Friday, August 25, 2017

What a month for a business owner

Boy, what a month we have gone through here at Gun's E-Z Own. Adn it hasn't been all fun and games.

Ah, yes accounting. I know people who just love it.
We started off with an audit from the MN Department of Commerce. We have gone through these type of audit before. We understand what they are looking for and they understand how we operate. I think I have gone through over a dozen of these audits. Severely as Regional Manager and now four as owner. The DOC tries to do an audit every 3 years per license holder.

Since I am a veteran of these audits there were no worries about the outcome. We pride ourselves on running a tight ship when it comes to bookkeeping. It just the process of collecting all the information they are looking for and getting it to them. That takes some time. We passed the audit.

Next we had a Fire Safety Audit. Did you know that you can't store old, non-up-to date inspected fire extinguishers in your building, just as spares. Well I didn't. He said just to take them home. Well then.

The Fire Marshall then wanted us to get rid of all extension cords and daisy chaining of our surge protectors. No problem there. Kind of expected the extension cords. I think we only had three extension cords to get rid of.

But then he had said to add an emergency light in our back room area, which we never had to have one before. (I've been in this building since 2002.) So there is an unexpected expense.

Then he asked us to fix our front door emergency exit sign. He preferred that we have one with emergency lights. Sure no problem. Didn't want to spend the money for a new sign, but the old sign had light bulbs and we ordered the newer fancy LED lighting. The light bulbs looked burnt out anyway.
Our new front door exit sign

Electricity is one of my things. I helped my cousin wire a house in my youth. Then I worked on electrical systems for tanks while in the Army.

So, I switched out the front sign. It was like replacing a light switch. No problem. Turn off that circuit breaker, replace the sign, turn the circuit breaker back on. Simple Right? Hold on there young buckaroo.

I turned the electricity back on and nothing. (DOH!!) My first thought was that the wiring was not hooked up correctly. Sure enough I get into the ceiling, find the conduit and .... it leads to nowhere. There is three feet of conduit just laying there. (flippin', flippity, flippin, flip!!!) So as of this blog, we are still waiting for the electrician to fix the conduit to nowhere.

Then we had to go through a Sales Tax Audit from the MN Department of Revenue. Now that one got me a little stressed. I hadn't been through one of these audits before. Not sure what information and paperwork they would need.

We pulled out our boxes from previous years and he did his accounting thing. Turns out that more cities and counties have sales tax then I had realized. And if we deliver the product to there home, we need to charge that sales tax. Which we hadn't been doing. Here is an example. One of my very good customers from Rochester comes to Red Wing to purchase via a loan, a sofa & Love seat and need delivery. MN sales tax is 6.875%, then Olmsted County as a .50% sales tax and then Rochester needs to have their .75% sales tax. So rather than charging the customer just 6.875% for the purchase I need to charge a total of 8.125% sales tax because I will be delivering to them and per the State of Minnesota, the place the customer acquires the product is the place sales tax needs to be charged for. There is your civil lesson for the day. Several other counties have there own sales tax too.

Now our accounting system is not programmed to handle this division of sales tax. Fortunately there were not that many sales that required extra sales tax.

Then there were some questions I didn't have the answer to right away. But looking things up, speaking to my CPA and the previous owner I found the answers.

The auditor looked at this as an educational audit and there were no penalties. (YAY!) But on the other side, we are going to have to pay up to $1,500 in updates to our software to comply with the State of Minnesota and for my store the State of Wisconsin.

Now that things have settled somewhat, I can take time and write this blog.

So when a customer complains about prices, now you know why business price the way we do. Because we must follow a ton of government regulations along with all the other expenses involved with owning a business.


Monday, July 3, 2017

How to figure out your interest at Gun's E-Z Own?

This just isn't Gun's E-Z Own math. It is just how the finance industry calculates interest.

Over the years we have had customers try to figure out how we come up with the interest calculations. Well, we use a computer. No, really we do.

But years ago we had to manually figure the interest. Using pencil, paper and a calculator and a couple of fingers.

We have helped many people over the years with the manual math. the equations we use. Once you know the math or how to get to the math, it is pretty simple.

So here we go.

The equation is balance x number of days x co-efficient = interest.

First off, What was your balance after your last payment was applied to the loan Let's say $550.00.

Then how many days from your last payment on April 11, 2017.  Let's say today is May 13, 2017. That is 32 days.

Your final number? You need to know what your interest rate is, 12%, 18%?

