“People thought we were nuts,” Andy Schafer says of when he and Greg Wade decided to launch their remodeling business immediately after the economic collapse. But once the company was created, the pair were never without work.

In order to establish Advantage Carpentry, Wade and Schafer bid their first project “for a ridiculously low number,” Schafer says. Since then, they’ve instituted better business methods, but always remember the lesson they learned. Schafer says that they “talk about it a few times a year.”

The “carpenter’s mindset” they started with—build the work for wages—soon gave way to a hunger for information about how to create and run a remodeling business. Schafer and Wade started reading books on business, and ultimately joined Remodelers Advantage.

The company began to focus on interiors and quickly gained a loyal customer base. Advantage Carpentry is now hiring employees as the two owners make the shift from being in the field to spending more time in the office where they can focus on running and continuing to grow their business.


  • Advantage Carpentry makes a “positive lasting impression” on customers with an open, up-front sales process. “We focus on having [clients] as prepared as possible for their project,” Schafer says. “We’re not simply selling them a kitchen, we’re selling our process and experience.”
  • Schafer and Wade are involved in projects from beginning to end. “We don’t just hand it off and say ‘Here you go,’” Schafer says.
  • To streamline communication, they use BuilderTrend, an online project management system.

This year we again partnered with GuildQuality, an Atlanta-based customer-satisfaction polling company, to identify candidates for the Service Excellence Award. Based on the results of customer surveys, the award recognizes incoming Big50 winners who consistently deliver an exceptional customer experience.