New Client Feature: Brott Development Group

Brott Development Group, Benjamin Brott, constructionWe’ve added Brott Development Group to our new client roster this fall! Brott Development is a project management firm that values innovative design. They specialize in residential and commercial construction projects. Owner Ben Brott talked to us about his vision, the construction industry, and what he likes about being a business owner.

When did you open your business?

January 2009

What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?

I like working on the business — creating and refining operating processes. They make our service better, more accurate, and more engaging, and our clients happier. I also enjoy connecting and collaborating with talented professionals in my industry.

What motivated you to start your own business?

Anyone who has purchased an Apple product in the last decade would agree Apple’s packaging alone is nothing short of elegant. It conveys a thoughtfulness most companies don’t possess. I remember the absolute joy of opening my first Apple device. Before I could even see or touch the product inside, I could tell it was masterfully crafted, just by the box alone. It was a tactile experience that set the tone for how I perceived the product.

My motivation to start my own business was to mirror the experience I have written about above. I want to continually hone the design & build process to better serve clients, and to create and maintain long-lasting relationships with all project stakeholders

What’s your vision for the business?

To put it simply, I want this business to be the Apple, Tesla, or the Dyson of the construction industry — to be known for constantly pushing the innovation envelope. Working to achieve well beyond the status quo through innovation and improving services to ensure clients and stakeholders are satisfied.

What do you like about the construction industry?

Whether it’s a commercial space where we assist business owners build their dream or a home where we help people live the dream, I love to enhance clients’ lives in a significant way.

What advice do you have for prospective business owners?

  1. Work under a mentor a few years before you go out on your own.
  2. Make a business plan. This may be daunting so start with your business goals. Break your list down into three-year objectives, one-year objectives, and three-month objectives.
  3. Spend 20 per cent of your week working on your business even if you’re really busy.
  4. Unless you can guarantee cash flow, do it while you have a day job and build it slowly. When you have a solid base of experience and cash flow, go for it!
  5. Make a list of people to meet — this is as important as a To-Do List.
  6. Relationships are like muscles — the more you work them, the stronger they become.
  7. Find a role model and mentor for work and life.
  8. Be transparent. Be valuable.

How do you achieve a work/life balance?

I play hockey three times a week and often go for a at least one hike per week. Dinner and breakfast with friends and family is almost a daily occurrence.

Who could benefit from your services?

We facilitate the development process from feasibility to design to construction, and finally to finishing strong. We believe in a partnership approach to projects — one that is 100 per cent transparent. We work closely with clients and our stakeholders to make sure their expectations are met every step of the way, and that they enjoy the process from start to finish, and beyond.

Connect with Brott Development Group on Instagram or Pinterest.

 

 

 

7 ways the Liberals’ majority affects you

CRumD2EUsAAgUCjOut with the old, in with the new. Monday night’s unpredictable election results overwhelmingly proved that Canadians wanted change.

And change we will get. With the Liberals in power, there’ll be changes to the country’s economy and your personal finances.

Besides having a Prime Minister the rest of the world seems smitten by, here are some ways the new government will affect you:

  1. TFSA limit: The Liberals will likely change the annual contribution limit back to $5,500.
  2. Tax cuts and increases: Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau has pledged to give greater tax cuts to the middle class (those earning $44,700 to $89,401) and increase income taxes on higher earners (those earning over $200,000).
  3. Family affairs: The Liberals will get rid of the Family Tax Cut and replace it with the Universal Child Care Benefit that provides about an extra $2,500 per year for a typical family of four.
  4. Students: Grads won’t have to start paying back their student loans until they’re earning at least $25,000 per year.
  5. Seniors: The age of eligibility for Old Age Security will not be raised. The Liberals have also talked about increasing Canada Pension Plan benefits.
  6. Small business: The Liberals promised to reduce the small business tax rate from 11 per cent to nine per cent and to improve access to skilled labour. However, president of the Canadian Federation for Independent Business, Dan Kelly, has expressed concerns that payroll taxes will be raised in order to find increases to CPP.
  7. The economy: If the Liberals legalize recreational marijuana, the industry could turn into a $5-billion market. The infrastructure building sector will also see growth, as Trudeau pledged to spend $60 billion to update Canada’s roads, bridges, and railways.

3 ways to profit from your construction business

giphyRunning a construction business can be a daunting task with its own unique set of complexities, as many business owners struggle to make a profit once they’ve taken into account their fixed and variable costs.

Below are three ways to help raise that bottom line!

Fixed vs. Variable costs

Fixed costs are those that need to be paid, no matter if you’re getting jobs or not. These include payments such as auto, telephone, rent, and insurance. Make sure you’re fully aware of what your fixed costs are, as this will help when deciding if you should take a job or not (more on this below).

Variable costs, on the other hand, are directly related to income. A big variable is your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). COGS are the direct costs associated with the production of goods sold including materials used and labour, but not distribution and sales cost.

