Denise Norberg-Johnson

Financial Columnist

Denise Norberg-Johnson is a former subcontractor and past president of two national construction associations. She may be reached at

Articles by Denise Norberg-Johnson

June 2014
Managing overhead requires a deliberate series of allocation and recovery decisions that affect the flexibility of your pricing strategy for each project. Periodically, you should re-evaluate how you price to recover overhead costs and allocate actual expenses through your job-costing system.
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May 2014
Strategic pricing is not a one-size-fits-all system, and it requires constant analysis. Electrical contractors who understand and monitor market conditions, as well as their own estimating procedures, will make the best choices each time they submit a bid. Last month’s column suggested five situations in which increasing your price could be a useful strategy. READ MORE
April 2014
If you’re a typical electrical contractor, at least part of your revenue probably depends on submitting the lowest price among a growing list of competitors. Although this technically qualifies as a pricing method, it is not a pricing strategy. While pricing is a numbers game, there is more to the final bid price than calculations. READ MORE
March 2014
The idea that employee attitudes affect work performance is not new. Management professor Frederick Herzberg’s employee motivation research from the 1950s is still taught in business schools. READ MORE
March 2014
It may seem that running an electrical contracting business is harder than it used to be. Technology can mechanize many tasks and reduce errors, but research has revealed that employee attitudes have a greater effect on productivity than anyone realized.
February 2014
In a December 2013 interview on “60 Minutes,” CEO Jeff Bezos declared, “Complaining is not a strategy.” In the electrical contracting industry, each day is a battle for the cash flow to make it to the next project, so what can electrical contractors learn from a guy whose optimism is legendary? READ MORE
January 2014
Each New Year offers the opportunity to forget past mistakes and hope for a brighter future. Part of planning for success requires an understanding of history. From a 2008 discussion of whether the United States was entering a recession, I learned some lessons that offer hope for 2014 and beyond.
December 2013
As the year ends, you are probably taking your final steps to minimize your business and personal tax obligations for 2013. Consider Judge Learned Hand’s view of your “fair share” from the U.S. Court of Appeals decision in Gregory v. Helvering (1934): “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. READ MORE
November 2013
In the last two columns, you learned how to calculate the return on your investment in human capital and what factors contribute to a successful hiring process. This month, we explore the potential of your training and development program to maximize your return on investment in human capital. READ MORE