Monthly Archives: September 2013

Kitchen with Window Tint

Finding the best finance options for starting your home construction business

So, the market has started to stabilize a bit and you’ve decided that you love working in the construction industry. It is your dream to begin a business of your own and you need to find out what to do to accomplish this. You’ve listened to your co-workers and your employer for years and you know that this is the one thing you could do to make a living.

Now you need to figure out the steps to be in business and get some financing to get going.

Financing is not going to be easy

After the crash of the mortgage industry, it took a big chunk out of the construction and painting business. All levels of success have suffered and in the process, people that love what they do, have taken on many more levels of experience just to make ends meet. So, walking into this industry will bring many things to your business.

First, you better be diversified in your values and experienced to get by.

Second, you had better love what you are about to do. It’s going to take a big amount of time to break into the industry.

Third, if you have already started with small things, make sure you have all your licenses in place and be prepared to get continuing education to step into more specialized fields and stay competitive in this market.

Fourth, financing will be a process.

Fifth, you will need a merchant account to process payments for debit and credit transactions. Construction falls into the High Risk Merchant account area.

Finding capital

Joining the SBA or small business administration is good thing. Having them behind you makes your business appear secure, steady and prepared for the future. Every little bit helps. Just know that working with them does not insure that you will get financial assistance, but they will direct you into the areas that can help.

They have banks and loaning institutions that will assist with loans and applications for the construction industry. Follow their pathways and they can and will get you the help you need. You will assign a counselor, or mentor, to get you on your path and he/she will answer questions when you have them arise.

They will also send you down the roads you need for licensing and permits and classes that you may need to keep going in your industry.

If this isn’t what you were after

Like most of us, you need an income now. This dream of a construction business may take everything you have. So make sure you have back up for an income while you build your dream company.

If anything is worth having, then it is worth your time. If you want this bad enough, you will work for it. So, take the other steps you need to do.

Since the SBA is not what you were looking for, the next step is research. Finding the money to finance this venture.

Start online and compile your list of places that you want to go to. Do yourself a favor, when you go to their place of business….. look nice. Wear your going to church clothes. This will insure a nice reception from them and you can accomplish something.

DO not fill out application after application. That counts against your credit score. Have a list of questions ready to ask the person that works with you. Be ready to do business, but know that you could be turned down again and again. Don’t whip out the social security number until you know that you have potential to get the finances you are after.

Keep thinking…… Walt Disney did 101 banks before he found the one that created his giant of an industry. You may not be Walt, but in your mind this is a giant leap for your future. Guard it, work it, and be prepared.

Look at things in a non-traditional manner

Online research will also find ways to get financing that the banking industry does not normally deal with. So, do your research and see what is out there. Make sure you don’t give anyone your personal information until you know they are on the up and up. The state has registrations of businesses that are not frauds and the Better Business Bureau has lists of businesses that really exist.

Take your time. Your business is your dream. Don’t kill it before it even gets off the ground. Nothing worth having is worth wasting before it gets started. Do your research and take your time. Keep an income going before you blast onto a scene that you aren’t prepared for yet. Be diligent and be prepared. Make lists and scratch off each step as you get there. Be smart and prepared. This is your dream and you want to get it off the ground without drowning. Good hunting to you.

Author Bio:

Blair Thomas is an electronic payment expert, who loves all things finance and planning.  He is also the co-founder of, the #1 high risk processing company in the country. But when he’s not running his business he’s more than likely exploring his other passions; music, mountain biking and camping.  If you would like to see what he’s up to, check him out on Facebook.



Tips for Making a Small Backyard Feel Spacious

potted plants and backyard shedIf you have a small backyard and feel like you are limited to the things you can do to make your space warm and inviting, try adding a few features that will make it more appealing. Even small backyards can be utilized as an extension of your home and a place to entertain family and friends. Below are a few ideas that you can use to make the most of your small backyard. Some require more planning than others, but whether you’re an industrious home improvement maven, or a homeowner simply looking for a few quick and cost-effective fixes, there are numerous ways to make your backyard more spacious.

Size and Material Appropriate Furniture

While you want your outdoor furniture to be comfortable, you don’t want it to overwhelm your outdoor space. For example, it may be more appropriate to have chairs with end tables or a quaint two-person table, instead of a table that seats four. Also look for pieces that can be positioned in a manner that will keep your patio space streamlined and flowing so that you can easily walk around your outdoor space.

Repurposed or distressed wood often gives a unique charm to outdoor furniture, and work best in smaller forms. Many homeowners with small backyards opt for rustic materials for their outdoor furniture, which also require less upkeep and maintenance.

