To some, success is defined as the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence. In this issue of Qualified Remodeler, we recognize success by publishing our annual Top 500 list, a CPA-audited report of the financial performance of remodeling firms throughout the country. (See the 33rd annual list.) More than 50,000 invitations to apply are sent annually to subscribers of Qualified Remodeler, and hundreds submit applications, which are analyzed and verified by our editorial staff, as well as checked through public records, websites and other sources.
As could be expected from the economic conditions our country has been experiencing, the remodeling volume of the contractor in the 500th position has dropped a bit from last year’s No. 500—$1,004,650 compared to $1,247,897. However, average revenue of the Top 500 has not fallen below the 2003 average in the seven years since. The companies on this list share several common attributes, including excellent business acumen, a commitment to customer service, insightful sales techniques and strong customer loyalty. Read about what helped them find success during the past year (and take away a few suggestions) on Whatever It Takes.
If you didn’t make the list this year and are hoping to next year, there are additional tips within this issue that may help. For example, Steve Crowdus, president of Crowdus Custom Homes & Remodeling, Ballwin, Mo., who won a Qualified Remodeler Master Design Award last year for the basement finishing project that appears on The Client Counselor, has a unique style when creating his projects. “I really want [the homeowners’] project to reflect who they are, and the only way we’re going to get there is if I really get to know them,” he says.
Crowdus does this by asking plenty of questions and visiting homeowners’ favorite places to understand them on a deeper level. This technique has been serving him well for 17 years and may benefit you, as well.
Finding a niche market in which you can hone your skills is another option for generating/fostering/creating success. Rob Whitfield, owner of Garage Storage Solutions, Augusta, Ga., has been installing custom garage cabinets for six years. “Quite a few of my customers tell me not to look at the mess in their garage, and I tell them I’m here to help them clean up their mess,” he says. Learn how Whitfield makes often unusable spaces functional again in “Realistic Remodel”.
No matter your market or selling style, you must have business skills, and David Lupberger, a regular QR columnist, reminds you to have your contracts reviewed by an attorney to ensure the contracts meet all required state and federal laws. Read more on page 18. Meanwhile, M M “Mike” Weiss, another regular columnist, points out the “new customer” really isn’t different from the pre-recession customer; communication still is key. Weiss explains on The New Customer Isn't Different
When it comes down to it, the definition of success is open to wide interpretation. I recently read a tweet from Mike Tyson on Twitter that resonated with me: “People love boxing because it’s a metaphor for life. Although you may fall on your face, you gotta get back up and fight.” In my opinion, those who keep getting back up and fighting are truly successful. Who knew someone who has suffered so many blows to the head could be so insightful?