Keeping Sales Up in South Florida During Summer Months
While the summer in Florida may be the slow season for businesses, there are many ways to keep your customers involved and prepare for their return in
Although snowbird season in Florida may come with its drawbacks for local residents, there is no doubt that business is booming during the South Florida winter months. For many small business’ owners, they generate 80% of their revenue during the months of November, December, January, February, when many northerners seek to escape the winter and settle into the Florida sun.
While this major increase in revenue doing the winter months is great, it is usually not enough to sustain a business year-round. It is crucial for small business owners in South Florida to have a game plain to deal with how to keep up sales in the summer months and use this time to their advantage.
Here are some tips to keep your business busy in the off season:
Improve Your Business Models
Is there any task that you’ve been putting off? Maybe a new website or HR organization? The off season can be a great time to accomplish any duties that have been sitting on your to do list. The slower months during the summer is the perfect time to make any changes without disrupting your busy workflow.
Additionally, you can take advantage of the time off to analyze the strength and weakness of your business in order to evaluate what you could be doing better. You can critically look at your performance during the busier months to see if there is any friction or roadblocks that could improve company performance. Use your slow summers to try and implement any new strategies.
Try Different Marketing Tactics
A potential off-season strategy can be to try and focus on how to target and new customers. During this time, you have nothing to lose by experimenting with a new marketing strategy! The summer is a great opportunity to focus on low cost marketing methods, such as developing a new email campaign or building up a new social media channel. This help you stay on your customers radar during the summer months.
Develop a loyalty program
To reward repeat customers, a loyalty program can be a great tactic to keep people coming back. Your loyal customers should receive special treatment, helping them to stay loyal. Even better, these customers can serve as free word of mouth marketing if they share their products with friends and family. Statistics have constantly proven that it is easier to sell to a returning customer than acquire a new one. Develop a program that provides your customer real value while also showing how much you value them.
Create and Promote a Blog
Blogs can be enjoyed from anywhere, regardless of the on or off season. With a blog, you should provide your consumers useful information that is relevant to your product or industry. This can be a very beneficial way to educate your consumers and keep them engaged during the summer months.
While the summer in Florida may be the slow season for businesses, there are many ways to keep your customers involved and prepare for their return in the winter!
What Items Should I Keep in My House for Hurricane Season?
The earlier you can secure these hurricane items the better off you will be and can avoid a chaotic situation.
With hurricane season approaching in Florida, it is crucial to be prepared for any potential storms. Due to the high levels of panic that often ensue with the announcement of a hurricane brewing, many people rush out and buy as many supplies as possible, leaving the grocery store shelves wiped clean. Because of this, the earlier you can secure these items the better off you will be and can avoid a chaotic situation.
Additionally, a hurricane kit is important if you need to evacuate and need to grab essential items fast or if you’re unable to leave your house in the middle of the storm and lose power.
According to the National Hurricane Center, here are some of the most common items to keep in your house for hurricane season:
- Bottled Water (as a general rule of thumb, you should have one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for both drinking and sanitation)
- Non-perishable food items (enough for at least three days)
- Cell phone with charges and extra battery
- First-aid kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Personal hygiene items
- Moist towelettes and garbage bags for personal sanitation
- Water-proof container for valuables, cash, and important documents
- Lighter or matches
- Cooler and ice packs
- Can opener for non-perishable food items
- Whistle to signal for help
- Pet food and extra water (if applicable)
- Infant formula and extra diapers (if applicable)
Additional Recommended Items:
After all of the essentials are covered, it is recommended by experts at FEMA to also have these additional items on hand.
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Wrench or plies to turn off utilities
- Extra cash or checks
- Fire extinguisher
- Sleeping bags and/or a warm blanket for each person
- A complete change of clothes for each person
- Paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
- Games, books, puzzles, or other activities for children and entertainment
Maintaining and Storing Your Hurricane Kit
Once you have your hurricane preparedness kit in order, it is important to maintain it and update it each year as hurricane season approaches so it is ready as soon as you need it. To do this you should:
- Store any boxed food in tightly sealed metal or plastic containers
- Keep any canned food in a dry place
- Replace any expired items when necessary
- Keep your kit up to date and replace or update items as your family’s needs change
- Assign a designated place in your home for the kit and make sure all family members are aware of this spot and can easily grab it in case of an emergency.
