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:

Insurance:

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.

Surcharges:

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:

Value

- $300+ USD.

- Extras are at average prices.

Efficiency

- They have 3 offices nationwide.

- Email inquiry returned within 24 hours.

Transparency

- 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:

Value

- $300+ USD.

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

Efficiency

- They have 3 offices nationwide.

- Email inquiry returned within an hour.

Transparency

- The website clearly states prices and insurance.

- Toll-free number and live chat are provided.

Wild Rider:

Value

- $300+ USD.

- Additional driver is free.

Efficiency

- Email inquiry returned within 2 hours.

Transparency

- 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.

Budget:

Value

- $400+ USD.

- Extra charges for baby seat, additional driver etc.

Efficiency

- The company has 9 offices nationwide.

Transparency

- 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:

Value

- $400+ USD including mandatory insurance and taxes.

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

Efficiency

- The company has 5 offices nationwide.

- Email inquiry returned within an hour.

Transparency

- Their rates are clearly shown on site.

- Service has received mainly positive reviews.

National Car Rental:

Value

- $400+ USD.

- Extras are priced a little above average.

Efficiency

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

Transparency

- 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:

Value

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

- Extras are average in price.

Efficiency

- They have 12 offices nationwide.

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

Transparency

- Website does not make mandatory insurance clear.

- Economy has numerous negative reviews.

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

Hertz Costa Rica:

Value

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

- Extras are pricey.

Efficiency

- 6 offices nationwide.

- No contact email.

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

Transparency

- 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:

Value

- $400+ USD.

- Extras are at low prices.

Efficiency

- The company has 9 offices nationwide.

Transparency

- Online estimate includes insurance.

- Adobe has received mixed reviews.

- A toll-free number is provided.

Tricolor Car Rental:

Value

- $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.

Efficiency

- 3 offices nationwide.

- Email returned within 2 hours.

Transparency

- 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.

Conclusion:

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!

Importance of Using Wooden Furniture and Wooden Products

Furniture is the only thing which increases the beauties of your home a lot. It pulls towards the guests to your home. So if you have a beautiful home then you should have good furniture in your home. If you are not sure what kind of furniture is suitable for your home then here is a perfect solution for you. These days, wooden furniture and wooden products are most popular than any other. Those days are passed when people used iron furniture or iron products. These are strong than wooden products but odd in looks. However there are lots of advantages of wooden furniture.

It is not true that wooden furniture and wooden products are not durable at all. If the products are made up of good quality of woods then there is no doubt about its durability. These have lighter weight than iron products. So it becomes easier to shift those from one area to another area. Therefore, if you are residing in a rental apartment then you need to use. Not only that, you can separate the parts of wooden furniture but in case of iron or steel you can not do that as those are fixed. This feature makes the wooden furniture more outstanding one.

Wooden household products are safer than iron products as wood does not conduct electricity. So it is safe for everyone in your home, especially for the children. As these are not heavy so it will not damage your sophisticated floor even after a great crash or collision. Like this you can maintain your home-floor by using the wooden furniture. You can renovate the furniture whenever you need or wish as these are not fixed like the material substances. This easy renovation feature adds another finest quality to these wooden products.

The wooden furniture and wooden products are cheaper than the iron or steel products. If you are planning for decorating your home but you do not have so much money then you can choose these wooden products. Even if you have sufficient money but you want to make your home more beautiful then you must go for the wooden furniture. At present, these are used not only in residential houses but even in commercial areas as well. You can see the wooden furniture instead of iron or steel furniture in hotels or restaurants, offices as this increase the beauty a lot.

Overall it can be said that wooden products or furniture will be the best choice. These days, the use of iron or steel products is even called old fashion. So why should not you use the wooden products or furniture while you are getting so much advantages.

History and Components of a Modern Mainframe Computer

Mainframe computers are critical for some of the largest corporations in the world. Each mainframe has more than one modern processor, RAM ranging from a few megabytes to multiple-score gigabytes, and disk space and other storage beyond anything on a microcomputer. A mainframe can control multiple tasks and serve thousands of users every second without downtime.

The chief difference between mainframes and other computing systems is the level of processing that takes place. Mainframes are also different in terms of data bandwidth, organization, reliability, and control. Big organizations-banking, healthcare, insurance, and telecom companies, etc.-use mainframes for processing critical commercial data.

