Three bad clients in a row were enough to convince Chappy LeBlond to close LeBlond Ltd., his 40-employee, $5 million-a-year full-service remodeling business. Now, as Chapman Construction, using only subcontractors, he's a high-end custom window and door installer, grossing $2 million annually. LeBlond works all over the country putting together window packages made by such companies as Zelock Inc. of Brooklyn, N.Y. Most projects cost upwards of $250,000, some as high as $750,000. A recent job had 326 openings. Because the mahogany, weight-and-chain, double-hung windows and European style tilt-and-turn windows are so heavy, his crews often lift them into place using booms. For road trips, LeBlond and his six-man crews ship tools in Knaack boxes by Roadway Express. In less than a week, they can install 60 windows.
LeBlond says the biggest thing that has changed since 1992, the year he was named to the Big 50, is his mindset. "I have more control over my business day to day, by being involved in all of its aspects," he says. "The important thing isn't the volume, it's the margin.
"If you've got a huge ego, you can't do it," says LeBlond of his downsizing.