A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

No Respect

The following article was written by Marek Division Manager Sumner Hunter and was originally published on MarekBros.com.

Why are residential drywall companies like comedian Rodney Dangerfield? Because sometimes we get “no respect at all”. I have often wondered why it is that many homebuilders seem to think that almost anybody can do residential drywall. Over the years, I have seen several people go into the drywall business. They usually don’t have much money, credit, references, or business experience. Despite this, many homebuilders give work to these new start-ups without hesitation. I doubt they would do the same thing with their electrician or plumber. But we are not a licensed trade, at least in Texas, and there are very few entry barriers, so almost anyone can go into the drywall business. Why aren’t builders more afraid of these new guys? Is it just because they are cheaper?

I think part of the answer lies in the fact that homebuilders use less qualified contractors and don’t suffer negative consequences, at least not immediately. It’s not that hard to close a house with inferior drywall work. Many drywall problems are not noticed, or do not show up, until after the buyer has already moved into their new home. After buying a new home, it took me more than 2 months to notice serious flaws in the drywall job (see pictures below), and I’m in the business. It may take a while to notice these problems, but once the homeowner begins to see visible joints, fastener dimples, and mismatched repairs, he will continue to see them every time he walks into the room. This is bound to affect his attitude about the quality of his home and builder and even his willingness to recommend that builder to others. Sooner or later, the service calls and warranty claims start to mount up, so there’s a monetary cost as well. By the time the builder realizes there’s a problem, the damage has already been done.

Bad drywall work (e.g. applying new mud before the previous coat has dried, breaking seams at door and window headers, using inferior or improper materials) creates additional repairs. Somebody has to pay for these repairs: the builder, the homeowner, or the drywall contractor. It should be the drywall contractor, but many times it’s the builder. I can’t count the times builders have fired their drywall contractor, hired Marek, and then proceeded to pay us a small fortune to fix all the bad houses done by the previous contractor. In the end, it’s hard to believe the builder really saved money using the cheap guy. Most new drywall companies don’t last 10 years. Marek has lasted 75 years and still going strong, so we must be doing something right.

This photo shows fastener dimples, and if you look closely, you can see “chatter marks” in the texture 

This photo shows poorly finished joints and nicks and dings that should have been repaired


Comments

freddie04's picture

Poor craftsmanship equals cheap labor.Nobody holds the builders accountable for hiring folks that exploit undocumented workers by circumventing labor laws. General contractors hire subs that are cheap and they know why the sub [drywall contractor] has submitted such a low bid. When folks don't get paid for their work at all or at wages less than state minimum wages the employer makes a lot of money and so does the builder/General Contractor.It's not only the quality issues that the public suffers when employers use "cheating" as a business strategy but what about taxes that are not paid? Are your schools overcrowded and how's the cost of medical in your areas? It's a fact that cheap labor or untrained labor will get hurt on the job more often than those that are trained and or qualified. Drywall used to be a trade in which women and men could work [very hard] to fulfill the "American Dream" of taking care of themselves and their families. Now those folks can't compete in residential construction because of the corruption that is allowed over and over again. In fact these types of Builders/General Contractors hire drywall [and other craft] employers to do commercial public works in which it is proven over and over again that the same illegal business practices go on every day. Who is watching the hen house? It would seem that the answer should be the wolf but the answer really is no one! Wait there is some[not all] building trades unions organizing out there and getting results. Thanks to you for doing something to help spend my taxes in a way that resembles the "American Dream". These workers that are exploited in so many horrible ways are good folks and could be trained but that's not going to happen as long as there's some fat cat exploiting them for the mighty dollar. Why do the folks that pay taxes foot the bill for those who don't and how long can we be bled dry?

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