Homeowners sometimes complain that their remodeler didn't show up for days at a time and they didn't know why, or that they weren't aware of what they might need to do to facilitate the remodeling process. It all comes down to communication.

Greg Harth at Harth Builders in Spring House, Pa., believes a simple solution is best. His company sends a weekly synopsis to each customer via e-mail.

The synopsis is broken into four parts: work performed this week, work scheduled for next week, selections needed, and outstanding issues. This system was put in place two years ago in lieu of weekly scheduled face-to-face meetings. “Most of our clients use e-mail on a daily basis for work, and it overlaps into their personal lives,” Harth says. “Their schedules are often fluid and change on a weekly basis. [This way] they get to review the project updates at their convenience.”

Harth's production coordinators are on site three days a week, so clients do have personal contact with them, but this system offers the assurance of documentation. “By doing this, we're creating a written job history, which is printed out by our office manager and put into the job folder. If we need to build a sequence of events, we have a paper trail.”