World Fence News

February 2013

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Page 17 of 89

16 • FEBRUARY 2013 • WORLD FENCE NEWS We recently spoke with T.J. Topper of Fence Masters Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland, who told us that this past season ended up about the same as the year before. The company mix is 60% commercial and 40% residential and its service area includes Bel Air, Hunt Valley, Kingsville, White Marsh, Forest Hill, Fallston, Lutherville, Timonium, Perry Hall, and Cockeysville. On the commercial side the company does work for schools and private FENCER'S FIELD REPORT A monthly column of industry bits & pieces Compiled by contributing editor Jim Lucci and the staff of World Fence News corporations, to name a few. T.J. noted that while they carry a full product line, PVC and aluminum were growing fast and taking sales away from wood on the residential side. Further, the company is a manufacturer and distributor of chain link, GLOBAL HARDWARE SYSTEMS, INC. Manufacturers & Wholesalers FASTENER CAPS Fence Fittings • Barbed Wire • Bolts & Nuts for the fence industry Established 1984 ALL TYPES Snap-Caps, Tap Caps, Kappets, Hex-Caps, Hinge Caps All colors and sizes available in small or large quantities Easy to order through PRO-DEC.COM Check us out! Frederick, Maryland • Dallas, Texas 301-696-1416 • Fax 301-696-1417 1-800-330-1845 wood and PVC fencing, gate operators, access control equipment, ornamental steel, aluminum and temporary fence. We then asked T.J., going back to the start of the recession, probably 2008, how has the economic downturn affected the company in the long term? And were there any changes in the structural or organizational aspect of the company as well? T.J. responded, "Thankfully, not at all. Everyone has been able to keep working, and the company has remained intact." We then asked whether or not the company approach to advertising has changed, and we were told that the company has gotten away from print advertising and has focused on the internet, and they maintain their own web site. They created a new site which was active this past year and they are trying to pick up new customers in the contractor market. We further asked T.J. how the labor situation was in his market and how difficult it is to recruit skilled workers when needed. He responded by saying that the company has been pretty fortunate, and that there is very little, if any, turnover. The company has employees who have been there 30 years, as well as others who have been there as little as 5 years, and everything in between. Over and above that, he said that finding skilled labor is a very difficult task, to say the least. We then asked what the competitive situation was like in their area, and we were told that the competitive bidding process has become a problem as there are many more companies bidding work and pricing has become an even bigger issue. People are looking for low pricing to the point where getting one's margins are definitely a problem. T.J. told us that there were some jobs that they wouldn't even bid on because their margins wouldn't be there. We also asked what he thought the outlook for 2013 was going to be relative to their business, and his response was, basically, that prior to Thanksgiving this last year business was continued on page 18 DIG IN to all your earth drilling projects with power applications and rugged terrain, productivity to tackle large jobs or reliability you need on every project – Little Beaver has it all. DIG IN safely, cleanly and efficiently with Little Beaver. Stop by booth #2333 at FENCETECH. 80 0 -227-7515 Towable Hydraulic Earth Drills Mechanical Earth Drills UN-Towable Hydraulic Earth Drills Hydraulic Earth Drills

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