Service Excellence Unveiled: A Conversation with Mike Nitz


Again, it’s, again, it’s just about that trust. You don’t want to go in there and shove a piece of paper in there, say people’s faces and sign this. We’re going to get started. It’s more like: “Hey, we’re sorry that this happened. We’re, we’re going to take good care of it.”

Welcome to another episode of DM shop talk or digital marketing shop talk. As always, I’m Mike Mahaffey, the host of the podcast presented by Valorous Circle, and today I have the privilege to have a special guest with me, who is Mike Nitz.  One of the leaders in the West Michigan area when it comes to the restoration industry and he works for SERVPRO South in Northwest Grand Rapids.

I’m excited to have him on here to share a little bit about himself, how he’s gotten into the industry, and maybe share some fun stories that we can all learn from. And, really takes, have some good takeaways from. So, Mike, it’s a pleasure to have you with me. 

Thanks, Mike for having me. It’s always a privilege to sit down and talk with you guys.

Awesome. So maybe let’s just start with getting to know you for the people who aren’t familiar, with you and your work. Maybe just kind of share your background and what brought you to work with SERVPRO of South Northwest. 

Yeah, certainly. It’s a kind of give you my resume, a resume, and a reader’s judge version if that’s possible.

So about 25 years ago, I started in the insurance business. Started in the personal lines office. Worked my way through a couple of local independent agencies here in Grand Rapids. Did a lot of property casualty, small business did some risk management and whatnot, and, really enjoyed that learned a lot, obviously, even to this day. I kind of have an idea of how to cover it and how not to cover it.

And, so I had an opportunity to get out of the industry and get into a local fire and water business here in Grand Rapids. Which I did for about nine years. Stepped out of the industry for a little bit. COVID brought me back in, which has been a blessing. But I’ve been with SERVPRO now for about three and a half years.


My insurance background, risk management, fire, water background kind of stems that, you know, over about 23 years. So, yeah, I’ve seen a little bit of everything when it comes to the good, the bad, and the ugly. So I’ll say you had a… I don’t want to say unique, but it kind of worked out in your favor. Just because I know the restoration industry does a lot of work hands-on with the insurance industry.

So being able to get your feet wet in that industry and then being able to work. And get experience with a smaller agency or work and then be able to continue to build your way up to SERVPRO. I’m sure you’ve been able to learn a lot through that end or through that career pathway that you have.

Absolutely. You know, when I started in the insurance business, I was in a corporate setting. Bou know, we’re talking, you know, coverage. You know, we were covering everybody within the 48 states. And then kind of learning how they do things, how they write things, and what the expectations are when they work with their client, and then going into a local independent agency here at a West Michigan, which.

Is a different culture. It’s not so contractual. It is contractual, but it’s more of a gentleman’s agreement kind of a feel. It’s just a, it’s just how the way things roll here in West Michigan. It’s all about relationships and I’ve found that very quickly that, that helped me book, build a book of business, and whatnot.

Some of those people I still have contact with today and help them when the unexpected happens. But, when, so yeah, just kind of everything that I have been through, whether I was in the. choosing the look or choosing to try to pivot a little bit. Things have always really landed well for me. All the experiences that I’ve had over the last 20-some-odd years have been basically accumulated to where I’m at today.

So I’m, I’m very grateful for those opportunities, so. No, most definitely. And something intriguing to me is that, is that experience with a smaller business that you had with that, your first tenure with a restoration company to now working for a nationwide business with SERVPRO. I guess first off, what was kind of your decision?

I know you said COVID had to play a little bit into it, but what was some, what was some of the reason, or what pulled you in to decide to work with SERVPRO? Well, I worked with a smaller restoration company. And when you, when you kind of be are working alongside leaders, you know, with our owner and whatnot, and I kind of become one of the decision-makers in the organization.

I get to go out and put my marketing and sales camp out and build those relationships. But when the phone rings, I also jump on a truck. So, I mean, it was a very, what hat am I going to wear today? Kind of an experience. Which I learned a tremendous amount of things about the restoration world started to understand the science behind the drying out. And, making sure people are, are taking care of and putting things back together.

