The “big” in Big50 doesn’t affect eligibility for the award, but our Big50 benchmarks show that size matters. Typically, owners of larger companies earn larger salaries, although owner compensation is a much smaller percentage of total revenue. Smaller companies often generate higher profit percentages but fewer dollars all around.

But business risk is also a factor, particularly in this economy, and risk is much higher in large companies. The sweet spot this year appears to be companies with revenue in the $3M–$5M range. Although their risk ratio (revenue divided by owner compensation) is somewhat higher, they earn about 50% more on average than the owners of smaller companies with lower risk ratios.

While average revenue across all companies was down 9.5%, expanding and contracting companies were about equal in number. The 22 companies that shrank in 2009 earned 32.6% less revenue than in 2008, averaging about $2.9 million.

At the same time, 20 companies managed to grow by a healthy average of 25.1%, earning average revenue of about $4.9 million. Revenue for the remaining eight companies averaged $2.6 million and changed less than 1%.

—Sal Alfano, editorial director, REMODELING.

The smaller number of office employees in this yearís class reflects the cuts in overhead that most companies have had to make. Lower total revenue boosted office productivity rates, but keeping field crews busy on fewer, smaller projects had the opposite effect on field productivity rates.
The smaller number of office employees in this yearís class reflects the cuts in overhead that most companies have had to make. Lower total revenue boosted office productivity rates, but keeping field crews busy on fewer, smaller projects had the opposite effect on field productivity rates.
While the dollar value of owner compensation is down from previous years, it constitutes a larger percentage of revenue. Risk ratio is the lowest in many years, indicating that compensation remained level even as revenue dropped.
While the dollar value of owner compensation is down from previous years, it constitutes a larger percentage of revenue. Risk ratio is the lowest in many years, indicating that compensation remained level even as revenue dropped.

Notes: All values are averages unless otherwise indicated. All values are based on reported 2009 actuals unless an earlier year is specified.

1. The <$1M and $1M–$2M categories contained a large enough number of companies to warrant separate breakouts; the $300,000–$2M category provides easy comparison to previous years, when these categories were combined.

2. Averages in the “ALL” category do not include values from the four >$10M companies.

3. Risk Ratio measures compensation in relation to revenue (revenue ÷ compensation); the target value is 10 or lower.

Average net profit is lower than in previous years, but still respectable. Five-year net, however, is higher than usual, indicating that for this yearís companies, high-profit years in 2005 and 2006 have compensated for the current downward trend.
Average net profit is lower than in previous years, but still respectable. Five-year net, however, is higher than usual, indicating that for this yearís companies, high-profit years in 2005 and 2006 have compensated for the current downward trend.
Total revenue was down about 9.5% compared with the year before. Although 11 companies grew more than 20% in 2009, and six of those grew more than 35%, 14 companies shrank more than 20%; eight of those contracted more than 35%, and four of those contracted more than 50%.
Total revenue was down about 9.5% compared with the year before. Although 11 companies grew more than 20% in 2009, and six of those grew more than 35%, 14 companies shrank more than 20%; eight of those contracted more than 35%, and four of those contracted more than 50%.