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ATTENTION READERS: This is the Premier Edition of the First and Only Newspaper Serving all of California's Contractors Specializing in the Areas of Plumbing, Kitchen & Bath, Heating, Cooling and Electrical, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration.

Insider Profit Strategies for Builders, Contractors, Designers, and Engineers

The Newspaper for Profit-Conscious Entrepreneurs

Vol. 1, Number 1 · www.CaliforniaContractor.us · September 2004

INSIDE:

Walter Cronkite

American icon and former CBS commentator Walter Cronkite gives President Bush credit for finally recommending government approval for the movement to protect against ocean pollution.

October 14 -16

California's Contractors Head To Boston for 2004 iSH Expo

The International Trade Show for Kitchen & Bath, Plumbing, PVF, Heating & Air Conditioning

Page 3

Lou Dobbs

The esteemed CNN business and news anchor expresses his deep concern about jobs fleeing overseas while 51% of this year's graduating college seniors don't expect to find jobs.

Page 7

Eye On Sacramento

Major Developments: Governor's Performance Review task force is recommending the abandonment of the Contractors' State License Board and the return of Investment Tax Credit.

Page 3

Andy Rooney

The witty curmudgeon from CBS's "60 Minutes", provided our travel editor Ed Boitano with a nostalgic experience he relished when his army division reclaimed Paris from the Germans in 1944.

Page 28

Archie Richards

The veteran stock broker who has patrolled Wall Street for the last quarter century, answers questions in plain English, and predicts Dow will hit 12,300 this year and the elections will not panic the market.

Page 23

A DELEGATION OF CONTRACTORS from throughout California will converge on Boston October 14th for the opening of the popular iSH North American Trade Show and Expo. The action-packed programs run through October 18. The important trade show will be held in the brand new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center located on the historic South Boston waterfront featuring views of the skyline and harbor from a floor to ceiling glass curtain on all three levels. See Special iSH Coverage on Page 10.

Contractors Speak Out

Readers are invited to participate in a California Contractor Straw Poll to determine their choice for President. The first dozen entries will receive a FREE Autographed Photo of their candidate of choice. See Page 11

Photo Courtesy of JibJab Media Inc.

Return Address: 10661 Business Dr. Fontana, CA 92337

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Valuable Insider News and Information

September 2004 · Page 3

Birds and Fish have been severely impacted by polluted oceans around the world. The Commission on Ocean Policy has issued a severe warning. The U.S. may soon comply with a United Nations sponsored law.

Administration Moves on Ocean Damage Control

U.S. Plans to Introduce New Controls on Ocean Pollution

Special to the California Contractor

By Walter Cronkite

CBS Anchor Icon

W

onder of wonders, something possibly quite good for the environment has come out of the Bush administration. Maybe hypnotic Additionally, the com- counties, containing 150 power of mission has recommended million people, fail to Earth Day Senate ratification of the meet clean-air standards. Water Cronkite in a presi- U.N.-sponsored Law of the The agency has indential election year, but Sea Treaty, under which all structed officials in 31 credit must be given where states have basic obliga- states that they will have it is due. tions to protect the marine to develop new pollution Strong Report controls. That The Commission on hardly sounds Ocean Policy issued its like a great impreliminary findings. provement in air Its members, mostly quality, but it Republicans, were does show the appointed by President EPA is on the Bush, and they projob, doesn't it? duced a surprisingly Well, actually no, strong report. it doesn't. The It supports the scienEPA actions were tific consensus that the All kinds of pollutants drain into the sea or in response to a are thrown into the ocean by ships. oceans, and U.S coastal court order. waters have seriously dam- environment from all sources Court Challenges aged marine life. of pollution. The standards applied are in The commissioners say For 22 years the United the Clean Air Act, which we should at least double States has declined to sign was passed during the the $650 million we cur- the treaty. It has abided by Clinton administration, but rently spend...a paltry sum its provisions but has been they were tangled up in compared with the ocean- negotiating changes to one court challenges by affected research budget of many section regarding deep-sea industries and three major smaller nations. mining and national-securi- pollution-producing states: The report complains of ty issues. Michigan, Ohio and West a confusing and ineffective To its credit, the Bush Virginia.

array of agencies­federal, state and local­responsible for aspects of ocean management, and it calls for the creation of a new cabinetlevel National Ocean Council in the White House.

administration has pronounced itself satisfied, and is recommending Senate ratification. 474 Countries Fail The EPA has issued a report showing that 474

The Supreme Court upheld those standards in early 2001, but the incoming administration dragged its feet, failing to enforce them. However, environmental

groups sued to force EPA compliance and won. As has happened in other cases, this administration had to be ordered to obey the law.

© 2004 Walter Cronkite

Bush Administration Gets Credit for a Reversal of Policy on Environment

Backlash from Complaints

Task Force May Kill Board Which Licenses California Contractors

Special to the California Contractor

F

ailure to investigate and residential permits have prosecute many unli- increased 40% while invescensed contractors accused tigators have been reduced by 20%. It now by the public of takes over 24 shoddy work weeks to comhas generated a plete the huge flood of limited investicomplaints gations which directed at the are being generContractors State ated by the License Board. beleaguered The task force state board. of the California In 2001, P e r f o r m a n c e Eye on Sacramento Governor Gray R e v i e w , unleashed by Governor Davis instituted a hiring Arnold Swarzenegger, wants freeze and each year vacatto eliminate the board alto- ed state license board jobs gether and refer all com- have been automatically plaints to the Consumer abolished. The state license board Affairs Dept. Ironically, the problem handles about 275,000 is not money because every contractors, carpenters, licensed contractor pays a plumbers and others in confee to cover the cost of struction work. The board receives over 25,000 cominvestigations. In the last five years, plaints a year.

Page 4 · September 2004

California Contractor Staff · Table of Contents

Inside Your California Contractor

The Newspaper for Profit-Conscious Entrepreneurs www.CaliforniaContractor.us

STAFF

Terry Cassel

President & Advertising Director

Walter Cronkite on Pollution . . . . . . . . 3 Eye on Sacramento . . . . . . . . . 3 and 14 President's Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Letters to the Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Lou Dobbs on Job Shortages . . . . . . . . 7 Dale Dauten Comforts Smart People . . 9 Cliff Ennico on Raising Cash . . . . . . . . 11 Customized Truck Showroom . . . . . . . 12 September/October Calendar. . . . . . . 16 Finding the Right Trade School . . . . . 21 Richards Sees 12,300 Dow in `04 . . . . 23 Travel with Ed Boitano . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Classified Ad Section . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Herb Chase Jr.

Editor & Publisher

Bethany Muhl

Executive Vice President

Marsha Graham

Associate Publisher

Suzanne Black

Administration

Ed Boitano

Travel Editor

Gary Avrech

Art Director / Production

Rob Matar

Internet Webmaster

Carolyn Leigh

Circulation Manager

Deb Roskamp

Photography

Contributing Editors & Writers

Walter Cronkite Suzanne Choney Malcolm Berko Neal Cavuto Dale Dauten Lou Dobbs Cliff Ennico Charlos Gary Molly Ivins Tom Margenau Lynn O'Shaunessy Archie Richards Andy Rooney Jonathan Sidener Ron Sokol Michael Stone

California Contractor is a monthly newspaper serving contractors working in plumbing, kitchen and bath, heating, cooling and electrical, air conditioning and refrigeration, as well as engineers, wholesalers, builders and distributors in these and related fields throughout the State of California. For subscription information or service, please Call: 310 393-0601, Fax: 310 393-0606, or visit our Website at: www.CaliforniaContractor.us The publisher is not responsible for product or service claims and representations, or opinions expressed by columnists, contributing writers, and letters to the editor. Copyright © 2004, United Contractors of America, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission from the publisher. Printed in the U.S.A. California Contractor (ISSN#0000-0000) is published monthly, 12 times yearly, by United Contractors of America, Inc. 1119 Colorado Ave., Suite 15, Santa Monica, CA 90401 Telephone: 310 393-0601 · Fax: 310 393-0606

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is the only newspaper mailed, every month, to every Plumbing, Kitchen & Bath, Heating, Cooling, Electrical, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Contractor in California, the World's sixth largest economy?

1119 Colorado Ave., Suite 15, Santa Monica, CA 90401 Telephone: 310 393-0601 · Fax: 310 393-0606 Internet Website: www.CaliforniaContractor.us For Information, Email: [email protected] For Advertising, Email: [email protected] For Editorial, Email: [email protected]

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Meet the Friendly Folks at California Contractor

President's Message

September 2004 · Page 5

Welcome to Our New California Contractor "Pathway to Profits"

Terry Cassel

President-CEO

CONTRACTORS' INSURANCE PROGRAM

THE MOST

COMPETITIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE INSURANCE PROGRAM AVAILABLE TO CALIFORNIA CONTRACTORS!

W

elcome to California Contractor. You are holding our very first issue in your hands and we sincerely thank you for checking us out. California Contractor is the revolutionary new monthly newspaper for profit-conscious entrepreneurs, a publication reaching over 25,000 hard-working contractors like you throughout the state of California. You are an important member of our family of contractors covering plumbing, kitchen and bath, heating, cooling, electrical, air conditioning and refrigeration. If you are Terry Cassel a contractor, builder, engineer, wholesaler or distributor, we are dedicated to providing you the freshest information available in the industry. We are Californiabased and focused on the unique concerns and issues specific to your California business. California Contractor is the first trade industry publication to seriously address profitability and success in the contracting business. Pathways to Profits is our theme - to bring you the best and most current business advice and information as you work hard to grow your contracting business. With comprehensive educational listings, innovative product presentations and incisive columns from the nation's leading experts in business and finance, we promise to work with you side by side as your reliable profit consultant. Every month we will present "Contractor Approved" products and services relevant to your ongoing business needs as well as news and schedules of trade shows, expos, classes and seminars to help you keep up with cutting edge industry developments. We will bring you respected national columnists such as Walter Cronkite, popular former CBS news anchor, Lou Dobbs, esteemed CNN business anchor, Andy Rooney, long-time 60 Minutes curmudgeon, Molly Ivins, acerbic writer and author, Neal Cavuto, Fox business news editor, Paul Ennico, Public Television small business expert, Michael Stone, renowned contracting consultant, Jack Faris, president of the National Federation of Independent Business, and many more. The latest news in commercial trucks and vans plus exclusive travel opportunities are among the many features available only in the pages of California Contractor. But enough about us. We want to know more about you, what concerns you and how your business is doing. Please call, write, fax or e-mail any questions, comments, suggestions or letters to the editor. You will help us serve you better. We will do everything we can to make sure California Contractor is the best partner you can find to help you navigate today's difficult business climate and to steer you in the direction of profitability and success. Again, and on behalf of the entire staff, thank you for reading California Contractor. We look forward to working and growing together with you in the months to come.

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For More Information Call... Justin Goodman · Karen Brower Chris Taylor · Steve Goodman

1-800-955-8700

Page 6 · September 2004

Readers Speak Out: Letters to the Editor

Writing Staff Will be Great

I hope I heard correctly, that California Contractor will be publishing original opinions and insights by a couple of my heroes, Walter Cronkite and Lou Dobbs. As the new owner of a small plumbing and heating firm, I can use all the business advice I can get. Please make sure to send me your first issue. -George Tilton San Luis Obispo

Legal Tips for Contractors

Independent Contractors

Special to the California Contractor

Wish You Much Luck

My company does a ton of business in California. When you called about your new publication I thought it was an interesting idea to address the business concerns of entrepreneurs in our industry. I've worked with Terry in the past, so I'm sure it will all go well for you. I wish you much luck. -Archie Stewart Macon, Georgia

Success and The Very Best

The pre-press pages we have seen look great and we are confident your new publication, the California Contractor, will be a booming success. We look forward to working with you every month. Things went very smoothly for your first issue and your graphics people were very helpful. We appreciate your business. -Don Kay Sun Printing

By Ron Sokol

Attorney at Law

Q

uestion: How can I try to make sure that people working for me are considered independent contractors, and not employees? nswer: There is no simple answer, but the primary factor can be summed up in one word: Control. You don't control that person's overall employment situation. You don't provide the tools and equipment he or she uses. You don't tell that person what to do, at least not to an appreciable degree. Now, does that help you fully underRon Sokol stand what constitutes an independent contractor? I doubt it! A good source to check online is a question and answer portion of the website of the California Employment Development Department at: www.edd.ca.gov/taxrep/taxfaq.htm http://www.edd.ca.gov/taxrep/taxfaq.htm (you will see the specific heading about the difference between an employee and an independent contractor). Other factors that come into play are what the parties understood their relationship to be, the timing and kind of payments you make (e.g. sporadic, regular, per job or hourly), and for whom the work is actually being done. Given the significant implications of how to treat people who work for you­whether as an employee or as an independent contractor­you are well advised to consult a qualified accountant or attorney.

