Since 1999 we’ve helped thousands of general contractors, new home builders, remodelers, and specialty contractors of all types build stronger, more profitable businesses.
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Articles by Topic
You had ambition and energy. Then reality set in.
There’s a lot of confusion over using markup vs margin to price jobs.
Guidelines to a more successful construction-related business.
Being profitable doesn’t mean getting rich off your clients.
Don’t confuse profit with salary or hourly wages. Making a profit isn’t optional: Your business needs profit to survive.
Ten Cardinal Rules for a successful construction-related business.
Don’t take any job where the client tells you how much you can charge for your work.
You don’t have to be competitive. You have to be profitable. If you aren’t profitable, your business won’t last.
The basics of construction estimating, so you can create more accurate estimates in a shorter time.
Why clients request itemized estimates, and how you should respond.
Estimating the cost of a remodeling, renovation or specialty project accurately is critical if you want to be profitable.
Estimating construction isn’t easy. When profits are down, missing the estimate on jobs is almost always part of the reason.
Estimating errors cost money. Lower your error factor but considering these common mistakes.
What you do has value. Respect your time and your knowledge.
The purpose of an estimate is to price the job. If you want to be profitable, accuracy matters.
“Your price is too high” means you haven’t done your job as a salesperson.
“The #1 reason I lose jobs is ‘your price is too high.’ What am I doing wrong?”
If they called you, doesn’t that mean they need or want the work done?
Is transparency the way to go when selling? Be careful who you listen to.
Don’t worry about what “the other guy” is charging.
Ten Cardinal Rules for residential construction sales.
Give clients options when you quote the work they want done.
Why cost plus and time & material contracts should be avoided, for both contractors and building owners.
A selection of issues that should be written into every contract to protect your profitability.
“Let’s see what the contract says about that.”
If you’re doing service work, make sure your client knows what to expect before you start.
There are things you can and should do when a client tries to dodge making payments.
A design agreement allows you to get paid for your work. Don’t waste your effort or your time.
Accounting Business Business Saving Tips Change Work Orders Clients Company Reputation Contracts Cost Plus Design Agreements Education Employees Encouragement Estimating Family Franchises Getting Paid Insurance Jobs Itemization Lead Generation Marketing markup or margin Office Management Personal Pricing Jobs Production Professional Relationships Profit – Not a Dirty Word Real Life Issues Sales Steps to Positive Cash Flow Subcontractor/General Contractor Success Stories Tips Transparency
Thank you for making life a lot easier for us all. I have enjoyed learning a lot from markup and profit and well almost the whole book is now covered with highlighter and pen from making notes to help refer back to when needed. It has to be the best contractor book I have ever read or seen on the market. It's real and the numbers don't lie and you have the background to prove it. Thank you very, very much Michael!!
Your willingness to answer our questions, classes, and all the resources we have gotten our hands on through markupandprofit.com have proven to be invaluable to us. We'll be celebrating our 10 year business anniversary in July and, in part, that is thanks to the insights we've gleaned from what your business accomplishes.
I've been a professional Sales rep for the past 17 years . . . I literally have 25 other sales books in my collection, and yours is absolutely amazing. What a wealth of knowledge, and I just can't put it down . . . Great job, and this book just became my favorite sales book (that says a lot).
I am so glad I found Michael's books and classes, they have helped me tremendously.
Thank you, you changed my life and that of my family. I’m earning a decent living and staying relatively sane. Thank you for the work you do.
I wanted to take a moment and reach out to you and say thank you for taking the time to educate us. We are a restoration company and over the years, we have used several vendors for our education in the past, none of which have left us eager to learn more. We have taken several of your classes for our continuing education and found them very engaging and informative. We will continue using your site for our future educational needs.
I just wanted to send you a thank you for literally saving my business . . . I didn't know I was in trouble and more so, how much trouble I was in. Thank you for all you have done and all you do!
What your team has done for our business has been beyond significant and we are eternally grateful.
I'm here doing my daily reading of your book - Markup and Profit: A contractors guide, I also listen to it on Audible. . . . I'll continue to spread the word about how great your book is.
Thank you guys for everything you do, please keep it going!
