Can You Imagine What It Would be Like to Build a House Without Power Tools?

So, why is it That Most Construction Contractors Will Do Proposals Like That?

Think about building a house by sawing every board and sheet of plywood with a handsaw. Mixing the concrete all by hand. And driving every nail with a hammer.

This sounds like a long drawn out, difficult method for building.

This is how most construction contractors do proposals.

The same way they’ve been done for 100 years. It’s like building with hand tools but it doesn’t have to be like this.

There’s a power tool for doing proposals.

When doing proposals, the old “hand tool” way the contractor will do them the same way grandpa would have.

If they are a particular person, they will determine the size and quantities of the material needed. This will include –

  • The cubic yards of dirt that needs moved
  • Cubic yards of concrete
  • Boards needed for framing of floor, walls, roof
  • Siding, exterior trim, exterior paint
  • Shingles, roofing underlayment, flashings
  • Insulation for floor, walls, attic
  • Doors and windows
  • Base, casing, stairways, misc. trim
  • Cabinetry, countertops, closets
  • Interior paint, stain, clear finish, wallpaper
  • Carpet, vinyl, tile, etc.
  • Plumbing pipe, fixtures
  • Heater, AC condenser, ductwork, registers
  • Electrical wiring, fixtures, receptacles, switches, breaker panels
  • Porches, decks, railings

Once these things have been figured and counted, they will get prices for each of them to determine the cost. Then they will guess at how long it will take to do the work and put a price to it.

Less detailed contractors just guess at the whole thing.

Building a house takes a lot of pieces. The same number of pieces…regardless of how you figure the price.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a power tool that would allow you to consistently determine the price whether you are a detailed person or not?

The Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal is a “power tool” for doing proposals.

This power tool provides:

  • A scope of work that communicates clearly with customers and production crews
  • A budget providing production crews with a clear understanding of time allowed and material costs
  • A system that allows for delegating portions or the complete proposal process

To get this “power tool” in more contractor’s business toolboxes, we’re offering a Holiday Special beginning Black Friday through the end of the year. This special includes a reduced price for the proposal system plus free bonus templates.

In addition to the reduced price for proposal system there’s going to be a contractor drawing for a…

DeWalt cordless tool kit

Check next week’s post (11/28/21) for details of how to get entered in the power tool drawing.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about how this power tool can help avoid the 7 common bid mistakes contractors make that cost them a fortune.

Click here.

What is it About TOOLS That Building Contractors Love So Much?

Wielding a Power Tool Gives Us a Sense of Control and Respect

Those of you who build, know what I mean. Feeling that power in our hands. We are in control, but the machine can never be tamed. We have to respect it, or we will regret it. We pretend to be in charge of the “power tool beast” but know better.

Power and control

  • Power tools have the power to create. When the power tools come out, we have no idea what is about to happen. Every time we connect with that much electricity, a child-like excitement oozes from our pores.
  • Power tools have an untamed spirit that screams: “Anything can happen.” Turning on a generator makes you feel like you are The Generator. For a few minutes, you’re off the grid and in-charge. You have the power and can decide who you will bestow it upon.
  • Power tools let us pretend that we can do anything. Don’t fool yourself, your power tool is in charge! Just look at the sticker on your SAWZALL: “Warning this device is powerful and is capable of doing serious harm to your home, your person or your entire way of life.

Meditate on the raw power, the Amps and the Volts. Be in awe and imagine where your power tools may take you.

This fascination with tools is very similar to the reason most guys would take almost any ridiculous “man challenge” for the promise of a gold sticker on their forehead and “buddy cred”.

“Hey, I bet you can’t crush that can with your head!” Sound familiar?

Hopefully most of us are smarter than this.

As builders we love the rush we get from building something. That sense of accomplishment that comes from creating a dream home out of that stack of boards. Tools give us the power and control to do this.

A tool that is even more powerful than the biggest meanest saw, is the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal.

I know it doesn’t make as much noise or make your arm numb after using it all afternoon, but it’s a tool that will allow you to build your business into a skyscraper of success.

The hardest thing you will ever build is a business. The tools used for this kind of building are different than what we normally think of when thinking tools.

During my thirty-five plus years of building my business I’ve continually worked to achieve and maintain a sense of control over my profit and respect for the power of business.

