No Picture

Victorian Government’s Unfair Treatment of Taxi Industry

November 8, 2017 Calvin Collaery 0

The Australian taxi industry and the drivers, in particular, are a harried lot today, although the government did announce some measures of relief about a year ago. On a closer analysis, the steep drop in license prices appears to be at the root of the problem. Until the ride-share services such as Uber arrived on the scene, everything was Humpty dory and no one apparently had any grouses, except perhaps the customers, who had fewer options. But, once the ride-share companies quickly started growing in popularity, the taxi industry was suddenly faced with a threat of extinction.

Taxi licenses

Uber vs taxi picture In the past, taxi licenses were a valuable investment and priced possession. Year after year these licenses commanded decent premiums and ranked as any other investment with assured appreciation, or nearly assured appreciation. But, the ground realities suddenly changed and everything crashed similar to what happened to global stock markets in 2008/2009. The taxi industry now expects the Victorian government to extricate all stakeholders from this catch 22 situation. The government has responded to the situation by announcing compensation to the license holders and also set up a hardship relief fund. Alongside these measures, the government also decided to deregulate the taxi industry apart from replacing the current licensing regime with a single registration scheme for every service provider. While part of these measures has gone well with the taxi license holders and drivers, de-regulation of the industry and changes to the licensing regime remain conflict points.

On the other side, citizens fear that the government is setting a bad example by compensating taxi drivers and license holders. This fear stems from the fact that there can be scores of other sectors or industries that suffer a loss of business and therefore struggle to make a profit due to reasons entirely beyond their control. The question being raised by these quarters is whether the government will step in with similar largesse to address every such situation, present and future. But, in practice, most people opine that at the end of the day, the taxi industry may be the singular recipient of relief from the government funded in part or wholly by the taxpayer. In August 2016, the government had proposed to levy $2 for every trip made by all the service providers. Nearly a year later, this was slashed by 50% making the levy just $1 per trip.

Others, however, see the government justified since the taxi licenses and plates did earn revenue for the government in the past and the government thus profited from the industry. As for the man on the street, anyone who had tried to hire a taxi in Melbourne or Sydney some 2 years ago can hardly forget the poorly maintained and notoriously dirty cars that were available. Today, with the introduction of ride-share services, the customer is experiencing a paradigm shift and no sensible government would deprive him of the privilege in order to protect a relatively smaller group of people. The government, on the other hand, has its political compulsions to strike a compromise with the traditional taxi industry than focus on the welfare of the customers. Yet, the present measures should be reckoned as a great move since it is an acknowledgement of the changes induced by technology.

Assets melting away

tense man sitting on chair Decades ago, when taxi licenses were issued to Australians, the government held out a promise that investments made into the license at that time would work like retirement funds since there would be perpetual appreciation in license values and that the licenses constituted a tradable asset similar to any other fixed asset. The Government was not lying and there are many Australians who have indeed made a neat profit from these licenses. But only when the ride-sharing companies arrived, the intrinsic value of the taxi licenses started melting away, more like your favourite ice-cream under a fan turning into a bowl of liquid. Many of the license holders who expected the ride-sharing companies to be a storm in the tea-cup have learned the hard way that these technology-driven companies are there to stay.

Mr Ashish Rekhi, the owner and operator of Melbourne’s one of the prominent Taxi companies, Taxi Maxi, says ”Not long ago, these very licenses were valuable, and even banks treated them as valuable collaterals to lend money. Today, these very same licenses are threatening to become a huge liability. After all, like anyone else in the taxi industry, I had invested my hard earned money into a government-backed asset, at least technically and financial pundits would call it a gilt-edged security.“
For someone who was sitting on an asset worth, say $500,000 the night before, to find that he has lost as much as $250,000 when he was sleeping can be fraught with alarming consequences. The pain gets accentuated because the individual did nothing wrong to deserve the financial tsunami.

In retrospect

animated checklist yes, no and maybe Decades ago, when the government saw taxi licensing as an opportunity to regulate the business and earn some revenue in the process, but in retrospect failed to create an exit route if and when the tide turns. Today, that milch cow has turned into the Achilles heel for the government. On one side, the Victorian government may want to save the taxi industry from extinction but would be compelled to answer the taxpayer on how the doles are funded. At the end, if the taxi industry is appeased, a battery of other loss-making industries might expect a similar treatment from the government. Given the global movement against fossil fuels, the Australian coal industry could soon be knocking at the doors of the government drawing a parallel with the taxi industry and that could leave the government gasping for breath. Meantime, the taxi industry will continue with its protests, shouts and other forms of expressing resentment.

