The Remodeling editors are knee-deep in reviewing applications and interviewing candidates for the 2012 Big50 class. Applications keep rolling in, but we always wonder what keeps some great remodelers from jumping in? If you've been delaying applying for Big50, here are the real-life, no-nonsense, cut-to-the-chase facts to overturn some Big50 myths that may be holding you back: 

Myth #1: I don't run a big enough company to be Big50
Though the first Big50 class was quite literally that - the 50 largest remodelers in the industry by revenue - that qualification is no more. Even in 2011, Big50 remodelers' companies ranged in size from $500,000 to over $20 million. Regardless of your sales volume last year, chances are you're "big" enough to be Big50. Additionally, having a certain size staff is not a Big50 qualification. Some Big50s have dozens of employees, and others are sole operators. As long as you're great at what you do, size doesn't matter. 
Myth#2: It costs money to apply.
Nope. It's free. The only thing applying forBig50 will cost you is a couple of hours of your time to fill out the application and chat with our editors. 
Myth #3: Being Big50 doesn't "mean" anything.

Fact: This might be the biggest myth of them all. Big50 remodelers who choose to take advantage of it can find the Big50 designation to be highly valuable with clients, staff, and other remodelers. Here are six reasons why:

  • Recent NARI reports cite census data reflecting 652,000 remodeling businesses in the United States. That means once we select this year's class, Big50 remodelers will be able to tell their clients, "of the 652,000 remodelers in the United States, only 1,350 business owners carry this designation, including me."

  • Even when drilling down to your own region, state, or city, the percentage of remodelers that represent the business acumen, craftsmanship, and attitude we look for in a Big50 is tiny, but strong and valuable.

  • Past Big50s see the honor as a third-party endorsement of their business, and a badge of honor and respect among the industry.

  • Along with their designation, each Big50 remodeler receives a "marketing toolkit" with logos to use on stationery or apparel, a drafted press release to edit as they see fit and send to local news outlets, lists of other remodelers in their Big50 class, and more.

  • The award has been used as a recruitment tool for new employees: good people like to work for industry leaders. The excellence and leadership values Big50 represents can also set the tone for how remodelers train staff members and conduct their businesses.

  • Through industry and community involvement, and good client communication, Big50 remodelers help raise the profile of remodeling as a trustworthy profession. 

Myth #4: Big50 candidates have to make their financials public.
There is a financial review element to the interview process; we're looking for companies that are healthy and profitable. If you're chosen as a member of a Big50 class, the only part of your financial picture that we'll publish is your revenue from the previous year. That said, if part of your success story revolves around your numbers, we'll want to learn more about that and possibly share some of those numbers, with your permission. 
Myth #5: I'll have to give up all my trade secrets
Remodeling's mission as a business-building publication has been built upon the generosity of remodelers that want to share the details of their success with others. By sharing ideas, generating discussion, and solving problems, remodelers can help each other boost the image of the entire industry. In that respect, yes, we'll want to find out as much as we can about how you do the things you do well, and the mistakes you learned from along the way. We hope you'll be interested in sharing your knowledge and your lessons learned with us, but no, you won't have to give away all your secrets. 
Myth #6: I don’t do anything special.
We doubt that. Even if you stumbled into being a remodeling business owner, and many have, every remodeler we've met has an interesting twist on how they came into the business. Whether it's a creative process to help work run smoothly, or a yarn to spin about how you solved a problem for one of your clients, we want to hear about it. 
Myth #7: The application is too complicated
Fact: In recent years, we've streamlined the Big50 application to make it easier to fill out and submit. In addition to basic contact information, we ask for information on the size of your staff; scope of your work; business challenges, differentiators, and goals; and an overview of financial performance for the past few years. Regardless of the type of bookkeeping you use, we make your financial data work with our format and help out every step of the way. 
Myth #8:Being interviewed is scary
Fact: The Remodeling editors talk to so many remodelers every day, we hardly consider it "interviewing" anymore. We're catching up with old friends and making new ones. Give us a try - we don't bite!