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Episode 61: Construction Is A Not for Profit Industry with David Gerstel

David Gerstel Is...

A legend within the industry. Those aren’t his words, or Spencer’s; that’s just what people say about him. He’s a carpenter, builder, writer, speaker, consultant, and industry expert with financial and personal wisdom to share about working in the construction industry. David talks about why builders shouldn’t do estimates for free, financially preparing your company for recessions, and why the construction industry tends to be not for profit.

Learn all about it here on Builder Funnel Radio.





  • 3:00 How David got started in the construction industry
  • 6:05 How David got started as a writer
  • 9:30 How to improve your estimating
  • 12:10 Why hard work is really just luck
  • 14:40 Why you should charge for your estimates: a few anecdotes
  • 27:00 Is the construction industry really just not for profit?
  • 34:30 Thoughts on financial planning in the construction industry
  • 43:30 Where to find David and his work
  • 44:03 Fast Five
  • 48:52 Spencer’s closing thoughts

Financial Planning for Recessions in the Construction Industry

David has some great anecdotes to share about the financial ebb and flow of the construction industry: the good times, and the bad. His recommendations? Keep you overhead down (even during the boom periods), build capital reserves, and DON’T invest too much in the construction business itself because it’s too unreliable. David also harps on the importance of building strength, not just volume. In other words, it’s not always about growing outward; sometimes it’s better to grow the resiliency of your business more so than growing its size.

Why the Construction Industry Is Not for Profit

This is perhaps David’s boldest claim in the episode, and he’s only being a little hyperbolic. He claims that despite how well the construction industry does in boom periods, very few construction businesses survive recessions. Which is why, he says, in sum, most construction businesses don’t profit.


Related Resources


David's Book: Nail Your Numbers

Crafting the Considerate House


American Institute of Architects’ Guide to Integrated Project Delivery 

The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham


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