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Study reveals wide-ranging data about NARI members

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

CONTACT:   Gwen Biasi
                        (847) 298-9200 or

Research to enhance member services, assist with educating lawmakers

Des Plaines, Illinois, November 7, 2011— According to recent research conducted by Consumer Specialists, the average NARI member contractor business exceeds industry norms, employing more people, having higher sales volumes and averaging more sales per employee. Time in business was nearly identical between the groups, with the average NARI member in business 19.7 years and the average non-member in business 20.9 years.

Fred Miller, of Consumer Specialists expressed surprise at the wide gap between members and their non-member counterparts. “I expected that NARI members would be doing better than the industry on average, but I didn't expect the extent of the difference in sales per employee,” said Miller.

“On a basic level, these characteristics assist in understanding the business strengths that NARI members possess,” said Dan Jaggers, chair of NARI’s Strategic Planning and Research Committee. He continued, “Anecdotally, we’ve heard from many a member who said their business success is owed to NARI and the learning opportunities it provides.”


Individual Ownership Dominant
Almost all respondents (95%) reported individual ownership, with 4 percent owned by holding corporations and 1 percent by ESOP.  Eighty-five percent of businesses are owned by the original owner, a fact that came as a surprise to researchers. “The continuity of the businesses was greater than I expected,” Miller said.

The majority (91%) of members have businesses structured to shield owners from liability, with S-Corps leading at 52 percent, LLCs at 24 percent and C-Corps at 15 percent.

There was a broad range of methods of operation, with a high percentage of general contractors (79%), but 42 percent reported being the sole contractor on their projects.  Ten percent reported also acting as a distributor of a national product line.  Most commonly, respondents owned businesses with one location, at 92 percent. Only 7 percent reported having two business locations.

Broad Range of Services
Ninety-nine percent reported doing business remodeling or repairing existing homes and 37 percent reported working on the renovation of commercial buildings. Few reported doing business in new commercial building. With regard to residential remodeling, 80 percent of respondents offer more than one type of remodeling service, but only 7 percent reported offering five or more.

“Surveys like this help our leaders to proactively respond to changes in the market, and changing member needs,” Jaggers continued. “The data also demonstrates the strengths of NARI members to withstand challenges in the economy.”

The majority of members reported doing at least some of the design work for their projects, with 56 percent reporting some design is done in-house and some outsourced. Thirty-three percent reported that all design work is done in-house.

Employer Characteristics
Ninety percent of respondents reported employing fewer than 18 people, most ranging in age from 24 to 54. NARI member businesses most frequently (53%) offer health insurance for their employees, with 86 percent of those that offer it reporting they subsidize 40 percent or more of the cost of health insurance.

Moving Forward
“NARI intends to dig deeper into the data collected in order to better serve members,” Jaggers said. For instance, with regard to the high level of sales productivity and only 36 percent reporting a full time sales person, is a mixed approach the best model?  “We have areas to explore to help NARI offer educational content that will help members be even better in business,” Jaggers said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

NARI Members Have Higher Sales

Comparison of HIRI 2011 Remodeling Professional Study data for Generalists to NARI 2011 Member Profile Study


NARI Members Have More Employees



Number of Employees



One employee










NARI Members Generate More Sales Per Employee


Sales Productivity






Median Sales (in 000's)



Median Employees









Mean Sales (in 000's)



Mean Employees









No full time sales persons




NARI Members have been in business about the same length of time

Years in Business












5 or fewer



26 or more





Invitations to participate in an Internet study were sent to NARI contractor members with no incentive other than to assist their association with data needed to design new programming. The study was conducted in two waves, with a 10% pilot sample and then the balance a few days later, and was open from August 26, 2011 through September 11, 2011. Analysis of the two was conducted by Consumer Specialists.


About Consumer Specialists: Fred Miller founded Consumer Specialists in 1997, and as part of his consulting work, has served as the managing director of the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) since late 1998.  Miller has over 30 years of consumer marketing experience with companies like Thompson - Minwax, GE, and General Foods. He’s spent much of his career in the home improvement industry, serving home improvement retailer and manufacturer clients, and HIRI. He holds an MBA from Pennsylvania State University.

About NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry.  The Association, which represents more than 7,200 member companies nationwide—represents tens of thousands employed in the industry — is “The Voice of the Remodeling Industry.”™ To locate a NARI chapter or a remodeling professional, visit NARI’s Web site at, e-mail NARI at, or call national headquarters, based in Des Plaines, Illinois at 847-298-9200

EDITOR'S NOTE: NARI can provide spokespeople to comment in your story or discuss the research in further detail. A full report is also available by e-mailing or by calling Gwen Biasi at 847-298-9200.


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