A

A Truck Section

Would Be Popular

One of the needs of a contractor like myself is a good resource for finding new and used customized trucks. I hope you will pay close attention to this because there are not a lot of car and truck dealers who know anything about the special needs of contractors. I heard that your first publication will be out in September and I look forward to seeing it. -J.H. Los Angeles

Filling a Need Is Important!

I wonder what will happen when California Contractor starts to point readers along the "Pathway to Profits." When you address all of the plumbing, heating, cooling air conditioning, refrigeration and electrical contractors statewide you will have pretty big audience. I heard about this by reading your inspiring media kit. The media kit, by the way, is one of the best I have ever seen. It sounds like you're trying an innovative way to get the attention of the readers. I guess that's the name of the game. -May Lou Leeds Sacramento

Profit Emphasis

Is Very Important

I'm having a hell of a time keeping my profits strong as I try to grow my business. Your media kit made me think maybe someone out there understands and has the guts to address them in this tough economy. I look forward to reading your newspaper and I hope you maintain your emphasis on profits. -Troy McClane Riverside

(Ron Sokol has been an attorney for 26 years, during which time he has often also served as an arbitrator or mediator. His office is based in the South Bay (Manhattan Beach), California. Inquiries and comments can be emailed to him at [email protected], or fax them to 3l0-546-8l25. Please note that this column should be viewed only as a general summary of the law, and is not a substitute in any instance for legal consultation or review.)

EDITORS NOTE: Our first edition is only the beginning of what promises to a very popular new section covering customized trucks and vans. Watch our Truck and Van Showroom grow as more and more contractors get into the "showroom habit".

CALIFORNIA CONTRACTOR CORDIALLY INVITES YOU TO ATTEND...

Guidelines for Submitting Your Letter to the Editor

For Letters to the Editor to be considered for publication in our "Readers Speak Out" section, the letter submitted must be signed and accompanied by the writer's name, address, and telephone number. Only the writer's name and city will be published and all other information will remain confidential. The writer's color photograph may be published if the writer sends in an acceptable photo with his or her letter. Anonymous letters will not be published unless the writer sends his or her name, address and telephone number, but then requests that the name not be published. Letters should, where possible, be limited to 50 words or less to allow the Editor to publish as many reader letters as space permits. The Editor reserves the right to reject or edit all letters, to eliminate questionable facts or unacceptable language, or to reduce letters which are too long. All letters should be Faxed to: (310) 393-0606 Or, Mailed to: California Contractor 1119 Colorado Ave., Suite #15 Santa Monica, CA 90401

Travel Will Help Your Readers

Somebody said they thought there wasn't any place in a trade publication for a travel news. I could not disagree more! Most contractors make a lot of money and they travel whenever they have time off. I think they are naturals for your travel editor. I know about your travel editor, Ed Boitano, and his great reputation. I used to read Ed's stuff years ago in the "New Times" when I lived in Los Angeles. Congratulations. -Fritz Rosen San Diego

NEW ORLEANS beckons California contractors and others to the 77th Annual WEF Technical Exhibition (Water Environmental Federation) October 2-6, 2004, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Information: www.Weftec.org

Lou Dobbs Focuses on the American Job Market

Job Opportunities Heading Overseas

September 2004 · Page 7

U.S. Graduates See 2004 As a Tough Job Market

Special to the California Contractor

By Lou Dobbs

CNN Lead Anchor

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e all want our children to have the opportunity to build a better life than ours. That has been the aspiration of all generations since our c o u n t r y 's founding. It's now the essence of Lou Dobbs the common American dream. And for many decades, most of us believed that a college education was the best way to ensure the realization of that dream. But as the very nature of

our economy has changed, as business and markets have globalized, and hundreds of thousands of American jobs have been outsourced to cheap foreign labor markets, the employment prospects for our nation's college graduates have deteriorated. A good education no longer assures realization of the American dream. It's not even a guarantee of a job. And as the cost of higher education has been skyrocketing, the promise of a return on investment has been diminishing. An investment that for many middle-class families requires sacrifice and going into debt, often crushing debt. College Costs Rise The price of a college education at a public university or college rose by 14 percent last

year, while private college tuition is up 6 percent. According to the College Board, a degree from a private four-year institution now costs roughly $127,325. By the year 2022, the same education will cost more than $300,000.

level of unemployed college graduates was 22 percent less than that of high school dropouts. But by April of this year, the level of unemployed college graduates outpaced that of those without a high school diploma by 13 percent. And it appears educated

51% of the U.S. Graduating Seniors Don't Expect any Worthwhile Job Offers Offers in 2004

While it is true that historically those with a college education are in a better position to earn more over a lifetime, recent employment trends do not bode well for recent college graduates. At the end of 1999, the African-Americans may be among those hit the hardest. Minorities Hard Hit A study conducted by the National Urban League found that the unemployment rate for college educated and highly-skilled African-American

workers is significantly worse than that of their white peers. President Bush has said that workers who have lost their jobs need to be retrained. Earlier this month, the president proposed another $250 million for Americans to get job-training help, which would include funding for community colleges. But, of course, those retrained for other employment will be competing with recent graduates for jobs. And despite all of the recent emphasis placed on training, unemployment still remains a serious issue for highly skilled Americans. The unemployment rate among electrical engineers, for instance, rose from 4.5 percent in last year's fourth quarter to 5.3 percent in the first - Continued on page 14

Page 8 · September 2004

Management Advice on the Pathway to Profits

Contractors Should Always Think Ahead

Living Trusts May Be the Best Way for Entrepreneurs to Die

Special to the California Contractor

By Archie Richards

Investment Expert

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fter you die, do you want the members of your family to fight over your estate? Do you want money to go to people at inopportune times? Or do you want a big chunk of your estate to disappear in costs and taxes? Here are the methods of passing property to others. See Archie Richards how they stack up: Do nothing. This is the most common practice and the least desirable... Use a joint tenancy. Upon your death, the other person owns the entire property, regardless of what your will says. Probate is avoided. And if the joint owner is your spouse, federal estate taxes are also avoided, because transfers to a spouse are not subject to

the tax and do not provide for disability. To sell the property, two signatures are needed. The answer is a revocable living trust. This is the best estateplanning measure. "Revocable" means you can amend or get rid of the trust. "Living" means you set

"A Living Trust Eliminates Probate and Other Estate Problems"

it up while you're alive and legally competent. "Trust" means that someone (the trustee) holds property for beneficiaries. Initially, you serve as trustee and beneficiary. Everything you own is registered in the name of the trust, such as The Sally Smith Living Trust dated Aug. 15, 2004. You can do whatever you like with the trust property. When you become disabled or incompetent, the person

you've named as successor trustee in the trust document steps in to manage the property for your benefit. A living trust is the most effective way for an incompetent and his property to be cared for. Probate applies to the property of individuals that have died. But after death, the trust lives on. The trust property therefore avoids jurisdiction of the probate court -- a big advantage. The trust is made the beneficiary of your pension arrangements. After your death, the property remains in trust or is disposed of however you've specified. Drafted by an experienced estate-planning attorney, the trust provides for tax savings and all manner of contingencies. Your spouse and your children, for example, might receive income from the trust, but to save taxes, they might receive principal only to satisfy certain specified needs. If a granddaughter is disabled, funds remain in trust for her

benefit, but not in such a way as to cause disability benefits to terminate. Of all the meth-

ods of transferring property, a revocable living trust is the best. ©2004 CREATORS SYNDICATE

`Perfectly Legal'...The Drive To Rig Our Taxation System

Special to the California Contractor

By Molly Ivins

Award-Winning Author

T

hose faithful political junkies following the political festivities on C-SPAN may need some reading material to tide them over during the boring speeches, and I have two pips to recommend. Hendrik Hertzberg (his friends call him Rick) has put out a collection called simply, "Politics: Observations and Arguments, 1966-2004," that is pure pleasure to read. The New Yorker editor and former editor of The New Republic has such a good mind, such a strong sense of ethics and honor. There is an almost physical pleasure, like having an itch scratched, in watching him come to grips with some of the thorniest, nastiest, most divisive issues of the past 40 years, and slice Molly Ivins them cleanly into comprehensible form. A book that is both more dense and more important is David Cay Johnston's "Perfectly Legal. " The obligatory, explanatory subtitle is "The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich -- and Cheat Everybody Else." ©2004 CREATORS SYNDICATE

Tax Issues Hamper eBay Entrepreneur

Special to the California Contractor

By Cliff Ennico

Small Business Champion

love it when readers send multiple-part questions. "I plan on selling stuff on eBay part-time, with likely net sales of $10,000 per year. I was sold on creating a limited liability company (LLC) for this business, but after looking at Cliff Ennico some of the IRS publications, I am more than confused. IRS Publication 3402 says that `generally, when an LLC has only one member, the fact that it is an LLC is ignored or dis-

I

regarded for the purpose of filing a federal tax return.' But then further on, it says `if you prefer to file as a corporation instead of a disregarded entity, Form 8832 must be submitted.' Can you please help me sort this out?" This reader then asked three specific questions: 1. "Will being a sole owner leave me open to the full financial risk of this business, which would seem to defeat the purpose of an LLC?" A lot of people are confused by this. Under state law, the owners (called "members") of an LLC are not liable for the debts or liabilities of the business, except for the assets or money they have contributed as capital to the LLC. In this regard, they are in exactly the same position as shareholders of a corporation. Your personal assets (such as your house, or autographed Mickey Mantle

baseball card) are not at risk. When the IRS says the LLC is a "disregarded entity," they do not mean that you are personally liable for everything that happens. What they mean is that the LLC is not

Contractors Who Use eBay Must Check Legalities

considered a separate entity for tax purposes, and does not file a separate tax return. Instead, you report the profits and losses of the LLC on Schedule C of your personal tax return (Form 1040). 2. "If an LLC owes income taxes, can the government go after the individuals who own the LLC, or will the LLC protect me against the IRS?" This is a tough one. Normally, the

members of an LLC are not personally liable for the LLC's business debts, including taxes, but ... Every state spells out a number of circumstances under which a person who is suing a business entity (such as an LLC) can "pierce the corporate veil" and reach the personal assets of the individual owners. For example, in most states, if you fail to keep separate records you will be personally at risk if anything bad happens, just as if you hadn't formed the LLC in the first place. If these circumstances don't apply, then the limitation of liability provided by state law should protect you against the IRS as it would against any other creditor. You should talk to a lawyer in your state to learn more about your state's "veil piercing" rules.

3. "Why would an LLC want to be taxed as a corporation?" The IRS gives you the option to have your LLC taxed as either a sole proprietorship or a corporation. Virtually all single member LLC's will want to be taxed as sole proprietorships, not corporations. There is only one situation I can think of where you might want to consider being taxed as a corporation (in which case, you would file Form 8832 with the IRS). If you were forming a high-technology business venture as an LLC, but knew that you would be converting the LLC into a corporation later on when it's time to look for venture capital, you might want to consider having the LLC taxed as a corporation, because that would make the transition to corporate status easier when the time came.

© 2004 CLIFF ENNICO

Management Advice on the Pathway to Profits

The Corporate Curmudgeon

September 2004 · Page 9

Wise Employees Outdo Typical Smart Workers

Special to the California Contractor

CALIFORNIA CONTRACTOR CORDIALLY INVITES YOU TO ATTEND...

