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How to Set Up a Home-Based Business Office

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Homepreneure-e1376337238809There’s no denying that home-based businesses are on the rise. Right now, it’s estimated that there are 38 million home-based businesses that generate $427 billion a year in the United States.

Perhaps you already have an idea for a home-based business—and maybe you’ve even thought through the risks as well as logistics like buying business insurance. If so, you’re probably focused on one of the more enjoyable aspects of your new enterprise: setting up your home- based business office.

Whether you have a spacious wing of your house or simply one end of your kitchen table, it’s your space. Not sure where to start? Then read on to get some tips to set up your home-based business office.

Supplies for your home-based business

  • Set a budget and stick to it. Chances are you don’t have an abundance of funds if you’re just starting out. That’s why it’s important to create a budget and commit to it. Thrift stores, clearance aisles and yard sales are all great ways to score good buys if you’re on a tight budget.
  • Keep your receipts. You can deduct from your taxes many items that you purchase for your home-based office.
  • Think about the equipment you really need. If you’re going to use a piece of equipment on a daily basis, buy it. For equipment you use less often, a trip to a copier or office supplies store may be more economical.
  • Invest in ergonomics. A chair is one thing you don’t want to buy online—go test a few to find one that’s a good fit. Also consider a standing desk—research shows that it’s not healthy to sit all day.
  • Stock up. Whether it’s paper, pens, printer ink or boxes, make sure to have plenty of supplies on hand. Constantly having to buy one thing at a time cuts into your productivity—plus, you can usually pay less if you buy in bulk.

How to set up your home-based business

  • Try to get some natural light. One of the best parts of not being cube-bound is having access to light that isn’t exclusively emitted from fluorescent bulbs. Beyond just looking nicer, natural light has many positive health benefits for office workers.
  • Consider noise level. Think about the noise levels both inside and outside your home for each space you’re considering. White noise can help reduce distraction as well.
  • Indulge in some aromatherapy. Scents can have a pretty big impact on your stress level and focus. Consider a room spray, potpourri or an oil diffuser. Lavender reduces stress, peppermint boosts energy and lemon is calming.
  • Don’t forget colors. Like scents, colors influence you more than you think. Learn about how color affects mood before you commit to a color for your office.
  • Get plants. Did you know that plants can make you 15 percent more productive? You don’t need a green thumb to enjoy the benefits of plants—varieties like succulents and bamboo are easy to care for.
  • Create a separation from the rest of your house. If you don’t have a separate room in your house, try to partition part of your home. Having physical boundaries helps create mental boundaries when the temptation to work around the clock hits. Having a clock in clear view and set office hours will also help you establish a line between your personal and professional lives.

Many home-based business owners don’t realize that their homeowners insurance does not protect their business in most cases. For that reason, it’s best to check with an insurance professional at Melendez Insurance. He or she can tell you more about your business insurance options and get you a free quote.

Large Losses Are a Threat to Every Business

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

UmbrellaPolicyMany trends in today’s business world are exciting and encouraging. Unfortunately, the number of lawsuits and high-dollar awards in liability cases are not one of those positive trends. Here are a few recent news headlines from around the country:

  • Pennsylvania hotel sued for concussion from shower slip.
  • Fatal two-truck accident case in New York results in $3.97 million settlement.
  • Virginia victims get settlement checks (about $9 million) over toxic drywall.

There’s no way to prevent lawsuits like these entirely, but you can manage the impact. A business catastrophe liability policy serves as financial protection, or a cushion, against a legal judgment for a covered loss, beyond the limits of your underlying insurance policies.

A business catastrophe liability policy functions in a similar fashion to a personal catastrophe liability policy.  Personal catastrophe liability —commonly known as “umbrella” – coverage can provide an extra layer of liability protection over and above your auto and homeowners policies in the event that a covered claim is made against you (or a covered family member).

Like a personal catastrophe liability policy, a business catastrophe liability policy doesn’t replace your present policy. Instead, it bolsters it with an additional $1 million (or more) in liability protection.

Examples of business liability claims

Research shows that four out of 10 small businesses are likely to experience a claim in the next 10 years. While most of these claims will be covered by an underlying policy, some claims will exhaust a business’s underlying policy. If that happens, the very future of a business could be at stake if applicable coverage under a business catastrophe policy is not in place.

