Friday, May 29, 2015

How ADA Non-Compliant Businesses Could Face Consequences

The American With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that was signed in 1990 to protect those with a disability whether it be from discrimination in seeking employment or while at work or the accessibility of buildings and structures. The ADA gives the thousands of people with disabilities the same opportunity as anyone else. If these regulations are not met, serious lawsuits may take place and even fines up to $150,000 after an initial fine of $75,000 for the first violation can take place.

Fines for ADA violations vary across the board depending on the scale of violation. Some violations are small, while others, such as those for large businesses, are presented on a large scale, with lawsuits and substantial monetary consequences.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Start a Business in Michigan

It's a new year and new goals are to be reached. Why not begin working on that business or startup that you've always dreamed about? Starting a business takes a lot of effort, but can bring you a lot of personal and financial rewards. Assuming that you have researched your business idea and have the necessary funding, here are the six steps, according to Michigan State University Extensions,  it takes to register your business in the state of Michigan:

Obtain a FEIN: 

Your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) is a tax ID assigned to you and your specific business. It is required to open a checking account and to facilitate other financial transactions such as opening a credit account with a vendor.

Register the assumed business name with  the County Clerk:

If you're going to operate your business as a sole proprietor and you’re not using your complete legal name (first and last name) as your business name, you will need to register your business name as an “assumed name.” This used to be called DBA (doing business as); however, it in now referred to as assumed name.

Obtain a UIA Number:

You can get your Unemployment Insurance Account (UIA) online from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. You must have this account prior to hiring employees; you’ll also need this number to file your quarterly tax reports. 

Obtain a Sales Tax License:

Some sales are not taxed; some sales are taxed. Regardless if you make taxable or nontaxable sales, it is best to have a sales tax license. It legitimizes your business. Also, this license allows you to make purchases for resale without paying sales tax to the vendor. Get your sales tax license from the Michigan Department of Treasury.

Register you business with the Michigan Department of Treasury:

Michigan requires business enterprises to register, allowing you to make your collected tax payments.

Obtain all necessary permits:

Some businesses need special permits or licenses. You can search what permits are required, and obtain the applications from Michigan Business One Stop

After you've completed these steps you are officially in business in the state of  Michigan! For more help on where to go from here or if you have further questions visit the Michigan Business One Stop website

About the Author: Sandra is a guest contributor from Corporate Office Interiors, offering office furniture solutions and help for all your office needs. 



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

College Graduates Taking New Cities by Storm

Key metropolitan areas are attracting young college graduates at increased rates in the past couple years, including more cities than just the usual, New York, Washington and San Francisco. While these cities are still attracting graduates from all across the country, other cities have become popular as well. Denver, San Diego, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon are all on the radar for graduates. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Office Etiquette: Decorating for the Holidays

The holiday season is a time filled with cheer and decorations, but making sure that every holiday is equally represented in an office can sometimes be overlooked. Some offices choose to not allow any decorations, eliminating the possibility of these issues, while others like to add a bit of holiday spirit into their work place. Whichever a company chooses, it is important that all holidays are represented equally, whether not at all or in equal amounts.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cities With The Most New Construction In The U.S.

Image courtesy of
New commercial construction projects have been popping up in metro areas around the U.S. the past two years at a rate not seen for several years. In 2013 McGraw Hill Construction put together their list of cities with the most money spent on new construction through May of last year (to my knowledge their  haven't been any newer updates to these numbers).

The overall numbers in their study were interesting. In 2012 new construction was up ten percent and at the time of their research they projected another 12 percent increase in 2013. Obviously, if you're looking at Metro projects you're looking at expenditures climbing into the billions. However, it's interesting to compare some other numbers to the fastest areas of new construction growth. Let's look at the top five in their list.

1. New York. Not surprisingly, New York came in first place as far and away the largest city in the country. From 2010 to 2012 population in New York jumped up slightly from 8.19 million to 8.34 million, but with annual new construction starts of over $20.5 billion it's clear that even in years of modest population growth, the need for newer, bigger and better things are taking place in New York City.

2. Dallas. Amazingly, Wikipedia has the most recent population at only 1.2 million, even though the city had new construction starts of over $11.1 billion in 2012 and increased that in 2013. The scope of projects for a city much smaller than New York is truly something.

