On Nov. 30, Ohio-based Great Day Improvements announced that it acquired Universal Windows Direct, also headquartered in Ohio. Great Day makes and sells sunrooms; windows and patio doors; and pool enclosures.
With the purchase of Universal, Great Day becomes one of the nation’s top home improvement companies in terms of sales. (2020 revenue was about $195 million, and Universal Windows Direct reported close to $172 million, according to industry sources.)
This latest move is part of growing consolidation in the market. It’s also another example of private equity firms investing heavily in the home improvement industry. (Great Day is backed by Blue Olive Partners.)
When the trend first started, I heard many people say, “This will put pressure on smaller companies.” And that’s not surprising. But what is surprising is the speed and skill that these smaller players are exhibiting to meet the challenge.
Pro Remodeler has hosted the Extreme Lead Gen conference for seven years now. The event primarily serves the home improvement community and as you can imagine, a huge part of the conference centers on technology around marketing and leads.
Back when we first launched the event, I was struck by how...well...behind the curve many of the attending companies were when it came to business technology.
Shifting Within the Industry
Not so anymore. Business owners have become exponentially more sophisticated in recent years. The educational topics they gravitate toward are less 101-level and more like 103-104. The questions they ask demonstrate significantly more knowledge from just a short time ago. I’m seeing it in ELG as well as almost every time I talk informally with a company owner.
There are two reasons for this change. First is the one already mentioned—as the industry consolidates, a few of the players get larger. This creates major, multi-state companies with more resources and higher brand recognition. The resulting competitive pressure has forced smaller firms to improve and add efficiencies.
The second reason many companies are better today comes from a different source: industry service providers. Beginning at the end of the last recession, the number of tech companies offering products to the home improvement sector has grown dramatically. The success of these service providers is directly tied to the ability of home improvement professionals to modernize. With that in mind, many of them are doing more than selling business solutions, they are investing in educating the HIPs directly. This philosophy of partnering with the industry to help small companies grow rather than simply selling to them has led to smarter, faster, and more competitive family-owned firms.
This is one of those rare moments in business when everyone wins. The entire home improvement industry grows, remodelers improve, suppliers sell more, the industry professionalizes, and homeowners have a better buying experience.