flexiblefullpage - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

A Merger and Acquisition Approach to Remodeling

billboard -

A Merger and Acquisition Approach to Remodeling

Marc Black and Zak Fleming say their unique business model serves as a hiring and growth strategy. And it seems to be working for them.

By Caroline Broderick January 27, 2022
remodeling contractors
remodeling contractors
This article first appeared in the February 2022 issue of Pro Remodeler.

Remodeling Contractors has an unusual growth strategy for a design-build remodeling company, yet it seems to be working.

Owners Zak Fleming and Marc Black nearly doubled revenue for the Des Moines-based remodeling firm between 2018 and 2019. How did they do it? Through mergers and acquisitions.

Founded by Fleming in 2001, the company was originally called Fleming Construction. Over time, Fleming—who was only 23-years-old when he started the company—gained a reputation in the local market. Yet obstacles were standing in the way of continued growth.

“Everybody for years has been complaining about how we can’t hire qualified people,” says Fleming.

A Natural Choice

Mergers and acquisitions were happenstance in the beginning. Coming from a collaborative remodeling community in Des Moines, Fleming knew many quality professionals in the industry he would have loved to one day work with. He ended up able to do so.

“When I got into it, all the people I wanted to do it with were friends of mine that I wanted in the industry,” says Fleming. “They were good at managing their companies, and it dawned on me that it would be better to work together rather than compete with each other. … It wasn’t a strategy. It was more a necessity at first.”  

“I didn’t acquire these people. I gave up some of the company to these people.”

Fleming’s first acquisition was of Donna Alley’s Imagine Interior Art and Design in 2016. Fleming worked with Alley steadily and found he had more projects than she had time, which justified making her a part of the company. Next came TechBuilders of Iowa in 2017. The owner, Scott Spetman, thrived in sales and had known Fleming for a decade. Fleming recalls those first mergers almost as accidents, but when Black joined as co-owner in 2018, the two fine-tuned those “accidents” into a full business and recruitment strategy.

Other acquisitions soon followed, including Ridgeline Construction and DB Building both in 2018, Heartland Gallery West in 2020, and Remodeling Contractors also in 2020. That most recent acquisition spurred the name change.  

With those purchases came sales specialists, a new crew, a handyman division, and a custom framing service. Unsurprisingly, the strategy also brought revenue. The company hovered at around $1.5 million in 2018 and 2019 but projects $3.5 million for 2022.

RELATED: With This Business, I Thee Partner

remodeling contractors

Co-owners Zak Fleming and Marc Black

One Business, Many Leaders

While these mergers have proven successful for Remodeling Contractors, the new people have also meant new philosophies.  

“Decisions are made as a team, and the company advances as a team,” says Fleming. “I didn’t acquire these people. I gave up some of the company to these people.”

He and Black explain that Remodeling Contractors runs as a group of largely autonomous departments where each person runs their area as if they still owned the company. Vertical and horizontal integration play into the strategy too. Horizontal integration focuses on acquiring independent business owners to help round out the team, explains Black.

Vertical integration finds ways to bring different trades in-house, helping the company gain greater control while improving margins.

One dream of Fleming and Black’s was profit sharing, which they can happily say they’ve achieved, adding that it’s a rare benefit in the remodeling industry and one that’s attractive to future employees.

“The main thing I love about the strategy is everybody is so experienced and so mature that it makes it really easy to operate,” says Fleming. “Low stress levels, everybody knows what we’re doing, and they’re really appreciative that we took [the stress of ownership] away from them.” 

written by

Caroline Broderick

Caroline Broderick is the Managing Editor for Pro Remodeler. Most recently, she served as the associate editor for PR's sister publications, Pro Builder, Custom Builder, and PRODUCTS where she covered design, building products, trends, and more in the residential construction industry. She can be reached at cbroderick@sgcmail.com.

Related Stories

AnotherStory: Revamping the Second-Story Addition

An architect and remodeler are marketing a new method for completing second-story additions

Breaking Through the Brand

Three remodeling companies share their motivations, stories, and experiences of redefining their outward identities for the next stage of growth

CQC Home: Never Just Average

CQC Home's Ken Combs’ journey from lemons to $15 million lemonade

Tom Kelly Retires After 43 Years of Leadership

Kelly will remain majority owner and current CFO Dan Watson will become CEO.

2022 Forty Under 40

The 11th annual Pro Remodeler Forty Under 40 list highlights the industry's shining future.

Project Management Through Collaboration

Operations Manager Kareena Gray talks about her background and finding solutions through teamwork.

NAHB Remodeler of the Year: Kurt Clason's Craftmanship

A strong emphasis on craftmanship and loyalty to his team makes Clason Remodeling a true standout.

Savannah-Based Builder to Lead NAHB

The National Association of Home Builders names its new 2022 Chairman

Making Jobsites More Welcoming for Diversity

Nora El-Khouri Spencer, CEO and founder of women's trade training program Hope Renovations, shares what she's learned about recruiting women and making jobsites better suited for more diversity.

Reborn Cabinets: From Mom-and-Pop to National Brand

How a local cabinet refacing business became a cutting-edge $100 million enterprise

boombox1 -
native1 -

More in Category


Breaking Through the Brand

Three remodeling companies share their motivations, stories, and experiences of redefining their outward identities for the next stage of growth

native2 -
halfpage1 -