Another lesson perhaps, that monopolies, cannot survive without the protective cover.

No Picture

How to Be Successful in Real Estate Management

October 16, 2017 Calvin Collaery 0

Real estate management is a demanding job. You need to have great people skills, be good at marketing, know the ins and out of property management and be able to juggle so many different tasks at once. But, the flip side is that it can be a very rewarding job.

So, what exactly is it that separates the highly successful real estate property managers from the mediocre ones? What are they doing right? How can you ensure that you will succeed in real estate management? Apart from determination, knowledge and hard work, there are some tips that you can follow to make your mark in the real estate management business as someone who’s capable and will get the job done.

Tips to Succeed in Real Estate Management

sign post of management

Have In-Depth Knowledge of The Properties

You should have in-depth knowledge of any property that you manage. This is very important as you are the primary source of information about the property for potential clients. It is not enough to have the details in your files; you need to know the details so well that you can recite them off the top of your head when required. Everything from the property value, the rental figures, any unique qualities or features that the property has (historic significance or custom-made features). Apart from knowing about the property, go a step further and learn about neighbouring properties and the area as well. Your knowledge and confidence should put clients at ease, making them feel that you’re the best person for the job and that they can trust you one hundred percent.

Be Easily Accessible and Dependable

In the real estate business, you could miss out on a big opportunity simply because you missed a call. Being available and dependable are the two main factors that will determine how far you go in the real estate business. When clients call you, the expect immediate answers to their questions and quick action. No matter how a client contacts you, be it on the phone or through email, make sure you answer them as soon as possible. Complacency has no place in real estate management. It’s all about grabbing any opportunities that come your way and making them work for you, no matter what.
Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be dependable. Highly successful real estate managers are those who have their client’s absolute trust and confidence. Your clients should believe in your abilities.

Do A Course on Real Estate Management

group of kids address by adult lady

Why do a course when you can simply stumble your way through it, learning on the job? Well, because, doing real estate courses will provide you with a strong foundation, upon which you can then use your real-world experience to build your career. A real estate course gives you all the theoretical knowledge, combined with real-world examples and case studies, to give you a clear idea of what to expect on the job. You can go in fully prepared, instead of blindly finding your way through the complex world of real estate management. Doing a course also shows that you are serious about it. There are too many people ‘’trying their hands at’’ real estate management. So, when you do a course and gain some knowledge, you come across as someone who’s invested in making it in real estate and who’s put in the time and effort to get off to a good start.

Make Technology Work for You

laptop, glass on table

It is pointless to lament about how technology is taking over everything. Technology is here to stay and real estate is no exception to the technological advancements that have been sweeping every industry. The successful real estate managers are ones who’ve turned the tables and made technology work to their advantage. See how you can use technology to grow your client base and advertise and market your skill set.

Put People First

Your clients are all people. Don’t think of them as a part of your job. It is so easy to become jaded after a while and lose sight of your goals. Take a moment to realign your priorities. Your clients are people first. Get to know them, what makes them tick, what are their likes and dislikes. Knowing your clients better will help in the long-term, as you will be able to serve them better and they will like dealing with you as you’ve built up a good rapport. As humans, we crave connections to other humans. Give them that with your friendly approach and professional yet humane way of dealing with things. Real estate management is so much more than just valuing, managing and selling/renting properties. It is about being a people person and being able to connect with people easily to establish good business relationships that are mutually beneficial.

Find Your Niche

It’s a good idea to find your niche when working in real estate. This comes down the road when you’ve moved on from being a newbie to a seasoned real estate manager. Find out what your area of strength is and focus your time on that. Once you gain a reputation as someone who specialises in a particular kind of real estate, finding clients becomes easier as they will start approaching you as your reputation precedes you. And that’s the ultimate goal for every real estate manager.
Real estate management is a busy world of juggling different properties, talking to potential clients and dealing with present clients, resolving issues competently before they get out of control and being on top of things at any given point. A career in real estate is definitely not for everyone. But if you are passionate about real estate and have what it takes, then you can make it, provided you are ready to put in the amount of time and effort it takes to get noticed and move up the ranks. Real estate management can be challenging, but the rewards are worth the hard work. Do you have what it takes to make the cut?