Garage Water Damage Issues
If left unattended, garage water damage can result in some really costly repairs.
South Florida homeowners who are lucky enough to have a garage can relate to the importance of having one. When summer storms start rolling in, the ability to park inside of a garage is an important luxury. As such, keeping your garage is tiptop shape is critical for many who take pride in a clutter-free garage that has enough room for a car or two. When people think of home water damage, they rarely think about their garage. However, garage water damage is something that should not be ignored.
Residential water damage can be costly and inconvenient, so when it takes place in the garage that is certainly a preference. Nevertheless, flooding in the garage can potentially cause ruined walls and flooring. As such, making an effort to avoid garage water damage is important. In fact, garage water damage restoration is often more expensive than many would imagine. So, keep these tips in mind to prevent garage water damage in your home:
- Check your garage roof for leaks
- If weather stripping is worn down it must be replaced
- Check the roof gutters near the garage to remove any clogs
- Do not leave the garage door open during bad weather
- Regularly check the water heater for leaks
- Replace garage door panels when necessary
Some of these tips may seem obvious, but the garage is often one of the most ignored areas of the home. If left unattended, garage water damage can result in some really costly repairs. In some situations, structural damage and mold growth can occur as well. For this reason, we urge you to be diligent and proactive in preventing water damage in your garage.
Getting Ready for Florida's 2021 Hurricane Season
Here are some tips in order to be best prepared for Florida’s 2021 Hurricane Season.
The 2021 Hurricane season officially starts on June 1st 2021 and lasts all the way through November 30th. According to The Climate Adaptation Center (CAC), they are “predicting a very active season with 20 named storms—less than last year—10 of which may be hurricanes.” Of these storms, 5 of them are predicted to be major hurricanes that could be Category 3-5 strength. A normal hurricane season is usually defined as 3 major hurricanes.
Unfortunately, it does not look like Florida is going to be able to escape hurricane season this year. There is an increased risk of hurricanes this year due to the weakening of the Bermuda high. This Bermuda high is a high pressure zone located in the Atlantic Ocean that was responsible for steering many hurricanes in 2020 away from a direct hit of the mainland in Florida.
According to AccuWeather lead hurricane forecaster Dan Kottlowski, “The pattern that’s setting up is that we could see more of these early-curving storms. That could threaten the east coast a little more this year than previous years.” In order to prepare for this years hurricane season in Florida, it is important to get started early.
Here are some tips in order to be best prepared for Florida’s 2021 Hurricane Season:
Creating a Hurricane Kit
It is very important to have a hurricane kit on hand in case you need to evacuate quickly or need to shelter in place. When people realize a hurricane is coming, many people are filled with a state of panic and run to the grocery store to get supplies to prepare. In this situation, grocery stores are in chaos and can run out of items very quickly. To avoid this situation, prepare a hurricane kit ahead of time with necessary supplies. Some of the most common and recommended items include:
- Bottled water and non-perishable food items (recommended to have enough for at least 3 days)
- First-aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Personal hygiene items
- Water-proof container for valuables, cash, and important documents
- Lighter or matches
- Cooler and ice packs
- Pet and/or baby supplies if applicable
Securing Your Home
In the event of an hurricane, you will want to know the best ways to prepare you home against high pressure winds, heavy rain, and flooding.
- Use hurricane shutters or wood to cover windows
- Make sure roof is well maintained and, if possible, secure straps or clips to securely fasten it.
- Bring any outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage bins, etc. inside.
- Stay away from windows and doors.
Preparing for a Power Outage
During a storm it is very likely to lose power. In case this happens, there are other things you should do to remain prepared.
- Make sure your car has a full tank of gas instead of waiting until the last minute and having to deal with long lines and gas stations running out.
- Have extra cash on hand in ATMs shut down.
- Charge your cell phone and limit use or use airplane mode.
- Fill the bathtub with water for the purpose of washing and flushing.
