104 episodes

Veteran general contractor, Mike Knoche, talks to men and women in the construction business and skilled trades from all over the world about their experience, what they value, and why they do it. He combines his experience in radio broadcasting and draws on a rich variety of careers to get his guests open and talking and independently produces this podcast. After 17 years in the contracting business and over 25 in the construction industry, Mike has concluded that it’s about a genuine experience for clients and everything centers around relationships. His guests might not all be magazine or Insta famous, but they all the rock stars of construction to Mike. Every episode has a nugget for even the most seasoned contractors. We leave no stone unturned… client relations, mental health, estimating, WIC, substance abuse, and our favorite tools. This unsponsored podcast has reached the top 3% of all podcasts globally and has been downloaded in over 75 countries in less than two years because of your reviews (we don’t pay for them here)! Please leave a review on iTunes, your Apple podcast app, or if you’re in the android world, rate it on Spotify and leave a review directly on the website. One more thing, I lived in a bubble before this podcast… we are all experts at how we build wherever we live, but the business basics and life experience are the same wherever we live in the world!

The Contracting Handbook: Builder & Trades Construction Podcast W/ Mike Knoche of Straight Ahead Construction

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 54 Ratings

Veteran general contractor, Mike Knoche, talks to men and women in the construction business and skilled trades from all over the world about their experience, what they value, and why they do it. He combines his experience in radio broadcasting and draws on a rich variety of careers to get his guests open and talking and independently produces this podcast. After 17 years in the contracting business and over 25 in the construction industry, Mike has concluded that it’s about a genuine experience for clients and everything centers around relationships. His guests might not all be magazine or Insta famous, but they all the rock stars of construction to Mike. Every episode has a nugget for even the most seasoned contractors. We leave no stone unturned… client relations, mental health, estimating, WIC, substance abuse, and our favorite tools. This unsponsored podcast has reached the top 3% of all podcasts globally and has been downloaded in over 75 countries in less than two years because of your reviews (we don’t pay for them here)! Please leave a review on iTunes, your Apple podcast app, or if you’re in the android world, rate it on Spotify and leave a review directly on the website. One more thing, I lived in a bubble before this podcast… we are all experts at how we build wherever we live, but the business basics and life experience are the same wherever we live in the world!

    Barbie the Welder: The Art of the Business and The Business of Art

    Barbie the Welder: The Art of the Business and The Business of Art

    “I’m only as good as the last thing I did, that’s the only thing that matters to me”

    Is it the Art of the Business or The Business of the Art?

    Today, the tale of a woman who started her trade career in a vocational program for auto mechanics then found her passion as a self-taught welder.

    Listen for the aha moment when Barbie knows its not just something she made, it’s art. Now, she believes all tradespeople are artists.

    Do you guys know Barbie has pieces in 15 different countries worldwide?

    She’s not the type to tell you how to live, but as a community, she believes we need to honor our skills by making sure we’re compensating part for our time.

    Michelangelo might have had a small army of sculptors under him but, not Barbie. Her creations, her hands! We get into some cool mentors in this one!

    What a real pleasure we had killing an hour for this podcast. Please join us!

    Please save this post so you can come back and share your thoughts after you hear the pod and/ or share this pic and quote in your stories to help spread the word about the pod.

    If you don’t already follow @thecontractinghandbook podcast, do it now to get more advice or insight from your peers and hear the stories about how we all got here.

    Follow @barbiethewelder for daily inspiration, elevation of the trades, and her masterpieces in the making!

    • 51 min
    Fiona Plett of Herself Contracting: House healing and a builder at a crossroads

    Fiona Plett of Herself Contracting: House healing and a builder at a crossroads

    “Learn from everything, every experience is an opportunity to learn.”

    Fiona Plett @herselfcontracting loves working close with her clients to heal their homes. She wants to rid them of the “irritants” that plague their space.

    Upcycling and re-purposing materials rank high in what to use for projects, but you know the catch, it costs more than buying that factory built hollow core door, 100%.

    So how to do you get the client on board with the idea?

    Physical time: Waste time- your choice

    On communication: anticipating the conversation and scripting in a sense.

    Lessons:

    Bookeeping
    Time off
    Buy the stuff you need

    The goal: Making “one of’s”

    The direction? Getting more creative with what she knows which may incorporate the new timber framing.

    Advice: don’t volunteer your time, get paid for your time.

    Join us for another podcast episode on self-determination!

    • 57 min
    Michael Anschel of OA Design Build on the Cost of Project Execution (C.O.P.E.) method of estimating

    Michael Anschel of OA Design Build on the Cost of Project Execution (C.O.P.E.) method of estimating

    Today, Michael Anschel of @oabuilds joins Mike Knoche for a raucous discussion in the explanation of the Cost of Project Execution (C.O.P.E.) method for estimating.

    We immediately drop into the issues surrounding single margin multipliers, a general misunderstanding of knowing profit from overhead and a general lack of trust that comes with not wanting to talk about project costs with clients. It’s an uncomfortable topic so, we avoid it.