No Picture

Things you should know before hiring a tutor for your kids

October 3, 2017 Calvin Collaery 0

If we consider tutoring as an industry, global growth of this industry has been more than impressive over the last decade or so. It would appear that people have to believe in academic achievements as the ladder, perhaps the only ladder for social mobility. Modern parents, therefore, spend more money, energy and effort finding “good schools” for their kids in the hope that they are paving the way for the children to scale great heights in future life. This phenomenon is present in nearly every nation, developing, developed and even the so-called underdeveloped. As a matter of fact, Asians spend as much as 7 times more compared to Americans, on tuition for their kids. In percentage terms, most Asians spend about 20% of their household income on education for kids. Add to this; the fact that educational system present in most countries, at least in the eyes of the parents, are pitched well below what they think should be ideal. But, they are unwilling to merely lament over a weak system and allow the system to dictate the future of their kids. Instead, they turn to private tuition which, according to them, is the only means of guaranteeing that the children are not left behind in the race.

animated male teacher writing on green-board

Is your tutor or tutoring services tuned in?

The demand for private tutors in Australia and elsewhere across the globe is breaking at the seams.  According to one of the Australia’s leading private academic coaching centre, Edu-Kingdom tutoring centre, the demand of private tutors has expanded over the past five years. Admittedly, good teachers cannot be produced overnight to meet this explosive demand. Where does that leave you when you are scouting for a tutor for your children? How do you determine that your tutor can indeed take charge and ensure that the journey of your child through the maze of academics is engaging and fruitful? Here are some pointers to help you with the process of picking the right tutor/tutoring service for your children in Australia.

Evaluating the services of your tutor/tutoring service

Potentially, you are appointing a tutor to take care of the learning needs of your child for several years to come. Therefore, the first question that comes up is whether the tutor you choose will stick around for the next few years, say at least 6 to 7 years. What are his/her individual circumstances? Is she/he employed in other occupations with a potential for relocation at intervals by choice or compulsion?

Credentials of your tutor

Is the tutor willing to show you her verifiable credentials and also perhaps references of some present and past students before choosing him/her as the tutor for your child? Where this is offered, don’t just collect them and forget about. Do a thorough background check and ensure that you are indeed putting your child in safe hands. Don’t shy away from checking out gender-related issues when they are applicable, and even if there is a trace of apprehension or past events, you are better off looking away from that service provider.

Subject expertise

word subject written

Does your tutor have the adequate subject expertise for all the subjects that your child needs tuition? How many years has she/he been teaching these subjects and is he/she updated with the latest changes and in tune with what is required presently? Some tutors tend to handle multiple subjects, and though there is nothing inappropriate in that, you must satisfy yourself that she/he has the necessary level of expertise in all the subjects that your child needs help with. This could be particularly relevant in the case of mathematics and language skills.

Home tutor or tutoring centre

boy study in hall

The next question that comes up before you is choosing between a home tutor and a tutoring service. If the tutor can come over to your home and you can provide an environment where your child/children can receive the tuition, such an arrangement has several advantages. In the first place, your child/children precious commute time. They can either use that space to play or relax and therefore be mentally energized to take the tuition more seriously.

If you choose a tuition centre instead, you need to factor in the commute time and also the kind of learning environment provided by the tuition centre. Do remember that most tuitions are after school and your child/children should be physically comfortable to spend the extended hours on focused learning. Talk to your child at regular intervals to understand his/her needs and disposition towards the tuition. Your child may also need appropriate refreshment before starting his/her tuition hours, and you should take special care to ensure that he/she stays off junk food as a routine to fill this void.

Tuning in your expectations

Have your expectations been clearly explained to the tutor and are they in line with what your child needs? Has he/she evaluated the child for his/her present level of performance and identified weak spots that need attention. Do they also conform to the observations made by the teachers at his/her school? It is important that these factors fall into place like in a jigsaw puzzle.

Is there a guarantee of improved performance from the child?

Can the tutor or tutoring service guarantee improvement in the performance of your child at school and with the grades that he/she is getting? Do those levels of guarantee meet your expectations? Do remember that tutors or tutoring services do not hold a magic wand and it takes for the student to gain confidence in his/her tutor and for the tutor to fathom the child deeper to unearth his/her difficulties and lubricate the whole process to ensure focus on the desired goals.