By Dale Dauten

Management Advisor

A

t Harvard it took me 10 years to develop a relationship of total hostility to my environment. I want you to Dale Dauten k n o w that here [in Washington, D.C.] I have done it in 18 months." -Henry Kissinger Here's a quote I detest, from a 19th-century writer, Jean de La Bruyere, who said, "There are two ways by which to rise in this world, either by one's own industry or by the stupidity of others." No, there is a third way.

Instead of rising by the stupidity of others, you can rise by the genius of others. That doesn't mean exploiting that genius, but aiding it, whether from above, below or alongside. In the best organizations, it means a number of people with different talents, each making the others better. There has been plenty written about hiring smart

NIGHT LIFE IN CHICAGO is exciting. The HARDI (Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors) International Annual Conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago October 16-19, Information: www.Hardinet.org

group brain to connect to. There is one measure of organizational intelligence that could help: the SQ, for Strategy Quotient. It was developed by an old friend, a big-brained former academic, Dr. Richard Gooding, who heads a consulting firm, Strategic Advantage. If you go to www.strategy4U.com, you can use, for free, a tool to assess management's business intelligence. There is a tendency for intelligent employees to feel exploited, to believe that they are the ones finding the prizes and then getting shoved aside by superiors. However, wise employees ­ as opposed to merely smart ones­find a group brain that is worthy of their respect as well as their IQ. Such employees aren't merely smart­ they are sufficiently wise to find a place where their intelligence is exploited in the right way, where it is put to its best use, while it is appreciated and rewarded. © 2004 by King Features Syndicate Inc.

"Intelligent employees may feel exploited"

employees, but there is little written about how an individual can find a worthy

Page 10 · September 2004

A Salute to the iSH Trade Show and Convention

Boston Rolls Out the Red Carpet

SH North America, International Trade Show for Kitchen & Bath, Plumbing, PVF, Heating and Air Conditioning, will be held in Boston at the Convention and Exhibition Center, October 14-16, 2004. The newly-constructed facility is located on the beautiful South Boston Waterfront. This state-of-theart venue is the largest convention center in New England. While inside the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, all visitors will have an impressive view of the skyline and the harbor with the floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall on all three levels. To take an online tour of the facility, visit www.advantageboston.com. Boston is a city of history and charm unmatched throughout the United States. Its beauty is most apparent in the fall when all the leaves are changing colors and the temperature is perfect for touring the city. Visit Harvard Square's historic red brick walkways, home to hundreds of restaurants, top notch retailers, museums, entertainment venues, bookstores, architectural landmarks, and an everchanging outdoor arena of street performers. Take a tour of renowned Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox since 1912. See ice hockey's five-time Stanley Cup Champions, the Bruins. Or visit the Bull & Finch pub on Beacon Street, the inspiration for the long-running sitcom Cheers. Show organizer Messe-Frankfurt, Inc., is partnering with the American Supply Association (ASA), the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association (PHCC) and the Radiant Panel Association (RPA) the third edition of this consolidated trade show. iSH North America is home to over 500 exhibitors from 17 countries and a solid attendee base that encompasses 32 countries. iSHNA provides a unique trade show experience by dividing the show floor into three distinct sections: · Kitchen & Bath/Plumbing · PW - Pipes, Valves & Fittings · Hydronics/HVAC Seven professional seminar tracks will be available designed to offer educational and marketing opportunities. Attendees can gain practical advice from industry experts in the areas of kitchen & bath, plumbing, HVAC, hydronics, environmental systems, radiant heating and business management/marketing.

For more information call 866-984-8016, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.ish-na.com.

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Helpful Hints For Profit-Conscious Entrepreneurs

Succeeding in Your Business

September 2004 · Page 11

How To Raise Cash to Start a New Business

Special to the California Contractor

California Straw Poll

Ballot

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CHECK ONE

By Cliff Ennico

Small Business Expert

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lot of people think about starting a business but don't know where the startup capital will come from. Many of these people have savings in a retirement plan because income on Cliff Ennico amounts held in these accounts is not taxed until the individual is ready for retirement. Under the Federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), funds in a taxadvantaged retirement plan such as a 401(k) must be held until the individual reaches a certain age (the minimum age

for withdrawals is 59-1/2). for funds without running afoul If you withdraw money of ERISA's premature withfrom a retirement plan before drawal provisions. In a typical reaching the age of 59-1/2, the ERSOP arrangement, you amount withdrawn is taxed as would form a "C" corporation, ordinary income, and the IRS which in turn would create a levies a penalty of 10 percent new retirement plan (typically on top of that, with only a few a profit sharing plan). The very narrow exceptions. funds from your existing retireLikewise, ERISA prohibits ment plan would then be withthe use of retirement plan drawn and "rolled over" into money as collateral for a busi- the new corporation's retireness loan. If ment plan (this you place any must be done Danger: sort of lien on An ERSOP May within 60 days your retireof the withWipe Out Your drawal to avoid ment account, Business it is deemed to taxes and penalbe a distributies as a premation or withdrawal, and taxed ture distribution). accordingly. The new corporation's Exploiting a loophole in the retirement plan then would tax laws, a number of financial make a direct purchase of firms tout the so-called stock in the newly created "C" Entrepreneur Rollover Stock corporation, at the same price Ownership Plan, or ERSOP, as per share that the entrepreneur a way of enabling entrepre- himself paid for his initial neurs to tap into their tax- shares in the corporation. advantaged retirement plans -Continued on page 28

John F. Kerry

George W. Bush

J

The first dozen entries received from Straw Poll voters will receive an autographed photo of the candidate of their choice.

Fax your completed entry blank to: 310 393-0606, or mail to: California Contractor Straw Poll 1119 Colorado Ave., Suite 15, Santa Monica, CA 90401 ########

BALLOT ENTRY

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Your Name__________________________ Phone#__________________ __ Address______________________________ Fax#____________________ City__________________________ State______ Zip_________________ __

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Page 12 · September 2004

Customized Contractor Trucks & Vans Showroom

A Wide Selection of Commercial Vehicles is Available From Chevrolet · Toyota · GMC · Dodge · Isuzu and Others, All Competing for Your Business

Take Your Choice!

Customized Contractor Trucks & Vans Showroom

September 2004 · Page 13

DACO SHELLS & Truck Accessories

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Above: A GMC Van Customized for Heating Contractors Left: A GMC Truck Customized for Electrical Contractors

As the need for trucks and commercial vans grows, so has the selection of truck accessories and van equipment. DACO has been offering the right equipment and installing it at the best price since 1970. We have a well-earned reputation for quality products at extremely competitive prices. Our customers are customers for life; they keep coming back for our great prices and excellent service. We carry only the best brand names in the industry, including Weather Guard, Innovation, SnugTop, SnugLid, A.R.E., Westin, Knaack, Penda, Duraliner, BedSlide, Bedrug, Rack-it, Stull, EGR, Wade and many more. Call or stop by. We have two locations to serve you: 8454 Sepulveda Blvd., North Hills, 818-892-4327, and 25897 San Fernando Road, Santa Clarita, 661-259-2511.

SIERRA Chevrolet Truck Center

At Sierra we have a special program set up by the Chevrolet Motor Division called our Commercial Specialty Vehicles Department. It is designed to meet many of the specific needs of the commercial fleet industry. We have many configurations of light and medium duty trucks available for sale. Models include flat beds & stake side trucks, cargo vans, cab & chassis, and many pickups with utility toolboxes, complete with lumber or pipe racks. We also have special service programs for the business truck owners with an emphasis on rapid service turnaround. We know how important your work truck is to you. Our factory trained and certified truck technicians make the service experience quick and easy. Sean Kerr heads up our team of commercial sales specialists. Call Sean for an appointment or for more information at 626-932-5655, or visit us at 1450 S. Shamrock Ave., Monrovia.

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Page 14 · September 2004

Help for Contractors on the Pathway to Profits

Focus on the 21st Century

Exclusively for Contractors

Steel Prices Jump Up Over the Moon The Contracting industry continues to be battered by accelerated rises in the price of steel. The high cost of this component means the manufacturer must pass these inflated costs on to the end user. Hot rolled sheet steel, which cost $350 a ton in January, 2004, rose to $585 per ton in April 2004. Hand Held Meters Measuring Thin Air Leave it to Bacharach to make a success of a new Comfort-Chek Analyzer to accurately measure relative humidity, CO2, and the temperature as well as the barometric pressure. For more information call the Bacharach Hotline at 800 736-4666 or find them on the web at www.Bacharach.com A 'Lost Art of Steam Heating' Is Explained Special anniversary edition of the Lost Art of Steam Heating" by Dan Holohan is still available. 306 pages of wisdom for $39.95, the same price when the book was introduced in 1992. Toll free 800 853-8882 or go to www.heatinghelp.com Plumbing Now Part Of Safety Program NSF International reports industry acceptance of a new plumbing certification code program which has been combined with the product certification-safety audits for food and water. This program was developed in response to requests from contractors who wanted one comprehensive standard and all inclusive certification. www.NSF.org. Free IHACI Training Is a Member Benefit Since 1948, industry professionals and California contractors in the fields of heating and air conditioning have realized the many educational benefits of membership in IHACI, the Institute of Heating and Air Conditioning Industries. Free energy training classes are offered in cooperation with the Southern California Gas Co. www.IHACI.org Water Testing Gives Plumbers Extra $$$ Water Quality Association of Chicago has made it possible for California plumbers to enjoy extra income by becoming officially certified to test water. Certification can be accomplished by attending a two-day WQA seminar or by purchasing the text books and passing an exam. For information: Call 630 505-0160 or visit the website at www.wqa.org. The CWS (Certified Water Specialist) program has six different categories. CWS study kits range from $140 to $240. Rags to Riches Tale Triggers Contractor Airtime 500 Expo is fond of telling contractors the amazing story of Tim Gallagher of Los Molinas, California, who discovered himself facing disaster with his sub-par HVAC business. He was inspired to attend a one day expo in Las Vegas and the rest is history. Tim came home bursting with ideas and soon boomed his business up to a profitable annual volume of $3.5 Million a year. You can attend a "Profit Day" by calling tollfree: 800 505-8858. A Flapper-Free Flush Is Now a Champion Headlines continue to tell the American Standard story about their gravity-fed, flapper free toilet which has become a popular industry standard. Plumbers have given the new power flushing system their endorsement. The Champion fast flush system releases 1.6 gallons of water in .75 seconds. Find them on the web at: www.AmercanStandard.com Watt Stopper Cuts Energy Expenses The Kaiser California Distribution Center located in Northern California saved 22% in total kilowatts by installing the "Watt Stopper" from the Legend Group company. The "Watt Stopper" sensors keep lighting off during periods when the area is vacant. Visit Legend at: www.WattStopper.com Contractors Can Keep Their Cool Working in attics, confined spaces, roofs, and other hot places can be hazardous. To help keep contractors comfortable, ShuBee Customer Care Wear offers a Cooling Vest which features pockets for cooling inserts. Available in adjustable sizes and different styles. Contact ShuBee at: 1 877 974 8233, or at: www.ShuBee.com

they graduate. Interestingly, 34 percent of this year's graduates are concerned that offshore outsourcing will impact their employment prospects. In addition to a less than stellar job market, today's graduates also face more serious financial burdens than those of previous generations. Sixty-four percent of students now graduate with debt, twice as many as eight years ago. Graduates now leave college owing an average of $18,000. So they are in the red, in most cases, before they've even begun.

