You can be the most ethical person in the world and if you aren’t charging enough for your work, you stand a good chance of cheating someone else.
Why cost plus and time & material contracts should be avoided, for both contractors and building owners.
At some point this health crisis will slow down and go away. When it does, there’s a good chance we’ll be doing some things differently. But some things won’t change.
Pricing changes for a change work order isn’t easy when the scope of work isn’t clear.
This note is a painfully perfect example of why you shouldn’t provide details on your pricing.
From a contractor: “I am definitely going to do a better job in pre-selecting my clients after this one.”
A construction company building both new homes and remodeling needs to calculate a separate markup for each type of work.
Michael addresses a few different questions we’ve heard recently, primarily dealing with taxes and profit and calculating your markup.
After reading our books and trying to do things right, why is he still not making any money?
Over the years, I’ve seen contract language evolve, shifting more and more responsibility to general and specialty contractors.
What do you do when your partner is listening to someone who knows nothing about construction, but still thinks they knows what’s best?
When I teach a class or webinar, sometimes I wonder if my listeners understand what I’m trying to say. After reading some of the questions that came in during a recent webinar, I realized I missed the mark.
Everyone, and I do mean everyone, who has ever compiled an estimate has made a math error that put knots in their stomach once it was realized.
You shouldn’t sign a contract that stipulates what you can charge, even if it’s just on the change orders.
Since the end goal for both the architect and the contractor is a satisfied client, how about working together from the beginning?
When your books are set up properly, it’s easy to calculate your markup, and it’s also easy to compare your actual results to your estimates.
Should you take every opportunity to increase exposure for your business?
There are two schools of thought on pricing handyman projects and service work: T&M or flat rate pricing. They both have advantages and disadvantages.
If your lawyer believes you have to justify your pricing just because someone doesn’t want to pay their bill, it’s time to find another lawyer.
Is transparency the way to go when selling? Be careful who you listen to.
If they tell you the formula to use will make you more profit, that’s baloney. It’s the numbers you use that determines your profit.
Being profitable doesn’t mean getting rich off your clients.
You can’t lower your price and expect to make up for it by selling more, because there is a limit to how much you can produce. Every job needs to be profitable.
It’s important to remember you aren’t in business to drive around and give out numbers. If you’re a specialty contractor, you also aren’t in business to provide numbers to architects or general contractors.
“I have more work than I can do. I tell new leads to call me after the first of the year.”
It’s hard to remember what you’re worth, especially if you’re spending time on jobs that cost you money.
There isn’t one right way to handle allowance items that works for all contractors and all clients. Plan A may work for most clients, but then you meet Mrs. Oddball who seems to work at being difficult. So you derive Plan B and hope it works.
Some clients want the lowest bid for their project, and nothing else matters. It’s your job to try to educate them.
Remember, you’re in business to provide a service and make a profit doing it.
Please don’t be this contractor. Please don’t be that homeowner.
Using the wrong labor rate, or using someone else’s markup when you don’t know their assumptions, is one of the biggest mistakes we see and the difference can be thousands of dollars.
In Markup & Profit Revisited, we explain how to calculate your markup. We’re often asked if you can adjust your markup based on the length of the job.
Some advice on hiring a contractor is just plain wrong.
When it comes to pricing your jobs, you need to keep it simple, especially if you want to make the sale.
When your client wants a lower price, something has to change. It shouldn’t be just your price.
I can’t tell you how many times in the past few weeks I’ve had contractors tell me they are cutting their prices to get work. I even took a call from a contractor who told me we should come to his town “because all the NARI members are busy cutting their prices.”
It is a fact of life that when you sell construction-related services, you’ll have clients tell you that your price is too high. Bless their hearts. They have no idea what would be a fair price for the work they want done, they just know that your price is too high.
A lot of contractors don’t believe they need to use their full markup on subcontractor quotes. Let me explain why that can be a mistake.
“I am working on designing a few jobs with the job costs starting around $125,000 and up. What is your opinion on markup when the job costs are getting bigger? I want to make sure I am staying competitive.”
I applaud this person’s efforts, helping someone else with the business side of business so the craftsman can continue being a craftsman. But this craftsman is going to have to either learn how to run a business or start charging enough for his work to both feed himself and pay an office manager.
Why would a developer ask for a cost plus quote to replace a fixed price quote? Because he wants the very same work done at a lower price.
As the economy slowly improves, we are being asked to revisit issues we haven’t discussed for many years.
In a perfect world, estimated costs will match actual job costs. At the end of a perfect year, total job costs will equal projected job costs. It’s not a perfect world.
Cutting your price to get a job is a money losing approach. Over time, you won’t be making a profit and you’re only working yourself into debt.
Many contractors use a variable markup or margin to price jobs. They believe that in the construction industry you have to reduce the price to get the job.
Not charging enough for your work is the major reason construction companies fail. Here are some of the mistakes contractors make when pricing their jobs.
A note that came in a few weeks ago: “We have a very competitive market here . . . My husband and I both agree a lot of our problem is not charging enough for our work.”
You don’t have to be competitive. You have to be profitable. If you aren’t profitable, your business won’t last.
Don’t take any job where the client tells you how much you can charge for your work.
Don’t worry about what “the other guy” is charging.
“Your price is too high” means you haven’t done your job as a salesperson.