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Top U.S. Painters Span All Sectors

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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Residential, commercial and industrial painting contractors from A (Ascher Brothers) to V (Vulcan Painters Inc.) top the largest painting firms in the United States, according to a new ranking.

For the second straight year, The Brock Group, of Houston, TX, leads the Top 20 list of U.S. painting contractors in terms of revenues, according to an analysis by Engineering News-Record.

Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services, of Kennesaw, GA, was the No. 2 U.S. painting contractor in ENR’s annual report. Rounding out the top five were K2 Industrial Services Inc., of Hammond, IN; Thomas Industrial Coatings Inc., of Pevely, MO; and Techno Coatings Inc., of Anaheim, CA.

The rankings are part of ENR’s Top 600 List of Specialty Contractors.

The Brock Group

No. 1 again: Despite a decline in revenues from 2010 to 2011, The Brock Group retained its top ranking on ENR's list of U.S. painting contractors. The company is based in Houston, TX.

Several of the top painting firms also ranked high on ENR’s overall Top 600. Brand Energy repeated its No. 4 overall ranking of 2011. And The Brock Group placed sixth overall, dropping one from its No. 5 ranking of 2011.

Topping the Top 600 list for the 10th consecutive year was the EMCOR Group, a multinational mechanical and electrical construction concern based in Norwalk, CT.

Good News, Bad News

Summing up the current state of affairs for the nation's contractors is the report's subtitle: “Watching, Waiting for Work.”

  K2 Industrial Services BEIS

Numbers 2 and 3: Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services (left) went from unranked to No. 2. K2 Industrial Services (right) held onto its No. 3 position from last year.

The report describes a “modest” economic recovery featuring a “gradual increase in projects” for the entire range of specialty contractors.

There is good news and bad news for painters and other contractors. On the plus side, the magazine notes that two-thirds of the 515 contractors who completed its surveys in both 2011 and 2010 reported increases in revenues. Just under one-third reported lower revenues.

That was a vast improvement over the previous year, when just 41.6 percent of Top 600 firms reported increased revenues and 57.5 percent reported declines.

2012 2011  ENR's Top 20 Firms in Painting
1 1 The Brock Group
2 ** Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services  Inc.
3 3 K2 Industrial Services Inc.
4 7 Thomas Industrial Coatings Inc.
5 2 Techno Coatings Inc.
6 6 FD Thomas Inc.
7 4 Avalotis Corp.
8 5 North American Coatings LLC
9 8 Dunkin & Bush Inc.
10 9 Hartman Walsh Painting Co.
11 10 Swanson & Youngdale Inc.
12 11 Long Painting Co.
13 12 Mobley Industrial Services Inc.
14 15 Ascher Brothers Co. Inc.
15 14 Jerry Thompson & Sons Painting Inc.
 16 13 Specialty Finishes Inc.
 17 19 Graydaze Contracting Inc.
 18 18 Coatings Unlimited Inc.
 19 16 Vulcan Painters Inc.
 20 ** Thomarios
** = not previously rated

 

On the other hand, while “bidding frenzy” has leveled off on large projects in recent years, the competition remains “brutal” on projects under $10 million, in the words of one contractor.

The current competitive climate pits not only experienced firms from the same trades (painters against painters, for example), but increasingly features contractors from slower sectors “showing up to bid on jobs they never worked on before,” the magazine says. The roofing market has become especially crowded, it says.

Painting’s Fortunes

The report drills into revenues, profitability, market share and new contracts for a variety of specialty trades. With just 1.4 percent of the revenues, the billion-dollar painting industry ranks 10th out of 15 on that list.

By shares of revenues, the top 15 specialties were:

  • Electrical (32.7 percent)
  • Mechanical (21.3 percent)
  • Other (17.5 percent)
  • Utility (6.7 percent)
  • Concrete (4.4 percent)
  • Excavation and Foundation (3.9 percent)
  • Wall and Ceiling (2.6 percent)
  • Roofing (2.4 percent)
  • Demolition and Wrecking (2.1 percent)
  • Painting (1.4 percent)
  • Steel Erection (1.3 percent)
  • Glazing and Curtainwall (1.1 percent)
  • Sheet Metal (1.1 percent)
  • Asbestos and Lead Abatement (1.0 percent)
  • Masonry (0.5 percent)

In addition to the Top 20 sub-rankings for paintings, other breakout rankings include the Top 50 firms in mechanical and Top 20 listings for masonry, concrete, wall and ceiling, utility, glazing and curtain wall, excavation and foundation, roofing, demolition and wrecking, asbestos abatement, sheet metal, and steel erection.

Uncertainty Ahead

Whatever the current fortunes of any individual company or industry, the magazine reports, uncertainty continues to hang heavily over all.

Thomas Industrial Coatings Techno Coatings Inc.

Numbers 4 and 5: Thomas Industrial Coatings (left) moved up to the No. 4 position this year. Techno Coatings (right), which was second last year, placed fifth in 2012.

“Although conditions are better now than they were at the depths of the recession, there is a sense among many that markets are still on hold,” the report says.

Anthony Guzzi, CEO of EMCOR Group, told the magazine: “There is too big of a debt overhang and too much business uncertainty for a lot of projects to shake loose. It is like we take three steps forward and two steps back.”

Guzzi speculated that a stronger recovery was being hampered by “lack of certainty on federal tax policy and federal regulations, especially on the environmental side,” the magazine reported.

And not all of that uncertainty was related to this year’s U.S. elections, respondents added.

“If the de­mand was there, people would spend now rather than waiting until after January, particularly in the private sector,” E. Colette Nelson, executive vice presi­dent of the American Subcontractors Association (ASA), told ENR in the October article.

Whatever the cause, advises Guzzi: “You can sit around and whine about it, or you can focus on what work is out there and go for it.”

Review the Top 600 Specialty Contractors here.

   

Tagged categories: Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services (BEIS); Business conditions; Business operations; Coating Business; Commercial contractors; FD Thomas; K2 Industrial Services; Painters; Painting Contractor; Residential contractors; Thomas Industrial Coatings

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