Have you spoken to your child?

Before doing all the elaborate exercise above, did you spend quality time with your child reassuring him/her that a private tutor is all that she/he needs to cover lost ground and move neck to neck with peers regarding academic achievement? This is important because your child must be mentally prepared to accept the tutor and recognize that you are concerned about his/her academic achievements.

Pallet Racking Safety Guidelines

September 13, 2017 Calvin Collaery 0

Pallet racking is a storage method where goods are stored in horizontal pallets or skids which are on multiple levels all depending on the height of your warehouse.

This is a risky affair if you factor in the heights involved and the weights of the pallets, as such one ought to know what to look for and what to do.

1 Specifications

Different goods have different racking requirements. After, all steel and wood or paint do not have the same racking needs.

Therefore, rackings used in workspaces should be specifically designed to meet the requirements of the goods to be stored, i.e. weight, shape, and size. Emergency access and manual handling activities should be factored in the layout.

Other storage problems are due to the user no supplying correct and complete storage requirements to the supplier. Always ensure you provide the following information:

  • Floor properties and building structure
  • Equipment to be used, i.e. handling equipment
  • Information about planned changes and positioning of sprinklers
  • Goods to be stored and how they are packed

2 Health and Safety

Costs of injuries and subsequent employees from the workplace are on the rise and are costing most companies a fortune. As such health and safety of employees can no longer be ignored, health plus safety equate to profit.

A quarter of significant injuries of employees who work in warehouses is from slip and trip accidents. I know, who thought that these simple accidents could lead to such major injuries?

By taking cost effective and often simple precautions reduces these accidents by a huge margin. These precautions can be as simple as warning signs to using protective gears or reducing access to certain people only.

Tip: Safety begins at installation. Therefore ensure your pallet racks are installed correctly, and handling equipment is well designed.

3 Spacing and clearances

Pallet rackings should provide enough spacing laterally and vertically. Laterally between pallet loads and vertically between ballets and the bottom of the high beam. It should also factor in enough space for handling equipment to move between the tracks.

Maintain operating clearances for good working practices. Reducing the spacing may compromise the integrity of the structure.

4 Protection

Careless use of handling equipment can damage the storage components compromising its integrity. Minor injuries can significantly reduce the safe carrying load of the upright.

Where damage is likely to occur, apply protectors to the uprights, the protectors should be specified. Layouts should be designed to ensure aisles have adequate space while still considering space for the defenders. Floor mounted protectors are the most common protectors and are fixed just to the rack frame.

5 Flooring

Floors of a warehouse should be extremely flat. The levels should be designed to accommodate the imposed loads. It should also provide floor fixings to be used. For a pre-existing warehouse floor, seek sufficient information to determine the maximum load the floor can accommodate without deforming it. Floor conditions should also be pre-determined for the selection of handling equipment.

6 Proper installation

Safety begins at the onset. An installation that is.

It is important that the people handling the installation are properly trained and with a wealth of experience. Beyond that, there should be proper supervision and oversight to ensure all steps and considerations are factored in. Monitoring also provides that the personnel installing the systems are in good working conditions and also prevent injuries.

The personnel should be SEIR (Storage Equipment Installers Registration scheme) registered.

7 Regular inspection

It is a requirement that warehouses and plants are risk-free. This calls for the constant and periodic review.

Reviews will help identify damaged and weak points in the racks. By doing so, management can take the proper steps towards restoring and repairing the damaged tracks. It is important to visit a professional contractor to do the inspection which ensures the integrity of the system.

There are some considerations as you conduct an inspection.

  • Beams- are the beams overloaded? Are the welds overloaded? Or has a shaft popped out of its upright?
  • Uprights and footplates- some of the considerations are damages to the uprights if the splices are in perfect condition etc.
  • Braces and

8 Reporting damages and unsafe conditions

Safety risks, i.e. damage and unsafe working conditions should be reported to management with immediate effect. This is to assess the extent of the damage and classify it.

9 Precautions

As management take the necessary precautions to prevent injuries. Along passageways, proper preventive measures should be taken to preventing goods from falling on personnel.

Hope the piece was informative and helpful. Leave us a comment on what you thought about it, and share. Sharing is cool after all.