Team Building with Mike Nitz from ServPro South NW Grand Rapids, MI

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[00:00:00] Hi everyone. My name is Jonathan with valorous restoration marketing, and I’ve got today with me, Mike Nitz from ServPro of South and North West Grand Rapids. And today we’re going to talk to you a little bit about team building and how to build a great environment at your company for a great. We all know that hiring good people is difficult right now.

[00:00:20] Finding great people for your team is even harder. I’ve known Mike for many years and we’ve had the opportunity to work together at different companies. And I want to take this opportunity to have Mike share just a little bit about what ServPro is doing to build that great team environment. Mike, thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:00:37] I really

[00:00:37] appreciate it. No problem, Jonathan, we appreciate the opportunity.

[00:00:45] Yeah.

[00:00:47] So obviously there’s a lot of things we could talk about as I mentioned you and I have known each other for many years, but talk to me a little bit about ServPro, particularly the franchise that you’re at ServPro South North West Grand Rapids and about the team environment they have. Why is it such a great place as compared to any other place?

[00:01:06] Yeah. So I’ve been to the Firewater restoration insurance and claims business per well over almost 25 years now. And so I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve worked with different companies, different owners different leaders and whatnot. There’s just something just really fantastic about what we have here.

[00:01:22] In west Michigan. We are a national company. We are franchise owned, our owners, Ted Brummel and Randy heard of owner franchise for about three years. And we’ve been around since about 1993. But we are a franchise. We are a locally owned and operated. And the thing that we have is that we have a national brand that.

[00:01:46] Is locally owned and operated, which means we have people that live in our own communities that, that work for us and work with us in our part of our team that understand the culture of the of west Michigan. We live in the neighborhoods that we serve. We have families that work in the businesses that we serve.

[00:02:02] So it’s just a very There’s something special about being locally owned and operated and, but yet having the the backing of a national corporation like ServPro to depend on when when that, when those big disasters do have.

[00:02:17] Thank you for sharing that. It makes a lot of sense. As you mentioned, you’ve been in the industry for quite a while.

[00:02:21] That time hasn’t all been at ServPro. And without obviously speaking ill of any of the past places, talk to me a little bit about some of the things that maybe ServPro does differently, especially at your franchise that make it just again, I agree. Team environment. I know you’ve talked about obviously the benefits of being part of a larger franchise and those big programs, but on a day to day basis what makes your franchise such

[00:02:48] a great place?

[00:02:49] I think right now it’s just the culture. From the day we have bring bring people on it’s all about training and development, making sure they have the right tools, the right resources, having everybody understand what our common goal is. You’ll hear very often here in our shop is that we’re not necessarily in the restoration business, we’re in the business to help people.

[00:03:08] We are not sales and marketing reps. We are in the business to build relationships. So when things do happen, we don’t look at it as a sales transaction, but we look at as a partner. To make sure that we understand the culture of the businesses and the component companies that utilize our services.

[00:03:24] But we also understand the needs that families in our community have when these types of things happen when you have a major fire in your home and you have. Even as simple as, so what we would think is a simple water loss in a basement. This is a it’s a life-changing thing for some folks.

[00:03:40] So we need to be understand that. So we really push and help our train our staff to have empathy and understanding and just making sure that every time we go into a job, it’s like the first time we’ve gone in there and just say, I’m so sorry this happened. We’re going to take good care of you.

[00:03:56] So it starts with our ownership team and it works its way down. They’ve built a great foundation. There’s a great onboarding process, training and development. And you can just tell the culture here is second to none from anything that I’ve ever been a part of.

[00:04:10] No, that makes a lot of sense.

[00:04:12] You mentioned something that I thought was really interesting and that was. You don’t look at it as a sales process so much as helping others out. I know you shared with me in the past, Mike, that sometimes you get out on a job site and there’s the proverbial pushy sales guy who was like, just sign here.

[00:04:27] And I know that’s a tactic that some, restoration companies utilize. If you had the opportunity to talk to a property, And that’s in that situation, Mike, what type of advice would you give to that property owner to help them make the right choice? When they’re in the midst of that disaster?

[00:04:45] They’ve got a situation that needs clean up and again, they may have more than one rep from different companies. They’re pushing them. What advice would you give to that property owner in that situation?

[00:04:56] First of all, we know that our com there’s a tremendous amount of competition in our industry, and that people have the choice to use whoever they want to.

