Charging a Fair Price

By Michael Stone

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.


When Business Dries Up

By Michael Stone

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.


It’s Not For Us

By Michael Stone

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.


Borrowing Jacks

By Michael Stone

I recently had to face what I thought would be an uncomfortable personal conversation. I fussed all morning, then went to visit the person involved.


What You Do in Practice

By Michael Stone

We want to see contractors build stronger businesses and in the process improve the reputation of our industry.


Protect Your Business – Change Work Orders

By Michael Stone

Michael discusses a ploy some building owners use to not pay for all of their change work orders. It happens in both residential and commercial projects.


Family Fights

By Michael Stone

The topic is uncomfortable but if you’re involved in residential sales, you’ll see family disagreements. It helps to know what to do.


Practice Listening

By Michael Stone

It’s the beginning of the holiday season, and I’d like to talk about a topic that can change both your sales ratio and your family relationships.


Know Before You Quote

By Michael Stone

It’s cheaper to ask questions than pay for mistakes. A coaching client is trying to fix the problem created by an former salesperson’s expensive omission.


Client Outrage

By Michael Stone

Real or fake outrage can be a client’s attempt to elicit an emotional response from you to get what they want. It often puts you in the position of questioning yourself and your company, not dealing with the subject at hand.


When Clients Do an End Run

By Michael Stone

Stay ahead of your clients. Write a detailed contract that protects you from as many unpleasant scenarios as possible, and work from written agreements with both your subcontractors and your employees. 


Contract Cancellations

By Michael Stone

Cancellations happen, even with the best of salespeople. Clients have all kinds of reasons to cancel an agreement, and you need to be prepared.


Politics and Business Don’t Mix Well

By Michael Stone

One of our coaching clients has been fortunate to do work for some very well known people. We discussed using that information when he promotes his business.


Provide Proof of Insurance – and demand others do, as well

By Michael Stone

During class, a question came up on how to deal with contractors who let their insurance and sometimes even their licenses expire. "How do you compete with that?"


Newsletter followup

By Michael Stone

Here is another example of a client taking charge, I received this one last week. After a nice brief conversation, I asked the potential client to email me his address.


Paying a Bonus to Employees

By Michael Stone

We are approaching the time of year when the subject of bonuses comes up. Your employees might be saying, “Do you suppose they will pay us a Christmas Bonus this year?”


Your Clients and Your Subs

By Michael Stone

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.


How Not to Treat a Salesperson

By Michael Stone

I spoke with a friend the other day about his work with a well-known promotional company. He'd been hired to help bring in and manage new business.


Making Things Happen

By Michael Stone

One of our clients called from one of the towns along the Missouri River. He wanted info on how to do the cleanup and rehabilitation of homes along the river.


“Pay If Paid” or “Pay When Paid” Agreements

By Michael Stone

I read an article by a practicing attorney dealing with pay when paid (or pay if paid) clauses in contracts, specifically between general contractors and subcontractors.


Plus Overhead Plus Profit

By Michael Stone

A reader recently sent in a note asking for my input on this statement that a government agency attached to a "bid package" for work they want done.


Don’t Forget The Wiring

By Michael Stone

I'll bet you have a computer in your home – maybe even a few computers. So do most of your clients.


Cleaning Up After a Low Bid Contractor

By Michael Stone

This potential client had a house built using the “lowest bid” contractor. The builder cut corners, leaving out little details like collar ties on the roof rafters.


Your Price Isn’t Negotiable

By Michael Stone

I heard about a scam a local building owner is pulling on his subs. He has several properties and is apparently worth a considerable sum.


Guarding Your Time

By Michael Stone

A buddy has been working with a potential client for a couple of months and is rapidly reaching the point where he’s ready to send them to the competition.


Who Asks the Questions?

By Michael Stone

Most contractors I talk to believe their neck of the woods is different. They believe their clients are more difficult to sell to than anywhere else in the country.


Audits Happen. Be Prepared.

By Michael Stone

A contractor friend just went through an IRS audit. After going through all his records and asking a ton of questions, they said, "In my opinion, you owe us $22,000."


What You Know Has Value

By Michael Stone

He had made a proposal to a group and they were asking him to come back to yet another meeting and explain again what he was going to do.


Respect Your Salespeople

By Michael Stone

Earlier I posted a question asking what you would do if a customer called and didn't want to pay the sales commission on a job. I asked for your thoughts.


Get Paid

By Michael Stone

They want to know how to deal with owners who come to them 60%, 70% or 80% of the way through a job and announce they want to re-negotiate the price of the contract.


Owning a Residential Remodeling Business isn’t Easy

By Michael Stone

He expected to make "millions". He wanted me to teach him how to do estimating "easily". That, he claimed was the only thing that he didn't know about this business.


