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Happy Holidays

If one researches the origins of the holiday called Christmas, they might be a bit shocked. It will be found that Christmas is much more a part of tradition rather than religion, an outgrowth from a winter celebration where food and drink were plentiful and work was slim, usually because of weather conditions. In some cultures, this holiday lasted a month. People celebrated their health, good fortune, family, friends and the future.

These celebrations have been oriented around the winter solstice for thousands of years. The Mayans, Europeans, Norseman, Germans and Romans all had their winter feasts for rejoicing what they had and what good fortune would come in the new year.

My favorite is the Norse, who celebrated the Yule from the 21st of December, continuing into January. To recognize the returning of the sun and longer days the fathers and sons brought home huge logs and set them on fire. The party would begin and last until the logs burnt out, which could be as long as 12 days. Hmmm… can you see the 12 days of Christmas?

These celebrations, which eventually evolved into Christmas as a religious holiday, happened long before the birth of Jesus. In the beginning of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday. Some evidence exists in early Christian religious writings that Jesus was born in the spring, so Easter as the main holiday, early on, makes perfect sense.

But the Bible has no direct mention of the birth date of Jesus. It was in the 4th century AD that church officials decided to make the birth of Jesus a holiday, with Pope Julius 1st choosing December 25th as the date.

And thus, Christmas was born. The word Christmas comes from “Christ,” as in “Jesus Christ,” and “Mass,” which means to come together and worship in thanks.

But this is not meant as a history lesson but rather a look at our upbringing and what we were taught in our own homes as children regarding the meaning and value of Christmas.

For me it was about giving thanks, helping those less fortunate and spreading good spirits to all. And that is what I continue to do, especially during the holiday season every year.

My holiday wish for you is that you experience the joy and tradition of Christmas by making someone smile, having the family feast, fun times with friends, giving to the less fortunate and sharing your good spirit. The returns are priceless.

Happy Holidays

from

Joel and the Staff

Is Your Problem Money?

If you think the soul reason for all your problems in your company are due to money, or lack thereof, you are simply not looking at the big picture.

There are several different areas of an organization (a company) that determine how much money it makes as well as a couple of areas that manage it. Earned income and the correct management of it will give you prosperity and wealth.

So, how do you go about getting clients? Do you wait for the phone to ring? Do you do advertising, promoting marketing or PR (public relations)? And yes, these are all different actions, not all the same thing, as most people believe. Which one of these does your company do? None? That in itself is the reason there is never enough money.

Does your company deliver the products and services you offer exactly and timely? If you consistently deliver what you promise you will never have a problem getting more clients or getting paid from them. If you don’t you’ll simply loose the ones you have, and you will definitely not see any new ones. Good news travels fast but bad news spreads even faster.

When your company receives income what do you do with it? Pay the bills, put some aside for a rainy day, buy a new piece of equipment? Truth is, if you are not doing all of those things with your income, you are not managing your money properly.

Do you charge enough? Have you looked at your competition? What do they charge for the same service your company delivers? There is a definite formula to work out so you charge the right amount to enable your company to keep going and growing.

Do you maintain your facilities and equipment? If not, your working too hard at trying to save money by making it a nightmare to be able to get anything done. The truck breaks down, flat tires on the trailer, the pump won’t start on the jobsite and that damn generator blew up. Not maintaining your “stuff” costs about 3 times as much in emergency repairs, 5 times as much as lost production time and turns good employees into disgruntled ones. And that cost is immeasurable due to the chaos it creates, driving the company morale into the toilet.

What can you do to improve the amount of money the company makes? Have a look around based on what you’ve read here. Take one thing and clean it up and put a workable system in place to handle that area.

Then do the next one.

And the next one.

And so on.

You’ll begin to see and understand ALL of the actions it takes to make and have enough money. You’ll see how the structure of the organizations has to flow, one action to the next.

Need help getting started?

Go HERE

Who Makes That ?!?

Everybody has a favorite brand of tool. But do you know what company made that tool?   I thought you would like to see for yourself who owns what.
You might be surprised, like I was, to learn that a direct brand you won’t buy is making the brand you do buy!!!

Who is the Architect?

Let me explain: The architect is a licensed professional who has completed at least 4 years of college, and all practicing architects must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most architects receive a five-year bachelor’s degree in architecture. In addition to education, architects must have three additional years of experience before they can take their licensing exam. Licensing exams are required by all states. In order to take the exam, an architect must have a professional degree, show a period of professional training and pass all parts of the Architect Registration Examination.

Architects create designs for new construction projects, alterations and redevelopments. They use their specialist construction knowledge and high-level drawing skills to design buildings that are functional, safe, sustainable and aesthetically pleasing.

Architects may be required to provide pre-design figures such as an environmental impact or feasibility study, cost analysis or land-use study.

Architects work closely with their clients. Before drafting plans, they meet with their clients several times to learn their clients’ objectives, budget and any specific requirements for their project. Architects also work with other related professionals, such as engineers, urban planners, landscape architects, construction representatives and interior designers.

If you are going to do some major renovations to your house then you need an architect. And you may be saying to yourself, “OK, I get it, why all this anyway”? Well, I’ll tell you why.

I have seen homeowners and property owners alike, use “designers” or “draftsmen” to do their construction documents, and then, get their buddy who is an architect, sign and seal the plans, as if the architect had done them. The usual reason for doing this is to “save money”. First off, this is an illegal practice, but that is not the real problem for sure.

Case in point: Some time ago my steel company was asked to fabricate and install steel columns to support wood beams over a 26 foot span, holding up the roof. We put the columns in, the framers put the wood beam in and tied in half of the roof structure.

When we went back to do our final welding, I saw that there was a 2 inch sag in the wood beam and only half of the roof structure load was attached to it. I immediately called the building contractor in charge of the job and reported what I found. The contractor notified the homeowner of the problem.

Well, a designer drew the plans and spec’d the materials. He had no idea how to calculate the loads properly and spec’d a wood beam that was way too small for the application. What’s worse, the designer told the contractor that he thought that the wood beams were only for “show” and would not carry any structural load. So, who gets to foot the bill for this screw up?

Since the homeowner had a designer do his drawings, who then got his buddy the architect to sign and seal them, the homeowner was left holding the bag for this giant mistake. This added an enormous amount of money and time to the project. All the work done up to that point had to be taken apart, an engineer hired to spec the beams, the steel columns modified to hold bigger wood beams, the new wood beams installed and the roof structure tied into it.

So the moral of the story is: Don’t step on dollars to pick up pennies. Work with only licensed and reputable architects and construction professionals. Qualify and thoroughly check out who you hire, before hiring them. It’ll be less expensive, save time and alleviate the aggravation factor for you in the long run.

If you are a contractor, choose your architect and engineer wisely to eliminate costly mistakes.

General Contractor vs. Sub-Contractor

A while back I was called in to rescue a project that was off the rails. The GC had nothing but excuses why it was a month past their contracted completion date and finishing anytime soon was not on the horizon.

The Owner called me to come in and get the project back on track. When I arrived at the jobsite it was pretty easy to see what had and was happening. There was an enormous amount of subcontractor employees on site. If one did not know what to look for it would seem that there were plenty of techs on site for each trade to have this project humming along toward completion.

The GC Battle Never Stops

I recently got wind of some things that every general contractor MUST keep their eyes on. These things that slip through the cracks somehow and end up rearing their ugly head at the worst possible time.

So here is what happened. The GC, a very respected one at that, was asked to do an interior build-out for a very nice little coffee shop. Not a very big space, not a very big project.