The Right Approach to Construction Projects without Dealing with Claims

September 29, 2015 by  
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The-Right-Approach-to-Construction-Projects-without-Dealing-with-ClaimsWritten by: Lyle Charles Consulting

Construction claims are pretty much bound to happen with large-scaled projects. The only thing that you can do as an owner is to defend yourself against inappropriate construction delay claims. Here are some tips that will help prevent claims before they cost you time and money.

One of the most important things that you can do as an owner throughout the entire construction process is to document everything. Documentation must be correct, complete, and coordinated. As an owner you must not make any changes to the project after documentation has been issued. This is one of the main reasons why claims are brought up in the first place. Also, the contractor and subcontractor must work with extreme diligence with no margin for error. Perfection is impossible but working with a plan and following through can help reduce the chances of a claim forming. Proven experts that have handled projects within the field such as Lyle Charles of Lyle Charles Consulting provide advice and direction in the case of claims.

Realistically, designers do not have the time to create the most coordinated and complete drawings, which are one of the reasons why claims are often brought up. Contract changes are another reason for claims because the owner deals with the project funding. It’s highly unlikely that the architect had the time and money to perfect the project. When the contractor is faced with a concealed condition or a problem that arises, they notify the architect to receive direction on how to proceed. On the other hand, the contractor could wait too long to resolve the problem causing a disruption to the construction resulting in multiple red flag’s popping up all over the project. This often leads to a claim that skips the construction mediation process due to the inability to settle on things which causes financial and scheduling issues.

Get Approved for a Merchant Account with These Tips

September 17, 2015 by  
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Get-Approved-for-a-Merchant-Account-with-These-TipsIf you’re one of the many businesses contemplating an online component to your efforts, you might be surprised to find that merchant account providers consider you part of the high risk pool of applicants. A string of fly-by-night businesses has taught the industry to be more considerate throughout the underwriting process, which has made it harder for some businesses to accept electronic transactions. However, this does not apply across the board and there are tricks you can do to create favorable odds for  approval.

Time is On Your Side

The first tip applies to those who are looking to create an online component for an existing brick and mortar store. The longer you have been in business, the more a merchant account provider perceives that you’re serious and possess an understanding of how to run your business.

Good Credit Always Helps

Obtain your annual credit report and dispute any charges that seem unfamiliar in any way. These charges are often simple mistakes, but they can hurt your credit if you’re not vigilant. You can also write to Equifax, Experian and Trans Union to ask for removal of particular items from your report if the matter has already been closed.

Show a Willingness to Pay More

At the end of the day, if securing the merchant account means successfully scaling your business then you have to weigh the pros with the cons. It’s very likely that your business in the high-risk pool will pay more in fees for the same basic services others in the low-risk pool get for less. Paying higher rates will help you get the account and get you started. Once you’ve shown some history, you can re-negotiate for lower rates.

Bio: Firoz Patel is the innovative and resourceful CEO of AlertPay Inc., founded in 2005. Firoz Patel currently oversees the development of the Payza platform, and resides in the Montreal area of Quebec.

Learning About the Blavatnik Foundation

September 17, 2015 by  
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By Access Industries

If you went through a Blavatnik bio, you’d know that Leonard Blavatnik does not lack for accolades. Aside from his degrees, his billion dollar portfolio and his numerous business holdings, though, you’d also learn about the Blavatnik Foundation. It’s the industrialist’s way of making sure that those who follow in his footsteps have an easier time doing so.

accessindustries1Through the Blavatnik Foundaiton, millions have been provided for scholarships and grants that will ensure the future is full of plenty more Len Blavatniks. The man has also made a name for himself through other charities as well that include making sure the poor get fed in Israel and that schools like Cambridge don’t lack for the resources they need as a center of advanced education.

Although we all know Len Blavatnik for the wealthy CEO he is today, it’s important to remember that he was born in the USSR and came from the humblest of beginnings. It was this environment that forged the type of attitude that has helped him become such an economic powerhouse these days. It’s also why he goes out of his way to make sure others receive not just food, but the same opportunities to learn, grow, earn and achieve as he has.

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Although Blavatnik and billionaire are almost synonymous with one another, the man has also done billions of dollars worth of good for people all over the planet, making the head of Access Industries quite the notable philanthropist too.

What You Should Do Before Hiring a Tax Preparer

September 11, 2015 by  
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What-You-Should-Do-Before-Hiring-a-Tax-PreparerTax preparation is important for a successful tax return experience. Many times people will choose a professional tax preparer to complete their returns. Obviously you would want someone who knows what they are doing to get you the biggest refund available, or in some cases the best damage control done. There are cases where you, as the taxpayer, could potentially be breaking laws without you even knowing. Before going to your tax preparer, consider these tips.

When you first look into hiring a tax preparer, you might be thinking things like, “How much will the fee be?” or “How do I know if they’re good?” It’s important to remember that the more research that you perform, the more likely that you will end up satisfied with your choice.

When you first schedule an appointment with your tax preparer, inquire about their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) which is a requirement for tax preparation. Any preparer that refuses to show you their number should not be worked with. The sooner you schedule your meeting with your preparer, the sooner you get your money.

After officially hiring your tax preparer you will need to gather all the common information forms and receipts for them. If you donated to a charity, be sure to include that and mention it to your tax preparer as it can be written off. Take note that any donations that exceed $250 must be proven by a written document acknowledging your donation and that you did not receive anything in return for it.

Find your previous years’ return and give it to your tax preparer, assuming you’re working with a new preparer, so it can serve as a reminder for some of the items that you don’t want to overlook.

Bio: Kuba Jewgieniew is the head of Realty ONE Group, a real estate firm that believes in their agents’ success by providing a dynamic platform for them to build upon.

Assessing the Risk of a Municipal Bond

September 2, 2015 by  
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By Phineas Upham

Municipal bonds offer a huge financial incentive to investors willing to pour money into their cities and states, but these bonds carry risk the same as any other loan. If investors want to profit from these loans, they need to assess the risk properly. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to do so outside of talking to a financial advisor.

Each bond comes with an agreement for repayment that is dependent on the type of bond it is.

General obligation bonds are widely considered the lowest risk bonds, and their repayment structure is based on good faith and credit from the borrower. Somewhat riskier are revenue bonds, which promise repayment based on future sources of income. If those projects don’t work out, or are never completed, that money is lost.

Assessment bonds also offer moderate risk because they are based on the values of properties located within the area, but those boundaries and tax rates can change.

Before an issuer can borrow, it needs to receive a credit rating. That requires an independent agency to rate that borrower. Currently, there are three agencies that do so in the United States:

  • Standard and Poor’s – A division of McGraw Hill Financial, which publishes research on stocks and bonds.
  • Moody’s – the bond/credit rating arm of Moody’s Corporation, which provides international investment services.
  • Fitch – With headquarters in New York and London, Fitch Ratings is considered one of the “Big Three” agencies in the space.

Traditionally, these bonds have extremely low rates of default because governments have the power to tax, and because of revenue from utility companies.


Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.