Just like any other building project, it’s important to know what tool to use for specific applications. You wouldn’t use a cordless screw gun to saw a board, or a reciprocating saw to nail down a shingle.

You can saw a board with a hand saw or you can use a circular saw. We both know which is faster, easier and makes more sense.

The same thing is true for preparing a proposal.

You can use the old school “guesstimation” method or you could use the new and improved power tool. It’s important to have the right tool for the job.

We are going to be offering a Holiday special for the Building a Better Proposal system starting on Black Friday complete with a weekly tool drawing starting on Black Friday.

If you or someone you know would like to feel the power of a tool that gives them control over building a successful construction business while respecting that power without regret…stay tuned for upcoming details or contact us in the comments below.

Opening the Toolbox & Looking at OneNote

Organizational Tools Are as Important as Any Other…Maybe More

Last week I told you that we would open up my organizational toolbox and take a look inside. So, OneNote is the first tool that we’ll look at.

Being a self-employed small business owner is a difficult undertaking at best. This difficulty increases exponentially when organization and communication are operating poorly or not at all. This problem only increases when you’re successful and there are more things to organize and more people to communicate with.

During my thirty-five plus years of continually working to achieve and maintain some level of control I have used a whole lot of different tools. Some were old school some high tech.

The best tool I have found for organizing and communicating is Microsoft OneNote.

This tool is great for organizing and communicating. It does so much, so well, that I don’t need a bunch of different apps to do different things. To often these various apps don’t sync well across different systems and devices.

I would equate OneNote to a three-ring binder on steroids.

Maybe we should call OneNote the ‘Six Million Dollar’ binder. I have used binders for my organizing for years and still do, to a small degree.

A good comparison of OneNote to a binder is the way I used to have project binders on site at construction projects. This was a place where things would be kept so that employees, sub-contractors, project management, architects and the customer could all have access to the specifics of the project.

OneNote is organized very similar to a binder. You can have different ‘notebooks’ and each book can be divided into multiple ‘sections’ and each section can have bunches of ‘pages’ and subpages.

Just like “The Six Million Dollar Man” this computerized version of a ‘notebook’ has superhuman bionic computerized capabilities.

Here are a few of them –

  • Share with other people across multiple devises. This can be as simple as sharing a shopping list with your spouse or as detailed as an entire notebook with colleagues on a big project.
  • Syncs automatically across multiple devises. If someone adds to the shopping list or checks something off, you will know it in a matter of seconds as long as you are connected to the internet. If not, it will sync as soon as you are.
  • When changes are made, they are highlighted until read. If one of my virtual assistants makes a change, I will be able to know that, go to the specific change and know who did it and when it was done.
  • Insert almost anything on to a page. You can insert copies of other documents, screen clippings, photos, audio and video recordings, links to other pages and/or web locations, etc. This is just part of what I’m currently using or is available with OneNote.
  • Link from and to multiple locations. I can put a link for a specific OneNote page in a task reminder or calendar event or on a word document. Click on it and it will open up that page, even if OneNote isn’t open yet.
  • Editing is really easy. Things on a OneNote page can be clicked on and moved to a different place on the page. This feature is great for prioritizing a list. If I want to move something higher on the list, I just move it there, no cutting or copying or pasting (although you can do those things as well).
  • It’s always ready to open up and use. It doesn’t require the opening up of a program and folder a file before you can write something down. Click on the OneNote icon in the task bar and it’s open. A couple more clicks and you can write down your note before you forget it.
  • Great place for filing and storing. If I want to save an email from a customer with a picture and a link to a web site, I can do that right from Outlook.
  • Can protect sensitive info within a shared note book. If I have a page that has ideas for my wife’s Christmas or passwords to my bank account, I can password protect those pages. This means that if my wife accidently goes to her Christmas page when she meant to go to the shopping list, she can’t open it without the password…which she doesn’t have.
  • Can draw or write on it just like paper. This feature is great for getting down quick information with my tablet or phone. I can draw the floor plan for a room addition and write dimensions and notes right on it.

This tool can do all this and much more. Some people will probably say that it has too many bells and whistles or it’s complicated. I’m sure this isn’t the best tool for everybody and that’s okay. Not every person uses the same cordless drill.

