HartmanBaldwin Inc., a Claremont, Calif., design/build remodeler, has invested $4,000 in research, development, and printing of the Home Remodeler's Survival Guide. It's a 24-page booklet aimed at positioning the $5 million-a-year company as the most professional resource for remodeling in the eastern Los Angeles County/western San Bernardino County area. HB circulated 441 guides to past clients, prospects, and those who read an article about it in a local paper. Requests have also come from the HartmanBaldwin Web site ( www.hartmanbaldwin.com), where you can read the guide and explore two additional sections: Remodeling Tools (project planners and worksheets) and Resource Directory (supplier, association, and historical resources). Offered free to anyone, and distributed at a HB homes tour that raised funds for historic preservation, the guides will be used in community workshops on how to plan successful remodels. Although six qualified leads have come from the effort (one led to a kitchen remodel), partner Devon Hartman says the point of the booklet is to help people recognize the firm as a resource and to help past clients, when a friend or family member asks about their remodel, have something meaningful to pass along.

HB kept printing costs under $2 per copy by using black and white photographs of award-winning projects that had already been shot. They put the savings toward a heavy stock cover and paper, so people would value the booklet. "As far as dollar for dollar, it's a little too early to assess results, because this is a long-term investment," says Eve-Marie Lanza, company marketing coordinator.