1. Use flat-rate pricing.

2. Read and understand a profit and loss statements.

3. Know your costs of doing business.

4. Mentor those starting out in the industry.

5. Training and education — never stop learning.

6. Use technology to your advantage.

7. Develop and implement a safety program.

8. Implement lean construction techniques.

9. Develop effective marketing campaigns to retain customers.

10. Conduct background checks and drug testing on prospective hires (especially in the service end of the business).

11. Diversify into water quality and residential fire protection businesses.

12. Hire the right people, not just warm bodies.

13. Implement project management planning.

14. Add prefabrication services.

15. Be the “Best Contractor To Work For” in your market.

16. Learn about green construction and become certified through LEED, Green Plumbers USA, etc.

17. Be a problem-solver for your customers, not someone who creates additional problems.

18. Always look and act professional.

19. Promote your company through the local press.

20. Put together a comprehensive operations manual and make sure all employees have read it.

21. Join industry associations and affinity groups for networking and valuable information.

22. Keep up-to-date on codes and regulations.

23. Positively promote the industry to young people (and their parents), women and minorities.

24. Maintain good relationships with all players in the supply chain.

25. Have a succession plan or exit strategy in place.