Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ice Ice Baby

.....and I am not referring to the song by Vanilla Ice from 1990. I took my first ride this morning up around Southern New Hampshire and was shocked at all the damaged and toppled trees everywhere. See this youtube video clip to get an idea what it looked like the day it hit. On my way to look at a cool kitchen project in Atkinson, this is the first thing that caught my attention and I had honestly forgotten that just a month ago that area experience a legendary ice storm that crippled that region and left it without power for 11 days. My electrician who is from Plaistow (who ironically had no power either) got called out to restore power for over 60 homeowners after their electrical service was ripped off the house by a fallen tree and is still waiting to collect some money from all the insurance companies. Can you say "credit line"? This is one argument for accepting credit cards if you own a company, especially for times like these where people are desperate for the repairs but may not have the cash on hand. My friend is a representative over at Heartland Payment Systems and I am seriously thinking of accepting credit cards soon as an alternative payment solution for our clients. What electrician or trades person has time to sit down and send out 60 invoices on the day they work for someone? The answer is not many. For many small companies with no office staff to handle the billing they were forced into spending the daylight hours out in the field handling the emergencies instead of handling the emergency back in the office of collecting $$$. As a business owner, I struggle with this every week in trying to balance doing the actual work and asking for the money to pay for it. The work is far more fun so inevitably I end up favoring the fun work and procrastinate the billing. Not good if you are a small business and you depend on the cash flow from one job to carry you to the next.
I suspect this situation will probably put many small companies out of business as they struggle to pay their bills with no money coming in. Undoubtedly, much of the work was probably covered by homeowners' insurance so the home owners are still probably fighting to see some money from them which then can be turned over to the electricians, carpenters, roofers and tree trimmers. It is an unfortunate event which at the time seems like a gold mine. Time will tell how it shakes out.
Here at home (Meadowview Construction) we are getting our share of calls these past few weeks from home owners who are experiencing major roof leaks due to ice dams. This is a subject that I could dedicate several blogs to so I will defer it to tomorrow's blog. Let me just end by saying that most ice dams are a perfect storm consisting of heat in the house and poorly insulated/ventilated attics.

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