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Living Overseas For Work? How Can You Arrange A Domestic Move?

Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Living Overseas For Work? How Can You Arrange A Domestic Move?

With today’s global economy, more companies than ever before are choosing to station high-level U.S. employees in other countries. These assignments can provide you and your family with an invaluable opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and way of living, but can also be highly inconvenient when you’re required to take care of a matter back home. When the time comes to sell your primary residence and relocate to another city or state, how can you handle this move while thousands of miles away? Read on to learn more about some of the offerings that can help ease the stress of planning a move a continent away, as well as how you can accomplish this feat at the lowest possible cost. What services are available to help you plan and coordinate your move while out of the country? While arranging a domestic move from outside the country was once a logistically difficult process — particularly if you were on a part of the globe where U.S. business hours fell in the middle of the night — the internet now allows you a number of ways to coordinate and streamline your move. You’ll be able to solicit online quotes from a variety of different moving companies. Because these quotes are in writing, it will be much easier to copy and paste specific provisions to provide you with a line-by-line price and service comparison. You’ll also be able to communicate directly with the moving company and avoid any delays or communication breakdowns due to the difference in business hours. During your past moves, you may have tried the DIY approach by purchasing your own packing boxes (or collecting castoffs from grocery or liquor stores), renting a box truck, and packing, loading, and unpacking your belongings yourself. This won’t be an option during your current move, so you’ll need to outsource these tasks to employees of the moving company. Through a process called “white glove delivery,” your belongings will be packed, shipped, and unpacked in your new location (per room-by-room instructions you’ve provided). The moving company can even provide you with photos of your new home to ensure that everything is in order before you make the final payment. One of the advantages of this method is that it doesn’t require you to coordinate multiple moving parts — by paying a single company that handles the move from beginning to end, you’ll be able to concentrate on more important matters at hand and know that your belongings are safe.  What are your most cost-effective moving options? In some cases, you may be relocating within the U.S. due to a job change, and will soon return to the States to begin work in your new city. If this is your situation, it’s likely your employer will cover at least a portion of your relocation expenses — often making white glove delivery the most cost-effective option. If you don’t receive employer reimbursement for these expenses, you should be able to reduce your taxable income by deducting these expenses on your next federal income tax return (even if you don’t normally itemize your deductions).  However, if you’ve already overextended yourself on your new home and are trying to save money, you may want to instead opt to rent a pod shipping container. By...

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How To Properly And Safely Replace A Neon Sign Power Transform

Posted by on Oct 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Properly And Safely Replace A Neon Sign Power Transform

If you own a non-functional neon sign, it is likely the transformer has gone bad and needs to be replaced. Below is how you can remove an old transformer, find an appropriate replacement and install it: Tools and materials needed to replace a neon transformer Replacement neon sign transformer that matches the appropriate specifications Wire cutters Wire strippers Electric drill with ⅛-inch drill bit Screwdriver Electrical tape Pencil Ceramic wire nuts Step-by-step procedure for replacing a neon transformer 1. Recognize the dangers posed by neon transformers and work safely – Neon sign transformers are capable of generating thousands of volts of electricity and high currents. Accidental contact with the electrical output can be extremely painful, and it can also be fatal in some circumstances. Never handle a transformer that is plugged in an outlet, and always be sure you properly dispose of old, non-working transformers by cutting off the plug; if someone else finds and connects a faulty transformer to an outlet, they could be electrocuted. 2. Purchase a replacement transformer – Neon transformers come in a wide variety of electrical configurations, so you need to be careful to choose one that meets the necessary specifications. The old transformer should contain a label or other markings that provide key characteristics to use when shopping for a new unit. The most important specifications are the transformer output voltage and amperage. You also need to be sure the replacement can be plugged into the outlet you have available in your installation. Some transformers are capable of accepting either 120 or 240 volts AC, so check this information before making a purchase. 3. Remove the old transformer from the sign – After ensuring the transformer has been unplugged from its outlet, begin by locating the pair of wires that lead from the transformer to the glass neon-filled tubes. Snip the pair of wires near the point where each one exits the transformer; you should leave yourself plenty of wire to work with, so don’t cut them too short. After cutting the wires leading from the transformer to the tubes, locate the mounting screws that hold the transformer to the metal framework. Carefully remove these screws, being cautious not to break the fragile tubes, and set them aside in a safe location. Cut any ties or straps holding the transformer’s power cord to the framework, then pull the transformer away from the sign. 4. Install the new transformer – Once the old transformer has been safely removed, lay the new one by the sign’s metal framework, so the high-voltage leads can reach the neon tube. Next, use wire strippers to remove about a ½ inch of insulation from each wire end on the transformer and tubes. Grasp a wire leading from the tube, and hold it up against its matching counterpart leading from the transformer. Slip both ends of the wire together into an open socket on a ceramic wire nut, and twist the wire nut in a clockwise direction until the connection is tight and can’t be easily dislodged. Wrap the ceramic nuts with several inches of electrical tape to hold them in place. 5. Attach the new transformer to the metal framework – After the new transformer has been wired into place, locate a good spot for mounting the unit on the...

