It's not quitting time at Heritage Builders until each project's lead carpenter has verified and initialed 34 jobsite tasks on a one-page “end-of-day checklist.” The 10-minute effort can save lives and headaches, and it definitely builds client confidence and goodwill.

“Flat tires annoy customers,” says Heritage Builders president Ike Daughenbaugh, of St. Louis Park, Minn. Hence, one item is: “Walk driveway for nails and debris.” Other items ensure that the bathroom is clean, the site is swept and vacuumed, and the systems are operational for returning clients.

Several tasks rule out more serious mishaps: Doors and windows are locked, tools and hazardous materials are safely stored, holes in floors are covered, materials and trash piles are wind-proofed, and the structure is weather-proofed.

The checklist was developed organically, over time, by the entire team. “We put some things on it because they seemed smart, and others because we had done something stupid,” Daughenbaugh says. Not all items apply to all jobs, he says, but “our guys are really proud of [the checklist] nonetheless,” and follow it systematically.

From the marketing perspective, the checklist differentiates Heritage Builders to potential clients, Daughenbaugh says. “At some level, it resonates with everyone,” from parents of small children to people who just want to have their home back every night.