[00:05:06] And honestly there’s times where there’s jobs that you’re going to be a better fit. But. I’d never go on. We never go into a situation, try to strong-arm anybody into a job. Ultimately, it’s got to be a good connection for the people that we work with. If circle, for some reason, isn’t what they’re looking for or are we just, we can’t meet their needs then, Hey, we understand that it’s, it happens.

[00:05:29] And but rarely do we see that? We are a we are about. Making sure it’s a good fit. And again, going back to what I said earlier, it’s about it, but building a relationship, it’s just having empathy. Having people understand that, when their businesses shut down because of a fire or a major water loss, or people have been displaced from their home time is of the essence.

[00:05:49] And if the quicker you can get a crew in there and get things, moving, get things forward. That’s what speaks volumes and again, and going in there and building trust and helping them understand that it’s. I want to make sure that they’re comfortable with the process. And I think we do a great job at that.

[00:06:07] I think the people that we have worked with in the past had been very satisfied with the work we do. Again, working from another company coming into a company I’m at now the difference is tremendous. And again, it goes right from our owners, our project managers, our office manager from a billing and communication standpoint.

[00:06:24] I think ultimately circle of south Northwest grand rapids is always going to be a good fit, but again, we never strong-arm anybody into making that decision. So it’s all about relationships, Jonathan and that’s the beauty of what we do. And then

[00:06:36] that makes a lot of sense. And I know that’s something you’ve talked to me about over the years as you’ve been in the industry.

[00:06:41] While again, most people probably watching the podcast are going to be in the restoration industry. There’s always a chance that somebody is catching. This is going through a disaster or something like that. Mike is not something most of us deal with on a regular basis. Talk to me a little bit about.

[00:06:56] Let’s just a couple scenarios, if I’ve got a business and all of a sudden my sprinklers go off as an example, and I go, oh, we’ve got a problem. What do you recommend? What’s the first couple steps of that business owner or that property owners should be taking. Mitigate the long-term damage or liability that they’re going to have any recommendations for that business owner.

[00:07:18] Yeah, obviously it’s just a training. The business owners, having the people that are working for them, having the right communication to help mitigate a loss and surfer. We actually have a program called emergency ready profile where we work with commercial clients, but everything from churches, schools.

[00:07:33] And just industrial warehouses where your handles major components to a building, where you have a suppression systems and riser rooms. And when those types of things go off, we help these a facility directors tag, a water shut offs for suppression in their domestic water and understand where all their controls are in a building so that when they’re not there and they have somebody that’s.

[00:07:55] Kind of watching the billing, they know exactly where to go to. So from an education standpoint, we want to help mitigate a loss and make sure things are or capital a minimum. And that’s a free service that we do offer our clients that we do work with. But again, that’s it. It’s a way for us to help prepare them for the unexpected.

[00:08:15] And it also is a tool for us to have some eyes on a site so that if we do have a major loss that we can stage our equipment properly and it’s all about timing and making sure things done in a timely fashion. Preparation, whether you use ServPro or not is the biggest thing I can suggest to a property management or facilities director A lot of times I hear Mike, I really don’t need your service.

[00:08:36] I hope you don’t because if you’re calling me, you’re having a bad day and, but here’s the deal. We do live in Michigan where the temperatures fluctuate and things go bad from time to time. And when it does happen, you want to have somebody that’s going to be on your side from even before the loss occurs and be a part of your emergency strategy.

[00:08:53] And that’s what that ERP program that we offer as a free service is all about. So it’s a great.

[00:09:00] That’s a program I wasn’t familiar with if there’s somebody watching that to interested in that, and I know your territory is essentially west Michigan and it’s more detailed, but to keep it simple, do they just reach out to you and re request then?

[00:09:13] And that’s a service you do obviously in advance of some sort of disaster.

[00:09:17] Yeah, you can call our office at (616) 662-9700, or you can contact me directly through email and I would be glad to come out and do an assessment of your building or your facility, and just give you some ideas on how we can train your staff, keep things Front and center when those unexpected things happen, that also gives us a chance to say, Hey, this is how we’re going to attack a building.

[00:09:40] If something major were to happen, it’s all about preparation.

[00:09:44] That’s a great service. I was not aware of that. So thanks for sharing that. That’s really cool. Yeah. How about on the other end? Obviously I know you deal with all kinds of property owners. Some of them are homeowners. When I walk into the, my basement and I realized there’s water where there’s not supposed to be, do I call my agent first?

