When Leo Lantz hires subcontractors, he knows if he’s getting good work out of them—because at some point in his career, he’s done it himself. From the time he was an “indentured servant” for his dad’s real estate empire to working his way through college doing remodeling, Lantz has been involved in renovation one way or another the better part of his life.

“I’ve done everything on a house, from the footings to the roof,” he says. “So each job is going to be done to my satisfaction, and they know it.”

That simple approach seems to be working just fine. Lantz is currently booked out four months in advance and he’s going to need an addition to his office if he gets any more accolades. Along with his Best of Houzz award four years running, he received a Remodeling Excellence award from NAHB and NARI’s Contractor of the Year award. Most recently, he became the first full-time remodeler to be president of Richmond’s Homebuilders Association.

For Lantz, it all goes back to showing customers why they should hire him again and again. “We consistently produce beautiful projects for people,” he says. “And we steadily receive awards for our projects and customer service.”


-- Lantz uses a nurturing sequence to gain new customers. First he offers a free contractor hiring guide in exchange for an email address. Those he signs up then receive periodic follow-ups to keep them on the path toward pulling the trigger on a project, including special offers. “It’s an economical tool to keep people coming back instead of getting one hit on a website and they’re gone,” he says.

--To encourage referrals Lantz uses SendOutCards, a web app that allows him to send customized thank you cards to customers with photos of their completed project. “When you personalize it like that, it’s golden. Customers will not throw it away,” he says. “They put it in their purse and show it to all their friends.” The cost? About $2 per card.

--Lantz just started offering design services this year, but charges a fee, rather than doing it for free. If a customer decides to move forward, the fee is then credited to the job. He says that’s almost always the case. “It’s pretty much a done deal once we get them in the design door,” he says.