5 Things You Need to Know Before Becoming a Landlord

becoming a landlordMany people view real estate as an excellent source of passive income. Once you put up your initial investment – in other words, once you buy your rental property – all the rest is just gravy when your tenants start writing you a rent check every month.

While some people have had significant financial success with becoming a landlord and managing rental property, there are some pitfalls that you need to be aware of before you jump in feet first. Often, having a rental property is anything but a passive income source, and there are some costs involved that you may not think about until you’re hit with them.

It’s best to fully understand the responsibilities, obligations, and downsides to this new venture before you invest in a second property with the intention of turning it into a rental unit. Check out these 5 things you need to know before becoming a landlord: [Continue reading]

So You’ve Decided to Own and Manage a Restaurant?

If you own or manage a restaurant then in order to be successful you need to provide both food that is great tasting and service that is high quality and convenient for your customers. This means that you should have a restaurant merchant account so you can easily accept credit and debit cards and gift cards. Many consumers do not carry large amounts of cash these days and would prefer not to wait around after a meal while the wait staff figures out how to apply a gift card. Restaurants that cannot accommodate customers in this way will find their target audience to be limited unless they are a type of restaurant such as a diner or a fast food restaurant where taking cash is more the norm.

When setting up a restaurant merchant account, there are many factors that a restaurant owner or manager needs to take into account. For example, if you have a restaurant with a bar, dining room and even private dining and want to use credit cards, you should be able to combine bar bills that might be separate from dinner bills, accept tips  and provide a single bill if multiple credit cards are used. In addition, your restaurant merchant account should be able to work with your systems and equipment for point of sale.

In addition, you should think about the other options that might be available to your customers. Although some debit cards can be used as credit cards people often like to use them as a debit card and so need to be able to enter their PIN. If you want to provide this option for your customers, then your restaurant merchant account should be able to accept debit cards and have a pad so that customers can enter their PIN.

There are also gift cards, which are a good way to generate business. You also need to make sure that your provider of your restaurant merchant account has a card terminal that can process this type of card as well.

Typically there are fees that are associated with setting up a restaurant merchant account. Some providers may charge an initial set-up fee while others may waive it but charge an application fee. Using the cost of a set-up fee is not enough to make a determination as to which provider to choose. There are also account maintenance fees which can be charged on either a monthly or annual basis or both.

There are also usually transaction fees. It can be based as a percentage of every transaction or as a flat rate, usually in cents, for every transaction that occurs. Transaction fees are the most important to consider as they depend on your volume of business and can accumulate quickly. A provider typically sets a minimum for transactions fees and if your business does not reach it, you may be charged that minimum fee anyway.

Credit card processing is important for your restaurant’s success, understanding what you need, how it works, and how much it will cost you is important for your business.


Reader Question: How Should I Invest my HSA?

Editor's Note: For those who aren't familiar with Health Savings Accounts, I've written extensively on the topic before, take a look. Reader GP writes in this week asking about HSA's: I've got a pretty substantial HSA balance now and I need to … [Continue reading]

Book Review of the White Coat Investor and Giveaway!

Book Review of the White Coat Investor

Editor's Note: Leave a comment below to be entered to win one of two copies of the book! It was right around this time one year ago when we found out that my fiancee had gotten into medical school. She had always dreamed of becoming a doctor and now … [Continue reading]

How to Efficiently Send Money Online Within the US

How to Efficiently Send Money Online Within the US

Editor's Note: Today we have a guest post from my friend and fellow blogger Logan Lemberger.  I've actually known him since we were kids and played in the same basketball league at our local park.  Now a days though, Logan works for a cool new … [Continue reading]

What’s the Best Fix for a Broken iPhone 5 Screen?

What's the Best Fix for a Broken iPhone Screen?

So you pull into a parking spot, take your seat belt off and start to get out of the car when you suddenly remember your phone is still on your lap. But it's too late, the soft thud of your phone hitting the ground is a sound that I'm all too … [Continue reading]

Reader Question: What to do After Your Identity Has Been Hacked

(Editor's Note: CVS unexpectedly squashed their Vanilla Reload program this week so the article I was planning on releasing today is now pretty much useless.  I still posted it since I worked hard on it but I thought I would give everyone another … [Continue reading]

My New HSA Provider: Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union

My New HSA Provider: Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union

Update(4/21/14):  ElfCU now charges a $24 wire transfer fee for transferring your money from ElfCU to TDA. Last year I wrote an article about how to rollover or use a trustee transfer in order to invest your HSA money for free using HSA Bank. Well … [Continue reading]

Using a Credit Card to Buy Fee Free Stocks with Loyal3

Using a Credit Card to Buy Fee Free Stocks with Loyal3

It's easier than ever to invest your money in stocks these days.  Not only are companies battling it out when it comes to lower fees and expense ratios but lately we've even seen a rash of companies that are allowing individual investors to buy and … [Continue reading]

Santander Bank Extra20 Checking: $20/Month for Free

Santander Bank Extra20 Checking

I love free money.  You probably hear that from a lot of people but I don’t think any of them mean it as much as I do.  I really love free money.  So when an opportunity like this comes up for a recurring $20 a month for about 15-30 minutes of work, … [Continue reading]