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Scheduling

  • Selling the Company

    In 1983, after working on my own for several years, I started Buck Brothers Construction (BBC) with my brother, Joe. We built the company slowly: At first we did all the work ourselves; then we started subbing out the mechanicals; then we hired carpenters; and finally we developed an office staff.

     
  • Remodeling's Deadliest Sins

    Nine common business mistakes and how to avoid them.

     
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    Scheduling With Post-it Notes

    When I was in commercial construction, I used formal scheduling procedures on all of my projects. With formal scheduling, each task or activity in the job is written down, placed in sequence, and assigned a certain amount of time.

     
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    On the Job

    Office on wheels; all-weather blueprints

     
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    Business

    No more free estimates; credit cards vs. debit cards

     
  • Who Pays If Something's Wrong With The Plans and Specs?

    You're looking at an invitation to bid, complete with plans and specs. It would be a big job for you — very profitable.

     
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    Builder CAD For Less Than $1,000

    Two old-school and two new-school approaches to 2-D and 3-D design.

     
  • Improve Your Cash Flow

    Many contractors complain bitterly about their lack of cash flow. That's no surprise, given that employees, subs, and vendors all expect to be paid — whether or not the customer has paid the company.

     
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    In the News

    Builders weather economic downturn; DeWalt circ-saw recall; more

     
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    No More Bids: Switching to Negotiated Contracts

    I used to run my business the way most contractors do: I'd visit potential clients, review the plans their architects had drawn, agree to bid against a group of other contractors, and then spend 10 to 100 hours estimating the work.

     
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    Managing Material Costs With an Escalation Clause

    The other night, my husband and I watched a television show about contractors in California who are walking away from unfinished houses. But few contractors will walk away from an unfinished job voluntarily. That's definitely not part of their business plan. So why would it happen?

     
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    Letters

    Attic temperatures and asphalt shingles; cynicism vs. basic economics; when employees compete

     
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    Business

    Prepare your company for the end of the year; get paid faster with credit cards

     
  • How a Bidding Error Can Turn Into a Disaster

    It's your worst nightmare: You've submitted a bid, it's been accepted, and then you find out there was a mistake in your estimate or that your bid was based on a subcontractor's mistake.

     
  • Letters

    Legal debate; quality-control checklist; call for advice; woodpecker problems; more

     
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    In the News

    Deck ledger bolting schedule may become code; pump-truck accident; West Coast Green show; more

     
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    Estimating With a Spreadsheet

    Learning some advanced functions will save loads of time.

     
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    Protect Your Assets

    Whenever I speak somewhere, I preach about the importance of separating your personal assets from your company's assets. The best way to do this is by incorporating your business as a corporation or an LLC.

     
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    Different Folks, Different Strokes

    How to write a practical business plan; different folks, different strokes

     
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    Personal Guaranty of Business Debt

    Most credit applications contain a personal guaranty. In this one, it's clearly spelled out in item No. 4, but in some cases it's buried in a longer document and written in language that makes it hard for the applicant to understand just what he's agreeing to.