After 70-hour weeks working at his remodeling firm and his property management company, both operating under The Burnell Group name (Big50 1996), Bernie Gump decided it was time to give one up. By late last year, he had wrapped up business on the remodeling side and is now working 40 hours or less each week. "I feel like I have things under control vs. feeling like it was a hurricane," Gump says.

The closing of the Fort Wayne, Ind., remodeling arm marked the end of a 16-year run and a business that once employed 12 and brought in nearly $1 million in volume.

But the business gave Bernie and Rhonda Gump, licensed real estate agents, the wherewithal to invest in, restore, and pay off 12 historic rental properties. The income supplemented the property management firm's percentage of about $1.5 million in gross rents on 60 properties.

Now, the couple vacations more. If past remodeling customers have warranty issues, Gump uses subcontracted labor. He also counsels past clients who are considering remodeling projects.

The remodeler emeritus says he has plenty to do, but "it's kind of fun to wake up in the morning and not have any appointments."