategies to launch a Green Workplace Initiative, you can lead your business and employees towards sustainable values and practices that not only help the environment but can also cut costs in the long-term.

Could You Include an Office Desk From Your Tax Deductions?

Brown Office FurnitureCompanies should know that they can deduct their office furniture to their tax returns, but there are certain rules for doing this. If you plan to add an industrial office desk you bought from vendors such as Urban95 to your deductible, you should only declare the amount you spent on the item.

Startup firms are also restricted from deducting more than $5,000, or else it would be tagged as a capitalization cost.

Proper Deductions

One of the most common mistakes for tax deductions on office furniture includes an improper identification of items. The risk of an audit from the Internal Revenue Service awaits you if any type of furniture is redundant for your business, or seem to have a vague purpose, yet you still added it to our deductible.

You would need to pay a penalty and cover the underpayment of taxes since the IRS won’t acknowledge personal office furniture as a deductible expense. Some companies may include the design of their office, as long as it helps with their workflow.

Commercial Designs

Non-traditional office designs have emerged due to a need for trendier workplaces, especially among millennial workers who represent a huge part of the working class. Most companies are responding to this common design trend by adopting open-floor layouts and collaborative office spaces.

Certain designs include a large industrial office desk in a common area, where workers can brainstorm ideas and hold meetings like those in the creative industry particularly like dynamic offices within the last three years. This type of design is “marked by usually continuous and productive activity or change.”

Sustainable offices are unsurprisingly a trend as well since the property industry has become more aware of their environmental footprint.

Conclusion

By knowing the right way to declare your office furniture as a deductible, you avoid the risks and maximize its benefits. You can likely stretch your chances of a higher deduction if your office design supports business operations.

Lawn Mower on Grass

Seasons of the Lawn: Why Year-Round Lawn Maintenance Matters

Lawn Mower on GrassLawn care is one of the most important house maintenance services — Utah homeowners know this. But, the lawn care routine you have for the summer may not be the best idea when winter comes along.

Keep in mind that lawn weed control in your Utah home varies depending on what the season is. Here are the things that you have to focus on during specific months of the year:

Summer

The dry heat of summer days may disrupt the moisture levels that keep your backyard grass, plants, and trees green and healthy. So, during summer, remember to fertilize, watch for weeds, and water regularly. Don’t deprive your lawn of the moisture it needs.

Fall

The end of summer doesn’t mean your lawn care routine should end. In fact, you have to be more attentive than ever to make sure the lawn remains healthy until spring comes along. During this season, remember to mow the lawn and aerate the soil. Get rid of fallen leaves that tend to suffocate grass and breed fungal diseases. Also, fill in any bare spots of lawn that may have dried out in the previous season.

Winter

You don’t really need much lawn care during winter. All the work — aeration, fertilization, and mowing — occur during the fall, before everything freezes over.

Spring

If you – or your lawn care provider –  are meticulous with maintenance late in the fall, then you won’t have much to worry about during spring. But, of course, you still need to watch for weeds, check the moisture levels, and keep the soil fertilized.

A beautiful lawn is the result of a comprehensive lawn maintenance routine. And, a comprehensive lawn maintenance routine is the result of sufficient knowledge on what the plants, shrubs, and trees in your backyard need throughout the year.

Get in touch with your local lawn care provider to educate you on this and to help you come up with an effective plan to keep your lawn healthy and boost your curb appeal.

Travel Guide: 3 Activities to Do in Cornwall

Happy TouristsDo you already know where you are going for your summer adventure? If not yet, why not consider Cornwall? Steep in so much history and culture, this county in southwest England is one great tourist destination.

Here are some suggestions for enjoying a Cornish vacation:

Try the local cuisine

During your vacation, eat not just because you have to but because you truly want to discover and savour the local cuisine. Visit the different restaurants in Cornwall and be sure to introduce yourself to at least one traditional Cornish dish every time. Some must-try foods include the Hevva cake, the cheese called Cornish Yarg and the famous stargazy pie, which has fish heads poking out of it.