In an ideal world, COGS should only be costing you 50% of your total income. You can work towards achieving this through marking up the cost of materials by about 10-15% in order to cover both their variable and fixed costs over the long-term.

Subcontractors vs. Payroll

Many construction business owners are reluctant to put workers on payroll and opt for subcontractors instead. Although it varies from company to company, it’s worth considering payroll. The price of subcontractors can add up, as many business owners end up absorbing the costs of WCB (if their subcontractors don’t have a number). Subcontractors have to pay their own taxes so tend to charge the busines owner a higher hourly rate.

However, putting employees on payroll also comes with its own set of taxes and additional charges (you’ll need to hire an accountant to take care of it).

Look at the bigger picture

Although it’s a hard decision to make, sometimes it’s better to turn down a job if it’s not worth it — the income barely covers the variable costs or you’re breaking even. In these situations, it’s wiser to use your energies towards finding a more profitable job.

If you look at your income and expenses on a month to month basis, rather than a job to job basis, it’s easier to see the bigger picture and make these decisions. It’s helpful to look beyond whether the money you’re making on a job covers the expenses for that particular job. Although you’re making a profit in that case, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be enough of a profit to cover your fixed costs as well.

Check out a great example of a construction company’s P&L statement here. It should be noted that this particular business has three partners.

 

 

 

 

 

Refer a construction client, get a gift card

construction_blog‘Tis the season for construction! That’s right, October is construction and trades month at Homeroom, which means we’re turning our focus on YOU, owner of a construction business. The time is now to get those books organized.

Over the next few weeks, this blog will be filled with helpful tips pertaining to your unique and complicated industry. We’ll discuss the basics such as Cost of Goods Sold, inventory, and how to price your services to ensure you’re covering your bases. We’ll also break down the difference between an employee and contractor, and how to deal with payroll.

But wait, you’re not in the construction business, but know people who are, you say? We want to hear from you too! If you refer a prospective client in the construction or trades industry to us and they book an intake call in October, you get a $10 gift certificate to your favourite coffee spot. All they need to do is say who referred them during their intake call and we’ll get in touch with you.

So stop delaying and start getting organized!

 

 

 

Get your ship in order before tax season!

Vancouver Bookkeeper(s), Tax Return Service Vancouver, Small Business Bookkeepers in Vancouver, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks, Jennie Moore,

Photo of Jennie Moore courtesy of TD Accounting Services

(Guest post by Ontario-based bookkeeper Jennie Moore)

Yes, for those of you who are candid like me, the title is a play on words!

And I’m sure you get the message: Organize your stuff before giving it to your income tax preparer. Let me guess, you vowed last April that you would get your books in order and be a good little taxpayer.

But you didn’t, right? I’m not going to shame you. You’re likely already feeling guilty. But now it’s time to report to Sergeant Jennie Moore. You are now entering Bookkeeping Boot Camp!

Are you up for the challenge? Grow up and take control. Follow these steps and your income tax preparer will become your new BFF.

  1. Day One: Collect all of your source documents (i.e., sales, expenses, and home office expenses, if applicable)
  2. Day Two: Start with your sales. Organize them by date. Total them and sign off on the tabulation page or spreadsheet to attest they are accurate.
  3. Day Three: Find every expense receipt. Every one! No more excuses. You are not allowed to give your tax preparer more receipts once your tax return is in progress or finalized. Take it seriously.
  4. Day Four: Organize by date and tabulate all of your home office expenses by expense category, like Utilities, Telephone, Office Supplies, Advertising, etc. If you aren’t sure if an expense is deductible, categorize it as “Unsure”. Be sure to include details.
  5. Day Five: Write a list of any changes in your personal life since your last tax return. Your tax preparer isn’t physic! He or she won’t know you had a new baby that keeps you up at night unless you say so. The list is endless. So be detailed: you never know, you might be entitled to a tax credit or deduction.
  6. Day Six: Realize that that was a lot of work! Think of ways to make it easier next year.
  7. Day Seven: Make an appointment to speak to your tax preparer or schedule a drop-off, but understand this is a busy time for him or her. Your tax preparer cares deeply about your personal bookkeeping story — as well as everyone else’s. Avoid drop-ins or multiple emails and calls. Organize your thoughts, document them, and forward a nice package with a lovely bow on it. You may find the turnaround time is much quicker.

Congratulations! You have survived Jennie’s boot camp.

Your challenge: Evaluate every bookkeeping transaction you do and find an easier way of doing it…automatically! Talk to the people in the know. We have the answers. The solutions may surprise you. Stop being afraid!

Now do 20 push ups.

Just kidding.

This post originally appeared on QBO Adventures. Jennie Moore is an Ontario-based bookkeeper. Find out more about her and check out some of her other posts on her blog.