Monday, December 19, 2011

Eating Celery For Increased Semen Volume - Does it Work?

Some references state that eating celery for increased semen volume can do a lot to one's sex life and it really does work. In fact, this is considered one of the natural methods to increase sperm count and stimulate sexual desire. Celery is known to contain an odor-free hormone known as androsterone which is said to be sexually inviting for women.

Celery is one of type of food product that is known for its sexual stimulation property. Raw celery increases one's sexual desire but there are no actual figures just how much it can help increase the volume of semen or sperm count. Eating celery for increased semen volume may not be beneficial for men with other specialized needs such as increased sperm count and motility, longer orgasm and intense hunger for sex.


While natural method is beneficial for the body and is a better option for sexual enhancement, there are alternative yet natural means aside from eating celery. This is through the use of natural volume enhancers. These are in pill form and contain amino acid and herbs carefully studied to ensure potency and effectiveness.

Volume enhancers also increase sperm count and motility and take care of a man's total sexual health. Other benefits include increased energy and sexual desire, improved stamina and longer, more intense and explosive orgasms. All of these benefits on top of having increased in semen volume and over-all improvement of sexual abilities.

There are two recommended brands for volume enhancers and these are Semenax and Volume Pills. They are proven to deliver the best and safest results. Semenax and Volume Pills are quality sexual enhancement products which had been carefully studied by professionals.

With these two products, men can experience a significant increase in their sperm count and semen volume. Results are far better than eating lots of celery.

Volume enhancers promise a great deal of sexual benefits among men and guarantee far stronger action than eating celery for increased semen volume.

Eating Celery For Increased Semen Volume - Does it Work?


Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Importance of Measuring Training ROI

Many companies spend a good fortune on training to increase productivity, enhance employee retention and reduce waste. Of course, they want to make sure that the return on investment on training pays off. Training should be measurable in order to determine effective ROI.

Companies offer training to their superiors, employees, clients and even suppliers. This can be conducted through outside training firms, an in-house training department or a combination of both. Training costs include payment of trainers, payment of participants for off-work time and expenses for travel and accommodation.


Managers and employees must drop their work hours to attend training sessions. The company is not only paying them even without rendering work, but it can also lose productivity or sales in the absence of their personnel. Moreover, the company may have to shoulder travel and lodging costs for off-site training.

When measuring training ROI, the company must measure the estimated productivity loss, hourly rate, training costs and other expenses related to the activity. An important factor in measuring training ROI is defining training goals. To measure training ROI, measure the amount of money made before and after the training, in which such an improvement should be compared with the training cost.

In many instances, there may be no measurable goals for a training session. This usually applies to trainings for managers, in which measuring the results of this type of training can be very difficult. However, if the goal of the training is to boost employee productivity, it is important to determine metrics before and after the training to determine training effectiveness. Training costs can then be compared with the profits' real improvement to determine training ROI.

For instance, the specific goal of safety training may be to reduce the rate of accidents. You ca create statistics to verify its training effectiveness. When training customers, on the other hand, a good way to determine training effectiveness is reducing service calls. Maintenance costs for a service call staff and repairs may be compared with the costs incurred for training the customers. There are some companies that are using service calls as a way of generating revenue. This is usually a short-term method of making money. If a customer is required to make service calls and send in the product for repairs, then s/he may switch to another competitor. A quality, user-friendly product is a surefire way to establish repeat business with customers.

In addition, measuring training ROI from suppliers can be done through the improvement in the quality of products and services provided for. This will lead to a quantifiable reduction of product and service problems as well as enhanced quality of the end products.

Bottom line, companies offer training in order to boost productivity which is important in order to yield more profit and ensure company success. Training investment consists of training costs and time spent by the employees from their work. Measurement of the effect on the firm's profits and real improvements before and after training and comparison with the training costs can help determine the company's return on investment.

The Importance of Measuring Training ROI


What Causes Anger?

Anger is a strong emotion of displeasure caused by some type of grievance that is either real or perceived to be real by a person. The cognitive behavior theory attributes anger to several factors such as past experiences, behavior learned from others, genetic predispositions, and a lack of problem-solving ability. To put it more simply, anger is caused by a combination of two factors: an irrational perception of reality ("It has to be done my way") and a low frustration point ("It's my way or no way"). Anger is an internal reaction that is perceived to have a external cause. Angry people almost always blame their reactions on some person or some event, but rarely do they realize that the reason they are angry is because of their irrational perception of the world. Angry people have a certain perception and expectation of the world that they live in and when that reality does not meet their expectation of it, then they become angry.

It is important to understand that not all anger is unhealthy. Anger is one of our most primitive defense mechanisms that protects and motivates us from being dominated or manipulated by others. It gives us the added strength, courage, and motivation needed to combat injustice done against us or to others that we love. However, if anger is left uncontrolled and free to take over the mind and body at any time, then anger becomes destructive.


Why We Need to Control Anger

Just like a person who is under the control of a street drug---a person under the influence of anger cannot rationalize, comprehend, or make good decisions because anger distorts logical reasoning into blind emotion. You become unable to think clearly and your emotions take control of your actions. Physiologically speaking, anger enacts the fight or flight response in our brain, which increases our blood pressure and releases adrenaline into our bloodstream, thereby increasing our strength and pain threshold. Anger makes us think of only two things: (1) Defend, or (2) Attack. Neither of these options facilitates a good negotiation.

Internal Sources of Anger

Our internal sources of anger come from our irrational perceptions of reality. Psychologists have identified four types of thinking that contribute to anger.

1. Emotional reasoning. People who reason emotionally misinterpret normal events and things that other people say as being directly threatening to their needs and goals. People who use emotional reasoning tend to become irritated at something innocent that other people tell them because they perceive it as an attack on themselves. Emotional reasoning can lead to dysfunctional anger in the long run.

2. Low frustration tolerance. All of us at some point have experienced a time where our tolerance for frustration was low. Often stress-related anxiety lowers our tolerance for frustration and we begin to perceive normal things as threats to our well-being or threats to our ego.

