Landlords invest in real estate for a lot of reasons, but they’re not doing it because they think it sounds like a fun way to volunteer. They’re doing it because they expect to make a profit and turn it into a career, even if it’s only a part-time job. Unfortunately, being a landlord comes with many hidden costs that you don’t always see until you’re knee-deep in higher taxes and property maintenance costs. There’s no way to avoid some of these expenses; it’s the price of doing business. There are ways to cut costs without hurting your tenants’ quality of life, though. Let’s look at three ways to save a little money when you’re a landlord.

Don’t pay for property management tools

We’re long past the days when you needed a gigantic filing cabinet and a full-time bookkeeper to keep track of your properties. In the year 2018, you can find a ton of ways to manage your property digitally. You should still print copies of certain forms so you have backups if you need them, but for the most part, you can save a few trees and a lot of time by going online and finding good property management software.

You do have to make sure you’re getting a good deal on that software. It’s not a good deal if you’re paying hundreds of dollars a month, especially if you can get some landlord software free. Make sure you’re working with a reputable company that has your best interests in mind. You may need to pay a little money for some things, but you shouldn’t have to pay much. If possible, talk to other landlords in the area and find out what kind of software they’re using.

Nurture your relationship with tenants

For the most part, a landlord can’t control why people move. A lot of people want to leave colder states in the Northeast to move to a warmer climate like Florida or Texas, and you can’t promise them the climate will get better if they just stay and renew their lease. That’s not within your control. You can hire an HVAC repair company to make sure indoor conditions are as comfortable as possible, but people will still leave if they’re ready to retire their winter coats and boots.

Once you realize there’s a lot you can’t control about when and how tenants leave, you can focus on what you can control, at least a bit. Every landlord can and should work to build a solid relationship with every tenant. It doesn’t matter if you have two tenants or 200 tenants; you should try to meet each person to learn a bit about them.

Think of tenants like employees. No, you’re not offering them health insurance, and they’re not clocking in and out every day, but good bosses want to hold onto good employees. Sure, you can turn over your apartment every year and charge a little more with every new lease. However, that increases your chances of renting to a problem tenant who will trash your property or refuse to pay their rent on time. Keeping a stable, reliable renter for five years at a slightly lower rent is better than going to court and filing eviction notices every few months.

Consult a lawyer

Speaking of eviction notices: If you don’t have a lawyer, that could very well end up costing you in the long run. It’s easy to misunderstand the eviction process and think you can tell someone to get out within, say, three days. In reality, it’s usually going to take longer. It may take a month or two depending on where you live.

States like Massachusetts are considered more tenant-friendly, which means you should expect the eviction process to be longer in many cases. If you’re managing property in a state like Texas, then you’re in a landlord-friendly locale. You need a real estate lawyer wherever you live. There’s no sense guessing about whether or not something is legal when you’re going through the eviction process. If you guess wrong, you risk financial ruin. Run your plan by a lawyer before you post an eviction notice on the door.

Every business wants to find ways to cut operating costs and increase productivity. Unfortunately, many commercial businesses get so busy running their practices they simply don’t have the time to analyse ways to drop operating costs. However, decreasing expenditures can as good as increase productivity and profits, and is a factor not to be overlooked.

Granted, some methods might cost money to implement but the long-term profits can help reduce expenses substantially. So, we have come up with five ways you can cut costs from your cleaning processes.

  1. Use The Best Money Can Buy 

    If you think cheap cleaning products are as powerful as their more expensive counterparts, think again. Cleaning products feature in different concentrations with a variety of active ingredients and varying levels of performance. You might save a few dollars buying a huge bottle of cleaning spray but that will quickly disappear if it dilutes down to half of a slightly pricier product. Plus, its lack of performance could mean you require twice as much to achieve a good job, wasting not only your hard-earned cash but also the cleaner’s time.Providing cleaning staff with the best performing cleaning products and equipment will allow them to do the best job in the shortest amount of time. It is common knowledge that highly concentrated cleaning products are far more effective than their cheaper, more watery alternatives.

    Watch your cleaning staffs’ productivity improve when you put the higher quality ingredients to good use. They attack soil and dirt faster, providing quicker results without compromising the health and safety of your staff or surfaces.

    Don’t make the decision lightly. Research products, obtain referrals and even trial different products before you make the decision that’s right for your business.

  2. Take Advantage of Power And Innovative Tools 

    Cleaning machines may cost you more money at the outset but you will save money in the long-term. Commercial floor cleaners, vacuums, auto-scrubbers and carpet cleaners are available at varying prices, capacity levels and with maintenance service. Spending money on a warranty can save you money in the long-term if, or when, the machine conks out.When you do purchase machinery be sure to buy products that suit the size of your areas. Even conduct an evaluation of the building to get a clear picture of what’s involved. Machinery that is undersized or too low in capacity can take much longer to complete the task, in turn, slowing cleaning staff down. At the other end of the scale, using machinery with excess power can be wasted on small areas. It is important to do your research before you invest in commercial floor cleaners. Search for the most productive option for the size of your areas.

