At 16, Tim Cross was helping a property owner maintain and repair rental units. He installed flooring, siding, windows, and trim and painted a variety of houses and buildings. After high school, he started his own business by working on small jobs. He made a smart move during a recession to subcontract with an insurance company for restoration work. At that time, he hired good carpenters that could not find residential remodeling work. "I picked up a lot of tricks and skills from these guys," he says.

Restoration involved a full scope of work, including framing, roofing, insulation, drywall, cabinets, and flooring. This experience, he says, was a major stepping stone to his current business.

In 1994, he used a Yellow Pages advertisement to begin phasing out insurance work in order to concentrate on high-end remodeling. Even new to the industry, he went through the leads and concentrated his selling time on his target market of high-end jobs. "Go after the jobs you want. That has been my theme throughout," Cross says.