As a Construction Company It’s Hard to Make a Profit

We Work Too Hard in the Construction Industry to be Giving Away Money

Just like there’s a proper way to do construction projects…the same is true for proposals.

You don’t shingle the roof before you pour the foundation or start hanging sheetrock on a wall that hasn’t been framed.

There’s a proper way to construct a building. Doing proposals is the same. Having a system for doing proposals makes this possible.

Pricing of any construction project uses the same information to arrive at a dollar amount…material and time needed to do the work. Where problems arise is in overlooking or forgetting something, guessing at how long it will take, or unclear communication.

The key to unlocking the profit vault is having a system that prevents overlooking, guessing and poor communication.

Proposals should be done, so that you –

  • Avoid miscommunication
  • Have happy satisfied customers
  • Have budgets for customers
  • Provide scope of work to production crews
  • Have budgets for production crews
  • Take responsibly as the professional
  • Have a more profitable business

This is accomplished through five simple steps. These five steps are –

1st – Gathering information – Gathering the right information correctly and effectively is critical to preparing an accurate and thorough proposal. The initial gathering should include:

  • Measurements and dimensions, existing and new
  • Building materials, existing and new
  • Pictures of pertinent areas and existing construction
  • Customer’s design ideas and finishes.

The important thing in this step is to gather any and all information needed to prepare an accurate proposal. Using the system’s Bid Sheet minimizes the chance of overlooking things because the different areas of a construction project are already listed out.

2nd – Preparing a scope of work – This is the process of taking the information that was gathered and describing each specific task in terminology that both the customer and the contractor understand. It needs to include enough specifics to be thorough without being too technical. This written description will be transferred to the Proposal and serve as a written description of work to be performed and materials to be provided.

3rd – Pricing the project – This process is the copying and pasting of pertinent information from the Data Base to the appropriate cells of a blank Worksheet.

4th – Quantities – Fill in the quantities of the work on each line item included in the project. This may be lineal feet, square feet, square yards, cubic feet, cubic yards, numbers of pieces, etc. Now you have prices for each of the different tasks to be performed.

5th – Preparing the proposal – Now you have everything needed to complete the Proposal. Take the descriptions from the Bid Sheet and the prices from the Worksheet and put them together on the Proposal. After filling out some job specific details the proposal is ready for the customer.

Proposals done well, above everything else, is the one thing that will contribute to you having a profitable business!

The Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal system provides clear and accurate proposals…every time.

You can get the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal and have proposal system that will do all this and more. This system is currently at a reduced Holiday price of $497 plus it currently includes some bonus templates.

If you would like to learn more about how proposal mistakes cost construction companies a fortune, check out this free download.  

What’s the Most Powerful Tool in the Construction Contractor’s Toolbox?

This Tool Can Make You More Money with Less Chance of Cutting a Finger Off

The past couple of weeks I’ve written about how much we love our power tools and how tools make building easier.

The sense of control that comes from pulling the trigger on a power tool is amazing. We feel like we are in control of our destiny. There’s no task too big. We can conquer the world.

There’s no doubt that power tools make construction projects go faster and easier than using hand tools. (And there are a lot of cool new tools that we’d like in our toolbox.)

Of all the tools out there, which is the most powerful?

This is a question that could be debated forever.

I would argue that the most powerful tool isn’t a tool in the normal sense of the word.

If the purpose of power tools is to increase control and be more productive, then having a power tool that would 10x these things would be worth 10 times what you paid for the most expensive tool you have.

Increasing your profit margin just 10% on a $5000 project and the tool has paid for itself.

What kind of tool could have this kind of return on investment?

The tool that I’m talking about is affordable and won’t wear out like other tools.

Most construction companies are great at “constructing” but are overwhelmed by the business side of things. This is not where their heart is.

You don’t need a master’s degree in business to be successful if you have the right tools.

A tool for doing clear and accurate construction proposals is this kind of tool.

Without a tool for doing proposals, a lot of contractors make mistakes that cost them a fortune. Unexpected costs, changes to projects after they’re started and poor communication are a lot more expensive than the cost of the tool.

