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.

Rapidly Increasing Material Costs

By Michael Stone – (Mar 3, 2021)

Quoting a firm fixed price is riskier when material costs are increasing rapidly, which is why your contract needs to address unexpected material cost increases.

Financial Plan for Success and Survival

By Michael Stone – (Dec 16, 2020)

If you thought you were the captain of your ship, 2020 taught otherwise.

Charging a Fair Price

By Michael Stone – (Oct 28, 2020)

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 – (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.

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.

Borrowing Jacks

By Michael Stone – (Dec 18, 2019)

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 – (Oct 16, 2019)

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 – (Feb 6, 2019)

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 – (Aug 22, 2018)

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 – (Nov 25, 2015)

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 – (Jul 22, 2015)

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 – (Jan 28, 2015)

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 – (May 28, 2014)

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 – (Sep 17, 2012)

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

Paying a Bonus to Employees

By Michael Stone – (Oct 25, 2011)

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 – (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.

Plus Overhead Plus Profit

By Michael Stone – (Apr 13, 2011)

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.

Cleaning Up After a Low Bid Contractor

By Michael Stone – (Dec 14, 2010)

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 – (Sep 21, 2010)

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.

Who Asks the Questions?

By Michael Stone – (Aug 10, 2010)

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 – (Jul 16, 2010)

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."

Owning a Residential Remodeling Business isn’t Easy

By Michael Stone – (May 27, 2010)

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 – (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.

Do You Have Business Interruption Insurance?

By Michael Stone – (Jan 5, 2010)

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

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

By Michael Stone – (Jan 23, 2009)

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 – (Oct 28, 2008)

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.

Time and Material (T & M) Contracts

By Michael Stone – (Feb 20, 2008)

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 – (Jan 17, 2008)

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

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?"

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

By Michael Stone – (Aug 21, 2006)

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.

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.

Be Fair to your Customers – and Yourself

By Michael Stone – (Jul 18, 2006)

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.

Play By The Rules

By Michael Stone – (Feb 24, 2006)

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.

Underbidding a Job

By Michael Stone – (Aug 17, 2005)

“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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