Crème de la Crème

July 21st, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

The Annual Top Door and Window Dealers

For several years now, door and window dealers say, they’ve been warned about the potential for a slowdown.

“For the last three to four years, I’ve been hearing economists say that we’re going to have a slight recession—starting with late 2018, then early 2019, then mid-2019 and then late 2019 …,” says Duncan Newman, owner of Newman Windows and Doors in Carlsbad, Calif. “But it hasn’t happened yet.”

Newman and other dealers aren’t thumbing their noses, but they’re plowing on, continuing to add business despite ongoing predictions. Meanwhile, the data for [DWM]’s annual list shows that—among the best of the best, at least—in 2019, the vast majority (70%) continued onward and upward by increasing revenues.

Methodology

In order to construct our annual list, [DWM]’s editors scour the industry via every available source to compile a complete ranking of door and window dealers. From that, our research editor conducts field surveys, gathering each company’s latest annual sales figures and other information. After gathering the related data, a profile is sent to a representative at each company for review and confirmation.

By compiling a complete list of companies with $2 million or more in annual revenues, our ranking represents a compilation of the industry’s top dealers, including those that sell, sell and install, or even handle their own manufacturing. While in the past we’ve gathered and calculated parent franchises as individual dealers, starting with this year’s list, our editors now gather information for each independently-owned operation.

The number of employees includes full- and part-time, and all sales are listed in U.S. dollars, even if they hail from Canada.

If a company did not provide their information, revenues are estimated based on available research. In those cases, companies are noted with an asterisk by their name.

Companies are ranked by their projected door and window revenue, based on the percentage of their business devoted to fenestration.

For the ranking of companies that are 100% in the door and window industry, see page 33.

Hot Spots

According to end of year housing data: on a regional and year-to-date basis, combined single-family and multifamily housing starts at the close of 2019 were higher in the Northeast (+3.0%) and South (+8.6%), but down in the Midwest (-0.8%) and West (-4.7%).

So far as the outlook going forward, looking at regional permit data on a year-to-date basis, permits were higher in the Northeast (13.4%), Midwest (0.1%), South (5.1%) and West (0.1%)

In the Midwest: One company, Better Way Siding and Windows, closed. Another decreased by $1.3 million. But there are indications that the industry isn’t so much in a battle for business, as a battle for market share. Windows Direct USA, in Cincinnati, for instance, increased its revenues by $2 million. Another—Tundraland Home Improvements in Kaukauna, Wis.—went from an already impressive $45 million to a whopping $53 million. No signs of struggle there.

Opal Enterprises in Naperville, Ill., saw a decrease in revenues from $6.5 to $5.2 million. When [DWM] reached out to the company, we discovered that there were circumstantial causes.

When a hailstorm struck the Naperville-Aurora area in 2019, the company was pulled away from its usual workflow, says Tara Dawn, Opal’s owner, instead taking up vinyl siding and roof work to help out its former door and window customers. In the process, the company found itself in competition with, “so many cheap, cheap contractors that will do crappy work for crappy money, and it impacted our business goals in a negative way,” she says.

Nonetheless, Opal’s customers were taken care of.

Up and Coming

The Men With Tools Windows Doors and Hardwood Floors

Six years into our Top Dealers List, [DWM]’s editors have the pleasure of watching as certain companies climb their way toward recognition. This year, one of those caught our eye by narrowly missing the required minimum ($2 million).

Since launching in May 2017, John Kolbaska has steadily grown his business from around $550,000 in revenue to now $1.9 million. But a third-generation “door and window guy,” Kolbaska is far from being a rookie. “I learned this business from my father, who learned it from his father,” says the owner of The Men With Tools Windows Doors and Hardwood Floors.

Kolbaska started out performing contract installations for flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators. In 2014, he thought he was taking a “mini retirement,” he says, when, “After about two weeks, my wife put the kibosh on that and said I had to get back to work,” he explains (laughing).

He then turned to doors and windows performing installations for big box retailers. In May 2017, Kolbaska took matters a step further by opening his own door and window showroom.

What’s his key to success?

“I attribute last year’s growth directly to getting out there, meeting successful people from the industry, asking questions and … well, trying to copy as best I can,” he explains, laughing. Kolbaska’s company performs primarily replacement work, for which he recently decided to introduce his own line of privately-labeled windows.

“It helps to define who you are, between products and services,” he says.

As for where his new company is headed, “I feel like, at this point, I’ve barely scratched the surface,” he suggests. “I’ve met dealers doing $70, $80 and even $100 million. But I’m new to the business, so who knows. Maybe one day that will be me.” In the meantime, in 2020 he says his company is aiming for $3.2 million.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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