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More stories about Finance

  • In the News

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

  • Give Your Customers Some Credit

    Give your customers some credit

  • Straight Talk About Fraud

    In 2006, occupational fraud cost U.S. businesses about $600 billion, or roughly $4,500 per employee, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Building contractors rank second in the list of targets, after retail stores.

  • Keeping Product Selections On Track

    Personal attention to clients, a strong relationship with vendors, and well-organized records are key.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Managing Material Costs With an Escalation Clause

    The other night, my husband and I watched a television show about contractors in California who are walking away from unfinished houses. But few contractors will walk away from an unfinished job voluntarily. That's definitely not part of their business plan. So why would it happen?