Here are some types of situations that could lead to costly claims:

  • Product liability
  • Customer slip and falls
  • Reputational harm like libel or slander
  • Someone being struck by an object

Protect your business

Not having enough liability coverage for your business could spell trouble down the line. Protect what you worked so hard to build by contacting Melendez Insurance.

Can Your Business Afford to Lose $3,000 a Day?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

business_interrupt_thinkstockphotos186928593The recent storms that swept across the country shut many businesses down for days on end.

Downtime like that can cost your business big bucks: The Symantec 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey revealed that disasters cost inoperable small businesses an average of $3,000 a day.

Most people would never consider opening a business without coverage for things like fires and weather events. But many small business owners don’t think about how they would manage if a fire or other disaster made their building temporarily unusable. A business that has to close down completely while the premises are being repaired may lose out to competitors—or even end up going out of business.

The good news is that you can protect your business with business interruption insurance. Business interruption insurance covers the revenue you would have earned (based on your financial records) had the disaster not occurred. The policy also covers continuing operating expenses (like electricity) that continue even though business activities have come to a temporary halt.

Business interruption coverage is not sold separately—it is added to a property insurance policy or included in a package policy. Talk to an insurance professional at Melendez Insurance to learn more about it and to get a free quote.

Too Little Liability Insurance Creates a Big Risk

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

PCL-Web-art_1I’m a safe driver. I don’t do risky things. Someone I know would never sue me.

Sound like something you’d say? When it comes to truly terrible events, many people have an “It can’t happen to me” mentality. This belief is not only false—it’s also dangerous.

“Believe me when I say a catastrophic event can happen to anyone,” says Scott Brown, a supervisor in the Erie Insurance Claims Department with 38 years of experience. “Most of the serious cases we see involve simple negligence, not recklessness.”

A few examples

Many of the catastrophic cases Scott has seen over the years involve cars. Surprisingly, most do not involve alcohol or drugs.

“Everybody believes they are superior drivers, but we all make mistakes on the road,” says Scott. “Anything from a momentary distraction to poor weather can contribute to an accident.”

Accidents can have major repercussions if you injure someone else. The same applies if you hit an expensive vehicle like a brand-new luxury car or a commercial truck.

Serious accidents also happen at home due to simple negligence. Some of the most common cases Scott has seen include pool drownings, burns and falls.

Considering the consequences

Beyond the emotional toll serious accidents have on you, there’s also a serious financial impact.

If you injure someone or damage their property, a court could very well hold you liable for the costs a victim incurred. Those costs can soar into the millions quickly, especially if a person needs extensive medical treatment or long-term physical therapy.

“The general rise in healthcare costs, along with the fact that our society is growing more litigious, is contributing to a rise in medical claim costs,” he says.

An accident that causes a serious injury to someone else could easily exceed an average person’s auto liability insurance limits. If your limits are exhausted, personal assets like your wages and savings could be at risk. In some states, even your retirement savings and home could be up for grabs.

How to protect yourself

Basic liability insurance limits on your auto and home are typically $100,000 or $300.000. That’s enough for many situations, but not all. In fact, it won’t even cover the average jury award for vehicular negligence verdicts. (That currently stands at $531,858—and half of all awards are higher than that.)

In those cases, a Personal Catastrophe Liability (PCL) policy could be a lifesaver. A PCL policy, also commonly known as an umbrella policy, provides an extra layer of liability protection over and above both your auto and homeowners policies. It covers you (or a covered family member) if you’re sued because of an accident.

Beyond protecting hard-earned assets, PCL also helps ensure you do the right thing when the wrong thing happens. Unfortunate situations sometimes happen. By having the resources to help compensate someone for their injuries and inconvenience, you’ll have the means to help them.

Not just for millionaires

Many people mistakenly believe that only high‑net‑worth individuals need a PCL policy.

In reality, liability risks are everywhere, and they have the potential to financially derail people of modest means as well as multimillionaires. (Experts recommend you cover at least one to two times your exposed net worth.)

Insurance certainly can’t stop bad things from happening. But it can help ensure that an accident doesn’t leave you, your family and possibly even a victim high and dry. Melendez Insurance can tell you more about the protection and peace of mind the right liability insurance offers.