Visit famous attractions

Your Cornish trip, of course, must include visits to some of the county’s main tourist attractions. If you enjoy architecture, you should see the imposing centuries-old structures like St Michael’s Mount and Pendennis Castles. For a more modern attraction, consider spending some time at the Eden Project, which features enormous plastic cells that house diverse plants. You can also hit the beach in Porthcurno, Newquay or Polzeath to bask in the sun or catch some waves.

Go on ghost tours

If you consider yourself a brave soul, complete your Cornwall experience by going on ghost tours. From a jail to an inn, the county has many haunted attractions that will chill you to the bone. At Bodmin Jail, one of the UK’s most haunted places, you can take a guided after-dark ghost tour and see if you will get to meet some of the ghosts there. You can likewise go ghost hunting at Jamaica Inn for the man wearing a tricorn hat and cloak.

This summer, why not go on a vacation in Cornwall? It is a great tourist destination that you will surely find fascinating, fun and exciting.

3 Reasons Residents and Tourists Love Kansas

​​Bird's eye view of the skywayKnown as The Sunflower State, Kansas is also popular for its Midwestern landscapes and agricultural industry. It is known for harvesting huge quantities of wheat in the US, as indicated by the Kansas Wheat Commission. It’s no surprise that people love living in this state and its major cities that include Overland Park, Lenexa, and Shawnee.

Each city has its own allure that attracts residents and tourists alike. Here’s a detailed look at what each city in Kansas has to offer:

Overland Park

Overland Park is one of the most-developed cities in Kansas. In fact, the growing number of new home construction projects in the city makes more people want to live here.

As a midwestern city, it takes pride in its park, such as the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. This place offers pony rides, a petting zoo, and a view of baby animals for visitors. The park is named after police officer Deanne Rose who was known to love animals.

Lenexa

Not to be overshadowed, Lenexa also has park offerings for its residents and tourists. It is famed for Black Hoof Park and Lake Lenexa, a park that offers walking trails, bird watching activities, and fishing areas for families. The park also has a playground, as well as a picnic area furnished with tables and chairs.

Shawnee

Residents and visitors of Shawnee could go to Wonderscope Children’s Museum, which is an educational establishment. It offers art rooms, gymnasium rooms, vacuum areas, and other science-themed exhibits. Children can build model rockets, roleplay as doctors, and do other science projects.

Kansas is no doubt one of the best states in the Midwest because of its blooming landscapes and big harvests of wheat. Residents and tourists stay for the attractions and amenities offered by the beautiful cities.

Does Your Web Design Match Your Brand Image?

Web Design and Jigsaw PuzzlesYou’ve had the domain for a while now, and you have enough content to fill the pages with relevant information. There’s a mixture of humor and seriousness that you think should help the site perform better as a means of driving sales. But that’s not happening.

Perhaps your web design, no matter how smartly executed, is just not what you need. Here’s what Minnesota experts in SEO services say about the matter:

Creativity

You want to seem like the most professional company out there. But when clients are looking for a creative agency, it’s not just professionalism that they’re looking for. They also judge your website based on how creative it is, because they think that translate to how unique you are in your line of work. Give them samples of your past projects and let those goofy office pictures show. Restaurants and fashion brands may also go for a little fun on their web design to help cement their reputation in their respective industries.

Professionalism

A dental practice can show a bit of fun on their website if they’re catering to children, but if all your clients are adults, you’ll want to highlight cleanliness, sanitation, and adherence to best practices. Being part of the health industry means you are putting the safety of clients first and foremost. Showcase new equipment you have bought for the practice, to show clients you are well-equipped.

Accuracy

If your business is all about sciences and mathematics, you cannot afford any mistakes on your website. Whether it’s a typographical error or a formula expressed incorrectly, your reputation is on the line. Highly technical fields have clients who are more discerning, especially if they don’t know what they need. If they see a mistake, they’ll think it’s a sign of weakness and move on to another company.

The design of your website is important. Before you go crazy with the design, however, remember that it should still be connected with your industry.