REMODELING Magazine’s Annual Big50 Award
The Big50 is a remodeling business excellence award for best practices. Every May, REMODELING inducts 50 new companies who have set the standard for professionalism and integrity through smart marketing, exemplary business practices, unique design, and extraordinary impact on their community or the industry at large. Big50 remodelers run successful, growing companies of various sizes that have taken the lead in raising the standards of the industry.
The selection process begins in November and December, when we ask all of our editors and columnists for nominations. They also ask for suggestions for the leadership of NARI and the NAHB Remodelers Council, along with leaders in larger chapters of these associations. Typically, these sources generate an initial list of about 300 names.
We also include the names of remodelers who have, in effect, nominated themselves over the course of preceding years. Typically, these companies have already sent us the kind of information about their firms that we eventually seek from all nominees. The kinds of materials we like to see include clippings about special projects or community-based efforts they’re involved in; distinctive marketing or presentation materials they use with clients; descriptions of unique internal management systems and sample forms; and photos of their work (especially if they want to be considered for the design category). Most important, nominees provide a paragraph or two explaining why their firm is different, why their approach to doing business is better, and how our readers can learn from their company. Many also include references and testimonials from fellow business people and other remodelers.
Making the Picks
Once we’ve received nominations – typically between 300 and 350 names — the editorial staff goes to work narrowing the field. Companies nominated by more than one source are strong candidates, as are companies who get strong recommendations from their peers. We talk with a variety of people at the companies themselves, and often to their competitors, clients, suppliers, and subcontractors. Big50 contractors must meet industry standards of operating excellence, and must measure up to certain financial benchmarks.
After all this research is complete, the REMODELING editorial staff selects 50 remodelers who exemplify the very best of the industry and have something to offer other remodelers in proven practices. Winners are matched to one of the following categories:
Business Savvy: remodelers with effective, established business systems
Fine Design: remodelers with high aesthetic standards for their projects
Industry Impact: remodelers who have taken an active leadership role in industry building activities
Market Wise: remodelers who have built their business around a keen understanding of the market they serve
Movers & Shakers: larger remodeling companies that aggressively expand their market share
Niches: remodelers who have built successful companies serving an easily overlooked but profitable corner of the market
Sales & Marketing: remodelers with effective systems for obtaining leads and closing sales
Teamwork: remodeling companies with personnel who work together effectively to achieve more than the sum of their individual work
Over the years, Big50 has become a tightly-knit community of more than 1,000 remodelers who return regularly to the Remodeling Leadership Conference, a two-day series of seminars that include the awards banquet at which the current winners are announced. One of the most valuable side benefits of selection to the Big50 is the opportunity to build relationships with other winners, many of whom keep in touch with each other throughout the year.
In the end, the name “Big50” is something of a misnomer, since the awards have little to do with a company’s size. The award recognizes excellence and leadership, and the companies who belong to this select group set an example for the rest of the industry.
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