Balancing the Budget: Outsourcing Business ServicesBalancing the Budget: Outsourcing Business Services

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Balancing the Budget: Outsourcing Business Services

My company is now over a decade old and I still outsource several key functions. It isn't that I can't afford to keep them in house. It is just that outsourcing is the most financially responsible decision I can make. I outsource all sorts of support services. One company manages my IT needs. Another partner takes care of the payroll and remitting taxes. I even have a cleaning service that comes in at night, does the windows, and in general keeps everything spotless. If you think outsourcing might benefit your business, let's talk. I'll tell you what I outsource and why. From there, you can decide if my strategy would also work for you.

Surprise! You Own A Water Feature! 2 Tips To Care For That Waterfall, Fountain, Or Artificial Reflection Pond

If you purchase a home at auction, you might not have the time to give the property as thorough of a home inspection as you would want to—especially during the wintertime. Snow and ice can cover outdoor hardscapes such as paved trails, retaining walls, and outdoor water features, which might mean a few surprises in the spring. Here are two tips to care for that surprise outdoor water feature and how you can make your new waterfall, fountain, or artificial reflection pond look better than ever:

1: Know Your Pump

When most people realize they have a manmade waterfall tucked away in the corner of their yard, they might wonder how they could possibly supply the feature with the water it will need. After all, how will you keep that water flowing if your city issues water restrictions? Fortunately, most water features use an underwater pump to constantly recirculate existing pools. This means you might only have to fill your waterfall, pond, or fountain when water evaporates, saving you money and time.

Unfortunately, if your pump develops problems, it could spell trouble for the entire feature. Here are a few things you should check your pump for regularly and why:

  • Dirt and Debris: If leaves fall into your water feature or your children toss a few buckets of their playground sand into the collection pool, the debris can clog the pump. In addition to limiting water flow, a clog might also make the system work harder than it needs to, which could burn out your motor. To fend off trouble, skim your water feature regularly for foreign objects and replace the filter screen when it gets dirty.
  • Overflowing Ponds: If you have a few pools that feed into one another, keep an eye on the evenness of the water levels. Overflowing ponds could be a sign that one of your pumps is not pulling its weight. If you notice issues, turn off one pump at a time until you find the culprit.
  • Watch that Water Level: If your pool runs dry, it could create air bubbles inside of your pump, which could mean a non-functional water feature later. Check your water levels on a regular basis and replenish your pools with a nearby garden hose when they need it.

If you notice frequent trouble with your water feature pump, pull the unit out of the water and look for manufacturer's marks or serial numbers. If you can find a similar unit, you might be able to switch out the pump by unplugging a few water lines, placing the new unit, and plugging it in.    

2: Check Your Pond Liners For Cracks

Before you fill those artificial ponds for summer and start shopping for koi fish, take the time to check your pond liners for cracks. Although a tiny leak might not seem like a big deal, a few cracks in that protective barrier could cause these issues:

  • Landscaping: If your pond liner has cracks, it could infiltrate the surrounding soil with moisture, which could destroy your landscaping. Marshy lawns might also develop weeds and mushrooms more readily, which can make your yard look messy.
  • Water Clarity: Cracks can also allow lawn chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers to seep into your pond, prompting algae growth, poisoning your fish, and creating cloudy water.

If your ponds are filled with debris such as last year's water, rotting leaves, or sludge, you can clean them out easily by using a wet/dry vacuum. After you get to the bottom of those pond liners, take the time to wipe them clean with a wet washcloth. It might seem like a lot of extra work, but a clean liner could mean a sparkly, attractive fountain all summer long. For more tips, contact a company like

By caring for your outdoor water feature, you might be able to make it an integral part of your landscaping, without wasting extra time or energy.