Photo: Compoa

After nearly 35 years in the industry, Larry Taylor, and his wife and co-owner Elaine Taylor, are beginning to hand over their company to their two children, Lisa and Trent, but they're keeping their hands in the business by teaching others what they've learned.

Through Business Networks, a peer review group based in Eugene, Ore. (www.businessnet, the Taylors teach Xactimate, an insurance industry estimating software, to contractors and other small-business owners. They also consult with remodeling businesses in the $1 million to $2 million range.

But after all they've been through, it's hard to let go, and the couple still spend a good part of their time in the business and plan to continue their involvement during the next five years before they completely hand it over.

Anchorage, Alaska had 14 banks in 1985, and by 1987, the year that Larry was named Big50, there were two. “Elaine and I were quickly going out of business, so we decided to get into insurance restoration as well as doing remodeling,” Larry says.

Anchorage's oil bust eventually became slow, gradual growth, and the Taylors were able to ride that wave when they began a restoration arm, changing the company's name from Taylored Remodeling Services to Taylored Restoration Services, which has departments for cleaning and water damage.

Larry believes that he was prepared to make the switch because, he says, they'd had a lot of “ups and downs before the bust.” The Taylors learned from their earlier mistakes and bought Xactimate “before anyone even knew what it was,” Larry says. They talked to other remodelers who had also gone down the restoration services path, and began marketing to insurance companies.

They still keep up with a strong remodeling customer base. Larry says, “Anchorage is a small town; a lot of past customers pass on our name to people who have had some sort of disaster in their home.” The company did $1.5 million in remodeling last year and $7 million in restoration work.