3. Houston. Texas is definitely the site for new construction as Houston follows hot on Dallas's heals. In 2012 they had identical new construction starts of $11.1 billion. In the past year, Houston's population (already at 2.12 million) grew by 83,000. The thriving oil economy, healthy birth rate and a steady stream of immigrants helps fuel this growth.

4. Washington D.C. Far less populace than the top three in this list, Washington's government driven economy and historical buildings like the recent renovation to the IMF Headquarters continue to fuel healthy growth upwards of $10 billion annually.

5. Atlanta. Another crown jewel of the south, Atlanta's new construction starts grew by roughly 80% (projected) in 2013. That's astonishing growth for a city that had seen a drop in population of more than 100,000 from 2009 to 2010 and a sign of the city's resurgence.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Construction: A Dangerous Career

Truck drivers swerve through mountain passes during a blizzard. In skin melting heat, forest fire fighters run into Mother Nature’s blazing rage. Fishermen ward off ice chunks and massive waves to bring in a cage of crab. Police officers suit up in body armor before an armed raid. These are the dangerous jobs that hard working men and women in the United States face every day on the job. But what people don’t realize is that one of the most dangerous careers to be in is construction.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Elder Care Referral Services: Know What They Know!

Oftentimes, elder care referral services will advertise in hospital waiting rooms, online, television, and even on the side of vans. I know this having done some CNA training at several near my home years ago.

So what is an elder care referral service? When someone is about to be discharged from a hospital, or when they are no longer able to live independently (or at the same level of care to which they were accustomed), these services are supposed to provide an informed choice to seniors.

Based on the information they receive from your loved one or your family, they make recommendations as to facilities that are able to care for your loved one. There are two problems. First, often the referral service hasn’t done their research on the facilities. Second, often they’re basing their recommendations based on incomplete information.

There are several types of facilities that may be able to accomodate your loved one. The facility type often varies based on the level of care your loved one requires.

For example, Nursing Homes are usually able to care for varying levels of dependent individuals. Some simply have some trouble getting around or need a little assitance with washing. Some are completely dependent on others for all of their activities of daily living (ADLs). Adult Family Homes provide a more close-knit care system, with fewer beds and more caregivers per person. However, they lack the large infrastructure and resources of a nursing home. Independent Living Facilities offer activities and meals, but largely let your loved one remain independent in a condominium or apartment style setting.

Most referral services are by no means charitable. They operate to garner a profit. The way they make their profit is generally by receiving the first month’s rent that you pay the facility. This means that the less they spend on research of the facility, the more money they are able to make. So its important to know which questions to ask.

  • Has anyone from the referral service visited the facility?
  • What staff are available to your loved one at the facility?
  • Is there an nurse or doctor onsite or readily available?
  • Are they able to meet the needs of your loved one?
  • What does the facility have in place to prevent pressure ulcers?
  • What training do the caregivers at the facility have?
  • What does the facility do about medications?
  • Has the facility been cited by DSHS?
  • Have their been any lawsuits against the facility?
  • Have their been any actions against licensed staff?
  • What forms of payment do they accept?
  • What are the refund policies?
A lot of these things may seem like they require a lot of time and effort. However, a quick visit and a couple of questions to the facility’s owner can turn up most of the information. Most DSHS websites offer quick and easy public disclosure requests (or even online checks) into licensing and actions against a provider’s license.

The facility should be collecting information from your or your loved one in order to make the right recommendation. A lot of facilities will claim to have “care advisors”, but are solely making their recommendation based on ability to pay and geographic location. However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. In order to properly care for your loved one, they need to know what activities they can and can’t do. Can they brush their teeth, are they incontinent, do they have the potential for skin breakdown and require a higher level of care to prevent pressure ulcers. If the facility cannot meet the care needs of your loved one, they should not recommend that facility.

The referral process does not end there. Once options are given, the family should go check out the facility. Talk to the caregivers, talk to other residents.

Finally, once you choose a facility, visit early and visit often. Stagger the times and days you visit, so you can get an idea of the care that is actually being offered at the facility. If you are not comfortable with the care, move.

It may seem like a lot of work, but taking the time to ensure a proper referral will help to make sure your loved one isn’t exposed to abuse or neglect.