Remodeling is a complex industry. Contractors who provide remodeling services number 530,200, according to tabulations by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The Joint Center divides that number into 320,100 specialty trade firms and 210,100 general contractors. A handful are large, generating millions or even tens of millions of dollars in sales each year. Most are small, often sole-proprietor companies invisible outside their markets.

The diversity in the home improvement universe is enormous, ranging from operations that offer a full complement of services including design and construction to handyman companies whose business focus is the quick repair. And then there are the many home improvement companies that specialize in one or several types of jobs and are organized to do large numbers of those jobs in a year. That business model sharply contrasts with the full-service remodelers who, at least before the current economic downturn, were often set up to do multiple trade jobs, such as additions or whole-house remodels, which typically ran to five or six figures.

The Remodeling 550, our first list of home improvement companies since we published the Remodeling 1,000 in the 1990s, takes into account the diversity of these types by grouping companies into four major categories: full-service, replacement or specialty, insurance restoration, and franchise.

Except in the case of national franchise organizations, they’re ranked by volume. (Franchises are grouped by product/service offering and are ranked within the group by number of franchise members.) The list will be an annual feature of the magazine.

How It’s Done

The Remodeling 550 is a list of the largest remodeling and home improvement companies based on residential remodeling revenue.

Data for the 550 is based on a survey jointly developed by Remodeling, its sister publication Replacement Contractor, and Specpan, a consultancy and business data collection provider in Indianapolis.

Specpan programmed and hosted the Web-based survey, in addition to collecting and compiling the data.

Additional information was obtained by Remodeling and Replacement Contractor editors though survey mailings, phone calls, and public information sources.