Anthony James Construction, Westfield, N.J., wants clients to know they're in good hands. The company follows up its sales presentation with a thank-you note and, following the signing of a contract, sends clients information detailing how the company's practices differ from those of other contractors.

"We remind them of the differences," says owner Anthony Cerami. His company uses premium lumber. Drywall is glued and screwed, so nails aren't popping out in a few years. They also use quality, 25-year shingles, not builder grade, and a cement backerboard in all tub and shower enclosures that is water resistant and has a lifetime warranty.

To pull its promise of quality construction together at the end of the job, the company organizes a post-project walk-through with owner Cerami and the lead carpenter on the project. The purpose is to explain policies like the company's five-year materials and labor warranty policy on foundation and framing work and the two-year warranty on mechanicals and finish work, as well as to hand off a 31-page spiral-bound booklet called the Homeowners' Manual.

The manual offers detailed maintenance instructions, covering virtually every area of the home, inside and out, including mechanicals, and also spells out the company's responsibility in the event a warranty issue arises.

Most important, though, for Cerami, is that the walk-through gets the client "back up to a nice level" of rapport, he says -- the kind of feeling that tends to dissipate a bit in the final weeks of a project. And the kind that leads to referrals.