Charge Like A Business

Chapter 11

You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.

Jim Rohn

Chapter 11

Rule #22 – Charge Like a Business  

The lady says, “You don’t charge for that do you? You just got here.” Sometimes our job only takes one to five minutes.

The builder standing there watching says, “That did not take long.  Are you giving me a discounted price?”

Another lady says, “Wow! That was simple. I’ll bet you don’t charge the builder much do you?”

“It is a trip charge ma’am.”

“I am going to turn you in to the builder!”

A new contractor told me one time that they only charge $15-20/hour.

One thing all these people have in common is that they are thinking in terms of paying a labor charge.

Think about it.  There is a great difference between paying a business for coming to your home and paying a day laborer you have hired to work.  One is a business – and one is a laborer.

If an electrician comes to your house and all he has to do is change out a light bulb to fix the problem, you still pay his company’s minimum trip charge because he represents and works for a business.

Most businesses should have a minimum trip charge for work, inspections on site, or giving advice on site. For example, in contracting these trip charges may run from $95.00 to $150.00. The business charges the trip charge, and they pay the electrician or plumber by the hour for their labor, $15-25.00 per hour.

The expenses to run a business are much greater than the expenses of showing up to work as a laborer.

I have listed here some of the expenses a business has to pay for overhead.

Expenses for a business:

  • Workman’s Comp Insurance
  • Contractor’s Liability Insurance
  • Local Licenses
  • Truck
  • Truck Insurance
  • Fuel
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Fax Machine/Printer/Copier
  • Land Line for Phone
  • Cell Phone
  • Computer
  • Bookkeeping Software
  • Other Types of Software
  • Internet Access
  • Office Space
  • Office Equipment
  • Office Supplies
  • Tools and Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Website
  • Website Design and Management
  • Drive time to the job

Expenses for laborer:

  • Clothes
  • Shoes

So if you are just beginning the business of contracting and you have been a laborer for years, you have to change how you think. It may be a shock to your mind to now charge like a business instead of being paid for labor, but you can do it.  Many other people have made the jump.

Since you are a business and not just a worker or laborer, you may need to dress like you own a business. Think like a business man or woman, and see yourself as one who owns a business.

You cannot charge $15-20 per hour, pay the list of expenses itemized above, then hand your spouse the change and expect them to pay all your personal household expenses.  You will go broke.

If you are going to contract business, you have to charge like a business!


Proverbs 13:11 Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears;

wealth from hard work grows over time.  New Living Translation


Successful people are simply those with successful habits.   Brian Tracy

How to Make Yourself Heard

Chapter 10


Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.  Vince Lombardi

Chapter 10

How to Make Yourself Heard

Rule #21 – Learn Good Marketing Skills

When I first went into business for myself, my first client said, “I already have a service provider, but they won’t answer the phone, and they won’t call me back.” So that became my first rule: Always call them back; always be available. One thing I’ve learned, people will accept a lower standard of quality if you are easily available. Not returning phone calls is very frustrating to people no matter how great your quality of services or products are. If they are in a hurry, if they need it done right now, and they know they can get a hold of you, they will call you even if your quality is not as good as the other guys. This is not an excuse for poor quality, but just to show how important good marketing is. Being available by phone is part of marketing.

You don’t have to be the best in your field to be successful, but you do have to know about marketing. Marketing can include many different things:

  • the way you dress,
  • phone call etiquette,
  • business cards,
  • websites, etc.,
  • AND knowing who holds the key in your market.

One of my accounts told me that they used our quick responses to phone calls and service calls to sell their products because the other service provider at times took months to get the jobs done. So we use our fast response to phone calls as part of our marketing. We put on our business cards, “We return telephone calls promptly.” That wholesaler used us to market their products.

Marketing does not have to cost a lot of money. I like the principles of Guerilla Marketing which is low cost or no cost marketing. It is very effective even though it might be free. One of the best authors on the subject is J. Abrams. He is great at Guerilla Marketing and has written several books on the topic. Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition is one of his well-known books.

Sometimes all it takes is one or two good ideas to make a huge difference in your marketing.

I remember reading in one of Robert Kyosaki’s books a conversation he had with a young female writer. He said, “I have read your work and you are very good.” “Yes,” she responded, “but I don’t sell very many books.” Robert said, “You need to look into marketing.” She responded, “I am a college grad, and that would be ‘sales’!” (Sales are a little beneath the class of a college grad). Robert told her he was not nearly as good a writer as she was, but he sold a lot of books. He said that marketing is the key. You don’t have to be the best at your craft, but if you can market well, that will put you right up at the top.

If you have days or a week or two when you are not busy (as we all do if we run a small business or are self-employed), one thing to know is that you will get busy again. So, in those off times, that’s when you can concentrate on marketing. You can:

  • Work on your website or websites.
  • Work on your twitter accounts.
  • Clean out your truck.
  • Organize your materials.
  • Post to Facebook.
  • Post to Instagram.
  • Work on expediting your processes.
  • Talk to your mentors.
  • Talk to the key pins in your marketing process such as wholesalers, manufacturers, or large clients.
  • Read books on marketing.
  • Strategize.

