Seasoned judgement proved to be a major management asset to two owners coming late to the remodeling industry. Bill Wolf didn’t know anything about the DreamMaker franchise when he got a call from the company inviting him and his wife Jayne to a conference in Las Vegas. Luckily, they decided to make the trip.

The Wolfs bought their DreamMaker franchise when they were in their 50s.  But they didn’t come as rookies untutored in the art of building. 

After “doing youth work” overseas, Wolf came back to the U.S. where he soon discovered that the prospect of life as a high school science teacher held little appeal. He decided to teach himself to build and started cleaning up jobsites for a local remodeler. Four years later he was building additions.  Soon after, he learned sales.


  • While other remodelers are currently scrambling to find ways to attract employees, that is not a challenge for DreamMaker of Grand Rapids, which has a solid core of seasoned production employees because of policies that encourage loyalty, i.e., retention. 
  • The company pays a generous bonus—either quarterly or semi-annually—based on its own profitability, to all employees,
  • In addition to that, DreamMaker of Grand Rapids pays a production bonus, per project, based on building the job “at budget or better than budget,” Wolf says. That encourages carpenters to get to the site on time, limit visits to the store for materials, keep the job going, and plan ahead. “People are motivated to do the job in a timely, well-organized fashion.”
  • Company holds weekly meetings with all staff to talk about key provisions in its Code of Values—for instance, respect, integrity, and customer service—and how those are applied on a daily basis. “For instance, we talk about what it means to re-earn our position every day,” Wolf says. “So we may have a past client and the temptation to relax.” But both company and client are well served, Wolf says, when employees are on time and work carefully. “We have happy employees,” Wolf says, “and we care about our clientele. There are a lot of people who would like to be like us.”