In this article, we discuss the evolution of mainframe computers and their components.

History of mainframe computers

IBM developed a critical part of mainframe computing, the Automatic Sequenced Controlled Calculator (ASCC) for arithmetic operations, in 1944. From the late 1950s through the 1970s, several companies manufactured mainframes: IBM, Burroughs, RCA, NCR, General Electric, and Sperry Rand, for example. Since then, System / 390 by IBM is the only kind of mainframe in use. It evolved from IBM's System / 360 in 1960.

An Early mainframe occupied a huge space. New technologies have drastically reduced the size and cost of the hardware. A current-generation mainframe can fit in a small closet.

Components of a modern mainframe computer

Like a PC, a mainframe has many components for processing data: operating system, motherboard or main board, processor, controllers, storage devices, and channels.

• Motherboard: The motherboard of a mainframe computer consists of a printed circuit that allows CPU, RAM, and other hardware components to function together through a concept called "Bus architecture". The motherboard has device slots for input cards and cable interfaces for various external devices. Where PC motherboards use 32- or 64-bit buses, mainframes use 128-bit buses. General instructions regarding the internal architecture help the motherboard connect to the other devices and retrieve data using binary computation.

• Processor: A CPU acts as the central processing point in mainframe architecture and includes an Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) for performing arithmetic calculations. It also works as a controller for the bus architecture and handles traffic and data requests. The processing power of mainframes is much higher compared to PCs, so that they can handle huge amounts of data.

• Storage devices: Storage devices are for entering, retrieving, storing, and recording data. Many are external devices, such as hard drives, tape drives, and punch card readers, all connected to terminals of the mainframe and controlled by the CPU. Their capacity for data storage can be hundred or even thousands of times that of a PC.

• Communication controllers: Communication controllers allow remote computers to access a mainframe. With the help of networks, LAN or WAN, communication controllers establish connections with various devices, perform data transmission over communication channels, and keep track of users at terminals.

• Channels: The "channels" are the cables used to connect the CPU and the main storage to other parts of the system and make sure that data is moved in a systematic way without losing its integrity.

Modern mainframes have advanced features such as expanded service management capabilities, cross-platform integration facilities, etc. And so are suitable for critical data center operations. The cost of maintaining modern mainframes is much less compared to older models.

Restaurants Kinds and Characteristics

Broadly speaking, restaurants can be categorized into a number of categories:
1. Chain or independent (indy) and franchise restaurants. McDonald's, Union Square Cafe, or KFC
2. Quick service (QSR), sandwich. Burger, chicken, and so on; Convenience store, noodle, pizza
3. Fast casual. Panera Bread, Atlanta Bread Company, Au Bon Pain, and so on
Family. Bob Evans, Perkins, Friendly's, Steak 'n Shake, Waffle House
5. Casual. Applebee's, Hard Rock Caf'e, Chili's, TGI Friday's
6. Fine dining. Charlie Trotter's, Morton's Steakhouse, Flemming's, The Palm, Four Seasons
7. Other. Steakhouses, seafood, ethnic, dinner houses, celebrity, and so on. Of course, some restaurants fall into more than one category. For example, an Italian restaurant could be casual and ethnic. Leading restaurant concepts in terms of sales have been tracked for years by the magazine Restaurants and
Institutions.

CHAIN ​​OR INDEPENDENT
The impression that a few huge quick-service chains completely dominate the restaurant business is misleading. Chain restaurants have some advantages and some disadvantages over independent restaurants. The advantages include:

1. Recognition in the marketplace
2. Greater advertising clout
3. Sophisticated systems development
4. Discounted procurement

When franchising, various kinds of assistance are available. Independent restaurants are reliably easy to open. All you need is a few thousand dollars, a knowledge of restaurant operations, and a strong desire to
Succeeded. The advantage for independent restaurateurs is that they can 'do their own thing' in terms of concept development, menus, decor, and so on. Without our habits and taste change drastically, there is plenty of room for independent restaurants in certain locations. Restaurants come and go. Some independent restaurants will grow into small chains, and larger companies will buy out small chains.

