Ben Tyler (front, center) has been many things: a teacher at a school for children with behavior problems, the owner of a neighborhood bistro, and a real estate salesman. He began his remodeling company in 1990 as a one-man operation and grew by adding lead carpenters and developing his own design expertise.

Tyler, who believes remodeling companies ought to have their own employees, sells the concept of teamwork when he sells a job to a client. "Remodeling requires everybody in the business to be flexible," Tyler says. His leads double as handymen. Project managers both run and sell jobs. "The more we cross-train, the more flexible we are, the more opportunities we have."