Keep Enclosures Open

A popular trend in outdoor patios and small backyards is to add areas that create shade. However, these shade-creating structures, such as panels or pergolas, can make your living space feel smaller if not done right. If you are going to add partial enclosures, do so with roofs that have skylights or walls made from lattice that will add privacy and shade, but have an open feeling. Wood crafters are often a sought-after choice for charming and space-saving enclosures.

Go Vertical

One of the best ways to work with small spaces is to utilize vertical space. For example, if you do not have the room to plant a traditional vegetable or flower garden in your yard, consider planting vertical gardens on fences and hanging plants from vertical structures. If you don’t have any places to hang foliage vertically, consider adding a post or structure that you can use to hang greenery from, without taking up too much of your floor space.

bambooCreating Privacy

Homeowners with small backyards are often jutted squarely next to their surrounding neighbors. While it can be sometimes be a joy to have friendly homeowners nearby, small backyards are often problematic for creating privacy. Property-line plantings are best for screening in the front yard, but for the backyard, homeowners can turn to a variety of differing features. Naturally, fences and walls form the best privacy-defining structures, with board fences being among the most popular choice, but this is often lacking in aesthetics. It doesn’t take too long to begin sprucing up a boring fence with help from bamboo or other giant leafy plants.

More Plant Ideas

Even if you have room to plant a garden, it can take up too much of the valuable floor space in your yard. For the best of both worlds, plant flowers, trees, and vegetables in small or medium pots. This will give you the freedom and flexibility to move your pots around to the areas that best fit your current space needs.

Add Lighting

Adding lighting to a small space will make it feel roomier. You can do this by adding fixtures to the side of your house or by stringing lights along the outer edges of your yard.

Frame Your Space

Even though your space is small you can frame the outer edges of your yard with a line of shrubs, a thin row of flower beds, a low rock wall, or a fence. By framing your space you will give it a distinct structure and flow. When choosing the medium to create your frame make sure the shape, scale, and color are a good representation of the theme you want to create in your yard.

All of these ideas allow you to create a welcoming space in a small yard that is well-organized and functional. If you have a small yard that you don’t enjoy with frequency, consider adding the elements mentioned above to encourage more outdoor activity and fun.

Classic New Orleans Style Home Designs

Awning and BalconyColorful and vibrant, New Orleans often brings to mind images of Mardi Gras, festivals, and fun. Its architecture is no different. This city is one of the places where the edifices really do seem to have a personality all their own. One of the most popular locales in New Orleans is the French Quarter or Vieux Carre, the quarter to locals. Infused with a rich cultural and artistic history, the architecture of the French Quarter has Spanish, French, Creole, and American influences. Several housing styles abound in New Orleans — Shotgun, Double-Gallery, and Raised-Center Hall, to name a few. These styles have much to offer homeowners across the Gulf Coast region and beyond.

Shotgun Style

Perhaps the most prominent of the New Orleans style homes is the Shotgun Style. This style of home has its origins from Haiti and West Africa. Although tall and slim, these houses hold a charm that stems from their mysterious origins. They often have a porch covered by an awning supported by columns that encase the porch. To achieve this look, adding columns and an awning to your current home, as well as a bright layer of colorful paint, might turn your home into a little piece of New Orleans in the Gulf Coast.

Raised Center-Hall Cottage or Villa

This beautifully styled cottage resembles a shorter and wider version of the shotgun style home, but with more elaborate galleries and columns that also support an awning that covers the porch. This New Orleans style home typically has five entries with the front entrance in the middle. If your home is structured differently or has no porch, you can still gain a bit of the look by either adding a deck or embellishing the deck you currently have. Simply add an awning supported by columns over the deck or porch addition. Instead of a deck, adding a patio the entire length of the home will also give you the desired effect. Simply add the awning and columns to surround the patio.

Double Gallery House

In keeping with the columned theme, this two-story house has two galleries supported by columns at each story level. Somewhat resembling a much loftier version of an American colonial, this home also holds its own unique charm. To apply this look to your own home might take some creativity as the roof is side-gabled, and there are two galleries instead of just a porch awning. You might get close to this look by adding a balcony to your second level supported and encased by columns.

