Make Construction Work for You

By Michael Stone – (Jul 21, 2021)

Construction can be a tough business, dealing with clients who don’t realize what we’re worth, while our bodies take a beating to make their homes better.

Purchasing Commercial Insurance

By Michael Stone – (May 26, 2021)

Purchasing commercial insurance can be a frustrating experience for many construction businesses.

Construction Cash Flow and Business Success

By Michael Stone – (Mar 17, 2021)

Construction cash flow is like every other business; there must be more cash flowing in than flowing out or the business won’t survive.

Habits for Success

By Michael Stone – (Jan 6, 2021)

Are your habits helping your company grow, or are they holding you back?

Building a Successful Construction Business

By Michael Stone – (Aug 19, 2020)

I take many calls from contractors whose business is more like a low-paying job than a successful construction business. Some ask, “Is it even possible in today’s economic climate? Can my business make money?”

When Business Returns

By Michael Stone – (Apr 15, 2020)

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.

When Business Dries Up

By Michael Stone – (Apr 1, 2020)

If sales have dropped off significantly or you’re under a stay-at-home order, here are 3 things that you need to do now for both your business and your family.

Hang On – Getting Through These Times

By Devon Stone – (Mar 17, 2020)

Michael Stone offers suggestions on how to keep your construction business strong during this Coronavirus emergency.

It’s Not For Us

By Michael Stone – (Mar 4, 2020)

Michael Stone shares about a note from a contractor who initially found the Markup & Profit Revisited book “too extreme” and “not for us” – but now realizes it makes sense.

Investing in Your Business

By Michael Stone – (Jan 22, 2020)

Constant input from others is necessary if you want to stay on top of both your business and your personal life.

What the Future Holds

By Michael Stone – (Dec 4, 2019)

If you were a mouse in my pocket, you’d hear the complaints I hear about both general and specialty contractors who don’t answer the phone or return phone calls.

Year-End Planning, Part 1

By Michael Stone – (Oct 15, 2019)

Business planning isn’t exciting. But the effort you put into it has much to do with the results you’ll see next year and in years to come.

Year-End Planning, Part 2

By Michael Stone – (Oct 15, 2019)

This is part two of our year-end planning paper. We’re going to pick this up by continuing an indepth look at your overhead budget for the coming year.

Words from an Expert on Hiring Contractors

By Michael Stone – (Oct 9, 2019)

A contractor sent us an online article written by a real estate investor with the purpose of educating you on “how to develop a fair relationship with your contractor.”

A Yardstick for Success

By Michael Stone – (Aug 28, 2019)

It’s the last Wednesday of the summer, which is a great time to look back and see how your business fared.

What Happens To Your Business If You Can’t Be There?

By Michael Stone – (Aug 21, 2019)

If you own a business, your illness or death will create business problems for your families and your employees.

Spare Topics

By Michael Stone – (Jun 5, 2019)

It’s time to catch up on some spare topics I have lying around. These aren’t earth shaking but they can and will impact your bottom line.

Liability Insurance Tangle

By Michael Stone – (Feb 20, 2019)

Some time back we received a well-written letter about liability insurance from a contractor in Washington state.

Writing a Business Plan for a Construction Business

By Michael Stone – (Nov 28, 2018)

A business plan is different than year-end planning. A business plan looks at the big picture. It’s a roadmap for the whole journey.

Make Things Happen

By Michael Stone – (Nov 14, 2018)

Without looking, how do you think your business did this year? Are you feeling more profitable or less? Is your business running more smoothly or are the problems overwhelming?

Getting Ahead

By Michael Stone – (May 23, 2018)

As we head into Memorial Day weekend, we want to share an upbeat note we received in April from a client.

Does This Apply to My Business?

By Michael Stone – (Apr 4, 2018)

We received a note from a contractor asking if what we talk about applies to his business.

Do Your Work

By Michael Stone – (Mar 7, 2018)

For the past few years I’ve had general contractors tell me that they can’t get specialty contractors to return their calls, show up on time or show up at all for a job. Now I’m hearing from generals who are getting calls from subs, looking for work.

Planning for Profit

By Michael Stone – (Nov 15, 2017)

We recommend setting goals every year, beginning the process about now. If making a profit is one of your goals, Michael outlines practices that will help.  

Loaning Your License

By Michael Stone – (Oct 4, 2017)

It’s interesting how friends, relatives, and other contractors try to rope you into their schemes by asking to borrow your license to build their jobs.

