No one in concrete construction needs be told that he is in a competitive business. The fact that a firm securing one out of every fifteen contracts bid on is doing well indicates that competition is intense. That being the case, there is little margin for error. And, as a report on small businesses has pointed out, "The difference between success and failure in the construction industry can often be traced to substandard bidding practices and to the submission of bids which are fundamentally unsound." Contractors bidding by hunch or by guess generally underestimate their costs. Successful contractors carefully "build the job on paper." They prepare detailed cost estimates on every aspect of a job before submitting a bid. They allow plenty of margin for weather and other variables. Although procedures for arriving at workable estimates are fairly simple and well know, the preparation of bids requires experience with materials and construction practices. Unsuccessful contractors lack both experience and patience. Success in the midst of severe competition in concrete construction has many ingredients. It results from years of experience with the materials, tools and practices of the trade, sometimes with a little luck mixed in. But all contractors ignore certain ingredients at their peril, and these have to do with important details of the business. Contractors cannot do well without proper bidding practices, sound and constant supervision, financial control and records and the periodic use of expert advice.