Relationship Between Sales and Owner’s Salary

By Michael Stone

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.


Casualty Repair Work – Know What You’re Doing

By Michael Stone

We have had some bad storms this year and some of you may be tempted to do casualty repair work (insurance work) if and when you get those calls.


Do You Have Business Interruption Insurance?

By Michael Stone

Business Interruption Insurance is among the least understood and often most poorly written coverage.


Signs of Trouble

By Michael Stone

Often I’ll hear a caller tell me they are borrowing money to pay bills. This is a great big RED warning flag that your business is in serious financial trouble.


Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better

By Michael Stone

The housing economy leaves a little to be desired. Don't count on the government to solve that problem. We have to take responsibility for and solve it ourselves.


Labor Rate for Construction

By Michael Stone

I’m frequently asked for the “industry standard” rate per hour for various types of work. There isn’t an industry standard markup, and there isn’t an industry standard hourly labor rate.


Arbitration on a Construction Project

By Michael Stone

Got a call from a contractor with a legal problem. He got involved with a homeowner who kept adding to a job, then decided the price was too high and they aren’t paying.


Protecting Your Reputation

By Michael Stone

Got a note in from a landscape contractor wondering how to deal with folks that talk with each other, spreading rumors that he is high priced.


Time and Material (T & M) Contracts

By Michael Stone

I have read several posts on forums late …

Time and Material (T & M) Contracts Read More »


Choosing a Contractor – Dealing with a Bad One

By Michael Stone

There is no way on God’s green earth I could pretend there aren’t unethical contractors.


Job Theft on a Construction Site

By Michael Stone

A contractor called recently with a question about a homeowner complaint that some of their liquor has been stolen (just the liquor – the bottle was left behind).


We Like to See The Good Guys Win

By Michael Stone

It was another situation of a homeowner waiting until the job was almost complete, then start playing the "we are not going to pay you because blah, blah, blah."


Permit or Not?

By Michael Stone

Recently several of our coaching clients have related that their potential customers don’t want building permits pulled on their jobs. Don’t go there gang. Bad plan.


Costly Errors

By Michael Stone

My plan was to discuss approaches to set …

Costly Errors Read More »


Changing the Payment Schedule – Honor Your Contract

By Michael Stone

A coaching client related how one of his customers arbitrarily decided to change the payment schedule that was clearly written on the contract.


Is it a Construction Business, or a Hobby?

By Michael Stone

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?"


Keep Going . . .

By Michael Stone

With material prices, employee issues, bad weather, a flat tire or two, we sometimes wonder if it is all worth it.


Operating Capital Reserve Account

By Michael Stone

With the tightening up of construction, …

Operating Capital Reserve Account Read More »


Quality, Value and Service – Or Low Price? Pick One

By Michael Stone

I have had several discussions of late with contractors who can't accept that they should sell quality, value and service instead of trying to play the low price game.


Cost Plus, Cost+, Time and Materials, T & M

By Michael Stone

A coaching client was working with a potential customer who wanted a remodeling job on a cost plus basis instead of a fixed fee contract.


Financing Construction

By Michael Stone

Devon and I were at an association social recently and had a great time. I spent time with a banker who works with many remodeling companies around the area.


Salary and Markup

By Michael Stone

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.


Construction Business Finances vs. Personal Finances

By Michael Stone

I talked recently with a few contractors who told me they are paying for personal stuff out of the company checkbook.


Be Fair to your Customers – and Yourself

By Michael Stone

I talked with a young guy the other day who called about our coaching service. His company was upside down and I could tell he was hurting.


Contracting with the State

By Michael Stone

The company that sent us this note asked that their name not be used for fear of reprisal by the bureaucrats they know in the state.


Itemization for Quotes

By Michael Stone

One of our coaching clients called and asked, “My customer has requested an itemized bid so that they can compare bids between contractors. How do I handle it?”


Mom was right

By Michael Stone

As I get older I realize even more that how you treat others matters. Mom was right.


Play By The Rules

By Michael Stone

I was recently involved as an expert witness for a contractor who wasn’t getting paid for work completed. The hardest part will be proving actual expenses for the job.


Specialty Contractors, General Contractors – Getting Paid

By Michael Stone

If you are a general, and you want good subs, treat them well.


Construction Industry Standard and Right to Remedy

By Michael Stone

I spoke today with an attorney representing a contractor who performed a major remodeling project for another attorney. The homeowner (attorney) fired the contractor.


Underbidding a Job

By Michael Stone

“I’m a contractor and underbid a house. I’m almost done and just figured that out. I can’t afford this loss. What can I do besides bankruptcy?”


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