The housing bubble that affected so many parts of the U.S. did not hit Louisiana, says Jeb Breithaupt of Jeb Design/Build, in Shreveport. Though 2008 was rough, 2009 was not a bad year. “Our area never saw big jumps in home values,” he says. His company’s volume in 2009 was$2.2 million, compared with $1.7 million in 2008 and $2.6 million in 2007.

Jeb Design/Build had a steady stream of work in 2009, with average job size dropping from $120,000 the previous year to about $100,000. Though his current average job size is $125,000, he expects to end 2010 with a $95,000 average size. Clients still want to review all their options before making a decision about a project. “It’s hard to get them to commit,” Breithaupt says.

He hired a salesperson, hoping that during the three months it takes to train her, the market will gain enough strength to support the new position. “Our goal for 2010 is $2.65 million,” he says.Breithaupt also attended the International Builders’ Show where he researched green and energy-efficient remodeling. His goal: to find a good model for providing customers with energy audits and guidance on energy-efficient practices.

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.