Find Restoration Business Success By Working the Middle


[00:00:00] Welcome to cleanup the restoration and the three podcasts today. We’re going to talk to Noah from arc remediation on how he focuses on the middle in order to make more money and grow his business.

[00:00:16] Well, Noah, I want to say thanks for joining us today on the cleanup restoration podcast, let’s begin by just jumping right in Noah. Tell us a little bit about your business and how you got started in this.

[00:00:29] Um, so my, the name of my business is, uh, restoration and remediation services, uh, incorporated. Uh, but pretty much my DBA has just been arc remediation. I started with a Stanley steamer and, uh, 2004 and my background in cleaning kind of stem from that. And I was with them for. And then, uh, transferred over to full on restoration services for, um, stem from, um, consulting, estimating side of things, all to assisting and facilitating, uh, restoration and remediation. So our mitigation and remediation services, um, for other restorers and, uh, insureds.

[00:01:18] Interesting. So what areas do you work in mainly? No. As far as geography wise, what’s what, what type of geography area do you guys cover?

[00:01:27] Right now? I’m working. Most of the work is coming in remotely into Florida, but I’m working on through some of these public events and networking, um, circles to, uh, expand some more national even international within the next year.

[00:01:48] Oh, wow. So why are you helping me understand that a little bit, Noah? So when we do that, are you working directly on those jobs that you’re working as a consultant or a guide for other remediation companies and restoration companies? How does that work if, uh, you know, I’m not in your area, so to speak,

[00:02:06] it’s, it’s gonna, it’s gonna stem from the smallest thing to where I go in and can be a handheld. Um, and works through a company’s first, large, large loss, um, out there. And you know, this is how you’re walking into site. You need to break it up, um, to actually being the, um, actual contractor on there. Currently working on becoming a, a flooring inspector. Um, so there’s a lot of that that’s local, uh, but through a couple of instructors, there’s some international work, um, with, with the inspecting side of it. Uh, but I want to make sure that I’m also, uh, reaching out education-wise as well. That it’s not just a, uh, a physical, um, service all the time that there’s, there’s going to be some training education to a lot of.

[00:03:00] Well, that’s fantastic. So there there’ll be that opportunity. If, if, uh, you know, I’m running a restoration business now, and you’ve got a specialty that maybe I don’t, you, you can help us land those jobs, bid those jobs, we’ll work through those and we can basically partner together to be successful. Then, is that a correct understanding of what I’m hearing there, Noah?

[00:03:20] Correct. Or at least within the network of people that, that I’ll be working. Um, that I list, if it’s not within my wheelhouse, I want to make sure that, you know, everything that I do that, you know, we can’t be told no by, um, a client or a carriers. Um, but at the same time that, you know, I don’t overstep and that, uh, I have the person that’s needed to be able to be there, to be spoken with.

[00:03:45] Sure. No, that makes a lot of sense or what a great idea. I love that. And then I certainly can see the value in that across the board. So as, as you’ve been building your business, Noah, one of the things I always love to ask is, you know, talk to me about, um, a difficult lesson that was learned or a difficult experience that maybe you have had to deal with it. How do you, how do you overcome that in, in the business? Um, any advice you can give to other restoration company owners on again, how to handle a specific situation, maybe that you’ve run in.

[00:04:16] Um, a lot of it is going to be the humility in this business. Um, I’ve been doing this almost 20 years. I’m probably about two shy now, um, at this point, um, and it’s the humility part of it. You know, it’s either, uh, restores and contractors don’t have it or there’s too much of it. And, um, you’ll, you’ll lose the job. Um, so I’m on both ends. Darren Darren projects, not understanding, uh, your scope of work and just working through, um, your start to finish, um, ideals. Uh, we’ll, we’ll run we’re in a project and, and your profits and, um, damages to your overhead, for sure. Um, so I would guess, uh, humility both on the positive and the negative side of.

[00:05:09] No, I think that’s really good advice that that actually reminds me of a poll. I read recently talking about how particular in the restoration industry, one of the customer complaints is the proverbial pushy salesman. The sales and that shows up on site has got a contract there. They just want to get your signature on it. They’re not really telling you much. They’re just pushing you to sign this contract, sign. This contract signed this contract and it really. Your perspective is a bit more consultative in that process. And certainly a part of educating the client as you go along to help them understand what’s what’s happening. Would you agree that that pushy salesman role while it certainly in the industry, we know that, uh, may not be as effective as, as some people think.