[00:10:00] Do I call you first? What do you recommend is that initial phone call? And I guess the other question is as a restoration company, are you going to help that homeowner through. Insurance negotiation or what’s that look

[00:10:12] Yeah. So especially this time of year where we’ve have a lot of snow melt, we have some rain, the ground is still frozen.

[00:10:18] There’s a couple of different things that happen right now that when water shows up, obviously there’s the regular, the sudden direct and exit. And also I’m going to throw an insurance term out there a little bit. That happens whether you have a broken pipe, higher, hot water heater, bursts. Dishwasher or your washing machine overflows.

[00:10:34] Those are things that happen a lot. And we get a lot of those 365 days a year, even in the middle of the summer, those types of things happen. So when those types of things happen, give us a call, we’ll work with your insurance company and make sure you’re taking good care of. And obviously before anything happens, I always tell my clients is having.

[00:10:54] Conversation with your insurance provider to make sure you know exactly what is covered and what’s not covered. There are things on a new homeowner’s policy and I’m not an insurance agent, but there’s an endorsement for water and sewer backup that I would highly recommend. You have a minimum of $10,000 in coverage, especially if you have a finished basement having to have a conversation with your insurance professional about that.

[00:11:16] The second problem we’re having, especially this time of year is ground water or hydrostatic water. And. Typically that’s not covered by insurance. Again, conversation you want to have with your insurance provider. What we will do is we can make some recommendations. We have some great referral folks to help with foundation issues.

[00:11:32] When it’s in the middle of a thought and raining, you got water coming from your there’s no way to stop it. The only thing that’ll stop it is if it stops raining and dries up. So again, give us a call. We have recommendations. We have resources that they can help you through it. And then we can talk about a mitigate mitigation process that, we can we can try to help you out and having an understanding of what needs to be done.

[00:11:54] And what’s all in what all the details are on that.

[00:11:58] Thanks for sharing that again, there’s a, one of those homeowners that would have no idea what to do. As the last time it happened, I want my help and you gave me some really good advice and that meaning we didn’t have to do anything, which was great.

[00:12:10] But so back to the culture and the team, obviously that, so one of the things I really wanted to focus on here if somebody’s interested in getting into the restoration industry, maybe not even just with ServPro, what advice would you have for that person? That’s looking at it and why is the restoration.

[00:12:26] Industry a good industry from your perspective and what makes it a good career from your PR where you’re sitting like,

[00:12:33] Let me careful with what I say here a little bit, because I. It’s more than just buying some fans in a dehumidifier and throwing restoration on the side of your truck. There’s a science to it being certified for water and fire molder mediation.

[00:12:46] We also do biohazard and trauma scene cleanup, that type of thing, which we don’t like to talk about, but we do it. It’s all about certification. It’s all about training. And just making sure you have the right people doing it. And like I said earlier the there’s a tremendous amount of competition.

[00:13:02] And in our area. And we only hold a certain percentage of the market share here in the west, Michigan because of that, which is fine. There’s enough work for all of us to do out there, but making sure the right people are doing the work do your research before you just call one 800, clean out my basement.

[00:13:16] It’s it’s it’s about making sure you have the right people the right certifications. They have the right equipment. You’re not signing just a contract that says we’re going to do the work you’re going to pay us no matter what. There’s always work authorizations and payment directives that we have to take care of.

[00:13:32] But rest assured when you call ServPro, it’s going to be done. And that’s the beauty with ServPro, but. Getting into the business. It is a business I’m thinking mainly

[00:13:41] as an employee here, Mike, I probably should’ve made that clear. If I say, wow, from a career perspective, I’d love to work for a great company.

[00:13:49] And I liked the idea of partnering with people and helping people out. Are there certifications that people should get, or does it depend on their role in the company? Or I guess if I’m talking to my 20 something son and he says, wow, this is an interesting industry. How do I get involved?

[00:14:05] What recommendation would you have for, somebody looking at your industry as an industry they’d like to work in?

[00:14:13] Yeah. And again, I think right now it’s for me, it’s. I love helping people. I love being able to go into, to places and talk about what we do and how we do it differently than everybody else.

[00:14:27] And I think from getting into the industry I love working for a group of people that know exactly what needs to be done. They do it right. And it’s done with integrity and. W with a lot of value. Again, whenever we’re not the cheapest one out there but I think we do it the best.

