Bonuses come four times a year at Blue Canyon Construction, based on the performance of the company and the employees alike. The bonuses aren't limited to stellar years —nor are they small. “We basically promise that if we're alive, they'll get 50 cents for every hour they worked,” says president Rick King. “If we're doing well, they'll get a buck.” Combine this rewards-based culture with other generous benefits, and it's clear why employees and trade contractors are loyal to this innovative company.

Consider the annual retreat. Every year, the entire staff spends two days at a mountain resort where they discuss financials (the company is open-book), strategic plans, process improvement, and more. Significant others are invited as well. People return to the job energized and focused, say King and his wife, Terri. Year-round, superintendents access job files remotely, using wireless laptops connected to a private site.

A men's clothing designer in his first career, King's refined aesthetic is apparent in Blue Canyon's high-end remodeled and custom homes. Almost all projects are architect-designed, with architects carefully selected to match clients' tastes and personalities.

“We work as a team,” King says. “I like the fresh approach that each architect brings.”

Even the Web site is artful and thoughtful. Among other features, a “go shopping” section links to dozens of manufacturers and suppliers, streamlining selections and letting clients preview retail prices — which King can usually negotiate down for them.