We had a smal construction site also. Which again, when, how am I going to work it in when I hang drywall? So I have been, there’s a lot of things that I was able to learn that I didn’t take on today. So, pivoting three and a half years ago, like I said, I stepped out for some personal family things that we were working through and  had the opportunity to come back to the firewater business with SERVPRO. Got a phone call from somebody at South and Northwest Grand Rapids SERVPRO. And said: “Hey, we’re looking for a particular person to go out and build a business.” And one of my things was, was like, listen, you know, I’m going to be 50 years old here in a couple of years. I don’t want to rip wet carpet out of basements anymore. I mean, I will. And I do. And there’s, there’s no doubt about that. But I had an opportunity to basically kind of be the face of SERVPRO in Southeast Grand Rapids. It’s just been remarkable. About, you know, when you build relationships for the last, you know, 15 years before that, how that all kind of comes back.

And again, that’s why it’s so important about that relationship piece that you have here in West Michigan. So, I’m very, very fortunate to work for a local SERVPRO here in Grand Rapids that we have great ownership. We have a great vision for growth. We’ve made some, our owners have made some challenging decisions over the last couple of years to help grow and it’s paid off and we continue to, I believe, be one of the leaders in West Michigan for full-service beginning-to-end, restoration services.

No, most definitely. And it sounds like if I heard you correctly with your first 10 years with the more privately owned,  restoration industry, where you kind of, at least started more of like a labor or technician kind of more hands-on work. 

Yeah, I kind of brought, I, because of my insurance background, they brought me in basically because I knew what was covered, what was not covered.

I had a lot of connections in the insurance business, especially with a lot of the marketing people within the carriers that we wrote within the agencies. So, I brought in a whole different bit of information that they were just relishing. Okay. But when you work for a small business, again, you know, that’s all great.

All this information I have is, but you have to bring in work. So that was kind of what I did. And we grew our business pretty significantly over five or six years. We went from probably doing maybe 150, 000 in one year up to almost a million dollars, by the time we were said and done.

So, and for a small restoration company of like three or four. Five people at our, our best, I mean, that was, that’s, that was, that was great. We had very little overhead. Everything that we made was put back into the business and it was, it was great. We’re very fortunate to have a good situation like that.

But again, bringing the knowledge I had came with, okay, we’re out of truck today. Someone’s basically. Okay. No, most definitely. And that’s kind of when you’re with smaller companies, you have to wear a lot of hats, but it sounds like bouncing from that. And once again, going back to that, that career path you had going from insurance to that role with the agencies worked out well.

And then how has that experience with going from insurance and then being able to get that experience with that business helped you in your current role with SERVPRO, working for more of a nationwide company in your marketing and sales role that you have here? Well, you know, understanding this, the, the insurance side of it, you know, when you go into a situation, you’re, I have a pretty good understanding that what is and what’s not going to be covered.

Now, again, I’m not a licensed insurance agent anymore, so I don’t give insurance advice or even tell people what’s and what’s not covered. But what I can do is kind of, we can kind of direct our crews and our, and our teams into a direction that, you know, we feel that. Is going to make sure that they’re taken care of in the short term to make sure that the damage, you know, the damage is not going to cost the property.

So, having that information from an insurance standpoint is for me is, is, a great knowledge to have. So taking it from a small business where, going to a larger business that, you know, there are so many different pieces that are moving in a corporate company that, at first, the first six months were very challenging because I had the creativity and the knowledge how to run a smaller business, but now I have a business that checks and balances in place and procedures in place and whatnot. So try to adapt that to our normal day. We have to do things, was a little bit of a challenge, but we were able to adjust and I feel be very successful with that.

So, there are some, definitely some pros and cons to both being a small business and being too with a corporate world, small business, you’re created to do whatever you want. If you fail, it’s, you know, you could lose your business. But, fortunately, we have the backing of a very solid. Successful, a company like SERVPRO that is there to support our team and our owners.

We are individually owned and operated; our franchise is here in Grand Rapids. SERVPRO here in Grand Rapids, Northwest, Southwest, and Southeast Grand Rapids are differently owned from our branch in Muskegon, the one that’s up on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids. So it’s, we all wear the brand.

We just run it a little bit differently. And so again, that’s one of those challenges is like, wait, he’s got SERVPRO shirt on, but he doesn’t work for me. Okay. So again, a lot of those different things that we had to kind of adjust to and make some changes to how we do things. Yeah. And I know, I know, as you mentioned a little bit earlier and then being able to work with you the past year and a half that you guys have seen some, some change throughout your, not only your branch but SERVPRO as a nationwide company as a whole.

