Every six weeks or so, AM Glass Repair owner Aaron Mulherin sees prices on materials go up 12% to 15%, with the price of aluminum doors nearly doubling over the last year.

The constantly rising prices have the Marion, Iowa-based business, which replaces window glass, installs shower walls and more, jumping through hoops to keep up in an industry where a sudden spike in material good prices can wipe out the profit margin on a project overnight but bidding too high means you might not get the project at all.

Mulherin is not alone in feeling the squeeze from record inflation. Inflation has become the biggest concern of small-business owners and accountants alike in recent months, and the problem is only getting worse. The Consumer Price Index rose 8.5% during the12 months that ended in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest such increase since 1981.

Mulherin has tried a variety of approaches to control costs, including buying materials in advance to lock in the price. But that poses its own challenges.

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