It’s clear in all of your writings and speaking engagements that you genuinely want to see the Good Guys Win. So a big thank you for all you do for us and for the wisdom you’re passing along, we’re all very grateful.
I had no idea the wealth of information you put into Profitable Sales! I couldn’t read fast enough so I also bought the audio...I’m only up to chapter 8 but thanks to you and the information you packed in, my sales skills are being honed and polished on a daily basis...I am almost numb at how you’ve helped me grow our business...If I’d had your teaching 30 years ago, we’d be millionaires by now. Oh well, I’ll take it now, at 50 years of age.
The event was so amazing – I’m not a contractor or remodeler but I fully paid attention. I love Michael’s feistiness. It was refreshing.
Thank you so much to yourself and Michael for putting together this course which I have just watched! I am in absolute awe of your experience and knowledge! When Michael stated in the course he has been estimating since 1969, I said to myself, "Wow, he is a legend"!
Michael's classes and newsletters have been the most helpful information I have ever accessed from all the different building publications over the last several years. Thank you so much.
I wanted to send a quick email to say thank you for all you do. The information you provide is so valuable! My husband and I have been big fans for several years. Just know we all appreciate your hard work.
Thank you so much for today’s webinar, I’ve just finished watching and I am so appreciative to you both for the time, effort and invaluable information you provide! The years of experience and knowledge is INCREDIBLE! 🙏🏼 This was my first webinar and shall not be the last!
One of the first things I did when I went out on my own was read Markup and Profit and those lessons have been a large part of why I'm still in business. I have referred it to several other contractors and I know it has helped many, many people and business get established/become profitable.
You two make a great team, I truly felt the passion in your teaching and sharing. It will not only help us to be successful in business but most importantly with family.
I would like to thank you so very much for being a fantastic, positive influence on me and my business. There is not a week that goes by that I don't use a principle you taught us in your two day class or open your book for reference. The class and book have been a blessing to my career in the construction industry. Thank you, thank you thank you!
I have been a massive fan of your valuable work since I first got in touch and took delivery of your Mark Up and Profit book many years ago. It was a fantastic help to me at a difficult time and I have always been grateful.
We've been huge fans of your work! Lucky for us, my boss stumbled on your materials early in this endeavor . . . Your books and proposal writer software have been a wonderful resource for us.
I’ve been a huge fan of CPR for years and I want to thank you for everything your company has done for the construction community. CPR articles are frequently discussed during our Team meetings.
Wanted to say again how much I appreciate the work that you guys do.
Over the past few years we've read your books and watched your online tutorials. You've changed our approach to the way we do business and we can't thank you enough. It's not easy in the construction industry and Markup & Profit has been like a bible for us.
I am a landscape contractor . . . I realize your target audience is building contractors but I wanted to let you know that I get so much out of your newsletters. I am so grateful. This has been a huge line of support, clarity and inspiration for my work.
I truly look forward to each and every one of your newsletters. I have read Profitable Sales and Markup & Profit several times and browse them often. In the offseason I spend a lot of time re-reading your writings. I truly cannot express how much I appreciate the knowledge you have shared.
I and my team have been so encouraged and guided by your insight for many years now. I end this year very grateful for all your faithful influence over our entire operation. Michael, I can vividly remember, and often reflect on my first desperate conversation with you. It was truly a turning point for me. I can honestly say that no other single outside influence has made such a positive impact on how we run, what is now, a thriving, healthy and profitable construction business.
I want to thank you for helping me restructure my business to operate as a successful business, more efficient in addition to being more profitable. Although it takes a little time, in the end, my success will be partly attributed to CPR . . . I see light at the end of the tunnel, I have used this once so far on a job won, $160,000. total estimate, during 12 weeks, my employees and myself took home paychecks, paid subs, bought materials, without ever having to 'Finance' the job . . .
Just wanted to also say that Your teachings really have changed my business for the best. We are finally able to grow because we are making enough money to do so. I'm very glad I stopped listening to the idiots preaching the “industry standard” as far as markup and profit. Thanks again for all that you and your wife do.
Our team is really enjoying your book, taking it a chapter a week and we have a one-hour conference call every Monday to discuss the previous week's chapter. It's great and confirming that a lot of the things we already do as a company, but there's a lot of things that we don't do. It's allowed us to fine tune and we're looking forward to continued growth.
