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Smart Business for Contractors: A Guide to Money and the Law Paperback – Jan 9 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press; Revised ed. edition (Jan. 9 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561588938
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561588930
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 1.4 x 25.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #758,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Jim Kramon is a founder of Kramon & Graham, a 30-person law firm in Baltimore, Maryland. Jim and his firm have represented small contractors and tradespeople for over 30 years.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
You are a contractor. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews

By Jestin A. Burich on Dec 27 2001
Format: Paperback
Very readable book that made a great complement for some other books i bought. For the price this is a deal all the way.Its a fairly broad overview but touches many important areas. I didnt learn much i didnt already know but a new to the field contractor would benifit greatly. As i said, the price makes this a valuable reference even for myself who is already knowledgable in most of its contents.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Bernhard on June 21 2003
Format: Paperback
You don't need this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Great resource for start ups Aug. 24 2005
By D. Donovan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I work for an agency that provides business counseling for small local businesses. I frequently get calls from people in the trades who are starting their own contracting business after years of working on a crew. Just as frequently I get calls from their spouses who are taking on the bookkeeping aspect of the business. This is one of the resources I recommend especially if they haven't had much experience estimating, job costing, or dealing with homeowners. I've gotten lots of positive feedback from contractors and their partners. Several clients bought their own copy. The chapter on contracts has examples that are useful to other types of businesses as well. This book is well organized, has good examples, and it's written in plain English.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Great Contractor Trade Book Nov. 14 2006
By M. Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am starting an electrical contracting business and needed help with the office/legal side of the business. I read 4 books on starting a business. This book was the most practical and relavent for me as it was written specifically for the contractor trades. This book provides a good overview of the business details that are required for a business to operate and succeed. It contains very practical examples of what to do to before you start your company and as you run your company. Buy this book first and you may not want any others. Good job with this book Jim.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Very Very Elementary July 26 2008
By Aaauger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm giving this book 3 stars because its cover is misleading. The majority of the book is about starting a business - any business. It also fails to adequately address law. For example, non payment is prevalent in contracting. But the book doesn't mention bond agents, licenses, waivers, releases, etc.

If you are looking to tighten your operation, learn more about a specific topic or ensure collection, this is not the right book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Written Specifically for Self-Employed Contractors Sept. 21 2007
By P. Forint - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book covers everything you need to know as a self-employed contractor through hiring your first employee.

The straightforward language of this book explains the business side of being a professional tradesperson, and shows the benefits of doing things properly. It is backed by many examples of what has worked and not worked for others.

The book also shows how to plan for your retirement and balance your business and personal life.

Whether you are just thinking about going out on your own, or you've been running things by the seat of your pants, this book will help.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A business book aimed at entrepreners that is very basic but failed to mention or discuss business plans and marketing plans. Jan. 14 2008
By Jeff Lippincott - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was an interesting book. I kind of liked it. It was certainly clear and straightforward. And I think it probably can be helpful to some contractors who are clueless as to how to run a business. There is a lot of practical advice provided here. The funny thing, at least to me, is that it comes across as preaching the same fluff that bar associations sell in the form of CLE booklets for young lawyers to buy who want to start there own law practice. Not much original content is included in this book.

Those CLE booklets all talk about the billable hour and how it is how to price your services. While I agree that all business people should price their company's goods and services so the owner has a certain amount of taxable income at year-end, it is very short sighted to worry about profit margins on each hour worked PER PROJECT. You will want to factor minimum hourly rates for time into your bid, but you should ALWAYS quote what the market will bear. And this amount is higher than what this book tells you to charge.

The biggest problem I had with this book is that it fails to talk about the importance of having a written business plan. A sound 25-35-page business plan would be the contractor's roadmap to success. And it covers all the things mentioned in this book and more. It would include financial reports, i.e., balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. And if the contractor fails to do business the way the plan dictates, then the contractor could evaluate why his company is coming up short and take corrective action.

Besides a chapter on why a business plan should be researched and written, I think the book should have had a nuts and bolts chapter on how to put a business plan together. And I didn't particularly like the outline of this book. I would have liked it lots better if it had been broken into four parts as follows:

I. Choice of Entity
6. Sizing up your options: Corporations, Partnerships, Employees

II. Financial
4. Managing the paper chase
5. Drawing the line: Business vs personal finances
7. Taxes: Plain and simple

III. Operations and Marketing
1. Money matters: Pricing, billing and collecting
2. Contracts and beyond: Protecting your business
12. Your first year in business
3. Running and growing a business

IV. Risk Management
8. Insurance: Money well spent
9. Medical insurance: How to live with it
10. Disability: Anticipating the solution
11. Retirement planning: Never too early

Ideally the first part of the book would be retitled "Business Plans" and Chapter 6A (Why You Need a Business Plan) and Chapter 6B (How to Write a Business Plan) would be added. I think Chapter 5 should have made some mention of QuickBooks Pro bookkeeping software. And I think Chapter 7 should have made some mention of TurboTax software. More could have been written about rainmaking (growing the business) in Chapter 3. My favorite chapter in the book was Chapter 2. I just think the author did a very nice job with it.

I think the chapters I label as risk management above were a little too involved for a general business book for contractors. There was so much more that could have been covered in parts 1 through 3 that I felt as though Part 4 was just too thorough. As a result, the book did not have an "even" feel to it for me. There are books that talk just about risk management and retirement planning. Why not just refer the reader to some of those books? 3 stars!


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