" Practical, direct, no-nonsense. Wish I'd had The Elements of Building when I was starting out. . . and for the decade after that. It is a very good book. . . " Mike Reitz, founder and editor of The Journal of Light Construction (JLC)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

BUSINESS IDEAS

Look at both sides of new business ideas. Give as much weight to what could go wrong as to what could go right. Enthusiasm and imagination often make ideas appear far better than they are. Research the idea. Map it out. Make a list of what-ifs. Talk with others. Give it time to simmer—a few weeks or months—and see if it stands up to reexamination.  EOB, Builder Notes, Business Strategies 

I have been traveling for a little over two months in Nepal which is why I have not been posting weekly. I should be back to a weekly post for the foreseeable future. Mark  

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EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

PUT YOUR TOOL BELT ASIDE, another look

A friend who has been a successful builder for 40+ years and I were talking about the idea from the post from two weeks ago, September 25th, that is, ”If you want to be a tradesmen work for someone else, if you want to run an business, put your tool belt aside as soon as it is practical and run the business.”, and he said that he knew people who work in the trades and run their business successfully. At which point I remembered that I also had known a few people who had succeeded doing both. 

On the other hand I have known countless guys who worked 40+ hours per week in the field and did their office work evenings and weekends, but because this cannot be maintained for long periods of time—it is relentless and exhausting and the office work will be poorly done because it is not being given their best attention—many of them went out of business (some several times) or existed on the very edge of failure for years.     

The person that my friend was talking about is in a strong market and was succeeding by strictly dividing field and office work: working in the field four days per week and religiously taking one full day and perhaps part of Saturday to do his business work. My issue with this idea—and my personal experience with it—is that because field work is so immediate and demanding, it takes uncommon discipline to consistently stop, week after week, to give office work its due. 

Perhaps the conclusion is that with rigorous discipline it is possible to continue as a tradesmen and run a business, with a few caveats: it will limit the size of the business; there will likely always be a bias toward the field that will need to be kept in check; and it will be hard to determine at times where best to put ones effort: the pressing field issues or to take care of the office. On the other hand, many people work in a trade because they get satisfaction from it and thus don’t want to give it up and many of us want to make a good living, not to build an empire.  

And a final thought: while the idea of working both in a trade and in the office has worked for some people, and it has great appeal for many of us, it remains my belief that most of us will be best serviced by putting our time into learning and applying business skills as soon as it is practical.   

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EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.


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Monday, September 24, 2018

BIDDING

What can be earned on a job is limited, what can be lost is nearly without limit. I don’t know why so many GC's provide free bids. I do know that the strongest general contracting companies charge for their bids or avoid competitive bidding altogether because in so many ways it is a losing proposition that rewards the unlucky and the ill-prepared. EOB, bidding notes

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EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

SET YOUR TOOL BELT ASIDE

If your goal is to be a tradesmen work for someone else. If your goal is to establish and build a significant company, put your tool belt aside and focus on business as soon as it is practical. EOB— Rules, Ethics, & Opinions  

I have struggled with this idea more than any other in this book, after all, so many of us begin in the trades because we like working with our hands. So it seems somehow wrong that we can’t do both the trade and the business. As my own business grew I reluctantly gave up working in the field even when it became obvious that my time was far more effective taking care of the business. With hindsight, I absolutely should have done it sooner. While writing EOB I asked a several seasoned builders what they thought of the above quote, to my surprise, each agreed with the idea immediately and without hesitation. 

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visit: https://houseparts.smugmug.com/
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EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.

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Saturday, September 08, 2018

DESIGN & PLANNING

Design-planning happens on the smallest and the largest projects but many builders and tradesmen act as if it is something to be gotten through quickly in order to get to the “real work of construction.” But this is a mistake. Good design benefits the client, the builder, and the community. Good planning assures that the result matches the clients’ requirements and that the job runs smoothly. Companies providing and working with skillfully designed and planned products have a significant competitive advantage. EOB, Designer, Designer Notes

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EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

study group

When slogging along trying to learn a complex subject—like how to setup and run a trade or construction company—and the going is tough, just know that working in a group to understand and implement ideas is far more effective than doing it alone. If you are working through a copy of The Elements of Building, for example, put together a study group—within your company, with local builders, or perhaps an online group—because it offers ongoing motivation, clarity of purpose, deeper insight, and the comradery that comes from working together toward a common goal. mqk

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EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.

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Friday, August 03, 2018

Learning the Business

Residential building is a complex and difficult business with jobs in various locations, each with different personalities, equipment, codes, designs, costs, timing, and requirements. Doctors, lawyers, and engineers go to school for years. Builders & trademen, for the most part, learn on their own. Here is a broad overview of what is required to run a successful residential GC or trade company (after trade skills are acquired): marketing/sales, accounting/record keeping, insurance/codes/permits, communication, customer/employee/subcontractor relations, computers/software/estimating, trucks/equipment, tools/materials, quality control/customer service, schedule/job management, general management, estimating/bidding, and contracts. The Elements of Building was written specifically to help young builders and tradesmen succeed in the residential construction industry.

EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.

visit: https://www.facebook.com/The.EOB/
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visit: https://eob-mqk.blogspot.com
contract author: eob@dplus.net

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