Save on Construction and Renovation Costs With Discount Contractor Supplies

If you are building a home, remodeling an existing home or renovating an older home for investment purposes, you should know where to get discount contractor supplies – because, assuming you are doing your own work, that will be your largest expense.

Some of your discount hardware supply needs are long-term, durable items such as tools. However, these may not be the best things to “skimp” on; if you buy cheap, poorly-manufactured tools, you’ll be replacing them every six months – which will effectively cancer out any discount hardware supply savings you might have initially enjoyed.

Where The Savings Are

Some of the discount home supply deals you need to look for include:

o fasteners (nails, nuts and bolts, screws, etc.)

o lumber

o drywall

o electrical supplies (wire, junction boxes, fuses, fixtures, etc.)

o plumbing supplies (pipe, joint compound, plumbing fixtures, etc.)

There are several ways to get these discount contractor supplies at a substantially lower cost – if you know where to look.

Internet Discount Home Supply Sources

The World Wide Web should seem an obvious source for discount contractor supply pricing, but it bears mentioning. Many web-based outlets offer low prices on many items that builders and renovators use on a regular basis.

When going through a discount contractor supply website, it’s best to either:

o go through a firm with a local brick-and-mortar location, or

o join a website that offers discounts for members through major outlets.

These are two excellent ways to get discount contractor supplies at low prices.

Other Discount Home Supply Sources

Most cities have discount home supply outlets that carry name brand tools and hardware at prices that are much lower than you would find at a large chain store (many of these discount contractor supplies are overstocks from these same chains).

Another type of discount home supply business that is popping up in communities across the country is one that deals in recycled materials that are salvaged from demolition sites, such as the Rebuilding Center in Portland, Oregon. Virtually all of these materials have been inspected and are in usable condition. When you go this route, you’re not only doing something good for the environment, you are usually doing something good for the community as well – since most such businesses provide jobs and resources to disadvantaged persons and neighborhoods.

Anyone Trying to Find a Brand New Job For the Joy of it, Look at a Handyman Business Now

Retired and now its costing you everything you’ve in social security just to get by? Possibly you were a computer programmer in the early part of the millennium and now you cannot get a job within the printer room. Or, possibly you are just out of college with that accounting degree, but all of the accounting in your neighborhood is becoming done overseas. Previous call center operator? A basic working man or woman in a town where every single business has a sign saying, “Permanently Closed”? Then you, and thousands other like you’ll need to regroup, take an inventory of knowledge you utilized only occasionally, and possibly, in that inventory, you’ll find you’ve got all of the makings of a handyman, someone that’s still required as long as there’s real property in these United States.

A friend of mine purchased his property inside the late 90s and lost his career as a software program engineer in 2005. Now, the home he purchased was a fixer-upper, one of those people houses that have the basic frame and crucial home parts, but that had been abandoned and not maintained for years. This fellow had first contacted a handyman business to complete the fixes and maintenance for him, but he discovered that these fellows, and women too, charge a pretty very good cost for their knowledge. Wishing to decrease his expenses – the application business was becoming threatened from each side and savings was known as for now – he checked out some construction books out of the library, purchased some, some tools, and started fixing his household up on his own. By 2005, when the application business crashed, there he was, a fixed-up property, but no perform to pay the mortgage and life’s other charges. Then it came to him. I fixed this location up. I did what those people other handymen did, you will discover houses all over this location falling apart, in particular inside the retirement communities. I might be a handyman. I could open up a handyman business.

Right away he set to investing his money within the required local business licenses he important to run a handyman business. Took component of his severance check to complete that, and utilised the rest judiciously to print up posters and cards advertising his new handyman business. He had taken photographs of his fixer-upper just before he fixed it and following, so he produced a portfolio showing the previous to and following of his property, illustrating his expertise and artistic abilities, and listed each hardware he had installed, its seller and charges, and contacted them to establish a provider relationship with them. Quite a few of these hardware stores had consumers who frequently asked for a suggested handyman to do the fixes and installations they important. There he found his first clients. He didn’t stop there, but, like just about every excellent salesman, hit the road, door to door, driving his construction truck which he kept in pristine condition, knocking on doors and handing out a fliers and a business card. His handyman business was run appropriate out of his garage – the Mercedes was only a memory now, exchanged for his construction truck. He even bought numerous sets of workman overalls and an appropriate cap. He filled the bill.

