The publisher of Cal-OSHA Reporter is offering free Premium Content subscription to out-of-work safety and industrial health professionals. So, if you know someone in the safety or occupational safety community, involved with OSHA compliance, safety compliance, a member of American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) or American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), be sure and let them know.
When I came home after work last Wednesday night I discovered a note taped to my front door. I’ve scanned it in and posted it to the right. Basically this guy is putting up notices that they’re going to be coming by the following day to repaint the numbers on the curb. I LOVE this idea!
- It’s easy. Just fill out the flyer and hang it outside – they take care of everything else.
- No risk. If they are going to paint your address and then come around asking for payment, you can always refuse if you think they did a bad job.
- It’s cheap. His flyer was printed up on half a sheet of paper, so it probably cost him no more than $0.10 for two flyers – plus the half-inch of masking tape. The advertising costs are bare-bones. The materials amount to a few stencils and some spray paint.
- It’s quick. I’m guessing with a proper stencil and some paint, you could whip out a curb address number in about a minute or so.
- It’s a cash business. I didn’t see anything there about their tax ID number.
- Slick advertising. They appeal to your sense of safety and security (helping the police, fire department, et cetera find you quickly) and your sense of community (suggesting it is more effective when the whole neighborhood joins in).
But, why stop there? I bet you could make even MORE money if you took this entire enterprise further:
- Volume is key. Having as many houses on a single street is probably optimal. So, putting a little extra polish on these flyers could probably help a lot. Invest in better paper and use a paper cutter rather than scissors. Anything to help score a few more houses per street.
- Price is key. I have to wonder how many people are paying for this service. What’s the optimal price point? I’m guessing for $10.00 you might be able to capture a lot more homes on a given street than the $20.00 they’re suggesting.
- Look important. I’m always getting official looking junk mail – sometimes I even open it. I’d say use bond paper, a decent home printer or your local printer, print something up that implies you are affiliated with the city or county. Have an address, phone number, and website ready.
- Location, location, location. If I were running such a business I would do a little homework. I would find a well kept neighborhood with a Home Owner’s Association – some area that probably has a vested interest in maintaining the upkeep around their homes.
- Look really important. If I were doing this, my letterhead would say I was with the “Home Owner’s Association Maintenance Co-Operative of Contra Costa County.” I’d send out letters a week ahead saying that a person’s street has been scheduled for yearly curbside maintenance, that the HOAMCOCCC was going to through the following week to paint the numbers on an entire street a uniform color and returning the following day to collect payment.
Why in the world did I go to law school? What a colossal waste of time! I could probably more per hour stenciling sidewalks than I do as an attorney. I’m half tempted to give it a shot anyhow. :)
Anyhow, this just goes to show no matter how bad things are, someone has thought of a way to make money.
I’ve been working to develop calculators and search engines that are easier to use, easier to understand, and make them available to everyone for less than my competitors. One benefit to doing it all myself is that I can innovate faster than anyone else. For instance, my wildly popular Ogilvie calculator was available to beta testers just days after the Ogilvie case came out.
But, this new calculator is something entirely new. Tantalized? Titilated? Tremulous?
Here’s an easy way to save your law practice several hundred dollars in the next few months. The next time you have to purchase a new computer do not buy a copy of MicroSoft Office, MicroSoft Word, or WordPerfect. Even basic versions of these programs can run several hundred dollars per computer.1 You don’t have to purchase these programs!
Try OpenOffice instead! I have been using OpenOffice on my home and work computers for the last three years and have been extremely happy with it. I have given copies of this program to family, friends, and colleagues who are also all very happy with it. I’ve used it for simple correspondence, legal pleadings, spreadsheets, and presentations.
Here are a few “real world” benefits:
OpenOffice is totally 100% free open source software
Free as in free. Give it to your friends. Install it at home and on your kids’ computers. Don’t worry about software piracy. Its totally, completely, free.
OpenOffice has better document recovery
Its important to know that OpenOffice is much more stable than anything MicroSoft or WordPerfect has to offer. It is extremely rare that OpenOffice crashes on me. If you’re using MicroSoft Word and you haven’t saved your document at least once, a single crash will completely erase all of your progress. The very few times that OpenOffice has crashed on me I have gotten all of my data back – even when I haven’t saved the file once.
OpenOffice has everything you need
OpenOffice has all the features of MicroSoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and WordPerfect. You can also use the OpenOffice suite of software to open, edit, and save to MicroSoft Word and WordPerfect formats. It won’t automatically open the MicroSoft Office 2007 formats yet, but you can find plugins and software to do this for you (also for free). OpenOffice has spell check, grammar check, autocorrect, macros, and templates (even legal pleading templates!).
OpenOffice can do more than its competitors
OpenOffice can save as, open, and even edit a PDF. Editing a PDF requires a plugin, but it is very easy to install (and also free!). Just being able to print to a PDF is going to make your documents easier to share with others and, hopefully, one day easier to share with EAMS too.23
If you’re not convinced to make the leap with your next computer purchase, then download OpenOffice now and give it a shot on your current computer. Here’s their website link:
To e-mail yourself a calculation, perform the calculation as normal. When the website returns your calculation, it will say “E-mail Me!” Just click that button and it will send an e-mail to the address you used to register for this website.
Although I intend this to be a paid-subscription-only feature, I am going to leave it open for all users while I get some feedback. So, what do you think? Please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail!
- Thanks Dennis! [↩]
- Photo courtesy of Vernhart [↩]
- Why, what did you do with your Saturday morning? [↩]
- I haven’t installed it in some of the EAMS lookup functions [↩]
- If you filled in the boxes for Applicant, WCAB #, and File #, it will include this information in your e-mail as well. This is only for your convenience and not a requirement. [↩]