How to Build a Successful Construction Business Without a Master’s Degree

Building a Successful Business Doesn’t Have to be Slow and Painful

The majority of small and medium sized construction companies have the construction part figured out but get overwhelmed by the “business” side of things. Most of the people working at these companies learned a trade…not how to run a business.

Like me, most started doing business full of enthusiasm, having no clue what could go wrong. I had no clear plan or system for running a business.

Trying to balance construction projects and running the business can be overwhelming.

I had no idea how to do a proposal, a production budget, or accurately invoice a customer for progress payments. No one told me I should set money aside for things like taxes, tools, or emergencies.

One day I looked up and wondered how I got here. I liked building things…not necessarily running a business. As I built my business, I learned these things, but it was a slow and painful process.

The truth of the matter is…building a business doesn’t have to be slow and painful if you know how.

Think about it, a traditional trade school education will cost between $7,000 and $40,000. It’s been my experience that a real-world, hands-on education is worth even more. Often classroom education doesn’t translate well to the construction site.

Early on in my construction career, I was working for a local house framer. On a couple of different occasions, he hired some young men from the community college’s construction program, for summer help. After a few times of doing this, he stopped.

He said, “It took longer to unteach and reteach than it did to start from scratch.”

Looking back, I now realize how valuable that hands on education was. I just wish I’d had someone teach me the business part.

Instead, I got my business degree from HKU, also known as Hark Knocks University. And let me tell you, the tuition is high and it takes a long time to graduate. What’s an education like that worth?

Wouldn’t be great if you could get 40 years of experience without having to wait 40 years to use it?

You can!

This is what we’re doing a Solution Building. We are taking those 40 years of hands on, trial and error education and making it available to other contractors through programs, trainings and downloadable tools.

One of these tools is the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal system.

This proposal system allows for the preparation of proposals that communicate clearly and accurately with customers, while allowing for increased profitability. It will give construction companies years of advantage over the competition for a lot less than the cost of a traditional education.

Currently this proposal system is available at a Holiday price of $497 plus some additional bonus templates through the end of the year.

Open Your Eyes and Ears…You Don’t Want to Miss Out

Use Your Observances and Experiences to Build a Better You

You know how children’s curiosity is on the go nonstop. It’s runs wide open with no parameters. This is why as adults we have to keep them from touching a hot stove or chasing a ball into the street without looking.

On the other side, experience is a great education tool. Once you burn your finger you understand why not to touch that hot stove.

The 15th century proverb, children should be seen and not heard, originated in religious culture and was a part of that learning process. This was an effort to teach children to respect others, especially adults.

In Mark 10:13-15, Jesus tells His followers to not stop the children from coming to Him. This was an uncommon thing. At that time in history children were seen as non-persons until they became adults. They were to not be heard or seen.

Children shouldn’t be ignored or treated as adults…they’re children. They should be encouraged to be children.

As we grow up, we forget to keep this children’s eagerness to learn. We become stuck in the rut of life with our heads down shoveling our way forward.

We never look up to see God’s wonders that are all around us.

I see our relationship with God like a child’s relationship with an adult. He knows a lot more about things than I do. At the same time, He wants me to open my eyes and ears to the world around me. He loves it when I come to Him and ask Him questions.

We need to open our eyes and ears.

I approach my relationship with God as a mentor/advisor. Someone to ask questions of and get advice from, to help me build the best me. Too many people’s relationship with God is like children in biblical times. They try not to be seen or heard. This isn’t what God wants. He wants a relationship with us.

Pastor Lee shared some examples of billboards that show us God’s human side.  Here are a few –

  • “Come over to my house before the game on Sunday” …God
  • “You know that “Love Your Neighbor” thing? I meant that” …God
  • “Loved the wedding. Don’t forget to invite me to the marriage” …God
  • “Keep using my name in vain and I’ll make rush hour longer” …God

Recently my niece Hannah was having a chat with God while on her way to work. As she was asking if He was hearing her, she saw the small end of a rainbow. Okay she thought…is He hearing me or is this my imagination? Then the rainbow got longer. As she continued the conversation, it continued to get longer until it became a full rainbow.

Oh, but God didn’t stop there. Before He was finished there were two complete rainbows, one above the other so bright that she said they were the most brilliant and bight rainbows she had ever seen.

But this story doesn’t end there…

Hannah shared this with Pastor Lee and what do you know. He was looking at the same rain bow at the same time.

Open your eyes and ears…you don’t want to miss out.

How Important Is an Experienced Guide When Building Your Dream?




Been There Done That, Now Let Me Help You

We all have areas in our lives in which we are more skilled and knowledgeable than others. These areas of talent are fewer than the more common areas of our lives. This is why it’s important to find those qualified professionals to guide you through places where you are less qualified.

Recently I was working with a customer that gave me a home blueprint they were considering building. It was a large one-story home (2975 square feet) over a full basement. The proposal to build their project was more than they had budgeted.

Now what do we do?

After spending some time visiting with them there were several options that were discovered. Things that the novice wouldn’t consider or understand how it would affect the price. This is one of the benefits of getting experienced guidance early in the process.

The first thing was to figure out what the priorities were. Here are a few:

  • Dollars were a concern, as is almost always the case – This can be addressed by stacking the construction. If a second floor is included in the overall square footage less foundation and roofing is required to achieve a similar total square footage. This decreases the per square foot price.


  • Style and architectural design – During the discussing it was discovered that she wanted a wraparound porch which wasn’t a part of the first plan but fit in nicely on the second one.


  • Additional optional living space – Space for family during the holidays and for visits. Space for mother to live during the week when she is in town working.

By offering them some guidance and knowing what questions to ask we were able to come up with a plan that is going to meet the majority of there needs and wants at a 25% reduction in price. This is what I can offer with my almost forty years at the school of hard knocks.

The benefits of working together on any project has value. This value increases exponentially as the size of the projects increase. A new home is definitely a sizeable project.

One of the biggest challenges with building a dream is getting all parties involved moving the same direction. Too many times these parties are pulling in different directions. Just like two horses pulling together as a team can accomplish more, we can do the same thing. That team of horses need someone to take control of the reigns and give direction. We need that same kind of guidance.

I think guidance is the most important thing to building a dream. I also think it’s one of the most overlooked and under used pieces of the process. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. It is up to each of us to know what ours are and give or get guidance where needed.