The harder Don Sever works, the luckier he gets. What began five years ago with the occasional polybutylene-pipe replacement job has become the backbone of his Oakton, Va.–based remodeling company, Sever Construction. Claim work from a 1995 $950 million class action lawsuit accounts for a third of Sever Construction’s $750,000 annual volume. But more important, working the niche of PB-pipe replacement has opened the door to more ambitious kitchen and bath projects, which his company prefers.

Sever’s marketing plan is as focused as his niche approach to plumbing, drywall, and kitchen and bath remodeling. The company runs a polybutylene-replacement ad in the monthly NARI newsletter, as well as the biannual NARI directory. “We used to do a lot of advertising in the Yellow Pages and newspapers but ended up spinning our wheels,” Sever says.

Sever is president of his local NARI chapter and a past instructor for their certified remodeler program. “My MBA didn’t teach me how to run a small business or how to turn a profit,” he says. “One of the reasons I’m so successful is because of the relationships I’ve built through NARI.”