Those mistakes include:

  • Lack of clarity with both the customer and the production crews
  • No budgets for customers and production crews
  • Losing money
  • Not doing accurate proposals due to a lack of time
  • Guessing at pricing of projects

Learn more about those mistakes and how to avoid them with this free download.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a tool that would –

  • Increase you profit
  • Communicate clearly with both the customer and the production crews
  • Allow you to consistently and accurately price construction projects
  • Allow you to customize it to fit your company’s specific needs
  • Give you the freedom to delegate the paperwork so that you could focus on construction

The Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal will do all of this and more. I use this proposal system on every construction project I bid.

Just like power tools make construction projects easier…there’s a “power tool” that will make doing construction proposals easier, allowing you to reduce stress, be more profitable and build a successful business.

You’re not in business to lose money, so get this tool.

We’re currently running a special Holiday offer for our Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal system. The reduced Holiday price is $497, including some additional bonus templates.

In addition to this special offer, we’re having a drawing for building contractors.

One lucky winner will receive a DeWalt cordless tool combo kit valued at more than $700.

Your opportunity to win starts now and ends at midnight 12/3/21.

It’s Amazing How Quickly Profit Can Get Sucked Up

Missed Deadlines Are Like a Big Shop Vac to Profit

It’s hard for some of us to make money…for others not so much. I’m not talking about how businesses and lives look on the outside. I’m talking about the real and truthful hidden beneath the exterior profit. Borrowed money often makes things appear way better than reality.

On one of Donald Miller’s Business Made Simple daily podcasts, this past week he talked about the importance of hitting deadlines. Missing them can cost you a lot, in both money and reputation. Missed deadlines are too common in construction. I know missed deadlines are costing me and my business.

On the surface, a missed deadline here and there doesn’t seem like it’s a big deal. The problem is that those missed deadlines don’t ever go away, they just keep getting added to previous ones. It starts out like a little snowball rolling down a hill, problem is…when it gets to the bottom it’s big enough to wreck your business.

You can’t go back in time and change the past; you can only learn from it.

Let me show you how missed deadlines cost you money. Let’s say the labor budget for a siding project is $10,000. This translates into 167 hours or 24 working days. The cost for labor and length of time needed for this project was predetermined by a data base using the square footage of walls to be sided.  

Often production crews get to a stopping point mid-afternoon and rather than starting another section they quit for the day. This may happen a few times throughout the project. When they get to the end of a project, they happen to get finished at noon. It’s too late to start the next project so they wait until the next day to start.

If throughout the duration of the project the production crew stops 1 hour early each day, this adds 3 days to a 24-day project. These 3 days now pushed starting the next project back 3 days plus the half day at the end.

If this happens consecutively on projects throughout the year those 3 ½ days becomes 35 days. 35 days would be enough to do another project, not to mention the overhead costs that continue whether there’s work being done or not.

A 15% profit figured on the siding job would be $178.00 per day, times 3 days is $534.00 for that one project. Add to that the complete project missed is $4,798.00 lost to never be gotten back. Multiply that by 25 years of doing business that’s a lost profit of $119,950.00 sucked up by the “missed deadline vacuum”.

The problem isn’t the labor costs…it’s the never-ending overhead.

Every deadline missed in a company, whether production, sales, marketing, administration, or bookkeeping subtracts from the bottom line. Each of these little subtractions is like a little rock thrown into a pond. The ripples will inevitably spread throughout the whole company sucking up profit.

Meeting deadlines has to do with being intentional. Determining your priorities, getting them on the calendar and pushing forward. The only way I reach the goals I have for my life is to meet deadlines.

I’m going to make meeting deadlines a priority for 2021.

Here’s to a more profitable 2021!

How To Balance Passion and Profit In Business




It Doesn’t Have to Be One or The Other


Why is it that the owners of small businesses struggle to even make minimum wage? When you factor in the number of hours and amount of stress that most small business owners endure, often it’s less.

I had this conversation with a local contractor last week. The same conversation I’ve had with different contractors, including myself, repeatedly over the years.

Self-employed people are generally in business for one of two reasons. They either love what they do or they’re in it to make all the money they can. The ones who focus on quality and service usually don’t put enough effort into profit. On the other side, the ones who focus on profit, do so while neglecting the quality and service.

Let’s look at some of the reasons for this problem.

In a Score Contracts blog post, “8 Reasons Why Small Businesses Are Not Making Money” they list eight reasons. Most of these you have heard or experienced, but some are worth repeating.

#2 – They don’t know what they’re doing. They are technicians or trades people trying to run a business. They need to have a business plan in place and use it.

