Category Archives: Business

Mandated Requirements in the PPI: The Little Man’s Thoughts….

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Organics Admin

COO at Aladay LLC
Organic Farmer, Property Preservation Specialist and Custom Glass & Wood Worker. Blogger extraordinaire...
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led-zeppelin-ivAs the smell of freshly ground Sumatra Mandling permeated and the morning fog in my head I listened as the morning breeze gently rustled the leaves of the Aspens in Laci’s Rose garden bringing the oh so slight teasing promise of a break in the heat we’ve been experiencing, I couldn’t  help wonder what new adventure this crazy Property Preservation Industry I work in will bring in the upcoming months.

After all since the first of the year our beloved Property Preservation industry has had so many insane “new” mandated requirements from being ordered to place tracking software on personal cell phones to being told should one decide to send a text message about a job to an employee they may face possible prosecution for revealing “trade secrets” in over the top egregious contract clauses. In addition there has been a company issue fraud policy that actually reads as if making the agreement with the policy said company had  unprecedented police powers over ones business and personal life. Now call me a conspiracy theorist but to me at least, in my interpretation of all this…well the phrase “Image Repair” comes to mind. I say that because everything that has been done, every new “mandatory requirement” has been issued to correct a fault or over site by some desk jockey in the PPI.  Sorry, but don’t you think that is just a little over the top for any of the company’s  in the PPI to mandate any Independent Contractor do all in the name of attempting “Image Repair”.  In addition to all the “harmless new mandated requirements” that demonstrate “direction and control” that the Independent Contractors have just accepted as part of the business because they are so afraid of waking up and having to find a new line of work if they say no, we have had a barrage of media press that many feel has bashed the Contractors and given ALL of them a “bad name” and shown them in a bad light.

So While I was enjoy the acidic sweet smell of my morning coffee filling my nostrils and jarring the brainwaves into motion the Little Man running around the canyons of my mind started screaming  questions, these questions started echoing through the canyons of my mind. How come no one has spoken for the Contractors? How come the Contractors are not screaming? Where are these organizations that claim to represent everyone in the Property Preservation Industry? Why haven’t these organizations put a stop to some of this madness??  The Little Man continued, wouldn’t that be advocating for the Contractors that are the backbone of the Property Preservation Industry?

Could it be that the organizations that claim to be part of the solution are actually part of the problem? I don’t know. Is it possible that said organizations have helped create some of the policies that have recently been mandated? I don’t know. So many questions ….so many questions.

What has puzzled me the most is that when opportunities for the Independent Contractors to make a stand come, very few are willing to join forces, if you will, and make a statement by representing themselves. A recent article in the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/safeguard-properties-complaints_n_3165191.html) is a prime example of what I’m talking about. Here the vendors that have organized on sites like LinkedIn (National Property Preservation Consortium Group, 225 members), Facebook, (Property Preservation Company’s Information Exchange,  500+members), Preservation Talk.com with 1,552 members. Over two thousand members and how many of them commented on behalf of the Contractors or even represented their company in the comment section after this article that so many claimed “It makes us look bad”… You can count the number on one hand.

I find that rather disturbing that so many Contractors would be silent on the issue of being a respectable Contractor providing quality service in the PPI. Not only have many Contractors in the industry expressed to me how they feel this article has shined a very negative light on all of the Contractors of the industry, but so did the folks commenting in the comments section on the article. Let them tell it Property Preservation Contractors are all a bunch of scoundrels that should be run out of town and tarred and feathered!!! One would think with the obnoxious amount of complaining that runs through the a fore mentioned sites on a daily bases that the Contractors would be screaming ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!… But we don’t even hear a whisper from them? Why? What has them so terrified to come together? Why are they afraid to show the other side a united front can be made by them? A united front in order to improve the conditions of the Property Preservation Industry?

When this thought came screaming through those same canyons of my mind the Little Man running around up there froze….then he asked me…Do you think that these Contractors are aware that there was a time when there was a mass of overworked underpaid, physically and mentally abused, often beaten into submission, threatened at gunpoint, with some even losing their lives (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead_Strike), Behind the actions of Carnegie? Do you think the Contractors know this, the Little Man asked? Do you think they even understand that by not saying anything on their behalf they are in fact endorsing everything done and said?

