Five and a Half Ways to Turn Your Business Around

The only constant in this world is change. Instead of fearing change when it comes to your business, embrace it! Every business owner, especially those seeing declining or stagnant profits, should realize that a change is advised, even necessary.

Five and a Half Ways to Turn Your Business Around

Here are five and a half ways to turn your business around for the better. Making some of these changes may even help you regain momentum in a positive direction. If you’re already going in a positive direction (and we hope that you are) these tips may provide different ideas for how you can explore new opportunities:

1: Keep an Open Mind

If you want to make changes in your business, you should be focused on listening to the advice of others, and on trying new things. You can never truly know ahead of time whether a new strategy will work, but you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take. In the spirit of transformation and rejuvenation, make it a point to step outside of your comfort zone.

2: Focus on Employees and Culture

The quality of employees will easily make or break your business. If there is someone on your staff that you want the others to emulate, reward them. On the other hand, if there is a staff member that you question, it’s probably time to reconsider their employment.

Once you have a staff that you believe in, it is your job as the business owner to encourage a productive and friendly culture. Don’t let your employees get too stressed, instead reward positive behaviors and show appreciation in ways that match up to your employees’ motivators. (Here’s a tip: Many employees are motivated by receiving great health insurance and workers compensation coverage from their employer!)

3: Don’t Drag Your Feet

If you’re going to implement a change at your business, take the time to research it and figure out the steps that you will need to do to successfully start a new process or policy. Once that’s done, though, don’t waste time – it may take a while to figure out if a change is for the better, so get started as soon as possible.

4: Prioritize Transparency

Don’t try to sneak around when you make changes in your business – celebrate it! Be realistic with your staff and customers about what you are changing, and explain what benefits you expect to gain. You may also want to share what could go wrong, if you want to make sure that everyone is completely prepared for potential repercussions.

5: Share a New Vision

In the same spirit as ensuring that you are transparent with your employees and clients about the changes that you wish to implement, make sure that you also share your new vision of your business. Explain to all people that have a stake in the business what it is you want to accomplish, and how you plan to get there. Make sure that you listen to their comments and concerns, and address them accordingly.

6: Revive Your Business Insurance

While it may not help your business turn around, a new business insurance quote from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency may be able to help you ensure that your business is financially protected in case of a peril. If you already have a Massachusetts business insurance policy from Vargas and Vargas, you should call 617-298-0655 at least once a year to update your coverage.

How to Shovel Snow Safely

We’ve had quite a lot of snow over the last few days, and for a lot of you, it’s time to get outside and start removing the buildup from your driveway and walkways. Believe it or not, shoveling snow can be quite a dangerous activity if not done properly, so make sure that you take the following precautions before you think of lifting a shovel or pulling out your snowplow.

How To Shovel Snow Safely

5 Tips How To Shovel Snow Safely:

1. Determine If It’s Safe

Don’t even think about going outside if the conditions are unsafe. Wait until the storm is over before you begin clearing. Also make sure that you’re in the proper physical condition for physical activity. If you are sensitive to the cold, have been advised to refrain from strenuous activity, or have a heart condition, you may want to delegate this task to a family member, or pay a neighbor to clear the snow off of your property.

2. Wear Lots of Layers

Don’t neglect the importance of bundling up when you leave the house – especially for the length of time that it will take to clear snow. Your core should be enveloped in several layers of clothing, and all of your extremities should also be covered – so grab your boots, gloves, and a hat before you venture out!

3. Prevent Injury

You should always stretch before strenuous activities like running – shoveling snow is no different. To prevent yourself from sustaining an injury while you’re working, make sure that you take the time to warm up your body and stretch out your muscles. If you need suggestions for stretches to do, check out this article from Real Simple.

4. Stay Hydrated

Again, you should treat shoveling like the true exercise that it is. You shouldn’t go on a run without a bottle of water, so take one with you when you head outside. Being out in the cold is taxing on the body, especially when you’re scooping and lifting too, so take water breaks at regular intervals. If you’re able to prepare for your adventure ahead of time, make sure that you are hydrating your body before you go out – that will help tremendously in the battle for proper hydration.

