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More stories about Finance

  • Managing a Construction Business by the Numbers

    Managing by the numbers

  • Financial Statements: Above or Below-the-Line Costs

    In recent years I’ve spent a lot of time speaking to and consulting with builders and remodelers, big and small, and I’ve noted that there’s often confusion about what types of costs go where on a financial statement.

  • Can Dimmer Switches Save Energy?

    Q: We know that compact fluorescents deliver energy savings, but how about dimmer switches? The assumption is that homeowners will use them to turn down lights to save money — but do they actually save energy?

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • Clarifying Liability Coverage

    Q. After working for several years as an employee, I recently headed out on my own and began shopping around for liability insurance. Most policies offer "occurrence" coverage, but one company offers a "claims made" policy that provides similar coverage for less money. What's the difference between...

  • Lessons From the Corporate World

    Imagine two builders. Builder No. 1 is an experienced project manager who decides to start his own business. His technical skills are finely honed, he knows how to manage a crew and schedule, and he builds homes that customers love. But a few years after hanging out his shingle he is still...

  • Getting Paid for Your Time

    If you and your project manager spend 13 hours preparing an estimate for a remodeling job, how much money have you invested in the project? Would you have been better off spending those 13 hours getting things done on one of your current projects?

  • Putting a Purchase-Order System in Place

    As a financial consultant to small construction companies, I've seen lots of cases where a builder finished a job and the bookkeeper closed the books on it — only to have a late subcontractor bill for that job show up months later.

  • In the News

    Nail prices spike; remodeler and homeowner spar over found money; carbon monoxide kills worker; more