(Aug. 16 update: The Remodeling 550 now has been released. Click here for highlights.)

Percentage of 2016 Remodeling 550's full-service firms and replacement contractors that offer particular benefits

Our preview of the 2016 Remodeling 550 continues with a look at the benefit packages offered by the 345 full-service firms and 150 replacement contractors in this year's soon-to-be-published report.

Both full-service companies and replacement contractors are generous with vacations and paid holidays, and they're understanding when people get sick. They also match up with with much bigger firms in terms of providing a mobile phone to employees. But when it comes to insurance, differences start to appear.

The average full-service firm in the Remodeling 550 is smaller--sometimes drastically smaller--than the replacement contractor firms. And, as with the nation as a whole, the bigger you are, the more likely you are to offer benefits. Thus, there's a 16-point difference in the percentage of full-service firms providing life insurance (24.3%) and the share of replacement contractors doing the same (40.0%). The gap is even wider--18.1 points--with regard to providing dental insurance. And there's a 10-point difference between the two involving whether a retirement account or 401(k) plan is offered.

Surveys by other groups verify the role that a company's size plays in its propensity for providing benefits. For instance, here is a page from the Kaiser Family Foundation's 2015 Employer Health Benefits Survey showing that only 54% of businesses with three to 49 employees offered health insurance while 89% of firms with 50 to 99 employees did the same:

Table from Kaiser Family Foundation 2015 study showing percentages of companies offering health insurance

The Society for Human Resource Management's annual benefits survey also shows that big companies do more. Its 2015 poll drew responses from more than 460 human resources offices, but only 26% of them worked at firms with fewer than 100 employees and only 6% were in construction and real estate. The overall responses showed far higher rates of benefits being offered than Remodeling 550 companies with regard to areas like dental coverage (96% of SHRM poll respondents said they had it), 401(k) plans (90% did), life insurance (83%), and paid holidays (98%).

About the only place remodelers beat SHRM respondents was in providing a company car; for the RM550 the rate was between 54% and nearly 60%, while at SHRM firms it was just 18%.