[00:05:55] I think what’s, I think what’s going on currently, um, with our industry is we’ve had a lot of the used car sales. Um, time next to everything is, you know, we’re going to put you in this and it’s going to be great and you’re going to love it. Um, but that’s not actually how the process works from start to finish. Um, but I think we kind of need to remove ourselves from that side of things. Um, and like you were just stating is moving into more of a consulting side of the things with the actual insurance or your, um, direct client to that property. Um, whereas. A contractor is going to need, it’s going to be more business development side of things than consulting because for me, consulting seems to be more of a point and click type of thing, which is what a, an insured or a layman, um, type of consumer is going to need. Whereas a contractor is going to need to be delegated more into. The lane in order for him to be successful rather than a point and click, it’s going to be a lot more, um, on the backend for a contractor than it would be for an insured.

[00:07:08] Oh, that makes a lot of sense. You know, that, that brings to mind, you know, I know part of being successful in the industry is learning the best way to upsell your customer when you’re in there to get them to, you know, invest in additional services that add value to them. What have you found to be some of the best ways to convince your customers when you’re working with them of some of the additional services that you offer without again, coming across as that, a used car sales.

[00:07:36] So I was with Stanley steamer. I, I still to this day, believe in their products. Um, I, I buy them for my home and use them. Um, I believe in everything that we, we have standards wives in the foundation and this industry. Um, I think we actually miss out on a lot of additional services for clients during the actual projects, as well as, um, followup services, to make sure that they’re putting. Put back to pre-loss conditions, um, in order to rectify what’s going on at, at the property for them.

[00:08:10] Yeah. Interesting. Taking a step back a little bit, Noah, and thank you by the way. I appreciate the answer to that. What caused you to get involved in the industry up front? I know. You know, where we regularly talk to people that are looking at getting involved in the restoration business or have recently gotten involved. And I love to hear some of the stories about what originally drew you, you mentioned you’ve been in the industry for many years. What drew you into the industry at first

[00:08:40] funny story? Um, I actually was working in the back office at Washington mutual, doing a research account area. And, uh, I grew up in construction. Um, I did concrete demo and lawn maintenance, so I was more color and a wanting to make a change and was looking to get into management actually. And Stanley steamer had a position open for quality control manager. And as soon as I got in and got to meet everybody, buddy, and, uh, did some shadowing on the trucks with the technicians and, um, the education that. Uh, fell into it, but, uh, ended up falling in love with it as well. And this industry has no vision for me and my family.

[00:09:26] Uh, that’s a good, that is a great story. I appreciate you sharing it. Not everyday. Obviously once we get involved is a great day and there’s days we wonder why we I’m sure. We all wonder why we did that. What, what keeps you motivated now after being in the business for so many years?

[00:09:41] Uh, that’s kind of a twofer, uh, one, um, I want to make sure that there’s, uh, contractors and businesses and, and, um, locals that, uh, continue to have the, that sense of standard and professional care. Uh, as my kids grow up and run into these situations, hopefully not more than they need to, uh, but also. I’m changing gears, not just with the company, but with myself professionally moving into a more education and training. And we. We need more involved and dedicated and passionate and excited, uh, individuals. And I don’t see me stopping anytime soon. So what wakes me up in the morning? Um, you go on from checking emails to Facebook. See, who’s done. What, who needs. And I’m seeing how I can either be a part of it to physically handle the situation or to where I can facilitate it to somebody else I know, or someone that’s, um, relatively responsible that I.

[00:10:50] Uh, it sounds like a big part of your business and really has no has turned into being that what I would call that integrator the person that can look at a situation and determine what resources resources are needed, or the resources you’ve got, or the resources in your network and helping to make sure at the end of the day, that that customer’s been taken care of got a quality job performed at a fair price and all. Taking care of well, as opposed to taking advantage of, um, oh, thanks for sharing that.

[00:11:17] That’s absolutely right on the head with that. It’s, uh, we’re, we’re missing the middle process of our projects and, um, anybody that’s in or looking to get into your heart and soul needs to be in the, in, in the middle part, because if you do it right, the money will be there. You just need to have the proper setup and then, you know, the process and procedures during.