Fire Hazards to Consider While Cooking
The most common place for a fire to start in the home is on a stove top in the kitchen, not in the oven.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are actually the number one cause of home fires and injuries. Between 2014-2018, 49% of home fires are a cause of cooking equipment, which resulted in 21% of the home fire deaths and 44% of the injuries. Tragically, holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, Easter, and Christmas Eve are some of the peak days for home fires, when more cooking than usual takes place in the home.
Fire Hazards in the Kitchen
- The most common place for a fire to start in the home is on a stove top in the kitchen, not in the oven. When cooking on the stove top, always be sure to stay alert and do not leave any food unattended.
- Make sure there are no curtains, towel racks, or even paper towel dispensers too close to any burners that could be potential fire hazards and spread any flames.
- If the microwave in your home is not built in, make sure there is no clutter nearby and the vents are not obstructed.
How to Avoid Home Cooking Fires
- Buy a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen within easy reach if a fire starts while cooking.
- You should never walk away from a stove top for more than a few minutes at a time. A good rule of thumb is to set a timer for every five minutes to remind you to check your stove top and to make sure your food is not burnt.
- You should not operate any appliances or potential fire hazards if you are not alert. Being too tired or under the influence while cooking can lead to dangerous situations.
- Keep anything that could catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains, a safe distance away from the stove.
- Maintain your smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly and in good condition.
- Properly clean and take care of all of the vent, stovetops, counter tops and oven interiors to prevent any house fires.
What to Do If a Kitchen Fire Occurs
- You should NOT toss water on a grease fire. If you do not have an extinguisher and a fire starts in a pan, put a lid on top of the pan to extinguish the flames.
- In an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
- Get out as soon as possible! Close any doors behind you to contain the fire.
- Call 911 as soon as you can get out safely.
Keeping Your Employees and Customers Safe
The safety of employees and customers is extremely important, during COVID-19 and beyond.
As a small business owner, it is very important to keep the safety of your employees and customers a top priority. Some of the most common workplace incidents include slip-and-fall accidents, premise liabilities, equipment accidents, or an employee or visitor injuring another person. While is it always possible that accidents can happen, mitigating potential risks beforehand can greatly reduce the chances of an incident occurring.
Here are some tips to make sure everyone on your property is safe and sound.
Constantly inspect your premises and be on the lookout for hazards
The best way to prevent any injuries or accidents from occurring is minimizing any hazards in the workspace. To do this, inspections should be conducted regularly, on either a weekly or monthly basis. It is also a good idea to preform random inspections to see how the workplace runs on the day to day.
Maintain all tools and equipment
Any faulty or poorly maintained equipment can be a potential risk in the workplace. If a piece of equipment breaks down, it can put many people in harm’s way. All tools and equipment should be cleaned and tested regularly to ensure they are functioning property and can be replaced if need be.
Keep record of inspections and repairs
It is very important to document all inspections, repairs, and incident investigations. If there is a repeated incident, you will be able to dig to the root of the problem and correct it. Also, if an accident does occur, it is important to have all of your records in order.
Post warning signs
If there happens to be any unsafe conditions in the workplace, there should be signage to indicate this to employees and customers. A simple example of this is placing a “wet floor sign” to an area that was recently mopped to prevent anyone tripping.
Safety during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the way business function. Here are some of the most common ways to keep your employees and customers safe:
- Keep a clean environment and perform routine sanitization. All frequently touches surfaces such as workstations, countertops, handrails, and doorknobs should be frequently cleaned and disinfected. If possible, reduce the need for shared equipment.
- Promote practices sanitary practices like frequent handwashing and provide either soap and water or hand sanitizer for all employees and customers.
- Require everyone to wear a mask or face covering over their mouth and nose.
- Encourage workers to stay at home if they are sick and ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidelines.
- Create a plan to minimize face-to-face contact between both employees and customers. Actively encourage flexible work arrangements such as teleworking or staggered shifts.
- Develop policies and procedures for employees to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
The safety of employees and customers is extremely important, during COVID-19 and beyond.
