Given the hundreds of stories and thousands of data points that went into this year’s Remodeling 550, it's easy to lose the forest for all the trees. So here are a dozen of our favorite insights that emerge from this year's report.
- The 325 full-service remodelers on our list saw their revenues grow 14% last year to reach $1.41 billion. This year, they are looking for another 13% climb.
- Meanwhile, the 150 companies on the replacement contractor list had similar double-digit growth in 2014, hitting $2.54 billion, and they foresee an 8.4% rise this year.
- Revenues for full-service remodelers are up about 30% from their low point in 2009. That’s in line with data analysis by Metrostudy, a sister company to Remodeling, that indicates remodelers nationwide were busier in the second quarter of this year than they have any time this century.
- As usual, replacement contractors did far more projects—this year, eight times more—than full-service remodelers, but at an average of only one-fifth the price.
- There’s enormous range within the ranks. For instance, just under 15% of the full-service firms took in less than $1 million while nearly 8% recorded more than $10 million. Likewise, at 10% of the companies the average job size was below $10,000, while 6% of the firms said their average job was worth more than a quarter million dollars.
- Over 81% of replacement contractors listed work with windows and doors. The next four service areas for replacement contractors are siding (65%), roofing (50.4%), gutter protection (43.4%), and decks (30.8%).
- About 56% of the companies on the full-service list identified themselves as full-service remodelers, while 35% said they were design/build firms, and 8% called themselves kitchen and bath specialists. Just 1% chose “"other."” Regardless of designation, they often did much of the same work; 96.9% of the entire group did K&B jobs, 92% renovated whole houses, and 90.2% did room additions. The numbers were much lower for roofing replacement (only 40.9%), handyman services (42.2%), and siding jobs (46.8%).
- Even with the
much-publicized rise in social media services, the top marketing methods cited most often by replacement contractors (42.7% put it in the top three), repeat customers (32.3%), and their company website (28%). Fewer than one-eighth listed social media sites like
Angie’s List and Houzz.com as being among their top three sources of leads.
Replacement contractors’' average marketing cost as a percent of sales volume was just around 9.8%. Ten of the 132 respondents to that question spent more than 20% of their sales volume on marketing, while 28.8% of the respondents spent less than 5% on marketing. In addition, 60% of the companies said they employ a sales manager.
- Just under 30% of the replacement contractors on the list made between $2 million and $5 million in sales last year. The second largest cohort, at 21.3%, made between $10 million and $20 million in sales.
- As one might expect with small businesses, worker benefits were spotty. Just 62% of the full-service provided health insurance, 31% offered dental coverage, and only 22% offered life insurance. Even vacations weren'’t an everyday perk; —only 86.5% gave them. Just 52% had a pension or 401(k) plan. In contrast, 68% provided a company uniform, 63% gave employees a mobile phone, and 56% provided a company vehicle.
- Just under a fifth of the replacement contractors work exclusively in one type of remodeling, with 14 working exclusively with windows and doors.
- Replacement contractors have, on average, 55 employees each. The benefits provided by each contractor vary, with the most common being vacation days, offered by 82% of the companies listed. The least common benefit is disability, offered by only 22%. Miscellaneous benefits offered by only some firms include yoga and fitness memberships, profit sharing possibilities, and one company offering “lots of food.”
Editor's Note: You might have noticed that the Remodeling 550 list that you see online looks slightly different than the version published in Remodeling's August issue. That's because a handful of remodeling firms never turned in the survey forms until they saw the print edition. Rather than force those companies to wait a year, and given how visitors increasingly are turning to the web for data like this, we decided to update the Remodeling 550 to include their entries. That shifted most companies' rankings slightly.