Federalist Builders’ tagline, “Quality of the past with technology of the future,” says it all. And owner Ari Fingeroth appreciates the challenge of working on buildings that are neither square nor level. Though he’d like to focus on larger projects, Fingeroth accepts maintenance and handyman jobs for the referrals that result. When a client asks if he can do something on a project, he doesn’t like to say no. “I always say ‘Let me figure out how to get this done.’ I’d rather figure out how to do it and tell them the cost than have them decide not to do it,” Fingeroth says.

• Three finish carpenters, three tile/framing carpenters, a painter, and a laborer work in teams of two to three, with the most-experienced carpenter being in charge.

• Fingeroth prefers on-site training, deciding what an employee needs to learn, then pairing employees so they can learn from each other. “It might take longer and more material, but let them struggle with it,” he says.

• The most likely new hire this year is a field person to help handle the increase in jobs.

• Biggest business challenge: formalizing the company’s processes in preparation for larger jobs.

• Fingeroth only works within the city limits — suburban work means “more commuting ... less quality of work,” he says.