Monthly Archives: January 2015

Cheapest Car Rental

Renting a car can be a very cost-effective alternative to buying if you only need to use a car infrequently. For the lowest rates, rental companies generally accommodate drivers aged 25-70.

Cheap car rental companies covering Europe, US, UK & Australia

EasyCar compares prices from lots of car rental companies as well as car clubs and cover the UK, US and Europe. Indigo Car Hire is a comparison site that covers Europe, UK, US, Australia and parts of Africa and searches deals from eight suppliers.

In the US, Enterprise, Hertz and National have been voted as the best car rental companies, while Payless is known for the best deals, including $10-20 daily offers. Payless also has some international outlets too.

Cars & transport

A car’s an essential business tool these days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to buy one.

The major cost of owning a car is depreciation. On average, a car loses about half it’s value over the first three years – that’s money coming straight out of your pocket. Different brands depreciate at different rates, but if the car you want is a quick depreciator (such as a Ford or a Peugeot) then it might make more sense not to buy and consider one of the options listed below.

Of course, fuel, maintenance and insurance all take their toll on your time and bank balance too. So here we look at a few different options you might like to consider, listed below in order of requirement: the top of the list is for those who need daily access while the options at the bottom are more suitable for the occasional user.

 

 

Car Clubs

Car Clubs

Car clubs give you access to a car for as many days as you need without having the longer term commitment that comes with owning or leasing. They’re reasonably new in most countries so you might struggle to find a car club that covers smaller cities or towns, but if you are covered by a club and only use a car infrequently, they may be an attractive option.

After joining a car club (and sometimes paying an annual membership or joining fee), you can then access their network of cars to use as and when you need one. Typically, you’ll then pay a daily or hourly rental and/or cost per mile, but the price does include insurance and sometimes breakdown cover.

International Car Clubs

ZipCar offers the most extensive network globally, covering the US, Canada & UK, plus most European countries. For individuals, there’s a small setup and annual charge, then you pay either per hour or day, with inclusive insurance and free fuel up to 60 miles. It’s a similar story for business users but with a 180 mile limit.

Car hire company Hertz are getting in on the act in the US, UK, Europe and Australia with Hertz 24/7, offering car and van rentals by the day and hour. They offer a mobile app and membership is free.

UK-based Car Clubs

City Car Club have the most extensive network in the UK, covering most major cities. There’s an annual joining fee and drivers must be over 19 with at least a year’s driving experience. Easy Car Club is a UK-based peer-to-peer club run by the Easy Group, where owners add their own cars or vans to the network and members can rent them out. Membership is free and there’s no annual fee, though a sizeable deposit is required.

Free Image & Photo Editing Software

A simple, free way to manipulate and output photographs for your website or print is important for many businesses’ marketing. Thankfully, there are a wide range of packages available that don’t cost a penny.

Simple Photo Editors

Photoshop Express Editor is a free, online tool that allows you to quickly edit your photo to make it look better or add a variety of effects. IPiccy is similar, allowing you to edit photographs in a number of ways and doesn’t require installation so works on a number of operating systems. Another editor that’s available online and also supports ios and android is Befunky which also features a nice collage-maker. There’s also Fotor’s editor that offers editing, collages and a card designer, all through the browser or app. Finally, for an app to download (but unfortunately only works with Windows), we’re big fans of Irfanview, probably the most useful image viewer around which also allows image editing and manipulation.

More Advanced Photo Editors

Photoshop is the defacto standard for photo manipulation software; however it isn’t free. Gimp is a free alternative that works on multiple platforms including Windows and Mac. For an online advanced editor, Sumopaint works straight in the browser and offers many similar features to Photoshop. The online version is free to use and there’s also a downloadable version that’s available for a small monthly charge.

If you find any other tools that you think we should include, please let us know below.

Free Customer Services Software

In addition to many CRM systems which support plug-ins for customer support functions, there are a small number of well-featured and free customer services platforms available. These are often easier to learn and better suited to smaller businesses. Most of this software costs but the latest generation is freemium, offering you a free way in to customer services supports software.

Freshdesk has a free version that supports up to 3 users and offers shared inbox, ticketing, mobile app and live chat. Zendesk offers a free trial then their starter package starts at a heady $1 a month. This includes support ticketing, knowledge base and access to their app database.

We’ll bring links to other customer services support software as we find it. If you know any we should check out, please enter the website address below.

Computer monitors for business

Most business users find it useful to have at least a couple of monitors hooked up to their computer. Monitors tend to be pretty reliable these days, so it’s possible to get a decent second hand buy that will last and last if you’re really looking to save the pennies. But assuming you’re going to buy new, here’s a few things to look out for when buying a computer monitor (these are minimum specs to go for):

  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • 1600×900 resolution
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • DVI, Dsub (VGA), display port video connections/ports
  • Size – probably at least 19″
  • LED backlight

Note: check for multiple monitor ports to run mulitple monitors from a single computer – these include display port, VGA (Dsub), HDMI & DVI ports.

Free computer monitors

Freecycle is an extensive international giving-network where people advertise anything they’re looking to get rid of for free. There are regularly old monitors on there; all you have to do is respond quickly and be prepared to pick it up. Visit their homepage then enter your location and that’ll direct you to your local group where you can see what’s being offered (and join).

In the future, we’ll update this page with some of the best value offers for business-ready monitors.