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4 Ways To Prevent Common Home Security Threats

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Ways To Prevent Common Home Security Threats

A high-quality and reliable home security system is invaluable to protect your family and property. However, protection goes a step beyond the function of your security system. You need to remain vigilant to make sure common threats do not compromise your system’s ability to protect your home. Know Common Security Threats A major threat to your home security system is on the other end of your phone or at your front door. Callers who pretend to be from your home security company or a competitor can easily lure you into allowing them into your home or giving sensitive information about your system. Your home security company is unlikely to stop by if you did not call them about a problem. If a representative does stop by, it is okay to decline them entering your home until you can verify their identity. A legitimate representative of the company will have no problem returning after you have made an appointment directly with the company. If you are interested in changing your current security provider, do it the traditional way and call the company directly. You have no way of knowing if a door-to-door solicitor is from a legitimate company. Unfortunately, criminals can pose as a representative and scope out the belongings in your home or disable your security system if you allow them inside. Keep Network Access Secure The technology available to allow you to arm or disarm your system from almost any device with an Internet connection also makes it easy for hackers to access your system. You should make sure any network you use to access your security system is secure. Make sure your home network is secure as possible by having complex usernames and passwords. When possible, make network names invisible from scanning. Anyone that needs to access your home network should be able to type in the network identification to connect. Your home security company never has a reason to call or stop by and ask for your passwords. Beware Of Camera Placement Keeping your network secure is also important to prevent unauthorized access to security cameras. If a hacker accesses your security cameras, you want to make sure it is impossible for them to see inside your home. It is best to limit your cameras to the outside of your home, such as over entrances and windows, which are major entry points for burglars. Keep mailboxes in view of your security cameras because mail theft is also a common problem. If you must use security cameras inside your home, limit their view to common spaces throughout your home. Hackers can use camera images to see if you are at home or where you store valuables, but sensitive images can be used in extortion schemes. Access Your Network Securely If you are using a wireless home security system with mobile access, you need to exercise caution in the way you access any security functions. Make sure you only use the website or app for your system from a trusted device and on a secure network. There is the risk of malicious software or unsecured Wi-Fi networks reading your passwords and taking over your security system. Use trusted virus protection software for your mobile devices to make sure your device is free of viruses. Just like your online...

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Pickle Me Pink: How Common Household Vinegar Can Help Rid Your Dog Of Fleas

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Pickle Me Pink: How Common Household Vinegar Can Help Rid Your Dog Of Fleas

