Turman Commercial Painters - Nation’s Largest Painting Subcontractor - Sees Evidence of Construction Market Tightening

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Are construction numbers telling the whole story? Turman Commercial Painters works with general contractors nationwide and sees a positive trend in the construction industry. See why this company's in-the-trenches experience may give insights not available from the statistics.

“Price is still a factor,” says Theobald, President and CEO of Turman Commercial Painters “but contractors are now qualifying their bidders to make sure they can get the job done."

Despite the dreary construction statistics, Turman Commercial Painters the nation’s largest commercial painting subcontractor sees evidence the market is improving.    Dave Theobald President and CEO of Turman Commercial Painters works with general contractors nationwide and over the last three months has seen a shift away from “price only” to price plus ability to perform – a definite change from the way things have been.

For the last two years squeezed by owners, general contractors have been forced to bid to a wider variety of subs and take the lowest bid to secure work. Even when these suspiciously low bids were below the actual cost for the job and from questionable subcontractors. “Realistically, most qualified subs have a similar cost structure, so when a bid comes in at 40% under others it is unlikely that number includes taxes, workman’s comp and benefits,” says Theobald. When those illegitimate subs get work, the result says Theobald is a non-functioning, black market system. “It puts unfair pressure on companies paying their fare share. State and federal taxes don’t get paid - shorting services, workers aren’t paid a fair wage so their families and communities are affected, and insurance isn’t paid leaving workers and their families unprotected. It puts the entire construction industry at risk.”

Recent stings by the State of California’s Contractors State License Board's (CSLB) and other enforcement teams targeting these underground operators support Theobald’s statement about the threat to the industry. CSLB along with Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) and Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC) are targeting the underground economy estimated to be $60 to $140 billion dollars. These illicit contractors take money away from healthcare, roads and schools – and create unfair competition for legitimate firms, like Theobald’s.

But Theobald’s company, through its work with general contractors nationwide, has seen a change in the market. How general contractors choose subs is shifting and that is a positive sign that is not captured in the construction numbers. “In the last three months, we have seen a movement from “price-is-everything” to “price-is-important-but-are-you-qualified-to-get-the-job-done” says Theobald. Contractors tired of the pain caused by the under-priced subs; those who can’t meet quality and safety standards or provide the manpower to complete the job on time. “Price is still a factor,” says Theobald, “but contractors are now qualifying their bidders to make sure the job gets done. We have even had general contractors come to us as a single source on jobs in a negotiated bid situation. That is something we have seen for two years.”

The construction industry still has a way to go to regain business lost during the recent recession. But, if you look only at the tepid construction numbers and not at the anecdotal evidence from firms in the trenches like national Turman Commercial Painters – you might miss whispers of good things on the horizon.

About Turman Commercial Painters
Turman Commercial Painters and its wholly owned affiliates are the nation's largest commercial painters providing commercial painting services across the United States. The company, Turman Commercial Painters, was founded in 1972 based on the premise of doing the right thing. Turman Commercial Painters and its affiliates provide commercial painting nationwide on rebrand, tenant improvement, retail, medical, hospitality and restoration projects, through multiple offices across the country. For more information see: http://www.turmaninc.com.

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Susan Doris
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