Finally, the business began to grow. Huge clients came to his home to witness for themselves what this enterprising American could do. In time, Eddie’s handyman business was the business to call in case you essential a handyman using the abilities and also the drive to got the job done. He maintains the care and logic he once employed in application design comes in handy even now, specially for those people jobs requiring a brand new office using the latest computer system environments. He’s pleased now. It wasn’t so much the type of perform he did that produced him pleased, he says. It’s performing the greatest job feasible, even for a man with just a self-made handyman business. All you displaced workers, take a clue from Eddie, the handyman with a degree in personal computer science.

Choosing Fence Hardware

Your fence may be an important part of keeping your home or business secure. It is crucial that you can use your fence effectively. The right fence hardware can make your fence both secure and functional. Finding the right balance between functionality, security, and aesthetics is the biggest challenge in choosing the hardware that is right for your property.

Many people think of their fence as a security measure. If you hold this perspective, your hardware should be able to add to that security and not take away from the safety provided by your fence. By creating a perimeter around your property, you can limit the traffic in and out of your home or business. The locking system and hinge that you choose are crucial to the security of your fence. Solid, well constructed hardware can keep your fence strong and stalwart against intruders. Having a locking mechanism that is not easily opened can strengthen the security of your fence.

But fence hardware does not have to be all function and no form. These components can also add to the aesthetic of your space. Hinges and gate handles of different styles may compliment your home nicely. A well built fence can be a beautiful addition to any home. Accenting your fence with decorative hardware can further the beauty of your fence and your enjoyment of it.

These components can also be used with specific goals in mind. If you have young children and want to keep them safe from particular elements in your backyard, choosing hardware that extends above their reach may be a good decision.

A&H Turf & Specialities: The Nuts and Bolts of Growing a Business

In 1984 Dave Anderson and his dad, Al, founded A&H Turf & Specialties just a stone’s throw from where the main building stands today. As the name implies, the business originally centered on irrigation supplies and equipment. Along with sprinkler heads, fittings, and pipe, A&H sold a few related hardware items, such as shovels, fasteners, and sandpaper.

By 1988, the business had expanded into power tools and hand tools. In the years since, A&H has expanded to stock and supply full lines of tools, hardware items and equipment representing at least 475 major manufacturing firms around the world. But rather than concentrating on how many products they can cram into the warehouse, showroom and surrounding acres, A&H has always focused on supplying quality products from industry leaders.

Quality Sells

A glance at the many shelves and displays in the main store says it all. Respected names, like Blum, Festool, 3M, Accuride, Rain Bird, DeWalt, Freud, Stanley, Amerock, Belwith Keeler, Schlage, Baldwin, Emtek, Schaub & Company make up the A&H inventory line. What you won’t see are the inferior quality tools usually found at famous discount centers.

Dave Anderson explains why: “We’re simply not interested in carrying the low-end imported hardware or supplies. It doesn’t last.” Tools and hardware that last and that get the job done has proven to be a good market, so far.

Blum hardware is a good example of the quality products A&H is proud to carry. Made in Austria, Blum hardware is very high end, world famous for its quality. Dave says that A&H Turf and Specialties has been seriously involved with Blum since the beginning. In fact, A&H sold the first Blum hardware and machinery available west of the Mississippi.

And it’s not just about selling products. Today, A&H continues to provide continuing education training from Blum to employees in contact with hardware buyers and installers. They can readily assist contractors and homeowners with the specs and tolerances required for proper hinge applications and installation.

Hardware in the Blood

Dave and his dad both had a good deal of previous hardware experience before starting A&H Turf & Specialties. Dave says, “I’ve been in the hardware business all my life, since I was 12. I’ve got 37 years experience in functional, building, and irrigation hardware.” And he’s not just blowing smoke.

Dave worked his way through college installing irrigation and sprinkler systems, having learned the trade at a previous job with a Billings hardware company. His dad, Al, was the general manager of Winter Hardware when Dave got out of college. They worked there together for a while before deciding to start A&H Turf & Specialties. The new company opened its doors in a rented building just about a block from where the business now stands.

Survival in those early days was not without hard work. Dave says that the product lines were developed one at a time, selling face to face, with many miles spent on Montana and Wyoming roads. Within a few years though, A&H was able to buy the land it sits on today. The first new building gave the business 15,000 sqft to work with. Expansion continued as sales improved and more products were added, until now A&H fills over 40,000 sqft inside space, plus the uncovered storage outside.

