A Full-Service Solution

Service Painting of Florida

Since it was launched in 1982, Service Painting of Florida has grown to become the largest painting contractor in the entire state. The company also consistently ranks as the Southeastern United States’ number one commercial painter…

The team isn’t just known for their quality painting, however. Service Painting delivers a complete range of services across a variety of sectors.

Service Painting boasts a top notch team of specialists whose industry knowledge of architecture, engineering, estimating, financing, materials, and project management brings a full-service perspective to every project. “We have a really well rounded staff,” President Elizabeth Perez-Lavin points out. The company organizes these skillsets into no less than seven divisions: Commercial Painting, Industrial Painting, Re-Paints and Restoration, Waterproofing, Waste and Waste Water, Petrochemical, and Other Services.

Service Painting’s projects cover everything from educational facilities, condominium communities, high rises, treatment plants, government buildings and military bases to medical facilities and hospitals, shopping centers and malls, universities, sports complexes, and office suites. Many of these projects involve high profile sites where mistakes are not an option.

For instance, the company recently played a key role in renovating Lee County Sports Complex (LCSC) in Fort Myers, Florida, which houses the Minnesota Twins’ spring training each year. The ballpark required extensive work: a new residential player development academy, renovations to the Minor League clubhouse and administrative areas, a new Gulf Coast League playing field, a new agility field, completing a 360 degree boardwalk and concourse at Hammond Stadium, expanding Hammond Stadium’s seating capacity from 8,000 to 9,300, and the addition of a new parking lot. With so much being done, the biggest challenge was finishing all jobs on time. “It had to be completed before spring training season, and it didn’t get started until late last year,” Ms. Perez-Lavin explains.

The company is currently taking part in the construction of the much anticipated Miami Science Museum. The team is responsible for all of the water proofing on the 250,000 square foot, sustainable building. It’s a big job, and the downtown location is keeping crew members on their toes. “That [location] presents its own challenges traffic-wise,” Ms. Perez-Lavin points out. Service Painting is also currently working on the U.S. Army Reserve headquarters in West Palm Beach. This job has allowed the team to work closely with the Army Corps of Engineers, broadening the company’s experience even further. Service Painting is also currently working on the Four Seasons Resort in Orlando, which Fodor’s Travel has named one of world’s most anticipated new hotels in 2014.

Another major Service Painting project involves the upscale Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota, Florida, which is set to open in October of this year. The team has already completed the below grade waterproofing for the entire building and is now working on jobs for individual stores, including Dillard’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. “This one is challenging from all different kinds of standpoints; first, we are on a time crunch, so there are specific time schedules. Additionally, the stores [have] a different contractor than the contractor for the entire project. So you are working on one project, but you are doing so for four or five different customers.” The team has not been daunted, however. In fact, they pride themselves on rising to the occasion – no matter what. “It has become a part of our culture to overcome these challenges,” Ms. Perez-Lavin explains.

The company has been based in southwestern Florida for most of its history, with offices in Fort Myers and Sarasota. In 2011, the team branched out to the east coast and opened a new office in Miami. This expansion was motivated by customer demand. “As our customers moved to the other coast, they contacted us right away and asked us to bid projects over there,” Ms. Perez-Lavin recalls. “That is why we decided that it was time to have an office [in Miami].”

The team relied on controlled growth and careful planning to ensure that the expansion would be a success. This meant starting off small and waiting to grow the office until the work was guaranteed. Now, business is booming in the new branch office; what began as a four person operation currently boasts 20 field employees and two full time office personnel. “It has been a busy office,” Ms. Perez-Lavin points out. “But it [took] organization and doing it the right way.” Throughout Service Painting’s expansion, the company has remained privately and locally owned.

Building strong relationships has been a key to successful growth. “We strongly believe in building relationships, not only with our customers but also with anyone who provides us services,” Ms. Perez-Lavin reports. Building and maintaining healthy relationships within the team is also stressed.

Perhaps most importantly, management recognizes that it is the skill and dedication of Service Painting’s staff that has made the company what it is today. Therefore, keeping these employees on board is crucial. “Our people are really what sets us apart from the rest,” Ms. Perez-Lavin insists. “We really do take care of our employees and try to do our best to make good decisions for them.”

Not surprisingly, Service Painting has won the loyalty of its employees by putting them first. As a result, turnover is remarkably low. “I don’t know too many construction companies that have people in the field who have worked for them for over 20 years,” Ms. Perez-Lavin points out. “One superintendent has been here 22 years; another has been here 17 years. We have foremen in the field who have been with the company 24 years.”

Service Painting also promotes from within, providing a unique opportunity for hard working, ambitious staff members. In fact, the company’s current CEO, Gary Johnson, began his career as a painter, working his way all the way up through the ranks to eventually run the company. The company also recently appointed four other Service Painting employees, including Ms. Perez-Lavin, onto the Board of Directors, giving staff members even more say in how the business is run.

Service Painting cares about the broader community as well as its employees. The team is actively involved in a number of charities and events, from sponsoring scholarships to participating in the American Heart Association’s local Heart Walk. The company also recently donated labor and materials to Sarasota’s Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, helping the shelter extend its services to more women in need.

The Service Painting team is confident about the future of the business and is encouraged by the current state of the industry. “We have seen an increase of work within our three offices,” Ms. Perez-Lavin reports. In fact, the work has been steadily increasing each year since 2011. Of course, this means that competition is increasing as well, as companies begin to jump back into the market after throwing in the towel during the GFC. Ms. Perez-Lavin isn’t concerned, however. “If we continue to do the things that we know how to do best – providing quality products, providing the proper management of the job, [maintaining] the certifications that we have – then we really don’t have to concern ourselves. As long as we keep making good decisions and doing the right thing for our customers they are going to continue to choose us to complete their project.”

The team is so confident in the company’s potential that they have made ambitious plans for 2014. “This year, we have set a high goal. We want to increase our growth by 10 to 15 percent.” The company is also working to increase the number of certifications that its field employees and office personnel carry, particularly those pertaining to safety. “Right now all our foreman are ten hour OSHA certified. We are looking to make sure that they are all 30 hour OSHA certified within the next couple of years. A continued focus on safety is a major thing for us.”

Throughout this future growth, the team will remain committed to providing the top notch service that has already brought the company 32 years of success – and is sure to bring many more. In a competitive marketplace, Ms. Perez-Lavin points out, “our longevity, our size, and our stability set us apart.”

July 22, 2018, 2:57 AM EDT

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