[00:11:42] What would you recommend? Obviously you’ve gotten a lot of experience and not everyone watching this will. What do you recommend as some of the best ways to get started creating those processes and procedures so that you, as an organization can provide a consistent and repeatable experience to your customers? Is there any recommendations on the best way to start with some of those products?

[00:12:05] Yeah, starting, starting on the cleaning side, any informal or formal education that you can get on the proper cleaning processes and you know how to basically break surface tension of the material in order to clean it and get it back to pre-loss is the biggest thing. A lot of guys that get into the industry, you know, understand that you can set it and forget it was equipment. But there’s so much more, there’s so much science to it. Uh, it does get really involved. Um, so whatever they can do kind of on the, on their own. Um, as an individual coming up, you know, as a technician, uh, getting into management and stuff, you know, starting from that. And I’ve, I’ve taken care of three quarters, if not more of my own education out of my own pocket over the years, because it’s so vital. We have a lot of OJT. We have a lot of the physical stuff, but we don’t have a lot of, um, Formal education or training. That’s impressed upon us because on the restoration side, the mitigation portion of it, all you have to do is just have a business license and be insured, but you don’t have to, rather than your licensing or our credentials to continue doing any of the mitigation. But as soon as you switch over to, uh, your remediation side to your microbial side, depending on the state, you’re in, you have to have a state license. Um, you have to have, uh, you know, microbial certifications and, uh, we’re, we’re missing a lot of the steps and, uh, creating consistency and. Based foundation standards, um, because no, one’s taking heed of the amount of education that we need. Um, but we’re, we’re missing the physical part of it because we got the JT where everything stems from checks from everybody’s experience or not applying it to where we can create some consistency with that. Uh, and that it stays in line with the standards that we already have both, uh, nationally here in the U S and internationally.

[00:14:14] Okay, well, that’s interesting. Thank you. You mentioned the employees, uh, through some of that in some, you know, OJT on the job training, things like that, obviously in today’s economy, getting and keeping employees, it can be difficult. Um, any tips that you might recommend or things you found successful in either recruiting the, the team members you need or keeping the, the team members you’ve got onboard?

[00:14:42] I’ve kind of actually, um, I’ve gone to a portion of thinking of where we need to not involve necessarily all people that are capable of physically doing the work, but going to more of the people that can mentally handle the. Um, probably about a decade, if not to, uh, go, uh, when I was involved with, uh, coconut Creek police explorers here in Florida, they changed from their, uh, their requirements for officers to have criminology into requiring that they have math and science. So working to get more critical thinkers that have more common sense that are able to do. Uh, get detail and orientation in a very chaotic situation very quickly, and be able to have consistency with that and be able to run through the entirety of the project. Um, as well as assist others during it is really what we’re, what we’re doing. Um, cause we’re having a lot of the guys that are capable of that go to a lot of large loss situations and storm chasing. So once these guys either go out of town or they get stuck on projects for months and months, even years, um, we start losing that capacity of the proper residents. Uh, contractors and restorers to be a part of that. And we’re, then we’re learning, we’re leaning on guys that are really great at carpet cleaning, but can’t transition over or have been contractors that are great builders and can’t transition over, um, because it’s restoration is a completely different beast. When we break it down, it’s simplistic. Everybody can stand their Lang, but when you have to actually involve and think about all of those avenues that you have to go down in a singular project, residential or. That’s where we’re losing a lot of the critical thinkers on the residential side, you know, once the storm start popping off and even regularly, because these guys are so used to commercial that they’re not really paying attention properly to the residential. So, um, and education is as big and as, and as soon as you can start it and really working into Adonai, OCD, detailed.

[00:16:55] Excellent. Really good advice there. I appreciate that. And I think that’s, again, something that a lot of times we miss, we looked so much for the hard skills and not the soft skills that can work. Long-term so I think a great share there. Thank you so much, knowing a little bit more back to you in the company. What, what are you using in your marketing and your, when you’re talking to people, um, what makes you, the person that I should come to. One, I need services. In other words, why should I choose our remediation over somebody else in the industry? What sets you guys apart?