#5 – Poor thinking. Most are hard workers but have poor thinking habits. They spend more time planning their meals, vacations and daily chores than they do their life.

#6 – Lack of education. Not formal schooling, rather self-motivated expansion of knowledge like reading, studying, courses, on the job training.

#8 – Self-doubt or fear. Most people quit before they even get started. They look at the options and then talk themselves out of even giving it a real try.


Here are some additional reasons that small businesses find it difficult to make money, found in a blog post “17 Truths About Running Your Own Business”. 

#1 – You can’t be everything to everyone. You need to decide what your priorities are, be selective and learn to say no to the things that aren’t.


#6 – Your business isn’t a piggy bank. You can’t just spend money on everything you want without a plan. You need to be sure to have money for taxes, equipment or building repairs, investments, etc.


#8 – You can’t do everything. You need help. You need a team and they need to be good. You need to know what that looks like and how to get them.

#10 – Your customers are your most important asset. Treat them as such.

#17 – You are your own most important client. You need to spend some time every day working on your business and not in your business. If you don’t take care of the business, it won’t last.


What are we going to do to make our business profitable while being true to our passion?

As is the case generally, everyone’s specific situation is different. The important thing is to listen, learn and apply information learned. If you learn new things and don’t use them, they’re worthless.

Application is the hard part.

Because we have struggled ourselves with finding a business system to fit our needs, we decided to develop a user-friendly business system that can be tailored to different business’s needs including training and implementation support.



It doesn’t have to be only passion or profit; IT CAN BE BOTH.

Here are some previous posts about some of our business system thoughts and struggles.

Building Your Business Is Critical to The Survival of The Business
Be Careful About Short Table Legs
What Does It Take to Be a Builder?
The First Next Thing to Building A Better Business


Share business struggles that you or someone you know has had in the comments below. This will be helpful to us as we design the system.



How To Keep A Finger On The Profit Pulse Of Your Company


Accomplished by A Weekly Profit Comparison


Have you ever been shocked when preparing your year-end financial paperwork and you find that profits were not what you expected?


You had, what you thought, was a good year. You were busy and working hard all year long. This was an unexpected and disappointing surprise. What happened?


There is so much required to operate a business and it’s hard to keep everything balanced. There are three support columns that hold up a company and financial health is a crucial part of one of them. If you neglect to regularly monitor finances, by the time you realize it, that support leg may be too weak to keep the company stable.


It’s easy to lose track of things if you aren’t intentional.

Profit and loss reports are easy to prepare, especially if you use a computer bookkeeping program. The problem I had with the profit and loss report was that it didn’t answer questions that I wanted answered, not without doing a lot of extra work. We all struggle with not having enough time to get everything done so, it gets put off and the next thing you know the year’s over.


Been there done that. That’s why I developed a Profit Comparison report.


I wanted, at a glance, to know if we were on target for the current year’s financial goals. This way adjustments could be made before the financial support leg got too weak. I also wanted to be able to see how the company’s income and expenses compared with last week or last year at any time throughout the year.

The Profit Comparison is an Excel spreadsheet that within a few minutes can be filled out and ready for review. We take information from a standard profit loss report, enter it into the proper places on the spreadsheet and with a few clicks of the mouse it lets us see what the “profit pulse” is. By filling it out and reviewing it every week we can stop bleeding before it becomes fatal.

The Profit Comparison report provides:

  • Comparison of the current Gross Profit to last week, last year and this year’s goal.
  • Comparison of the current Overhead Expenses to last week, last year and this year’s goal.
  • Comparison of the current Net Profit to last week, last year and this year’s goal.
  • Revenue deficiencies or surpluses, providing an opportunity to make necessary adjustments to get and stay on target.
  • Job cost overruns, providing an opportunity to make necessary adjustments to get and stay on target.
  • Excessive overhead expenses, providing an opportunity to make necessary adjustments to get and stay on target.

One of the biggest problems that businesses struggle with is the lack of time to get everything done, this is especially true for small to medium size companies. Financial reports are one of those things that get put off because they aren’t “directly connected” to generating revenue.


This simple report can easily provide the “profit pulse of your company” weekly.


We are working on developing this Profit Comparison Report complete with instructions into a product available for use by others. If you or someone you know would be interested in this, please let us know in the comments below.