At AV Remodeling, project size doesn’t matter, but planning does. “We know that the best client for us is someone who wants to plan the project first,” says owner Vincent D’Avena. “We go through a feasibility study to determine all the construction parameters and how the building systems will be affected. If they’re willing to do that for a 5x8 bathroom, that’s fine with us.”

To bring in the right clients, D’Avena raises his profile in the community through his own charity, Food 4 Trees. During the holidays, D’Avena purchases Christmas trees in bulk, then “sells” them for canned goods, which are donated to food pantries. “We want to get about 20 more companies onboard to help run the program this year,” he says. “It shouldn’t be hard. Everyone wants to do something good for people.”


—D’Avena earned his degree in environmental science and he applies that to green-building principles on his projects. Valuable features of a home are deconstructed and reused, and the company recycles as much waste material as possible.

—Finding the right people to work with is important — and difficult. “I had the presumption that I could start a business and hire pros for every facet,” D’Avena says. “At first, I had eight employees and I was hiring and firing, I had scheduling problems, and I couldn’t find good people no matter what. I realized there’s not another industry like this one. You need different skill sets for different jobs, which is why subcontractors are so important. Otherwise, you become a personnel management firm.”