Turman Commercial Painters is not your typical commercial painting contractor. Walk into their corporate headquarters in Livermore, about an hour east of San Francisco, and you might see the owner conducting his daily video conference call with managers of the company's eight other offices across the country. Together they do business in 48 states.
It wasn't always this way. Founded in 1972 by Ed Turman, the company initially focused on jobs in Livermore and the surrounding East Bay area. When Turman retired, he sold the business to his son-in-law, Dave Theobald, who brought 17 years experience as a general contractor to the company. His desire to grow the company, and changes in the economy combined to alter the company's direction.
"A major turning point for the business was the purchase of Washington Commercial Painters in 2000," Theobald says. "As we now had offices in different states, it forced us to invest in technology to effectively communicate and perform jobs in multiple states. This led to our first job requiring major travel, a 360 site job for AT&T in 10 states we performed in eight weeks. The multi-state platform set up our ability to acquire other West Coast offices, which culminated in the East Coast headquarters and the national capabilities we have today."
Geographic expansion also helped the company continue to grow during the recent recession.
"The downturn over the last several years hit our traditional clients very hard, and they largely went quiet," Theobald says. "As we went out to look for work, we realized that approximately 75 percent of it was from new clients. Based on this, we put in a coordinated effort to find new clients across new market segments."
So though work was shrinking in their hard-hit West Coast markets, it was expanding for the company at its new offices in Dallas, Denver, Columbus and Charlotte. "Surprisingly, we found those efforts also brought additional work back to our local regions," Theobald says. "It has definitely helped us with clients that do work all over the country."
Good products, happy customers
Coatings and supplier service have a critical impact on the company's bottom line.
"If we don't have great coatings, that can lead to product failures which creates risk of re-doing work, unhappy clients and a ruined reputation," Theobald says. "In the same respect, good coatings can have an equally strong impact. They limit risk, provide great so lutions and can literally win you a client for life."
That's why Turman chooses to work with Sherwin-Williams. With more than 3,300 locations nationwide, a store is close to any job they bid, and pricing and service is consistent and reliable. Sherwin-Williams reps not only provide the highest quality paint including a number of specialty coatings and green products like Harmony and ProGreen 200, they help the company solve problems.
In a recent project at the Taube Coret Campus for Jewish Life in Palo Alto, for instance, Turman encountered a unique issue with a large amount of new plaster wall surface in a swimming pool area. Though it would pass any traditional "pull test," the finish had a soft surface that was causing a lack of adhesion with the coating system.
"Sherwin-Williams met with us and the client onsite and came up with a solution to the problem," Theobald says. "They recommended we wash the surface area down with a distilled vinegar solution to remove the soft surface dust while maintaining the integrity of the plaster substrate. We then primed and finished the surfaces with Macropoxy 646 Fast Cure Epoxy. Throughout the job, Sherwin-Williams provided outstanding service with on-time and accurate deliveries from their local store to the project site."
For an in-depth look at more of the company's projects, visit its website at turmaninc.com.
In 2009, Turman Commercial Painters had its largest sales year to date. Owner Dave Theobald wanted to give something back to the community, and was inspired by the story of Alabama pharmacist Danny Cottrell, whose company launched a homegrown stimulus package in order to "pay it forward."
"In that spirit we've created The People's Stimulus Package," Theobald says. "We gave each of our 200-plus employees a packet of eye-catching $2 bills totaling $200 each to spend at their community shops to help stimulate the local economy and help others. The response has been remarkable as more than 50 other companies across the country have stepped up to participate, injecting over $200,000 in local communities."
Find out more at peoplesstimulus.org.