Your books and online training courses have been absolutely instrumental in getting our business on the right track. Thanks! I just wish I came across them sooner, as it would have saved me a year (or more) of bad practices and costly mistakes.
Hi Michael, we attended your seminar a few years ago. Not a month goes by when we don't haul out your big book and look up the answer to a question.
Thank you for everything you do. Thank you for the work both you and Devon do to make this industry better and more professional.
You are both such a tremendous blessing, to myself and so many others . . . You have brought so much of this industry up a couple of notches, into a more professional sphere.
Putting your principles into practice has made all the difference. The future of our business is looking much brighter than it has in a very long time. We deeply appreciate the influence you have had in that.
Thanks! You are the best that has ever lived in this industry!
Thank you, Michael, for your continued great advice, teaching, and availability to me and many other construction business owners.
I own markup and profit: a contractors guide! It’s my business bible, and one of the only reasons I’m still in business after 4 1/2 years on my own with no college education!!
I have been following you for some time now and I want to congratulate you both on, in my opinion, the most straight forward valuable insights for contractors I have come across.
Whenever I get your newsletter, I'm reminded of how many people and families you and Devon have helped.
I sat through Michaels classes at JLC Live in Portland more than once along with attending the two day class a few years back. I learned the stuff I never would have figured out on my own and we have put our company into profitable territory with a good projection of growth! I appreciate what you folks do and recommend the Markup and Profit book to all of the young tradesmen I know.
Thank you for everything you do. I have been in business for myself 12 years now. Haven't felt like I was in business by myself since I started receiving your newsletter.
Thank you to you and Michael for your incredible resources. I have become a dedicated reader of your books and blogs and have recently purchased the Profitable Estimating online class which is excellent as well.
I worked for my father's home building company for a few years and just recently my wife and I branched off to start our own remodeling and home design company. I feel confident (still a little scared 😉 in running the business thanks to all of your great resources.
I attended my first class with you in 2015...had over $1 million in sales at that time and ended up over $100K in debt!! After learning from you and putting into practice much of your teaching and principles - we now have a profitable remodeling company that we are proud of.
We started our own business this year, and the first thing we did was purchase your book. Great pointers, thanks so much!!!
I have been working in residential alterations and renovations 15yrs. I am starting a contracting framing and siding business of my own and love what Micheal has to offer for business management training. I took your one hour Markup and Profits class and it was beneficial. I plan to take the rest . . . I have been looking all over in my area for the type of training you provide and can't find it anywhere.
I want you to know that I just read your book and it has changed my entire business structure . . . I want to thank you for the information you shared through your book, it has transformed my thinking about profit and mark up.
I want to start by saying, THANK YOU, for writing Markup & Profit Revisited. I have an MBA and we literally spent years learning to dissect financial statements, but they didn't teach us how to use those numbers to run a profitable business . . . The basics presented in your book are applicable to any business. I especially appreciate the time dedicated to "wrong math" and why it's wrong. That's very helpful.
Michael advised me when I was having a difficult client. He has a great knack for understanding where people stand and I think he has helped many honest contractors go from losing money to having a decent life. I think the biggest change I was able to make was to not be focused on price. To be focused on professional service and professional work. People will pay for that.
I really just wanted to say thank you. I would say that 90% of my business has been structured and based off of the advise in your books and I am now fully employed by my company and I no longer work for any outside employers. I know I am on the right track thanks to all of your help and the products you push on your website. I also just bought the proposal writer and it works great!
Thank you so much for this relevant information!! We are just going through some issues with payment and troublesome clients so I am so grateful for this information. As a first-time business owner, I have been struggling with accounting and contracting issues and I find the newsletter articles very helpful. Thank you again for the wonderful information.
I am really getting energized about making my business profitable. Thank you for the inspiration and motivation (i.e., boot gently applied to behind).
Fast Track Estimating Program rocks! easy to use and common sense format.
I've been able to find the answers to many questions since coming across your site. It's extremely informative and does a great job pointing out where mistakes can be made when running a company and the proper steps to take to ensure a healthy and profitable business.