New HVAC Guide Helps Measure Up The Alnor HVAC Handbook, a Practical Guide to Performance Measurements including Mechanical, Air Conditioning, Heating and Ventilating Systems, is now available. There are more than 50 pages help maximize HVAC performance. Contact Alnor at 800 424 7427, or on the web at: www.Alnor.com Handy Leak Detector Will Fit Your Pocket The 725 pocket-size combustible gas leak detector fits easily into your pocket. TPI, Test Products International, detects combustible gases, including methane, propane, gasoline, diesel and kerosene. The detector also traces fuel leaks and is equipped with an alarm and an LED indicator. Fabric Duct Reduces Greenhouse Emissions A Fabric Duct and air dispersion product from DuctSox features a lighter weight and superior airflow for saving energy and lowering building costs. Fabric Duct conserves natural resources (because it eliminates duct work) and decreases greenhouse emissions. Contact DuctSox at 866-DUCTSOX or visit them on the web at www.DuctSox.com.

Troubling Trends Too many middle-class families are being priced out of an education for their children. These troubling trends, with complex underlying causes, demand the immediate attention of our policy makers and political leaders. While it isn't the entire solution, we must stop outsourcing American jobs to cheap overseas labor markets. Nothing less than the American dream is at stake for an entire generation. (Lou Dobbs is

the anchor and managing editor of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight."

© 2004 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

Coming in October...

Graduates

-Continued from page 7

· PHCC Orange County Trade Show Preview · Financial Columnists Archie Richards, Cliff Ennico, and Lou Dobbs · Ed Boitano's Exclusive Travel Opportunities · Business Columnists Michael Stone, Terry Savage, and Suzanne Choney · Full Calendar of October & November Events · Customized Commercial Vehicle Showroom · And Much, Much More!

quarter of this year. An increase of almost 18 percent. Although the job market for college graduates is better this year than last, and thankfully still improving, the job market is still tough. A leading career Web site for students, MonsterTRAK, recently released the results of its annual survey of college According to the survey, only 10 percent of this year's graduates have landed a job and 51 percent of seniors don't expect any job offers when

Page 16 · September 2004

Calendar for September and October 2004

September 15 INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION

Southern California 6 p.m. Sheraton Cerritos Hotel Information: Dee Breedlove: 562-921-7113

September 1 AMERICAN SUBCONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION

(Inland Empire Chapter) 6 p.m. Royal Cut Restaurant Information: Amy Vasquez: 909 793-0599

September 22-23 ASSOCIATION OF ENERGY ENGINEERS

2004 World Energy Engineering Congress Austin, Texas Information: 770 271-7869

September 22-24 INTERNATIONAL AIR CONDITIONING EXPO

Monterrey, Mexico Information: www.ahrexpomex.com

September 6 INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS

(Sacramento Chapter #21) 7 p.m. 1231 I Street, Room #102, Information: Dale Johnson, 916 732-5769

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS

(Southern California Chapter) Information: Charles O'Brien: 714 970-0356

September 26-29 NATIONAL AIR FILTER ASSOCIATION

Convention, Las Vegas Information: 757 313-7400

INDEPENDENT ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION

of Southern California 6:30 p.m. Information: Peter Sozio: 800 884-4322

September 26-30 September 15-17 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PLUMBING, HEATING & COOLING CONTRACTORS

Construction Contractors Annual Meeting Information: 800 533-7694

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MECHANICAL AND PLUMBING OFFICIALS

Annual Business and Education Conference Information: www.iapmo.org

September 29-October 2 September 15-18 COMFORTECH 2004 (HVAC)

America's Center, St. Louis, Mo. Information: www.ContractingBusiness.com

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL BUILDING ASSOCIATION

Dallas, Texas · Information: www.eeba.org

September 8 ASSOCIATION OF ENERGY ENGINEERS

(Southern California Chapter) Downey 11:30 a.m. Gas Co. Energy Resource Center Information: www.aeesocal.org

AMERICAN SUBCONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION

San Diego County Chapter Information: Lisza Pontes: 619 561-5390

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION

San Diego, Butcher Steak House Information: Rukhsana Haffeez: 858 560-6060

September 12 CHINESE-AMERICAN CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONALS

Expo from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: Lucia: 626- 221-2688

September 13-15 INTERNATIONAL SERVICE LEADERSHIP

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Information: 706 485-8775

Calendar for September and October 2004

September 29-October 3 REFRIGERATION SERVICE ENGINEERS

6th Annual Conference Westin Hotel, Calgary, Canada Information: 800 310-6852

September 2004 · Page 17

October 13 NATIONAL ASSOCIATON OF WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION

Butcher Steak House, San Diego Information: Rukhsana Haffez: 858 560-6060. San Diego Chapter Information: Lisza Pontes: 619 561-5390

October 23-27 ASPE CONVENTION AND EXPO (AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PLUMBING ENGINEERS

Cleveland, Ohio Information: www.mca.org

October 23-28 SMACNA (SHEET METAL AND AIR CONDITIONING CONTRACTORS NATIONAL ASSOCIATION)

Annual Convention, Maui, Hawaii Information: www.smacna.org

September 30-October 2 CONFERENCE OF REFRIGERATION SERVICES ENGINEER SOCIETY

Calgary, Alberta Information: www.rses.org

October 14-16 ISN-INTERNATIONAL TRADE SHOW, KITCHEN BATH, PLUMBING, PVF, HEATING, AIR CONDITIONING

Boston Convention-Exhibition Center Information: www.iSH-NA.com

October 2-6 77th ANNUAL WEF TECHNICAL EXHIBITION (WATER ENVIRONMENTAL FEDERATION)

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA Information: www.Weftec.org

October 25-30 RETA NATIONAL CONVENTION (REFRIGERATION ENGINEERS AND TECHNICIANS ASSOCIATION)

Reno, Nevada · Information:www.reta.com

October 16-19 HARDI: HEATING, AIR CONDITIONING AND REFRIGERATION DISTRIBUTORS INTERNATIONAL-ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Hyatt Regency, Chicago Information: www.Hardinet.org

October 27 PHCC (PLUMBING, HEATING, AND COOLING CONTRACTORS)

Sacramento Valley General Membership Meeting Information: www.phccsacvalley.org

October 17-20 MSCA EDUCATION CONFERENCE (MECHANICAL SERVICE CONTRACTORS OF AMERICA)

Hyatt Regency, Santa Ana Pueblo, NM

October 26 MOTIVATION SEMINAR

Featuring Rudy Giuliani, Jessica Lynch Jerry Lewis, Ed McMahon, Zig Ziglar Staples Center, Los Angeles $225 Information: 1 800 217-1317

October 19-21 October 4 INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS

(Sacramento Chapter #21) 7 p.m., 1231 I Street, Room #102 Information: Dale Johnson

HYDRONICS INSTITUTE FALL MEETING

Absecon, New Jersey Information: www.gamanet.org

October 20 ASSOCIATION FOR FACILITIES ENGINEERING

San Fernando Chapter #56 Commerce Casino, Commerce Information: www.afe6.org

October 7-9 NAHB (NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOME BUILDERS)

The Remodeling Show: McCormick Place, Chicago Information: www.TheRemodelingShow.cor

AMERICAN SUBCONTRACTORS ASSN.

(Redwood Empire Chapter) 6:30 p.m. Villa Restaurant, Santa Rosa Information: Sue Salinas: 707 823-3942

PHCC (PLUMBING, HEATING AND COOLING CONTRACTORS)

(Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino) Orange County Fairgrounds Information: 714 896-0153

Want to Be Included?

If your plumbing kitchen and bath, heating, cooling, air conditioning,or electrical trade group wishes to be included in this California Contractor Calendar of Events, please briefly give us the facts and we will publish your listing in our next calendar. Fill out this form and FAX it to 310 393-0606 or mail it to California Contractor Calendar, 1119 Colorado Avenue, Suite #15, Santa Monica, California, 90401. Organization_______________________________________________________________

October 13 ASSOCIATION OF ENERGY ENGINEERS

(Southern California Chapter) 11:30 a.m. Gas Co. Energy Center, Downey Information: www.aeesocal.org

Event_____________________________________________________________________ Date of Event__________________Chapter_____________________________________ Contact___________________________________________________________________ Website___________________________________________________________________

Page 18 · September 2004

Contractor Approved Products and Services

Will He Overdo It?

Greenspan Tips Inflation Scale

Special to the California Contractor

ShuBee Coveralls

Y

By Neal Cavuto

Fox News Managing Editor

H

ere's my worry ­ not that Al Greenspan raised interest rates. Everyone expected that, after all. It's just that I'm afraid they're going to overdo it. And they do have a history of overdoing Neal Cavuto it. Now I know the economy is stronger and things are getting better, not strong enough, nor are the numbers encouraging enough for us to forget this basic fact... the patient isn't fully recovered yet. The latest proof of that came in the final read on first-quarter GDP. At first, everyone was breaking out the bubbly on initial word it

ou only have one chance for that first impression. Keep your uniforms clean by using ShuBee's Disposable Coveralls. The coverall is designed with service technicians and industrial workers in mind. The dark blue color makes it look like part of your existing uniform. The dark color does not show dirt as bad. It also has 5 pockets for your tools, making it work-friendly while crawling under a house or going

into an attic. The coverall is durable, breathable and waterresistant making it the most costeffective solution for making first impressions count. Each pair of coveralls comes with a pair of ShuBee shoe covers. For more information please contact: ShuBee Customer Care Wear 104 Brown Drive, Macon GA 31220 1-877-974-8233 or, visit them on the web at: www.shubee.com

Red Carpet Treatment

L

ooking to heat up sales? The GMV9/GCV9 multiposition, variable-speed gas furnace features our patented aluminized steel tubular heat exchanger and energy-efficient hot surface ignition system. Each model is backed by a lifetime limited warranty. These furnaces are completely assembled at our factory and run-tested for heating or combination heating/cooling applications. With a corrosionresistant, painted steel cabinet, these units can be installed in a utility room, closet, alcove, base-

ment or attic. Our new lineup of furnaces offers this impressive feature set wrapped in a new package. We've updated our color to a consumer-focused architectural gray. Every 93% AFUE model furnace is among the easiest in the industry to install and service. Yet despite all this, they're surprisingly low-priced. To learn more about Goodman visit our website at: www.goodmanmfg.com or call Toll-free at: 1-866-304-0137 water on demand from a 2-1/2 gallon storage tank located under the sink. This makes it the filtration system of choice for both cooking and drinking water. WRO-3500 is NSF/ANSI certified. Visit your local plumbing wholesaler or contact: American Plumber Visit them on the web at: www.americanplumber.com or call Toll-free at: 800-645-5428

Drinking Water System

PATHWAYS TO PROFITS

was growing at a sizzling annualized rate of 4.4 percent. It turns out now it's more like 3.9 percent. That's not bad. But that's not super great, either. Ditto for retail sales. They're picking up, but not enough to get some pretty big players like General Motors and Wal-Mart Stores, and even Target, to say they likely slowed considerably in June. My point is not to bash this economy -- far from it. I'm genuinely encouraged by all I see. It's just that I want to see this recovery continue, and I fear the Federal Reserve will botch it by hiking rates too much too soon. Trust me, I know the Fed worries about inflation. But realistically, - Continued on Page 28

A

merican Plumber's reverse osmosis drinking water system reduces bad taste and odors, dissolved minerals and salts, chlorine taste and odor, Copper, Arsenic V, Nitrate/Nitrite, Hexavalent and Trivalent Chromium, Barium, Radium 226/228, and Selenium. Designed for both chlorinated and non-chlorinated water, the system produces up to 7.6 gallons of cleaner, fresher tasting water a day, delivering

Support Bracket Kits

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he Müpro support bracket kits for seismic gas shut-off valves are available in a pipe clamp range from 3/4" to 2". The pipe clamps are IAPMO/UPC approved and the bracket has an approval (RR-5572) from the city of Los Angeles. The bracket can be used for horizontal or vertical installations and is compatible with all brands of seismic shutoff valves. Appreciated by thou-

sands of contractors for the easy clamp adjustment which eliminates additional drilling into the bracket. The Müpro bracket provides a fast, easy and professional installation. All the necessary mounting hardware is included with the kits. Call for nearest distributor. Müpro North America Canoga Park, California 866-626-8776

Management Advice on the Pathway to Profits

Making a Profit

September 2004 · Page 19

Contractors Must Watch The Bottom Line on All New Bids

Special to the California Contractor

By Michael Stone

Contracting Expert

H

ow do you make a profit in construction. If getting better at production is the way to make money, why then do construction businesses have such a high failure rate? Getting better at production Michael Stone is not the answer to financial success. Most contractors do not charge enough for the work they do. That includes new home builders, remodelers or specialty contractors. If you do not make a profit, you and your business will go away. Either case is far more work and heartache than learning the basics of how to establish the correct sales price for your work. MARKUP is a number that,

multiplied times the Job-cost, will yield a sales price that will cover all job costs, overhead expenses and profit. The very first thing that you need to know is your overhead expenses for the last year, or what you project them to be for the next year. That number should include both fixed and variable overhead. Then you need to convert that expense to a percentage of the total work done while incurring those expenses. Here are some percentages for contractors that are doing under 2.5 million dollars in volume a year. Remodeling contractors will typically have overhead expenses ranging from about 24% to 42%, or even higher, with the average being about 28% - 32%. New home contractors will have a range of about 12% to 28% with an average being about 18% - 22%. Specialty contractors that do just one trade will normally have overhead expenses similar to remodeling contractors but slightly less.

