He also had some pointers on getting jobs. "The trick with commercial is to get a look at all of the jobs. You have to find the job and quote it with whoever is on it," he said. "We try to get on the quote from as many different angles as we can either with a GC or millwork house. On a typical job you can have four or five chances through different people."
His last bit of advice was to review all operations to look for places that can be improved. "We hired Chris Traynor of WhipSmart Consulting to help us analyze opportunity and profitability in our commercial business," DeCaro said. "I strongly urge anyone considering entering this segment to use someone as experienced to help get started and avoid common errors. Consulting costs can be recovered if they help avoid even one or two mistakes. Making an error in the commercial market can be fatal."
DeCaro's closing thoughts were on the intangible rewards of working commercial.
"It's very cool to go someplace and realize your company did the solid surface work," he said. "It's one of the best things about the business. You get a little rush from it. It's even better if people don't know that you did it and are talking about it in front of you. It feels good. I don't get to touch the material anymore, so I have to live vicariously through my employees now, and they make it easy for me to keep that good feeling."
Kevin Cole can be reached at