What You Should Know if You Plan to Hire a Handyman

HandymanFixIts

Handyman services are becoming more and more popular in New Jersey as homeowners seek to save time and money on repairs and upgrades. If you need to replace a window, repair a fence, fix a few loose tiles on the bathroom floor and paint the living room, a good handyman should be able to handle all of these tasks.

However, you need to be very careful about who you hire to perform work in and around your home. Here are three key points to keep in mind.

    1. In New Jersey, anyone who is paid for home improvement work, including a handyman, is considered a contractor and must register with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
      There are very few exceptions to this. Registration requires the handyman to complete an application, show proof of insurance, and disclose any prior criminal convictions. Never let anyone perform any kind of work in your home if they don’t have insurance.
      If you hire an uninsured handyman and he is injured on your property, you can be sued for medical bills and lost wages. If an uninsured handyman damages your property, there’s a good chance that it won’t be covered by your homeowner’s insurance unless your policy includes a clause for this type of situation.
    2. A handyman who performs services as an architect, engineer, land surveyor, electrician or master plumber must be licensed as such in New Jersey.
      The license serves as proof that the person has met industry standards in a particular field. If a handyman offers to make plumbing repairs, for example, but isn’t a licensed plumber, he’s breaking the law. And you may end up with shoddy repairs that lead to more serious and more expensive issues down the road.
      Just remember, anyone can put “fully insured” on a business card. Get proof and confirm it yourself.
    3. Any project costing more than $500 still requires a contract.
      Suppose you ask for a written agreement and the handyman says, “I’m just a handyman. I don’t get into all of that.” Don’t fall for it.
      It doesn’t matter how you label yourself. Legally, you have to put all terms and conditions in writing, and all parties must sign off on any changes. Without a written contract, you and the handyman will both be rolling the dice.

At Time Well Spent, we don’t advocate for contractors or handymen. We just believe in hiring the right person or company for the job at a fair price. If you’re planning a home improvement project, large or small, and you’re not sure who to hire, contact us for help!

To Delegate or Not to Delegate? “When” Is the Question

A few weeks ago, I received a call from one of our regular clients with a very simple task. She needed someone to go to her mother’s house, pick up a diamond ring, and bring it to her so she could wear it for a special event.
A simple task, but with high stakes. Let’s just say the diamond ring wasn’t purchased for a few hundred bucks at a pawn shop. That’s why I decided to handle this errand myself.

diamondring

There are certain tasks that you need to do yourself. Others can be delegated. But when should you delegate, and when should you do it yourself?

From an economic perspective, some will say it pays to delegate when you can make more in the time you save than the amount you pay the person who saves you that time. That could mean hiring someone full-time, part-time or per project.

In other words, if hiring someone for $100 allows you to make $200, you delegate.

But the decision to delegate isn’t as simple as managing time and money. That’s why so many people struggle with delegation.

For example, if you choose not to delegate and end up in a lousy mood all of the time because you overwork yourself, wouldn’t you say it’s worth it to delegate more often?

In the example I mentioned previously, my client couldn’t be bothered with that kind of task. It takes her away from her job and adds to her stress level.

From my perspective, I didn’t decide to pick up and deliver that diamond ring because delegating would have cost me money. I did it myself because the stakes were high and I felt more comfortable taking care of it myself.

In this case, delegating would have stressed me out.

Of course, some people take this too far. They try to do everything by themselves because they’re incapable of turning over any kind of responsibility to someone else. Maybe they’re impatient, they were burned in the past, or they believe in the old “if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself” mantra.

The problem with that thought process is that it’s difficult if not impossible to break the do-everything-yourself cycle because you never make any progress.

These are my general rules of thumb for delegation:

From a business standpoint, if you devote too much time to simply keeping the lights on and not enough time on strategic growth initiatives, you need to delegate.

Day-to-day administrative tasks and maintenance should not prevent you from growing your business. Also, keep in mind that delegation enables employees to gain experience and expand and improve their skills. The more they learn, the more responsibility they can assume, and the more value they bring to your company.

From a personal standpoint, if your to-do list is so long and time-intensive that it prevents you from doing the things you enjoy and seeing the people you love, you need to delegate. What makes you happier, going to your child’s soccer game or grocery shopping for your elderly parents?

If you need to delegate a task or errand, or you need help deciding which tasks and errands should be delegated, contact us at Time Well Spent. Our goal is to help you make every minute as valuable and enjoyable as possible.

