The remodeling and home improvement industry is today seen as its own business classification—a segment of the economy related to, but apart from, homebuilding. Fifty years ago, this was not the case. As late as the mid-1970s, very few people distinguished between builders, remodelers and contractors. All residential general contractors were seen as “builders.”

When Qualified Remodeler published its first annual “leaders” list in 1978, it helped begin to distinguish remodeling from building. The company names and their leaders were suddenly in print; they were published. Eventually, QR’s “leaders” morphed into our long-running benchmark—the TOP 500 rankings. Indeed, this list aided the recognition of remodeling as its own industry.

Bear with me as I delve a bit deeper. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis tracks annual spending on residential construction, which is building and home improvement together in one number. That data series is called Private Residential Fixed Investment. It stands at $1 trillion in economic activity ($1.04 trillion to be exact).

It used to be the case that home building dominated this number, comprising upwards of 60 percent of the total. That is not the case today. According to Harvard University, remodeling and repairs hit $567 billion in 2021. Today, remodeling is bigger than homebuilding, and the sector’s strength and resiliency versus homebuilding, which is more cyclical, has helped spur more investment in the space.

This year, we release a TOP 500 list with an aggregate gross sales total of $22.08 billion on 1,437,193 remodeling jobs. Big firms on the list are growing dynamically. The industry is maturing. Yet, there is so much opportunity. The lion’s share of remodeling is completed by thousands of small, local contractors.

Remodeling and home improvement pros, as a group, grow savvier and more professional with each passing year. The companies they run are capable of delivering predictable profits in good times and in bad times. Professional investors have taken notice by bringing their capital and expertise to the industry.

They are helping create a burgeoning class of national, fast-growing, billion-dollar companies. Business software and tech-driven innovations are helping remodelers operate more efficiently and profitably. And advancements in marketing and lead-generation keep the industry growing and expanding.

These are the primary drivers of the R&R industry today. This fall, Qualified Remodeler will put a spotlight on all these driving factors at our sixth annual TOP 500 LIVE conference. Our lineup of speakers is exceptional.

We’ve also created a track of breakout sessions to help smaller firms learn from leaders of very large firms, so they can more quickly take the next step on their trajectory of growth and profit.

The entire QR team is proud to present this annual TOP 500 issue. We are also proud to invite you to attend the conference that has grown from the list. Book your trip to Las Vegas and join your peers Oct. 16-18. The learning is exceptional, and it’s an experience that will pay dividends in the future. QR

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