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As our businesses grow, most of us recognize the necessity and the challenge of making the transition from tradesperson to business person. Industry studies show a significant failure rate among small contractors within the first five years of operation. If we expect to survive, we need to develop and sharpen some basic business tools. Chief among these tools, in my opinion, is job-costing, a straightforward accounting procedure that tells you how your estimates stack up against your actual job costs. Some may disagree, pointing to marketing, sales, staffing, and production as key components of a successful contracting business. However, even the best marketing and sales, backed up by the best production staff, will flop if the numbers aren't working. The