Builders become builders because they love to build things, not because they're passionate about sales calls and estimating. But there's no way around it: You can't be a successful builder without also running a profitable business. And for many builders, the biggest barrier to turning a profit is that they simply don't charge enough for their work.

Why do builders undercharge? The habit often takes root when a startup company uses fire-sale pricing as a way to drum up business. That may be a fair exchange at first — it boils down to giving the customer a rebate for letting you use his or her home to practice in — but it's a dead end in the long run.

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