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You Break, You Pay!

March 14, 2006
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Perhaps you've walked into a trinket-filled store and seen the sign, "You Break, You Pay" or some similar wording.

Obviously, it means if you get rough and drop a trinket, it's going to cost you dearly. With this concept in mind, I would like you to consider the consequences of breaking something much more valuable and the resulting high cost: your back.

What happens when a professional carpet or restoration specialist gets called out to do a job and can't lift a wand, let alone a couch? If you hurt your back, you are out of business! Not only do you lose the ability to do the physical part of your work, you may face rehabilitation costs, physical therapy or even surgery.

There it is: You Break, You Pay.

So how have you been treating your back? Do you routinely lift and move furniture unaided? Why? Your livelihood is at stake. There are tools available that can greatly reduce the likelihood of back injury. First, consider the use of plastic disks you place under the furniture to allow easy movement. These are often called movers, skidders, furniture glides, EZ moves, etc. These furniture glides allow you to move large pieces of furniture in and out or from side to side, whether on carpet or even on hard surfaces. Professional models have a special high-density polyethylene material that moves very easily on carpet. The hard surface models have a type of felt pad that glides effortlessly over tile, marble, and linoleum. There are even certain types of movers that are larger and made to go under refrigerators and other large appliances. Not only does it save your back and the backs of your techs, it tells your customer she's dealing with a company that values its employees.

The same is true when you use a simple little tool that helps lift the furniture onto the furniture mover. It is usually called a lift buddy or something similar, and it has wheels that let you roll the tool under the furniture edge. All you do is press down on the handle to lift the furniture high enough to slide your furniture mover under the legs of whatever it is you need to move. Even if you don't need to move the furniture, you can still use it to put tabs under the furniture legs to protect them from moisture. It's one more thing you have to carry into the house, but it's a lot better than taking the risk of putting yourself out of business with a back injury.

The main point here is that it's easy and fairly inexpensive to buy and use a few simple gadgets as insurance against putting yourself out of a lot of work and a lot of money. If you're not taking such simple precautions to protect yourself, you should re-think your strategy. Remember, You Break, You Pay. So make sure you don't break.

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