5. Don’t Overexert Yourself

When in doubt, take a break. Don’t make yourself push through to get everything done in one go if you don’t feel up to the task. There’s nothing wrong with going inside to warm up and get some hot cocoa halfway through the job. And remember – if you ever feel pain, dizziness, or nausea, stop and let someone else finish up. It’s not worth risking your health just to clear some snow.

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we’re looking forward to getting back into the swing of things after this storm. We will return to the office and begin helping our customers sort through any blizzard related claims. If you need to report damage to your home or car, all you have to do is call 617-298-0655. Our agents will be happy to help you file a claim on your Massachusetts home insurance or auto insurance policy.

4 Supplemental House Insurance Policies We Cover!

Every house insurance policy that we write here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is unique, just as each of our customer’s homes is unique. When we create a home insurance policy, we include all of the typical coverage types, such as protection for the home’s structure, coverage for personal possessions in the house, and liability protection. 

4 Supplemental House Insurance Policies We Cover!

Based on the particular needs of the home and its owner, though, we may also recommend that other supplemental policies be added to the house insurance policy. These additional policies could include the following:

Protection for Valuables

A typical home insurance policy will cover most of the possessions that you keep in your home. However, you should make it a point to mention to your insurance agent if you have anything of particular value that may need additional protection. This typically includes items like jewelry, antiques and collections, and sometimes can consist of other valuables like musical instruments or valuable sports equipment.

Flood Insurance

If you want to protect your home in case of flood, you need to ask your insurance agent about adding a Flood Insurance policy to your house insurance. Flood insurance typically includes protection against damage due to heavy and lengthy rainfall, storm surge, blocked storm drainage systems, damaging snow melts, and more. Depending on the location of your home, you will need either a standard flood insurance policy or a preferred risk flood insurance policy.

Earthquake Coverage

Is your home protected against damage done by an earthquake? While it seems that earthquake protection belongs more in California, you may be surprised by the Seismic Hazard Map of Massachusetts. It states that Boston and surrounding areas have a 14-20% chance of having an earthquake in the next 50 years. Altogether, earthquake protection is very affordable, so ask your insurance agent about whether or not you should include it in your home insurance policy.

Umbrella Insurance

A typical home insurance policy only includes liability protection for bodily injury and property damage done to others. If you would like to extend this protection, you can do so with an umbrella insurance policy rider on your insurance policies.  With this type of umbrella policy, you can typically get lots of coverage for a small price, making it well worth the cost. Get a free quote today!

Animal Liability Protection

If you have a pet in your household, you may want to consider purchasing some extra liability protection for incidents involving the pet. Most often, this will be for dogs that could potentially harm someone while out and about, but can also cover injuries due to any other pet, including cats, birds, and more. Just remember, even the sweetest pet can cause harm when provoked – don’t assume that your pet is so good that it will never cause harm to others.

If you would like to speak with an insurance professional about adding a supplemental policy to your Massachusetts house insurance, all you need to do is call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We will review your current policy and see if there are gaps that you need to fill so that you have complete financial protection for one of your most valuable assets. We can also help with car insurance, business insurance, and more!

Tips for Living in a “For Sale” Home in Dorchester

If you’ve ever tried to sell a home, you know how painful it is to keep your house in order while retaining some sort of normalcy in your life. Here are some tips for living in a “For Sale” home in Dorchester courtesy of your friends at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. If you use these tricks, you may be able to sell your home without tearing your hair out trying to keep it presentable for showings:

tips for living in a for sale home in dorchester

1. Start packing right away:

As soon as (or even before) your home officially hits the market, make a trip to your local hardware store to grab several boxes. Pack away anything that you don’t plan on using in the near future, and stack these packed boxes neatly in your garage or a storage unit. Doing this will not only de-clutter your home so that it is more presentable to potential buyers, but will also allow you to do some packing work ahead of time, so that you scramble less when it is time to move.