This tool is simple to use and it makes it easy for me to stay organized.

Next week we’ll get out another tool that work’s in conjunction with this one.

This post was originally published January 21, 2017

Every Minute of Every Day We Make One Decision After Another


It’s Like Playing A Non-Stop Game of Would You Rather

Most everyone is familiar with the game “Would You Rather.” This is a game in which the players are asked questions that compare two different scenarios and are asked to choose which of the two they would rather do. These questions can vary from simple to the complicated.

Would you rather…

  • Spend a day in the Sahara Desert or Spend a day at the North Pole


  • Have the ability to fly or Be invisible
  • End hunger or End hatred


This game isn’t any different than everyday life. We are faced with choices every minute of every day. Some of these choices are small and simple, some are important and carry major consequences.

Would I rather…

  • Eat this or Eat that
  • Wear this or Wear that
  • Drive this route or Drive that route
  • Go in debt to buy a new car or Save my money and drive something older
  • Take this job that pays well but requires me to sacrifice my morals or Take that job that pays considerably less but allows me to be true to my principles

This past week an either-or situation was in the forefront of my decision making and was a part of multiple conversations.

I was faced with a situation of needing to keep a construction project moving forward or doing proposals that customers were eagerly waiting for. Not to mention all the other everyday business responsibilities of running a company.

The construction project was behind schedule due to weather delays and next week’s forecast showed the possibility of more rain. The subcontractor was behind on other projects of his own due to the weather. The sub said he could get there but was going to be shorthanded.


The “would you rather” question arose for me when he jokingly suggested I come on site and help. I could dust off my tool belt and go spend a couple of days swinging a hammer or I could work on the things I had already scheduled to do.

The sub was surprised when I showed up with my tool belt on.

Was it the right decision? I think so, other than being a little sore after framing for a couple of days, we moved the project forward and this was important.


Every day we are confronted with hundreds of these choices some big and some small. It’s easy for some of us to spend more time than we should when making decisions, we want to make the best ones. Sometimes when spending too much time trying to make the right one, we have inadvertently made the wrong one.

Little decisions shouldn’t require too much contemplation. Bigger more important ones are a different story. The important thing is to know yourself. Know what you need to make the best decision possible and have those tools in place when you make that next big decision.

One of the best toolboxes I have found for being prepared to make decisions is Andy Andrews’ book “The Traveler’s Gift. In this book Andy gives seven life principles that successful people throughout history implemented at times when they were making crucial decisions.

Would you rather…
Know how to make better decisions? or Guess at making decisions and take a chance?


Painting the Interior of Your Home – Part 2

The Next Step to Achieving the Outcome You Desire

Just like a painting project takes longer than initially expected, so did the explanation of it. What I thought would be a short post turned into two and now looks to be three. Next week we’ll see if we’re able to accomplish this.

Last week I told you to start with determining the right paint depending on what the rooms use was. Next was picking your colors which is one of the most important things to the outcome. What, in the beginning, would seem to be easy, often turns into one of the most difficult.

Figuring out what tools you need, is the next step. Painting is like any other project, having the right tools will make the project go smoother, easier and make for a better outcome. Even with basic tools like brushes and rollers there is an amazing amount of variety and options. Then of course there is too many specialty tools to go into.


  • Natural bristle (sometimes called China bristle) for oil-based finishes. These bristles are made from animal hair. The natural split ends of these bristles hold more paint and allow a nice smooth finish
  • Blended nylon/polyester bristle for latex paints. The combination of these bristles provides a durable long-lasting brush. The polyester is great at holding its shape and the nylon holds up well.
  • Polyester bristles work well in latex paints but aren’t as durable as the combination bristles. They provide a smoother application of paint than the combination.
  • Sizes typically range in width from 1” to 4”. Depending on what you are doing will determine which width provides the best result. Smaller brushes work best for trim and small areas. The bigger brushes provide more coverage on large flat areas.
  • Styles or bristle ends also serve different specific purposes. An angled brush works best for cutting in around windows, doors, etc. or in corners. The angled cut gives you more control over the paint line. Flat brushes work best when the goal is to get paint on larger flat surfaces.


