Schafer Builders finds taking care of past customers is good for business. Marketing manager Faith Watson says the Crystal Lake, Ill., company has a written warranty policy for the first year. They send a letter to clients three months and 11 months after the project is complete to ask for updates. Any jobs that come from this contact are tagged as “rework.”

After the first year, the company offers a “good faith” warranty. The original salesperson returns to the house, decides if the problem falls under warranty, and if so, schedules the work. The job gets more urgency if it compromises the comfort of the homeowner, Watson says.

On average, Schafer performs nine warranty jobs per year and five “reworks” per month. One client had a bad seal on windows that the company installed eight years before. “Since we had a warranty from the window manufacturer, we replaced all the windows and installed them for free,” Watson says. Another client used an improper dish drainer and damaged the kitchen sink. In that case, the salesperson offered to replace the sink at cost. When a homeowner purchases the products, Schafer guarantees installation only.