The remodeling business is largely a service business: The companies that give customers the best service tend to get the best referrals. But to deliver truly superlative service, you've got to have all the cards — and in today's competitive market your trump card may be the ability to arrange financing.

My company has been providing this service for 20 years with quite a lot of success. We have ongoing relationships with people in the mortgage business, to whom we refer any customer who wants financing. And a lot of customers do: Of the approximately $3 million in business we do each year, I estimate that our lending partners finance about half...

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