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Showing 321–336 of 386 results

  • Construction Success Story – Contractor considers supplementary certification

    March / April 2010
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 449

    Abstract: For the owner of a general contracting business in a mostly urban rehab/high-rise market, times were tough. With the economy in gradual recovery mode, work was slowing down and competition was stiff. So, during a visit to his financial advisor, the owner asked for ideas on gaining an edge. She had one that he found quite surprising: supplementary certification. Contractors who seek certification beyond what’s required for licensure, she explained, are in a better position to compete for business and broaden their horizons in areas they wouldn’t normally explore. She mentioned several well-known organizations where he might go for continuing education and certification courses.

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  • Mind your metrics – Key financial measures can keep you in the game

    March / April 2010
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 663

    Abstract: As the local market picks up or slows down, contractors need to know exactly where they stand financially to reasonably decide whether to move boldly forward or pull conservatively back. And when it comes to determining financial standing, the more accurate and precise one is, the better. That’s where certain key financial measures come into play. This article discusses such measures as return on assets and return on equity, along with a number of important ratios.

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  • Extended NOL carryback period offers contractors tax relief

    March / April 2010
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 434

    Abstract: This tax season, some construction companies may find welcome relief from an uncertain economy and challenging marketplace because of the recently extended net operating loss (NOL) carryback period. This provision is part of the Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009, a bill passed last November that aims to create jobs and offer respite to struggling businesses and the unemployed. The newly renewed NOL rules allow most businesses to carry back their NOLs for up to five years, instead of the previously sanctioned two.

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  • Better start, better finish – 5 steps for avoiding project delays before work begins

    March / April 2010
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 875

    Abstract: Project delays occur for a number of reasons, and can range from small misunderstandings to huge conflicts that may put the financial success of a project on the line. But there are five steps that will help a contractor get to the finish line quicker by getting off to a better start: checking the owner’s financing; having a specific, well-defined contract; collaborating with all parties on a plan of action; creating standardized information management systems and processes; and choosing suppliers wisely. A sidebar to this article lists key questions that a contractor should ask potential vendors when considering a shift to paperless operations.

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  • Construction Success Story – Contractor rolls out new technology the right way

    January / February 2010
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 428

    Abstract: In the midst of a flush of stimulus-related public projects, a small subcontractor was finding his old accounting system too slow and cumbersome. So, with little time to spare, he headed to the software market and chose a new system. Upon introducing the technology to his managers, however, the contractor found that everyone had a gripe. Frustrated, the contractor mentioned the dilemma to his financial advisor, who suggested he return the product and begin again with a collaborative, team-based approach to choosing new software.

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  • Discover the secret to your success with bid-hit ratios

    January / February 2010
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 421

    Abstract: Some contractors equate success with the number of bids they win or perhaps simply with the number of jobs on which they’re bidding at any given time. But a more accurate and useful gauge lies in their bid-hit ratio — the rate at which they successfully bid on projects. A low bid-hit ratio can help contractors identify project types where they consistently fall short, and decide whether to allocate more resources to them or to bid more on other project types. But even the best bid ratio doesn’t guarantee profitability, so it’s important to track that measure as well.

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  • Care to trade? Trying your hand at a Sec. 1031 exchange

    January / February 2010
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 684

    Abstract: A “Section 1031 exchange,” or “like-kind exchange,” refers to the swapping of two properties, potentially resulting in a significant tax advantage — deferring gain until the replacement property is sold. But, under Sec. 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), one may swap more than just real estate. This article looks at the basic rules of such an exchange and the timeframes involved, but also shows how non-like-kind property can be included.

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  • Preparing for battle – Strategic risk management for contractors

    January / February 2010
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 922

    Abstract: The construction business is replete with risks. Bumps in the supply chain can stall deliveries, weather can wreak havoc on project schedules and owners can go bankrupt. These realities, compounded by recent natural disasters, heavier pressure to finish projects faster and more efficiently, and a steep rise in global competition, have prompted contractors to turn to strategic risk management (SRM). Having an SRM plan can reduce the chances of unexpected risks destabilizing a business, and allow owners to gain a better perspective on what risks could actually be beneficial to their construction business. This article discusses how to set up an SRM plan, while a sidebar discusses the importance of insurance as one component.

