For Steve Tinter, president of Cook Bros., a design/build remodeling company in Arlington, Va., “Good communication begins with setting realistic expectations.” To ensure that such expectations are set for every phase of the remodeling process, Tinter gives clients this flow chart, along with other materials explaining what is expected of both client and remodeler, even before the first sales meeting.

“We also send potential clients a letter telling them exactly what we need from them,” he says, which includes design ideas and blueprints of the existing structure.

But the chart sets a clear project path for the company as well as for the client. The steps mirror the company's internal processes and serve to keep the Cook Bros. team focused on keeping the project moving forward.

“The steps are intuitive for an owner who's been doing this a long time,” Tinter explains, “but when you start growing you have to make sure everyone's on the same page.” By adhering to these diagrammed steps, the sales, design, and production departments guide the project smoothly along a clearly defined path.