Jim Mirando Jr. (right) has almost finished his MBA and attends continuing education classes for his numerous certifications. This constant study has taken the company his father, Jim Sr. (center), started in 1970 to the next level. "Whatever course I'm taking, I'm focusing on my business in that area," Mirando says.

Two years ago, he began charging for design. "The design agreement is a way to get commitment for our time," he says.

Last year, Mirando doubled the size of his showroom to 6,000 square feet and added universal design elements. It's beginning to pay off. His closing rate at the remodeled showroom is about 30%. Projects move more efficiently because homeowners are able to choose the products in a few visits. To further improve the design process, he hired two assistant designers and is working on a laptop presentation for in-home visits.