How MCS Reinvented Its Business Model

Led by CEO Craig Torrance, the Texas-based property services company has seen significant recent growth.

When Craig Torrance took the reins at MCS in 2021, he was faced with a tough task during an unprecedented time: reinvent and future-proof a commercial real estate-related company hit hard by a global pandemic.

Together with his team, CEO Torrance built upon the Lewisville, Texas-based firm’s longtime mission as a national maintenance provider to residential and commercial properties for mortgage servicing companies. Within two years, they expanded and diversified, adding several new business lines and growing the workforce from about 300 to 500.

The company’s efforts were recently honored by Commercial Property Executive with the Gold award for Most Innovative Corporate Strategy during the 2023 CPE Influence Awards event.

READ ALSO: CPE Announces 2023 Influence Awards

Founded in 1986, Mortgage Contracting Services had established a national team of professionals and network of third-party vendors. But in the midst of the pandemic, the company’s ownership knew reinvention was needed to survive.

An MCS service technician enters the Phoenix self-performing service center. The branch is one of 25 regional centers established by MCS.  Image courtesy of MCS
An MCS service technician enters the Phoenix self-performing service center. The branch is one of 25 regional centers established by MCS. Image courtesy of MCS

The first step, in 2021, was rebranding to MCS, with the tagline “Making Communities Shine,” to position itself across multiple business verticals. Torrance joined later that year as CEO. He previously held a leadership role at Brightview, where he led a business unit providing national commercial property maintenance services to large-portfolio accounts across multiple commercial segments.

One of Torrance’s goals, he recalled, was to bring an entrepreneurial culture to the business as it began looking for new ways to grow. The company had already built a national team of professionals and network of third-party vendors. But a key part of the reinvention process was establishing what the company was good at and who else would benefit from its expertise.

“I think that’s how you end up creating a vision and creating tactical goals,” he said. “It really starts with the mindset: Do you want to do this? Do you really want to take this business from where it is today into something different, or do you really just want to execute something better?”

MCS ownership, Torrance said, supported doing something different and reinventing the business.

“It boils down to having the right mindset and then building the right team to go execute the things we want to do,” he said.

The team includes Chad Mosley, president of the mortgage services division; Andrew Nolan, president of the commercial and rental services divisions; and Martin Urso, who joined MCS in 2023 as chief information officer. An industry veteran, Urso oversees continuous development of the company’s cloud-based software suite designed to provide solutions to meet corporate and field service goals.

Strategic Moves

While focusing on protecting and strengthening its core product line, in 2022, MCS established a new single-family rental property services line and added other new commercial property services, including landscaping, snow/ice maintenance, electrical/lighting, plumbing and other general maintenance for residential and commercial properties including offices, retail stores and restaurants.

The SFR business line—which includes property inspections, renovations, ongoing maintenance and tenant turnovers—has grown quickly. In May 2023, MCS served 45 percent of the top 20 SFR owners. By early this year, market share had jumped to 70 percent.

“We have a really great business development team, and they’ve really been building a lot of relationships, and it just continues to grow,” Torrance told CPE.

In 2022, MCS established regional self-performing service centers, facilities with project management and service tech teams to support its growing client base. Now with 25 service centers, the hybrid model combines local partners with the company’s expertise and use of technology to maximize efficiencies, ensure transparency, enhance quality control and improve code compliance.

MCS also provides inspection services in many of its markets, and has continued to add more service centers. The goal is to add more licensed trades, like plumbers and HVAC techs, and continue the expansion. MCS already has self-performing service centers in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Denver; Minneapolis; Chicago; Atlanta; Las Vegas; Orlando, Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.; Nashville and Memphis, Tenn.; and Columbus, Ohio.

Image courtesy of MCS
Image courtesy of MCS

MCS, Torrance said, will open service centers where customers request them, which is what happened last year in Memphis and will occur this year with a facility in Albuquerque, N.M. Other sites eyed for expansion over the next 18 months include North Carolina, South Carolina, the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest, he said.

The company boosted its facilities service offerings to commercial customers in 2023, when it acquired a leading national commercial facilities services firm, Chain Store Maintenance. Services added include handyman, electrical, locksmith and plumbing. The acquisition also brought more than 30,000 new third-party service vendors to the MCS network, providing more support for its SFR and property preservation clients across the U.S. Starting this year, all commercial facilities maintenance services will be marketed under Chain Store Maintenance – an MCS Company.

Also last year, MCS expanded SHINEscapes, a commercial landscaping company serving Dallas-Fort Worth businesses. Plans call for more Sun Belt growth. Last year also saw MCS enter the direct-to-consumer home remodeling service with a pilot in Phoenix that was successful and will be expanded in 2024.

This year, MCS wants to provide more facility maintenance services at U.S. government properties, Torrance said.

The company is already servicing more than 1.6 million properties a year through its network of more than 30,000 certified service partners and plans for more growth. Asked if MCS has secured its longevity, Torrance compared the different business lines to threads that have been twisted into a single rope.

“If one thread is weak or struggling, then all the other threads are going to pull the business along,” he said. “That’s what makes us strong. That’s what ultimately future-proofs the business.”

Read the March 2024 issue of CPE.

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