Benchmark Market Leaders A-C

Benchmark Market Leaders

December 31, 2003


Success Factors    |    < A - C >    |    < D - H >    |    < I - M >    |    < N - S >    |    < T - Z >


Alexander Dahlgren

Acheron Construction


Craftsmanship, Design

Owners: Alexander Dahlgren, CGR, Clint Everest

Profile: Founded 1989; design/build residential remodeling

Dahlgren on craftsmanship: "We have been able to consistently deliver a high-quality product to our clients due to the strong team we have developed over the years. There is very little turnover among our subcontractors and vendors."

On design: "Our in-house design is led by our senior partner. He takes great pride in the individuality of the projects we produce. While many of them are identifiable in our local market as Acheron designs, they are very carefully tailored to the specific needs of our individual clients."


ADR Builders

Timonium, Md.



Airoom Architects & Builders

Lincolnwood, Ill.

Marketing, Market Share, Technology


Alure Home Improvements

East Meadow, N.Y.

Innovative Business Practices, Market Share


Amazing Siding Corp.


Market Share


Anthony Wilder Design/Build

Bethesda, Md.



Apex Construction & Remodeling

Highland, Ind.

Community Service



Mark Brick

B&E General Contractors

Glendale, Wis.

Marketing, Supplier Partnerships

Owners: Mark A. Brick, CR, CGR

Profile: 19 years old; design/build residential remodeling

Vice president Marlynn Brick on marketing: "We focused attention on new methods of advertising to attract jobs, most notably involvement in a community-based weekly television show that showcased many of our projects in process. Thus, viewers had a new, hands-on feeling for our firm and simultaneously could watch the progress of our workmanship. It opened up a new potential customer base for our company. We also capitalized on co-op advertising programs with many of our suppliers. Thus, we never truly had to cut down on our scope of advertising while refocusing our budget on other costs that had skyrocketed, such as health insurance benefits, workers' compensation, liability coverage and the daily cost of materials."

On employees: "Listen to your employees. They are in the trenches and are the heartbeat of the firm. They interact daily with the client, subs, suppliers and issues that could befuddle a four-star general."

On clients: "Listen to the clients - their enthusiasm, their desperation, their excitement, their frustration. They live 24/7 with the remodeling project, with their world in upheaval. They must have our total respect, no matter the issue. What may be a mundane, daily occurrence for us may be a ticking time bomb for them."


Bartelt Filo

Menomonee Falls, Wis.

Marketing, Market Share


Bennett/Dover Home Remodelers

North Olmsted, Ohio




Blackdog Builders

Salem, N.H.

Innovative Business Practices, Marketing

Owners: David K. Bryan, CGR

Profile: 13 years old; design/build remodeling with kitchen/bath focus

Bryan on marketing: "Two years ago we decided as a part of our growth plan to create and staff the position of marketing coordinator. This has allowed us to have an individual focused on creating consistency with our image, monitoring marketing results and trying new vehicles to exposure."

On peer groups: "We have participated in a peer group for a number of years, and we have been involving our key managers in that process. This synergy has allowed us to look at and adopt new methods and procedures geared toward improving our business."



Boardwalk Builders

Rehoboth Beach, Del.


Owner: Patty McDaniel

Profile: 17 years old; full-service remodeling

McDaniel on marketing: "Our marketing efforts are successful because we have a marketing plan, we use a professional consultant to ensure that our materials have a consistent look, feel and message, and we spend the largest part of our budget on previous clients."


Brenneman & Pagenstecher

Kensington, Md.



Budman's Remodeling

Keego Harbor, Mich.

Customer Service



Chris Avant

Canyon Construction

Moraga, Calif.

Building Technology

Owner: Chris Avant

Profile: Founded 1966; commercial and residential remodeling, custom home construction, historical restoration, structural repair

In addition to doing seismic retrofit work for homes and businesses, Canyon Construction has helped the University of California, Berkeley's Engineering Department in seismic research testing concrete's performance under stress. Canyon uses concrete with high-strength fly ash - a waste product from coal-fired power plants - in place of concrete with cement.



Paul J. Zuch

Capital Improvements

Allen, Texas

Building Technology, Craftsmanship, Design

Owner: Paul J. Zuch, CR, CGB

Profile: 5 years old; design/build remodeling

Zuch on design: "Over the years I have worked with many of the top architects and designers in the Dallas market. As a result, I have developed the ability to walk into any space and see it for what it could be. This has proved to be an incredible asset to our company as our clients allow us to be creative and transform their spaces into award-winning works of art."

On design/build: "Making the shift from a general contractor bidding and building other designers' work to a design/remodeling firm has transformed the image and performance of our company."

On peer groups: "This has single-handedly contributed more to the success of our company than any other factor."

On employees: "You must hire competent staff that represents everything your company values and your culture is based on."



Case Design/Remodeling and Case Handyman Services

Bethesda, Md.

Innovative Business Practices

Owners: Fred Case, Mark Richardson

Profile: 42 years old; design/build, kitchen/bath, handyman services

Richardson on growth: "The greatest challenge Case faced in 2003 was handling growth [doubling the size of the franchise system]. While this was planned growth, it is important to focus on consistency and leadership to ensure successful growth. The greatest challenge Case will face in 2004 is maintaining our growth. This is something that is consistently a part of our business plan."


Callen Construction

Muskego, Wis.

Sales, Marketing



Rick Pratt

Classic Homeworks


Innovative Business Practices, Market Share

Owner: Rick Pratt, CR

Profile: Founded 1985; full-service residential remodeling

Specializing in older homes within the city, Classic Homeworks even changed its name from CC&A Construction to reflect its market dominance in historical renovation.


Classic Remodeling & Construction

Charleston, S.C.

Human Resources


Comfort Diagnostics & Solutions

North Little Rock, Ark.

Building Technology, Marketing


Connor & Co.




Construction Services Group

Spring, Texas

Customer Service



Crown Construction

Dryden, N.Y.

Human Resources

Owners: John Lafian, Jeff Fredrickson

Profile: 17-plus years old; residential and light commercial remodeling

Top 3 keys to human resource success: 1. Develop and maintain a culture that attracts, rewards and keeps the best employees in the industry. 2. Bottom-up management: Empower employees to grow, make creative decisions and take charge of their concerns and customers. 3. Have a system that tracks results and progress through customer evaluation, in-house communication and job-costing reports.



Bill Simone

Custom Design & Construction

Los Angeles

Marketing, Profitability

Owners: Bill Simone, CGR, CAPS, Randy Ricciotti, CGR, CAPS

Profile: 18 years old; design/build residential remodeling

Marketing coordinator Stacy Lane on the top 3 success factors: "A dedication to customer service in all aspects of our specialized and refined design- completion system; a high level of craftsmanship and quality in our product; and a team-leadership office environment in which growth, change and innovation are rewarded."

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