Benefits and Drawbacks of Business Networking

Business networking has a world of positive benefits. However, with everything positive, comes a few negatives at least. So, without further ado, let’s begin with the positive/pros in support of business networking:

The first point on the up side is;

You’re being active in the accumulation of business contacts and letting yourself be seen. Many people complain that they are just not meeting enough of the right people to help in their career direction.

When you are actively involved in business networking, you are increasing your chances of meeting those right people. Furthermore, if you are networking correctly by sharing referrals, introducing people, and following up with those you meet, the rewards will speak for themselves.

The 2nd positive point is;

Your 1 on 1 people skills will slowly develop into expert status. This is a benefit not talked about a lot but through trial and error, building great relationships will seem effortless. Consider the fact that when your 1 on 1 people skills are adequate, you will see a phenomenal increase in the positive results you get using all other communication, for example; telephone, e-mail, etc.

3rd, on the optimistic side is;

After being consistent, you will notice your own center of influence expand. If you are engaged actively in meeting, communicating, and generally helping many individuals, you will be liked as well as respected. When these type of things occur, your center of influence grows and you will become well-respected by default.

4, on the high side is;

Networking regularly gives you the opportunity to speak a lot about your profession. You will have the opportunity to educate many people about what you do when you meet them. This situation causes you to be on your toes and more knowledgeable about your profession.

The 5th benefit of business networking is;

You are greatly increasing your overall options. While networking for better business returns, you will meet an abundance of individuals who aren’t directly connected to your goals. Meeting individuals like this can benefit you in other ways like; finding a good plumber, helping you to get hired at a new company, and any other specialist in a particular field. A personal referral usually holds more merit.

And now for the alternatives or the down-side/cons of business networking:

#1. If you are an extreme example of a socially inhibited individual, getting out and networking could be very traumatic for you. I’m not saying that it’s something you can’t overcome but it could very well turn out to be a not so positive experience.

#2. You may find several events that may not be to your liking. This is an occupational hazard of business networking in which you attend business networking events with high expectations but are disappointed by the outcome. As with anything, this is not justification to give up but it does happen.

#3. People in your newly found network been as receptive as you would like. It is very true that many people talk a good game but in the heat of the moment, when you need them most, they can let you down.

#4. An unruly, undesirable individual may enter your life through networking. I know that this is an aspect that’s not discussed too frequently but I must be honest. Sometimes you can attract individuals through your friendly networking activities, which could prove energy draining if not detrimental to your career.

And #5. Networking doesn’t work for everybody. Yes, there are some individuals out there, as rare as they may be, where networking and building relationships with different people just isn’t their cup of tea. A small minority of people will find that no matter how hard they try, it just won’t deliver the desired results. This is sad but it is true.

So now you see the pros and cons on both ends. Personally I believe that business networking is very important and can work for most people in a positive way. Now, you have to ask yourself, “Is it bad or good?” The answer is “Good” and “Bad”. It all depends on the perspective of “you”, the reader.

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How to Take Care of Your Hand Tools

A good set of tools will always serve you well, provided you take care of them, protect them against rust and damage and keep them stored neatly. High quality hand tools can cost quite a bit of money, although many people assume they require no maintenance or care and throw them carelessly into a drawer or cheap plastic toolbox. Here’s a look at the proper way to take care of your screwdrivers, pliers and all other metal tools to make them last you a lifetime.

Step One: Cleaning

All tools should always remain free of dust and debris, which can cause damage over a long period of time. If your tools get dirty or wet during use, take the time to clean them afterward. Most tools can be cleaned with a simple soft brush that you keep near your tool cabinet. Rust, the main enemy of metal, can cause permanent damage if left unchecked. Rust forms from moisture, although you can prevent it with most tools by applying a light oil on rust-prone areas. When rust does form, use a fine scrubber and oil to remove it but remember, rust will also be prone to reforming on this area in the future. If you can afford it, invest in tools that are made from high-quality metal alloys to make them resistant to rust and corrosion. Finally, any moving parts should be lubricated occasionally so they remain in good working order.

