Time to Clean those Gutters

by Terri Mooney-Hooker, Administrative Coordinator

Spring is here! It’s time to consider a little preventative home maintenance. One important item to not overlook is the gutters on your home. Why, you may ask? Because a debris-clogged gutter can cause all kinds of problems from a leaky roof or even water damage to the interior or the exterior of your home. Also, it could make a nice nesting place for pests, rodents, mold, and honeycombs from bee infestations.

So, you may wonder, “what is the best time of year to clean out the gutters,” and, “what can I do about it?” Before trying to accomplish this feat on your own, you may want to consider hiring an expert. The cost of a gutter cleaning may run anywhere from $75 to $225, depending on the home; length of the gutters; height of the home; and scope of the work.

Here are a few to-do lists you can keep handy:

  • Try to have the gutters cleaned at least twice a year.
  • Consider cover screens or gutter covers. These could run anywhere from $1500 to $2500, depending on the size of the home, as well as the length of the gutters.
  • Before hiring a professional, always check to make sure they carry liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance for any employees they may bring to the job with them.

And while you’re at it, you may want to consider a few other home-related tasks:

  • Swapping out the batteries in all smoke detectors in your home. (If you did not check the batteries during Daylight Saving Time weekend, why not check them now?)
  • Changing and/or replacing light bulbs on porches and patios.

Sources:  Angie’s List 2013 and HarryHelmet.com

HeadshotAbout Terri

Terri is the Administrative Coordinator at MAX. She performs all administrative duties, and helps out in other areas of the company when needed. Outside of the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband, her children, two cats, and her extended family and friends. She is huge movie goer and an avid animal lover.

MAX Featured Agent: Sharon Strader at FarmPLUS Insurance Agency in Blairs, Virginia

Sharon Strader at FarmPLUS Insurance Agency with Deana Richardson, Sales Manager at MAX, presenting a check to Laurel Grove Volunteer Fire & Rescue

We value our MAX Agency Partners and this month we would like to introduce you to one of them – Sharon Strader at FarmPLUS Insurance Agency in Blairs, Virginia.  Deana Richardson, our Regional Sales Manager, asked Sharon some questions about her agency and why they choose MAX for many of their clients.  Check it out:

Q: What do you like about MAX and what do you feel sets MAX apart from your other competitors?

A: I love that MAX gives back to the community through their Mutual Aid Ministries (“MAM”) program including volunteer organizations like fire departments, to churches and also individual families. MAX has good products and competitive rates, as well as, great customer service. Anytime I have a question I can always reach my sales representative or someone in customer service. Although I have never had to file a claim, I anticipate the experience will be as great as the service I have always received.

Q: Why would you choose MAX over your competitor?

A: It’s pretty simple: MAX is a company that truly stands behind their customers, strives to offer competitive products and I love what they stand for.

Q: In what ways does your agency support your community?

A: Several of our agents are volunteers in our community and they, as well as, the agency,  make contributions to community organization such as the cancer society, volunteer fire department and other organizations.

Q: What do you feel are the advantages of an Independent Agent vs. Exclusive Agent?

A: An independent agency has the ability to offer several options based on the needs of each customer. They also have the capability of quoting their policy with 10-12 different companies, so the customer is guaranteed to get the best rate. An independent agent vs. a direct marketing company has huge benefits as well. In addition to the options and best rates, you will always be able to speak face to face with an agent….an independent agent is like family, they are always there when you need them.

MAX Mindfulness: Action Addiction

by Dave Wine, President & CEO

Most of us suffer from what I would call “action addiction”.  That simply means that we feel best when we are doing something.  We love to accomplish, get things done, cross things off of lists, and feel a sense of accomplishment.  Much of that is just fine.  But action addiction also keeps us from focusing on those things that really matter.  And it keeps us focused on the small things we can achieve quickly rather than the  bigger things that take time and energy or the key issues in our lives.  In the workplace, action addition can mean we get so busy doing our tasks, crossing off our ‘to do’ lists, managing the routines of work, that we forget we may not be focused on what is most important and what we really need to be doing.  We climb the ladder but forget it is leaning against the wrong wall!

Don’t get me wrong.  We need activities in our lives.  We have to answer the phone, write emails, cook, clean, care for our families and others, file things, open mail, etc.  And we like staying busy and accomplishing because that literally releases dopamine in our brains which provides a sense of gratification.  So the more we get done, the more dopamine which feels good for short periods of time.   But that gratification can hide from us those things that are most important or that we really should be doing instead and studies show the highest and longest lasting gratification comes from accomplishing major projects or life focus.   Why mindfulness becomes so important is that it slows us down enough to focus on those priorities, making sure our ladders are leaned against the right wall or doing the right things for the right reasons.

The best test to see if we are ‘action addicts’ is this:  Stop at times during the day for a full three minutes.  See if you can quiet your mind for that length of time.  Can you keep awareness on your breathing or any other object you choose?  Can you stay focused on just being?  Can you let your mind ‘do nothing’?  How hard is it for you to do?   It is important to practice this because as we learn to do this we learn to slow down to speed up.  Speeding up is doing the right things, the priority things, staying focused on what really matters.  That is not done by crossing things off a list or moving quickly from task to task,  but by attentively allowing space to happen between tasks and activities.  It is listening rather than doing.  Sometimes “doing nothing” is the most important thing we can do!

Dave WineDavid Wine

David is the President and CEO of the MAX enterprise, having served in that capacity since its formation in 2001.   He has forty plus years of  leadership experience in the business and faith-based worlds, being an ordained minister, having been elected to the highest position in his denomination,  and receiving numerous awards and recognition for his leadership in the insurance industry. He currently serves on numerous boards in the church and insurance sectors.  His hobbies include hiking, biking, skiing and snowshoeing as well as being an avid reader.  David and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, a son, and four grandchildren.