The winter of 2015 will be one to remember for New England restoration contractors. Record-low temperatures and snowfall created tens of thousands of insurance claims for ice dams, frozen pipes and oil-furnace puff backs.
During the months of February and March, many CAT teams mobilized in New England to help the inundated local contractors. This article highlights one example of industry peers collaborating to help during CAT season.
By late February, Soil-Away Cleaning & Restoration of New Hampshire had hundreds of residential and commercial water damage losses in process and hundreds more in the queue. Crews were working round the clock to handle the demand. The phone continued to ring off the hook.
Simultaneously, half way across the country, Pride Cleaning and Restoration (St. Louis, MO) and Disaster Brigade USA (Jefferson City, MO) were experiencing a mild winter with a light workload. Through industry networking, the three companies had built a relationship which sparked the conversation to mobilize into New England.
During the first week of March, Pride C&R and Disaster Brigade made the 1,700-mile journey into the winter wonderland of Massachusetts and New Hampshire to work with Soil-Away. The teams from Missouri put in about two months of water damage mitigation work. The cornerstone project of the collaboration was a 150-unit, high-end apartment complex which had over 80 units affected by ice dams.
Collaborating with industry peers during CAT mode can create a win-win if executed properly. Below are some of the points that made this effort a success:
- Proper planning sets you up for success. Prior to mobilizing, Soil-Away, Pride C&R and Disaster Brigade set clear expectations:
- Monetary goals were set to ensure mobilizing would be worthwhile.
- Revenue splits and payment terms were established.
- Job documentation and invoicing methods were unified.
- Daily communication expectations were laid out.
- Job responsibilities were clarified.
- On-site project protocols were established to ensure client satisfaction.
- Administrative paperwork, such as certificates of insurance, was exchanged.
- Realize collaboration projects present risks and challenges for all parties involved. It is important to anticipate this certainty and agree to work together for an optimal solution:
- Risk of reputation: When working with another contractor you want to make sure your clients are treated with the same high level of service. You are putting your name on the line.
- Risk of encountering regional unfamiliarity: Every part of the country has its own set of weather-induced challenges. Some experience hurricanes while others have flash flooding. Some areas have ice dams while others have brush fires. Make sure you understand local protocols to make sure service levels meet the local expectations and standards.
- Risk of underestimating social expectations: When in a different region of the country (or state) make sure to understand the context and personality of the region. For example, are you working in a fast-paced urban environment or a low-key rural area? While all clients should be treated with the same high level of respect and courtesy, there still can be drastic differences in social expectations.
- Risk of supply chain management failure: When you mobilize outside your home area, you must have a plan to acquire any supplies and support wherever you go. Have a plan, and solicit the help of the local contractor you are working with.
The volume of property damage claims in New England this winter was incredible. This collaboration shows that by teaming up during CAT mode, several restoration companies can mutually benefit. We are fortunate to work in a very collaborative industry in which many like-minded entrepreneurs are willing to work together to create a win-win.
Joshua Solloway is the director of client services for Soil-Away Cleaning & Restoration in Hooksett, NH. His primary responsibilities focus on business development and managing the sales team. Soil-Away is a second generation family business founded in 1990. Solloway is also the owner and host of The Restoration Nation Podcast show. It is an interview-based audio production designed to provide education, collaboration, and motivation to entrepreneurs in the cleaning and restoration industry. To learn more visit www.soilaway.comand www.therestorationnation.com. Solloway can be contacted at [email protected]or via his LinkedIn page.
View a gallery of images from this collaborative project below.
All images courtesy of Joshua Solloway and Soil-Away Cleaning & Restoration.