The Construction Staffing Agencies Putting Texas to Work
From proposal writer, to estimator, to project manager, construction leaders wear myriad hats. However, recruiter and human resources (HR) manager doesn’t have to be one of them. Here's a look at the traditional construction staffing agencies helping put Texans to work, as well as an innovative alternative to staffing agencies.
Why are we talking about staffing agencies?
With the United States entering its fifth month attempting to safely navigate and slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) while avoiding complete economic devastation, businesses in many private, and some public, sectors remain totally shutdown or running at limited capacity. But things are beginning to change in states like Texas, where Governor Gregg Abbott declared reopening in June and increased mask mandates in July due to surging infection numbers. It may not be business as usual, but there is business again, nonetheless. And it’s no different in construction.
In the first few months of the pandemic, construction projects across the country screeched to a halt, but many are slowly picking up speed again. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), “demand for design services from architecture firms began to stabilize in June, following their peak declines in April,” and the US Census Bureau reported similar findings, with construction starts declining less sharply in recent months than when the virus first began spreading. Infrastructure projects are especially poised to pick up speed, with the Trump administration working a $1 trillion program and the House having recently proposed one requiring $1.5 trillion. Still, however, as AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA, noted, “Unfortunately, conditions at firms with a commercial/industrial specialization are likely to remain weak for an extended period of time until hospitality, office and retail facilities can fully reopen, and design demand for this space begins to increase.”
In the meantime, with the current decrease in project volume and an increase in necessary and regulated safety precautions on jobsites, contactors are struggling to determine how to keep their business afloat. Certified Public Accountant Bryan C. Porter, who specializes in tax and business advisory services for construction firms, advises, “…labor is a large component of any project’s cost structure and is often the easiest expense to trim when faced with decreased revenue volume." While Porter ultimately (and correctly) recommends using caution when considering substantial reductions in workforce, contractors in today's environment may find that they have no choice.
One way contractors can ensure they maintain a strong but flexible workforce to meet highly uncertain project demands is to employ a construction staffing agency. Luckily for firms in Texas, the state has no shortage of contenders.
Construction Staffing Agencies in Texas
Here are eight construction staffing agencies putting Texas back to work.
Marek Employment Management Company (MEMCO)
MEMCO (begun in 1996) is the staffing and risk management arm of The Marek Family of Companies, which have been providing temporary-to-permanent workers, as well as payrolling, for project-based jobs since 1987. MEMCO now operates as a provider of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled trades workers to approximately 300 clients outside The Marek Family of Companies. Although MEMCO calls Houston, TX home, they are active in other Sunbelt markets. With such a long history and expansive arm, MEMCO is widely held as one of the most trusted staffing solutions companies in the construction industry.
TRIO Electric (founded in 2003) has a rich history of training electricians in-house and runs a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR)-registered apprenticeship program. Over time, the company was producing such a robust class of qualified electricians that they decided to help place surplus workers in opportunities outside of TRIO. So, in 2020, they officially launched TRIO Talent to act as a staffing firm to place these electricians and other tradesmen in opportunities outside of Trio Electric.
PeopleReady Skilled Trades
Nearly 30 years ago, PeopleReady, part of TrueBlue Inc., was ignited with the core value of helping garner more respect for the skilled trades and matches firms in the commercial, residential, energy and industrial, marine, and institutional construction sectors, helping them create with the skilled and general laborers they need to complete their projects efficiently. They also offer customized recruitment plans and specified pre-screening processes to directly place project managers, superintendents, construction managers, estimators, engineers, architects, safety professionals, field managers, foreman and more.
Since 1992, Tradesmen International has been helping commercial residential and reserve construction contractors, as well as those in the manufacturing, power, heavy-industrial and marine sectors, supplement their core workforce and “to level out workload peaks and valleys, and better match workload to workers.” The company prides itself on the comprehensive labor expertise it offers through consulting, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training, productivity analysis and labor relations services. After nearly 30 years in business, Tradesmen International has earned a reputation of being the premier construction workforce in North America.
Trades Masters, founded in 1998, sources skilled tradespeople for construction firms in the industrial, commercial, government, residential and institutional industries. The company boasts a variety of contract and direct-placement solutions, including locally based and travelling workers in drywall, carpentry, electrical, equipment operation, fire prevention, welding, concrete, pipe fitting, plumbing, millwrighting, painting, ironwork, management, and ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC). The company also offers back office solutions, including payroll, human resources and safety consulting.
A Peoplelink Group company, Trade Management opened in 2005, offering assistants to help contractors coordinate their labor force from beginning to end. The company sources electricians, carpenters, plumbers, millwrights, pipefitters, welders, painters and other skilled tradespeople for both large and small projects. Through a trained construction recruitment department, a field superintendent and an OSHA-certified safety manager, on-site safety is ensured. Clients’ human resource functions, such as payroll, insurance and administrative tasks that often slow firms down, are handled by Trade Management internal staff.
What begin as a two-man operation in 2004, TradeSTAR provides technology (voice and data, audio/visual, security, life and safety, building automation, training) electrical, and professional staffing and recruiting services for low-voltage and electrical industries. They uniquely price their services at an hourly rate according to the qualifications of the worker provided – a pay scale contractors are familiar with.
Unlike most other industry staffing companies, Skillforce (founded in 2003) only connects contractors with skilled tradesmen who seek full-time work with benefits, not one-day assignments on projects. The company assumes costs associated with payroll, taxes, unemployment and benefits and reduce worker’s compensation and liabilities costs for employers. Talents available to contractors through Skillforce include carpenters, electricians, finishers, sheet metal workers, HVAC technicians, masons, painters, pipe fitters, plumbers, tile installers and glazers, and more.
What are alternatives to staffing agencies?
Buildforce was launched with the belief that contractors shouldn't have to rely on expensive middlemen to staff up for a project. We're on a mission to provide higher quality, lower risk, and lower cost construction staffing through the use of technology.
Unlike traditional staffing agencies, Buildforce (offices in Houston and Austin) allows contractors to directly staff individuals from our network of pre-screened, reference checked construction tradesmen through a mobile and web-based platform. After reviewing our tradesmen's detailed profiles and selecting the candidate(s) you think would be the best fit, tradesmen show up on the job site as soon as and for as long as needed.
Because Buildforce uses simple and intuitive software to help match contractors and tradesmen, contractors ultimately pay a substantially lower fee for the same degree of quality and administrative services (payroll, time tracking, workers compensation insurance, etc.) that the best traditional staffing agency provides.
If you're planning to staff up for a new project or make a long term hire, sign up for Buildforce today to get started with no payment information required.