Scott Chatel knows that even when remodeling jobs are complete, they aren't really complete. “In bathrooms, we often have an issue with grout cracking,” says the owner of Chatel Contracting, in Deer Park, N.Y. “With other projects, it's usually just settling.”

But these are problems that must be fixed. So, six months after the project is finished, Chatel sends out this service request form, giving homeowners the opportunity to have repairs done. Chatel also sends out a similar letter after 12 months. The minimal costs of these service visits are built in on the front end.

Enclosing a self-addressed stamped envelope helps Chatel achieve a 90% return rate on these forms. He estimates that three-quarters of returned forms are asking for service.

Chatel does not have a “service” employee. Instead, to foster accountability with his field staff, the crewmember responsible for the original job is the one who goes back to make repairs. This means the job is done during regular company hours. Chatel does a lot of work on Long Island, where traffic is heavy, so it's important that clients are given a time period — rather than a specific time — during which the carpenter will show up.

Chatel finds that this form is also an effective way to get customer feedback.

The homeowners circle Yes or No. If a service visit is required, the homeowners detail the reason. If not, they use the space for comments about the project and process.