Known for quality roofing, siding, and window installations, Voytek Opalski, an immigrant from Poland, worked for general contractors, many of them commercial. One of the first decisions he made on launching his own company  in 2003 was to join Certified Contractors Network, a peer-driven organization that focuses on best practices. He also hired salespeople and sales manager Tom Shallcross. Opal Enterprises sales reps are required not only to stay in touch with clients once the job starts but to “make sure it runs smoothly,” Shallcross says. They’re also responsible for taking in-progress job shots, which are posted on the website Picasa.

In a “one and done” industry — exterior contracting — with traditionally little regard for customer satisfaction, Opal Enterprises set out to streamline its sales-to-production process and to institute quality-check measures. Recognizing that “we need to actively seek repeat/referral business rather than wait for them to call,” according to Shallcross, the company recently set up a points-based referral/reward system on its website.

Best Practices  Voytek Opalski and his wife, Tara, started their business with the same commitment to marketing and selling excellence that he’d brought to production.