 

 

5 Ways to Become a Smarter Packer for Your Next Vacation

GirlSuitcase For most of us, the worst part of going on vacation is trying to get work done and dealing with the monstrous pile of work that will await us when we return. The second worst part of going on vacation is the packing. Fortunately, packing doesn’t have to be as difficult or stressful as we make it out to be, especially if we make technology our friend and think a little differently than we have in the past. Here are five tips that will make life much easier as you get ready to fly, drive or set sail on your next getaway.

  1. Use a packing app.
  2. A packing app does more than enable you to edit and add to a list while on the go. By sharing lists with fellow travelers and checking off items, you’ll avoid duplicate items. Also, you can create separate lists for each bag, so if a bag is lost or stolen, you have an exact inventory to report to the insurance company. Some apps will even create a starter list for you based on who is travelling and the type of destination (weather, domestic or foreign, etc.). Packing Pro and Triplist are two popular packing apps.

  3. Roll your clothes.
  4. Clothes tend to fit better in your suitcase, especially tight spaces, and wrinkle less if you roll them into tube shapes instead of folding them. If you can do a load of laundry or two while on vacation, you can save even more space and leave room for souvenirs.

  5. Pack outfits, not individual garments.
  6. This is especially valuable for kids. Instead of bringing a certain amount of shirts, pants, socks and underwear, pack full outfits in large sealable bags. You can even label each bag (dinner outfit, amusement park, beach, etc.)

  7. Use TSA-approved locks.
  8. If your baggage is opened for a random search and has a Transportation Security Association- (TSA) approved lock, TSA personnel can open it with a universal key. Otherwise, the lock may be cut off, and you’ll be left with unlocked baggage for the rest of your trip.

  9. Know the rules.
  10. What does your airline charge for baggage? Do you know the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for carry-on luggage? If you’re driving, does your destination allow rooftop carriers? A few minutes of research can help you save a lot of money and avoid major headaches.

    What are your tips for smart packing? Share them here!

This entry was posted on June 24, 2014. 1 Comment

Managing Email: Why the Brain is the Best Tool You Have

Managing EmailI’m a huge fan of using technology, especially mobile apps, to save time and make life easier and simpler. However, the human brain, especially the part that controls common sense, is vastly underutilized when it comes to managing and simplifying our lives.

Email is no exception.

All of the email tools in the world will never completely empty our email inboxes. But there are simple steps we can take – most of which originate between our ears – that can dramatically reduce the number of emails we have, making email easier to manage.

Here is a list of Time Well Spent’s best practices for managing email.

Delete. The first thing you should do in the morning when sifting through email is delete those emails that you have absolutely no use for. This could represent more than half of your inbox. Also, keep only the last email in a thread to avoid confusion and keep your inbox tidy. Continue reading

Want to Get More Done at Work? Go to Bed.

WomanSleeping
Most of us struggle to accomplish all that needs to be accomplished at work within designated work hours. But let’s be honest. These days, designated work hours are representing a smaller and smaller portion of our time spent working.

We start checking emails before we roll out of bed in the morning, work through lunch, stay late at the office and continue to work from home at night. We sacrifice just about every other aspect of our lives to maintain this pace – family time, vacations, workouts and meals.

And sleep.

Continue reading

Everyone Should Be Able to Grieve and Heal

BereavementThere are only so many steps you can take to prepare for the loss of a loved one. Helping them finalize their will, organize their finances, put all of their preferences in writing, and even plan their own funeral services can remove an enormous burden from family members.

But all of the end-of-life planning in the world doesn’t make the pain go away, and it doesn’t relieve you of most of the tedious tasks that can prevent you from grieving and dealing with such an emotional loss.

Organizing and managing these tasks can be overwhelming. Nobody wants to get on the phone with a caterer and order food for a viewing when they’re trying to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. Continue reading

How to Make Your Hospital Stay Less Stressful

Woman in hospital bedAs we get older, it’s almost inevitable that each of us will spend a few days in the hospital. Regular wear and tear over the years may require knee or hip replacement surgery. Maybe a heart condition needs to be addressed. As much as we’d like to think it could never happen to us, the diagnosis of a serious health problem could land any one of us in the hospital.

Of course, hospital rooms aren’t just reserved for older people. The birth of a child typically involves at least two full days in the hospital. Maybe a sports injury that you’ve been trying to correct through rehab requires surgery at some point. Maybe you’re considering cosmetic surgery.

Aside from the overnight bag packed by expecting parents, most people who are getting ready for a stay at the hospital don’t make preparations, especially when it comes to handling everyday tasks at home. Lack of preparation can make a stressful situation even more stressful. Continue reading