James "Tim" Thompson (center, next to executive vice president and wife, Joni) and his employees have two different customers with two different agendas. The homeowner and the insurance company have different needs. "There is a tension between the two," he says.

Thompson Building Associates averages about 800 jobs a year. To handle the high volume and quickly respond to jobs, the company's learned to systematize every aspect. An estimator visits the house or business within 24 hours of the initial phone call and has a prepared estimate within 48 hours. Carpenters are on call 24 hours a day and respond within one hour to handle the immediate damage and board up the structure. Thompson recently opened a selection center and hired a full-time purchaser to help stressed-out customers choose 75% of their products in one place.