Just read your brief article about estimating. Thank you. . . . I awoke this morning with a renewed sense of priority. Making money and growing the company . . . Thank you again for being a voice to be listened to in our business.
Thanks for the information in your "revisited" book! After reading only a few chapters I have realized how much money I have been missing over the years! I can see how this book will revolutionize my business, it is truly an answer to my prayers!
I recently finished the online Mark-up and Profit class and learned so much; we know we are not charging enough!
We want you to know how blessed we have already been by your 2 day class. Although it felt like we got punched right in the gut, it was exactly what we needed to head into the right direction.
Your books and advice columns have helped us transform our business. We are now more specialized and have systems in place that weren't previously there. We charge a fair amount for our work and have been able to put ourselves on payroll for the first time, ever . . . It's glorious, with so much less stress to run the business when we follow your tenets for success!
If I hadn't came across your website 6 years ago I would have scrapped the idea of running my own construction business entirely. I knew that you were onto exactly what I needed to hear when I first started reading your website. Thank you for being the light at the end of the tunnel for me.
I am thoroughly enjoying and learning a great deal from your online estimating seminar and I'm only half way through it.
We have found your website and your resources to be a wealth of information to us. We have been using your books and resources for many years and all our estimators are required to read your Profitable Sales Books.
Your Markup and Profit book combined with the online estimating course has saved me considerable pain and suffering. Having an idea of how to steer the ship and avoid the rocks is invaluable. Looking back, there's no question I would have gotten it wrong enough that the probability of success would be low.
I am SO thankful for Michael's materials. I have the print book, e-book, I am half way through the estimating class and purchased the accounting class also. . . . Thank you all for your priceless materials.
I am a big fan of what you are doing, and your books have taught me a lot about running a construction company . . . thanks for providing such fantastic learning materials!
Markup and profit has become my bible, just a fantastic book that is super easy to read and follow along...the fact that it is written in plain English by a contractor is huge!
I am currently taking your estimating course. I really appreciate the course. I am very young in the industry in terms of gaining business experience & greatly desire a firm foundation. Your course is a great alternative to university opportunities and costs!
I'm really impressed with your instructional videos of which I listened to two just this weekend.
Believe it when I say that the information you present is the best I have come across. There are many ways to present the information needed for contracting and many opinions on “how to run” your business. For my money, your product is the best value
I work for a general contractor and we absolutely love you guys! Thanks for all that you do
Hi Michael...I've purchased your Mark up and Profit book and all I can say is I wish someone had sat me down 25 years ago and gone over this material.
I would like to take this opportunity again to thank Michael for his excellent book. The construction industry, particularly here in Great Britain and probably worldwide needs more people like him
Although I've been in construction for 30+ years, I've only owned my own company for 2 years....and there is so much I didn't know that I didn't know. I've read your book "Markup and Profit" a couple times and it has been helpful.
It's really hard to believe the years have just flown by us since 2001. There is rarely a month that goes by that we don't talk about Michael Stone and something we've learned from you! We really appreciate all you have done for us and the industry over the years
Thank you for the great newsletters. I read every one of them. I have taken a few of your online classes and have benefited greatly from them. Thank you for your great service. Merry Christmas!
I stumbled upon your website some months ago, and I have been addicted ever since
Thank you so much for an amazing and eye opening seminar . . . You both are awesome.
I would not still be in business if it were not for the books, and what I learned about business finances from you.
I have purchased both of your books and I have been following your strategies. I have had success in paying down my company debt and it looks like I might be done paying it off this year. After it is paid off I will enjoy a decent salary and profit for the company.
I appreciate all the knowledge you have shared with us over the years and I still enjoy re-reading your books often.
Thanks for all you 2 do. I will admit that I've been ready to give up for about a year. I told someone that now I'm not just willing to continue, but I'm excited to implement things we learned - not only in the business but also in the home. I feel as though we are back on the same page.
The class was excellent. A real eye opener!! I really did appreciate the fact that he has made it his mission to help people at an extremely reasonable rate. Few people do that in this world.
The class was really helpful. I read the book a couple years ago, and have been fighting tooth and nail to get my husband and business partner to embrace the practices that Michael recommends. Somehow, though, it made more sense to hubby when Michael said it…. funny how that works!
