Be a Successful Building Contractor

Be a Successful Building Contractor

by R. Dodge Woodson


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780070718296
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date: 02/28/1997
Pages: 365
Product dimensions: 7.42(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.94(d)

About the Author

R. Dodge Woodson holds the real estate license Designated Broker, the highest classification of professional real licensure available. Woodson is the president and owner of Expert Realty Services, Inc., of Brunswick, Maine. He bought his first piece of speculative land in 1974 and has been a progressive land developer in Virginia and Maine for the past 29 years. He has succeeded with both individual plots and large parcels that he subdivided. Woodson’s contracting company, The Masters Group, Inc., offers new construction, remodeling, and plumbing in all residential phases. With nearly 30 years of experience as a general contractor, master plumber, master gasfitter, and residential land developer, Woodson has developed processes to help you succeed in your business.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1Welcome to the Construction Industry1
Basic Needs3
First Hurdles4
The Dangers10
How Many Houses Can You Build?11
How Much Money Can You Make?11
Chapter 2Getting Your Feet Wet13
Which Type of House Should You Build First?15
Picking the Right House Plan16
Your Edge16
Bringing It All Together20
Test the Waters21
Chapter 3What Do You Want to Accomplish in Your Business Career?23
When Your Job Becomes Your Business24
Construction Offers You Many Business Opportunities25
What Do You Want from Your Business?25
Where Do You Want Your Business to Be in Five Years?27
What Type of Customer Do You Want to Serve?28
What Role Will You Play in The Business?30
Have You Evaluated Your Cash Reserves?31
Chapter 4Taking the Plunge35
Keeping Your Expenses in Check36
Beating Heavy Overhead Expenses36
Learn What Expenses to Cut41
Know Which Expenses Are Justified43
Cutting the Wrong Expenses Can Be Expensive44
Looking Into the Future47
Long-Range Planning Pays Off in the End49
Focusing on Change50
Chapter 5Getting Organized and Ready to Work55
Choosing Your Business Structure55
What Type of Business Structure Is Best for You?57
Learn the Pros and Cons of Each Form of Business59
Chapter 615 Mistakes Builders Make That You Can Avoid63
It Takes More Money Than You Think64
Avoiding Heavy Overhead Expenses65
Too Cautious65
Select Your Subcontractors Carefully66
Set Up a Line of Credit66
Get It in Writing75
Stay Away from Time-and-Material Prices76
Check Zoning Regulations76
Covenants and Restrictions77
Inaccurate Quotes78
Inspect Your Jobs Frequently78
Customer Relations79
Change Orders79
Never Get Too Comfortable81
Chapter 7The Pros and Cons of Building Model Homes63
It's Easier to Sell84
Extra Attention85
The Disadvantages86
Building Here and There87
My Personal Opinion88
Chapter 8Courting Bankers89
Good Credit Is Crucial to a Growing Business89
Trade Accounts91
Selecting Your Lending Institutions93
How to Establish Credit When You Have None94
How to Overcome a Poor Credit Rating97
Seven Techniques to Assure Your Credit Success99
Credit for Your Customers101
An Edge103
Chapter 9Selling Without Having a House to Show105
The Basics106
Talk Less and Listen More106
People Like to Talk107
Getting Down to Business108
The Key Elements112
Chapter 10Opening Your Own Office113
Should You Work from Home or from a Rented Space?113
Storefront Requirements114
Commercial Image115
Assess Your Office Needs115
Location Can Make a Difference117
How Much Office Can You Afford?117
Answering Services Compared to Answering Machines119
Chapter 11Finding the Best Building Lots121
Not All Lots Are Created Equally122
Utility Hookups123
Lay of the Land125
Flood Zones126
Finding the Cream of the Crop128
Chapter 12Controlling Desirable Lots in Subdivisions Without Buying Them131
Takedown Schedules132
Stretch Your Money137
Chapter 13Developing Your Own Building Lots139
Little Deals140
When Things Go Right142
Mid-Size Deals143
Big Deals144
It's Tempting144
Chapter 14Building on Speculation145
Picking Lots and Plans146
Target Your Market147
Hitting Your Mark148
A Safety Net150
Colors and Products152
Selling Your Spec Houses155
Chapter 15Selling with Real-Estate Broker157
Sell It Yourself?158
In-House Sales159
Buyer's Agents161