2. Get rid of anything that isn’t moving with you:

If you know already that there is something you won’t be taking with you when you leave, take the time to deal with it now instead of waiting until you’re ready to move. Give items to friend or neighbors, leave items for garbage collection, or make an appointment for a charity to come and pick up unwanted items (this can often be considered a tax deductible donation!)

3. Do one deep cleaning, then spot clean:

When you first put your home on the market, take the time to clean your home from top to bottom. Did you know that a clean home not only sells faster, but also typically fetches a better price then one that wasn’t scoured? If you’re not up to performing the cleaning yourself, there are plenty of professional cleaning services that you can hire to make your home spotless when you begin to show your home.

4. Prepare for each showing:

If your home has already been cleaned well, you should only need to do some routine maintenance to keep it spotless. When you schedule a showing, make sure to wipe down your bathrooms and countertops and pick up clutter. Also make sure that all personal items and sensitive information are stored away, including private documents and prescription medications. You may also want to put a privacy lock on electronics, including computers and tablets.

The best part is that these four tips will do more than just help you stay sane while your home is for sale. They will also help to cut back significantly on the amount of work that you have to do once you do find a seller. Just consider this – if you take these suggestions to heart, your home will already be partially packed, anything that you wanted to get rid of will already be gone, and your home will be clean and ready for its new owners!

Also make sure that you remember to call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 if you need a new Massachusetts home insurance policy for your new place! We are always happy to help get our customers the best possible Boston insurance policies.

Do You Have the Best Auto Insurance Possible?

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we always want to bring you the best: the best auto insurance, best home insurance, best business insurance, and so on. We ensure that this is done by making sure that our insurance agents are the best of the best. Only then can we know for certain that our customers are getting optimal policies and excellent customer service.

best auto insurance in dorchester boston massachusetts

At our agency, we are always looking to educate our customers about their insurance. If, for example, you are looking for the best auto insurance policy available, you can use the following four pieces of advice from our insurance professionals.

Have a balanced deductible and premium.

An insurance policy is always a balancing act between two things – the deductible and the premium. If one is too low, then the other is too high. You can lower your monthly payment, but it will mean paying more out of pocket when you need to make a claim. On the other hand, a low payment on a claim typically means an elevated monthly payment. Finding the right balance means some trial and error, and the advice of an experienced insurance professional.

See if a payment plan could lower your expense.

Did you know that certain types of payment could get you a discount? Depending on your insurance provider, you could get a discount for paying your 6 month premium in full. This discount could be up to 10% of your rate! With proper planning and saving techniques, it is possible for anyone to save up the required amount in advance of the payment due date, and doing so could save you a significant amount on your next insurance premium.

Ensure that you take advantage of all possible discounts.

To get the best car insurance available, you need to make sure that your insurance agent searches for a policy that will get you great coverage at a great price. This often means searching for a policy that has several available discounts for which you quality, for example:

Depending on your unique situation, your insurance agent can search and make sure that you get car insurance from a provider that offers discounts that match your circumstances.

Shop around for a new policy.

Following a major life event or a period where you have a spotless driving record, it could be in your best interest to search for a new car insurance policy. Sometimes changing insurance providers will mean a better rate (and even better coverage) than your previous provider, even when factoring in any loyalty discounts that you may have. And remember – it never hurts to keep your eyes open, so make sure that you consult with your insurance agent about your current policies at least once a year to explore your options.

If you want to see if obtaining a new auto insurance policy is the best option for you, all you need to do is call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff would love to walk you through the quote process. And one of the best benefits of using an independent insurance agency is that you only give us your vital information once, then we shop around for you to find the best auto insurance to fit your needs!

15 Cheap and Healthy Foods for Your New Diet

Two of the most common New Year’s Resolutions are to lose weight (or eat healthier) and to save money. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma that these two activities are mutually exclusive – most people believe that healthier food costs more. Thankfully, this isn’t always true. If you’re a smart shopper, you can both save money and eat healthy.