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  • Construction Success Story – Contractor improves customer service without a big payout

    November / December 2009
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 420

    Abstract: Faced with slowing business, a commercial general contractor decided to forgo the equipment and software upgrades he’d planned for. Yet he still felt helpless watching his backlog dwindle with few new prospects on the horizon. Reaching his wit’s end, he met with his financial advisor, seeking suggestions for ways to retain his current clients and gain an edge over his competition — all while saving money. The advisor offered a simple solution: a renewed focus on customer service. It’s inexpensive and one of the most effective ways to strengthen business in the short and long term.

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  • General contractor focus – Beware of the independent contractor vs. employee dilemma

    November / December 2009
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 649

    Abstract: The independent contractor vs. employee dilemma is a natural problem for general contractors, who deal with subcontractors and other specialists regularly. This article looks at a couple of examples where the line between independent contractor and employee isn’t clear, and explains the perspective that the IRS uses when determining employee classification.

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  • 3 tax-related scams and mistakes to avoid

    November / December 2009
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 412

    Abstract: Earlier this year, the IRS issued its annual list of common tax scams, covering everything from identity theft traps to serious mistakes taxpayers can make that the IRS may deem to be frivolous tax claims. Three, in particular, involve phishing scams, misuse of trusts, and fraudulent fuel tax credit claims.

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  • Presto, chango! – Turning prevailing wages into employee benefits

    November / December 2009
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 952

    Abstract: As contractors vie for new public works projects, the prevailing wage — the minimum wage contractors generally are required to pay employees working on projects initiated by public agencies — is getting more attention. For each job, the prevailing wage is divided into a minimum basic hourly rate and a fringe benefit amount. Although contractors are required to pay their employees the base rate in cash, the fringe benefit portion can be paid in cash or in the form of a “bona fide” benefit plan. To avoid the complexities, it may be a little easier for a business to pay the entire prevailing wage in cash, but it’s much more expensive. This article shows why, while a sidebar discusses the documentation needed in the event of a Department of Labor audit of a prevailing wage plan.

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  • Construction Success Story – Contractor goes paperless with IWA system

    September / October 2009
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 437

    Abstract: This month’s Construction Success Story tells of one contractor who had been pondering the idea of going paperless but hadn’t found the right tool to help her do so. When she asked her CPA for ideas, he mentioned imaging and workflow automation (IWA) systems. He explained that many business owners, including contractors, have been using IWA systems to streamline their invoice and accounts payable processes.

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  • On-the-job training provides lasting returns

    September / October 2009
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 477

    Abstract: A contractor will benefit clients, employees and itself by providing on-the-job training at every level. Sure, it takes time and money, but not as much as one might think — and the results can mean a more efficient company and bigger profits. Knowledgeable employees work faster and better; in the end, they’ll make the company more money. Plus, an employee who feels valued is more likely to stick around, helping to decrease turnover. But many managers get promoted to leadership positions because they are hard workers and great at their jobs, not because they’re natural or skilled leaders. So it’s important to ease the transition and the learning curve by creating opportunities for new managers to learn from experienced leaders within the company.

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  • The inside scoop on the manufacturers’ deduction

    September / October 2009
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 492

    Abstract: Many contractors have been taking advantage of a useful break with a somewhat misleading name: the manufacturers’ deduction, which provides a tax break for many businesses besides manufacturers — including contractors. Certain kinds of construction activities qualify for the deduction, which will be increasing in 2010.

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  • Employee benefits – Self-funded health insurance may be a healthy option

    September / October 2009
    Newsletter: Contractor

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 1009

    Abstract: Because of rapidly rising health insurance premiums and shrinking budgets, some contractors are choosing to forgo offering health care benefits to their employees as a way to save money in a down economy. But a number of alternatives can reduce their financial burden while still giving their employees access to the health care services they need. One such route is the self-funded health insurance plan. This article discusses how it differs from commercial insurance, the risks and rewards, and the obligations involved. A sidebar discusses what to look for when choosing a third-party administrator for a plan.

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