Mark-up versus Margin Confusion

One frustration I commonly hear from builders before we start working together on their business is, “Why don’t my job profits come out as high as my forecast?”

Sounds a simple question, but the answer can be complex and diverse. There are many forces at play between pricing the job and counting the money, but one issue can be a misunderstanding as to the required MARK-UP to achieve the required MARGIN in the job. Get this wrong and you have set the job up to fall short of what you need at the very start; the pricing stage.

Why is this? Read on to find out

Motion Leads to Motivation

You know exactly what you need to do. You’re focused on all the positive outcomes that will result once you’ve finished that looming task. You’ve cleared your calendar so you can focus on completing this one thing.

And then nothing happens.

Why? Because you think you need motivation. You’re waiting on a spark, on inspiration to fly out of nothingness and smack you in the face.

Well, I hate to break it to you…but if this sounds like you, you’re going to be waiting for a long time. Possibly forever. Because here’s the reality—motivation, as you know it, is a myth. Here are three reasons why.

Can You Fly Your Business in Bad Weather?

In aviation there is a rule around the weather and when a pilot is allowed to fly an aircraft. It’s called Visual Flight Rules, or VFR. The average private pilot is only allowed to fly their plane under VFR conditions, i.e. when you can see the environment around you with your eyes and you know where you are going.
The same thing happens in business. Average business owners are fine in good economic weather, but what if that changes? Can you fly your business in bad weather?

Thinking of Starting a Business?

If you are thinking of moving from working for someone else and starting your own business, I suggest you use this outline to plan your new venture. You might just avoid the pitfalls that many new business owners fall into. When you are ready to take the plunge, you might want to sign up for my Trades Coach Academy, online course for newer business owners. It’s packed with ideas, systems, tools and templates to help make your new business a success.

Become a Market Leader

No company can be successsful today if it tries to be all things to all people.

Rather, the most successful companies – the Market Leaders – select a unique value that they endeavour to deliver to their chosen market segment better than anywone else.

So says Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema in their book The Discipline of Market Leaders which I read over summer. If you are really wanting to choose an over-arching strategy to set your company apart in the marketplace, this book might be a good place to start.

Protect Yourself With a Trust

Do you have your family home in a trust?

The building industry is a risky one. The chances of you getting into financial or legal problems are higher in the building trade than in most other businesses. I am not saying that will happen to you, but in view of the higher risk profile you should take all the necessary steps you can to protect yourself and your family. That includes putting your family home into a trust.

Beware labour intensive jobs

Not all jobs are created equal. A decent sized job may look attractive, but it may not necessarily be so. Jobs with a high labour component will keep you busy, but will limit your total gross profit achievable.

The following are 2 extreme examples to illustrate the point, courtesy of John Teder, consultant to the HVAC industry in the US:

Prevent Budget Blowouts

With the construction industry being pretty buoyant at the moment, attention should be turned to improving operational efficiency as the best way to increase profits. Last year I ran a couple of seminars based on the results of an industry survey on the frustrations builders have in project management.  It sparked some interest so I thought…