David Sturm made a bold move during the recession and put money into advertising and hiring, and he got all his staff involved in marketing. While he continued to spend money on print advertising, he did more networking with various local groups and had post-renovation parties in clients’ homes. He also made alliances by getting vendors to pass clients on to him.

Sturm focused his energy on the design side as well. He found that designers do not necessarily make good consultative salespeople, so he hired a sales associate. Anyone he interviews for a sales position takes the Sandler Devine Skills Assessment, which he feels delivers “amazing results.”

• Goal: to share back-end resources with other remodeling and design professionals in the same way doctors form groups.

• Turnkey design/build with two part-time architects and in-house designers.

• Uses negative air scrubbers to eliminate dust during a remodel.

• Once clients make all their selections, ATD does a “storybook” with photos of each item. Vendors send photos and model numbers for the book. This is the client’s bible — the project manager also gets a copy.

• Uses Hometech for estimating, Insightly for CRM, and lots of Google apps.

• Uses iPads to share project ideas with clients.