Mark Skaer

The call came out of nowhere. “Do you guys still show who the top contractors are in the industry?” I needed a clarification. “Do you mean our annual ‘Best Contractor to Work for’ contest winners?”

“Ummm,” came the reply, somewhat hesitant, “does that tell what contractors earned for the year?”

“Not really,” was my reply. “That contest reveals some of the best contractors to work for in this industry.”

After a slight pause, the caller responded, “No, I’m looking for the top revenue companies.”

“Oh, you mean our All-Stars,” was my quick answer. At least the caller remembered that The NEWSdid feature contractors who are successful in the financial department. Or, at least those contractors who agreed to participate.

“Yeah, that’s it,” snapped back the person on the other line. “Did you guys have one recently or last year?”

“No, sir,” I had to admit. “The last one we did was in 2006.”

“Why?”

I wished he hadn’t asked.

WITH NO COOPERATION...

To tell the truth, the main reasonThe NEWSdropped this annual feature was simply due to a lack of input from contractors. Residential contractors, that is. Period.

When this proposed feature cropped up a few years ago, it sounded like a good idea.The NEWSwas actually going to list the Top 50 in the industry, based solely on income. However, we decided to go one step further, since it is a pretty good bet that the majority of these firms would be in the commercial, industrial, and institutional markets.

So, to buck the trend, we went looking for residential contractors only. This meant to qualify, 50 percent or more of a company’s total revenue for the year had to be in residential sales.

To take this even one step further, we thought it would be best to separate the two markets: those residential contractors who counted predominately on income via replacement/add-on jobs, and those residential contractors who were more so in new construction.

In the first installment in 2003, we actually had a fair amount of entrants listed. However, in subsequent years, the numbers kept dropping, for several reasons. Some - or should I say many? - contractors got cold feet and opted not to disclose sales figures, for whatever reason. One was livid after we did list his firm, as, apparently, there was miscommunication. It was not pretty. It got to the point that, in 2006, after getting only seven firms listed on our All-Star New Construction team, we opted to drop the ball.

But, maybe, we dropped the ball too quick?

TRY AGAIN?

I mean, more than a year after the last listing (which was Sept. 11, 2006), I get a call from someone asking if we plan to renew this feature. There have been a few calls prior.

I’ll just shoot it back to you readers: Do you want to see the Top 10 residential contractors in replacement/add-on and in new construction? We’re taking a vote on it.

In this election process, there are no caucuses, super delegates, primaries, or a convention. Just a straight “yes” or “no” ticket. As is the American way, majority will rule - unless you are talking about the presidential race. (That is a system in and of itself, good or bad.)

So, I’m asking you to vote. Go to our Website and click on “Survey Says” under the “Resources” heading. We just want to know if you want this feature revived or if we should let it rest in peace?

While on our Website, you can also help us in other ways. For instance, if you vote “yes,” then please do the next step and fill out the entry form. This will give us a jump-start on the process, should the final tally be for having a 2008 All-Star list.

Maybe you’d like to see a list, but not necessarily the way we have presented it in the past. By all means, supply us with your input in the comment box. All suggestions will be reviewed, as it isThe NEWS’aim to supply subscribers with what they want to read and see.

One final note: Voting begins today and ends June 1.

Publication date:03/24/2008