[00:14:45] I’ve worked for some other companies. I’ve seen some other companies that we worked with and it’s sometimes it’s just not good. We get called in sometimes to clean up after a company has been in there. So if you’re really considering going into the business or wanting to go into the business, it’s a really niche industry.

[00:15:02] We don’t sell nuts and bolts. We don’t sell t-shirts. We don’t, we it’s a service that, when things happen, we were busy when things are not going on we’re busy, but we, you have to depend on the situations like weather and natural disaster and that type of thing. But there are a lot of things I do happen and just being prepared and being ready and having a good company to be a tag along with is a big part of the process of being in an industry.

[00:15:27] Awesome. Why, again, I think that’s really good advice and I appreciate you sharing that. I appreciate the stuff you’ve mentioned about the team culture and the training and all that. I can certainly imagine. That’s one of those areas that being with an organization like ServPro can be helpful because they’ve got some great resources and I’m sure trainings and best practices in that available to help, each of your team members do the best job they can and helping out your customers.

[00:15:50] I think that’s really what. Yeah. Any last advice you would have either for another restoration company looking to hire, obviously, hopefully not one of your direct competitors, let’s say somebody who’s a doughnut in Louisville, Kentucky, and they’re trying to figure out how to find the right people, any recommendation for that owner of that restoration company, what things they should be doing to attract talent like yourself.

[00:16:10] Yeah. I work with a lot of different types of folks. And, the thing that as we get a, the stigma of being an ambulance chaser, if you will, and the used car salesman or whatever, but, we do our best to try to break that mold. My advice, anybody get in the business is do it right.

[00:16:32] Don’t do it with a strong hand. Don’t do it with that. You feel desperate that you need to have work, do it with the fact that you just want to help people. You want to make sure people are taken care of be true to your promise, set up expectations that are able to be met go and do good for people instead of.

[00:16:51] It’s all about doing business with integrity being true to your word, making sure you understand what your mission statement is, stay true to your core values. And things will happen. Things will happen right for you. And that’s the thing that I think a lot of restoration companies Lose sight of is if we’re not making our budget for the month, we had to go out and do it a little bit deeper or whatever, just do it the right way.

[00:17:15] Be an example to other industries and other. Other companies out there that there are people like us that are dependent on natural disasters and when people are having their worst days that we that’s how we make our living, but ultimately it’s our responsibility to take care of our the people that we come in contact with and make sure that when we are done with the remediation and we’re done with the reconstruction and put everything together, we hand back a key.

[00:17:43] They go, this was one of the best experiences I’ve ever. That’s our goal. It’s simple as that. We want to make sure that we have done everything and communicated everything perfectly throughout the process.

[00:17:55] Great advice. Very great advice. I appreciate it. Mike, anything that I didn’t ask at all about culture or anything else you’d like to add the, again, I really appreciate your time today to chat about this and to share some of your insight having been in the industry, as long as you have anything that I should have brought up that I didn’t, that you cared about.

[00:18:14] We, again ServPro, south Northwest grand rapids, we are out of Jenison, Michigan. We’ve been around for quite a while. We have a group of people here that have worked here for a long time. If I can be a resource to any marketing folks that are out there that are watching this, I’d love to connect with you asking questions I’m on LinkedIn.

[00:18:30] I’d be glad to connect with you and just share some thoughts some best practices things that are working again. At my point in my career for as long as I’ve been, we talk about legacy. We always want to hand that off to the next generation to make sure that they have good foundation on how they do things.

[00:18:48] And we want to make sure that how we do things goes on for generations to come. I love to be that connection in the networking. Some way shape or form. So yeah, it’s a good industry to be in and I’m very proud of the work that.

[00:19:00] Awesome. Mike, I certainly can give that testimony.

[00:19:02] I know you guys do a great job and you, in particular, as it got the heart to serve and I, that shows in what you do. And I know I appreciate that as I’m sure your customers do so thank you again for your time. I really do appreciate it. As a reminder to everybody watching, if you want to connect with Mike he’s on LinkedIn for free to look into.

[00:19:19] He’s a tremendous resource and I’d encourage you, even if you’re in the industry and you just want to network with somebody that’s got experience and maybe can help bounce ideas off of Mike’s truly a wonderful resource. So with that, we’ll part will tell you to have a wonderful day and hopefully we’ll see you soon.

[00:19:36] Thanks. And make it a great day. Everybody.

[00:19:39] Thanks. Take care.

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