Good Stuff, Low Prices

Part of the success has been the A&H policy of selling at genuine high quality products at wholesale prices. American consumers are accustomed to either getting one or the other: high quality at high prices or low quality at low prices. Very rarely do you see exceptional high quality products at low, wholesale prices. That means a narrower profit margin for A&H, but the volume of sales makes it possible.

Lawn and turf supplies are still central to A&H Turf and Specialties. A&H is a major distributor for Rain Bird and Master Turf products. Rain Bird is the leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services in the world, and one out of every one hundred customers, globally, is now buying from A&H Turf.

Cabinetry and home construction is also a big part of what A&H is all about. For example, more than 125 species (well over $1 million worth) of hardwood lumber is kept in inventory, including hard-to-find exotics from all over the world. Dave is considering offering some of the wood products over the Internet soon. In the mean time, you can always call for information on wood species and moldings.

Woodworking equipment, tools, and supplies have long been a major part of the picture. A&H has continually increased its inventory of large woodworking tools and equipment in the last 15 years. Performax, Jet, Powermatic, Porter-Cable, Festool, Bosch, DeWalt, and other quality brands of tools are stocked, sold and supported at A&H Turf. And here again, not only are the products made available, helpful information about proper applications and use is also offered by knowledgeable staff.

Cabinetmakers’ Computer Hotline

Also in the works is a special online “Cabinetmakers” program, where professional cabinet builders can log on and receive additional discounts and special offers over the Internet. Already, architects, construction contractors, homebuilders, cabinet maker’s and other professionals in the region look to A&H as a major supplier for their hardware materials, tools and equipment. The huge 1500-page A&H Catalog goes out to construction professionals all over Montana and Wyoming.

Big Work of Big Business

Business is good and that creates its own set of challenges. Customer response to the high level of quality and honest service offered by A&H has been increasingly enthusiastic, adding to the company’s rapid growth in popularity and sales volume. This success forces Dave and his staff to work hard to make sure that everything offered on the web, in the catalog and in ads is available in stock. And that can be a big job in itself.

Decorative cabinet hardware is a good example. With approximately 115,000 individual hardware items in stock, customers are able choose from a wide variety any day of the week. Currently, A&H offers about 20,000 products on their website. And the rest of the inventory is just a phone call away.

These products move fast since they are very popular, high quality brands — Amerock, Emtek, Belwith Keeler, Schaub & Company, Ashley Norton, Acorn, and Sierra Lifestyles — and they’re being offered at wholesale prices. A&H is now one of the top ten sellers for Belwith Keeler, and among the top 3 U.S. distributors for Amerock. The A&H website (www.ahturf.com) is the world’s largest online distributor of Accuride Precision Slides. Keeping these and the many other product lines in stock and ready to ship is a full time job for A&H employees.

The World Shops Here

A&H has a worldwide online customer base that includes homeowners, remodelers, designers, developers, contractors, and property managers. Sales have been made to every state (including Alaska and Hawaii) as well as Central and South America, Africa, Lebanon, England, Germany, Switzerland, and other nations around the world. Thousands of orders come in every month, and the online business is still growing.

Quality products, fairness and honesty in business, and hard work have helped to make A&H Turf & Specialties successful. But Dave says that it takes more than happy customers to make a successful business. Wise investments in people’s lives are also important.

Giving Back

That philosophy begins with company employees. “For me it’s a moral commitment. If people work hard and make the business prosper, it’s only right that we should also take care of them.” Dave says. “Good pay and benefits, paid vacations and sick leave are all part of taking care of the people who take care of our business,”

The policy seems to pay off for the business. Employee turn-over at A&H is very low, and the quality of personnel is very high. “We have good, intelligent and responsible people working here,” Dave says of the 30-plus employees.

A&H is also generous to the community. The business regularly contributes to Billings Deaconess Foundation, a major healthcare organization in the community. The company actively sponsors just about every local sports team that asks them for help, and also participates in the Messiah Festival, an annual local event that raises funds and awareness for cancer research.

What started out as an idea about 20 years ago has proven to be a very good idea, indeed. Dave and Al have proven that selling the very best quality hardware at unusually low prices, and treating everyone fairly really is good business. It works for everyone.

Dave and Al still work every day to sell hardware to the people who need it. Now they have a crew of good people who work with them to help see that the job gets done. They also have a large and satisfied customer base that shows their appreciation every day by doing business with A&H Turf, and by telling their friends that they should do the same.

