There is nothing more frustrating to a design/build remodeling contractor than spending 15 or 20 hours with potential clients—coaxing budget information from them, suggesting approaches and products, developing drawings, and generally holding their hands as we're expected to do—only to be told "Sorry, but my husband and I have decided to build a new house instead," or "We've decided to have Contractor B do the work you drew up because his price is $1,100 less." All you can do is smile weakly and suppress the impulse to say, "Lady, I'd have given you $500 two weeks ago to know this." New Approach In the last few years, I have been using a system that eliminates some of this risk.