    Consider backpack vacuums too. Not only do they allow the cleaning staff to clean effectively but they minimise the long-term negative health effects that can result from often ineffective cheaper upright vacuums and repetitive motions of traditional cleaners.

    Some other simple but productive implements include microfibre cleaning tools and bucket-less mop systems that can increase efficiency substantially.

  3. Create A Master Plan 

    Cleaning is a labour-intensive process. Consider tracking cleaning operations, setting tasks out on a schedule and plotting them in order of priority with the amount of time required to complete them. You can prevent ‘double handling’ by cleaning from top to bottom and doing floors last.Draw up a procedure with the completion time mapped against each task and the order in which they should be done. Not all tasks need to be done daily. Having a schedule allows cyclic jobs to be tracked ensuring they are completed when required. Review the schedule and explore alternative options to see if they increase productivity and efficiency.

  4. Train Your Cleaning Staff

    The Australian cleaning industry has seen a reduction in career cleaners and an increase in casual workers. People no longer spend years in the industry perfecting their trade and cleaning is seen more as an entry-levelAn eagerness to work and experience cleaning at home does not always compare to competent professional commercial cleaners. Also, providing employees with quality products and a schedule does not ensure they are going to be efficient at the tasks. Cleaning staff should be shown the most productive and skilful ways to achieve the best results.

    If you provide new staff with on-the-job training it is important to clarify your expectations and give them worksheets outlining your desired standards and the expected time dedicated to each task. Perhaps assign them a cleaning buddy to work with the first few times. It might also prove useful to audit new staffs’ cleaning practices when they have been in the role for some time, ensuring they are completing the tasks efficiently.


  1. Motivate Your Cleaning Staff  

    It can prove quite a challenge to keep your cleaning staff motivated. Lack of motivation can have a huge impact on productivity. There are ways you can prevent it to ensure you get the most out of your cleaning staff.Consider focussing your attention generously praising staff when they do a good job. Perhaps run small competitions and hand out regular awards to staff performing well. Recognise their successes in front of other team members which will encourage other employees to be the next person acknowledged.

    Do things together outside of work and share business successes. Thank the staff for their contribution and inform them of the company goals. Transparency will build a company bond.

    The little things add up and help to motivate your staff, which will in turn decrease staff turnover while improving productivity.

Put these methods into practice and watch your business reduce its costs and increase productivity while you maintain quality and satisfaction in your cleaning practices without compromising the health and safety of your employees.

Tame Impala, the name used by multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker for his project and quite possibly the most acclaimed Australian rock act currently active, recorded his most recent album, the 2015 hit Currents in his home studio located at beachside Fremantle. Not the example you’d think of when you consider the phrase home office but music has a long and storied history with home recordings. Whether something lo-fi like Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska which was famously recorded in his home using with a 4-track or the state-of-the-art recording studio in Paisley Park where the late Prince lived and recorded more than 20 of his albums since the late 80s, home recording has long been a standard within the industry.

Working in a home office is great, you can still catch up with every match of the Australian Open, wear a pair of boxer shorts during a conference call and best of all, not having to share bathrooms with other people. One added advantage of working from a home office is the deductions you could claim, putting much less strain on your startup in regards to the messy world of small business tax. In general, the deductions and expenses you could claim while running a home office can be divided into two parts, running costs and occupancy costs. Keep in mind however that occupancy costs are restricted to those whose home can be categorized as a primary place of business. If for example, your primary business involve making visits to other people’s home like with Airtasker, it’s not possible for you to claim deductions on occupancy costs.

You keep me running

Running costs in a home office is no different to running costs in an actual office, which are the amount of money associated with the maintenance and day-to-day operation of a business, like electricity bills. The difference lies in the fact you can only claim deductions on these expenses when there are actually additional costs incurred. Like for example if you work as a writer and you write while sitting on the couch in the living room where you also watch reruns of Rake, you can’t claim any deduction on the depreciation of the couch or the TV but if you have an actual office in your home you use specifically for writing, you can claim deductions related to the usage of said room. Examples of running costs include:

  • Utility cost for using a room such as cooling and/or heating and lighting
  • Phone bills that are business-related
  • Equipment and furniture depreciation
  • Cleaning costs

To claim deductions on running costs, there are two methods you could use. The easier one is to use a fixed rate of 45 cents an hour to cover electricity, gas and depreciation while the other is to cover the actual incurred expense established through a pattern on use. The latter method requires you to keep a meticulous record of your home office use and the corresponding proportion of the bill (electricity, internet and other utilities) for the minimum of four weeks in a particular financial year. Depending on how you make a living, either would work as an option.

The writer example I used above would be okay going with the fixed rate method, as your expenses probably won’t be that hefty but if you’re working in tech and are working with a team of developers while working on a piece of software that requires you to run a home server, it’s best to go with the latter option. Keep in mind however that the calculation relating to this might get obtusely complicated so you might want to check in with a tax professional first before making any decision. Still, even if you decide to go with the fixed rate option, keeping a record of your own might actually be a good idea to determine whether you’re getting the short end of the stick or not.

