Remodeling sales in the U.S. peaked in 2007, then experienced a double-digit decline, bottoming out in the middle of 2010, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Hardest hit were full-service remodelers, especially those offering design/build services. The effect of the recession, Joint Center senior fellow Kermit Baker says, was often to make big companies mid-size, mid-size companies small, etc.

In a report released earlier this year, the Joint Center predicted a return to modest growth. “The broader housing market has been very resistant to recovery,” Baker says, noting that falling home equity, tight credit, and fewer home sales are affecting both new construction and remodeling.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the highly fragmented nature of this industry, with (according to the last census) on or around 800,000 contractors involved in home renovation, but comparatively few generating sales of $1 million or more.

How It's Done

Residential remodeling revenue data for the list is gathered from a Web-based survey jointly developed by REMODELING and its sister publication REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR. Specpan, 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 and REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR editors though survey mailings, phone calls, and public information sources.