Job Costing and Estimating

Small business owners are an underserved group. Tax planning and tax preparation should not be the only skills offered by the business’ advisors. And to small business owners, don’t be so stubborn. Read carefully to understand this discussion. This just might save your life long dream from collapsing. Construction, roofing, and custom manufacturing are all … Continue reading “Job Costing and Estimating”

Small business owners are an underserved group. Tax planning and tax preparation should not be the only skills offered by the business’ advisors. And to small business owners, don’t be so stubborn. Read carefully to understand this discussion. This just might save your life long dream from collapsing.

Construction, roofing, and custom manufacturing are all business types that will benefit from a discussion of direct and indirect expenses. Most already know that direct expenses for a given job or project have to be considered in the cost. Direct expenses include the labor and materials used. It is the indirect expense that is most often forgotten or mistakenly allocated to job cost. The indirect expense is a cost that relates to all jobs or projects and not to one job specifically.

Examples of indirect expenses include: depreciation on machinery and equipment in the production process, depreciation on plant facilities if owned by the small business, rent on the plant facilities, shop supplies, vehicle expenses, utilities, insurance, and the compensation of supervisors, plant managers, and owners of the business. And of course, don’t forget about payroll taxes. There could be other indirect expenses in a given business, but the aforementioned will serve to demonstrate my point. It is also important to mention here the compensation of the business owner or owners. If the owner participates in the production process, a portion of compensation (or all) should be treated as an indirect expense to be allocated to the job cost.

Now that there is a list of indirect expenses, how should they get allocated to the job cost? Typically, indirect expenses are allocated based on direct labor dollars, direct labor hours, or direct materials. My personal favorite method of allocation is based on direct labor hours. If there are 20 direct laborers in a given business, and each is projected to work 1,900 hours annually, there will be 38,000 hours of total direct labor in a given year. If the summation of indirect costs is $1,500,000, this business will have an indirect cost per direct labor hour of $39.47. If my average hourly wage for direct laborers is $25.00, then total cost per direct labor hour is $64.47. If this particular business desires an industry average gross margin of say, 36%, it will need to charge $100.73 per labor hour. This billing rate is determined by using the full absorption method of accounting. Full absorption accounting is a required “generally accepted accounting principle” and must be used in all external financial statements unless otherwise disclosed.

How to Get Construction Financing

Are you interested in a construction mortgage? There are two types of construction mortgages that you can go for: completion construction mortgage and progress draw construction loan.

Completion construction mortgage

You should apply for this loan when you are purchasing your home from a qualified builder at a fixed price upon completion of the building.

There are two types of this loan:

All-in one construction loan: this is a simple loan that offers you a one rate for both the construction process and the financing that comes at the end. When you take this loan you need to repay it within one year. You should note that you have to pay a penalty if you go over the time limit.

Purchase plus improvement: this is the one that you get when you buy a home that needs to be taken good care of. The contractor needs to keep on making the improvements that you ask him/her to do and you should only accept the building once you are satisfied with the improvements.

Both of these construction loans have a number of features:

The builder has to own the lot where the home is to be built
The builder can request for money only when the home is 100% complete.
The lender may require an appraisal before, during, and after the construction. This is to ensure that the home is worth the amount being mortgaged
You need to make a down payment-which can be made in a series of installments
Since the loan is almost similar to a resale property mortgage, the mortgage agent won’t require an administration fee in order to arrange this type of financing.

Before you are given the loan, you need to present a number of documents to the lender. The documents include:

Copy of building contract that has been signed by you and the contractor
House plan and working drawings
Site plan that shows the legal description and dimension of the property
An appraisal that indicates the final value of the home after construction

Progress draw construction loan

This is ideal when you are planning of construction your home using your own general contractor. You apply for funds at three different stages of the loan: when the building is 35-40%, 65-70% and 100% complete. You should note that the interest rates of this loan are higher than that of a traditional mortgage.

When applying for the loan you need to present a number of documents that include:

Copy of land contract
A resume confirming that you have good knowledge of the construction process
Copy of all sub-contracts which confirm the construction costs.

The Pros and Cons of Pawn Shops

There are many pawn shops that you can easily use as a means of quickly getting cash. However, before you walk into these stores you should know about the pros and the cons relating to them. There are pros and cons which could make you change your mind about pawn shops and it is important that you know what these are.

The Pros of Pawn Shops

There are a lot of people who know about the pros that come from pawn stores and using the services that they offer. The first pro that you find with these stores is that they do not complete any credit checks. This is due to the fact that you are leaving a valuable item with them as security for any loan that you are going to get.

The second advantage that you need to know about is that the loans you get are quick. In most cases you will be able to get the money that you need on the day that you sign the contract with them. The last advantage is that the pawn broker will allow you to get your item back as soon as you want.

The interest that the pawn stores will charge will only be for the period that you have actually borrowed the money. With many other loan services you are unable to pay off the loan quickly or you will need to pay an extra fee. This is not something that you face with pawn shops.

The Cons of Pawn Shops

There are a number of disadvantages that you will find with pawn shops. The first con of these stores is that pawn brokers are actually a relatively expensive means of borrowing. Like payday loan companies, pawn brokers are able to change any APR they want on the loans that they offer.