If Fido’s scratching is interfering with your summer fun, but you would prefer not to use chemical flea treatments, a common pantry ingredient may be all you need to deal with your flea problem. You probably already know that both apple cider and white vinegar are staples found in most households where they are commonly used in pickling and salad dressing recipes and also as a powerful cleaner for kitchen and bathroom surfaces. What you may not know, however, is that vinegar can be used as a cheap, safe and effective flea remedy for your dog. Why Vinegar Works for Flea Control Fleas make their home on dogs and other warm-blooded animals because the animal provides a constant source of food, warmth and a secluded place to procreate. The flea life cycle consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupae and the adult flea. In order to successfully incubate, fleas need a warm protected space and a seventy percent humidity level, which can be found in a canine coat. In order to keep your pet flea-free, it is necessary to destroy both developing fleas and the adults, as well as making the dog’s coat less appealing to the flea. Using vinegar for flea control works to interrupt the flea life cycle by:   killing adult fleas that come into contact with the vinegar in the initial application killing eggs and larva present on the dog before they can mature removing the pre-digested blood that adult fleas deposit on the skin of your dog as nourishment for the developing larva giving the dog’s fur a vinegary smell that repels fleas Three Steps to a Flea-Free Dog Using vinegar to rid your dog of fleas does not cause discomfort unless it is allowed to touch open sores, severely irritated skin or the membranes of the eye. Here are three simple steps to help you apply it properly. Bathe your dog with a few drops of plain shampoo or mild dish detergent, making sure to thoroughly soak and lather all parts of the dog. Use a washcloth or small sponge on the face to prevent getting the soapy water in the dog’s eyes. Let the lather stay on the dog for a few moments and then rinse thoroughly with warm water. For best results, repeat this process every two weeks. While the dog is still wet and in the bath tub, use a small plastic cup to apply small amounts of vinegar directly to your dog, taking time to work it into the fur with your fingers. Pay special attention to creases of the leg, behind the ears, around the base of the tail and any moist areas where fleas tend to gather. Refresh the effectiveness of the vinegar by spritzing your dog once or twice per day with a spray bottle filled with either type of vinegar. This will have the added benefit of keeping your dog’s coat cleaner and fresher between baths. If your dog continues to suffer from fleas after using vinegar, your problem may be more serious. In many cases, this type of flea issue is a sign that the home environment is severely infested with fleas. Dealing with this type of infestation issue will require the assistance of a reputable pest control specialist who can help rid the...

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Creating An Ideal Balance Of Personal And Professional: Tips For Creating Decorating Policies That Work

Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Creating An Ideal Balance Of Personal And Professional: Tips For Creating Decorating Policies That Work

Decorating an office or any professional work space is about creating a delicate balance between personality and professionalism. You’ve got the furniture from places like D&R Office Works, Inc. and now it’s up to you to decide on the level of personalization. You want your employees to feel comfortable in their cubicle or workspace, but do not want to make your professional space look like a hodgepodge of several different styles, tastes – and questionable taste in artwork! Help ensure that your workplace creates an ideal mixture of professional and laid back by instituting these rules about décor and decorating: Create a Simple List of Appropriate and Inappropriate Decorations To ensure there is not any confusion about what is okay and not appropriate to display in the workplace, the simplest solution is to create a simple and straightforward list. However, you might be wondering what you should place on each list? Here are a few things that you should consider allowing in your workplace: A small potted plant, real or a great-looking fake, is a great way to add a little color to the office without offending any coworkers or clients. Family photos are acceptable, as long as they’re appropriate and displayed in a quality frame that works with the office décor. Calendars and other small pieces of artwork are also acceptable, as long as they once again don’t contain any images that clash with the office décor or could be perceived as offensive. When it comes to items that should be left at the employees’ homes, here are a few rules to consider: State explicitly in the rules that any images of a religious or spiritual matter shouldn’t be displayed. This is a sensitive subject, but it’s important that the workplace décor doesn’t reflect anyone’s personal religious beliefs. Insist your employees leave their favorite movie photos, signed baseball cards or inspirational posters featuring kittens at home. These are adorable, but don’t provide your workplace with the air of professionalism clients will expect. Create regulations dealing with the number of personal items your employees are allowed to display. Otherwise, the office will start looking like a thoughtfully decorated, and very cluttered, house rather than a place of business. Dealing With Holiday Decorations From Valentine’s Day and Easter to Thanksgiving and Christmas, chances are your employees will want to display some decorative items that celebrate the season or a particular holiday. Allowing your employees to spread a little holiday cheer is a great morale booster, but it is vital to institute a few rules to ensure your office space doesn’t turn into a gaudy disaster. Here are a few holiday decorating rules that will help ensure your employees are able to enjoy their surroundings appropriately: Leave the personalized, family decorations at home. The pictures of Santa created from macaroni and glitter glue are adorable, but unfortunately, they’re not suitable for the workplace. All Business recommends using festive foods to create a fun, and edible, array of decorative pieces. For example, a few bowls filled with chocolate covered strawberries on Valentine’s Day or a festive, autumn-themed platter of apples are great ways to treat your employees, while celebrating the holidays. Allow everyone to express their beliefs during the holidays, just make sure nothing is too offensive. For example, it’s acceptable to display...