3. Unreasonable expectations. When people make demands, they see things as how they should be and not as they really are. This lowers their frustration tolerance because people who have unreasonable expectations expect others to act a certain way, or for uncontrollable events to behave in a predictable manner. When these things do not go their way, then anger, frustration, and eventually depression set in.

4. People-rating. People-rating is an anger-causing type of thinking where the person applies a derogatory label on someone else. By rating someone as a "bitch" or a "bastard," it dehumanizes them and makes it easier for them to become angry at the person.

External Sources Of Anger

There are a hundreds of internal and external events that can make us angry, but given the parameters of a negotiating situation, we can narrow these factors down to four general events.

1. The person makes personal attacks against us. The other side attacks you along with the problem in the form of verbal abuse.

2. The person attacks our ideas. The other side chops down our ideas, opinions, and options.

3. The person threatens our needs. The person threatens to take away a basic need of ours if they do not get their way i.e. "I'll make sure you'll never work in this city again."

4. We get frustrated. Our tolerance level for getting things done might be low or affected by any number of environmental factors in our lives.

Factors That Lower Our Frustration Tolerance

1. Stress / Anxiety. When our stress-level increases, our tolerance for frustration decreases. This is why there are so many domestic disputes and divorces over financial problems.

2. Pain. Physical and emotional pain lowers our frustration tolerance. This is because we are so focused on taking care of our survival needs, that we do not have time for anything or anyone else.

3. Drugs / Alcohol. Drugs and alcohol affect how our brain processes information and can make a person more irritable or bring forward repressed emotions or memories that can trigger anger.

4. Recent irritations. Recent irritations can also be called "having a bad day." It's the little irritations that add up during the course of the day that lower our tolerance for frustration. Recent irritations can be: stepping in a puddle, spilling coffee on your shirt, being late for work, being stuck in a traffic jam, having a flat tire.

Recognizing the Physiological Signs of Anger

By recognizing the physiological signs of anger, we can attune ourselves to know when it is time to take measures to make sure that our level of anger does not get out of control. Here are some symptoms of anger:

1. Unconscious tensing of muscles, especially in the face and neck.

2. Teeth grinding

3. Breathing rate increases dramatically

4. Face turns red and veins start to become visible due to an increase in blood pressure

5. Face turns pale

6. Sweating

7. Feeling hot or cold

8. Shaking in the hands

9. Goosebumps

10. Heart rate increases

11. Adrenaline is released into your system creating a surge of power.

Am I Right to be Angry?

Damn right you are. You have your own perception and expectation of the world that you live in and when the reality that you live in fails to meet your expectations, then yes you have the right to be angry. Afterall, if everyone thought alike, then the world would be a pretty dull place to live. You are going to run into situations that you don't enjoy. You are going to run into people who don't respect your views and ideas. The feeling of anger is totally justified according to your beliefs and so don't repress or deny those feelings.

Having to right to feel angry does not mean that you have the right to lash out in anger by attacking the other person. You can't change the views of other people to conform to your own because, like you, they have their own right to uphold their view of the world. The best thing you can do is recognize your anger and focus it on the problem instead of your counterpart.

Key Points

Being angry or frustrated is just like being under the influence of a drug. It prevents you from rationalizing and thinking logically.

Anger is caused by a combination of an irrational perception of reality and a low frustration point.

Anger is a natural response and you have every right to be angry, but you must learn to keep that anger in check during a negotiation because once you react in any negotiation, then you lose the agreement.

What Causes Anger?


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Coping with Change: Develop Your Personal Strategy

Why do we resist change?

As the saying goes, the only people who like change are busy cashiers and wet babies. We find change disorienting, creating within us an anxiety similar to culture shock, the unease visitors to an alien land feel because of the absence of the familiar cues they took for granted back home. With an established routine, we don't have to think! And thinking is hard work.


Change is a business fact of life

Is your company is currently undergoing major changes that will affect the lives of all of its employees? These changes are probably in response to the evolving needs of your customers. They are made possible because of improvements in telecommunications and digital technology. They are likely guided by accepted principles and practices of total quality management. And you can expect that they will result in significant improvements profitability--a success that all employees will share. Because our customers' needs are NOW, we must make changes swiftly, which means that all of us must cooperate with the changes, rather than resist them.

How do we resist change?

We tend to respond to change the same way we respond to anything we perceive as a threat: by flight or fight. Our first reaction is flight--we try to avoid change if we can. We do what futurist Faith Popcorn calls "cocooning": we seal ourselves off from those around us and try to ignore what is happening. This can happen in the workplace just by being passive. We don't volunteer for teams or committees; we don't make suggestions, ask questions, or offer constructive criticism. But the changes ahead are inescapable. Those who "cocoon" themselves will be left behind.

Even worse is to fight, to actively resist change. Resistance tactics might include negativity, destructive criticism, and even sabotage. If this seldom happens at your company, you are fortunate.

Take a different approach to change

Rejecting both alternatives of flight or flight, we seek a better option--one that neither avoids change nor resists it, but harnesses and guides it.

Change can be the means to your goals, not a barrier to them.
Both fight and flight are reactions to perceiving change as a threat. But if we can change our perceptions, we can avoid those reactions. An old proverb goes, "Every change brings an opportunity." In other words, we must learn to see change as a means of achieving our goals, not a barrier preventing us from reaching them.

Another way of expressing the same thought is: A change in my external circumstances provides me with an opportunity to grow as a human being. The greater the change is, the greater and faster I can grow. If we can perceive change along these lines, we will find it exciting and energizing, rather than depressing and debilitating.

Yet this restructuring of our perspective on change can take some time. In fact, coping with change follows the same steps as the grieving process.1 The steps are shock and denial that the old routine must be left behind, then anger that change is inevitable, then despair and a longing for the old ways, eventually replaced by acceptance of the new and a brighter view of the future. Everyone works through this process; for some, the transition is lightning fast, for others painfully slow.

Realize your capacity to adapt.

