March, 2013 - "Thank you so much for writing the extremely valuable book Profitable Sales. Ron & I are reading through it, along with watching the dvd, and can't help but be excited about the possibilities for our business by implementing your methods. Ron met you years ago at a JLC Live event when we were first starting out. Overall we have been blessed the last six years but know very well that we would be in an even better place if we had taken the time to follow your methods more thoroughly. We have a lot to do in the next few weeks but we are heading in the right directions thanks to you."
" . . . I have been in construction (both new and remodeling) for over 30 years and had no idea how much I had to learn in order to start my own business and really make money, so I would be able to stay in business.
Your material has been put together in a way so that it works for everyone, whether it is new construction, remodeling, one man operations to big companies. The insights you offer help us new guys decide how big of a company we really want, how to stay focused on the kind of work we want to do and most importantly how to avoid so many pitfalls of the business."
"I am an electrical contractor . . . The purpose of this letter is to express my sincerest gratitude for sharing your knowledge with other contractors like me.
I found your seminar most interesting and enjoyable. I would recommend your seminar to anyone who has a business and wants to understand their business. I will take on all the information you shared with me and continue to thrive in this highly competitive market."
Mercer Island, Washington
"I believe most of all you gave me the insight and tools to change the attitude of how I conduct business. I always knew we had a good product, but now we have a good product and make a great profit!"
Union, New York
"I have to say that my husband has used/read/applied your books, tapes and knowledge over the past 15 years and has stuck to your principles consistently and our business runs like a small well oiled machine. We have no complaints and when the spring was slow, (our slowest season ever) our OCRA was a blessing.
So thank you for your knowledge and gift to help other contractors succeed in business."
"I would like to thank you for all your help and I would like to add that I have always told everyone what a great program Markup and Profit is and how great everyone is there, but I will be sure to add just how much of a 1st Class Act you really are. Everyone is always very nice whenever I have called and more then willing to help with any problem. Now that's what I call service. I try to run my business the same way, and I always get told, "thank you", so it's nice when I get treated good like that.
Keep up the great job, I'm a customer for life."
"I wouldn't expect you to remember me, but I was the one that drove from Utah to attend. I was impressed by your sincere desire to help us realize success in our venture. Your book has become my business bible. The timing of your seminar was providential. We were at a point where we had lost confidence and were being buffeted by opinions which were contrary to our gut feelings, but quite popular amongst the local contractors in this area.
I still review Michael's Ten Cardinal Rules to keep me on track. You have helped me make decisions on when to buy equipment and I show all of my apprentice students how to figure a correct mark-up. I came to the Seminar with a specific question about profit and how much was an honest and appropriate profit. I came away knowing the difference between OH and Profit and with a confidence that has allowed me to look my customers in the eye and tell them what my price is. I know that it is where it has to be to sustain my business.
I owe being in business today to the confidence you instilled in me. . . . May God Bless you for the role that you played in helping us to stay the course. We have been to other seminars, some of which have lasted days and have even tried personal business coaches, but I can honestly say that I gained more from your seminar than from all of our other efforts put together."
"You are a highly informative, progressive, interactive and fun educator. Your Markup and Profit business model and ideas are truly innovative and are in alignment with today's economy, markets and sophisticated consumer's.
It is quite possible that you have saved our company a decade of hard lessons by sharing your brilliant sales and profit strategies, which all building trade professionals will want to learn about right now."
"Working with you, I'm getting the cash flow piece to work, break it up and get less more often.
This really makes the business work more smoothly!!"
"I have been to quite a number of business seminars over the years, and I usually come away disappointed in that I often feel I know more about the subject than the speaker.
Your seminar was the only one I have attended in 35 years where I was literally blown away. Your in-depth REALISTIC view of contracting was not only amazingly accurate, but in the span of about 7 hours I learned more about what I should be doing than my previous 10 years in the business.
Your book and seminar should be required by all who enter or aspire to enter the contracting business. If only I had been to your seminar 3 or 4 years ago, I would probably be much better off financially today."
Plainview, New York
"Michael's straight-from-the-hip, no nonsense approach was thorough, effective and easy to understand. I saw how to make more money in this one session than I have in all the years I have been involved in the construction business!
Michael has a passion for what he does, helping people in the building industry look at their field from another perspective and finally be able to make a profit for themselves . . . I urge anyone interested in succeeding at their profession, and not just surviving, to take some time out to pick up a book or watch the tape . . . You will be glad you did!"
Colorado Springs, Colorado
"The information is just what our company needed. It reinforced the reason we're in business - to make money. It also gave us those "magical formulas" that we knew just had to be out there somewhere, and valuable pointers to enhance our sales techniques. We loved our business before - now, we really love it!"
Las Vegas, Nevada
"I have learned very much from you about the construction industry starting with your seminar in Pasadena, CA (2000) & the following newsletters & blog. This knowledge has helped our company's bottom line tremendously...thank you very much."
