If you read trade magazines and other publications geared to builders, you already know that there are all kinds of local, regional, and national awards programs for excellence in building and remodeling. On the surface, these might seem like an excuse for builders to get together and pat one another on the back. The reality is quite different. After more than 20 years of competing for and winning awards, I'm convinced that good builders win awards because they're good, but also that winning awards can help make a good builder even better.

There are some obvious benefits to being able to present yourself as an award-winning builder. First, it attracts new customers by putting your name before the public in a favorable light. Local newspapers often cover awards presentations as news, and this is the best advertising you can get. I have many customers who first heard about our...

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