As one writer put it recently:

Our foreparents lived through sea changes, upheavals so cataclysmic, so devastating we may never appreciate the fortitude and resilience required to survive them. The next time you feel resistant, think about them and about what they faced--and about what they fashioned from a fraction of the options we have. They blended old and new worlds, creating family, language, cuisine and new life-affirming rhythms, and they encouraged their children to keep on stepping toward an unknown but malleable future.2

Human beings are created remarkably flexible, capable of adapting to a wide variety of environments and situations. Realizing this can help you to embrace and guide change rather than resisting or avoiding it.

Develop a coping strategy based on who you are.

Corporate employees typically follow one of four decision-making styles: analytical, directive, conceptual, and behavioral. These four styles, described in a book by Alan J. Rowe and Richard O. Mason,3 have the following characteristics:
Analytical Style - technical, logical, careful, methodical, needs much data, likes order, enjoys problem-solving, enjoys structure, enjoys scientific study, and enjoys working alone. Conceptual Style - creative and artistic, future oriented, likes to brainstorm, wants independence, uses judgment, optimistic, uses ideas vs. data, looks at the big picture, rebellious and opinionated, and committed to principles or a vision. Behavioral Style - supportive of others, empathetic, wants affiliation, nurtures others, communicates easily, uses instinct, avoids stress, avoids conflict, relies on feelings instead of data, and enjoys team/group efforts. Directive Style - aggressive, acts rapidly, takes charge, persuasive and/or is manipulative, uses rules, needs power/status, impatient, productive, single-minded, and enjoys individual achievements.

Read once more through these descriptions and identify which style best describes you. Then find and study the strategy people who share your style follow to cope with change:

Analytical coping strategy - You see change as a challenging puzzle to be solved. You need plenty of time to gather information, analyze data, and draw conclusions. You will resist change if you are not given enough time to think it through. Conceptual coping strategy - You are interested in how change fits into the big picture. You want to be involved in defining what needs to change and why. You will resist change if you feel excluded from participating in the change process. Behavioral coping strategy - You want to know how everyone feels about the changes ahead. You work best when you know that the whole group is supportive of each other and that everyone champions the change process. If the change adversely affects someone in the group, you will perceive change as a crisis. Directive coping strategy - You want specifics on how the change will affect you and what your own role will be during the change process. If you know the rules of the change process and the desired outcome, you will act rapidly and aggressively to achieve change goals. You resist change if the rules or anticipated results are not clearly defined.

Realizing what our normal decision-making style is, can enable us to develop personal change-coping tactics.

How can we cope with change?

Getting at least this much comprehension of the big picture will help us to understand where each of us fits.

2. Do some anchoring. - When everything around you is in a state of flux, it sure helps to find something stable that isn't going to change, no matter what. Your company's values (whether articulated or not) can provide that kind of stability for you. Ours include the Company Family, Focus on the Customer, Be Committed to Quality, and Maintain Mutual Respect. These values are rock-solid; they are not going to disappear or rearrange themselves into something else. Plus, each of us has personal values that perhaps are even more significant and permanent. Such immovables can serve as anchors to help us ride out the storm.

3. Keep your expectations realistic. - A big part of taking control of the change you experience is to set your expectations. You can still maintain an optimistic outlook, but aim for what is realistically attainable. That way, the negatives that come along won't be so overwhelming, and the positives will be an adrenaline rush. Here are some examples:

Invest time and energy in training. Sharpen your skills so that you can meet the challenges ahead with confidence. If the training you need is not available through Bowne, get it somewhere else, such as the community college or adult education program in your area.

Get help when you need it. If you are confused or overwhelmed with the changes swirling around you, ask for help. Your supervisor, manager, or coworkers may be able to assist you in adjusting to the changes taking place. Your human resources department and any company-provided counseling services are other resources available to you.

Make sure the change does not compromise either your company values or your personal ones. If you are not careful, the technological advances jostling each other for your attention and adoption will tend to isolate you from personal contact with your coworkers and customers. E-mail, teleconference, voice-mail, and Intranet can make us more in touch with each other, or they can keep us antiseptically detached, removed from an awareness that the digital signals we are sending reach and influence another flesh-and-blood human being.

Aware of this tendency, we must actively counteract the drift in this direction by taking an interest in people and opening up ourselves to them in return. We have to remember to invest in people--all of those around us--not just in technology.

The "new normalcy"

Ultimately, we may discover that the current state of flux is permanent. After the events of September 11, Vice President Richard Cheney said we should accept the many resultant changes in daily life as permanent rather than temporary. "Think of them," he recommended, "as the 'new normalcy.'"

You should take the same approach to the changes happening at your workplace. These are not temporary adjustments until things get "back to normal." They are probably the "new normalcy" of your life as a company. The sooner you can accept that these changes are permanent, the better you can cope with them all--and enjoy their positive results.


1. Nancy J. Barger and Linda K. Kirby, The Challenge of Change in Organizations: Helping Employees Thrive in the New Frontier (Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black Publ., 1995). This source is summarized in Mary M. Witherspoon, "Coping with Change," Women in Business 52, 3 (May/June 2000): 22-25.

2. Susan Taylor, "Embracing Change," Essence (Feb. 2002): 5.

3. Alan J. Rowe and Richard O. Mason, Managing with Style: A Guide to Understanding, Assessing and Improving Decision-Making (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Management Series, 1987) cited in Witherspoon, "Coping with Change."

4. Emily Friedman, "Creature Comforts," Health Forum Journal 42, 3 (May/June 1999): 8-11. Futurist John Naisbitt has addressed this tendency in his book, High tech/high touch: Technology and our search for meaning (New York: Random House, 1999). Naisbitt co-wrote this book with his daughter Nana Naisbitt and Douglas Philips.

Coping with Change: Develop Your Personal Strategy


Child Care Center Business Plan Template

If you are planning on seeking funding or investors for your daycare startup then a solid child care center business plan will be essential for proving the feasibility of your idea to them. There are also some other compelling reasons why you should take the time to prepare this important blueprint for business success. If you are going into business with a partner, a business plan will allow both of you to make sure that you are thinking along the same lines. And even if you are going it alone and have nobody to impress, a plan offers you a way of getting all your thoughts and research down on paper in one structured report.

