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More stories about Business

  • Save Time With a Lead Sheet

    The first estimate my company ever produced was for a basement remodel. I spent an hour driving back and forth to the prospective client's house, two hours talking to her, and then several more hours doing a detailed estimate.

  • Communicating With Customers Through the Web

    Most conflicts between a service business and its customers can be avoided with good communication.

  • dba Design-Build

    In this article I'll share some of the lessons we've learned over the last seven years of design-build work. We still have much to master — if only I live that long.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Business

    No more free estimates; credit cards vs. debit cards

  • 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.

  • Help Your Remodeling Customers Find Financing

    The remodeling business is largely a service business: The companies that give customers the best service tend to get the best referrals. But to deliver truly superlative service, you've got to have all the cards — and in today's competitive market your trump card may be the ability to arrange...

  • 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.

  • Business

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