2009 Exterior 200

Remodelers come in all shapes and sizes. There are design/build contractors and full-service remodelers. There are franchisees, and there are a handful of remodelers who operate as divisions of larger contracting firms. Then there are the specialty contractors who concentrate on selling and installing a few very specific and often related products, such as roofing, siding, windows, decks and other items that pertain to the exterior of the home.

The latter is the group we’ve chosen to highlight in Qualified Remodeler’s 2009 Exterior 200. Like QR’s Top 500 list, published in September and in which many of the Exterior 200 were also listed, firms are ranked by remodeling dollar volume. The percentages of jobs involving exterior-related products are also reported.

Exterior contractors, by virtue of the products they sell and install, market differently than contractors who remodel kitchens, add rooms or renovate whole houses. The number of jobs they do is typically greater, too, and the dollar volume for each job is much less. Volume is the name of the game for exterior contracts, who might do hundreds of jobs as compared to the relative handful of projects undertaken by a kitchen or bath remodeler.

That’s not to say one group is superior to the other, but their business models are necessarily different. They advertise, sell and build relationships differently, but they face many of the same challenges that all remodelers confront.

Most statistics indicate that remodeling jobs in recent months have tended to be smaller-ticket items that are more maintenance oriented, less discretionary and more affordable. If a homeowner’s roof is leaking, he needs to fix it. Period. Likewise, leaky windows waste energy, and installing new units can have a practical payback, making them attractive to value-conscious homeowners.

As a result, many exterior contractors have kept their heads above water and more during the downturn of recent months. This year’s Exterior 200 recognizes some of the top firms in this specialty.

View The Exterior 200: A listing of the top 200 exterior contractors