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  • 5 Success-Limiting Actions Contractors Should Avoid

    If you plan to grow your construction business deciding how you will address these five actions can set you on path that is more likely to support your long term professional and personal levels of success.

  • A second option that reduces the length of Mikes workweek is to train his employees in the lead carpenter system and delegate project management responsibilities to them.

    Tracking the Owner's Time (Subscriber content)

    You need to know what functions you perform before you can make informed hiring decisions.

  • Counterpoint: Emailing Works

    Politely disagreeing with Shawn McCadden, a Seattle-based remodeling contractor makes the case for emailing sales proposals.

  • The Pitfalls of Hybrid Estimating

    A look at three ways to create an estimate, with varying proportions of labor, materials, and subcontractors.

  • Seven Reasons Why Most Contractors Will Never Be Able To Retire On Their Own Earnings

    Most residential construction business owners will have to work until they die, without enough accumulated investments to support themselves during retirement. But it doesn't have to be like that.

  • 3 Reasons Contractors Don't Share Financial Info With Employees

    Few contractors do, but Shawn McCadden advocates for more transparency if (a big "if") your company has its books in order.

  • What I Like: Clear Estimates Software

    Two remodelers have gained productivity and won new jobs thanks to software with built-in templates and data for 12,000 parts

  • Why Use a 'Time Is of the Essence' Provision in Contracts?

    Most construction projects have a specific time frame, and if completion is delayed, they look to the contract for recourse.

  • Masonry Through-Wall Flashing at Windows (Subscriber content)

    Enclosing an open second-story deck above a kitchen with through-wall flashing poses some unique challenges.

  • This list applies to new construction or a structural remodeling job. Your Job Start Package should be customized to the type of work your company does.

    How to Conduct a Job Start Review (Subscriber content)

    If you work with employees or subs, you need to be clear about what, exactly, the project entails and when it's expected to be completed. Everyone needs to understand. This job start package lays it all out.

  • In addition to creating a drawing and spec sheet, such as the one shown above, for small, medium, and large versions of each project type, the author also creates a complete estimate, including all quantities. Complex projects can be estimated by combining templatesfor example, combining templates for a kitchen addition, a powder room, and a laundry.

    Estimating Using Templates, Part Three (Subscriber content)

    Whether you estimate with an off-the-shelf system or using an Excel spreadsheet, most systems today are built around a database of unit pricing items. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Personal Dashboard (Subscriber content)

    Setting up a single screen with your calendar, email, and links to your favorite websites can save you hours of surfing.

  • Dropbox for Business provides a central administrative console where you can manage members. Members can add and edit, but they cant permanently delete files in the companys Dropbox. The administrator always has tools to recover damaged or deleted files.

    Bring Your Own Device (Subscriber content)

    BYOD is nothing new, but the potential effects on businesses are changing fast. Learn more about this trend that favors the smartphone over traditional hardware on the job site.

  • To use your own data to find hrs/BF or hrs/SF, divide average hours used for each framing task by total SF or BF of materials used. (BF = thickness x width [in inches] x length [in feet]  12). This table shows figures for tasks associated with framing and sheathing a typical exterior wall.

    How to Calculate Unit Prices for Labor (Subscriber content)

    While unit prices for labor are available from a number of sources, the best source is a company's own job history. This article uses an example of framing an exterior wall to show how to use that data to calculate unit costs for labor based on material quantities.

  • Using Evernote to Manage Your Business (Subscriber content)

    An introduction to the features of Evernote, a cloud-based application for storing, tagging, and retrieving text, images, audio, and other information on a computer or mobile device.

  • The sample Weekly Time Record (top) shows hours worked for an employee who is paid at different rates for different types of work. Weekly pay, including overtime based on $14 per hour, would be $776. But this does not comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, which gives employers two options for figuring overtime in this situation: 1) Determine an average hourly pay rate for the week ($15.25 in Weighted Average example above), then calculate overtime pay based on that amount; or 2) use an overtime rate based on the pay rate for each type of work. Both options increase the employees weekly pay by about $18.

    Options for Figuring Overtime (Subscriber content)

    When employees are paid different wage rates for different types of work, figuring overtime pay gets complicated. In this article, HR consultant Doug Delp explains employer options under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

  • Making the Transition From Field to Office

    Experts Melanie Hodgdon and Tim Faller offer tips on how to make this transition as smoothly and effectively as possible.

  • What Are the Rules for Paid Lunch Periods and Short Breaks?

    Human resources consultant Douglas Delp offers guidance for determining whether you're required to pay employees during their short breaks and lunch times.

  • Tips for Would-Be Remodelers (Subscriber content)

    New-home builders transitioning to remodeling need to watch out for these issues

  • Preventing Handoff Errors (Subscriber content)

    Putting all the paperwork for a project in a single notebook ensures details don't get lost during the transition from sales to production

JLC Field Guide to Decking