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More stories about Business

  • Setting Up a Storefront

    Setting up a storefront

  • Are Your Contracts Bulletproof?

    Effective July 1, 2009, the state of Pennsylvania will require a written contract for nearly every construction task in or around a residence — even minor repair work like repainting or reroofing.

  • The Legal Risks of Building Green

    The sudden popularity of all things green is exposing builders — whether they know it or not — to new legal risks. There are risks associated with drafting the contract, navigating the permit approval process, and resolving disputes over projects that fail to achieve their sustainability goals.

  • Getting Real About Energy Efficiency

    When it comes to the long-term energy performance of homes, there is little doubt — particularly after the recent spike in oil prices — that the marketplace is going to start expecting greater accountability and more sophisticated analysis.

  • Track Your Business With a Dashboard

    Even companies with good systems can get into trouble if they don’t manage their growth. To avoid this fate, Jim Kabel created a “dashboard” — a set of fundamental numbers that shows the monthly trends in their sales and production pipeline: leads, close rates, job profits, and customer...

  • Surviving the Recession

    We’re in the midst of unprecedented uncertainty in the financial markets, and consumer confidence is the lowest it’s been in a long time. It seems that no one really knows what’s going to happen.

  • Defining Your Niche Can Help in Downtimes

    I specialize in custom decks. I switched to this niche last winter, when my backlog of general remodeling work dried up and I had no jobs on the horizon. The suburbs of New York City — where my business is located — were hit hard by the economic downturn; many GCs I knew were going out of business.

  • Sandler Sales Training: Is It Worth the Cost?

    For small contractors in today’s competitive market, sales skills can make the difference between struggling and prospering. Yet many contractors turn up their noses at formal sales training, viewing it as a waste of time and money. Are they right? Or is enrolling in a training program an effective...

  • Using Checklists to Eliminate the Punch List

    In 2001 my Atlanta remodeling company, SawHorse, launched a “zero punch” program, which sought to eliminate the final punch list on all jobs. Since we had five or six project managers on the payroll at any given time, as well as working relationships with a couple of dozen subcontractors, the...

  • Working the High-Rise Niche

    Our company has provided remodeling and handyman services to Chicago homeowners for the past 10 years. We started out working in single-family homes, but early on an architect hired us for a large job in a high-rise apartment building. Today, high-rise work accounts for half our volume. We work in...