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My company has asked me to develop a conceptual framework for the five key traits that make a successful remodeling company. This framework will be the “hooks” on which we will organize all of our consulting, facilitating, teaching, and sorting of shared documents.

At first, this assignment appeared easy. Upon reflection, it’s been amazingly difficult. I have worked in remodeling for decades and consulted to remodelers for 28 years. I had no problem assembling the knowledge needed for remodeling success. The challenge: to distill this knowledge to a handful of traits and a teachable format.

My first order of business was to define success. Our definition at Remodelers Advantage is: a healthy net profit year after year; above-average compensation for the owner; and working hours that allow for a balanced life. In addition, as I believe that company owners should want to leave a legacy, I’ve added: a significant company that contributes value to clients, employees, other business partners, and the community.

In developing the framework, I then identified five traits that a remodeling company must cultivate at all times.

Leadership at all Levels

The best companies share leadership; they empower every employee to lead those they supervise. Critically, however, leadership must always come from the top. Leaders define and teach the company’s vision, mission, and core values, and they model the behaviors desired. They hold steady at the tiller when the company is in rough seas. Leadership is coaching, mentoring, cheerleading, and making the necessary tough calls.

Accurate and Timely Information

You can’t correct what you don’t know. You must have accurate and timely information about every key aspect of the company.

This foundation is usually missing or faulty when remodelers first come to me for help. Once we get our hands on regular financials, as well as figures for marketing, leads, and productivity, we are ready to enter a cycle of continuous improvement.

Regardless of your company’s condition when you enter this important loop, you will get better and better and eventually arrive at success.


With strong leadership and accurate information, you can set goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based.

You’ll want to map out these goals through means such as your business plan, budget, marketing plan, marketing budget and calendar, departmental efforts, client service efforts, and more. Because the SMART system defines success for all goals, you will know when you achieve them.

Effective Execution via People/Systems

Now that you have your plans on paper, you must make them reality. This is often the hardest step, and it relies on two attributes: a top-performing and empowered team that buys into the plan, and systems and procedures that create consistent results. When empowered performers use well-designed systems, the business gets profitable results. And the owner is freed up to focus on the big picture.

Constant Measurement and Assessment

Constantly track your progress, using the metrics you established for your goals and the reports generated.

For instance, say you want to improve your close ratio from one sale for every eight qualified leads to one in seven.

Measure, assess, and stay on the continuous-improvement loop. As you near your goal, reset your plan for reaching it in the SMART method. Then execute, re-measure, and keep improving. The improvement cycles keep going round.

—Linda Case is founder of Remodelers Advantage, a national company that gives remodelers the tools to achieve consistent profitability and success through one-on-one consulting, the Roundtables peer program, and an online learning community, Advantage Associates. 301.490.5620;;