How To Find A Quality Auto Repair Shop In Your Town

Your car is broken down and you are in desperate need of getting it fixed. Where do you go? Where do you take it to get it fixed the first time and not get ripped off? How do you know that the auto repair shop isn’t going to find things that are really not wrong with your vehicle and charge you for them? These are just a few of the questions that people think about whenever their vehicle is in need of service, and here are a few tips to help you find a quality auto repair shop.

1. Look around the local area. Assuming that you don’t live in a small town of about 1000 people, you probably have several auto repair shops around you. If you have the time and a way to get to these places go talk to them and see how you feel about them just by talking to them. Ask them if they give free estimates. If you are getting a bad vibe when you walk in or while you are talking to some of the workers there, just politely leave.

2. Compare the prices of the shops around you. Not all auto repair shops are created equal. Finding an honest mechanic who is just trying to make an honest living without stealing all of your money in the process is not as hard to find as you might think. There are definitely the more shady mechanics out there, but they are usually pretty easy to spot. Make sure that when you get an estimate on the repair to compare what they say is wrong with your car also. Sometimes they will find different things wrong in different shops, and try to discern what is probably them trying to trick you and who is being honest. Also when you tell a shop that you are going to shop around, sometimes they will instantly lower their price just to try to get your business immediately.

3. Word of mouth. Take advantage of the social media networks and talk to everyone you know. Ask all your friends, co workers, neighbors, whoever you really talk to on a day-to-day basis and see how they feel about the shops that you are thinking about taking your vehicle to. One thing that people are passionate about giving good or bad reviews on is their service they received when they got their car repaired. Always do this before you try out any shop for the first time.

A&R – How to Shop Your Demo to Record Labels

These days it is extremely hard to get a record labels attention. Record labels get tens of thousands of demos each year. The competition for an A&R reps ear is fierce. The easier and cheaper it has become to record music, the more packages record labels will get. They just don’t have the man power to listen to all of these demos. That is why they are outsourcing this job more and more to managers and attorneys and independent A&R reps like myself. By outsourcing this part of the business, they get a lot of the junk filtered out and end up having a lot less demos to actually listen to. The odds are much better that if they listen to something that came from a trusted source like a manager, attorney or independent A&R rep that they have done business with in the past, that it won’t be a complete waste of their time. It’s kind of like asking a friend, who’s opinion that you trust, what the best sushi place is in town. You are more likely to avoid having to eat at every sushi restaurant in your city to find the locals favorite.

Well, how do you break through to these A&R reps? It’s not easy, especially if you are representing yourself. Most, if not all record labels will not accept unsolicited material. They will just send it back to you or throw it in the trash without ever opening the package. Trust me, I use to do it. Don’t waste your time or money sending A&R reps your package if it is unsolicited. You can try to call them and ask permission to send your demo, which turns it into a solicited package. This sometimes works, but most of the time they will not even take your call unless they know who you are. You can try to find record labels that will accept unsolicited material, but just make sure they are not asking for some kind of submission fee to do so. That is not a good sign that they are on the up and up if you know what I mean. I have read some articles that say your first step is to have an attractive looking demo package, which is something you should already know, along with having good songs, but it won’t matter if they don’t even open the envelope. Short of attaching your demo to a rope and harpooning it through their office window, which will get their attention and get you sued, there really isn’t any other way to get heard by an A&R rep but to pay your dues. I have heard people say that they have paid their dues and that didn’t work, well, it might have worked but the material just wasn’t up to snuff.

To pay your dues, you have to play live shows all the time. Get tons of fans on myspace and facebook. Start selling a lot of units, preferably being tracked by soundscan. And last but not least, have a hit song. If you are on your way there, find a manager or attorney or an Independent A&R firm that is willing to shop you to record labels for a record deal. All of this combined is your best shot at getting signed. There really aren’t any short cuts. It’s not just one or the other, but all of this that makes a good package that A&R reps will take notice of. Radio play is the fastest way to get noticed but virtually impossible unless you have a great connection. If you are trying to get radio play, you are going up head to head with the record labels themselves.

Fun and Budget Friendly: Vacationing in Your Town

We all want to take a vacation, a little getaway from it all. Unfortunately our bank account doesn’t always show that it is a good idea or time constraints don’t allow us to get too far away. About five years ago, I found myself in this situation. After thinking about it for a few days, I came up with a great idea that didn’t cost a lot but was full of new and exciting things. I took a vacation right in the town where I live.

Before you say “absolutely not” I want you to think about the possibilities. How many times have you driven past a museum, restaurant or shop and thought about stopping but didn’t have the time? I started out by making a list of all the things that I have wanted to do in my town but never have done. This list included simple things like taking a walk in the park to going or going to a little league game in the park to more expensive things like catching a show at the local theatre or eating at a gourmet restaurant.

I divided them into categories and listed them in order of price from free to most expensive. Family and friends even got into the picture and gave me tips and ideas of where to go. I also decided to sleep in my guest bedroom, set up a coffee bar in there and ate breakfast in bed. It was relaxing and fun!

My list of ideas of things to see and do was so long that I couldn’t possibly get it done in just a long weekend so I keep adding to it and pull it out anytime I want to get away for a short period of time without spending a lot of money. The best part of it all was that I have begun to see my town in a whole different light and when family and friends come to visit I have some new and exciting things to do with them right where I live.