  • Fabrics used for roller covers are similar to brushes in that some are natural, and some are synthetic. The synthetic is the most common and is ideal for latex paints. The natural covers are made of mohair or wool. These work best with oil-based paints. Blended covers provide the best of both worlds. They have the product pick up of wool and the longevity of nylon.
  • Pile depths of roller covers vary from short (almost smooth) to long (3/4” -1”). The short nap is for smooth surfaces. The rougher the surface the longer the nap needed.

Misc. tools and sundries:

  • Drop cloths or plastic for covering finished floors or furniture that will remain in the room.
  • Tape and plastic or painter paper for covering windows, doors, floor perimeters, trim, electric fixtures, hardware, etc. Most of us are aware of the blue painters masking tape. It was designed to be used on painted surfaces and not pull the paint loose when it was removed. Now there is green (multi-surface) and yellow (delicate) tape as well.  
  • Caulking, spackling, drywall mud for filling cracks, nail holes and repairing damaged areas. Caulking works best when filling joints and cracks where two different materials come together, for example wood trim and drywall. It allows for expansion when the two things expand and contract at different rates. Spackling is light weight and faster drying than sheetrock mud and works great for filling nail holes and small repairs. Drywall compound dries slower and depending on the size of repair will most likely shrink and need multiple coats but is more durable than spackling.
  • Ladders, stools and planks are needed to cut in the corner where the ceiling and wall meet, the tops of windows and doors or ceiling fixtures. Once the cut in is complete then everything in a typical room can be reached with a roller pole. Some rooms with high vaulted ceiling may require scaffolding.
  • Roller handles, poles, pans, liners and screens are all parts of the paint rolling process. Many times, people don’t distinguish the difference of these things. The roller handle is what the roller cover slides onto. The pole is what the handle screws onto and often is adjustable in length. The pan is what paint is poured into for the roller to pick up the paint from. There are pan liners that fit in the pans which can make the clean up process easier. There are also screens of different sizes that fit into different sized buckets. You can then dip the roller directly into the bucket of paint and remove the need for a pan.

Now we’ve determined the right paint, picked the colors we want and figured out what tools we need. After all of that, it’s time to get started painting.

Next week we will discuss the process of preparing the room and putting some paint on the walls.

If you have any questions or thoughts about what we’ve discussed so far, just send them to us in the comment section below.

A Look in My Tool Box at the Tool I Use to Save Money

Having the Right Tool and Knowing How to Use It Can Make Life Much Better

Over the last couple of weeks, we have discussed why it’s critical to save money for those big irregular expenses and unexpected emergencies. Next, we began the process needed to start building a “Rainy Day” fund by determining how much and for what. The Savings Transfer Sheet is like any other tool, it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t use it.

As is the case with everything that’s worth doing, starting is the hard part. Saving money is no different. It’s like digging a hole.

What if there’s an underground water line leaking in your back yard. You can see that spot where the grass is green in an otherwise brown lawn. The water bill is more than ever before and getting bigger each month. That doesn’t matter, the prospect of getting your shovel out of the tool shed and digging is more than you can bear to think about. So, you put it off and pretend that it’s not a problem.

The green spot in the yard keeps getting bigger and greener. The water bill keeps getting bigger too. You decide to cover the spot in the back yard with an above ground swimming pool. That took care of it…no more green spot. You know what they say. Out of sight out of mind.

Then one day you get a water bill that is so big you decide that you’ve got to do something. So, you drain the pool, get a shovel and start digging. Then before you know it, you’ve uncovered the pipe, found the leak, made the repair and filled the hole.

That wasn’t near as bad as you thought it was going to be. Once again you are aware that this is one of those times when the overwhelming dread was way worse than the actual process. The next water bill is back where it used to be, and you wonder why you weren’t more proactive.

A shovel is a simple tool that’s easy to use. It can fix a problem before it gets too big, but only if you use it. If you don’t the outcome can be devastating.

The same thing is true about the Savings Transfer Sheet. If you will take the time to get it out of the tool box, spend some time learning how to use it and use it regularly, it will make a significant difference in stopping your financial leaks.

Wouldn’t you like to have your money filling up the pool rather than leak under it.


Here are links to the Savings Transfer Sheet template and the Savings Transfer Procedure, free for your use. (expected to be active week of 5/21/18)