What's Profit and What's Not by Jon Hardie “After I figure the cost of the job—the cost of materials, cost of the crew and all—I add 15 percent for profit. How come I'm not making any money?" For the past couple of years, I've been hammering away at how to determine the true cost of the goods you sell, how to value your time and how to figure your margins—but I keep hearing statements like this. I guess I haven't come right out and said it the way folks need to hear it. You haven't made a dime in profit until all your costs—fixed and variable, direct and indirect—are covered. This includes the true cost of your