    We walk through a number of examples the make the C.O.P.E. method accessible to spec homes builder, custom home builders, remodelers, and sub trade contractors.

    There are no markups using C.O.P.E.

    But Mike, this flies in the face of anything I’ve ever known about estimating.

    Mike casts doubt on Michael and this blasphemous method throughout.

    This is a fun and interesting look at a different approach to estimating with Michael Anschel on his second appearance on TCH.

    Michael is teaching a 6-week class starting December 1. Details at www.costofprojectexecution.com

    • 1 hr 22 min
    Jon Hilgenberg of JCH Cabinets talks his Craftsman Program, love of teaching, apprentice years and the circumstance that shaped him

    Jon Hilgenberg of JCH Cabinets talks his Craftsman Program, love of teaching, apprentice years and the circumstance that shaped him

    “If you can’t explain something simply to someone else, then you don’t quite have mastery of it.”

    In episode 101 of The Contracting Handbook podcast, it’s Jon Hilgenberg’s “Craftsmanship 101” on educating and evolving his business.

    We drop into the universal issue for contractors, how much to charge? Knowing his worth came with a decade of problem solving while subbing out to designer that provided drawings with limited details. Know your worth people!

    While Jon is clearly a master of his craft, he didn’t start on this path. I echo his statement for my self “nobody would have expected me to go into the trades.”

    Sharing his craft online has made him better. He knows there’s always someone better and he must be one his game. If you can’t communicate your process quickly and succinctly, you haven’t mastered it.

    There are lessons that carry from starting JCH cabinets into the Craftsman Program. Got debt?

    As tradespeople, we take for granted our mobility until the dreaded injury. It can bring on fears, heighten mental health issues but sometimes there can be a silver lining. The irony of Jon’s injury and how it
    brought him to a better place.

    The logical progression here is taking care of your body as you age in the trades…stay fit but have a plan for when you can do it anymore.

    Jon has killer advice to tradespeople transitioning into business operation, this is above and beyond the helpful reels you see here on IG. He loves mentoring and says pay for one if you don’t have one.

    Jon is a pragmatist when it comes to stress, execute what needs to be done. Enjoy the process and problem solve!

    His question to all of you. What can you do to make your business more successful? The answer he was given years ago is inside this podcast. Which leads us to reducing our load and keep mental health in check. We both are happy with our lives but we agree that seeing a therapist sooner would not have hurt, lol!
    The notion that going into trades was not a respectable path was what we were told when we were young. You never quite know what someone is going to say when I ask why skilled trades matter!

    Jon is passionate about teaching and it is palpable in the audio! Please download and enjoy!

    • 1 hr 23 min
    Episode 100: TCH Halloween Podcast Special- Tales from the Jobsite

    Episode 100: TCH Halloween Podcast Special- Tales from the Jobsite

    Meet my story telling crew! Twenty-two skilled professionals from all walks sent me their stories in their voices to share in this 100th episode of The Contracting Handbook podcast. As of prepping this post, I have not heard the stories in their entirety.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Harvey Jesso of Maritime Carpentry & Maritime Electrical talks running two construction companies, stepping away from work at night, the retirement plan and more

    Harvey Jesso of Maritime Carpentry & Maritime Electrical talks running two construction companies, stepping away from work at night, the retirement plan and more

    “It’s important to build a strong reputation and do such good work so you don’t have to work for the sheep.”

    For those of you who know Harvey Jesso, you know he’s a positive force and reputable contractor, for those who don’t, you’re in for a treat. He’s running two contracting businesses, loves what he does and takes weekends off for family time.

    He started in the business at 9 y.o., so it’s in his blood.

    I (Mike) want to know why clients are perfectly happy to pay electrical quotes but balk at the price of custom carpentry. Harvey generates quotes for both trades but agrees that carpenters are under-rated!

    We hit on the greatest challenge of a tradesman becoming a businessman.

    Harvey seems comfortable in his shoes today and has a plan to retire.

    Harvey’s father-in-law showed up at the BBQ fully decked out in Maritime Carpentry swag. What was he angling for?

    Find out the best tools and the best live concert he’s been to!

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
54 Ratings

54 Ratings

huah huah 64 ,

Thanks Mike

Keep it up! Good man.

orafib-e ,

Grrreat!

Glad I found this podcast. Very well done by a very well rounded individual. Keep up the great work Mike! And keep the great episodes coming! — EJB

goldenarm9 ,

"Welded art is the gateway drug into the trades" -Barbie The Welder

NO CAP!!! The questions you asked Barbie were unexpected to me, but you're a carpenter. I'm an apprentice welder but you remind me off my dad. He's a "carpenter and tinkerer", as he puts it. He's always messing around with the house I grew up in. You remind me of him becasue you're tinkering but with other trades. I've been looking for a new contruction podcast with a real, experienced host. I've listened to a couple other episodes and have more downloaded. Niya is awesome! Next time I'm driving with Dad, I'll be sure to play one of your episodes. He's a proud GenXer, will see if he will listen, lol. Arc Junkies is my go to but I still highly recommend this podcast for any tradesperson! Start with Barbie! So fun!

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