That difference is why general contractors doing new home construction must use a different markup than those doing remodeling work. That is the main reason that you should not try to do both. Once you have your overhead expense established, you

$185,000($250,000- $45,000$20,000=$185,500). $185,000 is our job costs. The formula to arrive at the correct MARKUP for our company is: SALES PRICE ÷ JOB COSTS = MARK-UP $250,000 ÷ $185,000 = 1.3514 or 1.36. Still not convinced? OK, answer this question. If, 90%

to 96% of all contractors will not survive 10 years in this business, and if you believe Dun & Bradstreet when they say that most contractors go broke because of lack of profits? The bottom line is this - you have to make a profit or you will not stay in business.

"If you do not make a profit your business will go away"

need to set a goal for profit. Your goal should be no less than 8%, and preferably 10% or more. The first number we need is the volume of work for the same period of 12 months. Now let's do the markup for a company building new homes. If we assume a total of $250,000 in sales, and we have 18% overhead, that means an expected overhead expense of $45,000. 8% profit is $20,000. Now to get job costs, subtract overhead and profit from total sales and get

Social Security Information

Three Ways To Change Your Security Address

Special to the California Contractor

By Tom Margenau

Social Security Officer

Q

uestion: I need to report a change of address. How do I do that? nswer: You've got several choices. You can go to our website online at: www.socialsecurity.gov. Just click on "Online Services" on our home page and that leads you to the change of address section. Or you can report your move by calling our toll-free number: (800) 772-1213. One final option would be to visit your nearest Social Security office. You can find the Social Tom Margenau Security phone numbers in your directory. © Copley News Service.

A

Markets Sink As Interest Soars

Special to the California Contractor

By Malcolm Berko

Investment Expert

Dear Mr. Berko: Can you please explain in simple language why the stock market tends to fall when interest rates rise? And can y o u Malcolm Berko explain why the price of a municipal bond will fall when interest rates rise? I bought about $121,000 of

stocks last fall, which are worth $148,000 today. The economy seems good and it looks like Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan intends to increase rates. Why would the stock market be so unsettled now if things look so good? Inflation is low and unemployment is just 5.5 percent and the market should be up. I really need your help on what to do. -G.T. Dear G.T.: We must be a nation of pessimists. You say that the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent rather than 94.5 percent of all Americans are employed and you probably say that the glass is half-empty rather than half-full. I prefer the latter because it's a positive

statement. Odd and funny people, we! The economy is gaining strength, worker productivity is impressive, corporate rev-

"Contractors must be aware that the market will often dictate the interest rate"

enues and dividends are reaching record levels and job growth is strong. Yet the stock market seems to be in turmoil. The spoiler behind all this good economic news is Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. The stock market usually

moves in inverse proportion to interest rates. Low rates reduce the cost of capital and increase corporate profits, so the stock market usually rises. Conversely, high interest rates increase the cost of capital, which reduces corporate profits and the stock market usually falls. The cost of a barrel of oil has the same effect on the market. Low oil prices reduce the cost of conducting business (think of the airlines) while high oil prices increase that cost. If, during the past few years, we had low oil prices along with low interest rates, the stock market might have risen much higher much sooner. How many more times will Greenspan raise rates and how

quickly will he raise them? Greenspan tells us that rates will rise gradually, but I trust his word about as much as a lab rat should trust a research biologist. Many of us recall 1994 when Greenspan promised a gradual increase in interest rates. Ha! In 11 months he raised rates from 3 percent to 6 percent, the bond market plunged and the Dow got all wussy. Either way, the bond market and the stock market will always do what it is expected to do but never when they are expected to do it. If Greenspan acts in the future as he has in the past, then I think the Dow may be in for some rough riding. © Copley News Service

Page 20 · September 2004

Contractor Approved Products and Services

FOCUS ON SMALL BUSINESS

Scholarships Aid Entrepreneurs

Special to the California Contractor

ShuBee Red Carpet Treatment

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Jack Faris

Small Business Advocate

A

ccording to the U.S. Small Business Administration, two-thirds of college students intend to be entrepreneurs at some point in t h e i r careers. Jack Faris Those with more education, the government agency says, are more likely to become entrepreneurs, and they are more likely to open a business that creates jobs. However, the information shared in business schools focuses more attention on large firms than small ones, which frustrates and hinders those seeking to learn more about basic entrepreneurship.

o you treat your customers like royalty? Well now you can roll out the red carpet for them. Simply roll out ShuBee Customer Care Wear's new product, The Red Carpet Treatment, and watch the instant smile that appears on your customer's face. The Red Carpet Treatment is designed specifically for carpets. Excellent protection from dirt and damage to your customer's carpets. The super tough, self adhesive polyethylene product is better than a drop cloth and will not slip or shift. It is absolutely perfect for use on carpeted stairs.

When you are finished, simply peel up the ShuBee Red Carpet Treatment and keep your customer's carpets as clean as when you started. There is no better way to get a customer to remember you than excellent customer service and the Red Carpet Treatment can help you achieve that. For more information on this product contact

ShuBee Customer Care Wear 104 Brown Drive Macon, GA 31220 Toll-Free: 1-800-974-8233 www.shubee.com

New 85th Anniversary Issue Alnor® Product Catalog

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PATHWAYS TO PROFITS

More focused smallbusiness education and nurturing of fledgling entrepreneurs are keys to providing the necessary skills that will allow tomorrow's business owners to give flight to their visions of the American dream. That's why the NFIB Education Foundation launched its Free Enterprise Scholars Awards program in 2003. The program sets future small-business owners on the path to entrepreneurship by awarding $1,000 scholarships to high-school seniors who demonstrate a keen interest in learning how to start their own firms and are headed to institutes of higher learning in search of the "how to." - Continued on Page 21

he 2004 Anniversary Issue of the Alnor Product Catalog celebrates 85 years of providing quality, affordable, reliable instruments for HVAC contractors, facility personnel, building engineers, and safety officers. Introduced at the AHR Expo in January 2004, the catalog is almost 30 full color pages of photos and product information. This updated version of the catalog includes information about the new EBT 720 Series of Electronic Balancing Tools (EBT 720 Micromanometer and EBT721 Balometer® Capture Hood). These tools were designed with features specifically for Test and Balance Professionals, including: light weight and ergonomic design to reduce user fatigue; auto-zeroing and back pressure compensation to save time on every

reading; purchase price and service costs that are considerably lower than comparable instruments; manometer that can use AC power or just 4 AA rechargeable or alkaline batteries. The catalog includes sections covering all of the Alnor tools used to measure Air Velocity, Air Volume, Air and Water Pressure, as well as IAQ parameters. The user-friendly format and the new model comparison charts make it easy to locate the most appropriate product for every application. The last page contains information on purchasing and servicing Alnor instruments. A copy can be downloaded from our website at: www.alnor.com or by calling 800-424-7427 or 651-490-2811, or via email [email protected]

Gallagher Construction Services

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allagher Construction Services is dedicated to providing the property/casualty insurance coverages and services that contractors need. Our job is to help contractors evaluate their exposures to financial loss and consider the costs of obtaining coverage to offset that risk. We help general contractors in various ways: · Identify exposures to financial loss · Match insurance coverages to those exposures · Represent the contractor in the insurance market · Review alternative solutions ­ premium costs, coverage forms, and deductibles

· Recommend a course of action · Provide risk management support to reduce or eliminate exposures to financial loss. And we have special property/casualty programs for artisan contractors, such as electricians, painters and plumbers. Programs include package policies, auto coverage and workers compensation with A-rated carriers in select states.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

15 Enterprise, Ste. 200 Aliso Viejo, CA 92656 Phone: 949-349-9800 Fax: 949-349-9900

Management Advice on the Pathway to Profits

Public or Private?

September 2004 · Page 21

A Revolution is Underway

Picking the Right Trade State Task Force May Revive Tax School Can Be Tricky

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here's always lots of pressure on California contractors who continually face the need to recruit and train professional s t a f f m e m Bill Brown bers.The decision maker has a wide variety of choices and a lot of decisions to consider including: 1. Public trade schools and colleges. 2. Private trade schools 3. Internet trade schools 4. By Correspondence 5. Individual consultants working on site. Education is Power "Education is Power" and, one way or another, training is not only critical to the success of the business but it can also be expensive. Time-wise: Public trade schools, like most colleges, spread the training time over a number of semesters while courses available on-line or at private trade schools may cover the same material and offer the same certifications in an average of 30 to 35 weeks. Cost-wise: Public trade schools are relatively inexpensive while complete courses at private trade schools may cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Some individual private courses are, of course, much cheaper. Take Your Choice One of the two or three important private trade schools in California is the Bronson Technical School directed by Bill Brown. Located at 1110 Technology Circle, Suite D, Anaheim, California, the Bronson Technical School is owned by Donald P. Brown, the administrator, and his brother Bill. The Bronson advisory board is composed of Scott Strong, tech support supervisor of the Southern California Air Condition District; Bob Wenzloff, a supervisor at Fullerton College; Larry Navito of Lawrence Electric; Mike Brown, manager of Los Angeles Geothechnical Engineering, Tom Jones, senior designer, Tyler refrigeration, and Bill Brown.

·Plumbing School Learn conveniently at home. Free info: www.learning higher.com ·Train to be a Plumber Women inConstruction www.contractorcity.com ·Train to be a Plumber 100% Online. Finish in a year. Go to Thomson. www.EducationEngine.com/ thomson.htm

Write-Offs on Equipment

Special to the California Contractor

Trade Schools Now Teaching Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electrical, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, & Ventilation

·Cal Trade Schools Request free info: www.directdegree.com ·Plumbing and Training Over 125 Online Career TrainingCourses, Diplomas, & Certificates. www.online-degreesearch.com ·California Trade Schools Earn a Degree at a School Near You!Request RiskFree Information go to: degreefind.org ·Directory of Schools - CA Find Courses, Degrees, and Training in California www.Education-DirectoryOnline.org ·Trade School Directory Find Courses, Degrees, and Training Campus Online: www.degreedirectory.org

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·Electrical School Online Correspondence Thomson Education: www.educa tiondirect-online.com ·Electrical School Online Correspondence Electrician Program. At Thomson Education. www.educationdirect-online.com ·California Trade Schools Search Our Directory for Technical.Schools and programs in Your Area. www.ComputerTraining Schools.com ·California Trade Schools Information Today! www.direct degree.com ·Plumbing Training Over 125 Online Career Training: Courses, Diplomas, & Certificates. www.onlinedegree-search.com

Manufacturers and cont may not have "a snowball's chance in hell of tractors will be especially passing" but Governor interested in learning about Arnold Schwarzenegger's the new Performance Review's elaboplan to "blow rate plans to up" the state's reinstate the beuracracy is Investment now ready for Credit (MIC) public hearings which planners which are underclaim would way. create 140,000 Despite the new jobs in the fact that 250 next decade. public employMIC expired ees and consultants had a man- Eye on Sacramento last year and and has not been date to slash government expenses and renewed due to the state to severely streamline gov- deficit. If a new Manufacturer's ernment, the Manfacturers' Association lobby has suc- credit is approved, a ceeded in attaching a pro- $350,000 equipment purposal which, if adopted, chase would save the buyer would rebate an estimated $29,000 in state sales taxes $400 Million in tax cuts to and another $213,000 in stimulate sales of heavy federal taxes under accelerated depreciation rules. equipment. Many of the cost-cutting The state's task force's 2500-page `"Performance proposals include use of the Review' contains 1200 internet which would be a proposals to slash the cost windfall for high tech servof operating the "bloated" ice providers. Microsoft state government while also and Hewlett Packard were rebating 6% of the 8.25% among the high tech firms sales taxes on major equip- which influenced the review. ment purchases.