Let's use 18% for this example. There is a calculation within this calculation you will need to do here. There is something called a co-efficient you need to figure out. How do I get the co-efficient?

Take your interest rate divided by 365. Why 365? That is how many days in a year.

So 0.18 ÷ 365 = .00049315. That is your co-efficient. .00049315.

Now your equation is 550 x 32 x .00049315 = 8.68.

Now if you make a $100 payment $91.32 will go towards your principle and $8.68 will be applied to interest. Your new balance in this example would be $458.68.

Go ahead, give it a try.

458.68 x 30 x .00049315 = _________

There are spreadsheets out there you can use to help you out. But I just wanted to let you know how to do the calculation manually without a computer. You never now, there might be a computer uprising and they might refuse to work. Sometimes the computers don't need an uprising not to work. The are such a love-hate thing.

Happy calculating.

Thank you for reading and have a great day.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Should I get an Extended Warranty on my product at Gun's E-Z Own?

Should I get an Extended Warranty? That is a good question.

Gun's E-Z Own offers you extended warranties from NSI on items like, washers, Dryer, laptops, TV's, Blu-Ray players, stereo equipment, refrigerators and much more.

The first question is how much warranty does your new item have? 90 days, 1 year, 2 years?

Laptops typically carry a one year manufacturers warranty. That covers parts and labor. But after that you are on your own. With NSI you can add 2 more years. The cost? For most of the laptops we sell, it's only $100. Break it down into days, that only cost you 9 cents per day to keep your laptop going.

Now this does not include software issues. Only hardware problems. Nobody covers software issues for a laptop or computer.

For the LG washers we sell, they have a 24 month warranty. Now is depends on the retail price of the washer. The last extended warranty I sold on a washer was only $180 for FIVE years.
What a great deal!!

When you purchase an extended warranty for Gun's E-Z Own, you will get a little folder to place your documents in, a pamphlet with what the warranty covers and does not cover and a print out as proof of your extended warranty purchase. If you lose any of those items, we keep a back up here at the store.

Now unfortunately NSI does not cover "damage or failure caused by riot, nuclear radiation, war or hostile action, radioactive contamination, etc." Quoted directly from the pamphlet.

If there is nuclear radiation, I think the last thing I will be worried about is if my extended warranty is good. I think the "etc." also covers the Zombie Apocalypse.

So if you are expecting a zombie apocalypse in the next 3-5 years, then no, you shouldn't get the extended warranty. For all others, YES, it is a very good deal for the small amount you pay.

Once again, thank you for reading my blog. And may your day be filled with joy.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Bundle & Save and U-haul at Gun's

WOW, has it been that long since I have written a blog. Time does fly by. Especially when you are busy.

April 2017 we weren't too busy, but in May we were hustling. We had our Super Spring Specials. We had marked the price down on many items and the inventory was flying out the door.

Now this June & July, we have BUNDLED Living Room sets, Bedroom Sets and even some Home Entertainment. There are plenty of big savings in the store.  BUNDLE & SAVE.

Here is one Bundle: If you purchased each of these items separately you would spend $1,799.95. But when you BUNDLE this Nina Coffee Sofa & Love Seat, the 3 pc Table Set, 2 lamps and a Floor Lamp we have it marked down to $1,399.99. Need financing? That's $140 down payment and 16 monthly payments of about $122 per month.* That is a $400 saving off the retail price.

Because of advertising regulations I must put the obligatory Sample disclosure. You can find it at the bottom of this blog.

What else is new? We are now an authorized U-Haul dealer. So when you need to rent a vehicle for the weekend or for moving out of town, you can stop by Gun's E-Z Own.

Just as reminder that we also do short term furniture rentals. So if grandma & grandpa are in town for a week and you need to rent a mattress set, We do that. You just had surgery and need a lift chair. We do that to. Or you are in town for an Xcel plant shut down and need furniture for 3-6 months, one more thing we do. Click on this RENTAL link to find out more.

We end this blog with the sample disclosure I mentioned earlier. Have a great day everyone.

*Sample Disclosure: $1,000 purchase, $100 down, 16 monthly payments of  $79.59, APR 32.53%

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A trip to Urgent Care

It's been a month since I had been diagnosed with influenza. And the side effects keep lingering such as being tired, being cold and breathing isn't as easy.

Well, I had an interesting thing happen recently.

As I had mentioned last time, I have a history of bronchitis. Well, Last week just before closing, I called our local clinic to make an appointment to see a doctor. I got the appointment desk and she asked why I had called.