Collecting Payment from a Dishonest Homeowner – Updated

By Michael Stone – (Sep 20, 2017)

Not all of your clients are honest. There are even a few who have no intention of paying you for the work you do.

Profit Leaks

By Michael Stone – (Aug 23, 2017)

These aren’t earthshaking topics, but they are the things that cause problems on jobs, leading to disgruntled clients, lost referrals, and lower profit margins.

Making a Positive First Impression

By Michael Stone – (Jun 21, 2017)

Building trust always starts when you are first contacted by a potential client. Michael discusses how to do it right, and how to do it wrong.

Are You Worth It?

By Michael Stone – (Feb 22, 2017)

Construction is a tough industry. For some, the hardest part is making the sale. They’re out of their comfort zone. They don’t want to talk about money or ask for the sale.

Finding The Path to Success

By Michael Stone – (Feb 1, 2017)

You had ambition and energy. Then reality set in.

Business Owner, or Hired Labor?

By Michael Stone – (Oct 12, 2016)

Ever heard the old saying that something “pushed your buttons”? It’s an emotional reaction, usually not positive. Well, Devon took a phone call last week that pushed my buttons.

Growing Pains

By Michael Stone – (Sep 14, 2016)

If you’re running your business like a business and not a hobby, you’ll start getting more leads, and it’s exciting to watch your business grow.

Be Prepared

By Michael Stone – (Mar 9, 2016)

When things are good, it’s smart to ask yourself a critical question: Are you prepared for the next downturn?

Supply and Demand

By Michael Stone – (Jul 16, 2014)

The services offered by construction businesses are in high demand right now. Can we look at this industry from another viewpoint?

Making Money, Losing Money or Breaking Even? What Now?

By Michael Stone – (Mar 12, 2014)

Last week we discussed knowing where you stand financially, whether you are making money, losing money, or breaking even.  What now?

Making Money, Breaking Even, Losing Money

By Michael Stone – (Mar 5, 2014)

This is the criteria I use to tell if a company is making money. It isn’t the only measure, but it’ll give you an idea of how your business is doing.

Employees – Three Details that Cost Money

By Michael Stone – (Aug 7, 2013)

You’re in business to provide a service and make a profit doing it. Three employee issues that cost your construction company money.

What’s the Right Contractor Salary?

By Michael Stone – (Jul 10, 2013)

If you’re a contractor, how much should you be paid to own and run your own construction company? How much should a construction company owner be paid as salary?

State by State Guide to General Contractor Bond Amounts

By Brian Javeline – (Jun 28, 2013)

General contractor licensing and surety bond requirements by state to help prepare for running a sound business.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

By Michael Stone – (Jun 26, 2013)

We use Google Analytics on our website. It tells us how many visitors we’ve had and what brought them to our website.

Paying Owner’s Salary

By Devon Stone – (Jun 11, 2013)

Our newest six-hour class, based on the book “Markup & Profit, A Contractor’s Guide Revisited”, is now available. This clip is from the first part on financial requirements.

Markup and Profit Recording

By Michael Stone – (May 28, 2013)

Michael Stone discusses why contractors go out of business, the correct formula for markup, charging for change orders, employees and cash flow, and payment schedules.

Like breathing, being profitable isn’t an option

By Michael Stone – (Apr 10, 2013)

If your construction business isn’t profitable, it won’t survive. You have an option of being competitive in construction. You don’t have the option of being profitable.

Ten Cardinal Sales Rules

By Michael Stone – (Feb 24, 2013)

Ten Cardinal Rules for residential construction sales.

Paying Yourself

By Michael Stone – (Jan 9, 2013)

You’re in business to provide a service and make a profit doing it. Having the financial info you need to make decisions is critical for your business success.

“I Work in a Competitive Market”

By Michael Stone – (Oct 30, 2012)

Don’t worry about what “the other guy” is charging.

Guidelines for Success

By Michael Stone – (Oct 30, 2012)

Guidelines to a more successful construction-related business.

Ten Cardinal Rules for Construction Business Owners

By Michael Stone – (Oct 30, 2012)

Ten Cardinal Rules for a successful construction-related business.

Building Quality Jobs

By Michael Stone – (Oct 27, 2012)

How do you define quality? Who sets the standard?

Business is business

By Michael Stone – (Apr 9, 2012)

We’ve noticed the same problem that we’ve seen with other specialties. They believe that because their work is focused on one thing, their business operates differently.

