Kitchen & Bath Leaders

This year’s top kitchen and bath companies include a wide range of business types: from cabinet refacing firms and one-day bath replacement companies to full-service and design-build kitchen and bath remodelers. All are companies that have seen their revenue slip in 2008 and into 2009, but as industry leaders, have taken the necessary steps to stay on top and survive for the future.

Competitive edge

“Our No. 1 competitive advantage is that we have combined the design, sales and installation all under one roof,” says Greg Heden, president of Premier Kitchen and Bath, Mesa, Ariz. and No. 390 on the list. “We have competitors that do some portion of those but don’t do them in their entirety. Being a licensed general contractor and having a showroom that allows us to buy direct from the manufacturers, we can simplify the remodeling process. We manage the project, we sell all the products, we select all the products, and we do all the design, so there’s basically one contract and one person responsible.”

Customer service is a big theme among top kitchen and bath specialists and could be the one of the most important things propelling these companies to the top. From communicating with customers regularly, to taking care of problems as soon as they arise, remodelers know that it’s important to operate quickly to keep clients happy. Even though companies try not to have issues arise, eventually they do and it’s how a company handles those issues that distinguishes the cream of the crop.

“Our best business practice is communication which I think goes hand-in-hand with customer service,” explains Jim Deen, president of Kitchen Kraft Inc., Columbus, Ohio, No. 433. “It may be a lot of hand holding or talking to the client for even the littlest or smallest detail. But making that phone call immediately is important, because no matter how small it may seem, to the customer, it’s the biggest thing.”

Maintaining success

In San Diego County, Calif. where Joseph Christenson is president of Remodel Works Bath & Kitchen, No. 208 on the list, housing prices are down 35 percent, wiping out most people’s equity, making it hard to obtain loans. Add that to the 12 percent unemployment rate that California is dealing with and the uncertainty of many more jobs, it’s no wonder that this company has had to make some adjustments to keep things running. By reducing excess overhead, multitasking office employees and getting project managers out in the field involved with installations, Remodel Works Bath & Kitchen has been able to remain successful.

“No. 1, we have not cut our advertising,” explains Brett Bacho, president of Kitchen Magic, Inc., Phillipsburg, N.J., No. 19, on how his company has remained successful during this economic downturn. “Secondly we have made adjustments to our staffing, immediately cut contributions to 401k, have made a few layoffs and we have furlough days for full-time employees where they are required to take off two days a month unpaid until capacity returns.”

Deen has taken this time to try different types of advertising, marketing, promotions and look at significant discounts through certain cabinet manufacturers. Because of these endeavors Deen has been able to find all sorts of clients ready to remodel and expects his 2009 just might be better than his 2008. The difference in these clients, though, is that they are looking for the same types of kitchen and bath remodels, but for a cheaper price. This means using oak again, installing laminate countertops and keeping the appliances simpler. “You’ve got to change your mentality and the way you think, the way you design and keep in mind that whatever people get will be 100 percent better than what they already have,” adds Deen.

To remain successful during this economic downturn, Kitchens Plus has turned to its current client base, which after 24 years in the business is a pretty good base, and created a referral rewards program. Seventy percent of its business before the downturn in the industry was from referrals from clients. Barns and his crew have been able to get that up to about 92 percent just by sending letters out, thanking clients for their past business, asking them for future business and rewarding past clients for sending them new client business. That has brought in very good solid leads instead of having to call on a lead coming in from an ad or from the radio; these are people who are coming to them from a friend or a co-worker who’s experienced their work and has been their bread and butter through this slow time.

Economic downturn

With the economy beginning to take a sizable turn in 2008, it’s fair to say that it has affected all of remodeling. While some have been able to handle the decline better than others, companies have had to make some changes to continue on in the industry.

Of course not everyone is doing full-scale kitchen and bath remodels so the economy hasn’t affected the entire category the same. To help understand the different segments of kitchen and bath specialists better, it has been broken down into four categories: full-scale kitchen and bath companies; strictly bath replacement companies; cabinet resurfacing/replacement companies; and kitchen and bath companies that include a significant amount of work from cabinet resurfacing/replacement and/or bath replacement.

“We’ve seen about a 30 to 40 percent decrease in volume,” says Matt Barns, president of Kitchens Plus, La Mesa, Calif. and No. 429 on the list. “We went through this back in 1993-1994 and if you get through it, it makes you better. We’ve become leaner and policies have gotten sharper. You trim the edges where you can and it makes you a better company for it.”

