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Raising Your Margin To the Editor: In the article “The Language of Accounting” (Strictly Business, 10/01), Mike Weiss uses a gross margin percentage between 31% and 34% as a minimum. I use Means’s estimating manuals and very seldom do they come up with that figure. Take for example 1/2-inch drywall installed on walls, standard, no finish: Material cost is $.21 per sq. ft. and labor is $.24, for a total cost of goods of $.45. With $.18 overhead and profit, Means comes up with a total of $.63 — a 29% gross margin ($.18 / $.63). Many of the components in the Means manual don’t measure up to Mike’s minimum requirement of 31% to 34%. Jeff Paquette Paquette Construction, LLC Sault Ste.