Protecting Your Home After a Flood
By knowing the best steps to protect your home after a flood, you and your loved ones can stay safe as you return to normal living conditions.
Even though cleaning up after a flood may seem like a formidable task, it is important to have a plan in place to tackle this undertaking. By knowing the best steps to protect your home after a flood, you and your loved ones can stay safe as you return to normal living conditions.
Prioritize Your Safety
Before you can start cleaning, it is important to first mitigate any safety hazards. There is a high chance that the water is contaminated, and the structure is unstable. To help prioritize your safety:
- Shut off gas and electricity before to the flooded area before entering the house.
- Examine the building’s structure by checking the foundation for any cracking and/or undermining in addition to the walls, floors, and windows.
- Have an electrician look over the electrical system.
- Wear appropriate clothing protection including rubber boots, waterproof gloves, and a safety mask, or googles.
- Have on hand a first aid kit for any minor injuries that occur.
Dealing with Insurance Claims
Before the cleaning process begins, there are steps you should take to make sure the insurance process can go as smooth as possible.
- Take pictures or videos of everything before you start cleaning! This is crucial for insurance claims and tax deductions.
- Record all of your expenses.
- Check in with your insurance company to see what their requirements are for a claim.
- Freeze any flooded books and papers before you have time to work with them. For the best chance of preservation, place waxed paper between the layers and place them inside plastic bags before going into a freezer.
The Cleanup Process
During the cleanup process, it is important to both cleaning and disinfect household items.
Step by Step Clean Up:
- Remove any standing water. While obvious, no cleaning can get done with standing water in the way. You can use pails or pumps to remove, and then use a wet/dry shop vacuum cleaner.
- Remove soaking wet and/or contaminated materials. Try to place things in large garbage bags and bring them outside the home. Depending on local regulations, something may need to be thrown out if it is contaminated with sewer water. Some larger furniture items may also be damaged beyond repair and need to be thrown out.
- Shovel out mud before it dries. While it may be treacherous, it is important to remove all of the mud and silt inside the house. A house may be used for this removal process.
- Clean and dry the walls. It is important to be fast, thorough, and safe in this process. Walls dry from the inside out and the interior parts of the walls must be thoroughly dried.
- Remove interior wall finishes to release water and mud from the cavities. Wall finishes that reach up to the high-water line should be thrown away.
- Remove all wall insulation that has been wet as it is contaminated.
- To remove mud, hose down the walls before they fully dry and disinfect them using some method of chlorine bleach.
- A moisture meter can be used to check the condition of the walls and when they are ready to re-insulate.
- Clean the floors and woodwork. Floors and other woodwork should be cleaned within 48 hours of the flood. It is very important to avoid any products that contain ammonia.
- For the cleaning process: Use plenty of hot water and scrub the floors with alkali solution (like washing soda). To disinfect, use a bleach solution such as a solution of 1/2 cup chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water.
- Dry all of the surfaces. Heat and air should be used to surface dry materials within 24 to 48 hours. The continuous circulation of heat should reduce trying time and prevent the growth of any bacteria.
Experts recommend waiting about 6 months before the re-modeling process can begin. If your home has suffered flood damage, we are here to help. Contact our flood damage repair team today!
Top Causes of Water Damage in Your Home
With an understanding of what commonly causes water damage in the home, a homeowner is best equipped to be on the lookout.
No one wants to have to deal with water damage in South Florida homes. Unfortunately, Floridians know that water damage comes with the territory of humid climate and heavy rains. As a homeowner, it is understood that there are certain inevitable unforeseen costs. Things break and need repairs, time wears on various parts of the home, and so on and so forth. Water damage, however, is one of those typical house issues that no one wants to deal with. From costly repairs to the headache of restoration, avoiding water damage is of course preferable.
