Before he started his own remodeling company, Michael Howes spent a lot of time learning about remodeling and customer service. He worked as a carpenter in high school; during college, he worked at the customer-oriented Nordstrom department store. After college, he spent five years learning about the industry by working for a well-known remodeler.

He put all this knowledge to work serving clients who want to make changes to their home for their own enjoyment and consider remodeling to be an investment.

Howes encourages clients to work with architects for high-end design. He diligently contacts and tracks client meetings and calls, and he keeps projects within budget. His customer service skills help maintain the company's high number of referrals and repeat business. He views change orders as a client referring additional work for themselves. “From Nordstrom, I learned the easiest client to sell is the one you have just sold to,” he says.