Top 500: 40 Years of Growth

From 1978 to 2018, the QR Top 500 has represented the pinnacle of remodeling entrepreneurship.

authors Patrick O'Toole | August 22, 2018

Find the 2018 Top 500 list here.

Find the 2018 Top 500 Nationals list here.

Find the 2018 Top Performers here.

Dave Sauer, the founder of Qualified Remodeler, was a strong proponent of professionalism in remodeling. At the time that he launched this magazine in the spring of 1975, he was aware of its pioneering nature. Up until that time, remodelers were generically thought of as simply builders or contractors. He and many others around the country, however, were well aware that by the mid-1970s, many remodeling and home improvement firms had long since matured into a distinct profession apart from home building and general contracting.

That is why the first incarnation of the QR Top 500, called “The Leaders,” was so well-received when it was first published in the fall of 1978. In 1979 it became a list of 100 firms and, by 1983, the very first Top 500 list was assembled.

top 500, remodelers

Today, there is an even greater granularity to the segmentation within the remodeling industry. The advent of the design/build process in residential construction in the 1970s and early 1980s led to the establishment of many remodeling firms by architects and designers who also managed construction. Tom Kelly of Neil Kelly Company in Portland, Oregon, and Fred Case of Case Design Remodeling in Bethesda, Maryland, were early pioneers of this process.

top 500, remodeling, revenue, jobs

Over the past 25 years, the QR Top 500 has actively tracked remodelers in five segments: full-service, design/build, home improvement/replacement, kitchen & bath specialist, and insurance restoration. Our survey work with these companies has evolved to a degree that we now know much more about each segment’s benchmarks and best practices. We also learned they share many of the same issues and opportunities.

We know home improvement firms are focused almost exclusively on marketing and sales. In fact, some of them are among the best digital marketers to be found in any industry today. The depth of sophistication in their approach to marketing and sales has even become the core content for our 3-year-old conference that bears the Top 500 name. [This coming March 14 and 15 at the Hard Rock Hotel, Top 500 Live will once again feature leading CEOs and professional speakers on these topics.]

Firms that specialize in insurance restoration are among the most precise and highly sophisticated companies in remodeling today. Our perennial No. 1, Belfor, is one such firm, boasting $1.5 billion in revenue from offices across the country. There are also many family-run insurance restoration firms, like the Giertsen Company in Minneapolis, which we feature in a profile

Full-service remodeling firms remain the bedrock of the industry. These are firms that truly serve the communities in which they operate. Many have clients who continually turn to them for all types of jobs, big and small. Allen Construction, featured in a profile here.

Finally, we know that to a large measure remodeling is about kitchens and baths. Our feature on one such specialty firm is found here.

For 40 years, the QR Top 500 has chronicled the story of a vibrant industry that represents more than $300 billion in annual activity. And if 2018 is any indication, the industry is as healthy and as prosperous as it has been over the last 10 years. |QR

Find the 2018 Top 500 list here.

Find the 2018 Top 500 Nationals list here.

Find the 2018 Top Performers here.

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