Marsh Construction Services, LLC, of Statesboro, Georgia, is a growing construction business. The firm does general contracting work, site preparation and vertical construction in southeastern Georgia and South Carolina.
Brothers Timmy and Travis Marsh founded the company in the 1990s. Over the past two decades, they have steadily expanded and added staff, including CFO Tim Brady and managing partner Jason Dunn. We spoke with Tim and Jason about strategies the company has used for growth.
Marsh Construction has figured out a formula for how to be successful in construction.
What kind of work did the company start doing in its early days, and how has that changed to today?
Tim: The roots of the company are on the vertical side, primarily steel.
And then there was an opportunity to build a metal building for a manufacturer. It was a good-sized structure. There was a need to develop the site. And the two owners were like, “You know? We certainly have the expertise. We have done this sort of work, but it was never really built into our company business strategy.”
Now we’re versatile, and we’ve got the capabilities and the license to do several things.
Our customers can get their job, their development, their project, done with Marsh Construction. They don’t have to go out and line up all the different trades or all the different resources. We’re a one-stop shop.
Would you say that’s one of the best ways for contractors to get business?
Tim: Absolutely. I think there are a lot of people running around with earthmoving equipment, but they're not licensed to do underground utilities. They’re not licensed to do DOT work. They don’t have the capability to do red-iron construction.
How do you structure the operations of a construction business for growth?
Tim: We are nicely integrated. We do not have siloed operations. It’s not unusual for us to get the site work, and then that leads to the vertical construction opportunities.
Since you do so many different things, how do you decide what equipment to add to your fleet?
Jason: For the most part, an intermediate-size machine, which is pretty much all of our equipment, is efficient and practical.
On one job we had over 3,000 feet of concrete pipe to install, and close to another 6,000 feet of water and sewer to install. You can imagine the volume of pipe that was being moved. And the rock that we use to bed the trenches with.
We utilized our DL220-5 [wheel loader] 100% of the time. A bigger loader on that job would’ve made zero difference. But if we had a bigger loader and I wanted to take it to a job that’s literally on less than a half acre, it would be a nuisance.
Tim: Our team looks for jobs that best utilize our fleet and our resources. Rather than getting a job and then saying, “Well, that doesn’t require any dozers. Yet we’re still paying for that darn dozer.” Now we think, “I’m looking for an earthmoving job of a certain duration because it’s going to fit our construction cycle, our production cycle.” And I think that’s been an eye-opener.
What other opportunities do you see for your business?
Tim: We’re seeing technology overall as a big opportunity. And as we’re in the midst of modifying and upgrading and modernizing our equipment fleet, we’re seeing efficiencies that will help us reduce our costs and make us more competitive to be able to win more business.
For example, Jason had GPS equipment installed on our dozers. It was a significant capital investment. But it does a couple of things for us. One is it reduces the expense associated with wasted material: either too much or too little. Two, it reduces surveying and engineering fees, because they’re able to do things on the jobsite now without having to reach out and call for a third party to come and pound little wooden stakes in the ground.
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