I kind of want to push into a little bit what you said there about being able to have a larger company like SERVPRO have your back. Especially when you’re going through big changes. How does that help to have a corporate company like SERVPRO be able to support you through change? Cause can change, change, changing your business, adapting how you guys are running procedures or maybe changing, adjusting your services, whatever the change might look like, can throw a wrench into a lot of businesses, especially smaller businesses that don’t have those backings. Maybe, could you speak a little bit about how having SERVPRO helped you through those changes?

I hope you see the light at the end of the tunnel, for lack of a better term, when you’re going through a change. Well, I kind of love these guys who believe that if you’re not changing, you’re not growing. Because obviously, everything’s changing. I mean, things, the way we did things even last year is completely different to the way we do things this year.

And as we plan for 24, it’s going to be different going into 24 just because things change, right? So, I think, I believe SERVPRO It does an amazing job of keeping our crew and our leaders, informed of what the new corporate directions are. We’ve made a lot of changes to our website. We’ve laid them out a lot of changes to our, CRM, our data, customer data systems.

Um, and obviously what those do is they come with a lot of bumps in the road. I mean, we have been challenged beyond to try to adapt and whatnot. Over the last, 12 to 24 months, I can almost say it’s always been, it’s, it’s always ongoingly changed. You get, you get used to it and then they change it. And so those things happen.

But again, we, what we understand is, is that when you make the changes, it’s for the good, because we want to make things to become more efficient. You want to make sure that the information we’re gathering is correct and that we’re implementing in the changes that we need to make on our franchise to adjust to what corporate’s direction kind of is. Fortunately, we still have the freedom to do a lot of things locally here, especially with social media with some of our presence on the web. But again, some of the changes again, it’s just, I hate to use the term cope and adjust, but again, you have to continue to adjust to the ever-changing market of what the industry we’re in.

No, most definitely. That kind of leads me to my next question, but before that, I don’t want to reiterate what you’re saying is that you are in a very. Ever changing industry, I guess most home service industries are like that. So having that ability to maybe you can plan some changes over here and adjust to what you know, you don’t know what you don’t know.

And so being able to, as you said, kind of cope and adapt to the things that you might not see coming. Like, I mean, obviously the biggest example would be COVID 2020. No one saw that coming, but it happened. We went through it and you had to cope and adjust. And bob and weave through that. And there’s a lot smaller scale things like that, that I’m sure you guys have to deal with on a, regularly. Whether a lot of it could just be a storm that comes through, like you guys have to bob and weave and adjust that. 

But that kind of leads me to my next question, which is knowing the industry that you’re in the restoration industry. It is very unpredictable at times when you’re going to get business and when you’re not just because it can be a lot of weather based, a lot of seasonal, so it, it can be very adaptive.

And if I’m misspeaking, always feel free to correct me, but it’s a lot of a, there’s a lot of adjusting and it can be kind of unpredictable when your, your business season business busy seasons can be, and that’s very similar to a lot of other home service industries like. Like plumbers or roofers, it’s every season, depending on what’s going on, what the weather’s like, and whatnot.

So I guess my question to you is, with you being in your marketing and sales role at SERVPRO, how do you adapt and adjust to that kind of change? Being able to plan, plan for weather, knowing that like, those are the times where, where you’re going to get the most business and be able to help people out.

Because obviously. I know you guys aren’t rooting for storms to hurt people’s homes, but you’re, you’re in the industry. You’re the industry to help people when damage does happen. And so how does that, how, how can you market in sell what you guys do your services when it’s so when it’s so dependent on outside factors?

Well, I would say, you know, whether it is a big factor of what we do, I’m kind of one of these meteorology geeks. I follow a couple of different guys on YouTube about what they think the weather is going to be over the next 36 months. I don’t know. I’m just, I’m just that kind of guy, but no, realistically though, you know, whether does  change the way we do things from time to time.

We have to prepare you when you’re expecting, you know, severe weather coming through West Michigan, you got to have to make. Look at your schedule and make some adjustments with your crew and make sure that all your crews are on, available. Bbut ultimately when you’re working with clients the people that you get your leads from, the people that depend on you to show up to their client’s home and whatnot.

