Nov. 7, 2022

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!

The Contracting Handbook podcast is all about the builders and skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen in the construction industry from all over the world. Here you’ll meet the tradespeople who took a leap of faith from working their craft to running the own construction company. You’ll meet people who left lucrative careers to enter the trades. For newcomers to running a construction business, there is a ton of advice on “how to” run your contracting company. For established contractors, you get to meet other industry leaders and get behind the scenes of their business and stay up to date with industry change. Mike Knoche, your host, keeps the conversation interesting. He’s been operating his contracting business for over 15 years in the oddly wonderful, Fairbanks, Alaska. Mike’s philosophy is “we are all experts in how we build where we live, but the business basics and business management are universal”. Join us for this global conversation on operating a construction company, mental health, cool projects, and construction industry progress.


Host: Mike Knoche

Website: The Contracting Handbook

Instagram: @thecontractinghandbook

Venmo: Mike-Knoche-1


Guest: Jon Hilgenberg

IG: @jchcabinets