Latest Articles


Is there such a thing as a bad deck job? Regardless of your profession—whether you’re a builder or painter, a carpenter or contractor—one of the biggest questions Pros ask themselves is this: Is it in my best interest to take on this project?

The answer is probably less predictable than one might think. However, it always involves a personal choice based on several distinct factors, Rudh says.

“A difficult customer is probably the most challenging thing to deal with for a deck builder. Most building issues can be resolved with a patient and reasonable customer, and the proper budget,” he says.

While no one wants to turn down income, there are certain guidelines all professionals set for themselves. And it’s OK to say no.

“It is never a bad idea to walk away from a project if it isn’t a good fit for your company. Callbacks can be a nightmare and you don’t want to lose money on a project,” Rudh says. “As a builder, I would try to stay within my comfort zone when bidding a project. If you are working with unfamiliar products, you should adjust the price for the extra time it will take to learn how to install it. Your experience as a builder can help you identify other issues with a project that you might want to walk away from.”

Another reason to reassess whether you want to take on a deck project is the need to subcontract the work, says Rudh.

“Some deck builders prefer to stay away from projects that might require involving an engineer, such as building on a steep slope or cantilevering a deck out from a house’s internal framing,” Rudh says. “You might want to sub out work for certain types of projects such as roof decks or extremely high apartment building decks. You may not have the experience or the proper equipment to complete the job safely. You may also need to consult an engineer or architect for more advanced projects.”

For Rudh, the best advice is the same as in any profession: Do your homework.

“Learn about the building codes and deck-building products. Stay organized and learn from your mistakes. And always have a detailed contract before beginning a project.”


Gary Farrar, Randy Fornoff and Carl Jones are painting contractors who live in three different sections of the country—the East, the Southwest, and America’s midsection. But they have something in common in addition to their profession: they all understand how critical it is to abide by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead…


As the past president of the Springfield Area Human Resources Association in southwest Missouri, Parker McKenna fielded a lot of questions from small business owners. Getting it right legally and professionally when it came to hiring or firing employees was one of the big issues that came up. With more than a…




Rick Murray, CEO of Arizona Small Business Association, Arizona’s largest trade organization, says that typically, small-business owners tend to be more conservative politically than the rest of the general public. “So the idea of the ACA did not make very many people in the small-business community happy,” he says, adding that while some small-business owners “feel like they’ve been dealt a bunch of lemons, what I tell them is that this is the landscape we must live in. We, as small-business owners, are known for being nimble and adapting to changing environments—and this is one of those environments we need to adapt to.”

Murray advises small-business owners to become educated, stating, “There’s been a lot of misinformation regarding the types of plans that are out there, so it’s important to get ahold of a broker to help navigate your options and possibilities. There are many different ways to comply with the ACA without necessarily increasing insurance costs.”

Murray notes that one strategy he sees trending is for employers to explore the cost differentials between individual policies and group policies. “A lot of plans are cheaper for individuals than groups, so some employers may not offer a plan, but will reimburse their employees for their individual coverage,” he says. “From a cost-savings standpoint, it makes sense, plus it’s less complicated for the business owner. It also puts the onus on the policyholder to understand the types of coverage and costs.”

Rick Murray, CEO of Arizona Small Business Association
Phoenix, Arizona


“Businesses that have to comply with the ACA still have time to figure out whether to pay or play,” Murray says. “Small-business owners are smart; if there’s a way to figure out how to lessen costs, they’ll figure it out. It’s all about the bottom line; for some, it may be cheaper to pay the penalty than to provide services.”



When most people think about the goal of marketing, they think it’s about making a sale. But in today’s world of content marketing, the goal isn’t to close a deal as much as it is to attract and retain customers by creating valuable content with the aim of changing their behavior. By…


John Peek, owner of San Diego-based Peek Brothers Painting, graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with a bachelor of science in Business Administration and did a stint in law school—so it’s no surprise he’s highly tuned into the business aspects of the painting industry. One thing Peek has learned during his 33…


Current Issue

Current IssueRead the current issue in page-turner format.





Free Subscription

Sign up for your FREE subscription to inPAINT magazine, delivered directly to your mailbox.

Sign up