Subcontractors Skittish About Prospects for Work in 2009

by Mark Hengel  on Monday, Mar. 9, 2009 12:00 am  

Rick Barrow is president of Multi-Craft Contractors in Springdale, the largest mechanical contractor in Arkansas and the state's second-largest electrical subcontractor.

(To view a list of the top mechanical subcontractors, click here. A list of the top electrical subcontractors can be viewed by clicking here. Spreadsheet versions of the mechanical and electrical subcontractor lists are also available.)

The revenue numbers belie the apprehension many Arkansas mechanical and electrical subcontractors are feeling.

Most firms who provided information for the annual list of the state's largest electrical and mechanical subcontractors reported 2008 revenue totals near those reported for 2007.

But several company executives said forecasting results for 2009 has been tough. Few projects are currently out to bid and those that are receive unprecedented numbers of bidders, the executives report. Many worried what business would look like after their companies finished existing backlogs of work.

"As we begin 2009, we are definitely seeing lesser opportunities," said Clyde A. Jester, president of Comfort Systems USA (Arkansas) Inc. The company ranked second on the mechanical list, posting $38.6 million in revenue for 2008. "We are seeing fewer opportunities, so I don't know how 2009 will end up looking."

He later added, "I don't have any major projects on my radar."

This year may be looking shaky, but most subcontractors survyed reported 2008 revenue comparable to 2007 numbers.

Only one company made a move in the rankings: Multi-Craft Contractors Inc. of Springdale is now No. 2 on the electrical list, posting $19 million in 2008 revenue. The total inched Multi-Craft past Central Industrial Electrical Co. of North Little Rock, which reported $18.2 million in 2008 revenue. Multi-Craft also claimed the mechanical top spot, posting $43 million in 2008 revenue.

Koontz Electric Co. Inc. of Morrilton retained its spot atop the electrical list, reporting $32.5 million in 2008 revenue.

The lists' totals are reported by the companies and can't be verified.

Competition Increasing
A common concern among executives was that new business is hard to come by.

"This is the smallest backlog we have had going into the year for several years," Mike Hocutt, president and CEO of Clark Power Corp. of Little Rock, said.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.