Punch lists and skilled retirees are a match made in heaven — or at least in Cape Cod. “Our ‘retiree pool' has been a great success,” says Dale Nikula, president of Encore Construction, Dennisport, Mass. “Our need for workers varies at times, depending on the number of jobs in progress and the stage each is in.” His $8 million company takes advantage of its retiree-rich location by advertising in local newspapers for “individuals with years of experience in building and remodeling … who are interested in working a flexible schedule on an on-call part-time basis.”

This simple strategy has brought Encore three retired carpenters “with wonderful skills and a wonderful work ethic,” Nikula says. Called up when they're needed, they facilitate job close-outs by tackling tasks such as installing door hardware and window trim. Reliable and efficient, they're employees any remodeler would want — “but I haven't considered hiring them full-time because that's not what they want,” Nikula says.