US Builders Review                                                    

APC Services of New England

A focus on the institutional sector for Northeast painting and coatings company
Written by: 
Tom Faunce
Produced by: 
Ian Nichols

With its team of experienced estimators, project managers, field superintendents and administrative staff, APC Services of New England has been providing industry-leading painting and coating services, as well as related duties, throughout New England since 1931. After working with the previous owner for 26 years and purchasing the business in 2012, Patrick Ronan is the current president.  His father, Frank Ronan, now acts as sales manager for the company, which maintains 14 full-time employees. Headquartered in Melrose, Massachusetts, APC has built lasting relationships with clients and strategic partners over the years.

The goal of APC is to ensure customer satisfaction while offering professional, experienced commercial contracting to complete each job on time and within budget constraints. “Paint and coatings have two purposes,” explains Frank. “They are to look aesthetically pleasing and to protect surfaces from weather and decay. We have a great deal of experience with specialty coatings that are heat, cold, condensation and corrosion resistant and we use only the highest quality materials.”

APC Services

The talented team at APC specializes in interior and exterior painting and coating services, catering to the education, manufacturing and commercial industries. The company also performs estimating and assistance with specifications and project management, all while managing a network of experienced subcontractors throughout the region. “We pay all of our subs on a weekly basis,” says Frank. “This keeps the top-quality subs coming back to work with us.”

Serving the New England region

The primary target market for APC is the education and institution sector, working in colleges and universities. When the school year ends and campuses empty, many institutions seize the opportunities to refurbish classrooms and dormitories. During this time, which usually begins mid-May, APC is working on approximately 10 different institutions, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University and Dartmouth College. The next largest portion of APC’s business comes from manufacturing facilities, which is where the company performs a majority of its coating work. “Approximately half of our work goes through general contractors and the other half comes directly to us from the customer,” Frank explains.

A recent project that APC completed with involved a 12-story occupied apartment building in Somerville, Massachusetts. Due to the original design of the building, moisture became trapped within the walls of the complex and essentially ruined the exterior. “We had to sandblast and repaint all four sides of all 12 stories,” says Frank. “It presented a challenge to us because it was in downtown Somerville, so there were many obstacles to maneuver around.”

APC Services

APC is used to working in challenging spaces and high places. The company has worked on several Catholic churches in and around Boston. Utilizing its partnership with skilled artists, APC team members and partners often work on staging up to 100 feet high, refurbishing murals of saints and angels.

“We go in and match fine art colors,” Frank explains. “The foreman creates work that looks as though it belongs in a museum. When he is done restoring the damaged piece, you would never know that it has been repaired.”

APC employs a full-time safety officer to oversee the education and safety of its employees and subcontractors and then monitor compliance. The team views safety as a team effort, with every member being committed to keeping every job accident-free. “We’re proud of the fact that as a group we have one of the lowest loss ratios in the industry,” says Frank. “As a company, we have been accident-free for many years. We do not compromise on safety.”

A diverse company

Coming off the heels of the recession, APC has managed to remain busy. Being in the niche market that it is, APC was able to capitalize on building owners refurbishing their facilities in lieu of new construction projects. “Fortunately we work in new construction and what we call ‘rehabbing,’” says Frank. “It creates a decent balance when the economy is down and new construction is slow.”

Purchasing a business in the construction industry as the country was rebounding from the recession was not without risks and challenges. When Patrick decided to buy APC, he turned to his father to combine his business savvy with his own knowledge of the trade. “Patrick’s knowledge of the painting and coating industry is far beyond mine,” says Frank. “I’ve brought my business and corporate experience to the table. I helped get the loans approved and worked with the CPAs to get everything started.”

APC is looking at potential growth opportunities as the company moves forward. Other than increasing revenue and work force, APC will consider other markets in which to expand its services. While it increases its market share, APC Services of New England will maintain its integrity and focus on safety to ensure complete customer satisfaction. 

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Righter Group
Tarpey Insurance