Known also as specialty contractors, replacement contractors focus on a handful of products. Many replace exterior components such as roofing, siding, windows, and doors. Some focus on indoor products and projects such as bath liners, walk-in tubs, basement waterproofing, and kitchen cabinet refacing.

But regardless of what product or service they sell, what these companies have in common is that the jobs they sell and install are rarely complex; they turn these jobs quickly; and they need a lot of them to sustain the business.

Many replacement companies, though not all, see themselves not so much as contractors but as sales and marketing organizations that happen to sell home improvement products. Marketing and sales are what they are good at. And their marketing and sales finesse have enabled many — think Window World, or Window Nation — to continue to expand throughout the recession.