15 Cheap and Healthy Foods for Your New Diet

To achieve this, all you need to do is evaluate the cost per serving of some healthy food offerings at your local grocery store. We recently found this article at WebMD that breaks down 15 foods that are healthy and cost less than $1 a serving. (Note: the percentages given are based on Daily Recommended Values)

Brown Rice – 1/4 cup of dry rice per serving – $0.18 – 170 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

Whole-Wheat or Multigrain Pasta – 2 ounces of dry pasta – $0.24 – 200 calories, 6 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein.

100% Whole-Wheat Bread – 2 slices of bread – $0.18 – 120 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein.

Nonfat Greek Yogurt – 6-8 ounces of yogurt – $0.89 – (Honey Vanilla) 150 calories, 14 grams of protein

Old-Fashioned Oats – 1/2 cup dry oats – $0.13 – 150 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein.

Frozen Vegetables – 1 cup of vegetables – $0.25 – (Classic Mix) 82 calories, 6 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, plus 115% Vitamin A, 8% Vitamin C, and 7% potassium.

Russet Potato – 1 medium potato – $0.33 – 168 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, plus 20% Vitamin C, 10% iron, and 25% Potassium.

Fresh Spinach – 4 cups of spinach – $0.66 – 20 calories, 2 grams of fiber, plus 160% Vitamin A, 40% Vitamin C, 8% Calcium, and 40% Folic Acid.

Canned Refried Beans – 1/2 cup of beans – $0.34 – 140 calories, 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, 4% Calcium, and 10% Iron.

Canned Tuna – 3 ounces of tuna – $0.70 – 60 calories, 13 grams of protein, and 0.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.

Jarred Marinara Sauce – 1/2 cup of sauce – $0.28 – 90 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 15% vitamin A, 10% Vitamin C.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread – 1 pita pocket – $0.40 – 140 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein.

Generic Brand Egg Substitute – 1/4 cup egg substitute – $0.30 – 30 calories, 6 grams of protein, 10% B12, 6% Vitamin A, 4% Vitamins D and E.

Frozen Edamame – 1/2 cup (shelled) soybeans – $0.56 – 90 calories, 8 grams of fiber, 10 grams of protein, 10% iron, 6% calcium.

Dried Lentils – 1/4 cup dried lentils – $0.10 – 120 calories, 11 grams of fiber, 10 grams of protein.

Add just a few of these items to your next grocery list and see just how much money you can save while still nurturing your body. And remember to inform your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about any lifestyle changes that you make – eating healthier and losing weight could end up saving you money on your health insurance policy! For more information, just call us at 617-298-0655.

The Benefits of Boston Condominium Insurance

If you live in a condominium, you have insurance needs that are truly unique. Don’t settle for any run of the mill home or renters insurance policy, because they won’t cover your situation as a condo owner. For the best Boston condominium insurance, make sure that you talk to the experts here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency about getting a policy that fully covers your condo, including the following specifications:

Boston Condominium Insurance

Evaluate the Condo Association’s master policy.

The first order of business when you’re looking for a Boston condominium insurance policy is to acquire a copy of your association’s insurance policy. You don’t want to personally pay to cover something that’s already covered by your association’s insurance. Letting your insurance agent see the master policy will ensure that you get the coverage that you need – no more and no less. In general, a master policy will provide coverage for the structure of the condo (walls, windows, etc) as well as protection for common areas.

Get enough protection for your possessions.

One of the most glaring types of coverage that you need to include in your Boston condominium insurance is protection for your possessions. While your condo association’s insurance policy protects the condo itself, it will not include any protection for your stuff. The best way to do this is to estimate the value of your goods and report that amount to your insurance agent. Make sure to include kitchen appliances (if you own them yourself) as well as clothes, electronics, etc.

Have plenty of liability coverage.

