The Keys to Success in the Drywall Industry? Diversification and Depth

By Alan Howse on May 4, 2020

The construction industry is no stranger to challenges, from labor shortages to economic headwinds and beyond. Even in healthy markets, companies are forced to make strategic decisions about how to continually improve efficiency, reduce costs, and maintain the high-quality work their clients expect. In the drywall sector, savvy companies are leaning into two main strategies to get ahead of the curve and set themselves up for success no matter what state the market is in: diversifying their scope of services, and building a deep roster of talent.

Diversifying Service Offerings

In the ever-evolving world of construction, more and more general contractors are starting to self-perform work such as concrete and drywall, giving them a chance to make higher profits on a job. In an answer to that shift in demand, many drywall companies have found new ways to add value and stay competitive. One way is by taking on other trades, including painting, acoustical ceilings, and exteriors. By branching out into these and other related specialties, drywall companies can provide solutions to a broader spectrum of problems than companies who stick to a narrower focus. Other drywall companies are expanding their scope to include wall panels and modular construction components, and some are even fabricating their own metal studs. Capitalizing on technological advances allows companies to tap into services that are not yet standard in the industry, helping companies stand out in a competitive market. Both of these diversification strategies require an upfront investment in terms of training and materials. But the more services a drywall firm can offer, the better positioned they will be to provide value to their clients.

Deepening the Talent Roster

Some companies are not in a position to expand their service portfolio, but that doesn’t mean they can’t improve their value to their clients. One simple-but-powerful way that leaders can make a drywall company stronger is by ensuring that their teams are able to do their best work. There are several important things companies need to do to empower their teams, but one of the most important is building a deep roster of talent rather than relying on a handful of high performers to carry the team. Unfortunately, too many companies have rockstar Project Managers on their payrolls without adequate support staff, and as a result, those Project Managers waste a significant amount of time on paperwork (such as RFIs and submittals) and other tasks that would be better delegated to Project Engineers or Assistant Project Managers. Project Managers can also get overwhelmed and overworked, leading to burnout and higher turnover rates.

Drywall companies who are planning for the long term should make sure to have a good supporting crew of Assistant Project Managers and Project Engineers, who can take some of the workload off of their Project Managers and let them focus on the issues and duties that really require their expertise. Another major benefit of a deep talent pool is that those up-and-coming industry professionals can learn from the best in the business and develop the skills that will turn them into the next generation of rockstar Project Managers. And when these rising stars feel appreciated and valued, they’re more likely to stay loyal to the company that gave them great mentors and learning opportunities.

In strong markets when competition is fierce, and in seasons of struggle when carving out opportunities is difficult, drywall companies need to differentiate themselves from their competitors and deliver unparalleled service to their clients. By diversifying their scope of services and deepening their talent roster, drywall industry leaders can position their companies for success in any market condition.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Billy Doubraski

Alan Howse

Associate

Alan joined Kimmel & Associates in 2008 as a Consultant in the Architectural and Engineering Division. In 2009, he became a Recruiter for the Division 13 Special Construction Group, working in primarily in the Northeast region. He was then promoted to Associate in recognition of his outstanding work. In 2017, Alan’s efforts earned him the Kimmel & Associates’ Silver Award.