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      Dear jennifer, I could focus on the budget part of this and how to save money blah, blah, blah, but you’re already doing that by being on list and reading everything you can get your hands on.

      (On the envelope budgeting, this works best if you know what your income IS each week, if it’s not reliable (or changes every week) then it’s not as easy to do. Here is an outline:

      Instead, lets change the focus a little towards your hubbies business. The following is from my own personal experience. .

      1st– He should have a WRITTEN contract with Everyone that he does work for regardless of whether it’s a $500 job or a $500,000 job- this is for several reasons:

        • It outlines Exactly what he will and Won’t be doing.
        • It assures that ALL parties involved know exactly what is covered and helps prevent misunderstandings down the road.
        • Any and ALL changes to the initial contract should be added with both parties having signed or initialed it.
        • If, for any reason, you EVER have to go to court and you don’t have a signed contract, the Judge will more than likely laugh in your face and ask you if you learned anything. A Very good friend of ours (another contractor) went through this. He did work for someone he considered as a buddy, so they had a verbal agreement. He got stiffed for over $50,000 and the judge literally laughed in his face. It sure changed how we managed our business!
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          2nd: He should be charging based on the competition. Is he overcharging for the area? Is he undercharging? Undercharging is just as bad. Why?

            • He isn’t a discount contractor, he doesn’t do “discount” work, so why should he get paid half of what he’s worth?
            • He has overhead to pay for, work-truck, work trailer, equipment wear and tear, insurance, licenses, etc
            • On the other hand, if he is charging $20 more an hour than the competition, chances are, he’s not going to have work lined up as fast
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              3. Referrals, Referrals, Referrals. We don’t advertise, we work strictly on referrals. I hear you asking, “Why?”

                • Newspapers tend to bring in the deadbeats, the ones that want to hire you to work and then don’t pay. You’ll end up fighting through court, etc to try to get paid, or taking out loans to cover your expenses.
                • Or, you get the tire kickers.. You know the ones I mean, where he spends 45% of his time running back and forth doing Free estimates and in the process spends $75 in gas for his worktruck and 2 hours figuring the cost of materials and labor only to have them

                    A. Not respond at all, just leave your estimate sitting on their counter

                    B. Try to get you cut your price in half because “so and so down the road only charges $ X.

                    C. Tell you that yes they want the work done, 6 months down the road when the prices of materials have doubled because of hurricanes, tornadoes or any other natural disaster. (Then they’re mad because the price didn’t stay the same!)

                  • If you get referrals from people he has already done work for, chances are, his business will grow & grow and you’ll avoid most of the problems.
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                    4. Some points If he hires sub-contractors…

                      • Again, you need a contract- make sure it has a clause that they get paid ONLY by You/Your Company.
                      • 2nd, this is tax thing (Employee/Employer vs Contractor/Subcontractor)(I can go more on that if you need)
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                        5. Book-Keeping, Accounting, Tracking Customers

                        • This is one area that is a must. If you can’t afford for someone else to do this ( I refuse to pay someone else to do MY Book-keeping!) I HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend Quickbooks Premier Contractor Edition. I will forewarn you, it is ridiculously expensive. But here is what it does:

                        • Tracks ALL of your Vendors, Subcontractors, Receipts, Invoices, Estimates, Estimates into Invoices, customers, jobs, hours on the job, mileage, etc
                        • You Name it, you can track it. At the end of the year, you can hit a single little button, and it will send Everything right to your accountant so you can file your taxes in 2 minutes flat. I don’t even send it off to an accountant, with everything right here I use TurboTax.
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                          I’m a little more proficient at the computer than dear hubby, so I input all the invoices, receipts, and info into QB. I also print out all his estimates (once he has done the figuring) and the invoices. He keeps a small notebook in his truck that marks what time he starts at a jobsite, what time he leaves. Sometimes in the middle of the day you have to switch jobsites. For instance, you pour a foundation in the morning, by afternoon, you’re hanging drywall at the thompsons.

                          The point is, to have him mark these things down so that it can be entered into QB.


                          Because he needs to know whether he is really getting paid for his time, what he is really making per hour. He may charge $30 an hour, but if he did a roof estimate of $3,500 (materials included) and he spent 9 hours stripping the roof because it had 4 layers on it, by the time he’s done, he may have only actually gotten about $8 an hour. He needs to keep track of his profit per job.

                          This is gonna sound really bad, but The key to my hubbys success in this business is ME. Ask him, he’ll tell you flat out. It’s because I spend an hour a day getting him Organized so that He can work efficiently. I deal with the crap- arguing with the vendors when materials are miss-sent or so dang warped you have to send them back anyway. If he’s on a jobsite and he needs another 2×6, I run it out to him. Does it screw with my day? Of course it does. But if I didn’t get it done, he would spend half his time in paperwork instead of Building, Building, Building.

                          When I do those things, he does well. Is it possible for you to take a more active role in his business? I’m not going to tell you it’s thrilling, stress free or fun; But I will tell you that he isn’t going to get anywhere without you building him up.

                          I’m sure some of this is very old news for you and your family. But if even 1 drop of it changes how you (or your hubby) looks at your business, then it may help.

                          As for avoiding the Marriage Nagging thing… I can’t honestly say that I didn’t nag dh during this learning process. What I can say is that I TOLD him to QUIT his 9-5 job and go out on his own. WHY??

                          You might think I am out of my mind, but at the time, the man was MISERABLE. He was an ass to live with, didn’t sleep at night, growled at me and the kids, etc. I figured, even if we’re broke and I have to hold everything together, it’s got to be better than living with him hating his life.

                          You have to do what’s best for you. Sit down, write the pro’s and con’s of the business. Write up a sheet that shows what all of your living expenses are, Then, sit down with him and have a heart to heart.



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