The written word is not forgotten in the remodeling industry, though Becky Quigley, office manager at MER/Morrison Waterproofing, Woodbridge, Va., admits that high volume has hurt the company's efficiency in sending customers thanks for their business. But owner Mike Reiff recognizes that thank-you notes help his company get business consistently. He says he usually makes a point to thank customers in writing if they send back an end-of-job survey that is exceptionally complimentary.

Mark Cantor of Jendell Construction, Kensington, Md., says he prefers in-person thank-yous, with thank-you letters more typical for referrals from customers. He, too, admits that with "so much business, there's never enough time to do all the neat things you want to." He says Jendell regularly mails seasonal reminders -- lists of things to prepare your house for upcoming weather changes. And over the holidays, Jendell makes donations to local charities on behalf of customers, sending cards to let them know of the donation. That has more impact than any thank-you could, he says.