This horticulturist parlayed a deck and landscaping business into a full-service remodeling company. Due to the cold winters in New York, deck building is seasonal, so Paul Zachman (far right in the gray shirt) began remodeling to keep his talented carpenters at work year-round.

Six years ago, when he decided to make a concerted effort on the remodeling side of the business, he brought in a consultant and a mentor, joined a peer review group, hired a full-time office manager/bookkeeper, and set up sales training for the office manager and himself.

Outdoor work and deck jobs range in price from $16,000 to $18,000 and account for 60% of the company’s total revenue. “It’s a self-sustaining entity now,” Zachman says. He designs and sells the jobs and hands over the complete work package to his lead carpenter.

The rest of Boardwalk Design’s revenue comes from remodeling. Zachman is proficient in CAD and handles most of the design for these projects but works with an outside architect to create the plans. Clients sign a design agreement for 1% to 3% of the job’s projected budget. Though the customer base for each type of work is separate, Zachman is seeing more cross-referrals. A recent $3,500 deck job lead to a $40,000 pool structure and a $140,000 basement project.

Boardwalk Design offers an unlimited warranty, even returning 12 years later to replace a rotted band joist. “That’s why our referral rate is so strong,” Zachman says.


  • Unlimited warranty on work. “That is why our referral rate is so strong,” Zachman says. 
  • Clients sign a design services agreement for 1% to 3% of the projected budget of the job. 
  • The company uses a variety of technologies and programs, including ACT! database software, XactRemodel software for estimating, and Vectorworks for design.

Notable quote: “I am reluctant to jump in to new areas until I have system and infrastructure down.”

- Nina Patel