Heden indicated that the downturn has allowed his company time to focus on the things that have kept them going in the past. First, he has looked at the things his company does to really make the clients happy and stuck to that philosophy. Second, he has taken the time to fine-tune some of his marketing efforts because attracting customers today has called for a different approach. These things have allowed Premier Kitchen and Bath get off the sales roller coaster and onto more of a steady pace.

“The economy has definitely affected our business,” says Christenson. “The stock market has come back somewhat this year, but when you look at how things were down last year until about March/April this year, there just wasn’t any money, but things are looking better.”

Kitchen and Bath Specialists at a glance

Total kitchen and bath remodeling dollars: $493,119,958
Total No. of kitchen and bath jobs*: 51,310
Average of kitchen and bath remodeling sales: $9,862,399

Category (Average Job Size)

Full-scale Kitchen and Bath ($87,838)
Bath Replacement Services* ($5,861)
Cabinet Resurfacing/Replacement ($25,311)
Full-scale Kitchen and Bath w/ Significant Bath Replacement and/or Cabinet Resurfacing/Replacement* ($11,891)

*This number does not reflect companies who have not included their No. of jobs for 2008

Kitchen & Bath Rank

Top 500 Rank

Company

2008 Remodeling Gross Sales

2008 Remodeling Jobs

% of Kitchen Work

% of Bathroom Work

Total Kitchen & Bath Sales

1

3

U. S. Home Systems, Inc. — Lewisville, TX

 $132,503,000

 15,000

83

7

 $119,252,700

2

4

Bath Fitter — Lewisberry, PA

 $58,126,804

 12,876

0

100

 $58,126,804

3

19

Kitchen Magic, Inc. — Phillipsburg, NJ

 $27,882,427

 2,393

98

2

 $27,882,427

4

18

The Kitchen Connection — Los Angeles, CA

 $27,901,418

 2,262

93

5

 $27,343,390

5

9

Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. — Bethesda, MD

 $45,972,392

 4,275

30

20

 $22,986,196

6

53

Metropolitan Bath and Tile, Inc — Upper Marlboro, MD

 $13,945,739

 901

0

100

 $13,945,739

7

57

New Face Kitchen Systems, Inc. — Bellevue, WA

 $13,105,192

 329

95

5

 $13,105,192

8

23

Neil Kelly Co., Inc. — Portland, OR

 $25,644,155

 887

35

15

 $12,822,078

9

60

Reborn Cabinets Inc. — Anaheim, CA

 $12,524,392

 527

86

14

 $12,524,392

10

28

Normandy Builders — Hinsdale, IL

 $23,000,029

 191

44

6

 $11,500,015

11

85

Re-Bath of the Triad/Triangle/Wilmington — Greensboro, NC

 $9,514,197

 1,504

0

100

 $9,514,197

12

116

Calbath — Santa Ana, CA

 $7,948,451

 1,985

10

90

 $7,948,451

13

64

Lars Construction Co. — La Mesa, CA

 $11,589,296

 70

30

30

 $6,953,578

14

99

Ulrich Inc. — Ridgewood, NJ

 $8,741,650

 120

60

15

 $6,556,238

15

117

Sea Pointe Construction — Irvine, CA

 $7,890,100

 100

40

40

 $6,312,080

16

181

Homeworks Construction, Inc. — Honolulu, HI

 $5,761,264

 30

50

50

 $5,761,264

17

89

Republic West, Inc. — Scottsdale, AZ

 $9,379,919

 1,039

60

0

 $5,627,951

18

188

North Star Bath Remodeling — Southlake, TX

 $5,600,000

 2,200

0

100

 $5,600,000

19

79

Legacy Custom Building & Remodeling, Inc. — Scottsdale, AZ

 $10,157,500

 50

25

30

 $5,586,625

20

70

Platinum Remodeling — Long Beach, CA

 $11,158,902

 2,000

25

25

 $5,579,451

21

205

Anthony Home Improvements DBA Housecrafters — Elkins Park, PA

 $5,279,994

 1,056

75

25

 $5,279,994

22

212

ALM Investments dba Bath Fitter — Duncan, SC

 $5,200,000

 -

0

100

 $5,200,000

23

215

Schnorr Enterprises, Inc., DBA Re-Bath — Wappingers Falls, NY

 $5,165,722

 1,229

0

100

 $5,165,722

24

219

Re-Bath of Utah — Salt Lake City, UT

 $4,865,923

 794

0

100

 $4,865,923

25

208

Remodel Works Bath & Kitchen — Poway, CA

 $5,265,289

 215

42

50

 $4,844,066

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