Leave Rake Marks

by | Mar 11, 2012 | Levco Builders Process | 4 comments

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Zen Garden

My brother, Maurice just told me a story of a park ranger that had retired but before he did he mentored his replacement. All in all the new ranger was doing the same thing the previous one did but there was something missing.

The park-goers were not as happy and missed the last ranger, they just couldn’t figure out why till someone noticed the lack of rake marks.

Sure the park was clean and neat, it just wasn’t the same, until the lack of rake marks was realized.

Rake marks left in the sand had a deeper meaning for my brother. We had a great discussion about how we can apply the story and principle into our daily lives, and add it to the culture of our companies.

Leaving rake marks is another way to express a mantra that I hold in high esteem “show that you care”. Perhaps this is easier to understand than do, we will see.

Rake marks are simply a visible sign that you were there and that you care.

Another Zen Garden

At Levco we have employed this little tactic in our everyday conversations. It is one more way we differentiate ourselves from the pack.

Rake marks can mean a multitude of things;

  • Keeping the job site safe and organized.
  • Going out of your way to be helpful.
  • Doing a favor without being asked.
  • Anticipating the needs of others.
  • Being patient, respectful, and cooperative.
  • Straightening out and organizing stuff.
  • Making sure everyone working on the project cleans their area nightly, and the place is locked up securely.
  • Fixing something that wasn’t on the list.
  • Leaving notes.

Basically, it boils down to leaving everything you touch better than when you found it. There I go letting my inner Eagle Scout come out again.

A client recently told me this pearl of wisdom. “When You Clean, You Find,” He told me of several examples that include all sorts of things to look out for that made perfect sense. I suppose this could be used whenever cleaning is done.

So essentially cleaning is not necessarily a job to be relegated to the lowest man on the totem pole.

Things that are of special interest that have been caught since all we started paying more attention to. “Oh we’ll take care of that during the punch list phase” is grounds for termination in my book.

Gap In Floor


  • Level
  • Plumb
  • Gaps
  • Square
  • Nails not sunk all the way in
  • Fire blocking & drywall backing
  • Bracing and backing for grab bars and towel bars

Prior to Insulation & Covering walls:

  • Disconnected ductwork
  • The plumbing pressure test caps still on.
  • gaps in insulation.

Final Cleaning

Finish work:

  • Gaps in the grout, trim connections, under the threshold
  • Caulking
  • Filled nail holes
  • Toe kicks & Vents

Final Cleaning:

  • Rough surfaces
  • Appliances in place solidly
  • Painting holiday (thin spot)
  • Proper drawer/cabinet door operation & alignment
  • Clogged aerators
  • Light bulbs out
  • Overspray
  • Scratched windows

The list of examples is endless, the good news is that it even applies to cleaning up the kitchen when you are the last one to use it. Give it a try I am sure you will be impressed with how you feel about your work, never mind about how others view your work.

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling email me directly or visit our contact page.

 Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

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Leave A Comment


  1. Maurice

    Joe- you took this story and expounded on it exactly the way I think about the story- you applied it so well to our profession- anyone in any service related industry will benefit from this.


    • Joe Levitch

      I knew the story was a gem, thanks for ratcheting up the “showing that we care” side of how we do things. This is the essence of what will help differentiate us from our competitors, although subtle, in the long run it all adds up to a great remodeling experience.

  2. Sherry

    It’s ‘going back to basics’ with a PLUS!

    Thanks Joe!

    • Joe Levitch

      Funny how this little article hits a nerve with so many folks. Thanks for your support!


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