Step Two: Proper Storage

What’s the point of cleaning your tools regularly if you don’t have proper storage in place? Depending on your needs, a simple toolbox will suffice. If you have a large collection of tools or use them professionally in a trade, a metal cabinet is a good option. Tools should always be organized and sorted and put back in their designated area after each use. This way, they’re always there when you need them. Ideally, tools won’t touch each other while they’re stored. A few companies have developed storage systems to address this. Keep all of your instruments in a dry area free of moisture, dust and direct sunlight. For sharp instruments like chisels, keep them in a holder so you won’t accidentally hurt yourself when you get them out. Tools should never be left on the ground or a working area as they can pose a serious hazard. Try to group your tools together in a way that makes sense to you.

Step Three: Maintenance

Most people are injured using their tools when they aren’t kept sharp or in good condition. Metal blades should always be well oiled and replaced when they lose their sharpness. Regularly inspect your nuts, bolts, screws and other small parts for damage so you know when they need to be replaced. If you own hand tools with a wooden handle, take the time to sand and oil it regularly to prevent splinters and splitting.

Which Costa Rican Car Company Is Best?

Renting a Car in Costa Rica? Which company should you choose?

There are so many rent-a-car companies to choose from in Costa Rica – from the large international firms to the smaller national agencies. Reviews on the internet invariably either damn or sing the praises of each company to the extent of being almost useless. So how do you choose the best place to hire a car for your trip?

Many tourists that rent vehicles in Costa Rica complain that they have been ripped off when they realize the extra cost of insurance they are obliged to pay or that they have been charged a dollar rate that reflected the currency rate and not the quoted rate. Understanding the insurance laws and charges that bind the Costa Rican car rental companies may help you to ask the right questions when you are reserving your vehicle and avoid a nasty shock upon arrival. If a company is not upfront about its additional costs; you may wish to consider whether it is a company that you choose to take your business to.

I have worked within the tourism industry in Costa Rica for the last six years and have lived here since 2000. I am familiar with the feelings that many visitors to the country experience when dealing with rent-a-car companies. These can range from delight to discomfort to outright fury; sometimes due to the inefficiency, or even dishonesty of the rental agency, but also due to the renter’s lack of understanding of the legally binding restrictions within which Costa Rican car rental firms must work. I hope that while this article won’t guarantee you trouble-free vehicle rental; it might make you a more knowledgeable customer.

Insurance needs, additional costs in rental and surcharges are considered in more detail below:


Basic insurance is mandatory. Costa Rican law is very clear on this and your rental car company cannot allow you to leave with their car without having agreed to pay it. Expect to pay somewhere between $9 and $20 per day on top of your car rental rate. An honest, car rental agency will make this very clear in their pricing. If it is not clear whether the insurance is included in the rental cost; ask for clarification and be aware of other potentially unstated costs.

Check whether your insurance policy covers you to drive in Costa Rica. Some policies include Collision Damage Waivers and will cover Central America. If you are covered, bring proof (in writing) for your vehicle rental company. If not, consider whether you would be safer to pay the extra cost of this additional coverage. This part is not mandatory.

Zero liability is offered by rent-a-car companies. You may wish to consider whether you would feel more at ease knowing that you would not be liable for any costs should something occur while you are renting their vehicle. You are not obliged to buy this supplemental insurance.

Additional Fees:

Many car rental companies will charge additional fees for a child/baby seat, an additional driver, luggage racks or cooler. You can expect to pay up to $8 daily for each of these extras. Although by shopping around, you can find companies that will offer some or all for a lower price, or even free.

With Costa Rican roads being notoriously poorly signposted and the whole country operating on an address system based on landmarks rather than road names or numbers, a GPS is essential for many car renters. You will usually pay between $8 and $15 a day for this service. It is fairly common practice to allow renters to use one of their cell phones for the duration, but if you wish to use it for your own calls; you’ll obviously be charged.


