America's Fastest-Growing Construction Company
BY Inc. staff
Direct Exteriors president Mike McAlpin devised an algorithm for where disasters will strike so he can be there to clean up the mess.
No. 1 in Construction
Direct Exteriors 2,723.8% Three-Year Growth Revenue: $5.5 Million Employees: 32 President: Mike McAlpin Founded: 2003 Overall RANK: No. 91 Maple Grove, Minn. directexteriors.net
Construction companies are drawn to restoration projects—such as repairing homes ravaged by natural disasters or theft—for the high profit margins. But Mike McAlpin, founder of Direct Exteriors, knew how tricky it could be to get insurance agencies to pay up. After a friend in the business got into financial trouble, McAlpin studied the friend's books to see why it took so long to get paid. When a massive hailstorm hit McAlpin's neighborhood in suburban Minneapolis in 2007, he was ready. 'We figured out the secret,' he says. 'Insurance companies have a price for replacing every little shingle. You have to invoice the way they want.' McAlpin bought the insurers' software, memorized their rules, and learned to speak their adjusters' language. In 2008, McAlpin hired a forensic meteorologist to identify the regions of the country most damaged by natural disasters, down to the street level. Since then, Direct Exteriors has cautiously funneled profits into opening offices in six additional states.