5 Favorite Books for Builders

Here at HELM, we're always on the lookout for books, resources and tools that we can share with our colleagues. We thought we'd put together a short list of some of the most referenced resources that we often recommend:

  1. Markup & Profit: A Contractor's Guide - Revisited by Michael C. Stone. This should be on the desk of every building contractor. It walks you through pricing, markups, calculating your Gross Profit Margin, contracts, and a number of common management challenges. (If you're one of our current clients, a lot of this should sound familiar, but this is a great reference).
  2. Contractor's Guide to QuickBooks 2015 by Karen Mitchell and Craig Savage. This guide walks you through all the features of QuickBooks and how to customize them and use them to your advantage as a contractor. It includes a sample chart of accounts, common reports and end of year procedures for keeping your books accurate and giving you the information you need to run your business.
  3. A Simple Guide to Turning a Profit as a Contractor by Melanie Hodgdon and Leslie Shiner. This book is perfect for contractors who are new to running their own business, and are ready to take the leap from working for themselves to running their own business. In an easy to read narrative format it walks a fictional "Mike" through the process of understanding his financials, how to set up bookkeeping systems, generate accurate estimates, and turn a profit.
  4. The Partnership Charter: How to Start Out Right with Your New Business Partnership (or Fix the One You're In) by David Gage. While not specific to the building industry, this book is a great guide for anyone considering going into business with a partner, or who has run into challenges running a business with someone else. It helps you identify common goals, strengths, weaknesses, and personality styles and explains what structures you should have in place to set up a partnership.
  5. Essential Building Science: Understanding Energy and Moisture in High Performance House Design by Jacob Deva Racusin. Whether you're new to high performance building or an experienced practitioner, this introduction to building science- written by a builder for builders- is helpful in breaking down the basic concepts in understandable language. It's also a great tool to educate your crew and your clients on the importance of building science principles.

What other resources do you go back to frequently as references? Add your suggestions in the comments.