Michael Fishelson’s high-end clients are no different from other U.S. homeowners: they’re postponing large projects and focusing on small jobs. The owner of Homecrest, in New York, N.Y., says his clients have money but are uncertain about the real estate market and do not want to be ostentatious during the recession. “One of our clients asked us to take down the scaffolding in front of his house,” Fishelson says.

Last year Fishelson was working on three major projects, but as of April this year, his jobs consist of kitchens, baths, libraries, and painting. He continues to take care of clients by helping them with extra services such as temporarily removing furniture to make room for a party.

He notes that local showrooms and suppliers “are losing credit lines from banks and having trouble operating at the same level.” Some suppliers are sending products collect on delivery or offering discounts for paying bills on time. They’re also keeping less product in stock.

Fishelson cut overhead and laid off production and office staff. With the stock market stabilizing, and since many of his clients receive bonuses in February, he expects an increase in leads and jobs in early 2010.

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.