In the fall of 2009, Anthony DeCarlo Jr. participated in the Concrete Construction Industry Roundtable representing his company at the time TruWall Concrete Inc., Cincinnati. A lot has changed for DeCarlo and his company. Since then TruWall has been restructured and a new business emerged as TWC-Concrete Services LLC.
CC recently discussed the new business with DeCarlo, as well as the decision to move forward with creating this new company, and ultimately, whether or not creating this business was worth the risk in today’s volatile construction industry.
You recently restructured your business to accommodate the new construction marketplace. Can you tell me about your old and new businesses?
The main difference between the old and new businesses is running the new business with much less overhead and debt. Everyone knows these days you have to be able to do more with less. The old business was less worried about backlog, being paid, cash flow, debt ratios, or incidental expenses. Now the focus with TWC-Concrete Services is on everything previously mentioned plus the standard focus items of schedule, production, safety, and quality.
Specifically, how did you adjust your business for the new construction industry?
In order to compete in the new marketplace, we had to make major cuts in order to just get work, and I know that is not new to anyone in construction right now. Simply put we put the proverbial “axe” to just about every area in our company. In the company overhead, we reduced salaries, cut benefits, and revised insurance policies. In the field, employees agreed to wage and benefit concessions.
So far, has it been successful?
Our business situation is much better now than it was a year ago. We are starting to see how our decisions are showing some signs of progress. Looking back, I would say our moves kept our situation from getting worse until the economy started showing some signs of life in our area.
Describe TWC-Concrete in 5 to 10 years?
After the experience of these last couple of years, I envision our focus still on keeping the company financially stable, profitable, and using as little as possible of any lines of credit from the bank. We would be back into more commercial and industrial work and much less of the public work. Also we’ll continue to increase volume but not sacrifice profitability and financial stability.
How do you see the construction industry evolving over the next few years?
I see the construction industry evolving back toward private sector work in the commercial and industrial industries. With governments being forced to make more and more cuts, and I expect that to be in construction spending. I also see more work getting done with specialized equipment to replace manpower because there’s a good chance for there to be a considerable loss of skilled construction workers after this economy because they have moved on to find different jobs they feel are more stable.
What type of advice would you provide to other contractors who may be considering restructuring their business?
My advice would be to make your restructuring decisions sooner rather than later. I know these types of decision can be painful but the sooner sound business decisions are made the sooner the pain has a chance to go away. Also, don’t shy away from talking to other business people around you or find business people who may have dealt with similar situations to ask for advice on how to handle restructuring.
2009 Industry Roundtable