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Playing “What If?”

This workbook is also an excellent analysis tool. Let’s say that at your current markup and average selling price, the workbook says you need to complete 12 remodeling jobs (one per month). But you know that one completion every two months is the most you can do, so you have some decisions to make. You could raise your average selling price (and profit margins) or lower your direct costs or overhead. Or perhaps you’ll choose to make up that revenue with some other kind of work, like commercial, that doesn’t require as much direct oversight. You may look at doing a spec house. The spreadsheet lets you quickly perform these “what if?” comparisons. What if you did more remodeling and built fewer new homes? What if you hired another full-time employee?

That flexibility is what makes spreadsheets such fantastic planning tools. You’re not locked into what some software developer thought you were going to need; you can tailor the worksheets to your own business.

Using templates. And remember, any time you create a version of the workbook with different data or a different configuration that you might want to use again, be sure to make a template.

JLC contributing editor Joe Stoddard moderates the Business Technology forum at jlconline.com.