Is honestly setting up realistic expectations not giving away the farm or giving away anything. If I say if I can be there in 48 hours and I’m there in 24, I’ve, I’ve met and exceeded my expectation, right? So, it’s just setting up realistic expectations with your client. Another, it’s just communicating, communicating through the process.

I am not one to say that everything I do or we do goes perfectly because it does not. I mean, we have seen jobs that are just an absolute train wreck. But, community, not running away from that is never going to get you anywhere. I think that’s even worse if you do that. But heading straight out saying: “Hey, listen, we made a mistake here.

We’re going to try to make it right here with you.” We see that a lot of times. We don’t like to do that, but do. We don’t, we’re not going to run away from that type of stuff. And just making sure that when we are doing work, we’re doing it right. You know, when we get a big start, we had a big, we had a big, tornado outbreak here in West Michigan this summer.

 And what happens is a lot of guys get their pickup truck and a couple of buddies and, and say: “Hey, I have a chainsaw and some fans, and let’s see, get your house cleaned up.” Well, you’re only going to get what they can offer. SERVPRO is, we are certified for all the different types of things that could happen; from water, fire, smoke reconstruction.

There is a science to the drying out. So making sure that when you’re going in there, you’re explaining to your client why we’re doing it this way, what the result’s going to be, and what to expect afterward. And there is a little bit of a checklist that we have to give them and make sure that everything goes right.

But ultimately, it’s part of that communication piece and the expectations. And if, as long as it’s laid out, you’re going to have, you’re going to be successful every time it seems. And that’s what I think makes us successful and makes us good at what we do here. No, most definitely. And that all sounds good. With just being able to adjust with what the weather is and whatnot.

I guess there is some predictability when it comes to weather. When we’re in West Michigan, we know, we know we’re in December right now. There’s already a little snow on the ground, things are starting to freeze. And so obviously that’s, that there’s things that you guys do in your industry to help.

Either prepare, prepare homes, or be ready for some disasters that might happen because of the cold weather. Is there anything that you guys do that you’ve seen success in when it comes to the kind of promoting or like, just kind of expressing your services to help homeowners prepare their homes for the winter or be ready when they might have a, a pipe break in the winter or something?

Something happens where the ice hurt something in the winter or something. You know what I mean, where it’s like promoting your services for those seasons. Absolutely. I know exactly. So, yeah, one of the things that I enjoy doing is, you know, I don’t sell nuts and bolts. I don’t sell t-shirts. I don’t sell anything tangible.

All I do is sell a promise that when something goes wrong, we’re going to take care of you. And it’s kind of one of the things I kind of laugh about when I do meet new clients or even the clients that I’ve been kind of existing relationships with, I always sell them. I hope you never need to call me because if you do, you’re having a pretty crappy day.

So, one of the things I love to do and promote is preparation. We do work with a lot of companies here in the Grand Rapids area, with an emergency ready profile that we do. We kind of walk through their building. We show them whether the domestic water shuttles are if there’s a striker room, understanding where the rise rooms are, how to shut them off, and where their contacts are.

Gas shutoffs, electrical panels, making sure that if something happens, the person in charge of the building can shut that thing down and mitigate any type of loss. And making sure that the losses instead of it being, you know, a hundred thousand gallons of water, it’s only 25, 000, I mean, gallons of water, which still seems like a lot of water, but in the big scheme of things. It could mean that I’m not ripping all your drywall out either because we were able to mitigate some things.

So I love the preparation part. I love the education part. love working with you. Real estate people love working with property managers, maintenance facility people and just talking about what we do. If I go into a business, 10 businesses, and I get one person that says, I don’t want to hear what you have to say.

That’s me. That’s a win. Okay. And that person is going to get the best of Mike Nitz, the best of SERVPRO Southeast Grand Rapids. Because you all of a sudden became one of my priorities. So that’s the one thing I enjoy about what we do. And even to right now, you know, September, October, and November, typically are slower times of the month because they’re not that brutally cold yet.

And storms are kind of a little bit, so right now it’s time for I’m out there calling on people, following up with my clients and just making sure that they’re extremely prepared for what’s ahead. What I keep hearing in a lot of your answers is what you focus on and what SERVPRO South and Northwest Grand Rapids focus on and that’s customer satisfaction doing what’s best for the customer. I mean, obviously I think no matter what business you’re in what industry you’re in that really should be your heart and soul and mission behind the, not only a company, but each person buying into the culture. And so I find that very valuable that that’s what you guys are focusing on.

