Jeff (left) and Pat Beyer enjoy the family atmosphere of their $9 million San Antonio business.

SAN ANTONIO, TX — Jeff and Pat Beyer are two brothers with one goal: to make their company, Beyer Mechanical, the best commercial contractor in the San Antonio, TX area — and not by being the biggest.

“We are not a volume-driven contractor,” said Jeff. “We don’t have to be the biggest, just the best and the most profitable.”

That’s easier said than done for some people, but not for the Beyers. They have seen steady growth over the past 10 years since they took over the business. Although the $9 million contractor is mainly into new commercial construction and service work, the Beyers see a need to pursue the residential market, too.

“I see a lot of opportunity in the residential market,” Jeff said. He said that keeping his 85-person crew busy is generally not a problem because the company is in a diverse market.

“There isn’t much up and down in service,” he said. “But this is a cyclical market, with a lot of peaks and valleys. You can usually fall back into service when things slow down. Last year service was big and now it seems to have shifted to new construction.

“Part of our growth is in pursuing new markets. We have really gone out to gain a bigger share of the service business.”

The contractor does a lot of design-build work, especially in the area of new office buildings. The company recently retreated from the retail market to concentrate their efforts on service. But like most contractors, they are feeling the pinch of a tight labor market.

The Labor Pinch

Pat Beyer said there are distinct differences in workers based on their age and experience. And unfortunately, the new workers entering the market are the toughest ones to deal with.

“There is a big difference between [them and] the older workers who worked for job security,” he said. “The Baby Boomers worked for a decent wage and benefit package. Now the Gen Xers are looking for the quick buck and display no loyalty to their employer.”

He added that the “good old days” of having a basic benefit package to attract workers are over. Workers, he said, are looking for daycare benefits and not retirement benefits.

“Our company focuses on a career path and where the worker fits in,” he added. “We focus on where we are going as a company.”

But Pat is the first to admit that company growth is directly related to the presence of good people, which includes young people right out of high school. “Getting young people is the key,” he said. “But today, entry-level jobs are no longer looked at as skilled positions.”

He likes to bring up his workers through the ranks. “We bring in some of the best guys through new construction. These are usually the best people. Hiring from the outside doesn’t produce the best results. We are picking up some former military personnel, and these guys are very disciplined.”

Beyer Mechanical puts out the word that its techs make a good wage and enjoy one of the best benefit programs, including a 401k plan and bonus incentives. The owners are also strongly aligned with family and with God, according to Beyer.

“We are blessed with good people at all levels,” he said. “We feel that they are a big part of our business.”

And how do the Beyers feel about the business?

“We have a real love for it,” said Jeff. “It is not just a job.”

Publication date: 03/26/2001