Many years ago Doug Sutton, owner of Sutton’s Inc., in Springfield, Illinois, told an audience about his journey from a 28-year-old bank examiner and mayor of Oregon, Illinois, to owner and operator of the firm his parents founded, Sutton Siding & Remodeling.

The year was 1973. And it was decided that for Sutton to quickly learn more about the “specialty contracting” business, he should attend a conference sponsored by their siding supplier, Alsco Aluminum Corp. The speaker was Dave Yoho.

Search the interactive rankings of the largest home improvement companies for 2023.

The 2023 HIP 200 List

Attending that conference way back in 1973, Sutton said he began to understand the size, vitality, strength and unique sales mindset of home improvement professionals, also known as specialty contractors. Sutton saw the opportunity in that moment and ran the business successfully for many years before handing the reins to his sons.

During his tenure, Sutton realized that siding jobs slowed during the winter and strategically expanded the firm’s offering to include other indoor home improvements. This kept his crews busy and helped grow the firm into a full-service firm that advertises on radio and TV across central and southern Illinois.

Flash forward to 2023 and today’s home improvement industry: Some of the same forces are at work in the home improvement industry. Many home improvement pros who comprise the 2023 Home Improvement Pro 200, or HIP 200, say they are growing their companies through expanding their offering.

The 2023 HIP 200 companies shared their ‘top challenge’ this year. These are expressed in one vote per company.
(Source: Qualified Remodeler magazine, 2023.)

A firm that has thrived for many years by offering window replacements and one-day bath replacements has a choice for how it grows. They can do it the old-fashioned way and drive more leads and close more sales than their competitors. They can also grow by adding geographic territory, which many have done in recent years.

Or they can choose a third option and add new types of home improvements. That successful company who focused on windows and baths can seek out new opportunities in gutter protection, in roofing replacements, in decks or in siding, among many others.

A prime example of this strategy in action is none other than the No. 1 company on the HIP 200 list, Leaf Home. The firm has its roots in the Leaf Filter gutter protection business that was once led by Matt Kaulig. In 2020 the firm created four divisions with each one focused on different home improvement offerings.

The 2023 HIP 200 companies shared their ‘top opportunity’ this year. These are expressed in one vote per company.
(Source: Qualified Remodeler magazine, 2023.)

Today, the firm stands at $1.9 billion in revenue and growing. Many firms on the HIP 200 this year said they see the addition of new products as a top opportunity. And even more firms cited the addition of “a new or enlarged service area” as their top opportunity.

The group’s list of top challenges also highlights the overall growth mindset of the owners and top managers of the HIP 200. The top three were generating leads for new business; hiring qualified employees; and finding qualified trade contractors. Just 18 of 200 cited economic weakness as a challenge.

About the HIP 200

Of the five segments of the remodeling industry that comprise the readership of Qualified Remodeler media, owners and managers within the home improvement/replacement contractor segment are the most focused on growth and expansion.

Where the annual TOP 500 list (published in August) ranks all five remodeling segments—including design-build, full-service, kitchen and bath, and insurance restoration—the Home Improvement Pro 200, or HIP 200, puts a tight focus on firms who specialize in one or two job types. Focused on lead-generation and selling, this group operates on a parallel but entirely different track within the residential construction industry.

Among the 2023 HIP 200 these are the top projects and top lead sources.
(Source: Qualified Remodeler, 2023.)

The 2023 HIP 200 list is made even more compelling by a dramatic influx of capital in recent years. Since 2018, when Brian Elias sold Detroit-based 1-800-Hansons to a private equity firm, many outside investment firms have “discovered” the home improvement industry and pursued bold growth strategies, including many mergers and acquisitions.

The top echelon of this year’s list is filled with relatively new names such as Renuity and Renovo and, therefore, looks dramatically different than the year before. More change is coming in the dynamic home improvement industry, so the HIP 200 will certainly change again in 2024.

The grow-at-all-costs mindset of industry participants will certainly be challenged mightily by shifting consumer priorities, higher interest rates and elevated rates of inflation. That dynamic is on full display in this year’s HIP 200. QR

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