A business plan allows you to see if your child care center is viable and helps you to set goals and benchmarks that you can later measure your progress against. Below we offer a child care center business plan template. The ideal way to put together a plan is to look at a few that have been done for other child care centers and then make adjustments to suit your unique situation. It can be an extensive report or something brief that fits onto one page.


What to Include in a Business Plan for a Child Care Center

1) Executive Summary

This is a summary of your daycare business plan and it should be written after the plan is complete. Detail the contents of your plan and declare some of the conclusions that you have made.

2) Company Mission

Put money aside for a minute and write a little about how you want to fit in with and impact your community in a positive way. Write about the importance of child care in society and your personal philosophies on early childhood development and daycare. What kind of image do your want to project?

3) Table of Contents and Introduction

Introduce the reader to your business plan and let them know what kind of daycare you have in mind. What is the basic concept? What services will you offer? What age groups will you care for?

Set out a contents page so that readers can easily navigate their way through the report.

4) Background

You should include some background on the child care industry to help readers to better understand the present state of the industry and how your business will fit into it. Personal backgrounds of yourself and other key players should also be included to let readers know who you are and what led you to the conclusion that you want to enter this industry. What skills, experience or attributes do you have that make you particularly well suited to setting up and managing a child care center? Attach any supporting documents such as your resume to the business plan as an appendix.

5) Objectives

Summarize your financial goals as well as any expansion plans that you have for the daycare over your first two or three years in business.

6) Startup Requirements and Financing

List out all anticipated startup costs and other hurdles that must be overcome before you open your doors to families. How you propose to finance the new business?

7) Business Structure and Legal Considerations

Will the child care center be a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation? Include details on the daycare licensing process for the state in question as well as other local regulations that must be complied with such as zoning and building safety requirements. What insurance policies will be necessary to protect the business and its owners from property damage or liability claims?

8) Organization

How will your daycare be managed? Your daycare business plan should include information on the ownership structure (if there are other owners involved). Set out a plan for taking on and managing staff including hiring practices, necessary qualifications, wages and other policies. Outline job descriptions for each position and set out a clear hierarchy showing which managers are responsible for which employees.

9) Market Analysis

A good business plan will usually have an analysis of the local market. This is where you can present the findings of any market research that you have undertaken. Your market analysis should include information gained from surveys with prospective daycare clients in the area to find out more about them and about what they are looking for in a daycare service. You can include demographic data about your local market here and attempt to establish some typical customer profiles. Discuss your proposed location and why you think its location is strategically significant.

Look at a variety of niches within daycare such as infant care or after school care and decide on the niches that you will go after with your set up and your marketing. Give details on all local competitors and suggest ways that your daycare could offer unique services that differentiate it from these other market players. Look at their strengths and weaknesses and try to come up with the ideal service for your market that is an improvement on the services that are already available.

10) Marketing Plan

Put forward a marketing plan for gaining new customers. Outline a branding strategy, a pricing strategy and how you will consistently promote your daycare to local families. Try to identify precisely what advertising and marketing methods you would use to get leads and what sales approach you would use to turn prospective families into new clients. Write an online marketing plan discussing a proposed website for the child care center as well as a strategy for bringing targeted traffic to the site.

11) Financial Plan

Lastly, you should include some detailed financial forecasting. Estimate revenues and expenses over a period of two years and set these out in a spreadsheet. Profit or loss can then be projected based on these estimates. Put forward several different scenarios where for example costs are higher than expected or income is slower than expected. Identify the break even point or the point that the business becomes profitable.

A good child care business plan template along the lines of the one that we have outlined above will give you a clear direction of where you want to go, will help you to measure progress along the way and ultimately will help you to reach your personal and financial goals.

Child Care Center Business Plan Template


Six Deadly Pool Purchasing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The six deadly pool purchasing mistakes are frequently made as a result of simply not being informed and knowing what questions to ask. Avoiding these mistakes could save you thousands of dollars and hours of heartache and frustration.

So you want to buy a pool but don't know where to start? Perhaps knowing the common mistakes people make when purchasing a pool will help you start off on the right foot. Everyday, people get "duped" into buying the wrong pool, the wrong way, with no recourse or protection. These same people wind up being dissatisfied and even angry because their expectations weren't met.


Throughout my long career in the pool industry, I have met many people who have made serious mistakes when they purchased their pool. Every year it seems as though I hear the same stories over and over. As a result of talking with scores of pool owners and through my own years of experience in the industry, I have concluded that there are six common mistakes that people make when purchasing a pool.

The Solution to Avoiding the
Six Deadly Pool Purchasing Mistakes is. . .
Ask the right questions! It's simple. If you ask the right questions, you'll uncover 90 percent of the potential problems that most pool purchasers commonly face. There's always that 10 percent chance that something will happen that you couldn't have foreseen; but, for the most part, you'll be able to avoid almost any surprise.

However, if you're like most other pool purchasers, you know so little about pools or pool construction that you don't even know what questions to ask. That is why I wrote this special report just for you. After reading this report, you will be one of those few pool purchasers who "know what they're talking about."
The first questions you need to ask yourself when thinking about buying a pool are:

1. Why do I want a pool?
2. What will my family and I use the pool for?
3. Who is going to maintain the pool?

Why are these questions so important? Before you can decide "what" type of pool you want, you need to understand "why" you want a pool. Is it for family recreation, entertaining guests, physical therapy, exercise, personal recreation or just to "keep up with the Jones'?"

Knowing the answer to these questions will help you avoid the first deadly pool purchasing mistake, which is. . .

Mistake #1:
Not Designing Your Pool for its Intended Purpose
You might have heard the phrase, "Form follows function." To know what type of pool you want, you need to know what you'll be using it for. The type of pool you'll select should depend on what you'll be using it for.