Another disadvantage that people do not know about is the fact that you usually can only borrow a percentage of the value of the item you pawn. This means that you would have to have a very high value item or multiple small value items to get high amounts of cash from the loan.

The third disadvantage that you need to know about is that the pawn shop is allowed to sell your valuable item if you are unable to repay the loan. Of course, they should give you some notice that this is what they are going to do. If the item does not sell for enough to cover the remaining loan amount then you are still liable for this.

The last con that you need to know about is the fact that your item could be sold for less than it is worth or less than what you would get for it elsewhere. This means that you could be getting less out of the deal with the pawn broker in the end.

There are a number of pros and cons that you need to know about when you look at pawn shops. By understanding these pros and cons you will be able to determine if using a pawn shop is the right option for you.

Getting An Oil Tank Removed

Are you a property owner and worried about oil tanks? Well, as undesirable as they are, they are not something to worry about, as the removal process is actually quite simple and not as inconvenient as you might have previously thought.

First things first, is to know the background of underground storage tanks (USTs). Some properties have USTs buried on their grounds due to the fact that oil as a fuel was overtaken by natural gas in the 1950s. This meant that there was no longer a need for these tanks so many of them were buried underground and thought to be out of harms way. This method, in fact, was harmful, as even though the oil was drained from the tank, there was some residue left over in many that could leak into the soil and damage the environment around it. Since then, to avoid, or stop what has already happened in terms of contamination, it has become the law in British Columbia for property owners to have the USTs removed from their land. There are very few exceptions to this rule, so if you know you have an oil tank, you should starting planning to have it removed as soon as possible.

One problem that many people imagine is, if the fuel tank is buried, then how do I know if I have one on my property? There is actually a very simple way to find out. If you call an oil tank removal firm that operates in the region, they will be able to inspect the premises and let you know. There are many companies that use special scanning equipment that utilizes radar technology and this can tell you whether or not there is a UST buried on the property without invading the land at all. Then, if a tank is found, arrangements can be made for its removal.

To start the process, a small area or land around the tank site will be cordoned off. If you go with a well reviewed and professional oil tank removal service, you will be amazed at how little disruption is caused and how not very much space is taken up while removing the oil tank. The team will operate as quickly as possible by digging up the tank and cutting it down into smaller pieces. By doing this, it will be easier to remove the oil tank through smaller spaces away from the property, for example, through the back garden gate.

Mastering Your Credit Scores

Your credit score can impact nearly every aspect of your life. It can control whether you can obtain a mortgage, auto loan, or even a job. With this said, it is vital that you understand how to improve your credit score. Federal law requires that everyone have access to one free credit report per year. The reason this law exists is to allow individuals to verify that their credit reports are accurate. If there is inaccurate information listed on your report, by law you have the right to dispute the inaccuracies; the credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate and respond to the disputed items. If the creditor who put the disputed item on your credit report cannot provide proof that you are responsible for the debt, it should be removed. To obtain a copy of your free credit report you can call 877-322-8228, or mail a request to annual credit report request service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

After you have received a copy of your free report and have reviewed it for any inaccuracies; you will need to dispute them directly with all three credit bureaus. The bureaus include TransUnion, Experian, Equifax. Once you have verified the information on your credit report is accurate, you can then use the following suggestions to help you increase your scores.

• Make Your Payments On-Time – The single most important thing you can do to improve your credit score is to pay your bills on time. If you have had late payments in the past because you simply forgot to make the payment, you may want to set up automatic payment arrangements to pay your bills. This will ensure that your bills are paid on time.

• Credit Card Balances – Credit cards (revolving credit) account for 30% of your score. To maximize your score, you should always keep your revolving card balances below 30% of their available limit.

• Credit Availability – Your scores are calculated based on your unused available credit, how much credit is open, and the length of your credit history. The length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your score. Based on this factor, it would be in your best interest to keep your revolving cards open instead of closing them, because closing old revolving cards would significantly shorten the length of your credit history. To keep a revolving card open, you should use the card at least once every six months. This will keep them from being inactivated.

• Lack of Credit – Unfortunately, if you have very little credit because you pay cash for everything; you probably also have a low credit score. Scores are only determined by the activity reported on your credit report; cash purchases have no bearing on your current score. Therefore, you want to have at least one installment loan and two revolving accounts open at all times. If you are having trouble getting credit, you could apply for a secured card from a local bank or credit union, or you could ask a relative or significant other if you could become an authorized user on one of their revolving cards. Becoming an authorized user will give you an instant payment history. Just make sure that the account you are going to become an authorized user on does not have late payments, or has a balance near the accounts limit.

• Judgments and Collections – If you have a judgment or collection that originated years ago, when you pay or satisfy the derogatory item it may temporarily lower your credit score. Keep this in mind if you plan to apply for credit. You may want to delay paying off old collections right before applying for a mortgage or auto loan.

There are many other ways to help increase a credit score; but keeping your payments on time, managing your debt properly, and having a reasonable amount of available credit are the easiest ways to ensure an acceptable score. Just remember, derogatory credit will immediately lower your scores, whereas making your payments on time and keeping your balances low may take as long as six months to recover from one negative item reported on your credit report.