How Do You Know What Questions to Ask When You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know?

A friend of mine was telling me a story this week about her conversation with her doctor. She was undergoing a surgical procedure and, in addition to some questions she had prepared, she asked him “what questions should I be asking”. This was the first time she was undergoing this type of procedure and wanted to make sure she was fully informed.

What a great question! How would you know what to ask if you’ve never done it (whatever “it” is) before?

So, I’m going to give you some information/suggestions to think about and questions to ask next time you’re hiring a company/business/doctor for the first time. 

Do your due diligence! It is so important to get all of the information you need before you hire anyone.

  • Look them up on Google or Google-My-Business, Yelp, etc. for reviews
  • Look at their website
  • Check references

Ask if what you want done is within their expertise. 

  • Just because someone is an attorney doesn’t mean they litigate. They may just do transactional work. Just because someone is a dentist doesn’t necessarily mean they know how or want to do esthetic dentistry. 
  • Get as much information as you can so everyone is clear and expectations are managed

Ask how long have they been in business?

Ask if they’re insured?

  • Clarify kind of insurance they carry? 
  • Worker’s Compensation? 
  • General Liability?
  • Errors & Omissions?
  • Cybersecurity?
  • Ask for a copy of the declarations page of the policies that would be necessary for the job you are hiring them for

Ask if they are licensed? (Not all occupations require licensing)

  • Get their license number?
  • Find out if they need a license to do what they do?
  • Make sure their license is in good standing?                                                                     

Find out if their workers are employees or independent contractors?

  • How long have the employees/independent contractors been working with you?
  • Do the independent contractors have insurance?
  • What kind of insurance do they have?
  • Ask for a copy of the declarations page of that/those policies?

How do they charge?

  • What kind of payment do they accept?
  • When is payment due?
  • Are there any extra charges NOT included in their estimate that you should be aware of?

The more questions you ask, the better informed you will be. Don’t be afraid to ask these or any other questions.  It lets people know that you want to make an informed decision. Getting information is the first and most important step to making the right decision.

Technological Clutter – What is that Exactly?

Clutter comes in many shapes and sizes but, for now, let’s just talk about technological clutter. You know…all the extra cables, wires, chargers that are in random drawers and boxes around the house. The hard-drive that is buried at the bottom of a closet. Oh, what about the old flip phones that are in a bag in the garage. Yup, that’s all technological clutter.

I can’t tell you how often I come across boxes or bags of old outdated technology in my line of work. Seems like everyone has tons of old technology that they haven’t discarded for one reason or another.

These are the common answers I get when I ask why they’ve kept the old and/or outdated items:
• I may need that cable or wire for something else
• There’s still information on the hard drive that I need
• I don’t know how to purge the information
• I keep just in case I lose mine or mine breaks

This type of clutter is much the same as any other. We keep it “just in case” or, we keep it because we don’t know what to do with it.

Technology changes fast. Things become obsolete quickly. If you have a new cell phone, chances are you will never need the old phone. Even if your phone breaks or is lost, you probably won’t go back to the previous phone because it will be antiquated. So, donate your old cell phone(s). Did you know that you can donate old phones to our troops overseas? Well, you can and they can really use them so hopefully that will motivate you.

Then, there’s the old hard drives. Since we all keep important information stored on the hard drives, it is essential to make sure that they’re wiped clean before discarding them. If you know how to retrieve the information, do it and get rid of the old hard drive. If you aren’t tech savvy, either give it to your IT professional or bring it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy and have them do it for you. They’ll even recycle it for you.

Cables, wires, chargers. Where do I even begin? Once upon a time they obviously belonged to some kind of device but now you have no clue which ones they belong to. So, why keep them? Each new device that you buy will have its’ own cables, wires or cords. As soon as you get your new device, get rid of the old device and all of its cables, wires and cords so they don’t get mixed up. For the most part, they are no longer useful. And, if you do wind up needing a cord or cable that you tossed, you can always get a replacement quickly and at a low cost.

So, in conclusion, if you have a device that you’re currently using, get rid of the older one that you no longer use. You can bring your old technology to the Geek Squad at Best Buy or another place of your choosing where they will wipe out the data and recycle them for you. Some places, like Apple, will allow you to trade in the old technology and give you a credit towards a new device.

Trust me, you’ll feel so much better when you purge these old, outdated and unnecessary items. Just do it!