In order for people to beat a path to your door, they have to know about you. Every field requires a different marketing strategy. Marketing can also include branding, a logo, and/or twitter accounts. If you are marketing a book, Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is helpful.

Another book is Jeff Walker’s book:  Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams.

Probably the biggest key is to pray a lot. God’s hand is with you because you are one of His children, and you should expect to see His hand at work to open doors for your business and to protect your business.

The Bible says that wisdom is worth more than rubies. Marketing is a type of wisdom. Once you learn the importance of it and the rudiments of how to do it, it can make you a lot of money. Without marketing, you could have the greatest service, product or book in the world and be very short on sales.

I have asked many people what they do to market their business. Many times their response is, “My work speaks for itself, and I get most of my work or business through referrals.” I believe this is a lazy man’s way of saying he is content with what he gets even if it is not much.

Marketing works. If all that was required was word of mouth, why do so many businesses advertise?

Walmart, Kohl’s, Stihl, movies, drug companies, Ford Motor Company, and the list goes on forever. It is because marketing works.

Many people are very good at what they do, like the female writer above, but they never really reach their full monetary potential because of a lack of understanding of marketing. We want to not only be good in our craft, business or books but good at marketing, too. That gives us a full package for a prosperous venture in our living The Prosperous Life.

Proverbs 21:5 Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,

but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.  New Living Translation

Be Bold!

Chapter 9

Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.  Brian Tracy

Chapter 9

Be Bold!

Rule #20 – Be Bold When It Comes to Money

Fear stops us from living a truly prosperous life at times. I have been in contracting for about 40 years, and in that time I have seen many people lose money and go broke because of the fear of asking to get paid.  Boldness is far better and more profitable than fear.

You don’t have to be rude. Just ask. Or in some cases let them know that you need to be paid when the job is complete. We always do this on commercial jobs.

As we conclude the phone conversation about time and pricing, I just tell them we need to get paid the day we are done. They may say they don’t carry checks. We ask if they have a credit card and then ask if that will work for their boss. Also we add $3.50/hundred to do a card because that is what we are charged. Most of the time, they agree.

That is so much simpler than trying to collect from a company that is out of state. If you have ever tried that kind of collecting, you will know what I mean. Generally, it takes three months to get money that way. We just don’t do jobs like that anymore.

With smaller, local contractors we usually ask them to meet us and pay when we are done when it is the first time we have worked for them. Usually, people understand the situation and do just what you ask. If that goes well, we will bill them in the future.

If they object, then that raises a red flag. They may be ones that you would have a hard time collecting from anyway. Tell them you really need to get paid while you are there because they are a new account.

If you stick to your guns, usually they will do that.

This type of dealing with people about money also has the advantage of showing that:

  1. You have some integrity.
  2. You are not afraid of losing a job.
  3. You respect yourself enough to conduct your business properly.
  4. Thus, most people will have more respect for you and treat you better.

I worked with a young man years ago that told me the builder owed him for all the materials and labor for five houses. WOW! I asked him why he would do the next one if he was not getting paid.

Fear was the answer:

  1. Afraid the builder would not pay for any of it if he asked for the money.
  2. Afraid he would not get the next job if he insisted on getting paid.
  3. Afraid of the confrontation.

He eventually went broke and got a job.

Fear… some call it sand in the machinery of life.

(More on this in Rule #45)

Boldness without being rude is one of the well-worn paths to The Prosperous Life.

Proverbs 28:1 ….   But the righteous are bold as a lion (KJV)

Staying Out of Trouble

Chapter 8

Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.  Vince Lombardi

Chapter 8

Staying Out of Trouble

Someone once said that we don’t communicate well enough. There may be many reasons for that: the wrong choice of words, being unclear about what we really mean, or because we are trying to imply something we hope the person gets, but we really don’t want to come right out and say it.

By rephrasing the words back to the speaker, we can verify that what we are hearing is what the speaker meant.  This can be done with your spouse, children, coworkers or even your boss.

Rephrasing is to say back to the person, in your own words, what they said. “What I hear you saying is…..”


“What’s for dinner?”

“We were going to have chicken, but I forgot to thaw it out, and I have been so busy today I hadn’t even thought about it.”

“So are you wanting to go out for supper?”

“Would you mind?”

Here is another example:  The salesman writes up a repair order on two of his products sitting in a wholesaler’s warehouse. His company sends the repair order to an independent repair contractor. The contractor sees that one unit is a warranty repair and one has been damaged, probably by the wholesaler’s warehousemen. The repairman calls the manufacturer, and the manufacturer agrees to pay for the one unit with the defect but refuses to pay for the other damaged one.

During the repair the salesman shows up and says to the repairman.

“You are new at this aren’t you? I would hate to lose an account like this as I only have two accounts. Don’t let little “technicalities” cause us to lose this account. This time I will pay for the non-warranty repair.”