Computer Software & Business Method Patents In India

India, like European Union, does not allow patents for inventions related to mathematical or business method or computer programme “per se” or algorithms. The relevant provision under the Indian Patents Act reads as under:

CHAPTER II
INVENTIONS NOT PATENTABLE

3. What are not inventions.- the following are not inventions within the meaning of this act,–
(k) a mathematical or business method or computer programme per se or algorithms;
The Section makes it amply clear that algorithms are not patentable in India. Though as per the Indian Patent Act, mathematical method, business method or computer programme per se are not allowed. The draft patent manual defines how inventions pertaining to above should be handled by the Indian Examiners and lays down parameters under which such inventions shall be patentable in India.

The proposed patent manual defines computer implemented invention as any invention the performance of which involves the use of computer, computer network or other programmable apparatus, or an invention one or more features which are realized wholly or partially by means of a computer programme/ programmes. Further, patent manual defines Computer programmes as a set of instructions for controlling a sequence of operations of a data processing system which closely resembles a mathematical method. Computer programme may be expressed in various forms e.g., a series of verbal statements, a flowchart, an algorithm, or other coded form and maybe presented in a form suitable for direct entry into a particular computer, or may require transcription into a different format (computer language). It may merely be written on paper or recorded on some machine readable medium such as magnetic tape or disc or optically scanned record, or it maybe permanently recorded in a control store forming part of a computer.

Though proposed patent manual emphasises on disclosure of mode of operation for inventions involving apparatus and necessary sequence of steps for process related invention, yet it lays down categorically that a hardware implementation performing a novel function is not patentable if that particular hardware system is known or is obvious irrespective of the function performed. It manifests that for such kind of invention insertion of method steps in apparatus or some dependency shall be required to make them non-obvious.

The patent manual has also broadly categorised inventions related to computer/ computer programmes as below:

(a) Method/process;
(b) Apparatus/system; and
(c) Computer program product

METHOD/PROCESS:

Further to make the invention patentable in India, the method claim should clearly define the steps involved in carrying out the invention and should have a technical character. In other words, it should solve a technical problem. The claims should incorporate the details regarding the mode of the implementation of the invention via. hardware or software, for better clarity. The claim orienting towards a “process/method” should contain a hardware or machine limitation. Technical applicability of the software claimed as a process or method claim, is required to be defined in relation with the particular hardware components. Thus, the “software per se” is differentiated from the software having its technical application in the industry. Therefore, as per the patent manual, a claim directed to a technical process which process is carried out under the control of a programme (whether by means of hardware or software), cannot be regarded as relating to a computer programme as such.

An example is also cited in the proposed patent manual on what kind of claims shall be allowable.

“a method for processing seismic data, comprising the steps of collecting the time varying seismic detector output signals for a plurality of seismic sensors placed in a cable.”

“Here the signals are collected from a definite recited structure and hence allowable.”

What is significant here is that patent office is not emphasising on embedment of hardware components in the method claims, as the only condition for patentability of method claims, but requires it as a machine/hardware limitation. Therefore the essential of method claims are:

a) It should solve a technical problem;
b) It should incorporate the details regarding the mode of the implementation of the invention via. hardware or software, for better clarity; and
c) It should contain a hardware or machine limitation.

APPARATUS/SYSTEM:

As per the proposed patent manual the apparatus claim should clearly define the inventive constructional hardware features. This could act as a limitation, as ordinarily hardware or machine don’t involve novel or inventive constructional feature but are programmed to perform in a novel or inventive way. Further, it suggests that the claim for an apparatus should incorporate a “process limitation” for an apparatus, where “limitation” means defining the specific application and not the general application. As a general rule, a novel solution to a problem relating to the internal operations of a computer, although comprising a program or subroutine, will necessarily involve technological features of the computer hardware or the manner in which it operates and hence may be patentable.

An example is also cited as to what manner process limitation shall be inserted in the claim. For example, in a computer comprising means for storing signal data and a first resistor for storing data, the clause starting with “for” describes the function or process carried out by the apparatus, and form the part of “process limitation” here.

Therefore the essential of apparatus/system claims are:
a) It should clearly define the inventive constructional hardware features; and
b) It should incorporate a “process limitation” for an apparatus, where “limitation” means defining the specific application and not the general application.

COMPUTER PROGRAM PRODUCT:

A careful interpretation and analysis of the provision makes it clear that it is computer programme per se that are not allowed as they are subject matter of copyright in India. The reason for not considering the software as patentable subject matter was to avoid duality of protection available to software. But subject matter of copyright can be only their literal presentation of software which includes coding decoding or algorithm form and more precisely it is their algorithms form that the Indian Patents Act does not consider the patentable subject matter.