More often than not, people considering the purchase of a pool have a specific purpose in mind. It is important to write this down and have it ready when you start to talk to pool builders.
For instance, if you are going to use your pool mostly for family entertainment, then you will want to include safety features such as gating or fencing that will control access to the pool. If your primary use is for entertainment, then you may consider mood lighting features with special landscaping features, such as waterfall features in and around the pool. If you want to build a pool for physical therapy or exercise, you might include a longer shallow area for swimming or perhaps built in spa jets in the seat, pull up bars, or even a smaller pool with swim jets.
The Myth of the Large Pool
An interesting phenomenon frequently happens when the majority of first-time pool buyers desire a large pool with a deep end and a diving board. After about a year of pool use, new owners discover that the deep end rarely gets used and the diving board becomes more of a safety hazard. Most of the games that are pla
yed by the kids are done in the shallow end and that's where the adults spend 95 percent of their time. Because they decided to build a large pool with a deep end, only 35 percent of the pool gets utilized, resulting in unnecessary expense and low usage. It's also important to consult with your insurance agent regarding increased premiums with diving boards.

Fencing is always an important element of your pool, not only for child safety but to provide a certain level of privacy. You may consider a retaining wall if your yard is on a slope so that you can step down to the pool, providing you more privacy. Many pool builders will try to talk you into elevating the level of your pool if your yard has a slope. Simply because there's less dirt to remove, builders can cut trucking expenses. This can leave you with an inground pool that has an above ground look.

You should also have an understanding or vision of what you want your entire backyard to look like, not just your pool. Your pool should compliment your existing backyard and integrate with your intended landscaping goals, both now and in the future.

Here are some other points to consider when designing your pool:

1. Access - Ensure there is easy access to your pool from your house, restroom or entertainment area. You might want to consider how patios, decks or walkways are positioned to provide a safe and simple entrance and exit between your home and your pool.

2. Lines and Cables - Before settling on a location, you need to ensure that there are no electrical or telephone wires, sewer or septic lines or buried pipes.

3. Drainage - Water needs to drain away from the pool to avoid standing water or dirt and mud getting into the pool. This is especially important if you're in a location that has a history of flooding.

4. Add-Ons - If you plan to install a diving board, spa, slide or waterfall, make sure that you plan for adequate deck space for each add-on.

5. Sheds - A common method of protecting equipment is to build an equipment shed close to the pool.

6. Sun vs Shade - The sun can help to keep your pool water warm; however, placing your pool under trees can result in a lot of extra maintenance.

7. Covenants - Find out if there are any subdivision covenants regarding the construction of pools.

To obtain a building permit, it is generally required to get a survey or plot plan of your entire property. In fact, you should already have one from when you bought your home. The survey will help you to decide where to locate your pool and any other accessories.

Make sure you schedule an initial on-site consultation so that your pools primary functions and activities are reflected in the design. Furthermore, an on-site consultation should urge you to consider the overall vision of what you want your backyard.

Mistake #2
Choosing the Wrong Pool "Container"

There are three basic types of in-ground pools: concrete/gunite, fiberglass, and vinyl liner.

No matter what type of pool you choose, you will be required to perform a certain amount of maintenance. However, each type of pool provides its own maintenance challenges. It's important to understand these challenges by pool type before you make your selection.

Concrete/Gunite Pools
Concrete and gunite (a type of reinforced concrete) are the most common in-ground pool types because they have been on the market longer than the new, more efficient types of pools.

Concrete and gunite are sprayed over a framework of steel rods and wire mesh, then coated with plaster to give the pool a smooth, printable surface. Today, concrete and gunite pools are most commonly used for commercial and public swimming pools.

The nice thing about concrete and gunite pools is that you can virtually build them in any shape or form that you wish. Unfortunately, it is the most expensive of the three types of pools and it takes a long time to build.

Furthermore, concrete and gunite is porous, therefore providing small areas for algae and bacteria to grow. In addition, it can easily crack and chip with the change of the temperature and weather conditions, providing even more areas for algae and bacteria to grow. This is why concrete and gunite pools require the most maintenance of the three types of pools, costing 0 or more a month to maintain. It is also rough on the kids feet, and because kids will stay in the pool for extended lenght's of time makes this extremely damaging to the skin.

Concrete and gunite pools require periodic annual or semi annual pool draining for cleaning purposes. When the pool is drained, the cracks in the concrete and gunite need to be repaired and the pool siding acid-washed and perhaps re plastered, if necessary. Acid washing is necessary every one to three years, depending on water condition. Acid washing does remove a layer of plaster or mar cite. Usually, after the second acid wash you can expect to re plaster the pool.

Vinyl Liner Pools
Vinyl liner pools use a high-density vinyl lining, offering a cosmetic textured pool surface. The lining is "seamed" together throughout the sides of the pool. Polymer or steel walls are bolted and fastened together on concrete flooring. The vinyl liner is spread over the floor and paneled walls and connected to the top of the walls by a vinyl rib at the outside edge of the liner.

The upfront cost of vinyl lined pools can be inexpensive when compared with concrete and gunite pools and take much less time to install. However, the maintenance on vinyl lined pools is high because the liner can be easily scratched or cut, especially if there will be toys or hard objects in the pool (even mechanical pool cleaners!). To repair a vinyl lined pool, you'll need to replace the entire lining, which can cost from ,500 to ,900 or more depending on the time of the season for replacement.

Also, algae and bacteria tend to nest in the porous texture of the fabric and seams of the vinyl, requiring high amounts of chlorine to keep the pool clean. It's kind of like a shower curtain that is exposed to moisture and heat on a consistent basis.

Severe problems can arise when algae starts to grow under a vinyl liner because it can start to eat the liner from the underside and is very difficult to treat. You can expect to pay up to 0 or more a month to maintain a vinyl liner pool.

In addition, heating costs will generally be higher, especially on steel wall construction. The only thing between the ground temperature of 57 degrees and the pool water is steel and vinyl. A polymer or plastic wall does reduce the cost of heating somewhat; but, it also adds considerable cost to the construction of the pool (,500 to ,500 in some cases).

Fiberglass Pools
Fiberglass pools are made out of a seamless one-piece, pre-formed fiberglass container that is set in the ground and can be installed in less than five days. The fiberglass itself has a smooth, non-porous gel coat surface.

