After a series of fits and starts with other careers, Matt Martini thought he’d landed the perfect job with Procter & Gamble. “When you grow up in Cincinnati, that’s a dream come true,” he says. But it turned out being a suit and tie corporate exec wasn’t Martini’s dream after all. So he started a handyman service that quickly morphed into his full-service remodeling company, which is making other people’s dreams come true.

Turns out, that’s where the money’s at. Last year, Martini says, he more than doubled his business from the previous year. How has he made the transition? Martini says it’s all about providing good value for the quality of the work. For him that comes down to who he hires. “These are all people I’d trust in my own home.”

That’s crucial, he says, because as much as it is a business, remodeling is a relationship. “We have to cohabitate with our clients, so we have to respect their privacy and even get to know their pets,” he says. “What we found is that when we do that, we develop a relationship with clients—and friendships. That makes them much more inclined to recommend us to their friends and family.”


--Technically, Martini uses subs, but he doesn’t like to call them that, or even think of them in those terms. He hasn’t figured out an alternative yet, but “friends” might fit. “Even subs are my friends,” he says. “I’d trust them with my own house and family. They’re an extension of my family.”

--When it comes to hiring, rather than experience, Martini looks for potential and someone he could mold into the worker he wants them to be. “Guys with 20 years of experience a lot of times have 20 years of bad habits,” he says. “Those guys are set in their ways and aren’t teachable. I don’t have use for anyone like that.”

--Martini says, “Remodeling can’t always be about the money.” That means he won’t let a change order ruin a relationship or nickel and dime a customer with “stupid things.” “Ultimately, I want to walk away from a job with a clean conscience,” he says. “I’d rather lose money and sleep at night, than cheat on it and then be scared every time that person’s name pops up on my phone. It’s a long-term investment.”