I have purchased some of your online courses and books which have been very helpful and packed with great information.
I bought your Markup & Profit Contractor's Guide and it changed the entire way we do business. We have always been profitable but now we purpose to be in control of our numbers and outcome. I finally understand how it works and I am very grateful to you for breaking it down in a very understandable format.
Thank you for sharing your insight experience and knowledge it has saved my business, life and family and allowed me to continue in the profession i love.
We met at the 2 day seminar that you had in Charlotte, NC over the summer. Everyday I realize just how valuable your class is to my business. Probably the best investment I have ever made. Thank you for that.
Things are great here and you and Michael will be happy to hear we finished the year with a 10% net profit (after all expenses and salaries paid- our best yet!). We have followed his mark-up rules as closely as ever and are proof that it really works!
We absolutely loved Michael's training and knowledge. We feel like we now have a source to get the education we have needed to be successful.
I have listened to a couple courses that you have given and was very impressed with the amount of USABLE information I received.
I purchased your contract writing software earlier this year. I've familiarized myself with it and have put it to great use . . . Before I started using your software, our contracts were poor/scant if existent at all. After using your software and realizing how quick, easy and thorough my contracts were, I told my brother he needed to install it on his computer so he could do the same.
One year ago, I stumbled across your website searching for answers to questions on how to get off to the right start - On my own. Since that time, I have read from your blog roll everyday and purchased your book . . . The year started off strong, slowed down in the summer and is now finishing with a big bang. Mostly through the use of intelligent branding and implementing your solid business methodologies.
Year one will see all expenses paid, leave $18K in my personal account and $47K net in the business account. Although I have only paid the face value of your book, the rewards gained are priceless.
Have been following CPR for quite a while. Am a newsletter subscriber. THANK YOU for all that you have done and continue to do for our industry! I wish there were more like you both!!!
We really appreciate the professionalism and standards you have established and taught over the many years in our industry.
(My friend) beat me up for years to read your mark up and profit. I finally started and its already changing how I think. THANK YOU!
I have learned a lot over the past nine months about the construction business but I still have much to learn about running it well and efficiently. Your site has been a wealth of knowledge and encouragement for me and I share it with my husband and our new team. Thank you for sharing and helping others with the skills and wisdom given to you.
I love your site. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I am getting more serious about my business and providing quality work that I want to do rather than bend to the customers budget. For years I have taken on whatever work that came my way and priced according to what the client wanted to pay. Then, while doing the job I would be working away taking way too long because of my picky nature.
I would end up doing a beautiful job that they didn't pay for and hurting my self financially but most importantly mentally and emotionally. I am passionate about doing quality work. You have helped me adopt the right attitude towards charging properly.
I am a log builder in Northern Russia. I am very glad I came across your books, lectures and website, because this is exactly what I need help with: running my company and dealing with clients. Thank you for your good work.
I just want to say how much I appreciated everything you guys and gals are doing to help promote ethical and profitable contractors. I've been in the trades for 20 yrs. but still new to contracting and running a business. The information you have provided me has been a tremendous aid in building my company. The information is from hands-on people who are familiar with real world scenarios.
I've purchased Markup and Profit and Profitable Sales book. Phenomenal books!! Michael thank you for all the valuable information. I've learned a lot.
Love the material content. I am drawn back to it often and read information, watch video material and read the blogs. I find everything very informative. The material I have reviewed has changed my business with immediate impact....Love it....
I very much enjoyed your Profit and Markup Book, and appreciate your efforts in helping those in the construction field with the often overlooked business side of the job. Your book, website, and videos have helped very much. Thanks for your efforts.
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all that you do. I took a seminar from you in March of 2000 and was so impressed that I have often advised builders to look into your work. I bought a set of tapes which I lent to several builders over the years. Bottom line: You are an excellent resource for builders in my opinion.
I don't remember where I originally heard about you, but a couple of years ago I purchased Markup and Profit and signed up for the newsletter. Fortunately the rest is not history, but a successful business.
Your information and newsletter has changed my business for the better, Thanks for all that you do!
