Keeping Your Tools Safe

It would be an understatement to say that a tradesman’s tools are essential. Being a victim of theft could have a devastating effect on your earnings and your business’s reputation.  So make sure you do what you can to minimise your risks with our quick tips for keeping your tools safe.

Keep Them Out of Sight

A large number of thieves are opportunists. So one of the most effective ways to prevent theft is to remove the element of opportunity.

Tinted windows on your business vehicle can make it hard for anyone to decide if the contents of the vehicle are worth the risk. The same goes for a vehicle parked in a garage – if they can’t see your tools, they’re less likely to try and take them.

Whether you’re at home or on-site, don’t leave your tools in your vehicle. It might be an effort to bring everything indoors with you every night, but it’s nothing compared to losing a day’s work and having to replace your entire collection of tools.

Keep Them Locked Up

Whenever you leave your tools anywhere – at work, at home or in the van – make sure they’re always secure. There are many different options for installing fixed, secure lockboxes in your van, and you might even consider installing mesh windows.

For larger equipment, such as ladders, you can secure them with a chain and padlock. But remember – a dedicated thief can force locks and cut chains, so always buy the highest quality security devices that your budget allows.

And don’t forget to make it clear that you take your security seriously – lights over your garage, visible alarm boxes and heavy chains are all powerful deterrents to a would-be thief.

Prepare for the Worst

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, thefts may still happen. That’s why it’s important to be prepared – make it as easy as possible to recover or replace your tools.

Buying tradesman insurance is one way to protect your tools and means you can keep your business running even if disaster strikes. But make sure you keep your policy up to date when you buy new tools.

For particularly valuable items, it might be worth etching unique identification numbers onto the tools themselves. Keep a written record of your entire inventory and any associated identification numbers – this can help the police to recover them if they’re found at a later date.

StoreSuite Shopping Carts

I’ve been looking into shopping cart software off an on for about 6 months as I really want to branch away from blogging sites and into sites that take a little less upkeep. I figure if I one site with one income is good, two sites with 3/4 income is better and so on. Of course to do that, they sites have to become somewhat of a automated income stream. A shopping cart doesn’t necessarily fit that bill, but it would fit nicely with an expanded effort in my eBay ventures. Why pay $15.99 a month for an eBay store when I can set up my own for a fraction of the money and drive traffic too it. All the while, not paying eBay their disgusting fees. Sounds like a winner to me.

storesuite suggestive cartI had pretty much decided on using osCommerce as my shopping cart until I saw a few screenshots and a list of the features in StoreSuite. I think I’ll be giving it a try when it is released. It has a nice set of features that includes integration with nearly all of the more popular payments. I didn’t see the new Amazon payment listed there, but I sure would like to see it. It also integrates with most of the popular shipping systems. That’s nice. Automatic, integrated shipping quotes makes a site feel that much more professional. The inventory system sounds top notch as well. It purportedly can have set limits and when the inventory reaches that point, it is automatically pulled from the site. If you’ve ever oversold a product, you know how nice that feature is.

And of course, the website guy in me loves the fact that it’s template driven and has a lot of AJAX use going on. Drag and Drop design. Sweet.

At the moment, you can only sign up for as a beta tester, but maybe it’s worth while to try and get in on the testing. Could give you a head start on the consulting for the software as it’s bound to become a popular software. The expected release is somewhere around the 4th quarter of 2007, so it should be knocking on peoples doors pretty soon.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Increase Rankings with SearchStatus Firefox Plugin

If you own/run/webmaster a website, SearchStatus should really be on your list of must have tools for Firefox. Where else can you see your Google PageRank, Alexa Ranking, and Compete Rankings in one easy to read interface? I don’t know of any other tools that do the same from within your browser. What’s better than that? Your browsing contributes to the Alexa and Compete rankings. More recorded traffic for both means higher rankings. And higher rankings can lead to more money in your pocket. Do you need any more convincing to get going with SearchStatus?


Well, first you’ve got to be using FireFox. It’s Mozilla’s browser that has been gaining ground on Microsoft IE for a while now. I use it almost exclusively and rarely have any problems with it. Much less than I’ve had with IE in any case.

After that, getting and using SearchStatus is fairly easy to do. Take your Firefox browsing over to the SearchStatus homepage and click on the nice big button that they have for you that says “Download SearchStatus.” Then click on your browser (Firefox or Mozilla). You may get a blocked message (pesky yellow bar) at the top of your screen, if so click on it and approve the site for install and then click your browser again. You should get a popup that asks if you want to install the SearchStatus software. Click Install and you’re off. You’ll have to restart Firefox for it to be completely installed and then you’re ready to set it up and discover the wonders of this supertool!

It’s installed, here’s what’s next.

Once you’ve got it installed, you’ll want to turn a few things on. If you’ll notice, there is a little q with a circle that looks a little like a @ symbol. That’s the menu, just right click it to bring up all the options. The first ones you’ll want to fiddle with are the enable options. If you highlight the enable option, you’ll see a menu of three things. Pagerank, Alexa, and Compete. The pagerank is just for show and won’t affect your pagerank in any way, but the other two report to their respective companies and you’ll want to make sure that they are reporting. That’s how we’ll be increasing our rank.

One of the other things that you’ll want to check out is the Highlight Nofollow option. It gives all the rel=nofollow links a nice pinkish background so you can see what links are and aren’t being followed. It’s pretty surprising sometimes what you’ll find.

There are a bunch more fun and useful tools that come with this plugin, but I’ll let you discover them and give them a test run.

Before you make a comment below, I really should mention that your browsing history alone isn’t going to make any big spikes in your rankings. But every little bit helps and if you get your friends and readers to use the plugin also, you can make a difference. As you’re rankings grow, the amount of money that advertisers pay and your traffic should both grow!

I also should mention that I am not affiliated with quirk or the SearchStatus plugin in any way. I just like the tool a lot!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,