Help not wanted: personnel firms feel chill of hiring freezes.

Author:Taylor, Mike
Position:The Private 250 - Statistical Data Included
 
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WITH COLORADO FIRMS DOING more firing than hiring these days, personnel-service firms are taking a hit. In Colorado there are 42,000 fewer jobs and 46,000 more unemployed workers than a year ago, according to the state Labor Department. On the positive side, the state's unemployment rate dropped for the fourth consecutive month in June, to 5.0 percent, down from February's high of 5.7 percent.

"We're feeling what everybody's feeling," says Dorothy Grandbois, president of Denver-based Job Store Inc., whose business was down 17 percent in 2001 from the previous year. "What we have found is that the West Coast (from Colorado westward) has been far more affected than the East Coast. I think it's probably because of all our technical and telecommunications."

Job Store is one of several personnel-services firms that made this year's ColoradoBiz Top 250 Private Companies list.

The 250 companies, ranked by self-reported revenues, employed an average of 117 people in 2001, a sharp decrease from the previous year, when the average company employed 140 workers.

Revenues of the Top 250 also declined. Companies on this year's list averaged revenues of $34.2 million; the firms on the list the previous year averaged revenues of $36.5 million.

To cope with the downturn, Job Store has reduced its internal staff from 46 to 25. "Our business has dropped down to the 1997 numbers," Grandbois says. "We were really growing at a very rapid rate; we saw no end to the growth."

But the growth did stop. Grandbois says the downturn started in 2000 but hit especially hard in 2001, punctuated by the events of Sept. 11, at which point, she says, "Everything just stopped."

Job Store is filling fewer jobs these days in the technical, financial and administrative fields, and more in the light industrial fields. Grandbois also says that staffing agencies have lowered their markup costs to better compete for business. At the same time, their recruiting costs--such as advertising in daily newspapers and online--have gone up.

Daryl Gatewood, president of Snelling Professional Services-Denver, enjoyed a 35 percent increase in business in 2001, but he too saw business taper off in the second half of the year.

"We've had a lesser need than this time last year from our major clients," Gatewood says. "A lot of them, if they're not cutting back, they're just not adding any more people or they're just watching their expenses when it comes to staffing, be it temporaries or regular full-time hires.

"Some of our major clients are in the telecom industry, and that industry has been hurt quite a bit. We're still doing what we would say is fairly well in comparison to staffing companies as a whole. But we're not where we used to be."

Gatewood says that a year ago his firm was filling 20 to 25 positions per week. These days its filling about half that number.

Anahid Katchian, CEO of the Longmont-based IT staffing firm Highland Inc., says she is astounded by the talented, educated and experienced people now looking for work. "We filter for the very best candidates and we'll offer the top three candidates for every (job) requirement," Katchian says. "So our client sees the best.

"In our business one of the advantages is that people can try before they buy. If they really like them, they'll put them on as permanent."

"We're just doing everything we can," says Grandbois. "I kept thinking after June or July we'd see a turnaround, but look at the stock market. We're tied to everybody else. We're tied to companies' hiring, and if they're not hiring, that's what we're tied to.

"I've weathered every recession we've had," she says, "and I've never seen one hit the staffing industry quite like this."

