Inevitably, after a job is done, the phone will ring within weeks or months and what you thought was finished is now undone. To combat this situation — which could lead to bad feelings among clients and ornery lead carpenters — Premier Builders and Remodeling, Williamstown, N.J., offers a one-year warranty (in addition to the manufacturer's warranty). “It made sense to come back [a year after a job was finished] to show people we're serious about our warranty and about maintaining our quality level,” says owner Steven Feigeles.

Feigeles, his partner W. Scott Cooper, and the project's lead carpenter do a 45-minute to two-hour walk-through, depending on the project's scope. “About 65% of the time we find more things we're unhappy with than our customers do,” Feigeles says.