Articles by Cindy Hartman

The Overlooked Inventory: Personal Property

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

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Only Women? Nope!

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

“Women are leaving the workforce in droves in favor of being at home. Not to be a homemaker, but as job-making entrepreneurs.” This comment was made by Natalie MacNeil, in an article she wrote, titled, “Entrepreneurship Is The New Women’s Movement.”

When I made the decision to start a business, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do, just that I wanted to DO SOMETHING that was mine! This article encouraged me to think back about what drew me to the home inventory industry. There are as many – if not more – men in the industry than there are women, so it’s certainly not a gender-specific business.

Men might have different reasons to begin this much-needed service. But as a woman, I believe I can speak for our gender – at least in general terms.

Many women seek the following:
home-based
flexible schedules
can be done by one person, or a 2-person team
unlimited income potential
small business
a feeling of helping others

All of the above are certainly true with me. Each time I leave a person’s home or business, I know I’ve provided a valuable service that will be paid for hundreds (if not thousands) of times over if the report I created is needed to file a claim.

I also know the heart-ache involved when serving as an executor at one of the saddest times in ones life. Receiving help preparing the state-mandated information is such a relief to the sibling or adult child when settling an estate! The list does on and on describing the various ways I can be of service to others.

This business serves that desire – the driving force that keeps me focused and always seeking one more person to serve.

But only women? Absolutely not! For any person who has it in them to provide a service that fills to many needs, it’s a very rewarding business.

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC
317-501-6818
cindy@hartmaninventory.com

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Filing Insurance Claims Can Be A Daunting Task

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Filing a personal property insurance claim can be a daunting task. When someone has just experienced a devastating loss from a fire, theft or natural disaster, they are ridden with high emotion and stress. This makes it extremely difficult to compile and process a thorough insurance claim.

A home or business inventory document will serve as a valuable reference for anyone as they list their items that must be replaced. Unfortunately, according to a HomeInsurance.com survey, only about 40% of homeowners have a home inventory.

The survey also found that of those who do have an inventory, only about half of them have any receipts. Another unfortunate piece of information is that about 25% don’t have photos of their contents nor a backup copy located anywhere but in their home! Those who do have a list admitted that they were more than a year old.

As I speak with insurance agents, they state that their experience would indicate that these numbers are high. They believe that the vast majority of their clients do not have any information at all, even though they encourage each one of their policyholders to create an inventory.

Many aren’t aware of the need for homeowners, renters and business owners to have a thorough, detailed personal property inventory. Until one experiences a disaster, it’s rare to pay attention to insurance, let alone a document to help support an insurance claim.

Visit any insurance company website and you’ll see statements that you should have an inventory of your belongings. The insurance claim process will be much easier. Imagine sitting at someone else’s house – or a hotel room – after your home was destroyed. You will be required to list every item you want replaced. You’ll need to list all of your clothes, jewelry and shoes. You’ll be required to list all of your electronics and appliances, every piece of furniture, decorative items, dishes, and bake ware. Garages can become a catch-all area, but you’ll want all of those items replaced. Many people can’t remember what was in their home, of items used every day, let alone items that are stored in the garage and possibly used just once a year.

You will also be required to list the replacement value of each item. If you don’t have a model number available, it will be very difficult to prove the value. There are large variances in TVs, computers, power tools, appliances, etc. When you can’t prove that they are of higher value, you will have no option but to accept the settlement offered.

Another key issue is how many you have of specific items. The majority of people underestimate how many CDs, DVDs, video games and items of clothing they own. This often results in tens of thousands of dollars not received just because the disaster victim didn’t know what they owned.

The insurance claims process can be very daunting … but it doesn’t have to be. Having a home inventory can lessen the pain, speed up the process and result in a much more equitable insurance settlement.

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC
317-501-6818
cindy@hartmaninventory.com

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Home-Based Business and Setting Expectations

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

I’m often asked what I find to be the most difficult part of being a home-based business. Without a doubt, it is setting the expectations. These expectations that I set are with myself, more than with others. My office for our personal property inventory business is just 12 steps from the rest of the rooms, the line between home and work can blur.

This is a good thing, because I can do laundry while I’m working. When the dryer buzzes to let me know the clothes are dry, I can stop what I’m doing and fold the clothes. I can put dinner in the oven mid-afternoon and being home, I’m able to keep an eye on it (though Mike will tell you I forget about it quite often *shrugs*). But you get the point. So, this means that I often expect too much of myself. Often I put the burden on myself to be twice as much done in a day just because I’m in the house. Not so, because I do need uninterrupted time, and constantly stopping to do laundry, dishes, fix dinner, etc., can really be a hindrance to work.

Often, then, at the end of the day, I find that I don’t get as much done as I should have – as much as I expected to. I have found that if I block out time to do the household items, then I don’t feel overburdened or that I’m not doing enough. I finally realized that when I was in the corporate world, I did all of this on the weekends and in the evenings. By balancing my work/home life properly – by setting proper expectations – I have found a way to make it work to my advantage. I now get groceries and do my other shopping in the middle of the morning, when the stores aren’t as busy. This saves me time and frustration!

I have realized that I’m not working 9-5, but I didn’t work 9-5 before either. I just worked at work 9-5, then at home 6-10. Now my full day might be the same amount of hours, but they are filled the way I choose. The flexibility is great. The expectations remain high, and for type A people like me, I’m sure that will not change!

How about you? Are you an entrepreneur or small business owner who has an office in the home? What do you find to be the most difficult part of being a home-based business?

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC
317-501-6818
cindy@hartmaninventory.com

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