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Has Your Debt Gone Into Collections? Know Your Options For Dealing With The Agency

Posted by on Apr 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you’ve recently forgotten to pay a debt or been unable to make payments, you may now be facing collection services calls and letters. While these agencies can be intimidating, you shouldn’t feel like you have no options left. Being aware of your rights and your state’s laws governing debt collection may help you avoid paying the agency. At the very least, even if you have to pay the debt back, you can still protect your credit score. Ask For Proof  Before you start to worry about how you’ll repay your debts, you need to verify that they are still valid. In some cases, collection agencies may try to collect on debts that they don’t realize have been resolved already. Fortunately, as a debtor, your rights are protected under US law. If a collection agency is seeking repayment from you and you suspect that you aren’t actually in any debt, you can send a letter to the company requesting formal proof of their right to collect. The response, if the claim is valid, will include information such as the amount of the debt, who sold the debt to the agency, the age of the debt, and any previous payment history. If the collection agency is unable to provide you with such information, then they are legally unable to collect on the debt in question. This step can be useful even if you know the debt is valid, as well. For starters, the agency must postpone any collection attempts until it sends you the information proving that it has the right to request repayment. Additionally, having this information may help you avoid paying valid debts, depending on the type of debt you have and the law in your state. Check Your State’s Statute Of Limitations Some debts can persist for a lifetime, like legal fines and student loans, but most types of consumer debt will expire in a set amount of time, even if they aren’t fully paid. When a collection agency purchases your old debt, the age stays the same. That means even if your debt is newly-acquired, its age doesn’t change. While most debts are resolved long before they have a chance to expire, it’s always worth it to check your state’s statute of limitations if a debt that you owe is more than a year old already.  However, if your debt hasn’t yet expired and is nearing expiration, it’s not a good idea to try and wait out the company. Chances are, if the debt is big enough, collection agencies may file a civil suit against you before their time is up, which can end up costing you significantly more than if you just paid it. Pay Quickly If Possible If you know for sure that the debt is valid and it’s new enough that there isn’t a chance it has expired yet, then your best recourse is to work with the collection agency to pay it off quickly. Aside from getting the agency out of your hair, this can also help you protect your credit. Most agencies won’t report that your debt has gone to collections until 30 days after they acquire it and contact you to inform you about it. If you pay within these 30 days, chances are that your credit score will stay...

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Understanding The Advantages Of IP Security Cameras

