After taking over the 30-year-old commercial plumbing and heating business from his father in 1978, carpenter Greg Zimmerman’s first move was to switch the focus to residential remodeling. A few years after that, he made another important decision: “I wanted to make the transformation from craftsman to businessman,” he says.

Zimmerman (pictured with wife, Carol) is the only salesperson at his company, but his goal is to turn selling over to his employees. That will leave him free to pursue other opportunities. He owns some rental properties, builds one new house a year, and is currently working on a 12-unit condominium building. And he’s looking at adding a handyman service and buying a custom kitchen cabinet shop, which would be ideal for referrals.

He also constantly strives to improve the quality of work in his core market—room additions and kitchen remodels—where average jobs cost $50,000. “I want the finished product to be as perfect as a human being can make it,” he says.