[00:17:30] Uh, it’s, it’s tough because a lot of the facets of what I provide, everybody says that they can. As a single owner. And I have, I have two employees that are, um, my age children. We provide a service that no one else can. Not only is it just experienced, but I care and I have humility. So if I’m ever wrong, I’ll be able to, you know, take it as a learning curve to, um, that company. Uh, but I won’t back down and I won’t take no. For answers because there’s, uh, there’s so much that we’re missing on our scopes of work. Everybody wants to put a dollar amount to it. I want to make you understand that the scope of work that you do, what you touch, what you see, what, what is going on, it’s down all around. That’s your, that’s your project and how you manipulate that and produce a scope in order to get it to pre-loss conditions is, is the entirety of what’s being missed. Everybody wants to just sign a project and then get paid. But no one really thinks about what’s coming in the middle and a lot of other professionals out there. Uh, we’re we’re missing that largest step in everything. Uh, I just spoke to the client. Um, yesterday they came to my property and met my family and. I explained this to him, you know, you’re always clicking to do the job, but you’re always late to bill and that’s because you’re you rush in to set everything up, to get everything going, but everything is not in place in order for that final invoice, that estimate after all of your rounding off numbers and whatnot, that’s, that’s where everything needs to be happening is right. That marker. Um, from your email that after that 15% of signing the job to the 15% of the closing it, you know, that 70%. 70 to 80% that you’re working in the middle is not being resolved by a lot of the companies. Everybody will find a supplemental and they’ll, they’ll fight whatever you give them afterwards. We’re not being proactive. And if we, if we’ve produced proactivity during the job right after we sign it and get that trust, we’ll have it at the end. And we won’t have a lot of the issues that a lot of these contractors and restores are dealing with. Excuse me. I apologize. Um, we can really, uh, address this head-on, uh, with the proactivity of it, instead of us being so reactive, we’re so proactive on our drying amount and getting there and doing it, but we’re not so active and making sure that our documentation is there and, and providing that to the carrier before they ask. And our industry has changed so much over it, even just the last few years, but a bulk of it in the last five that no one’s really addressing. I mean, there’s top tier, um, uh, Some kind of the ground up companies where, where I’m at and my position right now, the guys that are offering the same services that I am or are not keeping up with. What’s missing in projects. They’re just trying to maximize each claim.

[00:21:07] Uh, so good. Thank you. It reminds me, I had a conversation the other day with, uh, another gentleman in the restoration industry and they were really talking about. One of the key things that the industry seems to miss in many cases, not always, but in many cases is understanding how to work with the insurance companies in order to maximize the revenue for the restoration company. Would you say that that understanding you talked about making sure, for example, the insurance company has gotten the paperwork they need before they bugged you. Making sure you’ve got that validation, those proof points and even understanding how those insurance companies are working so that you can maximize the opportunities for your business. Are those all things that are becoming more important or do you think less important to owners in the industry?

[00:21:56] Uh, I think that’s kind of a twofer as well. Um, over, over the years, we’ve done to a point to where. We were having a hard time, not necessarily marketing, but getting into the carriers because of our, our AOB is at least in, in Florida and a couple of other states, not necessarily, they were being abused all of the time, but the amount of. That you had with an AOB. So a lot of blossom changed, uh, carriers have put in a lot of guidelines for us, uh, which is, which is tough because they’re guidelines are, are not in favor or in suits. Uh, The contractors that are doing the word nor, or are they in line with the standards? They prevent us from doing a lot of things that we need to because they want to keep projects as, uh, non-invasive as possible. And then it becomes a problem, not only with the carriers, but then as we set up these projects and build them for. We’re going then to the client, which is our, our actual point of payment and should be. But when we’re working with these, these claims that someone doesn’t have, you know, $50,000 to shell out who work with companies, but it’s gotten so bad to where they’ve now set up a GPS, which are third-party administrators to basically pre peer review our, our, our invoices before they get in. And you wouldn’t argue a plumbers, bill or mechanics, bill, or a doctor’s bill, but we’re finding a lot, especially over the last five years that, uh, we’re, it’s, it’s changing and it’s not understood from either side on why this is happening logically. Where we’re seen as, you know, they want to control the inflation of the bills or, um, what’s being shelled up certain contractors. So they’re trying to put controls on us and we should be able to be restores in our industry, but between the caps and whatnot that they’ve been playing, we’re having to alter the way that we work, which then complicated. The actual line of events that’s supposed to happen with any claim. And it becomes an argument, you know, way too soon, way too fast and way too aggressively, uh, that, uh, we need to step back and everybody kind of needs to have a, uh, a meditation moment before we can continue moving forward. Um, with bringing in, you know, more contractors to the industry, uh, improperly educated.

