Daniels Design & Remodeling president Ted Daniels calls success “a result of making a series of good decisions.” But not all decisions come easily. “In the midst of the downturn I waited too long to make a tough decision to cut overhead,” he says, noting that he had been gauging the company’s success on the fact that he hadn’t let anyone go. After finally downsizing two staff members, the company came out “leaner and meaner than ever before,” he says.

Thankfully, other decisions were easy to make. When he began working with Guild Quality, Daniels noticed client concerns over scheduling. “I realized that when our clients would ask for changes to their project, I would update their expectations of the project, but not of the schedule,” he says. “I just assumed everyone was on the same page.” Now, careful updates in Microsoft Project and weekly on-site client meetings keep everyone up-to-date.

Despite tough decisions, Daniels’ business optimism hasn’t swayed, and the decisions have paid off. By late February, 40% of the firm’s annual workload was already booked.

Best Practices

  • Weekly on-site client meetings have homeowners rate the company on a scale of 1 to 10 across a range of project details from communication to cleanliness. This helps catch customer frustrations early so the crews can make adjustments and keep clients happy. 
  • Daniels conducts quarterly book club sessions throughout the year where everyone on staff will read and discuss a business-themed book and determine how its message can help the company. 
  • Joining GuildQuality has given the company regular feedback on their clients’ overall satisfaction. 
  • “Belly to belly” marketing works best for the firm, and incorporates personal phone calls and other face-to-face interactions to boost potential clients’ confidence in and comfort with the company. 
  • Daniels Design & Remodeling is scheduled to exhibit at seven home and garden shows in 2010 to let potential clients see the company and feel what the organization is like. 
  • Benefits include health insurance, profit sharing, vacation, and sick leave. Notable quote: “My optimism kept telling me that all these projects we had on a slow simmer were eventually going to come through. It finally hit me that it just wasn’t going to happen at the pace we needed.”

- Lauren Hunter