Once upon a time, Matt Johnson did subcontractor carpentry for Artisans of Atlanta. When he bought the company, he added design to their product offering while keeping the focus on getting things right at the construction level. Artisans is a business where project managers double as lead carpenters and are consistently spreading themselves over several projects while managing them well. 

A big part of being successful is “watching your dollars,” Johnson explains. “It’s in the way you do accounting, how you price, how you estimate,and how you track costs.” Artisans of Atlanta takes regular financial snapshots of ongoing jobs to ensure profitability, both of the job and the company.

According to Johnson, Artisans’ focus is on how the project is run.  “You’re never free of issues, but if you’re willing to take responsibility, the customer is yours for life.”


  • Accommodating customers in small, inexpensive ways isn’t that hard to do and pays off with loyalty and referrals. Johnson cites several jobs where “the customer wanted us to marry the old and the new,” i.e., rather than gut an entire kitchen or bathroom, carpenters were asked to save some existing cabinetry, modify the existing layout to fit new appliances, or incorporate “products or materials that would be dated or impractical or not stylish to some designers.” Artisans consistently delivers what the client wants.  
  • Protecting the client’s home is central to the operation, and it starts with careful listening. That applies to pets and security—but also construction. Johnson explains, “We build the addition and dry it in before we break through to the existing house.”
  • Not walking away from issues and problems is huge for homeowners. Artisans once dealt with a persistent roof leak and water issue, where they spent hours trying to diagnose before finally taking up a small section of the roof and replacing a portion of its surface—at no cost. “That took care of the problem and the customer was thrilled,” Johnson says. “You’re never free of issues, but if you’re willing to take responsibility, the customer is yours for life.”