American Greek Revival 

Although you might not find these types of homes within the proper metro area, several historic American Greek Revival homes dot the outlying area of New Orleans. Simply put, these are some of the most luxurious mansions of the South; spacious treasures that show some of America’s finest architectural origins. While it can be intimidating to consider styling your home in the manner of an American Greek Revival mansion, many homeowners can pursue this aesthetic in a subtle and classy manner, by adding unique touches and timeless antiques to your home’s collection. If you are looking for inspiration, many of these stately homes are now open for public viewing, or refurbished into unique bed and breakfast lodges, such as the Bocage Plantation, in Darrow, Louisiana.

Home and Greenery These New Orleans style homes signify a time of historical charm and allure. Adding touches of Louisiana style to your own home will make your house stand out from the rest in a great way. Contacting an architect in your area will be an excellent first step to implementing many of the structural changes and additions that will add the French Quarter charm to your home. If you already have columns, a porch, or a deck, then adding a new coat of fresh, bright paint may be all you need to bring a touch of Vieux Carre to your neighborhood. Make sure to check with the housing officials in your area for zoning laws, restrictions, and licenses before making major structural changes to your home. If you don’t want to take on a major remodel, adding bright colored paint, cast iron faux balconies, and a window replacement to your Houston, New Orleans, or Gulf Coast home will also give you a bit of this fun and free-flowing style.

Adding New Orleans Charm to Your Home Décor

Patio RemodelCourtyard patios are a feature of hotels, restaurants, and homes in the French Quarter. The narrow style of house achieves more space by beautifying an enclosed area in the back. Brick is the favorite choice of masonry material in New Orleans, according to the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commissions — Guidelines for Masonry and Stucco, and it can add a unique complement to your patio.

To add an authentic touch of New Orleans charm to your home, enclose an area in the back yard with a board fence and pave it with bricks. The tone that you establish with a red brick floor opens the way for you to make your courtyard as charming as those in the old section of the city. The Commission states that red brick is the most popular, but you can use brown, yellow, or orange to match your decor.

Planters and Flower Beds

The warm and humid air in New Orleans provides excellent growing conditions for colorful flowers, so you may need to install a misting system if you live in a dry area. Planters shaped like large vases serve as statuary pieces that you could situate in accent areas. The lightweight material that is used in many of the planters today makes them easy to move.

Flowerbeds along the fence line provide a colorful contrast, and weeds are controllable in a limited space. Bricks that match the patio floor are good for retaining the dirt, or you could use a contrasting color for extra style.

Loads of Flowers

An abundance of blooms is the secret to a successful New Orleans patio. Evergreen plants like camellias and azaleas that bloom in the late winter or early spring are favored varieties. While it has no aroma, the camellia has flowers in red, white, and pink, which resemble large roses, and require little maintenance. Blooms on azaleas are as delicate as little orchids, usually in shades of white and light pink to deep magenta. Decorative flowers that can give you the look you want in your flowerbeds include these:

– Impatiens and vinca

– Gladiolas

– Lantana

– Tea roses

– Lily of the valley

Watering FlowersAccent the Corners and the Center

Banana trees grow thickly, and dense greenery is essential in your patio. The tall leaves bend gracefully, showing yellow tints on the trunk. Some varieties produce miniature bananas, but the plant is sensitive to temperatures that are uncommon in the south. Gardenias produce an aroma that is sweet and pleasant during the day and even more aromatic in the evening. Train some jasmine to grow on your fence, and let its light fragrance add to the inviting ambiance of your courtyard.

Consider a Fountain

Anyone who has visited New Orleans has probably noticed the prevalence of fountains. While your local garden retailer may have ideas about potential New Orleans style fountains, you can do a little research first and find the best type of fountain for your home. While the city of New Orleans often boasts a larger than life personality, you do not have to spring for an ostentatious or gaudy display. Instead, look for a fine smaller fountain that is subtle in its approach. A New Orleans style fountain does not hew close to a particular aesthetic, but rather is playful in its incorporation of various features.

If you are a DIY home improvement enthusiast, you can also construct a shallow pond and connect a water supply for a spouting fountain. Water lilies in the basin or some gold fish can create a focus area that is always interesting.

The Finishing Touch

With a courtyard that is a delightful place to relax or visit, you have the perfect location to entertain family and friends. Open air dining is part of the life style in New Orleans, and it is an elegant way to enjoy a meal. The greenery, flowers and fountain provide an environment that is graceful and pleasant. With a table and some large, comfortable chairs, you are ready to enjoy your own New Orleans courtyard patio. These finishing touches help illuminate and give charm to your home. With these tips in mind, you can see how people across the Gulf Coast have looked to New Orleans for stylish home décor.

With assistance from, the author is adding some classic Gulf Coast style charm to his Houston home.