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Other stories by Bob Kovacs

  • Business

    Remodeling without losing your shirt; caution before cloning

  • Bidding Large Jobs

    To avoid costly errors, be methodical about the way you collect and compare prices.

  • Demo Near Post-Tension Cables

    Q. What precautions should you take when tearing out a post-tensioned slab? What are the risks? We are pouring a large post-tensioned slab, and while there is no demo involved at this stage, I would like to know how to proceed in case there is a plumbing

  • Developing Unit-Cost Assemblies for Estimating

    Someone posted a question on JLC’s estimating forum recently about using standard assemblies to reduce the amount of time it takes to estimate. He wanted to know how to develop the assemblies and how detailed they ought to be.

  • Finding Your Niche

    There's an old saying that you can't be all things to all people. Yet how many times have you seen ads for contractors that include the words "specializing in" and then go on to list every conceivable service from additions to professional dog-walking?

  • Determining Labor Productivity Rates

    I recently asked the participants in jlconline's Estimating and Takeoff forum what part of the estimating process was most difficult for them. The nearly unanimous answer was "estimating labor costs."

  • Getting Into Light Commercial Work

    Have you ever been walking through a shopping mall where a new store was being built and wondered what it would be like to do that kind of work? Like residential work, commercial jobs have their challenges and rewards, but the work isn't for everyone.

  • Business

    Applying square-foot costs, using job descriptions to train and motivate, tracking labor hours

  • Using Cost Books for Estimating

    As moderator of the estimating forum at, I'm often asked if cost books are a reliable way to get cost figures to use for estimating. There are many cost books available, updated yearly, by RS Means, Craftsman, BNI, Saylor's, HomeTech, and others.

  • Business: When You're Asked to Estimate From Incomplete Drawings

    Estimating from incomplete drawings