A few years ago, while looking for ways to grow our small construction company, we began installing kitchen cabinets for the local Home Depot. Though well aware of the potential difficulties of dealing with a large home center, we wanted small, quick, profitable jobs that we could work on between larger projects. Our goal was to stay busy, and we hoped these jobs would lead to larger projects and repeat business.

It turned out to be a good business decision. Not only did the home center provide us with eight to 12 kitchen installations each year, but our business foundation has been considerably strengthened by the contacts we've established with homeowners, real estate agents, interior designers, and architects. The large addition we are currently...

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