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On Demand

Transparency – Estimating in the Modern Era

Total Credits: 1 including 1 Minnesota Residential Building Contractor, 1 Wisconsin Dwelling Contractor

MN Contractor Credit |  WI Contractor Credit |  Business Management
Michael Anschel
1 Hour
Audio and Video
Access for 180 day(s) after purchase.


This course will explore a model for transparency within your business that will give you better control of your numbers, protect your overhead and profit, ensure your client’s money is appropriately applied and managed, and provides the opportunity for transparency with your clients. This is a content rich course that will leave you with actionable steps you can take to build better.

Course Outline
  • Transparency is about accuracy
    • Accuracy requires honesty
    • Problems arise in 2 places COGS and 1.68 (or similar) markups
    • Distance between 40% margin and 8.5% net profit?
  • Problems with gross markup system
    • Navigating changes in scope
    • Time lost to re-estimating
    • Challenges to being honest with client
    • Challenges in clear communication with trades (internal and external)
  • Best Practice – COPE vs COGS
    • COPE – Cost of Project Execution
    • Full accounting for COPE = X
    • Apply desired % as profit
    • Apply appropriate % as overhead
  • 3 major divisions
    • COPE (inclusive of management and admin required to execute the project
    • Overhead (as determined based on non COPE related management, admin, marketing, office, etc.
    • Profit (as desired – no longer entangled with project cost)
  • Tracking and Estimating
    • Materials and labor codes
    • Management codes
    • O&P codes
    • Accounting for everyone’s time
  • Clear understanding of actual project cost
    • Clear tracking of actual project cost
    • Ability to isolate and manage overhead
    • Ability to isolate and manage profit
  • Getting Started
    • Assign multipliers
    • Convert to hours
    • Modify as needed for variables
    • Develop project blocks
    • Modify continuously – set rules for modifications
    • Employees can modify with clear understanding of COPE
    • Employees can implement with clear understanding of budget for COPE

Learner Objectives

Students will learn about the following:

  • How to correctly identify direct cost components
  • How to create codes for materials and labor that can be measured and tracked
  • The advantage of dynamic estimating systems
  • How to be more accurate in estimating
  • Consideration for a more ethical and honest method of accounting

Quiz Info

After the course, you will need to take a 10 question quiz. To pass the quiz, you will need to get a score of 70% or higher.

Credit Info

This course has been approved for one hour of MN residential contractor, remodeler, and roofer continuing education by the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry and is approved for the required Business Management credit, and one hour of WI Dwelling Contractor Qualifier CE by the Wisconsin Dept. of Safety & Professional Services. If you are eligible to receive continuing education credits, your information will be electronically reported to the appropriate agency within 7 business days of course completion.

Access Info

Your online course is accessible 24/7. The course will be available to you for 180 days from purchase date.

Questions and Comments

Questions and comments related to the curriculum for this course may be submitted to the instructor at


Michael Anschel's Profile

Michael Anschel Related seminars and products


OA Design + Build

Michael Anschel is a nationally recognized expert on Green design, remodeling and building, writes, trains, and speaks for various publications and events around the world. His building assemblies have been published in numerous publications including the US Department of Energy. He is the owner of OA Design-Build, an award winning nationally celebrated design-build firm, and CEO of Verified Green Inc. which consults with Local Government, product manufacturers, suppliers, builders, and architects on Green building. Michael successfully straddles the building, design, and green worlds by engineering profitability into sustainability. 

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