The other thing that probably won’t be included in your association’s master policy is liability protection. If you have guests over, and one of them injures themselves in your condo (or on the condo’s grounds) with a slip and fall or a dog bite, for example, it will be up to your personal condo insurance policy to cover the damages, like medical bills and lost wages. These costs snowball quickly – the average cost of a dog bite liability claim in 2013 was over $27,000! This just goes to show that it is important to get the right amount for your needs, based on the knowledge of an insurance professional.

Make sure there aren’t any gaps.

Once you’ve customized a condo insurance policy to fit your unique needs, your Boston insurance agent will double check to make sure that everything is covered by either your association’s policy or your own. That way, any claim will be able to be fully handled through insurance, and you won’t need to pay for any expenses out of pocket (besides your deductible, of course).

If you want to talk to an experienced insurance agent about getting a quote for a Boston condominium insurance policy, all you have to do is call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. Our agents will follow all of the previously outlined steps to ensure that your condo is fully covered. Also make sure that you stay tuned to our Vargas and Vargas Insurance blog for useful information about home maintenance, car tips, and more!

Market Your Business On The Go – 4 Tips

You shouldn’t spend all of your time working – it just isn’t healthy. That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t be prepared to advertise your business at a moment’s notice! One of your primary goals as a business owner is to get the word out about your business. Here are some tips about how you can share your passion with others, even when you’re not on the job!

Market Your Business on the go

Don’t be shy!

The first key to marketing your business when you’re out and about is to start talking to people. Don’t be shy about striking up a conversation with complete strangers, whether you’re standing in line, waiting for an elevator, or sitting near someone. Also don’t be hurt if someone doesn’t want to talk to you – just move on to someone else! Spreading the word about your business is never a bad thing, after all!

Know (and share) your elevator pitch.

One of the easiest ways to share the mission of your business with others is with a short, practiced speech. Just like you should know how to sell yourself in a minute or less, figure out how to tell someone all about your business in a succinct way. Once you’ve got your speech crafted, share it with others. Start with your family, then graduate to your friends. Not only will they get a clearer idea of what you do, they will be a good testing grounds for your pitch. Eventually, you can start telling complete strangers about your business!

Always carry business cards.

It’s a little old fashioned, but carrying a business card is still one of the best ways to get someone to remember you. They may forget your chat and your elevator pitch within a few minutes, but giving them a business card will ensure that they have a physical reminder of your positive interaction. When emptying their pockets at home, your potential customer will be more likely to look up your business’s website or Facebook page and connect with your business in a meaningful way.

Turn your vehicle into a billboard.

Does it feel like you’re out running errands constantly? Business owners are typically running from here to there all the time. Instead of feeling like your commute is time wasted, take advantage of it! Your vehicle is seen by dozens (if not hundreds) of people every day. By spending a few dollars on a magnetic car sign featuring your business’s logo, you could impact potential local customers on a daily basis. And when you don’t want to advertise? Just pull the sign off and put it in your trunk!

The passionate employees here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency are always testifying to their friends and family about the importance of a strong insurance portfolio. We love to share with our clients about how important it is to have up-to-date personal and business insurance policies, and are always willing to answer questions or give free quotes – just call us at 617-298-0655!

Most Popular Dorchester Commercial Insurance Policies

Every business is different. That’s why Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency offers several different types of commercial insurance policies! When you call our agency for business insurance, we will help you build a policy that perfectly fits the needs of your business. We can work with you to evaluate your needs and pick all the types of coverage that your business requires. The types of Dorchester commercial insurance policies options may seem endless, but these five types of coverage are our most popular:

Dorchester Commercial Insurance Policies

Commercial Property Coverage

All businesses have to start somewhere, and your business’s physical location is a very important part of its identity – that’s why you should make sure that it has great insurance protection. A commercial insurance policy with commercial property coverage will insure your business’s structure, as well as furniture and equipment that you have. In most cases, it will even cover signs and landscaping!

