In just seven years, Robert Schattner has built his Purofirst franchise into a $12 million business that grew 56% last year alone, with thanks, according to Schattner, going to his aggressive marketing. Two full-time marketers meet with insurance agents and adjusters "face-to-face, every day on the road," and their efforts have landed the company on several insurers' preferred contractor lists.

The size of Schattner's company, which does 80% of its work on residential properties, is vital to providing its distinguishing customer service. His 140 full-time, uniformed field staff allow him to sub little work out, which gives him a tighter grip on quality control. He also has one position devoted entirely to customer service, so that his often-traumatized clients have "one person that they always knew they could call." While smaller competitors couldn't afford that position, "we felt we couldn't afford not to have it," Schattner says.

Keeping all those employees busy hasn't been a problem for the growing firm, but finding enough employees has, so Schattner holds onto the ones he's got with a profit-sharing plan that pays directly into their 401(k)'s.