 And so I guess my question is, as I, as I kind of let you know, I wanted to hear some stories that you guys have. Do you have any stories of recent history where something happened to a homeowner and their home and you guys went in and provided a great service? And they were just beyond excited about what you guys did.

Well, first and foremost, I cannot do what I do without the most exceptional crew, okay? Because these are men and women who get a phone call, they have to go. And water or fire don’t stop on Christmas morning. Water or fire doesn’t stop during a kid’s baseball game. It happens anywhere. If you’ve had a fire or water event in your home or your business, you understand that when that happens, you need to have somebody who wants somebody there as soon as possible. So we cannot do with what we, what we do without the exceptional crew that we have. I’ll tell you what I’ve, like I said, I’ve been in the business a long time. We’ve got some committed people, which I’m extremely grateful for. That has had some tenure with our company too. So, but as it pertains to some of the successes, I mean, we get a lot of times where our crew is busting their hind ends and all of a sudden a Jimmy John’s guy or a pizza guy shows up and the client’s like, you guys are working hard. We’re going to take care of your lunch today. Or, you know, if it’s, you know, the best thing I can get from a, from a marketing standpoint is a five-star Google review. You know, I can buy a sandwich anytime, give me the five-star Google review. 

So we do a real job, good job of trying to collect that data too for our future clients. I mean, I’ve got some, I mean, I’ve seen the bad and I’ve seen the good. I guess, the worst thing I’ve ever done, really kind of encountered is, we had a government building here in Grand Rapids that the city was doing some repairs to the sewer lines and they were running a sleeve through the lines just to kind of protect them from any other damage or cracking.

Well, the sewer line from this government building didn’t have an exit hole attached to the main sewer line and everything that went out came back in. And, I’m kidding you not, there’s probably four feet of raw sewage in this basement, probably six to six, 700 square foot room and it was all concrete.

One of the things I was keeping in my car as a little jar of Vicks vapor rub where things get kind of out of hand from a smell. I always take. I wear my, wear my respirator, and then I put a little bit of Vicks Vaporub in my nose. So I always smoke this Vicks Vaporub. But, now that’s probably one of the worst things, that I, that you can kind of chuckle at now.

You know, we also see, you know, people standing in their front yards and they’re looking at their houses the day after a fire and they’re like, they don’t know exactly what, what their next turn is, what their next move is. To have the crew and the people that we have to meet with them in front and it’s, it’s just, I guess the, the best word I can use to describe it is grace.

And just as we’re going to make sure that you are made whole again. We’re going to make sure that you’re taken care of. We are going to trust us. We will do everything we can. And that’s where that relationship piece all comes up. So, another thing that we do.

And, I don’t promote it usually as we do trauma scene cleanup, and biohazard. That’s a whole different type of person going into doing that. What the previous company I worked with, we didn’t do it. So coming into that right now, it was three and a half years ago was like: You do what? And you never think about, you know, what happens when something tragic like that happens.

And that takes a special person, special crew person to go out and do that because we have to deal with a family whose lives have been just changed forever. You have to have some empathy because you understand that, again, changes happen to the family and you have to deal with dignity.

It’s not time to crack a joke or have a little laugh. This is a time to go in, get your job done, and be very, very, resolve and make sure it’s done right and it’s taken care of. So a lot of different things, Mike, I could go, I mean, and I could tell you stories that probably weren’t necessarily appropriate for your podcast, but I mean, we, we’ve seen a little bit of every, yeah.

And I hear, I hear a lot of it, whether it’s trauma or whether it’s something. Silly, you’re talking about what the sewage backup is that relationship building, being able, being able to read people and understand where they’re at, because even, even for the funny things like sewage backup, I’m sure they were distraught about how much cleanup and how much was going on there.

Even though we can get a chuckle about it, how, what is, what is your guy’s strategy? Because I know you as the sales and marketing person, you have to do a lot of talking with people in relationship building, but even your technicians and people on the front lines of your company, when they go to homes or when they go to businesses, they have to do a lot of talking with, talking with the homeowners or business owners to help calm them. 