Once small chains display growth and popularity, they are likely to be bought out by a larger company or will be able to acquire financing for expansion. A temptation for the beginning restaurateur is to observe large restaurants in big cities and to believe that their success can be duplicated in secondary cities. Reading the restaurant reviews in New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, or San Francisco may give the impression that unusual restaurants can be replicated in Des Moines, Kansas City, or Main Town, USA. Because of demographics, these high-style or ethnic restaurants will not click in small cities and towns.

5. Will go for training from the bottom up and cover all areas of the restaurant's operation Franchising involves the least financial risk in that restaurant format, including building design, menu, and marketing plans, already have been tested in the marketplace. Franchise restaurants are less likely to go belly up than independent restaurants. The reason is that the concept is proven and the operating procedures are established with all (or most) of the kinks worked out. Training is provided, and marketing and management support are available. The increased likelihood of success does not come cheap, however.

There is a franchising fee, a royalty fee, advertising royalty, and requirements of personal personal net worth. For those lacking substantive restaurant experience, franchising may be a way to get into the restaurant business-providing they are prepared to start at the bottom and take a crash training course. Restaurant franchisees are entrepreneurs who prefer to own, operate, develop, and extend an existing business concept through a form of contractual business arrangement called franchising.1 Several franchises have ended up with multiple stores and made the big time. Naturally, most aspiring restaurateurs want to do their own thing-they have a concept in mind and can not wait to go for it.

Here are examples of the costs involved in franchising:

1. A Miami Subs traditional restaurant has a $ 30,000 fee, a royalty of 4.5 percent, and requires at least five years' experience as a multi-unit operator, a personal / business equity of $ 1 million, and a personal / business
Net worth of $ 5 million.

2. Chili's requires a monthly fee based on the restaurant's sales performance (currently a service fee of 4 percent of monthly sales) plus the greater of (a) monthly base rent or (b) percentage rent that is at least 8.5 percent of monthly sales .

3. McDonald's requires $ 200,000 of nonborrowed personal resources and an initial fee of $ 45,000, plus a monthly service fee based on the restaurant's sales performance (about 4 percent) and rent, which is a
Monthly base rent or a percentage of monthly sales. Equipment and preopening costs range from $ 461,000 to $ 788,500.

4. Pizza Factory Express Units (200 to 999 square feet) require a $ 5,000 franchise fee, a royalty of 5 percent, and an advertising fee of 2 percent. Equipment costs range from $ 25,000 to $ 90,000, with miscellaneous costs of $ 3,200 to $ 9,000 and opening inventory of $ 6,000.

5. Earl of Sandwich has options for one unit with a net worth requirement of $ 750,000 and liquidity of $ 300,000; For 5 units, a net worth of $ 1 million and liquidity of $ 500,000 is required; For 10 units, net worth
Of $ 2 million and liquidity of $ 800,000. The franchise fee is $ 25,000 per location, and the royalty is 6 percent.

What do you get for all this money? Franchisors will provide:

1. Help with site selection and a review of any proposed sites
2. Assistance with the design and building preparation
3. Help with preparation for opening
Training of managers and staff
5. Planning and implementation of pre-opening marketing strategies
6. Unit visits and ongoing operating advice

There are hundreds of restaurant franchise concepts, and they are not without risks. The restaurant owned or leased by a franchisee may fail even though it is part of a well-known chain that is highly successful. Franchisers also fail. A case in point is the highly touted Boston Market, which was based in Golden, Colorado. In 1993, when the company's stock was first offered to the public at $ 20 per share, it was eager bought, increasing the price to a high of $ 50 a share. In 1999, after the company declared bankruptcy, the share price sank to 75 cents. The contents of many of its stores were auctioned off at
A fraction of their cost.7 Fortunes were made and lost. One group that did not lose was the investment bankers who put together and sold the stock offering and received a sizable fee for services.

The offering group also did well; They were able to sell their shares while the stocks were high. Quick-service food chains as well-known as Hardee's and Carl's Jr. Have also gone through periods of red ink. Both companies, now under one owner called CKE, experienced periods as long as four years when real incomes, as a company, were negative. (Individual stores, company owned or franchised, however, may have done well during the down periods.) There is no assurance that a franchised chain will prosper.