Scholarships Aid

-Continued from page 20 In just two years, the Education Foundation has more than doubled the number of scholarships given. This spring, the Foundation gave a head start to 221 students across the country - the next generation of small-business owners and entrepreneurs. With support from NFIB members, small-business owners and others interested in strengthening our country's commitment to teaching the values of free enterprise and

·California Trade Schools Free Information and Training for Hundreds of Careers: www.OnlineDegrees.com ·Become a Plumber: At www.olciplumbing.info ·Start a new career in Plumbing trade. Go to www.collegesurfing.com

·Request catalogs for 100s of all programs from one site! www.directdegree.com ·Plumbing Training Course Train for plumbing careers at home; distance learning from www.pcdi.com ·Find Universities Fast: BPD the air conditioing, heating, plumbing and electrical: email requests: [email protected] torff-hvac

entrepreneurship, the Education Foundation is feeding and nurturing Brood E and those who follow, playing a key role in the economic life cycle of our nation. (Jack Faris is president of NFIB (the National Federation of Independent Business), the nation's largest smallbusiness advocacy group. A non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1943, NFIB represents the consensus views of its 600,000 members in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals. More information is available on-line.)

Page 22 · September 2004

Contractor Approved Products and Services

imagined Who would haveThe latest that refrigerant would become the next deadly recreational drug? news articles reported that a number of teenage and young adult injuries and deaths have been directly caused by inhaling or "huffing" refrigerant. Unprotected refrigerants are easily accessible with a simple pair of pliers or fingers, and unauthorized individuals can sniff the refrigerant directly from the valve or store it in a plastic bag for later use. To combat this problem, simple and inexpensive Novent tamper-resistant refrigerant caps were developed by industry professionals after witnessing countless cases of theft or tampering for the purposes of inhaling refrigerants. Novent caps are easily installed and removed with a special tool, making it difficult for unauthorized individuals to access the refrigerant. Novent caps strongly support EPA Management Programs. Novent caps also protect refrigerant cylinders and recovery tanks. They are corrosionresistant and anodized to match refrigerant color codes and stamped with chemical codes to prevent mixing of different refrigerants. Novent caps offers quality construction and an O-ring seal which provides a positive back-up for leaking service valves. Find Novent caps at any US Airconditioning Distributors locations. To find the store nearest you, call 800/937-7222 or log onto www.us-ac.com Association (RPA). Successful features continuing at this year's show are the PHCC International Plumbing Apprentice Contest and the New Product Showcase, Technology Pavilion, SmartHouse and onsite product demonstrations. For more show information please contact Jennifer Jones, Show Manager, Messe-Frankfurt, Inc. toll free at 866-984-8016, E-mail [email protected] or visit online www.ish-na.com camera with scratch resistant sapphire lens complete the system. Standard Gel-Rod cable length supplied is 200 feet. Optional: 80GB Hard-Drive, Self Leveling Camera, 512 Hz Receiver. Other portable inspection camera systems available. Ratech Electronics Ltd. 260 Spinnaker Way, #7 Concord, Ontario L4K 4P9 Phone: 1-800-461-9200 905-660-7072 Fax: 905-660-1519 E-mail: [email protected] Web-Site: www.ratech-electronics.com erful presence in the professional areas of food service, lodging, supermarkets, convenience stores, health care, specialty markets and residential building. For more information please contact

YOUR TAX DOLLARS

Tax Cutting Game May Have No End

Special to the California Contractor

Novent Caps Help Prevent Theft and Injury

By Molly Ivins

Award Winning Author

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book that is both dense and important is David Cay Johnston's "Perfectly Legal." The obligatory, explanatory subtitle is "The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich­and C h e a t Everybody Else." This is like having a big itch Molly Ivins scratched, just when one keeps saying, "Aha, so that's how they do it." And it is fascinating. And horrifying. The ease with which corporations evade taxes is well known, but finding out just how much money their cute little tricks are worth will curl your hair. I suppose if one were as rich as Bill Gates, one would be tempted to save a billion or two in taxes, but it seems kind of pointless when one is sitting on that many billions.

ISH North America Expo

I

SH North America, the consolidated trade show and seminar program for the Kitchen and Bath, Plumbing, PVF, Heating and Air conditioning industries will take place October 14-16, 2004, at the brandnew Boston Convention Center in Boston, Mass. Messe-Frankfurt produces the biennial expo and seminar program in cooperation with the American Supply Association (ASA), the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH), the PlumbingHeating-Cooling Contractors-National Association (PHCC) and the Radiant Panel atech Electronics is proud to introduce our newest portable inspection system for pipes and drains: THE PLUMBER'S ELITE DVD-R. This light-weight system incorporates DVD recording capabilities with your Ratech camera. Record and play up to 6 hours of inspections on a single DVD. The Camera Control Unit is housed in a sturdy compact briefcase and includes a state-of-the-art 15" flatscreen LCD monitor. Also included is an on-screen display overlay system providing electronic counter, time, date and eight pages of memory for listing problems and displaying of company information. High intensity LED lights, condenser microphone, AC/DC switchable, variable light intensity control and a color

Pipe Inspection Direct to DVD

R

PATHWAYS TO PROFITS

Seriously, the super rich have been allowed to accumulate so much money that one finally has to ask what they think the point is. Those far more detestable are the congressmen who sneak special tax advantages and exemptions into the law in exchange for campaign contributions and then lecture the rest of us on patriotism. Government really is about who benefits and who pays. Who gets screwed and who's doing the screwing. That so much of what passes for debate about our tax system is gross misinformation is not, unfortunately, the result of accident or ignorance. There are a lot of people blowing smoke in your ear who know much better. They get paid to lie. Too bad we're watching a political campaign in which reality is considered irrelevant. Happy warm and [email protected] Creators Syndicate

Scotsman Ice Machines

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cotsman, a leader in Ice Machine innovation has a full line of Ice Machines and Ice Machine products that will revolutionize the way you think about ice, ice machines, maintenance, and service. With such well-respected brands as CM3, IceValet, Aqua Defense System, AutoSentry, TouchFree and Nugget Ice, Scotsman serves a wide range of industries. Scotsman has a poweder's Distributors is a company specializing in air conditioning and appliance sales to builders, contractors, management companies, and apartment and condominium owners. Founded in1966 by its President, it still remains at the same location in North Hollywood. Maintaining its original focus through all these years, Feder's Distributors specializes in supplying builders, contractors and owners with a large variety of room air conditioners, ductless mini-split air conditioners, and major home appliances. The company provides delivery and installation throughout a large area of Southern California. Customers can

Scotsman of Los Angeles

Toll Free 800-453-4049 or visit us on the web at: www.scotsman-ice.com alos will-call items at its North Hollywood showroom/warehouse or have items shipped anywhere within the United States. Because the company sells direct to builders, contractors and owners, and not to the public, this gives us the opportunity to purchase larger quantities of products from our manufacturers so we can pass our saving along to our customers. Please browse our web site, www.CoolYourRoom.com visit us at 5720 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, or call 818-769-8000

Feder's Distributors

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Management Advice on the Pathway to Profits

Predict 12,300 Dow by late 2004

September 2004 · Page 23

Conventions and Election Won't Panic the Market

Special to the California Contractor

F

21 percent from the Dow's By Archie Richards level at this writing of 10.129. A recent Wall Street Investment Expert Journal article said that "a suror six months, the stock prising number of top-ranked market has gone nowhere money managers are accumuor down. Allow me to brighten lating piles of cash in their your day. portfolios. For example, During the Robert Rodriguez, manager of 104 years the FPA Capital Fund, is quotfrom the ed as saying, "The investment beginning landscape with stocks and of 1900 bonds is now a vast wasteuntil now, land." Rodriguez has moved the United 37 percent of his fund into States has cash, a 20-year high. You might think that Archie Richards e n j o y e d 26 presi- money managers have good dential elections. From reason to follow the investJanuary to May of each of ment herd. Money managers have a those years, the Dow Jones Industrials lost an average of strong personal interest in following the 0.75 percent. But from June You will be sorry herd. The herd is to December, if you are too usually wrong the Dow gained pessimistic about market 11 percent. and sell predictions. We're now The more pesin the last half of a presidential election year. simistic people are, the more Moreover, during three of likely the market will rise. the presidential terms (the Investors and money manones ending with election agers do not turn optimistic years of 1924, 1964 and and then buy stocks. Instead, 1984), income tax rates were sentiment parallels stock cut significantly. In the last prices. People are most peshalf of those election years, simistic when stock prices are the Dow advanced consider- at their lows. The prices can always go ably more than 11 percent. During the current presi- lower, and people can become dential term, income tax rates even more bearish. Investors were cut significantly. I hold today are not as bearish as to my prediction that the Dow they were after the Sept. 11 will reach 12,300 by the end attack or again in March 2003. of 2004. Not counting divi- But, as mentioned, we're in the dends, this would be a gain of last half of a presidential elec-

For Contractors Only

Coming: Theft-Proof Credit Cards Plus Fingerprint Security

Special to the California Contractor

By Marsha Graham

Associate Publisher

C

tion after a significant cut in tax rates. The next major market move, in my humble opinion, is up. Economic indicators also point higher. For over 70 years, the American Institute for Economic Research has done a highly creditable job tracking U.S. business. The Institute tracks 12 economic indicators that generally move in advance of the economic cycles. Every one of them is bullish. Only one-third of the current bull market isn't over yet not by long shot. If you get caught up in the current pessimism and sell, you'll be sorry. ©2004 Creators Syndicate

Get Your Message Across

to engineers, wholesalers, builders, and distributors, when you ADVERTISE in...

To Advertise, Call Toll-Free

1-866-393-0601

ontractors will welcome IBM's new theft proof credit cards with a built-in numerical keypad. The card accepts the o w n e r 's password for a single purchase. IBM will Marsha Graham license the technology to your credit card company within six months. Thumb Print Security Gateway is out with a secure laptop PC with a builtin biometric fingerprint sensor. Only the contractor's authorized employee will be able to use the PC. Hearing Loss Danger 10 Million Americans, including many contractors, are in danger of suffering permanent noise-induced hearing loss, according to the National Institute of Occupational

Safety. Greatest increases of noise induced hearing loss are among men between 45 and 64. Negative Housing Bubble? Continuing rumors of a hike in interest rates may burst the delicate bubble which has seen housing prices spike to unrealistic levels. Residential contractors may benefit from increased remodeling work on existing homes.. Social Security Doomed? Certainly not, according to the just released Social Security Trustees report which says full benefits can be paid for most of the next 40 years. Real benefits rise every year for new retirees and benefits in 2042 will be higher than they are today... if politicians keep their hands off the Social Security funds. Retirees, living ever longer, are a threat to the fund. Fall Sales Tax Hike? A b i d t o r a i s e $ 5 6 0 million to add 5,000 more cops in LA County will be on the ballot in November.