I told her that I just had influenza and now I am having pain in my left side in my what I thought to be my lower lung and pain under my left shoulder blade. The pain had increased throughout the day and was worried about bronchitis or pneumonia.

She said that she would send me to the nurse help line on the phone. (You know, dial an 800 number and a nurse helps you out in case it is something minor.) I told the help line nurse the reason for the call and she had me breath in deep and breathe out. Does it hurt more? Yes. I am driving home by this time and have the ear bud in so I can have both hands on the wheel. She  asked a number of questions because she needed too to make sure.

After a number of questions, she said I should go to Urgent Care. She also said that maybe applying a hot water bottle there for a bit would help. I had asked, can't I just wait until tomorrow and make an appointment. She said no.

Now, I have never had pneumonia so I am thinking that maybe this is in worse shape than I had thought. So almost home, I make a "B" line to Urgent care.

I had to wait about 5 minutes for the person in front of me to get settled in with the nurse at the registration desk. I walked up to the window and explained why I was there. I could see in her face she was starting to get anxious. Her eyes where getting bigger and her body language was going into emergency mode. She was trying very hard to speak calmly. She said that she was going to put me in a room and have me checked out immediately.

Well, in comes the EKG machine. (Nope, Hadn't ever been hooked up to one before.) They thought I was having a heart attack. That was the first thing they did. and was only hooked up to it for maybe two minutes total. The results were negative. And that nurse at the desk was trying to get the EKG tech to hurry up.

Then comes in another nurse to take my blood presser, heart rate and oxygen level. Everything looks good. Heart rate was under 60 beats per minute.

Then the Doctor comes in. I told the doctor all I needed was someone to listen to my lungs to make sure I didn't have bronchitis or pneumonia. She said, "Well, I am going to do that now." So she listened to my breathing then sent me to get an x-ray. Turns out that I did have bronchitis.

So now instead of having a bill for an office visit, I have extra ER/EKG/Xray fees. grrr. I guess it is better to be safe and check for a heart attack rather than not.

Now what is the point of this story? I am getting there.

The Doctor gave me a perscription for anti-biotics and an inhaler. Things seem to clear up.

I told this story to my chiropractor. And here is the helpful hint you have been waiting for.

He said that if you are having a trouble breathing from a cold or bronchitis, lie down face down and have someone pat your back rapidly and that is to help loosen and work that nasty mucus out of the lungs.

And also, if you have congestion problems, eat some onion and garlic soup. They have properties that help boost your immunity. You put onion, garlic, carrots, celery, lettuce or any other greens into water and boil it. DO NOT have sugar or milk while sick. It sets the body's immune system back.

He told of a story were one of his clients whom had a cold for 9 weeks and tried the soup and the cold cleared up within two days. Another gentleman who was into a healthy life style and had a cold for two weeks ate the soup and he was also cleared up within two days.

Thank you for reading. I hope that you all stay healthy the rest of this cold season. Have a wonderful and blessed day.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Gun's E-Z Own: Influenza? WTH

Well the last couple of weeks have been interesting at Gun's E-Z Own and for me health wise.

For the first time in 50 plus years I was diagnosed with influenza. Here is a little background of my health.

You know from a previous blog that I was in the US Army-Regular service. I had not been sick since April 1986. Ten plus years of no cold, no temperature, no flu, no stomach flu. Nothing.

UNTIL, I was delivering propane, I believe this was December 1996. I finished up the propane delivery and knocked on the customers door. Now this was the year of the worse flu break out ever. The media was warning of a possible epidemic. (Sound familiar?) I remember because I had shrugged off the warnings because I hadn't been sick for , yes TEN YEARS.

Anyway I knocked on the customers door to give him the bill. As soon as he opened the door, he coughed right in my face. I felt the breeze of his cough past my cheeks. This was days before Christmas. Yes, I got sick with my temperature spiking to 103.1. I was miserable, achy, tired and cold.

Let me time travel even further back in time. I wrestled heavyweight and qualified for the 1982 Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament. The Monday before the tourney, I got sick, spitting out clumps of mucus. Not just the little bit when you have a little cough, I mean clumps. I was able to wrestle one match and lasted to the 3rd period before I was so gassed I couldn't do anything. I got pinned and called it a tournament. It  hadn't cleared up for three weeks so I went to the doctor. It turned out I had a case of bronchitis.

Now post-Army. it was cool not being sick. Missing no work, not feeling achy and giggling at others who got sick. (What a bunch of wimps.) Well, ever since the propane gas cough, I started getting sick once a year. And it was typically a severe cold or bronchitis. (grrrrr)

Now In the past 6 months I have been sick, twice. The first time a the regular flu we all know and love. Temp of 102 sleep for a day and then back on your feet.

