Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 59 seconds

Coffee for 2

I recently sat down with a new remodeler at his request for a cup of Joe. During our hour or so, I found myself rattling off wisdom learned through trials and tribulations. He was not ready to learn, he was blown away by what he didn’t know and that was discouraging. Appreciative, yes, I think I blew his doors off. I wish, in retrospect, that I would have just smiled a lot and answered specific questions while admiring his kindred entrepreneurial spirit.

What I Have Learned is Mostly By Doing

Let’s face it, painful lessons are what typically make the learning indelible. Taking the time to reflect allows us to learn and change patterns to have better outcomes. Not everyone gets to fall down and get back up. I have had my share of slobber knockers and lived to tell about them. My goal has been to become a master at something. Especially to figure out the business side. I probably look at numbers more than most. I look for patterns & trends, very little makes me happier than finding positive ones. I am on the lookout for new ways to express numbers graphically so that I could see what was up at a glance. I drive my bookkeeper nuts by color-coding things to make aberrancy pop off the page.

My Advice is to Read & Listen

Michael Stone’s Markup and Profit is full of great advice then there are so many other good books written on remodeling. David Gerstel comes to mind too. I like podcasts. Tim Faller is amazing. Rereading things that were above your head are a good way of learning what you missed the first go-round. Then get involved in a peer group. There are people out there in the world who have solved the problems creatively and are willing to share. This was a big breakthrough for me. What I learned took years, in some cases to apply but the friendships and being held accountable are priceless.


Get the best that money can buy. Listen and learn. You may think that you can learn how on Youtube, but IMHO, you are your worst enemy if you are doing your own accounting. What you don’t know in this case could hurt you. Having the perspective of someone that understands things from a different perspective is priceless.

Teaching how to fish

A Sounding Board

I have 2 ears and 1 mouth. Use them proportionally. I decided to be a better listener and to help as much as my mentor did by answering to questions. Just blurting things out is not a helpful thing to do. Teaching through discovery is how meaningful learning occurs. Let the student figure it out,

Teaching is Like Fly Fishing

I am honored to be asked to teach the NARI CR (Certified Remodeler) class each Fall, so I get the luxury of communicating these topics to hungry groups. Telling answers is less effective than laying out a floating fly and letting them come up and attack it. This group setting makes the transference of knowledge digestible. The weekly 2-hour segments is a preparation for the big comprehensive exam. Get involved, get certified, and join the learning community.

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261

If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor, please contact me. You’ll be glad you did.