Occupational hazard

Occupancy costs cover any costs related to the occupation of a space, in this case your home office. Like stated above, deductions on occupancy costs are only applicable for those whose home is a primary place of business. To determine whether you could claim deductions on occupancy costs such as rent, mortgage interest and insurance, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) requires you to pass what they call the interest deductibility test. This criterion differs depending on your particular circumstances but the guidelines set upon by the ATO are as follows:

  • Clearly identifiable as a place of business, for example, you have a sign identifying your business at the front of your house
  • Not readily suitable or adaptable for private or domestic purposes
  • Used exclusively or almost exclusively for carrying on your business
  • Used regularly for visits by your clients

The method used for calculating the amount of deduction you could claim is rather simple, based on the floor area of your home office compared to the total floor area of your home. For example, if your writing office occupies a 16 m2 space in your 100 m2 apartment, which calculates to 16% of your total living area, then you could claim deductions of 16% on your occupancy costs. Keep in mind however that using your home as a place of business, even for just a short while means that you’re liable to pay capital gains tax or CGT if you ever decide to sell your home.

As with anything related to tax, bookkeeping remains an essential part of the ritual, especially if you decide to claim deductions on running costs based on actual expenses. Sure, the life of a freelance and self-employed worker means not having to kowtow to your boss’ demand on a daily basis but that also means taking a bigger responsibility with your taxes as there’s no Bob from accounting to help you with numbers this time around. Still, as long as you’re properly equipped with articles such as this, I’m sure you’ll be perfectly fine. Probably. Hopefully.

Planning for a move? But thinking about moving boxes and crying baby at the same time is giving you chills. Here is the good news, if you plan before and take simple steps like giving your baby special attention will help you to make your move stress-free and tantrum-free.

Here we have compiled a list of some tips to consider when moving with a baby:

Stick to Routine:

Babies are least bothered about what’s going on in their surroundings as long as their routine is undisturbed and they are comfortable. Babies love their routine make sure you don’t let the packing and moving get in the way of their usual routine. Do your packing in bits, when it’s your baby’s early bedtime or nap time. It is also advisable to inform your preferred movers in Maryland about the situation so that they can operate within your desired framework.

Strategize Your Packing Process:

Pack non-essentials first- Avoid wasting your time for searching those toys and pacifiers because your baby’s non-essential belongings need to be neatly packed. Non-essentials include clothes, extra toys, blankets and all those things that you will not require immediately after moving.

Pack baby essentials to carry with you- After you are done with packing your baby’s non-essentials, make a list of items that you will need during the moving process or you will take with you and keep those essentials in one or two separate bags or boxes.

To make your packing even easier, we have mentioned a list of essential belongings to consider when packing:

  • Disposable diapers, extra bags for messy diapers and dirty clothes
  • Baby toiletries such as powder, cotton balls, wipes and lotions
  • Bottles, sippy cups and extra pacifiers
  • Breastfeeding pillow and breast pump
  • Baby food, fruit juice, formula, water and a can opener
  • Keep the first-aid kit with a baby pain reliever, thermometer, and a small hot water bottle.
  • Security blanket and favourite cuddle toy
  • Pack handy paper towels and pre-moistened towelettes
  • A Few favourite toys, collapsible stroller and carrier if you are travelling with a toddler.
  • Make sure you carry lots of snacks and extra bottles. Keep your child as distracted as possible with activities, a new toy, extra boxes to play or whatever works.

Seek Professional Help:

Hiring professional moving company can minimise your stress and workload, so you can give more time to your children. Whether you need a short-term or long-term storage solution, always look for a company that provides storage and moving pods as they are the most durable and secure storage containers and the smart way to store your belongings. If you are worried about moving with POD costs, you do not have to worry as various moving companies provide affordable PODs moving and storage facilities.

Consult the Pediatrician:
Before moving don’t forget to consult your pediatrician. If you are travelling long distance, ask for tips to keep your baby happy on a long car ride or a plane. In case you want to find a new pediatrician, carry a copy of all of your child’s medical reports to provide to your new pediatrician. Ask your existing pediatrician for suggestions on how to find a new pediatrician nearby your new home.

Noteworthy suggestions:

  • After moving to your new home make sure you unpack the child’s bedroom first. Giving your child a consistent and peaceful room helps them to relax into their new surroundings.
  • Install safety gates to block staircase
  • Use child-resistant locks on drawer containing knives, lighters, matches and cleaning products.
  • Install window guards
  • Keep small objects like balloons, magnets, balls and marble away from children.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors
  • Don’t forget to cover electrical outlets with outlet covers.
  • Make sure all prescription and medicine cabinets are protected with child-proof locks.

Follow these tips for a safe and happy moving experience. Good Luck!