Do you guys have any strategies or how you guys ensure that everything goes well with comforting in building those relationships? Yeah. Fortunately, again, we do get a lot of our leads from people that we’ve done work with in the past, whether it be an agent, the adjuster, previous client, you know. Again, a lot of that preparation comes with the fact that when something happens, they’re going to call us.

So that relationship has already been built even before anything happened. So a lot of that, a lot of that is already set in place. There are two pieces to what we do. There’s a remediation part of it. So the event of a fire, even a water event. A significant mold, remediation, there’s that part of it where you’re going to get somebody like  our owners or our two production leaders come in. They’re going to talk with the family and say: “Hey, listen, we’re sorry this has happened.

We know what to do. And we’re going to get started today.” There’s paperwork involved when we talk about, you know, contractual. I mean, there’s a lot of that stuff that has to happen. You have to kind of explain to them why it is and what it’s for. But typically they understand the process and, we get right in on it.

But again, it’s just about that trust. You don’t want to go in there and shove a piece of paper in there, say people’s faces, and sign this, we’re going to get started. It’s more like, Hey. We’re sorry that this happened. We’re going to take good care of it now with us. There’s the remediation piece, but then there’s a reconstruction piece where we have three of our construction leaders.

That can do anything from residential, commercial, industrial, reconstruction. So again, that’s a whole different look at having to go from the remediation standpoint, seeing everything that’s been torn out and pulled back together. And then that reconstruction guy comes in just at the end of that saying, okay.

Now we know how we have put it together. It’s going to help us with, our bid and everything like we could do working with our adjusters. So again that’s to us, it’s just, it’s all about the trust factor. It’s all about the warm handoff and making sure that the expectation for that final return, your key is all put in place.

And that’s, I take a lot of pride in knowing that it’s going to happen every time we go out and do something. But, yeah, I, you know, how do you talk to somebody that has just had a huge fire in their house or their water in their basement is just torn out three bedrooms and a living room and all their electronics are gone and all this and that?

You know, a trauma situation, it’s, it’s no big deal to us. It almost seems like sometimes, but it is a big deal to them. So we have to be able to kind of recognize how we’re going to handle it, probably within the first 10 seconds we enter a row, how we’re going to handle this and making sure it’s done in a way that our customer understands and respects.

No, as I said, in most service industries, you have to have that heart for the customer and provide the best, but especially for you and what you guys do, just because it is such a lot of it is traumatic for those homeowners, business owners. So definitely kudos to you guys, cause you guys have to have a good heart with what you’re doing.

Thank you. We do, I think we do a great job at that type of stuff. So. No, that’s awesome. But part of the, part of the reason I’m happy to have you join me in December is that we can kind of take the time to reflect on the things, the trends that have happened in 2023 and maybe put on, or bring out our projection globe and look into 2024.

Is there anything that you are kind of reflecting on with the industry and trends in your industry, that have happened in 2023? To kind of project white what might be happening in 2024, whether that’s where that’s new technology that’s coming in, whether that’s new techniques, whether there’s economic trends that you’ve been seeing that you guys are kind of expecting.

I’m assuming you guys are going through, actually, I do know you guys are going through, your kind of annual review, kind of projecting what you guys are looking into when it comes to 2024. Is there anything that you guys can speak to with things that you might be projecting coming in the new year?

 Well, again, I’m fortunate to have two colleagues, John and Michelle, that I work with, day in and day out, that we are always bouncing things off of what’s happening here, what’s happening there, and we make changes as we kind of go, from a budgetary standpoint. You know, our budgets is buckets and ladles.

If you bucket for this and a bucket for that, and you need more here, and you can ladle out of it. So it’s, it’s a juggling game, no matter from a financial standpoint, as it pertains to marketing. The more, the bigger things that we’re seeing in our industry, not necessarily are the changes that what we do, but how we react to how the insurance industry is going.

There’s a tremendous amount of changes in the insurance industry, right? I mean, all the agencies that I have very close relationships with are with Mike. They’re like, Mike, I’ve been doing this for X amount of years and I’ve never seen it like this right now. With the amount of significant storms we’ve had, hail damage, which is the south of Grand Rapids this year.

A lot of these insurance companies, they kind of plan for like three catastrophic events per year, and now they’ve had like seven or eight. So their loss ratios are tremendous, which means the underwriting companies that are underwriting all these homeowners policies for folks.