Not this second time around. My temperature peaked at 105.1. But the funny thing was I didn't feel achy. Just hot and tired. Two days later I went to the doctor because the temperature persisted at around 101-102. I was worried about a case of bronchitis again.

When I went to the doctor, the nurse had me wear a  mask. (WTH). She did the regular weight, temperature, medical history and blood pressure,  (By the way, my BP was 98/74. I am so laid back. haha).

The nurse had now decided to stick a swab up my nostril for the test. and happy day (NOT) I had influenza. The kind you can get shots for. The doctor put me on quarantine for four more days. And now I am back to work but still feeling tired, still have a cough and still have a runny nose. I got my vitamins, vapor rub and throat lozenges. I am just hoping to avoid bronchitis or even pneumonia.

When I got back to work, the tabs one our 15,000 lbs gross weight delivery truck were due. Being it the last of of February and had to be purchased by then. I went down to the licenses center and got the tabs. Came back and got ready to put the tabs on the plates, but (WTH, AGAIN), the plates were gone. Some bone head stole the license plates off our truck. with expired tabs.

I filed a report with the police and warned the neighboring businesses to be heads up. We were wondering on what type of vehicle they were going to put 15k GVW plates on. I think it would be funny if they put truck plates on thee car and got pulled over just for being stupid. Yes, they didn't only steal the plates, they stole the brackets too. (Place eye roll and face palm here)

Well, maybe we will see them on World's Dumbest Criminals sometime.

Thank you for reading. Until next time, please be safe and may you stay healthy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Gun's E-Z Own: How do I Stage a home for sale?

Are you in the processes of selling your home? Or maybe you are a realtor and need to chow your clients what the home for sale would look like with furniture it. Or you are Stager for hire by realtors to help sell a home. Gun's E-Z Own can help.
One of our Living Room stagings in a
model home in Lake City

Now we don't offer feng shui. We wouldn't even begin to know what to be for that. Heck, I don't even know if I spelled the thing right. But one thing  Gun's E-Z Own does and we do it very well is supply furniture to those who wish to stage a home that is for sale. We have staged homes in cities like Red Wing,  Hastings, Cannon Falls, Lake City, Minneapolis, Rochester just to name a few. We have staged million dollar homes down to $100,00 homes. Large, small, new and renovated. And we have been doing this for over 15 years.

The whole purpose of staging a home is to help your potential buyer envision what the home would look like with furniture in it. Some people just can't envision this in their heads without the props. We feel that keeping it minimal is key. If you put too much furniture in a home it will look small and cluttered.

In the LIVING ROOM,  a sofa, love seat or chair (depending on the size of the room), three piece occasional table set (not too big), and two lamps.

In the DINING ROOM only needs a four place dining set. What we have used in the past is a glass top table set to keep the dining/kitchen area looking open. Don't go with a big fancy dining set. It will take up too much space and shrink the room considerably.

Bedroom staged in a  model home.
For the BEDROOM we would suggest a full or queen mattress set, headboard, one night stand and either a dresser or chest (not both). And don't use a king mattress set either. It can make the bedroom appear small.

We do NOT offer items like bed spreads, plants, pictures and so on. Only the furniture.

Don't want to drive all the way to Red Wing to see what we have? You can go to Gun's E-Z Own, click on PRODUCTS, then click on IN STORE to see what we have in stock.

Neutral colors seem to work best. You want the house to stand out, not the furniture. The furniture is only a prop to help sell the home.

Not sure of the color scheme? Take pictures of the rooms you wish to stage and e-mail those pictures to attention Marcia. Marcia is excellent at putting items together for staging and keeping the color schemes simple, which is what you want. The guy writing this blog is just a guy. Color schemes seem to escape me. I just do the deliveries.

If you would like more information on rentals and staging you can go to and click on RENTAL . There you will find forms needed to begin staging a home. For our staging package pricing, e-mail us or give us a call at 651.388.3951. Staging prices are different from rental fees. For a brochure you can e-mail us as well.

I hope these little tidbits will help you in the future.

From the cold of Minnesota, thank you for reading today. Have a safe and blessed day.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gun's E-Z Own: Should I purchase the product with payments or rent the product?

One the questions we often get, "Should I purchase the product with payments or rent the product?"