"The biggest change is in an attitude I can feel developing inside of me about myself, the way I dress, the things I say about my business, and my new relationship to my clients. This has been a most positive change. Thank you once again for a real learning and life-changing experience."
Palomar Mountain, California
"Thank you for your insightful and informative teaching materials and newsletters. I am a newly established and small remodeling contractor and have employed many of your suggestions in my business. They have worked well and have given me the confidence necessary to compete in the Southern California market. (by compete I don't mean offering the lowest bid :-) "
"I usually don't write sappy letters. However I wanted to let you know that I appreciate the newsletter you put out. I get something useful out of every issue."
St. Maries, Idaho
"I just wanted to take a second to say that I really enjoy your newsletter. It was recommended to me by another friend in the flooring business, and I think it's a great resource to keep on track with what's important. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight with all of us out here in the trades!"
"I am just writing to let you know how pleased I am with your newsletter. I am subscribed to many newsletters but yours beats them all by the quality and informational value. Thank you for not trying to sell us bunch of stuff. I am looking forward to your next newsletter!"
"I think this was your most helpful newsletter and probably the best I've read in the last twenty years by anyone. It condenses down to the bare essence the secrets of success in our business without all the fluff. Extremely effective and accurate. I can't wait to share this information by an outside expert to reinforce this to my staff. I've tested and proven everything you say."
"In your May newsletter . . . AMEN on the professionalism comment! I came late to this industry from the executive side of the dot-com industry, thus I had the public's perception that all contractors are rough around the edges and probably not very business savvy. I am just into my third year as a contractor. I get lots of call backs after I complete my jobs. However, I am highly respected by the public I engage.
How come? I've transferred my executive skills to my firm, and created an image of competence and organization. I actually run a very open business with my customers - I've nothing to hide. And I always get paid on time. Oh yes, the call backs? They are for new projects, not repairs to work we already completed. I would add, Michael, that our profitability and much of our granular organization is due to your guidance."
"To be honest with you, after 36 years as a general contractor I still have no networking with others in my field and I was so appreciative when I found Michael's columns. I have turned other guys on to it, who also find it greatly informative.
We have been very busy this year and I didn't realize I hadn't been getting it until now. The psychological reflections and familial gratitude pauses as well as the 'take time for yourself' alerts recommended have been severely missed (just ask my wife and family) . . .
Thank you so much for the years of what I considered and utilized as personal/professional counseling. I know it is naive and fan like, but I consider Michael and now his staff, more than a mentor and professional advisors, but friends too."
"I just wanted to let you know that I am enjoying your newsletters immensely and appreciate the information and motivation that you are sending along. It is helping me put things in perspective and move from contracting as a "full time hobby" to contracting as a profitable business.
I have always lived my life as one of the good guys but have never had much of a handle on running a business. I have managed to survive the last 19 years in business as a result of my integrity and honesty, but I have never been financially successful. I'm changing that now. Thanks for the help."
"I went to your seminar last week and found it to be a great wake-up call, informative and interesting. You have certainly accumulated a wealth of knowledge and recorded that knowledge well!
Thank you for writing the books 'Markup & Profit' and 'Profitable Sales'. They've become gospel to me as I strive to grow my business and become more and more professional. You've done a great thing for the industry. Thank you!"
"I purchased Profitable Sales and Mark Up and Profit. I made sure to read them twice and I now keep them on my desk as a reference. For example, I had a customer who I gave a contract to say, "Your competitor is quite a bit lower, so if you split the difference, you have the job". I used your words almost verbatim and told him that's not how we work and if you want the best quality materials, subs who are licensed and insured, etc . . . I was pleasantly surprised that he called back and said I have the job. He later told me my presentation and professional demeanor helped him make his decision. Thanks again."
"I am currently absorbed in your 'Profitable Sales - A Contractor's Guide' book. I can clearly appreciate the values you stress about returning phone calls and emails quickly as you have so well shown in your response to me. Not only that, your book arrived one day after I ordered it and I was highly impressed that it was a signed copy! You are a man of your word. Thanks for sharing all the great advice."
In a follow-up note . . . "By the way, your book 'Profitable Sales' just keeps getting better and better. I am so fired up in terms of putting your ideas into practice here. I'm only on Chapter 7 about the four basic questions but I can predict we are making many mistakes in the way we handle the initial sales call. I base this on the ratio of won versus lost proposals. It should be much better and finally I am seeing the light shed by your 'on the mark' examples. This information is timely and invaluable to helping us improve our batting average."
"I got your sales book a couple of days ago and I've read it already. You did a great job blending theory with flexibility and realistic situations. I struggle with sales, not wanting to 'over-qualify' prospects, but at the same time not wanting to waste my time.