Seller's Agents161
Big Real-Estate Companies162
Ask Questions163
The Commission164
Multiple Listing Service (MLS)164
Doing the Grunt Work165
Chapter 16Managing Your Time and Your Money167
Time Is Money167
Budget Your Time168
Know When You Are Wasting Your Time170
Controlling Long-Winded Gab Sessions171
Set Your Appointments for Maximum Efficiency172
Reduce Lost Time in the Office173
The A List and the B List174
Reduce Lost Time in the Field174
Using a Tape Recorder to Improve Efficiency175
Should You Have a Cell Phone?175
Chapter 17Adding a Computer to Your Toolbox177
Desktop Alternatives178
Getting Started178
How Will a Computer Help Your Business?179
Building Customer Credibility with Computers183
Spreadsheets, Databases, and Word Processing185
The Power of Computer-Aided Design (CAD)188
Selecting Your Hardware189
Chapter 18Keeping Track of Your Cash191
Keeping Your Accounts Receivable and Payable Under Control192
Cash Flow192
Looking Ahead to Financial Challenges193
Money Management194
Contract Deposits195
Eliminating Subcontractor Deposits196
Stretch Your Money196
Collecting Past-Due Accounts197
Construction Loans198
Surviving an IRS Audit201
The Legal Side202
Choosing Attorneys and Accountants203
Documenting Your Business Activity204
Contracts, Change Orders, and Related Paperwork206
Good Contracts Make Satisfied Customer239
Chapter 19Trucks, Tools, Equipment, and Inventory241
Leasing vs. Purchasing242
Separate Needs from Desires244
Financial Justification245
How Much Inventory Should You Stock?246
Controlling Inventory Theft and Waste247
Stocking Your Trucks Efficiently248
Chapter 20Subcontractors, Suppliers, and Building Officials249
Suppliers and Vendors250
Choosing Subcontractors267
Dealing with Suppliers277
Making Your Best Deal278
Expediting Materials279
Avoiding Common Problems280
Building Good Relations with Building Code Officials281
Chapter 21Bidding Methods That Really Work285
Word-of-Mouth Referrals285
Customer Satisfaction287
Reaching Out for a New Customer Base287
Payment, Performance, and Bid Bonds290
Big Jobs-Big Risks?291
The Bid Process294
Preparing Accurate Take-Offs295
What Is a Profitable Markup?301
How Can Your Competitors Offer Such Low Prices?302
Pricing Services for Success and Longevity303
Proper Presentation305
Know Your Competition308
Effective Estimating Techniques308
Chapter 22Jobsite Safety Makes Good Sense and Cents309
Let's Talk About OSHA310
Personal Protection311
Developing a Good Safety Program312
Chapter 23Keeping Your Customers Happy313
Meeting Your Customers on Their Level313
Qualifying Your Customers314
How to Satisfy Your Customers316
Public Relations Skills318
Establishing Clear Communication Channels with Customers318
Chapter 24Creating and Promoting an Attractive Business Image325
Public Perception Is Half the Battle326
Picking a Company Name and Logo327
How Your Image Affects Your Clientele and Fee Schedule329
Your Image Is Difficult to Change331
Set Yourself Apart from the Crowd332
Build Demand for Your Services Through a Strong Image334
Joining Clubs and Organizations to Generate Sales Leads334
There Is No Business Without Sales335
Marketing Is Pivotal to Any Business335
Should You Enlist Commissioned Salespeople?336
Where Should You Advertise?337
What Rate of Return Will You Receive on Advertising Costs?340
Use Advertising for Multiple Purposes341
Building Name Recognition Through Advertising342
Generating Direct Sale Activity with Advertising342
Without Advertising the Public Will Not Know You Exist343
Promotional Activities343
How to Stay Busy in Slow Times344
Chapter 25Hiring Employees345
Do You Need Employees?345
How to Find Good Employees349
Employee Paperwork352
How to Keep Good Employees356
Controlling Employee Theft357
Exercising Quality Control Over Employees357
Training Employees to Do the Job358
Training Employees to Deal with Customers359
Establishing Employee Cost to Your Company359
Dealing with Production Downtime360
Reducing Employee Callbacks and Warranty Work362
Office Employees363
Field Employees364
Employee Motivation Tactics364
Chapter 26Planning Your Future367
Company-Provided Insurance for Yourself368
Employee Benefits375
Making Plans for Your Later Years376
Liability Insurance377
Worker's Compensation Insurance378
Retirement Plan Options379
In Closing383
AppendixManufacturer Directory385

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