Some rental car companies incorporate taxes and additional fees into their rental cost; others don’t. Make sure you know what you will be charged for on top of your rental fee. Airport fees can be charged at 13% of your rental cost which is a sizable fee to pay in addition to an agreed rental charge. You may also be charged a license plate charge, environmental fee and/or any other charge that the rental car company has to meet (or pocket).

Prices for the rental will be given in US dollars, but as the local currency is colones, you should understand that exchange rates change daily and what you are charged on your credit card on the day of payment may vary slightly from what you were quoted.

Criteria for Rating Car Rental Companies:

For this article, three (3) main points were considered for each company:

1) Value: Is the rental rate competitive?

2) Efficiency: How fast do they respond to the needs of the client?

3) Transparency: How clear is the information provided by the company?

You may have your own criteria, but based on complaints from previous customers on community websites like Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, etc., the requirements of those clients seemed mainly based around these three basic areas.

The companies surveyed below are a mix of local and international firms. Each company was researched based on a week’s rental of a Daihutsu Bego with mandatory insurance.

Dollar Rent-A-Car:


- $300+ USD.

- Extras are at average prices.


- They have 3 offices nationwide.

- Email inquiry returned within 24 hours.


- The prices for rental vehicles are displayed on site but a side box contains a ‘Daily RA’ with dollar amount. This is the mandatory insurance.

- Reservation price is listed as ‘Base rate’ and doesn’t include insurance.

- Dollar has received mixed reviews in sites such as Trip Advisor.

- A toll-free number is available.

Vamos Rent-A-Car:


- $300+ USD.

- Only GPS and cell phone use are charged. All other extras such as child seats are free.


- They have 3 offices nationwide.

- Email inquiry returned within an hour.


- The website clearly states prices and insurance.

- Toll-free number and live chat are provided.

Wild Rider:


- $300+ USD.

- Additional driver is free.


- Email inquiry returned within 2 hours.


- Prices are displayed very clearly onsite and include insurance.

- The company has almost 100% positive reviews, but with a fleet of only 30 vehicles and one central office; it may be difficult to help clients who are in difficulty outside the capital.

- They cannot provide a vehicle for the Liberia airport, just San Jose.



- $400+ USD.

- Extra charges for baby seat, additional driver etc.


- The company has 9 offices nationwide.


- No prices displayed with vehicles information.

- Budget has received mixed reviews.

- Surprisingly for a large company, it provides no live chat or toll-free number for clients in the USA.

Service Car Rental:


- $400+ USD including mandatory insurance and taxes.

- Extras such as additional driver and child seat are charged, but at cheaper rates than most companies.


- The company has 5 offices nationwide.

- Email inquiry returned within an hour.


- Their rates are clearly shown on site.

- Service has received mainly positive reviews.

National Car Rental:


- $400+ USD.

- Extras are priced a little above average.


- They have 23 office locations, although some are Alamo.


- Price estimates online do not include insurance or additional charges; however, they are displayed in the full quotation.

- They have received mixed reviews.

- Both live chat and a toll-free number are provided.

Economy Rent-A-Car:


- $200+ USD, but it seems possible to reserve a vehicle without inclusion of any insurance.

- Extras are average in price.


- They have 12 offices nationwide.

- Email inquiry returned within an hour, but email inquiring about insurance was not returned.


- Website does not make mandatory insurance clear.

- Economy has numerous negative reviews.

- Both live chat and toll-free number are provided.

Hertz Costa Rica:


- $400+ USD, but actual rental price is not made clear.

- Extras are pricey.


- 6 offices nationwide.

- No contact email.

- Telephone numbers are available for different offices around the country.


- Very confusing quotation system. Two rates are offered for a vehicle and chosen dates. The cheaper option does not include mandatory insurance and it is in very small print under the final quotation price. The more expensive option includes non-mandatory insurance along with mandatory.

- Mixed reviews.

- Both live chat and toll-free number are provided.

Adobe Rent-A-Car:


- $400+ USD.

- Extras are at low prices.


- The company has 9 offices nationwide.


- Online estimate includes insurance.

- Adobe has received mixed reviews.

- A toll-free number is provided.

