When one of Robert Kutner's clients asked to work on his own remodeling project alongside Kutner's crew, the remodeler said "Yes." This particular client was a doctor, had one day a week off, and was eager to learn. "I've never built anything," Kutner recalls the client saying. "I would like to learn how to do the carpentry."

The crew welcomed the extra hand, especially because the homeowner took direction well and did not interfere with their work. During the framing phase, the crew would give him dimensions, and he cut the wood. He participated for several months during work on the second-story addition.

That job was 10 years ago. Recently, the same owner called Kutner Associates Design/Build, Lutherville, Md., for a rear addition to his house. This time, he did not get involved in the site work.

Kutner does not mind clients working on the site if, like this owner, they have the right attitude. This doctor did not do the work to save money; he did it to have fun.

Kutner has had other clients who were more concerned about the cost of the project and elected to paint, hang doors, or do the finish trim work themselves to save money. Usually, for those jobs, the clients take over once the remodeling team has finished.