Page 24 · September 2004

Contractor Approved Products and Services

FINGERPRINTING BUYERS

Lawmakers Kill State Panic Law

Special to the California Contractor

Sierra Truck Center

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By Cliff Ennico

Small Business Expert

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ithout a doubt, one of the biggest headaches of running any small business is dealing with the crazy quilt, Byzantine sales tax laws of the 50 states. As regular readers of this column k n o w, m a n y states are getting extremely creative Cliff Ennico with their sales and use taxes, in an effort to squeeze more revenue out of their taxpayers without having to raise people's income taxes (a politician's worst nightmare). A recent California development shows just how desperate some states are getting. Earlier this year, a bill (SB 1893) was introduced in the California legislature that would have required you to take fingerprints from everyone that you buy or take consignments from for items exceeding $250 in value.

t Sierra we have a special program set up by the Chevrolet Motor Division called our Commercial Specialty Vehicles Department. It is designed to meet many of the specific needs of the commercial fleet industry. We have many configurations of light and medium duty trucks available for sale. Models include flat beds & stake side trucks, cargo vans, cab & chassis, and many pickups with utility toolboxes, complete with lumber or pipe racks. We also have special service programs for the business truck owners with an

emphasis on rapid service turnaround. We know how important your work truck is to you. Our factory trained and certified truck technicians make the service experience quick and easy. Sean Kerr heads up our team of commercial sales specialists. Call Sean for an appointment or for more information at: 626-932-5655 or visit us at 1450 S. Shamrock Ave, Monrovia.

DACO Shells & Truck Accessories

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s the need for trucks and commercial vans grows, so has the selection of truck accessories and van equipment. DACO has been offering the right equipment and installing it at the best price since 1970. We have a well-earned reputation for quality products at extremely competitive prices. Our customers are customers for life; they keep coming back for our great prices and excellent service. We carry only the best brand names in the industry, including Weather Guard, Innovation, SnugTop, SnugLid,

A.R.E., Westin, Knaack, Penda, Duraliner, BedSlide, Bedrug, Rack-it, Stull, EGR, Wade and many more. Call or stop by. We have two locations to serve you: 8454 Sepulveda Blvd North Hills 818-892-4327 and 25897 San Fernando Rd Santa Clarita 661-259-2511

Your product or service may be endorsed in the

PATHWAYS TO PROFITS

The bill would have also required you to report all purchases of $250 or more to police within 24 hours, and hold the merchandise for 30 days prior to selling it. The idea was to help law enforcement authorities prevent the sale of stolen goods, as well as make the collection of sales and use taxes easier. While the bill was targeted primarily at "pawnbrokers, secondhand dealers, coin dealers and business machine dealers," a lot of other folks (such as eBay sellers and consignment shops) would have been swept into the bill's requirements as well. No matter. California's antiques dealers and auctioneers raised Holy Hannah in the state assembly, and the bill was defeated.

(Cliff Ennico hosts the PBS television series 'Money Hunt'. © 2004 CLIFF. ENNICO).

CONTRACTOR APPROVED

products and services section.

To learn how you can participate with an advertorial preview of your product, accompanied by a color photo...

Call toll-free:

1-866-393-0601

Management Advice on the Pathway to Profits

Social Security Information for Contractors

September 2004 · Page 25

Internet Provides The Latest S.S. Information

Special to the California Contractor

CALIFORNIA CONTRACTOR CORDIALLY INVITES YOU TO ATTEND...

By Tom Margenau

Social Security Officer

Q

uestion: I have just started a new contracting business. I need information about verifying Social Security numbers and my other responsibilities. Where's the best place to get information that will help me as a new employer? nswer: The "Employers" section of our Website is just the ticket for you. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov and at the home page, click on "Information for Employers." This will lead to you a variety of useTom Margenau ful tools and services that should answer any questions you have about your role as an employer and dealing with Social Security issues. Just one of the services offered is a Social Security number verification system that you should find very useful. Tom Margenau is the California director of Social Security's Public Affairs Bureau. © Copley News Service.

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Los Angeles' City Hall lurks in the background not far from Staples Center where a sales and motivational Seminar featuring former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Iraq detainee Jessica Lynch, Comedian Jerry Lewis, Ed McMahon, and others will be on stage October 26th. For information call: 1-800-217-1317

Martha Stewart Recalls Mandela

Special to the California Contractor

ATTENTION!

Manufacturers, Wholesalers, Retailers, Distributors, Contractors, and all Businesses involved in Sales.

By Molly Ivins

Award-Winning Author

W

e cannot let pass without salute Martha Stewart's remarks after being sentenced to five months in prison. In the long history of amazing things said by people in peculiar circumstances, you must admit, this ranks right up there. "There are many, many good people who have gone to prison," she observed. "Look at Nelson Mandela." We live in a great nation.

@Creators Syndicate

Marsha Can Help You!!

M

Molly Ivins

ADVERTISE IN

Your ad will appear in the only publication mailed to every Plumbing, Kitchen & Bath, Heating, Cooling, Electrical, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Contractor in the State of California.

arsha Graham, spokesperson for United Contractors of America, and the Associate Publisher of the California Contractor newspaper, served as spokesperson on and off camera for hundreds of national clients; most recently as the voice for all 7 divisions of Safeway Corporation markets nationwide. She is also heard daily by over 40 million people worldwide as the voice of the Octel Messaging System.

If you're looking for a "corporate voice", Marsha Graham corporate branding imaging; whether it be through written materials, corporate video, or keynote addresses, let Marsha guide you through the process. She specializes in media coaching/consulting, script and copy writing.

To Advertise, Call Toll-Free

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Marsha will welcome your call and a chance to work with your firm.

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Page 26 · September 2004

Travel Opportunities Off The Beaten Path

2004 Guide to the Season's

By Ed Boitano

Travel Editor

The mountains surrounding Scuol offer endless hiking and sightseeing opportunities. Photo by Deb Roskamp

Still a Secret for American Tourists

Exploring Switzerland's Graubunden Region

By Ed Boitano

California Contractor Travel Editor

ADVENTURE CENTER offers walking and hiking vacations, cultural tours, African wildlife safaris, Antarctic expedition cruises, Himalayan treks, and much more with a range of over 700 adventure vacations worldwide. Trips range from five-days to 32 weeks, with professional leaders and small international groups. At Adventure Center we've brought together the best adventure travel experiences the world has to offer at very affordable prices. (800) 227-8747, or www.AdventureCenter.com ADVENTURESMITH EXPLORATIONS invites you to experience the best in adventure travel to locations not found on conventional vacation itineraries. Immerse yourself in natural environments and exotic cultures on a small group vacation that combines exciting activities with expert naturalist guides. Activities such as walking, hiking, small ship cruising, rafting, kayaking and snorkeling are employed as a means to encounter and appreciate the true nature of pristine locations. (800) 728-2875, or www.AdventureSmithExplo rations.com

BAJA RESORTS The East Cape region of Baja California Sur, Mexico, is known worldwide as one of the premier vacation and biggame fishing spots in the world. It consistently produces huge numbers of blue, black, and striped marlin, sailfish, dorado, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, roosterfish and more. If phenomenal fishing, spectacular diving, kayaking, windsurfing or just relaxing "Fun in the Sun" is for you, then you deserve the best ­ the resorts of Playa del Sol, Palmas de Cortez or Punta Colorada. (800) 368-4334, or www.BajaResorts.com JOHN EUSTICE & ASSO. specializes in regional fishing packages to some of the world's most spectacular fishing destinations. We constantly screen locations, lodges and guides by personal visitations and other methods. We also offer the most extensive choice of fishing packages to Chile and Argentina. We have specialized in the areas for over a decade, and pioneered many of the programs featured in magazines. To arrange an exceptional fly fishing trip, contact: (800) 288-0886, or www.JohnEustice.com soldiers, who stayed and married after the collapse of their Empire. Their language­along with French, Italian and Swiss German ­ is one of Switzerland's four national languages and considered to be the closest living language to Latin. While only one percent of the population speaks Romansch, those who do speak it with pride and honor. Another characteristic of Romansch pride is the use of graffito ­ not completely unlike our graffiti­a decorative design that is affixed into a building's facade throughout Romansch villages. Virtually every Romansch house has its family crest on the exterior. KLOSTERS proves to be another worthy destination. Nestled in an Alpine valley, it has been getting press as the ski resort of choice for England's Prince Charles. It's an easy-going change of pace

HORIZON CHARTERS Guadalupe Island could be the next Australia to the world of great white shark admirers­but only better! Horizon Charters departs from San Diego, which means if you live in California you are going to save big money to a world-class great white shark destination! Step onboard a Horizon Charters live-aboard and you're off! Our white shark adventures are 5 to 8 days in length, and include lodging, 3 meals a day and aquatic transportation. (858) 277-7823, or www.Horizon/charters.com HOTEL BUENA VISTA offers luxurious accommodations, traditional Mexican hospitality and spectacular beauty on East Cape Los Cabos. Whether you're a tourist seeking rest and relaxation, an angler in search of the world's best sport fishing, or a meeting or incentive planner looking for the perfect mix of business and pleasure, you'll find it all at Hotel Buenavista. All of our guests become part of our family, and we work very hard to ensure that your stay is unforgettable. (800) 752-3555, or www.HotelBuenaVista.com after St. Moritz, and certainly more affordable. The hiking is superb as is the golf, where courses are designed around nature, rather than the American way of doing the opposite. The new Hotel Vereina features luxurious accommodations, along with scrumptious regional cuisine. Their world-class spa offers the perfect way to unwind after a day of hiking or exploring. And then there is SCUOL. If ever there was a place to kick your feet up and enjoy the water, this is it. The quiet village resort specializes in spa experiences that are as historic as the Roman Empire. The 2+ hour-long Roman-Irish bath, a blending of two ancient cultures, is a not to be missed, once in a lifetime experience. Even the `champagne' mineral water in Scuol is famous, with -Continued on page 28

Q

uite simply, Switzerland is one of the world's most spectacular tourist destinations. Within an area roughly the size of the state of Maryland, there is such an abundance of awestriking beauty, recreationEd Boitano al activities and cultural attractions that the nation has become a Mecca for visitors of every age and nationality. Switzerland is made up of three dissimilar geographical regions: the Jura, the Mittelland and the Alps, perhaps best known to Americans for its Interlaken area and its mighty Matterhorn. One area within the Alps not much explored by American tourists, but popular with Europeans for decades, is the Graubunden region in the southeastern portion of the nation. Covering approximately one-fifth of the country's area, this remote and sparsely populated region offers some of the wildest and most breath-taking landscapes in the Alps. The varied Alpine world of the Graubunden is brought within reach by a dense network of railways that offers journeys so scenic that many visitors can't resist hanging their heads out train windows to bask in a world of lush valleys, sweeping mountain peaks, and glacier-fed rivers and lakes. ST. MORITZ, "the rooftop of Europe," has the appearance

of a quaint village, despite its palatial hotels and expensive shops. Once simply a sports resort ­ it was the site of the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics ­ today over half of the tourists who visit St. Moritz during winter season don't even ski. It is the playground for Europe's rich and famous, a place to shop and to be seen. St. Moritz rests on a hill overlooking its namesake lake, used for recreational activities ranging from the usual swimming and boating in the summer to ice-skating and polo during the winter ­ yes, with real horses, on the ice! The area around St. Moritz is legendary for its many funiculars and gondolas, making the surrounding mountains ideal for endless hiking ­ the Swiss national pastime. Everyone from young children to seniors can be seen on the well-designed trails. Swiss cows replete with cowbells, undisturbed Alpine villages, vistas more spectacular than any postcard can depict are guaranteed rewards on every hike. Stopping for lunch, or just a coffee or Rivella, the most popular Swiss soft drink, is always part of the experience. Amazingly, even the little `tourist restaurants' have great food and service. The magnificent views from St. Moritz encompass the mountains from Piz Languard to Piz Julier, famous for Julier Pass, where Julius Caesar's Roman legions crossed the Alps to crush the Gauls. Study your map and you'll see a few

Funiculars and gondolas are famous in St. Moritz.