Rephrasing: “So what I hear you saying is that no matter what is wrong with the units, you want me to write up the invoice to the manufacturer to show that these are all warranty repairs. Is that right?”

If he says, “yes,” now you know he wants you to lie. You can:

  1. Just end the conversation without confirming that you will do that and next time it happens, mention to the manufacturer what you have been instructed to do by their salesman.
  2. Let him know that you will only bill warranty repairs to the manufacturer, and if he wants to pay for all the others, you will call him each time to confirm his continued willingness to pay.

Rule #18 – Practice Rephrasing Anything Questionable or Unclear.

Rephrasing can clear up many situations. It can help straighten out fuzzy thinking, help use the right words, make things clearer and at times keep you out of trouble.

Communicating well is part of The Prosperous Life.

Rule #19 – Never Look in the Windows.

I learned this from a direct sales company 45 years ago and have followed it ever since.  If you look in the windows of the house you are knocking on, first of all to passersby or even the homeowner, you appear to be a rube (an uneducated, unsophisticated country boy). This is just rude.

What if you arrived a little earlier that the lady had anticipated, and you see her racing half-dressed to the other end of the house and she sees you?  No matter what you do, that situation is a mess. And remember people talk.

I first ring the doorbell then turn away slightly from the door and step back a bit if that is possible.  On the second ring if the door is not answered, I also add a knock.  Sometimes doorbells don’t work.  Then we try a third time before I would call them on the phone.  Sometimes they are running the vacuum, etc. and did not hear you.

If you stand back a ways, you don’t seem to be so much in their space when they open the door.

Think about it!

Proverbs15:8….  The prayers of the upright are his delight (The New KJV)

Comfortable and Complacent!

Chapter 7

Don’t wish it was easier wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge wish for more wisdom.    Jim Rohn

 Chapter 7

Comfortable and Complacent!

Rule #17 – Don’t Become Comfortable and Complacent!

I meet many people every day, and many times I ask them what they do for work and/or how they got into the business they are in. Sometimes the stories are very interesting. I asked a young builder the other day how he came to build houses.

He said he was working as a foreman for another builder making about $50,000 per year. He told me that it is very easy to become complacent with that kind of income. He said you can pay your bills and live fairly comfortably.

Together he and his wife had read many financial books and had some understanding of how money worked. He said he did not want to become complacent at that level of income, so after he learned what he felt he needed to know about building houses, after about a year with this job, he quit.

He found a money man that agreed to build seven houses and split the profits 50/50 with him, and that venture was successful. A year later they parted company, and he now had enough to go the bank. They loaned him the money to start a couple of houses, and he was in the building business.

Many times we become complacent with our income because we are comfortable there.

  • We know what it takes to earn that amount.
  • We know the people.
  • We know the routines.
  • We know that we can pay our bills at that level.
  • Our friends all make about the same.
  • We are part of the group.

If we strive to move up a level or two, that would put us in unfamiliar territory. Weird as it sounds, most people would be uncomfortable if their income doubled or tripled.

  • Their lifestyle might change.
  • Their friends might change.
  • What they talk about might change.
  • And most are afraid of the unknown.

You see many people have bought into the idea that to really be successful you have to get a college education and go to work for some major company. That can be very comfortable – someone or a company taking care of you, and then complacency can easily set in. You could fight complacency, and climb out of your comfort zone.

Starting your own side business may be uncomfortable and may be a little different than your friends, but it may change your life in ways you never imagined.

For example: I have met people that buy and sell golf courses or others that buy companies from the IRS that were taken because of non-payment of taxes. They got the companies profitable and then sold them. I have also talked to people that buy mobile home parks after the park had been through bankruptcy two or three times. Then they made a deal with a company that repossessed mobile homes to put them in their park and split the rent.

Some 150 years ago most of the people in this country were self-­employed as we were an agricultural economy. But as the industrial age set in, people moved from the farms into the cities. Then they acquired some debt and had to stay in those jobs in order to pay “the man.” But it was comfortable.  A paycheck each week. Eventually complacency can set in.

This reminds one of the song Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford. One of the lines reads: “Saint Peter don’t you call ‘cause I can’t go, I owe my soul to the company store.”

This lack of funds and debt keeps us showing up on the job to get the money to pay the debt. We have been trained to be good workers for industry and good consumers for the global economy. Someone sold us on the wrong plan.

A billboard I see every day says: “A job for every Oklahoman, a workforce for every company.” Learn to think outside the box.

Learn to embrace the uncomfortable and beware of complacency. God wants us to be God-sufficient. For God to be our sufficiency, a college education is not required.  God’s hand is with us in everything we do as we are His children. So break out of your comfort zone, and kiss complacency goodbye. God has laid out the fundamental principles of prosperity in His Word. These fundamental principles are also laid out in our new book Poverty vs Wealth. Try it. It could be your key to The Prosperous Life.

Proverbs 24:10 If you faint in the day of adversity your strength is small. 

(English Standard Version)