This question we get most often when a client is trying to get temporary accommodations for a elderly loved one. This is a very tough question. Clients have thought it would be 6 months and ending up being two years. Then after two years it might be longer yet and decided to purchase the items rather than paying more rent on the items.

Today I will point out a couple of pros and cons for each.

If I rent the furniture.
-I save money if it a 3-6 month rental.
-It can be returned and I don't have to worry about moving the furniture. Gun's E-Z Own will do that.
- If there is a problem with the rental items, Gun's E-Z Own handles the repairs or replacement.

-If the rental goes for over 16 months I will have paid enough in rental fees that could have purchase the items.
-If I want to buy it out right after the rental period, Gun's E-Z Own CAN NOT use what rental fees I paid on the items towards the purchase. I will have to pay the original retail price. (Because of Minnesota regulations)
-I don't own the furniture

If I purchase the furniture
-Once paid for I completely own it
-Once it is paid for I can re-sell it if I don't need it any more
- I don't lose out on any money spent on the item if I purchase it.

- I am responsible for repairs of the items.
- I can still return the property if the "rental" ends up being short term, but I will have paid interest on
- Now what am I going to do with it.

Even though most of our rentals are only short term, every great once in a awhile a rental goes on much longer than anticipated.

Here is a rule of thumb I hope helps. If you think that the rental may be 12-24 months, consider purchasing it under loan contract. Yes, you will be paying interest on it, but at least once the 16 month loan is paid for, you own it.

If it is for sure to be 12 months or less, rental is the way to go for a temporary solution to a temporary situation.

We are more then happy to rent to our clients for the long term. But we also want to be fair and make sure you have the the information to make an educated decision.

Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Gun's E-Z Own: The Holidays and the Winter Clearance Sale

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. Gun's E-Z Own hopes that you all had a safe and blessed holiday season.

I had two Christmases. One with the in-laws which is quiet and laid back. Only seven people. And we don't say much in conversation.

Then for the 2nd Christmas I went over to my dad's place to spend Christmas with my family. This is a completely opposite experience. We are loud. Very loud. Extremely loud. 16 people, ages 5 to 77 all trying to over talk each other,  kids running around, Everyone unwrapping presents and singing Christmas carols. If we are lucky we might get a game in and argue over the results. Oh, yes, we eat a huge meal sometime in there as well. And Yes, it can get quite loud. But it was enjoyable. A little red wine certainly helps.😉   With this crowd, we almost need two days for Christmas. You may have heard of the Seinfeld holiday, Festivous? Maybe we should go with a two day celebration and call it, Christgunhusmas . More wine would be needed. A lot more.

Then for New Years Eve my family of 16 did it all over again. We all try to see who can talk the loudest. I won one round and conceded the rest. We play games and watch the football games. Of course this was the evening to stay over night so partaking in some Jamison and coke was definitely on the radar.  I stayed up until midnight and crashed at 12:05. I'm such a party animal.  I survived the holidays, the bitter cold and slippery roads.

Ok, enough about my holidays. When the family reads this blog they may ask, "What do you mean we're loud?" But hey, it's an annual tradition.
Gun's E-Z Own Winter Clearance 2017

Now to business. Currently Gun's E-Z Own is having a Winter Clearance Sale. This is the biggest sale we've ever held. Even under the old ownership. We have over 100 items on sale. Prices are slashed to make this SALE, to quote some famous person, "HUGE!"

A Sofa & Love seat went from $599.99 and slashed to $299.99. A Night Stand that was $149.99 is now $69.99.  And there is so much more on SALE. I left the pricing up to my Assistant Marcia. I'm often cringing, "She priced it at WHAT?!!!"  So if you want to save some money on your purchase, you need to take advantage of these low prices now before I come to my senses and change them. Our Winter Clearance Sale ends January 31, 2017. (Ha, You thought I was going to put 2016 didn't you?)

Our Price board with Sale Prices
It is best to stop in the store at 816 Main Street, Red Wing, MN 55066 so you can see and touch the furniture. You wouldn't be the only person who does this. There are a lot of people who prefer the be able to touch the furniture then to just trust a photo.

And there are those who are okay with a photo. Look at how popular online shopping is. That is how the original E-Z Own business got started, with people ordering via a catalog. If you would like to see what we have on clearance click on the links within this blog and you will find those pictures. There is a lot there to see.

One more thing, Please Find or like us on Facebook. I do post photos of what we have in stock on Facebook as well. Maybe some funny memes or the like.

Once again thank you for reading. There is no guarantee that I won't solicit sales in my next blog, but stay tuned and find out.

Have a safe and blessed day. Until next time.