Photo by Deb Roskamp

Roman roads still used today as footpaths. Regional isolation is reflected in the Graubunden's ethnic mixture and its series of Romansch villages. The Romansch are a composite of mountain people and Roman

Travel Opportunities Off The Beaten Path

September 2004 · Page 27

Best Adventure Fishing, Hunting, Hikes and Tours

ILIMA HOTEL is truly a haven in the heart of Hawaii's legendary Waikiki resort. It's a place to relax and refresh your spirits. Once settled into your spacious, completely renovated condominium-sized rooms, with free HBO and Disney, balcony and fully equipped kitchen, you will want to explore your vacation home. We now feature Cal King beds and free high-speed Internet access in deluxe units. Experience the rooftop sun decks, heated pool, sauna we know the right locations to provide you with a worldclass Mexico fishing vacation. Destinations include Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, East Cape, La Paz, Loreto, Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Escondido and Ixtapa. We combine luxurious hotels and the excitement of big-game fishing, making it a complete Mexico fishing vacation package. (888) 875-4700, or www.NeptuneTours.com PLANNING A SUCCESSFUL FISHING TRIP Fishing trip timing is everything. You must be there when the fish are there! Of prime importance is to have the best boats and crews available... ets. Our foremost concern is that you have fishing trips that live up to your expectations. We partner with high-quality destinations that meet the highest levels of quality and service. We know these destinations intimately. From Mexico to Canada, Costa Rica to Alaska, we have the destinations to do fishing right! (800) 356-6982, or www.RodReelAdventures.com TARA TOURS has been offering personalized quality and sensitive tours to Central and South America since 1980 at very affordable rates. Enjoy wonderful trips to Galapagos, the Amazon, Inka Trail, Patagonia, Machu Picchu, Tikal, the Andes, Chile and more. All Tara Tours staff has been there and we can give you first-hand information. Come and join us discover the wonders of Latin America. (800) 327-0080 or, www. Galapagos-AmazonCruises.com

The Galapagos Islands are among the many destinations offered by Tara Tours.

and exercise room. Exciting Waikiki is at your doorstep. (800) 367-5172, or www.ilima.com MAZATLAN HUNTING AND FISHING Mazatlan is a sportsmen's paradise offering outstanding offshore big game fishing, fabulous duck and dove hunting, golf, and world-class black bass fishing. Sportsmen can do any combo they like, all from their glamorous beachfront hotel. Off shore charters run from $400 per day. Bass fishing including transportation of all meals, guides, boats and open bar for $270 per day. Duck hunts are $280 and dove hunts at $150, including guns. Catalog and brochures available. Contact: Fishing International at (800) 950-4242. NEPTUNE ADVENTURES Mexico fishing vacations is our specialty. We have extensive knowledge and experience in fishing vacations, and

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Page 28 · September 2004

Travel Opportunities Off The Beaten Track

Greenspan TipsScale

-Continued from page 18 Trust me, I know the Fed worries about inflation. But realistically, how does raising short-term interest rates affect the price of gasoline? Not much. Gas, and demand for it, have nothing to do with Al and his pals, and everything to do with supply and demand... these days, limited supply and a lot of demand.The Fed has every reason to worry about certain commodities going through the roof. But hiking interest rates won't send the prices of tin or zinc or gold or cot-ton southward. They'll do their own thing regardless of what the Fed's doing with its rate thing. No, my bigger worry is that this economy, which has come so far, so fast, risks giving up those gains if the Fed gets too aggressive on interest rates. We know that auto sales are picking up, but we know as well how vulnerable they are to a sudden shift in borrowing costs. We know housing has held strong, but we know too the risks to that strength if both short and longterm rates get out of control. I guess what I'm calling for is a measured response, and not forgetting that the patient is recovering but not entirely out of the woods. Manufacturing still has its problems in parts of this country. So, too, the service sector. Both are picking up, but not across the board, and certainly not enough to withstand a huge dose of rate increases. I'm the type of guy who likes to see the patient up and walking around before I kick her out the door of the hospital. I know that in these days of cost-contain-ment and stubbornly cheap insurance companies, that's not the rule, but in the big-ger economy in which we all live, it better not be the exception.

©2004 NEAL CAVUTO

A Toast to Ronald Reagan

A Nostalgic French Visit Turns an Old Stars and Stripes Reporter to Jelly

Special to the California Contractor

Raising Cash

-Continued from page 11 The proceeds of the stock purchase may then be used by the corporation to acquire property or equipment, repay indebtedness or pay the upfront fees to acquire a franchise. To my knowledge, however, the ERSOP has not been tested in the courts or before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), so proceed with caution. Of course, even if an ERSOP is properly structured from a tax perspective, if your franchised business ultimately fails, the profit sharing plan will be left holding worthless stock, which may have a catastrophic impact on your financial future. Make sure you fully understand the risks inherent in depleting your retirement funds and "betting the ranch" on this franchise, because that's exactly what you are doing.

© 2004 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO

By Andy Rooney

CBS 60 Minutes Commentator

F

rance is one of the best names to drop when you want to impress people with where you've been. I have just been to France. The reason for my trip was the 60th Anniversary celebration of the D-Day landings in Normandy. My special interest in the event stemmed from my own arrival on the beach June 10, 1944. I entered Paris for the first time in the early morning of Aug. 25, 1944, as U.S. and French armored and infantry divisions took back the city from the Germans who had occupied it for four years. It was one of the great moments of my life and going to Paris Andy Rooney is still exciting for me. I know just enough French to make a fool of myself. I was surprised and pleased by the French attitude toward American veterans. Walking down the street in Bayeux, less spryly than I used to, and obviously old enough to have been there 60 years ago, two young Frenchmen came up to me, held out their hands and said, "Thank you." I was moved and I don't move easily. Tom Brokaw, the NBC News anchor, was staying in Bayeux and graciously invited this lower level CBS employee to a small dinner at the famous Lion D'Or restaurant. At the table were two Medal of Honor winners, Tom's attractive wife, Meredith, Jimmy Buffett the singer, Tom Hanks, the actor, and "Happy to be a Steven Spielberg, the producer. This is not a circle I Part of This travel in and I was greatly Historic Event" impressed with myself for being there. I was further impressed by how easy Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg were to talk to. Jimmy Buffett's wife was on my right, but I talked more to Tom Hanks because I was afraid of revealing that I was not very familiar with Jimmy's work. We ate late and at about 10:30 there was a flurry of activity as two NBC producers came in and whispered to Brokaw. Tom immediately stood, raised his wineglass and said, "President Reagan has died. To the President!" We drank a toast and Tom left to go on the air. The next day was the actual anniversary of D-Day and there were ceremonies and speeches everywhere, including one by President Bush. I did not attend. Instead, I went away from the crowds and visited places in my memory from the days when I had been a reporter for The Stars and Stripes. There could have been no speech so eloquent as to match the emotion I felt driving alone into the town of St Lo. I had done the same thing under fire with elements of the First Infantry Division 60 years before. During my six days in France, I ate in a dozen small restaurants. Each time, as I savored the food, I thought that, just by luck, I had found the best restaurant in town. That's the thing about little French restaurants in little French towns. They are all the best restaurant in town. At one point, I could hear the far-away strains of "The Star Spangled Banner" floating my way. I hear it played at the beginning of New York Giants football games and am immune to any sensation but listening to it in a foreign country, I always tingle. When "The Star Spangled Banner" ended, another band in the distance struck up "La Marseillaise." I listened intently and had an un-American thought. Not only is French food better than ours, but so is their national anthem. But that's as far as I want to go being nice to the French. ©Tribune Media Services.

BLUE RIBBON ADVISORY BOARD

Switzerland

-Continued from page 26 locals lining up at the many fountains that grace the village, filling their jugs for the day. There is an array of pensiones and hotels in Scuol to choose from, but the charming family-owned Hotel Engiadina, situated in the heart of the village, is perfectly situated for the local hiking, spas and other attractions. A visit to Switzerland also means eating, and the Swiss cherish their national cuisine as much as hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. Regional delights include bundnerfleisch, an air-dried beef similar to Parma's prosciutto and nusstorte, a flaky crusted hazelnut pastry. Local cheeses and breads rival the world,s finest. Milk chocolate, a Swiss invention, seems to work its way into virtually every meal. It can even be found in one's breakfast cereal. There is so much more to see and do in the Swiss Graubunden, but I know my next journey will include more spas and more hikes. Perhaps I'll even do the Heidi Trail - yes, there really is one! For further information about travel to Switzerland, contact (877) 794-8037, or www.myswitzerland.com

Recommended Consultants

Most successful contractors need information and advice from experienced consultants who specialize in their trade. As a service, California Contractor is assembling the best available consultants in the fields of plumbing and heating, air conditioning and refrigeration, electrical, kitchen, general contractors, and others. MICHAEL STONE: CONTRACTOR CONSULTANT

Michael Stone has more than three decades of experience in the building and remodeling industry. He wrote the book "Markup and Profit: A Contractor's Guide" published by Craftsman Book Co. Michael offers coaching and consulting services for construction companies throughout the U.S. as well as audio and CD programs for business management. Stone is also available at toll free 1-888-9454-0044 or on the internet at www.markupandprorfit.com. He is also available for speaking engagements.

MARSHA GRAHAM: TOP COACH & CONSULTANT

Marsha Graham has served as spokesperson on and off camera for seven divisions of Safeway nationwide and is also heard daily by 40 Million people as the voce of Octel Managing System. If you are looking for a corporate "voice corporate branding image, whether though written materials, corporate video or a keystone address, Marsh specializes in media coaching/consulting, script and copy writing. Call: 310-476-2216

PAUL & SARAH EDWARDS: CONSULT & WRITE

Paul Edwards is a professional author, broadcaster, and strategy consultant. With his wife Sarah he is the co-author of "Working From Home," the first commercially published book on how to live the life you want to live while doing the work you want. He is a columnist for Entrepreneur, Costco Connection, a radio co-host. Their website can be found at: www.workingfromhome.com

RON SOKOL: LAWYER, MEDIATOR & ARBITRATOR

Ron Sokol has been a practicing lawyer for 26 years with offices in Manhattan Beach, California. He has also served frequently as an arbitrator and a mediator, often bringing together divergent interests to resolve thorny problems. Ron frequently acts as a legal consultant and he welcomes inquiries at [email protected] or by FAX at 310 546-2125.

BILL BROWN: TRADE SCHOOL CONSULTANT

Bill Brown, the administrator and co-owner of the Brownson Technical School in Anaheim, CA is frequently asked by contractors to recommend the right courses and the correct training for plumbing,, heating, cooling, air conditioning, refrigeration ventilating and electrical professionals. You can reach Bill Brown at 714-774-9443

Another Clear Pathway to Increasing Profits

September 2004 · Page 29

Did You Misplace Your Copy of California Contactor?

Not a problem! Every page of every edition of California Contractor is posted every month on the California Contractor website.

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California Contractor is the first industry trade publication to seriously address profitability and success in the contracting business. Pathways to Profits, our signature theme, defines and informs our mission ­ to bring the best and most current business advice and information to contractors working hard to grow their companies.With comprehensive educational listings, innovative product presentations, and incisive columns from the nation's leading experts in business and finance, California Contractor will become the profit consultant California contractors rely on the most every single month of the year.

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Page 14 · September 2004

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING

Equipment for Sale

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Advertisers in this Month's Edition

AA Feder Distributors . . . . . . . . Page 11, 22 Adventure Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 AdventureSmith Explorations. . . . . . . . . . 27 Alnor Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7, 20 American Plumbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Arthur J Gallagher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5, 20 Baja Fishing Resorts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Bydex. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 DACO Camper Shells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13, 24 Fishing International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Goodman Mfg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18, 32 Horizon Charters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Hotel Buena Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Ilima Hotel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 ISH North America. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3, 22 John Eustis & Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Marsha Graham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Müpro North America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Neptune Adventures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Ratech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9, 22 Rod & Reel Adventures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Scotsman of Los Angeles . . . . . . . . . . . 9, 22 ShuBee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18, 20 Sierra Chevy Truck Center . . . . . . . . . 12, 24 South Fishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Stamp Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Tara Tours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 United Contractors of America. . . . . . . . . 31 US Air Conditioning Distributors . . . . . 2, 22

Equipment for sale or rent? Selling your business? Looking for work? Software? Training? Hiring?

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