Missed Opportunities Cost Money

By Michael Stone – (Oct 20, 2011)

I talk with contractors all the time who miss one opportunity after another and never seem to connect the cost of this miss.

Your Clients and Your Subs

By Michael Stone – (Oct 17, 2011)

Now, if you are a subcontractor, it doesn't matter what trade, if a general contractor has hired you to work on a job your obligation is to that general contractor only.

Do You Pay Bonuses for Work Done?

By Michael Stone – (Jun 10, 2011)

If you’ve raised kids in the past 20-30 years, you know the new rules – no one loses, everyone gets a prize. Don’t keep score because it hurts their feelings.

Bigger doesn’t always mean more profitable

By Michael Stone – (Mar 1, 2011)

Often when I talk with contractors, I hear, "I want to grow my company so I can make more money." Consider this, if size mattered, dinosaurs would still be here.

Who Pays Your Salary?

By Michael Stone – (Nov 23, 2010)

The next time anyone, including yourself, wants to complain about how much money you make, think about this quote from Henry Ford.

What Goes On a Business Card?

By Michael Stone – (May 7, 2010)

One of the topics was business cards, we spent several minutes reviewing the value of a business card and how it can help promote your company.

Relationship Between Sales and Owner’s Salary

By Michael Stone – (Mar 18, 2010)

We had a question come in this week from a contractor asking about how to calculate the volume of business a company needs to support the owner’s salary.

A Market in Holiday Lighting

By Michael Stone – (Sep 22, 2009)

You need to start planning your advertising to potential clients that you are available to install and take down Christmas lights and decorations.

Becoming a Construction Business Owner?

By Michael Stone – (Jul 9, 2009)

When people lose their jobs, many decide to start their own business

Is a Trade Association Worthwhile?

By Michael Stone – (Apr 23, 2009)

An association exec said, "Many associations are now struggling to get through the recession, and losing members and sponsorships."

Selling a Construction-Related Business

By Michael Stone – (Apr 13, 2009)

I’ve heard any number of people say they are going to build their business up, then sell it. Let’s talk a bit of reality.

Production Budgets

By Michael Stone – (Mar 4, 2009)

We recently heard from a company that took over a $200,000 hit (spread over several jobs) because of actions the job superintendent took.

Is a Contractor’s License Important?

By Michael Stone – (Aug 5, 2008)

Why would you choose someone that has chosen to work without a business license for 30 years?

Construction Company Clothing

By Michael Stone – (Jul 15, 2008)

Had a two-part question from one of our …

Construction Company Clothing Read More »

Running a Business or Being a Craftsman?

By Michael Stone – (Jul 1, 2008)

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to interview with Brian Javeline for The Contractor Show. Our episode was just posted.

General and Specialty Contractor relationships

By Michael Stone – (Feb 28, 2008)

In the last month I’ve heard from more specialty contractors having problems being paid by generals than I’ve heard in years.

Construction-Related Franchises

By Michael Stone – (Jun 9, 2007)

“I was wondering if you had any advice for contractors when approached about a franchise opportunity.”

Finding and Keeping Good Subs

By Michael Stone – (May 12, 2007)

My biggest challenge as a residential remodeler is obtaining and keeping qualified and experienced sub-contractors willing to do smaller type projects.

Spec Homes / Custom Homes

By Michael Stone – (Apr 14, 2007)

I was asked for information on the diffe …

Spec Homes / Custom Homes Read More »

Calculate Your Cost Per Lead

By Michael Stone – (Feb 3, 2007)

Knowing your cost per lead is important because it helps set your sales goals and advertising budget.

Is it a Construction Business, or a Hobby?

By Michael Stone – (Dec 11, 2006)

Question came from a friend the other day. He said, "Michael, how do you determine whether someone in construction has a business or a hobby?"

Salary and Markup

By Michael Stone – (Aug 2, 2006)

One of our clients called with cash flow problems. Leads were coming in, sales and production was good, correct number of employees for the volume of work, but no money.

How Much Do You Pay the Owner?

By Michael Stone – (Apr 5, 2006)

During a recent class I taught, it was clear many in the audience didn’t understand that their sales volume must be enough to support the salary of the company owner. 

Let Construction Employees Learn from Mistakes

By Michael Stone – (Jan 4, 2006)

I’ve talked to numerous construction company owners recently who are having problems with scheduling, getting jobs done, getting the right people to the right jobs, etc.

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