In 1994, cousins Javier Huerta and Jesus Carrasco were working long hours on construction projects in Dallas when they recognized a chance to pursue their dreams. “We were painting apartments, doing the cleaning of apartments,” Huerta remembers. “We always talked about doing the work ourselves and not working for someone else.”
Their families were their primary motivation. “The desire to provide for our families was always the number one driver to better ourselves, to have the opportunity to get better and to be successful in this country,” says Huerta. “I remember always seeing the big picture, thinking that it was possible, somebody was doing it. I always believed that we could be that company to be able to do great things.”
The cousins knew they faced an uphill battle if they walked away from their employer, but forged ahead anyway. “We decided to go out there and pursue those opportunities ourselves,” Huerta says. Since they already had experience in painting apartments, they began within that sector. “It was a long journey getting the work,” he recalls, “but nevertheless, we were persistent; we learned. Every time that we were going to an apartment complex, I would learn something—insurance requirements, payments, the type of payment they wanted us to use. So we learned the whole process visiting a lot of apartment complexes, walking and walking, just reaching out to people to see. I don’t know how many apartment complexes we walked.”
In addition to knocking on doors, Huerta and Carrasco became involved with multiple associations to help them get a foot in the door, including the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the American Subcontractors Association.
“Back then we didn’t have Google,” Huerta says. “We didn’t have all those resources that we have now… We had to rely on associations.” This provided an opportunity “to meet people, understand how things work,” and gave the fledging business a chance to prove itself. “It’s so hard to build a reputation and trust among all these trade partners and vendors,” Huerta shares. “It was very challenging.”
Once they had all the necessary elements in place, Huerta and Carrasco hit the ground running. Their first client was impressed by their initial work and immediately contracted for more. The opportunities snowballed from there. “They loved the work and they asked us if we wanted to do another one, and another one, and another one, and another one, and before you know it, we were painting the whole apartment complex,” Huerta says. “And not only that, we were invited to go to different locations within the same companies.”
Eager to grow the business into additional sectors, the cousins soon expanded into tract homes. “Back then they were building homes all over the Metroplex,” Huerta explains. This was a new sector for the company, so “we began the search again, walking those job sites, meeting people, asking people if they needed our services. We were able to land some homes.”
The cousins’ eagerness to embrace every opportunity kept them pushing forward and the work grew organically from there. “There was so much work that you couldn’t leave; you had to stay there. We always saw the opportunities.”
This outlook led them to tackle custom homes next—yet another new sector that required new knowledge and an even higher level of expertise. “You get to a different level doing custom homes,” says Huerta. “If you want more, you’ve got to become more, so you’ve got to learn more. You’ve got to put in more time, effort. And that’s what we did.”
Once they succeeded in the custom home sector, the team did not sit on their laurels. They saw yet another mountain to climb with even greener pastures on the other side. “We were driving around the Metroplex and asking ourselves, ‘who’s doing those big buildings? Who paints those towers? Who paints all those office buildings?’ And we began our pursuit of the commercial market.”
They had to start from scratch once again. “It was a different world from residential to commercial,” Huerta says. “When nobody knows who you are, it’s so tough. It’s so hard to open those doors. So it was a lot of work that we put in to get into this market and be able to show our customers that we were capable.”
The team repeated the same process that had brought them success thus far. “We did exactly the same thing. We were pursuing the smaller projects. We tried to learn the process, the requirements.” As the company rose within the commercial market, Huerta and Carrasco eventually made the decision to stop doing residential work altogether in order to focus exclusively on the burgeoning opportunity.
It was the right decision. After years of hard work, the family-owned business is now recognized as one of the 500 Largest U.S. Hispanic Owned Companies and 100 fastest growing companies in Texas. The business employs over 400 people and boasts a $50 million bond capacity. Notable projects include the Ritz Carlton spa renovation, the Omni Dallas Hotel, and the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field. “We can look back and say [we went] from a small, 300-400 square foot apartment unit to a 2 million-4 million square foot data center, warehouse, hotel or resort, or stadium,” Huerta shares. And, in addition to painting, the company now handles architectural coatings, industrial coatings, floor finishing, and facility management.
Along with persistence, the business has relied on stellar customer service and the quality of the work to earn a reputation that brought growth and success. “The thing that we always take care of is the customer,” Huerta says. “We will always finish our projects. We never walk away from jobs and we’re always going to do what we say we will do… We’ve got to take care of customers because they are the ones that support our company’s team—support our everything.”
Supporting this team is of utmost importance to Huerta and Carrasco—especially after all the support the team has given them. “There’s no way that we could do this by ourselves,” Huerta says. After earning their own success, they are eager to give others the same opportunity. “All of us want to get better. All of us want to provide for our families, be successful in the industry—and the construction industry provides many opportunities.”
To this end, Carrco Painting promotes from within, rather than hiring from outside the company, to provide access to those opportunities. “We can help them accomplish those goals,” Huerta says. “We have many stories to tell. A lot of project managers started out in the field as painters or helpers and now they’re running projects.”
And Carrco Painting is still pursuing new opportunities. “Our company is strong and we continue to grow every year,” Huerta says, and the business recently opened a new branch in Austin. “The [immediate] goal is to get that office up and running.” Once that is accomplished, future growth might include more expansion in San Antonio. And of course, the team will maintain their strong presence in Dallas. “Here in Dallas, we will continue to grow. We have many opportunities.” One of these is continued expansion into the flooring sector, which has already proved beneficial.
The future is wide open for a company with such a proven track record. It is hard to imagine that less than three decades ago, this success story started with little more than a shared dream and the willingness to take on the unknown. “It’s just an incredible experience,” Huerta says. “That’s the drive—knowing that it’s possible.”