The point that hit me the most was setting guidelines and parameters, but remaining helpful and patient with potential customers. Your real-life experience is evident, as many of your stories and situational advice sounds like some of my sales calls. I enjoyed the book, and it will definitely help me on future sales calls. Thanks for being an advocate for all of us."
San Diego, California
"Please keep up the great work you do for contractors struggling to do good work and stay in business. Your newsletter and the mailers are a great source of encouragement and tools to fight the good battle.
I have been introduced to programs that cost as much as $800.00 per month with a program time of 16 to 24 months. Your program and your estimating program have been the most cost effective ways to improve my business. Without your input my business would be floundering.
Your lecture has dispelled the notions of many proud contractors/carpenters that people will respect good craftsmanship and pay accordingly. With your book and your newsletter I feel that I can gain the upper hand to running a successful business and employ people that can build a career that they too can enjoy and reach their potential."
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"I just started my own contracting company two months ago and was looking for some help. I stumbled across a couple of software programs that were inexpensive for beginning contractor's but found that they were very complex to figure out and did not have any flexibility. Then I came across Fast Track Estimating. I was nervous about spending the money because of the other software I had wasted money on. But I'm glad I decided to go ahead and order your software.
Fast Track Estimating is not perfect for me but the flexibility allows me to customize it to my needs and I like that. . .
Thank you for providing such a great tool for contractors. Seeing that the program was so well thought out, I decided to buy your book as well, "Markup & Profit; A Contractor's Guide". It came in the mail today and I can't put it down . . . I'm learning so much."
"Just read your latest email newsletter and thought I'd write to offer affirmation that your philosophies toward residential construction company sales and management as well as customer management really work.
Since attending one of your seminars and reading your book several years back, we have been basing all of our design/build practice on firm price contracts. All of our pricing is done with estimating software. We automatically build our OHP factor in-nothing is "stick-priced". This process has saved us hundreds of hours both in office and wrangling with clients (and the added stress that goes with that), and has probably added years to our lives.
Your system is by far the easiest way to run a residential remodeling company. I just wish I could convince more of my competition in our Central Mass. market to read your book-there'd be a lot less education of the client-base between T&M and fixed/firm price contract pricing."
"Thank you for your help in getting my new software up and running. I spent a little time exploring and am very impressed with the logic that this program is based on. I especially like the way the program lists estimate items and keeps them in order even if I have to go back an add something I missed. The ability to easily add subcontractor prices without having to create an entire cost item is wonderful. You don't know what I have been through with the last estimating software I purchased but it really makes me appreciate Fast Track."
Thank you for writing the books 'Markup & Profit' and 'Profitable Sales'. They've become gospel to me as I strive to grow my business and become more and more professional. You've done a great thing for the industry. Thank you!"
"I am a very small remodeling contractor. I have been looking for a way to make my business life easier. After going about $10,000.00 in the hole my first year in business, I knew I needed help. I did not know what kind of help I needed, I just knew that I needed some serious help. I ran across an advertisement for a book called 'Markup And Profit'. . . . "
"The book was great. No, it was fantastic. I could not put it down. Light bulbs were going on all over the place. It was so enjoyable to read, that I re-read the thing a couple more times. Not only was it more than informative, it was like Mr. Stone was sitting right there talking to me. I have never read a book that has been written in such a way. It was written, talking to me, not talking at me. I have never had a book, both teach me and make me laugh at the same time. It was as though it had been written just for me and all about me."
"Ordered book back in mid-summer and have read through and through and worked examples and have applied to our business. We are a commercial-industrial contractor mainly doing concrete with general work on occasion. Even though book is directed to residential we found also applies to our type of work. We have changed our business to reflect your basic principles for overhead & profit. That has meant that we bid or negotiate more projects but have found that the markup & profit principle works.
Some projects we have quoted, I have to read The Board or book to keep on course and not start doing something stupid as have been done in the past. These projects are in progress or starting, so we are going to keep a very close check on the progress.
It makes me sick see how misinformed we have been over the years from our supposedly professional help. Thanks for the HELP!"
"What a great book this is!! I think every contractor in business should read "Markup and Profit" as required reading to get a license. I look forward to continuing my learning with your expertise, even though I've been a licensed electrician for some 14 years."
Long Island, New York
"For 32 years I have been looking for someone to tell me about markup & profit, thank you. I have read the book 3 times and finally had to put it down to let it sink in, that's how hungry I am about this information.
I am one of those contractors that always felt guilty about my prices and then ended up giving all the extra's away. After reviewing ten jobs in the past, I found that I left money on the table. The greatest thing your book has given me is confidence on how I approach each job and potential customer and also how I handle my personal life's money."
"What a great book! I'm only about halfway through it and boy have I been losing $.
I've only been in business part time about a year. From reading your book it looks like I'm just working for wages, not profit. I'm looking forward to putting the strategies that you teach into action. I will suggest this book to all my friends."