Although fiberglass pools have a wide range of sizes and shapes, and can be moved if you choose, you are restricted to those sizes and shapes that are offered, unlike a concrete or gunite pool. You'll rarely find a fiberglass pool over sixteen feet in width because the come from the factory ready to install in one piece.

Fiberglass pools are appealing because they require much less maintenance than either of the other pool types. Fiberglass will not rip, tear, crack, chip or leak, providing a longer-lasting surface. Therefore, monthly maintenance costs are minimal. The durability of fiberglass is especially important if you live in a cold weather climate, or unstable soil, in which surface materials contract and expand. This is why concrete and gunite pools crack and chip.

Because a fiberglass is non-porous, algae and bacteria cannot stick to the surface. This reduces the amount of chlorine necessary to keep the pool clean to about one-fourth of the amount that other pools use, which can add up to large cost savings over time.

Fiberglass pools never require draining for cleaning, which is a huge chore. In addition, to clean the fiberglass surface, all you need to do is vacuum the bottom of the pool, which takes only 10-15 minutes a week. At first you might think that concrete/gunite pools are the most stable; however, fiberglass pools can flex about two feet without sustaining any damage and can safely withstand more external pressure than concrete/gunite pools.

However, there are huge distinctions between different fiberglass pools. (They are not all created equal.) Vinyl Ester resin is a must! This material is a bonding agent that helps hold the pool together. Vinyl Ester also prevents cobalting, which is a black or purple stain that forms from the outside in. It is a chemical reaction within the fiberglass itself. The stain can usually be removed but will continue to resurface. Make sure you see it in writing that the pool has Vinyl Ester. If it's not advertised in print, chances are it doesn't have it.

It's also important to have some sort of vapor barrier in the fiberglass. Even though the gel coat or finish is smooth and non-porous, the back of the pool is without a vapor barrier. Fiberglass is a cloth that will absorb moisture from the ground. Moisture or even ground water will leach through the fiberglass causing blistering on the gel coat that is not usually covered by warranty.

You also want to make certain the pool is constructed with hand laid fiberglass as opposed to chopped glass. Hand laid fiberglass is much stronger and is built with full sheets of fiberglass cloth. Chopped glass fiberglass is a pudding-like substance with shreds of fiberglass usually sprayed or rolled on. Fortunately, because fiberglass pools are pre-built, you can see the pool prior to installation. Check out the finish beforehand. If it doesn't look good out of the ground it won't look good in the ground. Remember, water magnifies any flaws.

The technology in this industry is changing and evolving almost monthly, with recent introductions like the infusion of Carbon Fiber which adds extreme strength, and some pretty nice looking colors, this makes this worth a closer look than in the past.

Mistake #3
Choosing the Wrong Developer
The worst mistake that a person buying a pool can do is choose the wrong developer to build the pool. There are many "fly-by-night" pool developers that use temporary workers to install pools,. Other developers employ installers (or subcontractors) that have virtually no experience with pool installation.

Pool developers consistently experience a high turnover with their staff so it's a constant struggle to keep good, experienced people who have installed a lot of pools. There are also a lot of developers who will sell you a pool with no regard for how it will be integrated with your landscape and lifestyle.

Make sure the developer has a firm brick and mortar location and is not working out of his garage. Also, do not purchase a pool from the Internet. Take time to visit the location.

After narrowing it down to the top two or three builders, invest in the time to visit their location to look at their products and services. See how their staff treats you. (Remember, people who feel good about themselves produce good results).

This is the biggest investment of your life next to your home. Invest your time. Take the family on a fun day out to look at pools and builders. Stop for lunch. Slow down, take your time. Feel comfortable and investigate.

The following are several questions you can ask potential pool developers when you request a proposal or bid to build your pool.

1. Do you offer the type of pool container that I want (fiberglass, concrete/gunite, vinyl liner) and how much experience do you have with installing that type of pool?
Most pool builders specialize in one of the three types of pools. A builder that is an expert in installing concrete pools may not necessarily be an expert in installing fiberglass pools. Find out how many of the same type of pools the builder has installed. If you are having accessories such as a deck, spa or landscaping done with the same builder, make sure that they have done that type of work in the past with other clients.

2. What is the average experience of your installation staff or do you subcontract out the construction? Do you hire only licensed and bonded sub-contractors?
It isn't uncommon to find a pool builder that uses subcontractors for the entire installation process. In this case, you need to consider the experience level of the subcontractors. A pool builder is only as good as the people doing the installation work. Preferably the builder will have his own staff, resulting in better quality control. However, if a subcontractor is used, make sure that they are licensed and bonded to protect you if things go wrong.

3. Are you certified by the National Spa and Pool Institute? What other trade organizations do you belong to?
The National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI) is the association that supports the spa and pool industry. The NSPI has a "Certified Builder"course that teaches builders how to build high-quality pools using the latest techniques that meet specifications. Having the certification means that the builder has at least met some standard education requirements to do the job right and it shows the builder's commitment to quality. This one question can weed out a fly-by-night builder from a reputable builder. If the builder belongs to the Better Business Bureau, a Chamber of Commerce, or even a Rotary Club, it demonstrates that the builder intends to be around for a long while.

4. Do you provide financing for the pool construction project?
Even if you have the money sitting in the bank or you plan to get it from a commercial lender, asking this question may result in some revealing information. If a builder provides financing, it means that they have been around long enough to build credit and a good reputation with the banks. It is advantageous to have options for financing the construction of your pool. Another benefit of financing your pool is that in-ground pool construction is considered a home improvement and the interest payment on your loan is tax deductible.

5. Can I speak with several of your past customers?
This is the killer question. The proof is in the pudding and if you can't speak to a previous customer, it probably means that they don't have one or that they are disgruntled. Run from a builder that can't provide you with testimonials from prior satisfied customers.

The real test is talking to those customers yourself. Ask the builder if you can pick one or two from a list of 10 previous customers. This will ensure that you'll be choosing a non-biased customer. Ask the customer, "I know that the builder does great work but all jobs have at least one or two things that didn't go as planned. Can you tell me what were some things that didn't meet your expectations?" This question will get the customer off the fence.