At one time in the mid-1970s, A & W Restaurants, Inc., of Farmington Hills, Michigan, had 2,400 units. In 1995, the chain numbered a few more than 600. After a buyout that year, the chain expanded by 400 stores. Some of the expansions took place in nontraditional locations, such as kiosks, truck stops, colleges, and convenience stores, where the full-service restaurant experience is not important. A restaurant concept may do well in one region but not in another. The style of operation may be highly compatible with the personality of one operator and not another.

Most franchised operations call for a lot of hard work and long hours, which many people perceive as drudgery. If the franchisee lacks sufficient capital and leases a building or land, there is the risk of paying more for the lease than the business can support. Relations between franchisers and the franchisees are often strained, even in the largest companies. The goals of each usually differ; Franchisers want maximum fees, while franchisees want maximum support in marketing and franchised service such as employee training. At times, franchise chains get involved in litigation with their franchises.

As franchise companies have set up hundreds of franchises across America, some regions are planned: More franchised units were built than the area can support. Current franchise holders complain that adding more franchises serves only to reduce sales of existing stores. Pizza Hut, for example, stopped selling
Franchises except to well-qualified buyers who can take on a number of units. Overseas markets institute a large source of the income of several quick-service chains. As might be expected, McDonald's has been the leader in overseas expansions, with units in 119 countries.

With its roughly 30,000 restaurants serving some 50 million customers daily, about half of the company's profits come from outside the United States. A number of other quick-service chains also have large numbers of franchised units abroad. While the beginning restaurateur quite rightly concentrates on being successful here and now, many bright, ambitious, and energetic restaurateurs think of future possibilities abroad. Once a concept is established, the entrepreneur may sell out to a franchiser or, with a lot of guidance, take the form overseas through the franchise. (It is folly to build or buy in a foreign country without a partner who is financially secure and well versed in the local laws and culture.).

The McDonald's success story in the United States and abroad illustrates the importance of adaptability to local conditions. The company opens units in illegally locations and closes those that do not do well. Abroad, men are tailor to fit local customs. In the Indonesia crisis, for example, french fries that had to be imported were taken off the menu, and rice was substituted. Reading the life stories of big franchise winners may suggest that once a franchise is well established, the way is clear sailing. Thomas Monaghan, founder of Domino Pizza, tells a different story. At one time, the chain had accumulated a debt of $ 500 million. Monaghan, a devout Catholic, said that he changed his life by renouncing his greatest sin, pride, and rededicating his life to '' God, family, and pizza. ''

A meeting with Pope John Paul II had changed his life and his feeling about good and evil as '' personal and abiding. '' Monaghan's case, the rededication worked well. There are 7,096 Domino Pizza outlets worldwide, with sales of about $ 3.78 billion a year. Monaghan sold most of his interest in the company for a reported $ 1 billion and announced that he would use his fortune to further Catholic church causes. In the recent past, most food-service millionaires have been franchisers, yet a large number of would-be restaurateurs, especially those enrolled in university degree courses in hotel and restaurant management, are not very excited about being a quick-service franchisee.

They prefer owning or managing a full-service restaurant. Prospective franchisees should review their food experience and their access to money and decision which franchise would be appropriate for them. If they have little or no food experience, they can consider starting their restaurant career with a less expensive franchise, one that provides start-up training. For those with some experience who want a proven concept, the Friendly's chain, which began franchising in 1999, may be a good choice. The chain has more than 700 units. The restaurants are considered family dining and feature ice cream specialties, sandwiches, soups, and quickservice meals.

Let's emphasize this point again: Work in a restaurant you enjoy and sometimes would like to emulate in your own restaurant. If you have enough experience and money, you can strike out on your own. Better yet, work in a successful restaurant where a partnership or proprietorship may be possible or where the owner is thinking about retiring and, for tax or other reasons, may be willing to take payments over time.
Franchisees are, in effect, entrepreneurs, many of whom create chains within chains.

McDonald's had the highest system-wide sales of a quick-service chain, followed by Burger King. Wendy's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC came next. Subway, as one among hundreds of franchisers, gained total sales of $ 3.9 billion. There is no doubt that 10 years from now, a listing of the companies with the highest sales will be different. Some of the current leaders will experience sales Declines, and some will merge with or be bought out by other companies-some of which may be financial giants not previously engaged in the restaurant business.