Over the last three years, Mahogany Builders has doubled its luxury remodeling business. Impressive, yes. But what’s really remarkable is how little it’s spent on marketing to do it: less than 1%.

How did the company achieve such great ROI? By taking the high-end hotel approach to remodeling, says Wes Crocket, the company’s business manager, who also has a background in chichi hotels. “You kiss a lot of butts in the high-end hotel industry,” Crocket says. “That translates really well to a luxury remodeler.”

Specifically, Crocket and company use the hotel approach to handling resolutions: Restate the problem; empathize with the customer; solve the problem; then follow up to make sure it’s been resolved. And above all, always make sure the customer looks good.

For Mahogany Builders, which works in a lot of tight-quartered high rises, that means leaving a nice bottle of champagne on a neighbor’s doorstep, talking them through the renovation process, and going “above and beyond” to be considerate. “That makes the homeowner look good,” Crocket says. “And there’s nothing better you can do than make that person look good.”


-- Mahogany Builders believes in “consistently chasing improvement,” Crocket says. That means using the latest technology and being willing to change “on a dime” when something better comes along. For example, the firm traded its aging database for a custom built software system that tracks a myriad of data points, from estimates to invoices to timesheets all the way to building manager contacts. “We’re always looking to new knowledge as a way to grow,” Crocket says.

-- Mahogany gives employees—all salaried—an extraordinary amount of freedom and flexibility. Crocket says they can make financial decisions on the spot to make customers happy. They can also take as much time off as they want, with unlimited vacation days. “It takes trust,” Crocket admits. “You are responsible for your role and your projects. It’s very obvious when work isn’t getting done.”

-- Mahogany encourages its high-end clientele, who pay upward of $250,000 for a bathroom remodel, to recommend them to their friends on social media. “We do a fantastic job for someone and get them to talk loudly about it,” Crocket says. “We’ve found recommendations coming from those trusted people are so much more valuable than anything we’ve ever done on Angie’s List.” Clients can get up to $1,000 for recommendations—depending on how well known they are. “A client who’s a celebrity is more valuable than someone who just moved here and doesn’t know anyone,” he says. “We’re cognizant of that.”