If you want it, we will store it. That could be MGD Design/Build's motto.

Well before the usual selections stage, clients choose tile, plumbing and electrical fixtures, doors and windows, cabinets, and colors from MGD's showroom. They sign the drawings and are billed 10% to 20% of the contract sum, and the production person in charge of the job starts ordering as soon as that amount is paid.

“We order the toilet paper holder that day,” owner Mike Dent says. The 23-year-old Kensington, Md., company began using this process about 12 years ago, and it has helped keep jobs on schedule.

Everything is stored in a small warehouse behind the office (shown); if a job is so large that there's too much to store, MGD rents space at a local self-storage company.

Materials are inspected as soon as they arrive. “A high percentage of stuff that comes in is incorrect or damaged,” Dent says. “With our system, if it's brass and we want chrome, we have plenty of time to send it back.”

Years ago, the company allowed subs to purchase materials but found that too often they weren't ready at the job start. “We wanted to control that part of the business to eliminate the problem,” says Dent, adding that the storage system has made the remodeling process less stressful for clients. “[Without it], if several months down the road — when we actually needed the towel bars — the supplier said, ‘We don't make that anymore,' we would have a problem.” If a client changes his mind, he pays any restocking fees, and MGD purchases new items. “We have a lot of confidence in this system,” Dent says.