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Installing a commercial security system can involve a sizeable investment. When faced with all of the upfront costs associated with a system, you may be tempted to go with analog cameras, which tend to be less expensive than IP ones. Once all of the costs associated with installation are factored in, however, an IP-based commercial security system may be less expensive than an analog one — even though IP cameras cost more than analog cameras. Analog And IP Security Cameras Analog security cameras’ resolutions are measured in TV lines (TVLs). TVLs are determined by counting the number of vertical lines in a square section of the camera’s image. Analog security camera’s resolutions vary from about 350 to 800 TVLs. In this comparison from Lorex Technology, it is easy to see that a 700-TVL camera can see much farther than a model with only 420 TVLs. IP cameras’ resolutions, which are digital instead of analog, are measured in megapixels (MPs). Although TVLs and MPs are different units, the difference in quality between even a low-level 2 MP IP camera and an analog one is noticeable. In a post comparing analog and IP cameras, ApexCCTV shows that a 2-MP IP camera is able to zoom in on a license plate that an analog camera can’t capture. Because they are digital and they provide a better picture, IP camera models typically have higher prices than analog models. The Total Cost Of A Security System When considering the cost of a commercial security system, it is important to look beyond the cameras’ price. There are other factors that will affect the total cost of your business’ commercial security system, and they must be taken into account. First, you might be able to get away with fewer cameras if you install IP cameras. According to ApexCCTV’s post, a single 2-MP camera can cover the same area as six analog cameras. In areas where there is a lot of open space, such as warehouses and parking lots, one IP camera might replace several analog ones. Not only would you save by buying one camera rather than several, but you would also only need to maintain the one camera, instead of up to six. Second, IP and analog systems store video differently. IP cameras send their videos to the cloud, where a third-party security company can safely store it. Analog cameras’ videos are kept on locally hosted DVRs. By opting for IP cameras, you won’t have to buy DVRs and the racks needed to hold them. You also won’t need an IT professional to maintain them, since the security service you use will take care of hosting for you. Third, IP cameras require fewer wires than analog cameras. In an analog system, every camera must be directly connected with a DVR. There must be a wire running from each camera to the DVR hosting its video. In a large building, the cost of running all the necessary wires can quickly add up. Multiple IP cameras, in contrast, can be run through a nearby switch. These switches must still be connected to a video recorder that sends the video feed to the cloud, but fewer wires are needed because a single switch can send feeds from several cameras. If you’re comparing commercial security systems for your business,...

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How To Avoid These 3 Common Problems When Renting A Moving Truck

Posted by on Mar 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Renting a moving truck is an excellent way to move everything you have from one location to another, and this is something that is done when people move from one home to another, or when a business moves to a new location. While renting a moving truck is a great solution, there are common problems people often encounter with truck rental. Here are three of these common problems and ways you can avoid them when you need to rent a moving truck. Right Size Not Available Getting the right size truck can be difficult for two reasons. The first reason usually occurs from inexperience. If you have never rented a truck before, you may have no clue what size to get. Because of this, you could end up with one that is either too big or too small. It can also be hard to get the right truck size if you wait too long to rent it. Truck rental companies have a lot of rental trucks available; however, they also rent them frequently. If you really need a rental truck, it is always best to call several weeks in advance. By doing this, you can find out about the sizes available, and you can put a deposit down on the one that you want. As soon as you do this, you can be certain that the truck will be there for you on the day that you need it. If you end up with a truck that is too small for your needs, you have two options: Call the company and ask if you can upgrade it to a bigger one – If they have a bigger one available, you might be able to do this. Pull a trailer – The other option you have is to pull a trailer with the truck. Most moving trucks have hitches on them for this purpose. If you do not have a trailer to pull, you could rent one from the moving company. Ending up with a truck that is not the right size is a problem you can avoid by carefully planning, and the next problem is also something you can avoid by careful observation. Charges for Damage on Truck When you rent a moving truck, you should carefully examine the entire truck before you take off out of the parking lot in it. If the truck has dings, scratches, dents, or any other types of imperfections, you must notify the truck rental company immediately. If you fail to notify the company about these things, you could end up getting charged for them. To protect yourself, take pictures of the entire outside of the vehicle, or use a video camera to tape it. This is a great way to document any problems on the truck that were there when you took possession of it. Through this, you will not have to pay for dings or scratches that you did not cause. Need It One-Way Only The other dilemma you may encounter is having to drive the rental truck all the way back to where you rented it from. This tends to be a huge problem when rental trucks are needed for one-way long distance moves. While this may seem like a problem, there is an easy solution. When you rent a...

