Replacement contractors or specialty remodeling companies focus on one or a small menu of jobs that typically average $15,000 or less. Such companies are often adept marketers. They have to be because without a steady stream of leads and the sales skills to turn those into revenue a specialty remodeling business will soon wither. Topping the list is Window World, followed by Champion Window and Patio Room Co. Both companies generate sales through a network of local dealers.

Because their expertise lies in marketing and sales, and also because they’re far more adept at bringing financing to the customer, replacement contractors are often larger, more aggressive organizations than full-service companies. Many have used the current downturn and falling sales to get more profit out of the jobs they sell and to enhance relations with customers. “Being a specialty company, the two things we specialize in are lead generation and customer service,” says Mike Lelasher, COO of Cardinal Builders, in Columbus, Ohio.