550 Remodeling List Announced

The country’s biggest and best recognized by Remodeling magazine.

Early each summer, since 2009, Remodeling magazine publishes its Remodeling 550 list, highlighting some of the biggest and best companies in the Remodeling industry. Although this year’s honorees include just a handful of Iowa representatives, a peek at the overall list and its award process offers some insight into the industry as a whole—and our Iowa market in particular.

The Lists

Divided into four separate lists, the Remodeling 550 recognizes the largest Remodeling companies in the country, primarily based on volume of business in terms of sales. The list categories include “full-service Remodeling companies, replacement contractor businesses, insurance restoration companies, and franchisors.”

Beginning early in the year, Remodeling sends out online surveys so remodelers can enter their data for consideration. Based on those responses, the magazine obtains additional information through phone calls, emails, and further interviews to determine the top 550 companies in the country.

In addition to the Remodeling 550, the GuildQuality Service Excellence Distinction is awarded to businesses that achieve a score of at least 90% customer satisfaction from customer service surveys.

The National Market

California topped the list, with nearly 50 firms represented, followed closely by Texas. The vast majority of states have less than 10 companies represented; more than a dozen states have no or one company on the list. It comes as no surprise that some of the busiest markets include California, Texas, Florida, and the regions around New York City and Washington, D.C.

Revenue for the Remodeling 550 firms has continued to rise. The magazine stated, “Companies seem to be gaining their confidence back” since the 2008–09 recession years. And most companies predict an even better year in 2018. Average sales rose over 7% from 2016 to 2017; the predicted increase for 2018 is over 13%.

Another postrecession trend has been the move toward more projects per year, but at lower sales volume. In the past decade the number of jobs completed annually across the country has leapt from 25,000 in 2008 to over 60,000 in 2017. At the same time, the average dropped from a high of over $40,000 in 2008 to a steady $25,000 over the past three years.

The Local Representatives

About half a dozen Iowa remodelers appeared on the 2018 list, with three metro area firms represented. MBG Renovation of Johnston, which has appeared on the list several times in the past, was #308 on the Full-Service Remodeler segment. Home Solutions of Iowa in Granger was #88 and Buresh Home Solutions in Clive was #149 on the Home Improvement Specialists list.

Past winners include AIM Kitchen & Bath (which has been recognized multiple times), Kaufman Construction (also a GuildQuality and Big 50 winner), Red House Remodeling, and HC Remodel & Design of Council Bluffs, and Crown Point Builders of Garner (both multiyear recipients).

Many professionals had predicted significant growth in the Remodeling industry during and immediately following the recession. However, most remodelers recognized that a slow new construction market wouldn’t necessarily translate to a booming Remodeling market.

As Devan Kaufman of Kaufman Construction stated in a story in the January issue of BUILD Des Moines, “Consumer confidence has a similar effect on both industries, so they are linked in that way. But people remodel or buy because of different needs.”

That understanding has translated to a local Remodeling industry that has maintained steady growth despite the ups and downs of the national market. And the housing industry in Iowa continues to remain strong, as evidenced by the state’s ranking as the number one place to move and its presence on numerous “Top 10” lists.

The fact that only half a dozen Iowa remodelers appeared on the 2018 Remodeling 550 list may have less to do with sales, pace of growth, or number of jobs completed. It may be as much a result of the active market we have here. Those Big 550 level remodelers are busy working and keeping their clients happy, leaving little time for online surveys.