"I just wanted to drop you an e-mail letting you know how much I'm enjoying your book Markup & Profit. I received it yesterday and I've already read the first 150 pages. So much of what you say in the book is so true. I am a highly respected contractor in southeastern NH and love the trade that I'm in. However, after having done this for almost 20 years, I still feel as much like a used car salesman as I did when I first started (no offense to used car salesman by the way).
I can do the work in my sleep but still struggle pulling the business aspect of it together. Your book has already answered so many questions for me and better prepared me for my working relationship with my clients."
Exeter, New Hampshire
"I have your book and have read only a third of it and now understand my husband and I have been going about this business wrong. Thank you for such a great book."
" . . . I also want to thank you for publishing such a great book. I bought Markup and Profit a few months ago and it has helped me understand the business end of electrical contracting. I know what I have learned from the book and the calculator will keep me from ever winding up tired and broke again at the end of the work year, and will help bring in the income I need to support my family and have a good future in this business."
Colonia, New Jersey
"I am a remodeling contractor in Tucson, AZ and have been doing it for 2.5 years now. I just finished reading your book and I must say, it is a book that everyone should read the first day they start their own company. I can't tell you how many questions I have had since day one that I have asked other experienced contractors that you answered in your book. I am almost upset that there is not more education readily available that would point to resources such as yours. Thank you for a job well done."
"I first read your book A Contractor's Guide To Markup & Profit a little over a year ago. And I have to say, it has been an amazing year! As soon as I began reading your book I couldn't put it down. Late nights, coffee breaks, five minutes here . . . 1/2 hour there, any chance I could get I read some more. I am now re-reading it for a second time, and I refer to the book continually.
I've learned how to make projections, better estimating procedures, and most importantly how to price a job. Our business has completely changed from what it had been . . . we were headed for ruin. After applying several of the concepts you presented in your book, and by attending the Remodeling Show Conferences & reading trade magazines like they're going out of style (also recommended by you in your book), we actually grew last year! And for the first time I can see how profit is made and how we can actually grow our small remodeling firm. Imagine that, our company making a profit!
I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to put such a great guide together. It has been a key factor in turning our business around. For me personally, reading your book has given me a "fire in the belly" for growing our company and for playing the role that I should as the owner. I still have a lot to learn, and our company has a long way to go, the difference is I now realize the need for continual education and how it benefits each of us."
"I wanted to let you know how much this contractor appreciates your work.
I have been in business for seven and a half years. In this time I have tried numerous approaches to doing business. While I have made it this long I have built considerable debt. About two years ago a friend gave me a copy of your book Markup and Profit. I am not a big reader, and am ashamed to say it sat on my desk, then book shelf, until this winter. At which time he and another successful friend, after seeing my total discouragement, met with me to help me decide if I should continue in the business or get out.
After reviewing all aspects of how I am doing business they felt I am not making any one big mistake and should keep at it. They 'demanded' however, among other things, I read your book. (I will also say that the one friend credits your book and Christian principles with making his company very successful).
I finished it in January and have begun putting it into practice including a percentage plan to pay down debt. I am already feeling some benefit from your ideas and am encouraged that, after such a long time, this may actually work. It has been a blessing. I am also enjoying your monthly e-mail news letter, this is the second one I've received.
Thanks again for good, straightforward information."
Montague, New Jersey
"Just a note to let you know how much I appreciate your manual on markup and profit. I have just re-entered the residential construction arena after spending 23 years in the heavy construction trade as a union carpenter and supervisor. I was involved in residential construction in the late 70's but at that time all I had was a knowledge of how to 'drive nails.' Consequently it didn't take long for me to seek out another form of employment and so I joined the union in 1979.
In May of last year I was approached by some friends of mine about building a home for their daughter. I had previously built their home in 1985 and I was excited to have the opportunity. To say the least a lot has changed since 1985!
Unfortunately not only did I come up short on the man hour estimate but I didn't add any markup at all. Thank God I had my son as my only employee! That's why your book is so great. I really want to do it right this time and even though I learned a lot on that first house, I definitely don't want to repeat the same mistakes."
"John has been meeting with every customer and going over the contract and his sales ratio has definitely improved!! We recently were bidding against three other contractors for a large remodeling job. One contractor sent his estimate in the mail (totally turned the customer off) and the other contractor never called back. It's amazing what a little face-to-face interaction and professionalism can do. Time and time again now we are hearing the customer tell us they have picked us to do the job because of John's presentation and his explaining how the job will get done. Thought you'd like to know that, since he learned it from you!"
"I just want to say it is nice to have some like you out there to help us contractors sharpen our skills. I was the epitome of the contractors who you wrote about in your book. I even have a boat. Now I have a solid contract and get 95 percent of my monies before I am done. And for some reason all my clients seem to have a great respect for me."