When I was starting out as a remodeler, some 25 years ago, I’d spend nights and weekends working on estimates for big projects I knew our company might not get — and many hours doing accounting and payroll when we did land one of those jobs. Over time, though, I realized I was happier with smaller projects, like kitchen and bath remodels and room additions, so I downsized the company. Running a smaller business means that I spend more time on site and less time in the office. At present, we’re a C corporation with three employees and an annual volume that ranges between $500,000 and $800,000.

Part of our strategy for remaining profitable has been to do as much of the work as we can in-house, including drywall, flooring, tile, and painting, as well as all rough and finish carpentry. This approach has not only helped us stay busy in the current slow market — it has also kept us on track when the market was hot and subs were more...

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