The Little Man shaking his head started to walk away and suddenly stopped and asked… Do you think the Contractors understand the impact that John D. Rockefeller (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Oil) had on reinforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act

Do you think the Contractors understand that those before them, just like those that have died in wars,  have fought for principle that will be all for naught should they continue on this road of silence? Is it possible the silence is because many Contractors don’t feel that the job market will sustain them if they say no and get out? Or perhaps so many of the Contractors feel helpless that no organization claiming to represent them has taken a position against any of the issues in the industry that have systematically stripped the spirit of the Independent Contractors rules and made them feel like they are employees. The Little Man seemed confused and spinning in circles while rambling a loud, trying to calm him I responded softly, I have no answer for that question either I told him

What I do know, until the Contractors start talking to each other, start formulating some sort of organized front that these issues will continue to get worse. As I look at some of the new “pricing” that Contractors are told they HAVE to accept, as a consultant I naturally start categorizing and break services down I find that the Contractors are not even working for the Federal Minimum Wage.  Which wold lead one to believe that there are serious violations going on somewhere of the Davis Bacon Act or even the Service Contract Act.

Now the Little Man dumbfounded was seriously shaking his head….so many questions he mumbled….

As Little Man started to skip off into the recesses of my mind he suddenly paused for a second before he disappeared over his shoulder he said…

Perhaps, you should ask them….

 

Until Next Time..

Have a Good day and Let’s be safe out there…

 

Image courtesy Led Zepplin’s fourth album cover

 

Soil Fertility: Gotta Have It

Organics Admin
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Organics Admin

COO at Aladay LLC
Organic Farmer, Property Preservation Specialist and Custom Glass & Wood Worker. Blogger extraordinaire...
Organics Admin
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phone 7_17_13 011

 

 

As the seasons are starting to make their transitions it is time to start considering you soils for next year’s growing season. One of the “little things” that all farmers consider, something that the consumer never really thinks about is “soil fertility”.

Fertile soil comes from a lot of planning and hard work. Fertile soil is what makes the pumpkins so large, or the vegetables tasty. Without the right balance of nutrients in your soil your basil may be bitter or squash dry and stringy. Most gardeners and farmers use some sort of soil nutrients in their growing processes, whether chemical or organic. Fertilizers are sold with a number series on them. The numbers represent the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the mix.

In lands used for agriculture and other human activities, fertile soil typically arises from the use of soil conservation practices, basically the ability of a soil to supply plant nutrients, again whether chemically or organically.

organic fertilizer numbers
Numbering system on fertilizers

 

 

Bioavailable nitrogen is the element in soil that is most often lacking. Phosphorus and potassium are also needed in substantial amounts. For this reason these three elements are always identified on a commercial fertilizer analysis. For example a 10-10-15 fertilizer has 10 percent nitrogen, 10 percent (P2O5) available phosphorus and 15 percent (K2O) water soluble potassium. Sulfur is the fourth element that may be identified in a commercial analysis—e.g. 21-0-0-24 which would contain 21% nitrogen and 24% sulfate

 

 

 

 

Fertile soil has the following properties:

 

Organic Gardener & Bloome fertilizer
Product used at AOF

 

There are several products out there that one can use. While we do not receive any endorsement fees (perhaps we should look into that!!!) we do use Gardener & Bloome organic products as we have had success with them in our production numbers. As I said there many products out there, sometimes you have to try several before you find the one product that agrees with you.

We have also found the use of landscaping debris can become very good mulches and composts. There are several ways to compost, dig a hole in the ground and place organic matters in them, use a trash can for a composting bin, make a bin from a 55 gallon barrel…all an article for another time. Mulching involves the chipping of tree and shrub branches, if untreated mulches will break down over time but at a much slower rate as they are normally used as a cover to prevent moisture from escaping or they are used to cover weed barriers.

However, one of the simplest ways to put nutrients back into your soil is to use the plant materials after that first heavy frost in the fall. You can just till the plant matter back into the ground. This is actually something you want to do in the fall before the heavy freeze hits and the ground becomes too solid to work. This allows the material to break down over the winter and provide many of the nutrients you garden will need next year.

 

 

Until Next Time..

Happy Gardening