South / Regional Reports

Commercial Contractor Stays Where His Roots Are

March 22, 2001
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
Greg Zinsmeyer stands among the many pieces of equipment in his large sheet metal shop.

CASTROVILLE, TX — Greg Zinsmeyer was born and raised in this small town west of San Antonio. He likes where he is and he plans to stay put. He also likes the direction his company, A/C Technical Services, Inc., is heading in.

“The future looks very promising for our company,” he said. “This is the first year we put together a budget and we have also departmentalized.”

Zinsmeyer’s heritage is a blend of German and French, including ancestors who came from the Black Forest region. His own road to success has passed through several stages, but he is proud of the work that his 45-man crew does.

He also appreciates his customer mix. The company blends about 85% new commercial construction (including both design-build and hard bid) with 15% service (of which 70% is commercial and 30% is residential).

One of his best customers is also one of his biggest. HEB grocery stores is the largest grocery chain in central Texas, according to Zinsmeyer, and that company alone constitutes about 75% of A/C Technical’s grocery store business. Zinsmeyer has earned a lot of service and installation work from HEB — and he is now focusing on more service work from his other customers. “We want to grow more in our service department. There are typically better margins in service work.”

The contractor’s client base expands out in a 200-mile radius to include San Antonio, which affords many opportunities for new business.

Tight Labor Market

But he knows that capturing new business means having a staff of trained professionals to handle the increased workload; and right now the outlook isn’t good. “The employment situation is very grim,” Zinsmeyer said.

“The union is making a big push in San Antonio [for big projects], which takes employees away from other contractors. The union is offering more money to work on the big projects.”

Zinsmeyer said he believes his company is competitive when it comes to wages and training. “We give employees every imaginable benefit. Our techs have weekly tech sessions and participate in required training through our supply houses.

“We offer to send people through an apprenticeship school which is sponsored by the Assoc-iated Builders and Contractors [ABC]. I’ve put people through school and some have left the company. Now if they want schooling, I deduct it from their paychecks — and I just hope they stay.”

Zinsmeyer has listened to the advice of other contractors on matters of training and service through his membership in a network of contractors, which he calls a “big help.” With a large sheet metal shop, he is also looking to promote a fabricated metal business.

Although he would like to retire in five years or so, he isn’t quite sure. He has had offers to join consolidators, but he said selling to one of them “wouldn’t be good for me. [Independents] started their businesses so they could go out and hunt and fish when they wanted.”

In the meantime, Zinsmeyer adheres to a simple philosophy: “Make the most out of every dollar and go home happy.”

Publication date: 03/26/2001

Web date: 06/18/2001

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

Recent Articles by John Hall

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

2014 MCAA Annual Convention

Scenes from the 2014 MCAA Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz.


NEWSmakers: Julian Scadden

Training is an ongoing process. Julian will discuss how you can generate maximum return on time and energy invested training by following a three part process. Listen to this podcast to get expert tips on training, tracking and follow up. 

More Podcasts



NEWS 04-14-14 cover

2014 April 14

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Which statement on service calls best applies to your business?
View Results Poll Archive


2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research


Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Magazine image
Register today for complete access to Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.


facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con