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Being Proactive in the Reactive Disaster Restoration Industry

Proactive restoration contractors are more successful than their reactive peers as a result of making organizational change before they are forced to by competitive pressures or even internal issues.

By nature, the disaster restoration industry is a reactionary one.  Calls for response to new fires or floods every day or worse, a lack of calls to new fires or floods can cause a business owner or manager to fall into reactionary mode.  Unfortunately the, management and their restoration companies in this mode never meet their full potential because they don’t take action as a result of well thought out business strategy.  These organizations are left playing catch up against their proactive peers who always seem to be ahead of the game.

Below are three actions that you can begin taking immediately that just might be game changers for your restoration company.

Set SMART Goals
Take the opportunity to write out a list of all of the goals that you want to achieve.  This will have a huge impact on your business.  And guess what…..only the top 3% of people actually do this.  Keep in mind that the most effective goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound).  Next select the three goals from that list that will have the greatest impact on your business (hey you’ve got to start somewhere).  Begin to list out all of the actions that you will need to take in order to accomplish those goals and organize them by the order of operations and the impact that they will have on helping you achieve your goals.  Finally, take action immediately and do something every day to help you achieve your goals.  This method of goal setting is based on the teachings of Brian Tracy (

Complete a SWOT Analysis
Perform an analysis on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your business at least on an annual basis.  The key is to get the entire organization involved in the process.  Bring the restoration technicians, carpenters, laborers, managers, and everyone else into the mix to get their perspective.  Sure some of the finer strategic points may be kept inside the boardroom but the best SWOT aren’t kept exclusive to the executives behind closed doors.  Completing a SWOT analysis will allow you to make sound decisions and take proactive actions to meet the goals that you have set for your organization.  Click here to see a great little SWOT Analysis Worksheet.

Build a Business Operations Manual
It’s important for a business leader to be able to take a few steps back from the business in order to work on it rather than in it.  This means that you’re going to need to have other people do the day-to-day tasks.  In order for you to help them understand exactly how you want it done, you’ll want to have a formal business operations manual.  An operations manual spells out all of the jobs and tasks that need to take place in order for the business to operate.  Not only does it serve as a powerful training tool for new staff and a benchmark for existing staff but it also makes your business more marketable if you ever want to sell it.  Building an operations manual can be daunting task as it should cover everything from how the telephone is to be answered to when sub trades should be requested onsite for a policyholder meeting and everything in between and after.  Therefore, it is best to break it out into bite size chunks that can be undertaken individually.  If you are looking for guidance on building an operations manual for your restoration business, check out the Effective Loss Response training module from Restoration Guru.

Have a Formal Human Resource Plan and Strategy
Everyone has probably worked for or managed a company that says “our people are our most valuable asset.”  An organization that is able to take this beyond just lip service will enjoy reduced employee turnover, higher work efficiency, and greater business profitability.  Some restoration companies will spend thousands of dollars each year servicing vehicles and equipment yet they don’t invest the resources to maintain their so called most valuable asset – the people.

It’s important that you have clearly communicated expectations for everyone in the organization.  In addition, show a career path within the business so that the team can see the opportunity for advancement.  Your training strategy should ensure that the objective of all training as well as an implementation plan and evaluation system is clearly thought out and communicated prior to the training ever taken place.  For more information on this topic, check out the blog post on “Building a Winning Team”.

As a result of all of this you will make fewer decisions based on today’s problem and more decisions based on where you want to take your organization.  Commit to making decisions and taking action based upon the goals that you have set rather than simply reacting.  And when you do, you will enjoy a smoother restoration operation and less stress from today’s problems.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


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Building a Winning Disaster Restoration Team



A well developed team is an essential ingredient to the creation of any successful disaster restoration company.  Even with the proper investment in new age contents processing technology, restoration companies are incredibly reliant on the people that are operating the equipment and providing the service.   Strong human resources results in higher rates of restoration, greater overall customer satisfaction, and most importantly job profitability.

With annual salary expenses of over $207 million for just 20 employees (Source:, even the New York Yankee Organization knows that you can’t buy the perfect roster and that each individual needs to be continually cultivated to form a winning team.  For a restoration company with a staffing budget that is just a fraction of the Yankees, the need for a well built staffing program becomes even more apparent.

Jay Boyer, a past National Vice President of Operations for a national restoration service provider shared his thoughts with me on creating a successful staffing program during an interview from the Restoration Guru course on Effective Loss Response.  While the specifics will vary by company depending on the service offering, there is a core system that each company should follow to build the right team.  Below are the five key elements of building a solid staffing program.

1.  Draft a Brand Blue Print

Just like you wouldn’t start a construction project without a blue print, you should never build a business without a brand blueprint.  A brand blueprint should include things like a positioning statement, brand promise, and brand personality and any other information that is at the core of your organization.  The positioning statement communicates how your organization is perceived by the market.  Your brand promise is a clear statement on what people can expect when they do business with your company. And the brand personality is the personality of your organization described with human characteristics.  This should be developed first because it will serve as a form of a checklist for all the functions that follow:  Do our plans and actions align with our Brand Blueprint?

2. Clearly Define the Ownership of Human Resource Management Responsibilities

We must clearly define who within the organization holds the responsibility of the human resource manager.  Depending on the size and complexity of the organization, this may be a separate position all unto itself or may be managed by an owner or department manager.  Regardless, the ownership of the function needs to be clear.

3. Communicate Expectations

People who understand exactly what is expected of them are more likely to achieve success within a company.  It probably sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised by the number of organizations that haven’t spelled this out.  A great starting point is the creation of well crafted job descriptions for each role in the organization.  The job description should spell out the specific responsibilities of the people within each position.  Provide each employee with a a copy of their job description so they know exactly what is expected of them and then provide a three month review for new employees and an annual employee review for all others.

4. Set and Communicate the Career Path

Every organization should have a formal career path set out.  A career path shows each of the different positions within an organization and what is required in order to qualify for each roll.  This  shows the team that there is an opportunity for growth within the organization and is a key function of succession planning – where internal staff are nurtured to fill key leadership positions.  Once the career path has been developed it must be professionally presented to the team.

5. Develop a Formal Training Strategy

Training is an essential component of grooming the team to achieve the success that you desire for your company.  Make the most of your investment in training by clearly defining what the objective of the training is, how the knowledge and skills will be implemented, and how the success of the training will be evaluated.  Senior management’s participation in the actual training sends a clear message to the group that this is important to our organization.  Therefore, make a  point of having your leadership team participate in the training sessions.  Once the training has occurred, re-asses the implementation plan and set a date for a review of progress and success of the training.

when you invest the necessary resources to build each of these core components of your staffing program you will see reduced employee turnover,  increased organizational success and greater profitability.  For more information on building a strong staffing program, sign up for the free Restoration Guru Insights Training Program.  Click here to enroll today.  It’s totally free and only takes 30 seconds to register.

What do you think is required when building and growing a winning team?


Neil Grant

Neil Grant

Neil Grant works with disaster restoration industry leaders and experts to develop training programs that empower disaster restoration contractors and cleaners to implement better business processes, deliver higher quality work, and improved customer service.

Restoration Guru is a complete online training solution designed to keep restoration staff and management up to date with the most current industry knowledge.   Restoration Guru courses have been developed by experts sharing their best practices covering many aspects of the restoration process.

Our team has trained thousands of people from hundreds of companies around the world who have revolutionized the contents restoration industry by proving that soft contents impacted by all categories of losses can be successfully restored.