Andrew Haste fell into business with little knowledge of how to run a business. Although it was during the recent recession, he says he jumped right in. “People thought I was crazy, but I didn’t know any better,” he says. “We’ve grown every year.”

To learn all he could, he read Michael Stone’s books and joined Remodelers Advantage. He found himself a mentor in Craig Deimler, owner of Deimler & Sons Construction, in Harrisburg, Pa., and follows its successful design/build methods. For his website, he looks at successful sites from companies such as Jackson Design and Remodel, in San Diego, and Pinnacle Renovations, in Calgary, Alberta.

• Riverside uses an eight-stage design/build process.

• It now has a backlog, and Haste uses a job probability matrix he worked on with consultant Judith Miller, from which he gets a three-month look-ahead. As of April, he says, the matrix has him at 57% of his year filled with jobs in backlog according to the likelihood of the company’s jobs going from design into construction contract.

• BuilderTrend is used for job and trade partner scheduling and client communication; ImproveBuild handles estimating, invoicing, and change orders.

• The company works hard on “soft skills” — customer service and client relations.

• The team picks a topic to discuss at each weekly meeting and has book discussions. Recent books read include Carl Sewell’s Customers for Life and Jack Mitchell’s Hug Your Customers.

• For team-building, everyone visits vendors to boost product knowledge.