COLORADOBIZ TOP 250 PRIVATE COMPANIES BY REVENUES '01 '00 COMPANY NAME BUSINESS DESCRIPTION RANK RANK 1 1 Hensel Phelps Construction General cnntractor Co. 2 2 Burt Automotive Automobile dealerships 3 Information Handling Collection of technical Services and other information 4 Protesninnal Paint Inc. Paint and coatings manufacturer 5 5 American Furniture Retail frniture Warehouse 6 RAS Builders Inc. General contractor 7 10 Mike Shaw Chevrolet Automotive sales and Buick Saab service 8 7 Village Homes Community development and home building 9 12 Ralph Schomp Automotive Antomotive sales, service, parts 10 14 FCI Constructors Inc. General contractor/ construction manager 11 16 Roche Censtructors Inc. General contractor - commercial 12 18 TSN Inc. Wholesale distribution 13 15 Interstate Highway Concrete paving and Construction Inc. related services 14 13 Haselden Construction Inc. Design-build, general contractor 14 NRT Colorado Inc., dba Real estate and mortgage Coldwell services Banker Residential Brokerage 16 Agland Inc. Farmer-owned cooperative 17 20 Peerless Tyre Co. Retail tires and gasoline 18 28 McClain Finlon Advertising Full service advertising and marketing firm 19 19 Alpine Lumber Co. Lumber, building materials, contractor 20 22 Alpine Banks of Colorado Commercial bank 21 Holland & Hart LLP Law finm 22 FrontRange Solutions Inc. Customer relationship management 23 Alta Colleges Inc. Owner and operator of Westwood Colleges 24 21 Pinkard Construction Co. Preconstruction and general construction 25 27 Andavo Travel Full service travel management 26 31 Asphalt Specialties Co. Inc. Heavy highway contractor 27 30 DSP Builders Inc. General contractor 28 Calcon Constructors Inc. Commercial general contractor 29 40 Advantage Wireless Wholesale distributor of wireless phones/service 30 29 Pro Chrysler Jeep Automotive sales, service, parts 31 Vitamin Cottage Natural Natural groceries, Food Markets Inc. vitamins 32 32 Johnson Storage & Moving Co. Moving and storage 33 35 FMH Material Handling Materials handling Solutions Inc. products 34 West Star Aviation Inc. Repair, returbishment of business aircraft 35 43 Frederick Ross Co. Commercial real estate 35 47 Hercules Industries Inc. HVAC manufacturer and wholesaler 35 41 travel By Dana Travel agency 38 HVH Transportation Inc. Trucking/freight services 39 44 Pueblo Bank & Trust Co. Financial Institution 40 49 Packaging West Distributor rigid containers 41 Amber Homes Inc. Home builder 42 64 Peak Resources Computer services 43 James TravelPoints Inc. Travel agency 44 55 RNL Design Architecture & engineering 45 Interlink Group Inc. IT Professional Services 46 45 Travel Connections Inc. Travel management 47 61 Palace Construction Co. General contractor Inc. 48 50 Burst Communications Broadcast video equipment supplier 48 54 Univance Telecommunications Voice, data aod wireless communication provider 50 60 A.B. Hirschfeld Press Inc. Commercial printing company 51 Craters & Freighters Franchise crating and Franchise Co. shipping solutions 52 56 Rocky Mountain Desk Corp. Commercial office furnishings 53 65 Nexus Corp. Manufacturer of greenhouses 54 53 TeamExcel Technology solutions, consulting 55 78 M-E Engineers Inc. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing consulting engineers 56 Saturn Development Corp. Manufactured home communities 57 86 Accont Windows Inc. Windows and doors 58 66 Slifer Designs Inc. Resort interior designs 59 135 Integrated Information IT services Technology Corp. 60 82 Thayer Media Inc. Media buying service 61 100 CoCal Landscape Commercial landscaping 62 98 Snelling Personnel Employment services Services - Denver 63 102 Qdoba Restaurant Corp. Restaurant operator and franchiser 64 Alliance General General contractor Contractors LLC 65 99 Smith-Worgin Group Inc. Advertising agency 66 79 Katzke Paper Co. Packaging materials and equipment 67 73 Chavez Sheet Metal Co. Fabrication and installation of sheet metal (HVAC) products 68 Highland Inc. IT staffing 69 84 Mayo Aviation Inc. Air charter, air ambulance 70 91 MBI Corp. Consultants and contractors 71 85 Schield Management Cu. Registered investment advisor 72 92 Custom Computer Outsourcing hardware, Solutions Int. Inc. software solutions 73 97 J.F. Sato & Associates Engineering consulting, environmental planning, surveying 74 77 Travel Leader Group Full-service travel agency of Colorado 75 96 Eastwood Printing Commercial printing and Publishing Co. 76 Best-Value Textiles Inc. Manufacturer of food service textiles 76 87 Excel Personnel Inc. Staffing services 78 83 Job Store Inc. Employment agency 79 81 All Drivers Insurance Automobile insurance Agencies 80 106 Master Magnetics Inc. Manufacturer and distributor of magnets 81 108 Design Materials Inc. Tile distributor 82 93 United Banks of Colorado Commercial Bank 83 101 Rocky Mountain Supply Inc. Retail sales of industrial supplies 84 Insurance Technologies Financial services software 85 Team Lending Concepts LLC Mortgage company 86 116 Dozal & Associates - ITR Project management, consulting, technical stafing 86 Enstrom Candies Inc. Purveyor of handmade chocolates 86 Hensmann Technology Computer hardware, software, data storage 89 McBride Electric Inc. Electrical contractor 90 118 PlastiComm Industries Inc. Telecommunications products supplier 91 163 SafeRent Inc. Resident screening for multi-family housing 92 58 Business Acquisitions Ltd. Business brokerage 92 ETI Professionals Inc. Technical support, environmental engineering 94 94 Condit Exhibits Tradeshow exhibits 95 RWC Consultants Consulting firm 96 112 Sounds True Inc. Audio publishing 97 104 Four Winds Inc. dba People's Motorcoach transportation Choice Transportationn 98 119 Associated Equipment Office technology dealer Specialists Inc. 98 120 Skyline Businesu Forms & Wholesale manufacturer of Commercial Printing printed products 100 Core Integration Software and consulting Partners Inc. solutions 101 157 Envision Technology Information technology Partners consulting 102 Rainbow Electric Corp. Electrical contracting 103 Swanson Rink Inc. Engineering design for construction 104 152 First Revenue Accounts receivable/ Assurance LLC collection service 105 137 Jose Garcia General contractor Construction Inc. 106 88 Mile Hi Tours Inc. Denver-based leisure...

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