Commercial Vehicle Coverage

Does your business require the use of a vehicle? While not every business needs this specific coverage, it is important for all business that regularly transport or deliver goods or services. With this policy, your business will appear as the “principal insured” on the policy if it is the owner of the vehicle, and the policy is useful even if the vehicles in question are used for both business and personal travel.

Group Benefits

If your business has employees, you should really consider adding a strong group benefits policy to your commercial insurance. Depending on the policy that you choose, you can give your employees access to health and dental insurance, retirement plans, disability, and much more. Workers tend to look for employment at businesses with good benefits packages, so working on this policy with Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency can help you to attract a higher caliber of worker.

Workers Compensation

Unfortunately, accidents happen. To make sure that your business is ready for any accidents that may occur, make sure that you talk to us about adding a worker’s compensation policy to your commercial insurance policy. It can provide coverage for medical expenses, lost income, rehabilitation, death benefits, and more. While we hope that you never need to use it, you can’t be too careful when it comes to your employees.

General and Excess Liability

Would your business be able to pay for a liability issue related to personal or advertising injury? These cases can get very expensive, but the right liability insurance can make sure that your business is protected financially against these situations, and many more. Almost all types of businesses can benefit from liability protection, call us and speak to an agent today to find out why this is.

To get a personalized commercial insurance policies in Dorchester, Hyde Park, South Boston, West Roxbury, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Boston, Stoughton, Canton, Randolph, Brockton, Sharon, MA for your business, all you need to do is call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We will get to work right away crafting a Massachusetts business insurance policy as unique as your company. The best part is that all of our insurance quotes are free, and you have no obligation to purchase, so you can call any time, even if you’re just seeing if you can get a better deal than you’re in now!

Three Events That Always Go Over-Budget

Three Events Always Go Over-Budget

Do you hate going over-budget? So do we! Thankfully, if you know that you’re likely to exceed your expected spending, you can prepare more ahead of time and lessen the likelihood of stretching your budget. For example, here are three events that always go over-budget, and how you can avoid spending more than planned:

Vacations

When you’re on vacation, you’re in ‘vacation mode’ – it’s all about having fun and creating memories, and you probably aren’t focusing on how often you pull out your wallet. While one extra souvenir or sweet treat won’t break the bank, consistently adding small purchases to your vacation spending will cause you to go over budget very quickly!

How to stay on budget: Be budget conscious when booking your transportation and lodging. Pack your own snacks at home, look up free or cheap activities ahead of your trip. Make a list beforehand of all the people that you want to buy souvenirs for, and how much you will spend.

Weddings

When you’re planning a wedding, it is so easy to be sucked in to all of the advertisements and Pinterest boards that target brides and grooms. It’s your big day, and you want every tiny detail to be perfect. Businesses and advertisers know this, and they will try to use that fact to persuade you to buy way more than you need. Just remember, it’s the marriage that will matter in the long run, not whether you had the perfect napkin rings or centerpieces.

How to stay on budget: If you want to save some money on your wedding, you can opt for e-invites, or have a morning or afternoon ceremony (you can get an even deeper discount at some venues for booking a weekday wedding). You may even want to look into renting a wedding dress if you’re not interested in keeping it.

Moving

Whether you move across town or across the country, you will probably end up going over your initial budget. There seem to always be lots of little added expenses, and all of those little expenses add up in the end! Maybe you needed more boxes and packing materials than you first thought, or maybe you forgot to account for the pizza and soda that you bought for the friends that helped you load and unload the truck. Regardless, you should always be aware when you move that there will be unexpected expenses.

How to stay on budget: Get free boxes from local stores, throw out and donate old things you no longer want so that you pack and move only what you need to, give yourself plenty of time to pack all of your stuff and clean your old home, consider moving yourself instead of hiring a moving company.

And if you’re saving for an upcoming vacation, wedding, or move, make sure that you call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. Our agents can review your home insurance and auto insurance policies to make sure that you have the right coverage at the right price. We may even be able to find you a better rate than what you were paying at your old insurance company – that means more room in your budget for all of the things that you need!