Illustration by Greg Clarke

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At the same time applications for this year's Remodeling 550 were due, the first states were shutting down in response to the coronavirus outbreak. California came first, ordering residents to stay at home on March 19, followed by New York and Illinois a few days later. In the weeks afterward, up until April 7, one by one, 42 states shut down. To say this caused havoc in the remodeling market is an understatement. Suffice to say, participation in this year's survey of the top remodeling firms was disrupted. We extended the deadline as long as we could--until April 11--but in the end, we felt it was important to publish the results now, rather than postponing until later in the year. As we went to press, several states began to relax restrictions and engage "Phase 1" reopening strategies. Several states that put a complete moratorium on construction during the outbreak have eased into allowing new projects to move forward.

Business will reemerge at different times for different remodelers, depending on location, the products you offer, and the financial resilience of the clients you serve. It's the last factor that is the big unknown. Clearly, there is a pent-up demand for remodeling, perhaps more than usual, owing to how much time people have spent at home eyeing what needs work. But the financial hit that almost every individual has taken in this crisis foreshadows a significant lag in spending ability for many. How many will be in a position to act on their pent-up remodeling desires?

We hope we're surprised. In a query we sent to all participants asking how they felt now about their projected revenue figures, we received a full range of responses--from "my revenue stream will be substantially more than forecast" to the more common prediction that numbers will be off from 10% to 40% (most were in the range of 20% or lower).

Know this: For all who responded, whenever the time comes for you to emerge from crisis, whether that is now, later in the summer, or next fall, we will be here to promote the excellence you demonstrate. Stay in touch and let us know when you are back to full-tilt, so we can continue to roll out word of your good work at the perfect time.


The entire group of full-service remodelers that applied this year accounted for nearly $1.4 billion in remodeling revenues and completed 20,082 jobs. 2019 was decidedly a good year, with all firms earning at least 7% more than they projected in 2018 (see Actual vs. Projected Revenue page for a detailed breakdown). The complete list of 223 full-service firms that entered this year is available online.


The top replacement- and specialty-contractor firms generated a total of $4.0 billion in revenue and completed 666,161 jobs in 2019. Year-to-year comparisons of the entire cohort are difficult given disruptions related to the coronavirus; however, when only firms that participated both last year and this are compared, the top replacement and specialty firms showed positive growth in both revenue and jobs in 2019 compared with 2018.

More than the money. It’s not all about money, though. While success on the lists is defined by revenues earned by remodeling work, we ask for a lot more information on the application. That information, summarized in the list of charts below, reveals some of what is necessary to succeed. Yes, it reflects the industry's collective business savvy, but it also reveals incredible generosity, dedication and ingenuity—the heart of small-business enterprise and key ingredients for success.

Remodelers aren’t easily defined; they don’t subscribe to any one, single association or governing body. The industry is as independent as the vastly diverse population it serves. But that’s exactly the beauty of the professionals whose success we celebrate here. The entire staff behind Remodeling offers its sincere congratulations to all the firms on the 2020 REMODELING lists.

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