With hundreds of high-quality photos and such innovative tools as a virtual “book” about the design/build process, there's something for every homeowner at www.landisconstruction.com.

But the site's goal isn't so much to please everyone as it is to narrow the field to a qualified few. “It saves us a lot of time,” says Ethan Landis, co-owner of Landis Construction, Washington, D.C. “By the time someone contacts us, they usually know they want to work with us.” For instance:

  • A “prices” page lists average cost ranges of a variety of projects. People appreciate the straightforwardness, Landis says. If the prices scare some away, both parties are spared an awkward conversation later.
  • The “contact us” page is essentially a screening form that collects information about the prospect's home, budget, and schedule.
  • Another page invites people who “are seriously interested” in hiring the company to request a password that will let them access its references and standard documents. “We don't want them to call our references unless it's clear we can work together,” Landis says.
  • New features are always in the works. Yerko Pallominy, the company's photographer (and also a designer) says one plan is to enhance the “contact” function so that people can attach photos of their home, rather than attempting written descriptions.