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Get A Moving Quote And Estimate Other Expenses Before Agreeing To A Transfer

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Relocating to a different city might seem like a nice gesture for your company, but it can be a pricey proposition. While your higher-ups may view your willingness to help the company with favor, moving expenses add up. Before you agree to a transfer, get a moving quote and itemize your other expenses so you can negotiate a relocation package. Companies Still Offer Relocation Packages Relocation packages may not be as common as they were prior to the Great Recession, but many companies still offer them. As a benefit of employment, the moving expenses your employer covers may be detailed in your employment documentation. If your company doesn’t have a formal relocation package policy, you may have to ask your boss and human resources (HR) for assistance with the move. The relocation package offered by your company may not cover all moving expenses. If it doesn’t, you’ll need an estimate of your moving expenses to negotiate a better package. Estimates Should Include All Moving Expenses A quote from a moving company will form the main part of your moving cost estimate. Most movers provide free quotes, so you might want to request free moving and storage quotes from several companies. A typical quote will include packing, moving and insurance fees associated with moving your belongings. If you have unique items that require special care, however, these might not be included in a standard moving quote. For instance, you may need an additional, specialized quote if you will be moving a: car boat piece of artwork baby grand piano horse The estimate you present to your employer should include the quotes you obtain from moving companies, but it should also take your other moving-related expenses into account. For instance, you might need to pay for: house-hunting trips to your new city closing costs if selling your home first month’s rent and a security deposit if renting an apartment your family’s transportation to your new home lodging and meals during the move Itemizing all of these expenses in a written estimate will help you and your employer discuss the moving costs in detail. You may also want to consider a “miscellaneous” line for other related expenses that may arise. For instance, an Apartment Guide survey found that 71 percent of people who moved tipped their movers. You may want to show your appreciation with a little gratuity, but your employer might not approve this expense. A miscellaneous line item can serve as a slush fund for expenses such as this. Negotiate with Your Employer Armed with a complete and itemized estimate of your total moving costs, you are ready to negotiate a relocation package. Even if you don’t expect your employer to cover all of your expenses, showing them how much the move is going to cost you will make them sympathetic to your cause. When discussing a relocation package with your employer, remind them of how you are a benefit to your company. If your relocation is related to a promotion, then they obviously think highly of you and want to see you stay with the company. If your relocation does not advance your career, mention you are making a sacrifice for the company. Discussing your own merit while looking at the moving expenses will strengthen your case for a...

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How Your Business Can Save Money By Renting A Truck

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

When it comes to transporting things for your business, a large box truck is probably the best solution for your company. To get one of these, you have two options to choose from. The first option is to purchase one, and the second option is to rent one. Depending on your exact needs for the truck, renting a truck is often the better route to take, and here are three reasons why. Requires Less Money Upfront According to Kudzu, you can rent a 20-foot moving truck for approximately $40 to $50 per day, but some companies may offer cheaper rates if you rent a truck for longer than one or two days. Purchasing a new truck can be extremely expensive, and you will need to put money down on it and make monthly payments for three years or longer. If your company doesn’t need a truck every day, renting one would be a cheaper way to go. You could rent one on the days you need it, and you could even rent it by the week or month if necessary. Renting a truck requires paying for the fuel it takes, but if you own a truck you would also have to pay for the fuel, plus you would have to pay for: Insurance on the truck Oil changes and other types of normal truck maintenance Repairs License plates If your company already has a commercial auto insurance policy, this policy would probably cover the use of a rental truck, which means you would not necessarily have to purchase any additional insurance when you rent a truck. Offers An Easier Way To Budget Truck rental companies charge rental fees based on the size of the truck and length of time a customer rents it, and this fee covers everything for the truck, which is beneficial for your company. You can easily budget your money when you rent because the only thing you will pay for is the cost of the rental (and the gas). You will never have to worry about making large monthly payments on the truck, and any repairs needed will be performed by the company that owns the truck. The benefit of this is that you will never have large unexpected repair bills that you must pay. Gives You Access To What You Need The other huge benefit of renting a truck instead of buying one is that you can rent a variety of different sizes and types of trucks. If you purchase a truck, you will have only one way to transport things, and the one truck you have might not be the most logical way to transport goods in all cases. Suppose you have times when you only need to deliver small loads of goods to a customer. Driving a huge truck with a small load would waste a lot of fuel, but you wouldn’t have any other option. If you rented a truck instead, it would be simple to get a smaller truck for this particular delivery. Another good example of this is if you had to haul a large item that wouldn’t fit inside a box truck. This particular item might need to be transported on a flatbed truck, which is another type of truck available by truck rental companies. Choosing to rent...

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