2021 Revenue: $1.2 million
I am currently transitioning into ownership of our company as the owner retires. This has been challenging and exciting.
Advice to others: If I see a red flag with a client right at the beginning, I will no longer take on that project. For example, we try to have people come in to see us first. If someone is very inflexible on timing, that’s a bad sign. We don’t work on weekends, but we’ll meet a homeowner in the evening, if needed. If people say, “I have to do it on Saturday,” I will say, “I’m sorry, that’s not going to work.” I’m not going to give up my family time on a first meeting. If we’ve been working for months, we’ll meet on a Saturday, but not for someone I don’t know.
Another thing is we charge an initial design fee that’s anywhere from $500 to $2,000, depending on the project. Sometimes homeowners already have drawings, and they know exactly what they want. In that case, we won’t charge them. But if we’re pulling appliance specs and picking out colors, and so on, we ask for them to pay for our time. It’s not unusual for people to say, “I’m not going to pay. How do I know if I want to work with you?” If people throw a fit about that fee, that’s a red flag. Before we put time into it, we need a deposit.