Tricolor Car Rental:


- $300+ USD.

- No charge for pick-up or airport fees.

- Extras aren’t listed or provided in quotation email, although cell phone price is given.


- 3 offices nationwide.

- Email returned within 2 hours.


- Website is not very user friendly.

- Reviews are mixed.

- Toll-free number is provided.

Finalizing the Three Criteria:

Economy, at first, appear to be the cheapest company to rent from, but unfortunately this is due to their failure to declare all costs incurred by the renter, rather than a genuine, good deal. For real value, Dollar, Vamos, Wild Rider and Tricolor come out on top for competitive pricing for the basic rental fee, plus mandatory insurance. Vamos is noticed for being the only firm that does not charge for extras such as a child seat or surcharges. Adobe and Service have low cost extras, whereas Hertz has the most expensive rates for extras. Wild Rider does not charge for an additional driver.

Only Economy failed to respond to email inquiry. All other companies responded quickly and with clear answers to inquiries. Wild Rider, as the smallest firm, cannot offer nationwide service, but reviews suggest that they have met customer needs to date. All other companies can offer services from offices in locations outside of the capital city — increasing their ability to serve clients effectively.

Adobe, Wild Rider, Vamos and Service have websites that clearly show rental prices and insurance. Economy and Hertz somehow seems to be deliberately misleading on their websites. The other companies’ websites provide the required information – even if it can take some time in hunting it down.


This brief survey would suggest that Vamos, Service, Tricolor and Wild Rider would be the best companies to begin your rental research, whereas Economy would be best to avoid.

Now you know as much as I do! The information here is supposed to be your starting point and not the end point. Hopefully, you will know the right questions to ask when you’re looking for a rental vehicle to ensure that your dream vacation begins smoothly without any nasty shocks, like hefty extra charges when you land. Enjoy the drive!

What Does a Concierge Do in a Hotel?

Have you every looked at the facilities and services offered by a luxurious five-star hotel and seen concierge service and wondered why this is so important or what a concierge actually does in a hotel? Having a concierge service can be beneficial and help you have a more relaxed, enjoyable and memorable stay.

A concierge works at a hotel deck where they provide clients with a range of services to help them have the best experience when visiting their location. This is very different from reception as they do not handle any administrative tasks within the hotel, so you cannot go to the concierge to book you in, but they will be able to provide you advice and assistance on the check in process and where to go to get booked in and taken to your room.

You will find that a concierge will have extensive area knowledge and be able to provide you with useful services, such as arranging a car hire for you on your chosen dates. You may be in a strange city and caught a taxi to your hotel and now you want to explore at your own pace without relying on someone else. They will be able to secure you the best deals so you are guaranteed to pay the best prices for hiring a car for the period that you need them for.

Another service provided by these hotel staff members is to arrange tours and book clients on tours. If you want to explore the area, see all the sights and enjoy a cost defective experience, then the concierge service will be able to assist you. You can discuss your tour requirements and expectations with the concierge and they will be able to make recommendations and point you in the right direction so you get the best experience.

A concierge will also book your spa treatments for you. Whether they have an on-site spa or they have access to a nearby spa. They will ensure you get the treatments you want whether it’s a relaxing massage or a cleansing facial. They will be able to provide you with information on pricing and more so you can make the right decision based on your particular needs.

Whether you want to dine in the hotel restaurant or you want to find a celebrity restaurant nearby, the concierge will not only be able to make recommendations but they will make your reservation for you, saving you time and energy in the long run and ensuring that you don’t have to run around making reservations when you are on holiday.

Depending on where you are staying, there may be shows, operas, ballets on that you want to see. If you want to see one of these shows, the concierge will be able to advise what is on and book your tickets to ensure you get the see the production you don’t want to miss.

A concierge is there to recommend and direct you. They are a wealth of information and they can help you with anything from finding the nearest train station to helping you find your way to the top sights and attractions. They will book your taxi, car hire service or make your restaurant reservations. These individuals are customer orientated and will go out of their way to ensure that all guests have the best stay when staying in their hotel.