[00:24:46] Once your recommendation, Noah, when you run into problems like you described with the insurance company, and it seems like every move you make, they’re set to, to follow up in one way or another, uh, any recommendations or things that you found effective. And in working with those carriers to make sure that in the long run, the property owner is getting the value that they deserve.

[00:25:11] Really hard on, on the scope of a project rather than a cost of it. Uh, because if, if I’m working the scope of a job, then the money should be there based off of everything that goes on. Um, but they, uh, do you have situations where that, that costs in that line item is not going to. There and you have it have to put in additional labor hours or material costs, but understanding the scope and working with the carrier to understand what the scope is because everybody pushes standards or everybody pushes regulations. But again, we’re, we’re not really pushing the middle part of the job and how that information is supposed to be transcribed into the scope of work to make sure make it function. And for us to get to that point to where we can have our final bill and everybody, even though cost is always going to be a concern that the scope was reached. And the end to client will be pre loss will be indemnified for, for our costs incurred. And the insurance company knows that the contractor that was used, whether they’re on a program or not, this is potentially somebody that can go back to that. We don’t have to argue, this is their scope. They’re not fluffing it. Let’s have this conversation again and see if we can get them on a con.

[00:26:39] Um, awesome advice. It really sounds like so many things. That communications is just a huge part of that success. And also about being more profitable as a, as a company as well. Um, you just said specifying that scope and stuff makes a huge difference in, in moving. Well, I think you’ve shared some amazing advice here today. No, and I really appreciate that. Especially your focus on, on that middle part. I love the, you know, 15% upfront and 15% closing it, but that 70% of the middle is where we all need to do more work. Um, with that in mind, at one question I love to ask everybody and you may or may not have a story, but do you have any good, bizarre story of anything you’ve run into before that maybe you only ran into once with super unique or, uh, Yeah. At any, any story like that at all, that you could share with us from a unique experience perspective, Noah,

[00:27:33] I actually, I had an adjuster and it was the first one that I ever had and it was just after I’d gotten my independent adjusters license and. I typically don’t like to be told now I want to understand why, why a project’s not going to be covered or, or we’re having issues with billing. This one, the gentleman had worked for like 10 years for, um, as a project manager for a restoration company. And I never had a really intelligent conversation with the other. And this was probably at about 10 or 12 years of BNN. And it got to a point where I was getting educationally aggressive and we were. Uh, yelling, but we were talking loudly, uh, giving information to each other and, and I had to stop the conversation and they said, listen, we can keep going back and forth. I don’t want to turn this into a pissing contest. You know, I’m an, an, um, um, I’m a licensed adjuster. You’ve done restoration before. This is now our positions where we are now. You’re the adjuster on the restore. You know, what do you need to get this back? And he kind of just explained, you know, uh, rebuttaled backs that, you know, based off the timeframe and everything else, that mold can’t grow in this. And I said, well, those are lab conditions. Uh, unfortunately I didn’t stay with the company that sees the end of the claim, but that, that project almost up until. I think like the last day I was, I was on it speaking with the adjuster and it just was weird that everybody refers back to lab conditions instead of working real life conditions. And it just, it always has to be. That, you know, we need to come down to where we’re all human. We all make mistakes. We’re all here to make just a file. Um, and for all of this, but it really needs to be working to pre-loss conditions and satisfying the insured and making sure that that policy is satisfied. Um, that’s kind of where my crazy. You know, came from and what kind of pushed me into, you know, diving into a lot more of the crazy stuff of what goes on in our industry, then just keeping it normal.

[00:29:55] No, I want to say thank you. It’s been great chatting with you and, uh, we look forward to, uh, uh, just chatting again soon. So thank you.

[00:30:02] It’s been awesome, Jonathan. Thank you for your time. I appreciate it. And look forward to working with you guys coming here since.

Website Help

Our team of WordPress experts can help with your website needs!


Empower yourself with continuous learning through our Valorous Marketing Academy.

Get More Leads

We specialize in helping make you the sales/marketing hero within your organization.