Are starting to do their due diligence like saying, okay, well if your roof has a little moss on it and crack now, we want to have it inspected and we want to have it repaired or we’re going to renew So, there’s a lot of different things. So again, if you have water damage that’s pre-existing in, you know, what might’ve been covered at one time may not be covered now.

So again, the underwriting, the adjust, how the adjusters look at things are very conservative right now. So we want to make sure that we have all of our information correct. Now, everything that we’re doing is, exactly what the insurance industry is, is going to allow us to do. We don’t, we’re not going to deviate from that at all. 

We use the same software systems. We use the same. Information gathering systems that the adjusters do. So, we align perfectly with all the adjusters out there. But in the same token, the, the underwriting companies that the adjusters represent, now are in a factor of like, we need to try to, we need to buckle our buckle up here a little bit.

We are in a brutal 2023, we need to try to recoup. So again, so there’s some adjusting you need to do to make. Not be funny, but you have to make some adjustments make sure that everything’s done right, because if you don’t do it right, they’re going to catch you out of technicality, and that could be detrimental to your client.

So, a lot of our small agencies, there’s not a lot of small mom and pop agencies out there anymore. A lot of these agencies are being gobbled up by larger companies. In southeast Grand Rapids, I probably have maybe five or six that are still independently owned and operated right here in Grand Rapids by a small family or group of investors.

Where a lot of these companies now are owned by a company either out of Chicago or Detroit or, or wherever, and they’re basically kind of becoming in. No disrespect, but kind of satellite call centers, if you will. So if they get a claim, it goes up to their corporate office and it goes directly to them.

From a personal relationship and to a referral standpoint, you have to have a really good relationship to break in through a corporate structure like a lot of these agencies are doing now. So, that’s, that’s been a challenge. So again, we pivot and we look at, okay, how do we, how do we look at it and do it differently in 24?

So, commercial accounts have been a big priority for me over the last year and a half or so. And it’s been successful. We’ve built, but again, you give a commercial account, they only got to call when something happens. It’s not like an agency that’s got to call you like, Hey, once a week or once every other week or so and say, Hey, I got a client.

So again, it’s, it’s a little bit of a challenge on how we, we bring in work directly to our server location here in Grand Rapids. No, most definitely. And that’s what I think. I’m sure, your experience working in insurance earlier in your career has been able to help you kind of bob and weave through those adjustments and to be able to predict what might be happening, and how you guys can best adjust.

So I’m sure sir, that, your team has SERVPRO and is happy to have you on the team for that. Well, I don’t know about that. But no, you know, going through insurance, you know, In those long days and nights I sat at my desk wondering, you know, what am I going to do when I grow up? Everything that I’ve learned in that has just accumulated into a lot of knowledge that I have today, which I’m extremely grateful for.

And, so yeah, it’s… I, I feel lucky to have the experiences that I’ve had to bring me where I’m at today. No, I could appreciate that because I, as much as I’d love to be, sit in and learn from a book and have someone teach me the best way I can learn is just through experience, and by doing that’s the best way to learn is through experience. And I’ll stand by that by the, at the end of the day. Bbut Mike, I’ve held up a lot of your time, kind of going through across the map, being able to hear your story.

And then be able to hear some funny stories, but also how you guys SERVPRO South and Northwest Grand Rapids can best serve your clients. And you guys heart behind serving those clients, which has been nice to hear and is projected through what you’ve been telling us today. So really appreciate and am happy that you’ve been able to join me today.

I’m glad to do it, Mike. I really appreciate the time. And if any of your listeners have questions about, you know, the way we do things, I’d love to chat with them. You can find me on LinkedIn. I’m Mike Nitz. Most definitely. We appreciate that. We can get your links and we’ll connect that.

And so people can contact you through that. So we appreciate that. But well, thank you. Thank you again, Mike, for joining us. And thank you for listening to another episode of Digital Marketing Shop Talk. If you liked what we’ve heard from our conversation with Mike Nitz, always feel free to interact with our videos.

And then if you are involved with a service industry or a home service industry, whether you’re an owner or whether you’re part of the staff team, we’d love to have you out and have a conversation just like Mike and I had today. So, once again, thank you for tuning in today and Mike, I hope you have a great Christmas and holiday season.

Same to you, Mike. Thank you very much.

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