Not long ago, Bob Gallese hired a contractor to lay a stone patio in his backyard. It was an eye-opener. “There were days they wouldn’t show up, and there were days they’d do a half-day’s work.” It made him think, Gallese says, about “how clients feel when [contractors are] in the home.”

This Ohio company that started as a one-man operation now has designers and crews. Most of its projects are kitchen and bath remodels, with three or four additions a year. Marketing and sales are driven through the company’s showroom, where, after a first visit to the home, preliminary plans are shown and a design retainer—typically 3% to 5% of the cost of the project—is collected.

Two years ago, Gallese initiated weekly meetings of all staff to check whether priorities are met. A field coordinator also visits ongoing jobs on a daily basis.


  • Initiated weekly meetings of all staff two years ago “to make sure all priorities were set for jobs ongoing or upcoming,” Gallese says.
  • Has a field coordinator who visits ongoing jobs on a daily basis, using information posted to Co-construct to keep everyone appraised of where jobs are, including photos, purchase orders and invoices.
  • Handles “99% of the job” when it comes to a kitchen. “I say: these guys are my employees. We control the process, the quality and the time.”
  • Began using a waterproofing membrane product seven years ago that has been so effective—virtually eliminating callbacks on shower installs—that the company is now a dealer for the manufacturer’s products to other area contractors.
  • Knowing that contractors often won’t answer or return a phone call if the job’s not going well, Gallese tells clients they can “pick up the phone five times in a week, at any random time, and see if we answer or not.”
  • The owner is planning to change the name of his company to reflect what it’s become. The original name, he says, speaks to what it once was.