When August Bergdahl was a field hand, laborer, carpenter, and project manager, he not only paid attention to how a remodeling company ran, but how to create one as well. Bergdahl identified the systems, processes, and divisions that make up a company and started his own remodeling business, Crescent Builds, in 2007.

He began with small projects because, with the sudden onset of the recession, there wasn’t much else available. “It was kind of a blessing,” he says. Taking those initial small-scale jobs allowed him to construct the client base and the relationships with architects and designers that today supply most of the business for his company.

With time, the organization has evolved and now functions with a well-defined division of labor between its three principals: Bergdahl sells the work, wife Emilee Birrell meets with architects and clients to get the project ready for production, and partner/production manager Todd Gits manages the project’s execution.


  • After discovering early on that complex projects can easily go awry without a tremendous amount of communication, Crescent Builds uses an internal status meeting to provide all players with a clear understanding of what’s happening. “I didn’t want superintendents producing work in a vacuum,” Bergdahl says. The weekly meetings focus on job specifics and produce detailed notes.
  • A $250 charge for preliminary estimates (which include preliminary pricing and a realistic look at what the job would cost to build) was implemented during the second quarter of last year. The hope is that this will screen out ambiguous leads and will help clients realize “that the business’s time is valuable and that they need to understand and appreciate the amount of work that goes into the estimate.” The fee is deducted if clients sign with Crescent Builds.
  • The remodeler also created a Service Division to manage projects of $30,000 to $40,000 and under. “I don’t want us to lose focus on the small projects—the $10,000 basement or the cosmetic bathroom—that create a great client base, and call us back for more work,” Bergdahl says.

This year we again partnered with GuildQuality, an Atlanta-based customer-satisfaction polling company, to identify candidates for the Service Excellence Award. Based on the results of customer surveys, the award recognizes incoming Big50 winners who consistently deliver an exceptional customer experience.