6. To what extent is the owner involved in the daily operations of the business?
If the owner of the business isn't 100 percent involved in the business, it doesn't mean that you write them off but you should find out how the business is being managed. Quality usually has a direct correlation to the level of involvement by the owner of the business.

7. Can the builder present a certificate of insurance to prove that they are fully insured?
Ask the builder about any liability and compensation insurance he may carry to protect you in the event of an accident during the construction of the pool. There's nothing worse than getting into a situation in which things didn't go as planned and not having recourse for receiving compensation because of damages. Every reputable builder should be fully insured. Period.

If you ask and don't receive a copy of worker's compensation and liability insurance, don't use the builder. You may even go as far as to call the agent listed to verify that their insurance is in force. Finally, remember worker's compensation protects people. Liability protects property. You need to have both.

Other things you might consider are the builder's credit rating and you may want to check county records for lawsuits.

8. Does the builder offer in-home design services?
Many good builders will offer in-home design services that will not only save you money but also demonstrate the builder's experience and expertise.

9. If there is damage to my yard or landscaping, will you repair it?
It is imperative that you set your expectations up front during the interview process with the builder, especially when it comes to damage. Many pool buyers are surprised when they see the amount of damage to their yard that takes place during a pool installation.

However, there is such a thing as excess damage due to negligence on the part of the builder. Make sure you address this right up front and that it gets into your contract. Some pool builders aren't willing to take on the risk of paying for yard damage.

10. What are the electrical and plumbing requirements and who will perform them?
Your pool builder should know about existing electrical, plumbing, zoning, building and grading requirements. It's important to test the knowledge of your builder. Even if you don't know the answers yourself, you'll have an idea whether they have a good grasp on the requirements.

By the way, never allow a pool builder to force you to take a permit out in your name. It should always be in the builder's...

11. What type of maintenance training will I receive upon completion of the pool?
Upon completion of pool installation, your pool builder should provide you with training, including: equipment maintenance training; chemical and cleaning training; winterizing training; and safety training. These topics will be crucial to the longevity of your pool.

12. How long will the construction take and when can you start?
Even if a pool builder is good and you feel comfortable with their skills and ability, their schedule needs to sync with your schedule. A good pool builder will most likely be booked, so you may want to start the search process early in the season or reset your expectations as to when the pool can be installed.

Never choose a pool or a builder based strictly on schedule. Make your choice on the quality of both the product and the builder. A high-quality builder will never sacrifice quality for speed. Remember, if you are a first time pool buyer, another couple of months won't hurt you. Stay focused on quality.

13. What is the cost and how much do you require as a deposit?
Ultimately, your pool needs to fit your budget. You should ask for a proposal only from builders that you feel comfortable with and meet your minimum requirements. Although it varies from builder to builder, 2 percent to 5 percent down is an acceptable amount to ask as a deposit. If a builder asks for an amount greater than 10 percent down, it's time to end the interview. Also, make sure you examine the down payment schedule and make sure the builder explains it to you.

Good References are Important

Overall, asking this series of questions will help you get a feel for who may be the best choice to build your pool. Remember, good references are important because they are based on past experience rather than a right answer to an interview question. Call local building departments, call the state, and call the Better Business Bureau. A good builder's reputation will precede them.

Mistake #4
Not Getting a Full Understanding of Your Pool Contract and Warranty
It is certainly a deadly mistake not getting a full understanding of your pool contract and warranty. As Ross Perot once said, "The devil is in the details." Pool contracts and warranties can be deceptive if they are not read carefully and if you don't ask enough questions.

Parts of a pool usually included in the warranty are:

1. Structural - Structural integrity of walls, reinforcements and concrete.

2. Equipment - Equipment such as filters, skimmers, pumps and heaters.

3. Plumbing - Materials and workmanship on electrical, gas, piping and pool plumbing.

Generally speaking, most pool buyers get surprised when something goes wrong because they didn't take the time to understand the details of what is included in the warranty and more importantly, what is NOT included in the warranty. Try to make sure your pump, filter and heater are from the same manufacturer. That way you have one warranty that covers your main equipment. Plus, most pool companies will not stock repair parts from multiple manufacturers. Things like discoloration in fiberglass and vinyl liner pools are usually not covered because the color of the walls have a lot to do with how you've maintained the pool and the chemical balance of the pool water. Chipped concrete or gunite are not usually warranted because that's the nature of concrete when exposed to the elements.

When purchasing a vinyl liner pool, you need to be cautious about what's included in the warranty for the liner. Is it just the seams or is it the entire liner? Most vinyl liner pool builders stress the warranty on the seam, but the seam never goes bad. What frequently goes bad is the vinyl lining, not the structural walls or the seam.

Who's Warranting What?
Understand who warranties what. For instance, who warranties the pump and filter? The manufacturer or the dealer? Who do you contact to report problems? Do they have a toll-free number? Who comes out to fix the problem? In some cases, each individual manufacturer will warranty each separate piece of equipment and will have different service providers fixing the problem. There's rarely a one-stop solution for pool warranties and service.

Read the warranty carefully with the builder and ask questions. Ask what is not warranted and why. After you've seen a couple of warranties side by side, the questions will become much easier.

Mistake #5
Focusing on Upfront Cost Rather than Cost of Ownership
Because in-ground pools can cost up to ,000 and more, most pool buyers are concerned about the upfront price and pay little attention to daily operational costs. Purchasing a pool that requires little maintenance will usually be the cheapest deal in the long run. Pools that don't require a lot of chemicals, cleaning, resurfacing or replacement parts will cost less over the life of the pool.

Additional Costs

Additional costs of required basic equipment can surprise some pool buyers. Equipment such as filter systems, steps or ladders, and skimmers for surface cleaning are considered essential.

Many pool owners install heating equipment and pool-side decking of concrete or wood. Pool covers are often used to keep water clean and retain heat when the pool is not in use. If used properly, these covers can be a wise energy-saving investment.

