First impressions will always count, but final impressions are more likely to have an impact on referrals and repeat business. “We want to leave a really good feeling with our customers,” Jeff Adams says. So his company wraps up every job with the “J&J Shine” — a few hours spent dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, and otherwise buffing clean every part of the house that they touched during their work there.

The amount of cleaning usually “doesn't amount to much, but it gets referrals,” says Adams, president of J&J Builders & General Contractors, Waldorf, Md. “We don't tell the homeowner. It's a surprise.” Adams says women — who apparently still do most of the housecleaning — especially get a kick out of the scrub-down.

His crew cleans daily during every project, as well. Adams confesses that he is “a control freak” and says maintaining a buttoned-down jobsite has “become a game” with his crew. Plus, he says, “My guys like having a happy customer.” His customer surveys prove it; they are “always full of comments such as, ‘I can't believe how clean my house is. Can you come every month?'”