contractor thinking about construction accounting

Books that’ll help you avoid those common construction management pitfalls

Regardless of if you’re an industry newbie or veteran — construction management is hard.

And contractors looking to succeed in managing their own business need to understand not only the natural ups and downs of the industry but how to work around them. Just knowing the fundamentals of how a construction project progresses is usually not enough. You also need to understand how to bid and estimate for your target profit, choose the right projects, manage your crew and office, and follow local laws and building regulations.

It can be a lot to juggle all at once.

And while experience may still be the best teacher, learning key construction management strategies in the meantime can go a long way towards setting you on the road to success. Which is why we’ve compiled a list of some the top-rated construction management books to help get you on your way.


The Construction Management MBA: Practical Approaches to Construction Contracting

Matt Stevens



A great read for both general and specialty contractors, The Construction MBA Practical Approaches to Construction Contracting covers all of the processes contractors and PMs need to keep on top of to remain profitable. It also provides a wide variety of tips and strategies, as well as case studies, to help PM’s identify and react to critical trends, adopt better processes for their company and boost all-around efficiency.

And if that wasn’t enough, the book also takes lessons gleaned from eight legendary management books and applies them to the construction industry — saving you some time and extra reading.


Managing the Profitable Construction Business: The Contractor’s Guide to Success and Survival Strategies

Thomas C. Schleifer, Kenneth T. Sullivan, John M. Murdough



Written by the “turnaround” expert, Dr. Thomas C. Schleifer, Managing the Profitable Construction Business: The Contractor’s Guide to Success and Survival Strategies calls on Dr. Schleifer’s 45 years of industry experience and construction-specific consulting, as well as his team of construction business veterans, to create the ideal book for construction managers and CFOs looking to take better control of their businesses. The book offers real-world examples, advice and proven strategies to help construction business owners minimize risk, avoid common construction business pitfalls and grow their business.

This book is probably the closest you can get to having a hands-on consultant without actually having to hire one.

Pro Review: "Great Guide for a Construction Owner"

“A must-read for construction owners, CEOs, CFOs and COOs of any size construction company. I wish I would have had this book years ago. The book lays out in an easy-read format the key elements of managing a successful construction company . . . Each chapter of the book contains a summary, review questions and critical-thinking discussion questions at the end of each chapter. The reader can use these to test their comprehension and explore how these concepts might apply to their organization . . . A great book to keep handy in your office and re-review over time or as the situation warrants.” Read more »


Markup & Profit: A Contractor’s Guide, Revisited

Michael C. Stone



Want a rundown on all of the factors that make a construction business successful? Markup & Profit: A Contractor’s Guide, Revisited offers readers a full overview of the business basics construction owners need to keep their companies afloat — and equally as important, profitable. The book provides proven formulas and step-by-step instructions on how to write good contracts, manage crews, collect on your work and more.

It also includes free downloads of blank forms and checklists you can use to help you follow the book’s instructions!

Pro Review: "Great Help for Contractors"

“This book takes a cutthroat industry like construction and enables contractors to finally understand their own numbers. Not only that, it gives you formulas to figure out what numbers you should be aiming for so that you can build a profitable company. Better yet, it gives practical advice on how to handle a variety of situations that make life difficult for contractors (and costs them money). I have worked in the construction industry a number of years and am always looking for genuine, truthful, practical advice on how to be a better contractor, and this book provides it. It’s given me a lot to think about.” Read more »


Get Your Construction Business to Always Make a Profit

George Headley



This book provides an easy-to-follow guide for contractors on how to get their business organized — from setting up the most efficient processes and outlining short- and long-term goals to building and training the best management teams. Written by one of the country’s leading construction business building experts, George Hedley, the book’s tried and true strategies are ideal for contractors looking to improve profit and grow their business.

The book also steps you through the process of drafting your very own BIZ-Builder Blueprint Action Plan, which can help you lay out the foundation for what you want your company to achieve.

Pro Review: "The Best Construction Book Ever!"

“I read the first book by George Hedley years ago and reviewed/read the first five chapters of this book as part of the beta version. It’s awesome! If you own a construction company, this is the book of all books. This updated version is backed up not only by George’s personal experiences of owning a construction company but the trial and error and resulting best practices of numerous peer-group construction business owners. I know because I participated in George’s peer group for many years and have had tremendous success applying what I learned from this book to my business. My advice: Buy the book. Do your best to follow the teachings, and call George and join one of his peer groups. Aim for success . . .” Read more »


Running a Successful Construction Company (For Pros, by Pros)

David Gerstel



This book is an excellent resource for experienced tradesman looking to make the move to construction management. As a former builder turned owner himself, David Gerstel provides hard-won insight on the day-to-day challenges most contractors face. He also helps breakdown the business side of construction like bidding, labor costs, tracking expenses and more.

Pro Review: "Must Read for Starting a Construction Company"

“Most people who start construction companies start out as construction workers who get an opportunity. They are often brilliant at building but lack training in the business aspect of running a company. My husband and I started a construction firm; he has 15 years’ experience in construction, and I have plenty of business experience. Even with all that we knew between us, there were still huge gray areas in our knowledge base. Because I am an avid reader, I ordered about 15 different books on starting up and running a construction business. Some are wonderful, some are garbage . . . This book is helpful in that it really explains the business end of the construction industry. Though this won’t tell you how to build a house or a hotel . . . it will tell you the logistics of bidding, tracking expenses, labor costs, time sheets, draws, and all kinds of other things the those not familiar with the industry might have problems with the first go round . . .” Read more »


Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide

Paul Netscher



Paul Netscher’s book, Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide, takes a deep dive into the question of why so many construction businesses fail and how it can be prevented. Through each chapter the book highlights key areas for contractor’s to be aware of, including choosing the right projects, avoiding unnecessary costs, maintaining a good reputation and more.

Pro Review: "Some of the Best Books on Construction Management"

“I’m a retired New York City construction professional — presently engage in developing my own construction services and management company in the South Jersey, Philadelphia area. I have what I consider some of the best books on construction management. I can honestly say this is the best book I have read on the subject of “practical” construction management. The book is intelligently laid out and covers all of the most important issues that a construction manager/owner would confront. Those considering a career as a construction manager or becoming the owner of a construction company would benefit immeasurably by reading this great book . . .” Read more »


Construction Leadership Success: The Construction Foreman’s Definitive Guide for Safe, Efficient, and Profitable Projects

Jason C. McCarty



If you’ve recently found yourself in a leadership position or are just looking to improve your leadership skills, this book is for you. It touches on all the aspects contractors need to successfully complete construction projects and run their business, from safety and team leadership to production and time-management skills. It also offers advice on the inner workings of the contracting business and how to build and maintain trust and credibility with your peers as well as your clients.

Pro Review: "The Book I've Been Looking for"

“. . . I have watched many great journeymen take a foreman position and painfully fail. Not for lack of desire, drive or skill in their trade, for those qualities are the reason they were entrusted with the job, but they failed for lack of guidance. You are taught and shown how to be a craftsman, but when it comes to being a foreman in the construction industry most of the time you are on your own . . . This book is exactly what I was looking for: clear, concise and to the point. It goes right to the fundamentals of field leadership, organization, crew morale, efficiency, safety and productivity. Not only is this a great tool for a new foreman, it would be a useful supplement to experienced and established foremen as well.” Read more »

Feel like we’ve missed something? Let us know if there are any books on construction management you think should be added to the list!

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