dRemodeling started because Dan Dragomir just couldn’t find a decent contractor. At the time, Dragomir was a project engineer building bridges and roads who’d been asked to find a contractor to fix a leak. “It took two days to find a good contractor,” Dragomir says. “I saw an opportunity, and I grabbed it.”

Never mind that Dragomir had no remodeling experience. He figured his project management skills coupled with a veteran contractor partner would steer him in the right direction. Today, that intuition has turned into a million-dollar-plus going concern.

Dragomir still doesn’t use subcontractors. In fact, he credits much of his success to that business model. “With subs, it’s very hard to control the quality of the work,” he says. “If you give someone an opportunity to cheat and cut corners, they’re going to do it.”

Instead, Dragomir encourages his employees to exceed expectation. They get bonuses for finishing jobs early—and for customers who lead to referrals. “That’s an incentive for them to be very polite and respect the home and the client,” he says. “We put the client first, always.”

Takeaways: -- Dragomir does a SWOT analysis of his business every three months that includes looking at the competition. “Everything I’m seeing other companies do, I’m trying to see if it works,” he says. “But usually they try to copy us.”

-- Dragomir developed his own CRM, which he uses not only to communicate with customers, but also to analyze them. He looks at stats such as age, when the home was built, location, how long they’ve lived in the house and how they heard about his company. He then uses that information to target new customers.

-- dRemodeling doesn’t use salespeople. Instead Dragomir relies on three “great” designers and a project manager. He also hires one or two interns from the local design school each year. “There’s no high pressure for customers,” he says. “We just identify needs and provide solutions.”