Home renovation is a unique business in a number of ways. One way is the sheer number of businesses that serve the market for fixing or altering the home. From full-scale remodeling to the neighborhood handyman who repairs a broken faucet, they number more than a half million separate business entities. Most are single proprietors or small companies with a truck or two. A minority are big enough to float a payroll.
So a $5 million remodeler is a large remodeler. The biggest company on this year’s Remodeling 550 list — insurance restoration giant Belfor — generated more than $1 billion in sales of residential renovation. But Belfor is an exception, as is the next largest company on the list, Window World, with sales of more than $400 million.
The 550 companies included on the list are organized by business type, and type is defined by function. Full-service remodelers are general contractors whose forte is typically additions and alterations. Replacement contractors replacing mostly exterior home components such as siding or roofing — install smaller jobs but far more of them. Insurance restoration companies rebuild homes following fire, flood, or other disaster with insurers footing the bill.
And, finally, there are franchise operations. Companies such as Grout Doctor or Mr. Sparky can be a point of entry for entrepreneurs with no construction experience or, in some cases, a sideline for established remodelers or for tradesmen looking for a turnkey business model built around their skills. In home renovation, franchises are increasingly visible in insurance restoration and in maintenance and repair. For the industry as a whole, size matters because so many of these companies are so small.
How It’s Done: Residential remodeling revenue data for the list is gathered from a Web-based survey developed by Remodeling. The Farnsworth Group, a consultancy and business-data collection provider in Indianapolis, programmed and hosted the Web-based survey and collected and compiled the data. Additional information was obtained by Remodeling editors through survey mailings, phone calls, and public information sources.