Business Bites - Pro Construction Guide

Business Bites

Turn your work vehicle into a branding juggernaut

With all the hype about digital marketing, it’s easy to forget that work vehicles are among the most visible and potent marketing tools available to small business owners. This should come as no surprise given how much time Americans spend in their own vehicles, riding public transit and walking outdoors.

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Why trucks and vans make great family vehicles

While work vehicles are and should be evaluated primarily on payload and other performance criteria, they are hard to beat as recreational and family vehicles. Whether it’s towing fifth wheels down the road, taking the boat to the lake or driving the kids’ soccer team to a tournament, it’s tough to beat the versatility, roominess and comfort of today’s pickup trucks and service vans.

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Why buying a new truck or van can save you money

Vehicles are among the biggest investments a business makes, so it’s understandable that owners would want to squeeze every last mile out of their pickup trucks and vans before replacing them.

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Are contractors missing the crowdfunding train?

Three years after a new law cleared the way for companies to raise money from small, individual investors via crowdfunding sites, it’s hard to find many small, independent contractors using them to raise capital.

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Do you feel trapped by your business?

If you are like a lot of home remodeling maintenance and repair contractors, you’ve put in a lot of 70-hour weeks. Somewhere along the way you have probably also asked yourself version of the following questions.

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2017 tax reforms give contractors lots to ponder

Independent contractors may want to schedule more time with their accountants this year to review substantial changes to federal tax codes included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Republicans last December.

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8 tips for your first promotional campaign

This year may go down as one of the best times in years to launch a new residential contracting business, according to at least one measure.

The average cost per lead for residential contractors fell 10.5 percent to $242.53 in 2018, according to Remodeling, according to a survey conducted for the 2018 Remodeling 550. That compares with $280.16 in 2015.

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How to create a mission statement that matters

Wanting to make a lot of money is nothing to be ashamed of, and profits are certainly a critical indicator of success. However, chasing profits to the exclusion of other goals can lead to distractions, and in today’s fast-moving, hyper-competitive markets, distractions can quickly lead organizations astray.

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How — and why — to identify your target market

It’s a well-known refrain in marketing, but one that can get turned on its head in the chaotic world of running a small construction company.

Given all their other responsibilities, it’s not surprising that sole proprietors sometimes shoot  before they aim when it comes to marketing.

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Tool tracking options for small contractors

If you have more than one crew working on more than one job site at a time, chances are you spend more time than you’d like simply trying to keep track of tools so you can get them where they are needed.

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The ABCs of IRAs for the self-employed

If you are among the thousands of residential building contractors struggling to find skilled workers, it may be time to review your employee retirement plan — in the unlikely event that you even have one.

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How to align your marketing plan with your business plan

Ask a marketer to summarize his or her goals, and chances are high he or she will talk about the importance of knowing and catering to customers’ needs.

At the end of the day, however, marketing plans must support the business owner’s financial goals. If you are a one-man contracting shop and your goal is to work alone, support your lifestyle and retire comfortably at age 60, you may be able to rely on word-of-mouth referrals.

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4 ways to improve cost estimates and earn a profit on every job

One of the biggest mistakes independent construction contractors make is underpricing jobs.

It’s one thing to knowingly underbid one job to win a strategic account. It’s quite another to routinely underestimate labor and material costs and fail to mark up overhead expenses before submitting a proposal to a customer.

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Why sole proprietors should consider keeping personal and business expenses separate

If you organize your business as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation to shield your personal assets from debts and other financial obligations incurred by the business, the business uses separate checking, credit card and other accounts to pay its expenses.

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The ins and outs of financing your next work vehicle

If you are planning on financing your next new truck or van, shopping for loans is as critical to saving money as shopping for deals.

Full-size truck sticker prices start at around $28,000, but the average price paid is closer to $40,000, according to Kelly Blue Book. Few small businesses can afford to pay cash for such expensive vehicles. Following the steps below in their given order, however, will help you secure the best financing deal for your next commercial vehicle.

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How bundling your services can help your business

Many small, service-oriented businesses are overlooking a valuable pricing tool that has been used for decades to boost sales and profits in the fast food, cable television, party and event rentals, HVAC, and roofing industries.

Called “bundling,” it involves offering customers a combination of products and services in a single product offering, often at a modest discount to what they would pay for each component individually.

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How to shop for fuel rewards programs

If your business uses trucks and vans, chances are 50/50 that you’re paying too much for gasoline and diesel, according to the GasBuddy/CSP Fuel Loyalty Report, 2017.

GasBuddy publishes a mobile app that uses crowdsourcing to help motorists find the best gas prices, cleanest restrooms and best coffee at service stations nationwide. In February, 2017, it surveyed more than 11,000 of its users and found that roughly half were not members of fuel rewards programs that can save motorists hundreds of dollars on gasoline and diesel purchases per year.

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Tax consequences of being a sole proprietor

Sole proprietorships are the most popular form of business in America today, probably because they are so easy to set up. Keeping up, however, is another matter.

Keeping up with self-employment taxes is one of the many challenges that sole proprietorships face. The Small Business Administration estimates that roughly one-third of sole proprietorships close in their first year for a variety of reasons.

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7 tips for building your brand by building your local community

Community partnerships remain potent tools for building brand awareness. If they were not, Fortune 500 companies would not invest so much in partnering with non-profits, sending employees to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and sharing their efforts on social media.

Aside from the personal rewards that volunteerism and charity can bring, supporting local community organizations can provide great networking opportunities and show potential customers that you generally care about their communities.

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