Mistake #6
Falling for Slimy Sales Gimmicks
Once you have decided to build a swimming pool, there is a natural excitement and eagerness to have it installed as soon as possible. This is often the point at which unwary buyers can get into hot water because dishonest salespeople and builders will be quick to take advantage of the situation.

Keep in mind that the late spring and early summer months can bring these unscrupulous people into communities where home swimming pools are popular. Attractive advertisements can turn up, offering deals that seem too good to turn down. Here are some warning signs that signal "Buyer Beware!"

1. Salespeople who tell you an advertised pool they offer "on sale" is not worth having and then try to switch you to a more expensive model. This is called "Bait and Switch" and is a tactic that is often used in the retail world.

2. Salespeople who use the ploy of offering a reduced price on the basis your pool will be used as a model.

3. Salespeople who pressure you into signing a contract. Remember: no reputable builder and no authorized representative of a reputable builder will rush you into signing any agreement or contract at any time.

4. Never get talked into taking out the "Building Permit" yourself or in your own name. The contractor should do this. Always make sure that the contract clearly states that the pool builder is required to hire only licensed and bonded "subcontractors."

5. If the pool builder will not do an on-site initial visit, be alerted to the possibility of a hard sale. Chances are, the builder does not understand or care to understand your requirements.

Purchasing a pool can be a scary experience, especially for those first timers who haven't been through the process. There are a myriad of items to consider... pool type, maintenance, warranties, contracts, liability, plumbing, landscaping, electricity, drainage, restrictions, accessories, and so on. It's no wonder many pool buyers make mistakes that end up costing them hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.

With the information in this special report, you will be able to avoid many of the most common mistakes people make when purchasing a pool. It will equip you with the ability and know-how to ask smart questions that will result in helping you find the right pool for you and your family.

Six Deadly Pool Purchasing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


How to Manage Swimming Pool Chemicals

The most important element of swimming pool maintenance is monitoring and maintaining the proper water chemistry. While this leaves many people baffled; it's really not that complicated. The first step of the process is to regularly test the water. During the summer months, this should be done either daily or every other day. In the winter you can probably get by with once a week.

If you maintain a regular schedule of testing the water and adjusting the chemical balance accordingly; it should require a minimal amount of time. However if you neglect the job, you run the risk of algae growth and possible damage to your pool and equipment. Learning the following basics will help you avoid difficult cleaning jobs and expensive repairs.


Chlorine - This is the one everyone knows. Chlorine is the chemical that sanitizes the water, kills bacteria, and prevents algae growth. Pool chemistry is measured in parts per: million gallons of water, which you'll see abbreviated as (PPM). The desired chlorine range is 0.5 to 3.0 PPM. If levels drop below this range you run the risk of discolored, murky water and algae growth. If above the acceptable range; the water may irritate the eyes and skin. Adding chlorine to the water is generally done with tablets or granular chlorine through an automatic inline chlorinator. There are also floating chlorinators, but the inline models are preferable because of the ability to regulate the amounts that are dispersed. Occasionally, it will be necessary to super chlorinate or shock the water. The is done as a preventative measure against algae and bacteria. How often you need to do this will depend on the amount of use and the weather conditions. When shocking the pool; allow the chlorine level to return to normal before allowing swimmers. During summer months and warm temperatures chlorine is burned quickly by the heat and sunlight. It's crucial to stay on a regular schedule because the water color will turn quickly when the levels drop and, once it turns, it will take a lot of work to get it back. PH - This is the acidity level of the water. When testing the PH level the acceptable range is 7.2 to 7.6 PPM. PH may be the most important element of pool water chemistry because of it's effect on the other elements and the potential damage it can cause. Low PH can cause high acidity of the water resulting in corrosion of metal components, etching of plaster, and staining. Having low PH is also the most common cause of burning to the eyes and will speed up the burning of chlorine. High PH limits the effectiveness of the chlorine and may cause the water to become cloudy. To lower the pH level add muriatic acid to the water by pouring around the perimeter of the pool. Be careful to stay away from ladders or other metal components due to the highly corrosive nature. It's a good idea to then brush the pool to keep the acid from settling on the plaster. The PH can be raised by adding soda ash (sodium bicarbonate). Chemicals should always be added according to the manufacturers instructions and the MSDS. Total Alkalinity - In technical terms is a measure of the waters ability to neutralize or dissolve the hydrogen ions in acid. Basically, having the desired alkaline level helps control fluctuations in PH when chemicals are added. The desired Total Alkalinity level is between 80 and 120 PPM. Low levels will cause drastic fluctuations in PH, which can be damaging to pool equipment. Higher levels make it difficult to adjust PH and render chlorine less effective. Total alkalinity can be raised by adding sodium bicarbonate or soda ash and can be lowered by adding muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate. Consult the manufactures instruction for the proper amounts of chemical to be added. Calcium Hardness - This is the measure of dissolved calcium in the water. The desired levels are between 250 and 500 PPM. Maintaining the desired levels is important for the protection and life of the plaster. Lower levels will cause calcium to leach from the plaster causing pitting and shortening the lifespan of the surface. High levels may cause scaling and cloudy water. To raise calcium hardness, add calcium chloride. To lower the level, add small amounts of trisodium phosphate of backwash water from the pool and replace with fresh. Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) - Chlorine molecules are unstable and exposure to sunlight and heat will cause the to dissolve rapidly lowering the amount of free chlorine. Adding cyanuric acid stabilizes the molecules, slowing the dissipation of the chlorine. In other words, adding stabilizer reduces the amount and frequency of adding chlorine to the pool. Some chlorine tablets are stabilized, so you may already have some level of cyanuric acid. The desired level is between 30 and 50 PPM. Cyanuric acid should be added in small amounts to avoid exceeding 50 PPM. Extremely high levels can cause a chlorine lock, which prevents the chlorine from doing it's job, causing the water to cloud or become discolored.

Learning to monitor and control these basics will give you a good start on keeping a clean attractive pool year round. For a complete guide to taking care of your pool and eliminating the need for a maintenance service, take a look at . Written by well-known pool expert Terry Duff, this is an excellent resource for keeping a beautiful pool and saving time and money.

How to Manage Swimming Pool Chemicals