The proposed patent manual considers the claims relating to software programme product as nothing but computer programme per se simply expressed on a computer readable storage medium and as such are not allowable. Therefore requires something tangible to bring them out of provisions of Section 3 (K) of the Indian Patents Act i.e. embedding of hardware components.

For example, if the new feature comprises a set of instructions (programme) designed to control a known computer to cause it to perform desired operations, without special adoption or modification of its hardware or organization, then no matter whether claimed as “a computer arranged to operate etc” or as “a method of operating a computer”, etc., is not patentable and hence excluded from patentability.

It creates an ambiguity as whether a patent shall be allowed where all criteria for method or process claims as required by patent office are met. The only distinction from the previous categories could be that in present category “mode of implementation of the invention” is not mentioned in the claim, which in any case should not change the very character of the invention.

Patent manual further clarifies that the claim might stipulate that the instructions were encoded in a particular way on a particular known medium but this would not affect the issue. e.g., A program to evaluate the value of PI or to find the square root of a number are held not allowable. However, an invention consisting of hardware along with software or computer program in order to perform the function of the hardware may be considered patentable. e.g., embedded systems.

Therefore, claims must have few hardware components as an essential part of the invention and some form of interdependence should be shown between the software and hardware components. Hence, claims relating to methods utilising computer programs for its operation are patentable, as long as they do not claim computer programs itself.

Therefore the essential of computer program product claims are:

a) Must involve hardware components;
b) Computer programmes should perform function of the hardware; and
c) There should be interdependence between the software and hardware components

BUSINESS METHOD:

In history of inventions relating to business methods filed in India, major reasons for negating the invention was lack of industrial application, which is one of the major condition to qualify as an invention and consideration whether same in non-patentable being business method may be considered only if the subject is first found to be invention.

Invention is defined under Section 2(1)(j) of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 and reads as follow:-

“Invention” means a new product or process involving an inventive step and capable of industrial application.”

In Melia’s Application (BL O/153/92), where an application relating to a scheme for exchanging all or part of a prison sentence for corporal punishment was held to lack industrial applicability and also to be a method for doing business.

In John Lahiri Khan’s Application (BL O/356/06) a method for effecting introductions with a view to making friends was held not to be industrially applicable, even though it could be carried out by a commercial enterprise. It was also found to be non-patentable as a method of doing business.

“Capable of industrial application” is defined under Section 2(1)(ac) of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 and reads as follow:-

“Capable of industrial application”, in relation to an invention, means that the invention is capable of being made or used in an industry.

In re: Bernard Bilski, US Federal Court of appeal in its judgement dated October 30, 2008 upheld that business methods cannot be patented. The court observed that the sole analysis for determining whether an invention is patentable should be the “machine-or- transformation test” i.e. requiring involvement of a machine (like in case of computer program product) or transforming an article (for details refer to case law).

Though there are no specific, guidelines in proposed draft manual as to how to treat inventions pertaining to business methods, the requirements for patentability as in case of computer programmes or mathematical methods becomes of great significance and could be relied.

Therefore the business method per se may not be patentable, but its technical implication can be a subject matter of patentable invention.

MATHEMATICAL METHOD:

A mathematical method is one which is carried out on numbers and provides a result in numerical form (the mathematical method or algorithm therefore being merely an abstract concept prescribing how to operate on the numbers) and not patentable. However, its application may be patentable if performed function is technical process and claim is directed to such technical process not the mathematical method.

Reference has been made to Vicom/Computer-related invention [1987] 1 OJEPO 14 (T208/84) wherein the invention concerned a mathematical method for manipulating data representing an image, leading to an enhanced digital image. Claims to a method of digitally filtering data performed on a conventional general purpose computer were rejected, since those claims were held to define an abstract concept not distinguished from a mathematical method. However, claims to a method of image processing which used the mathematical method to operate on numbers representing an image can be allowed. The reasoning was that the image processing performed was a technical (i.e. non- excluded) process which related to technical quality of the image and that a claim directed to a technical process in which the method used does not seek protection for the mathematical method as such. Therefore the allowable claims as such went beyond a mathematical method.

Therefore anyone interested in protecting an invention in India or for any part of the world has to more careful at the time of filing basic application (priority application). The specification as well as claims should be modified in pretext of above before filing of patent application or else the description must have sufficient support for modification of the claims to include hardware components. One of the safest criteria deployed by the Examiner to find whether any hardware features are involved in the invention is to require inclusion of reference numerals for hardware components in the description as well as claims.