In bank-repossession work, time is money. We Build specializes in foreclosures because they get the job done on schedule, says owner Shawn Kumar. He says banks determine what work they want done on a foreclosed property. “They have a budget and spend that money the best way to get the best return,” he explains.

Kumar has only three employees—all in the office. The field work is assigned to a network of licensed and insured tradespeople.

He didn’t always do this type of work. The former civil engineer noticed a need for residential universal design and decided to fill it. After a few years, he discovered the niche was not paying off, so he broadened his scope to bank repossessions. Kumar says the large inventory of foreclosed properties in the San Dimas, Calif., area kept him going strong until last year.

Now he is responding to a new demand in his community with a handyman service for $500 to $2,000 jobs. He has also signed up as an ImproveNet contractor and is looking into becoming a contractor for Sam’s Clubs’ new Home Service Store. Sam’s Clubs’ 135,000 members are all potential customers, Kumar says.