I received my book today and have quickly read it from cover to cover. I will now be reviewing all the incredibly helpful advice, section by section. I cannot thank Michael enough for this wonderful work! I think I have made every single mistake highlighted in the book. The results are predictable - debt and a non paying job. I am convinced that our small business will turn around now! We are very skilled craftsmen but business...not so much. To be given the tools based on our numbers really does help our confidence, (and artisan type guilt), in charging a fair price for our work.
We joined our local HBA and had some business questions and a colleague said that I most certainly needed to start reading your markup and profit book and that started our quest for more information to make our business better. I read the book cover to cover and learned a lot of very useful information that will begin and continue to help our business grow. Thank you.
Thank you Mr. Stone. I have bought these books several times over and can't keep them in stock. I am buying two of each this time so I can hopefully keep a copy for myself. I love the Fast Track Proposal software. I am still implementing my procedures and have many steps still to take up the mountain, but it's going the right way.
I gave away my first copy of your book to my brother-in-law who's been contracting for 20 years. As he leafed through the pages of your book, he kept saying things like, "That's exactly right, but the way he expressed it makes so much sense..." Thank you for such helpful products. I'm working through your video estimating course (just completed courses 3-4 today between jobs!)
I am one of your big fans. You both are awesome. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
I'm on your MarkupandProfit newsletter list, a member of Construction Business Owners Group, and I've purchased other products from you in the past, ie: Fast Track Estimating Software, and the Profitable Sales book. I've been happy with with all of it, Thank you.
I somehow came across your original book and have kept it until the pages have worn and in some cases fallen out! One of my most valuable business tools, I decided it was time to get the revised book. Thanks for your work and tireless efforts to help contractors.
Thank you for providing a professional model to follow. Your advice and the content of your programs has been extremely valuable to our business.
I have read the book markup and profit and wow it really opened my eyes to what I have been missing out on, now hopefully my business will profit with the right markup, thanks in advance.
I LOVE your website, weekly articles and it all is so true! Thank you for being the one great place to find info and realize that I'm not the only ones with these problems. 🙂
I have purchased a few of your other products one of which is "Markup and Profit (revisited)". There is no doubt I am more confident in pricing and estimating jobs. Now it's past time to learn more about selling. The statement "nobody makes any money till someone sells something" is so true and overlooked. I'm greatly looking forward to getting into the Profitable Sale's book.
Michael Stone is AWESOME. His examples have been a part of my business from the beginning. What an awesome teacher.
We took the continuing education classes required by the State of Oregon Contractors Construction Board from you. They were by far the best and most informative of any continuing education class we have taken. We continue to receive the newsletter which has been beneficial as well.
been going to your seminars at JLC for years... you are a legend
Borrowed the book "Markup and Profit" from a friend years ago and have been hooked on Mr. Stones good ideas ever since.
I am a huge fan! Have been for a while! Business is picking up a lot and wanted to be prepared! THANK YOU for ALL that you both do for the "good guys"!!!
I have read Mr. Stones articles in trade magazines for years, have his book on Markup & Profit for several years, and just joined the online discussion group today. I am preparing to hire a sales person, and this should be of some help. Thank you for all the info over the years. It has been of great value.
Been a General Contractor for 20 years now and I ordered your Markup and Profit book. After reading the first 4 chapters, I found out you really can teach an old dog new tricks. I only cringe now thinking how much money I have left on the table in the past 20 years. I'm ordering the software to to replace a stick build one. Going to switch to unit costing as much as possible.
My father, still active in our masonry & concrete business, started using the markup & profit formula about 10 years ago and started making some real profit.
I originally heard about the Markup and Profit book on a contractors web blog and forum site. It came highly recommended. I purchased the book, DVD (now online) and Estimating DVD earlier this year and have been satisfied. Thanks
Hey there - ordering the Estimating Training to complement the Fast Track Estimating software I purchased last week. I worked through it a little and am impressed at the ease of use - so much so that I decided that the best way to get up to speed quickly and take full advantage of the system would be to leverage your expertise through the training... I'm excited to get my first estimate completed through using your system and expertise.
I read "Markup and Profit: A Contractor's Guide" three times cover to cover, and it has revolutionized my business! Thanks!