Last September, Bob Peterson realized that leads had decreased and that home­owners were slower to make decisions. He immediately began making adjustments by cutting his budget and some staff. In October, when the stock market dropped, he and his wife, Rita, met with the staff of ABD Design/Build, in Fort Collins, to review the company’s lower 2009 volume projection.

He laid off an additional seven employees in December. For his remaining 13 employees, Peterson instituted a two-week furlough and cut salaries by 10%. He also went from a five-day to a four-day workweek. “Our main goal in 2009 is to be here in 2010,” he says.

ABD has survived three economic declines. The 2001 decline hurt technology businesses at a time when tech employees made up 70% of ABD’s clients. Peterson says that in the current decline, lower house appraisals have affected remodeling. Some potential customers lost $150,000 to $200,000 in home equity.

However, the local university is building new structures; a local health company recently opened its third new hospital; and the technology industry is stable, with former employees of larger firms creating startup companies. Peterson and his staff are working on some larger projects, and there are three projects over $150,000 at the design stage.

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.