I spend a lot of time traveling around the country meeting with remodelers. I find that most are eager to talk about their business — until, that is, I ask them how much their field employees are costing them and what data they use to set their labor rates. Based on my experience, it's safe to say that no number is more misunderstood than the true cost of labor.

Let's assume that your carpenters get paid for 40 hours a week. But not all of those hours are billable — time spent in company meetings or cleaning the shop, for example. Still, you've got to have some way to recoup the cost of them.

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