While some water damage is unavoidable, a lot of typical issues actually stem from situations that could have been avoided. Knowing the most common causes of water damage in a home is the best first step in prevention. If you are aware of what to look out for, you may be able to spot a potential issue before it becomes a big problem. The following are some of the most common causes of water damage in a home:
- Sewer lines are backed up
- Pipes are leaking
- Heavy rains
- Toilet leaks
- Issues with gutters
- Faulty or malfunctioning appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, sinks, and washing machines
- Problems with HVAC
- Built up pressure in supply lines of washing machines
- Water buildup in crawl space
- Roof leaks
With an understanding of what commonly causes water damage in the home, a homeowner is best equipped to be on the lookout. Plus, noticing water damage early does a lot more than simply save in repair costs, it is actually good for you and your family’s health. When left untreated, water damage can quickly lay the foundation of mold growth. Not only will this add to the repair and restoration needs, but it can be damaging to the health of those who live in the home.
With this in mind, it is important to regularly check the above water damage hotspots. Knowing what to look for means being proactive in prevention and maintaining your home. As always, if you do spot water damage in your home we are here for you. Call our water damage repair and restoration team today to learn more!
Preventing Mold Growth in Your Bathroom
Preventing mold growth in your bathroom means taking proactive measures to keep your home in the best shape possible.
There are certain areas of every home that are prone to mold growth. Elements like moisture and darkness create the perfect breeding area for mildew and mold to thrive. While many people think of mold in their kitchen, the bathroom is actually one of the biggest culprits for mold growth in your home. The combination of heat, darkness, moisture, and typically a lack of ventilation means that bathrooms are especially vulnerable to mildew.
Sometimes mold is easy to spot. It can discolor walls or grow on tiles, but in other scenarios it can be much more difficult to spot. A lingering odor or a slightly discolored ceiling can reveal a major mold problem. Since mold remediation can be quite a headache, the best practice is to avoid mold growth altogether. Preventing mold growth in your bathroom means taking proactive measures to keep your home in the best shape possible.
The following are some great tips for preventing mold growth in your bathroom:
- Use the fan at all times when showering and let it run for at least 30 minutes following a shower. This will keep the bathroom properly ventilated.
- Regularly wash the rugs and curtains in the bathroom.
- Consider purchasing a dehumidifier for the bathroom.
- Use an all-purpose cleaner to regularly clean your bathroom.
- Consistently check the toilet and sink for any leaks.
- Try to keep shower walls dry.
- Keep bathing products outside of the bathroom.
- Let as much light into the bathroom as possible.
- If the bathroom floors gets wet, mop it up as soon as possible.
- Seal all grout lines.
While some of these tips seem obvious, it can be easy to neglect to maintain these important measures. If you do notice any mold growth in your bathroom, it is important to call a professional right away. Our mold remediation team has years of experience in repairing mold damage large and small. Call us today to learn more.
Typical Smoke Damage Issues Following a Home Fire
Addressing the aftermath of a home fire means thinking through all of the possible smoke damage that may have occurred.
When someone thinks about the potential of a home fire, their first thoughts are likely about the fire itself. From detecting the fire to calling on emergency response to evacuating loved ones and pets as quickly as possible, there is a lot to think about. The last year has proven that fires are a real threat. California has been inundated with fires throughout the state, causing irreparable damage and devastating thousands of individuals.
In Florida, wildfires are much less of a threat. However, house fires still occur much more frequently than many may imagine. From holiday celebrations to electrical issues, a fire can start at any time. While it is critical to think through a fire safety plan, many people fail to consider what to do once the fire has been contained. Smoke damage is another factor that must be taken into account when thinking about fire damage.
Smoke damage can leave a major mark after a fire is contained. The following are some of the most common issues related to smoke damage after a fire:
- Warped wood or plastic
- Walls stained a shade of yellow
- Household textiles filled with soot
- Ceiling stained a shade of yellow
- Carpets, clothing, drapery, and upholstered furniture filled with smoke odor
- Toxic air throughout the home
- Markings of smoke odor throughout the home
Addressing the aftermath of a home fire means thinking through all of the possible smoke damage that may have occurred. While the look of the home may be top of mind, there are a number of toxins and odors that are much more important to tackle first. As such, it is critical to hire a fire restoration technician team to come take a look following a home fire.
With many years of experience in fire damage repair and smoke damage restoration, we are happy to help if you or a loved one have experienced an issue with a home fire. Call us today to learn more!