By Dan York

After working solely on marketing programs with literally hundreds of restoration companies worldwide over the last decade, I’ve learned vital differences between restoration owners who can build a company that really thrives long term and the one who will get his 15 minutes of fame and go the way of swing music.

From my years optimizing SEO for restoration companies, I’ve had an amazing window of observation of the whole industry. I have an amazingly objective and analytical view of restoration companies, their owners, their habits, and, most importantly, I’ve seen who the stars are and who buries themselves.

I’ve categorized my top observations of the ones who did not make it and why so that we can understand their failures and do the exact opposite. By doing so, we become the guys that will still be here in the next decade.

1 | The Criminal

I’ve had clients that commit insurance fraud, embezzle money from their partners, deal drugs, and even commit corporate espionage. Two restoration owners I know are in jail; one went bankrupt; another is being sued out of house and home; one has ruined his reputation in the industry; and one even lost his life and family to drugs and alcohol.

I’m willing to bet you know one of these guys, too. Skip the criminality bit.

2 | The Blamer

This is the restoration owner who knows that everything is everyone else’s fault — his advertisers, his employees, his office manager, his customers, the insurance companies — everyone but, well, him. The winners are responsible for where they’re at, good or bad.

3 | The Magic Bullet Guy

This owner thinks there is one “magic bullet” to creating a successful company, and he tries every magic bullet, but none of them work. There is no single magic bullet to creating a successful company; ask anyone who has been around forever in this biz (like Jeff Cross).

4 | The Veruca Salt Guy

Remember Veruca from Willy Wonka? She was the spoiled brat who said, “I want it now!” Well, don’t we all? But life isn’t like that. The fact is only perseverance, intelligence, knowledge, hard work, and hard-won experience will get you a winning company. Pay your dues, and always expect to.

5 | The Part Timer

This guy simply won’t put in the hours, effort, or time needed to be successful. Even when the work is plentiful, he’s home by 5 p.m.! And when times are tough, all he does is complain about it on forums and social media sites. We all know where that effort should be going, right?

6 | The Industry Hopper

These are the restoration owners who are only restorers when it’s convenient. Like in 2008-2009, when home building and remodeling was dead, suddenly they were all restorers! But… they weren’t. They didn’t learn the ropes and thought this industry was going to be easy money.

Well, anyone in this business knows what it’s like — it is its own beast. You have to really specialize in this industry to thrive in it

7 | The Short-Term Thinker

He can’t plan or think past Friday. You can tell this restoration owner until you’re blue in the face that the rainy season will end or that there are lulls in this business, but he won’t plan for it? He ends up having to lay off staff and barely makes it out of the slow season — if he does at all.

I wish I could tell you how many people I’ve seen with this mindset go bankrupt within a decade. Probably more on this point than any other.

There are many more of these bad habits found in restoration owners that lead to the death of businesses, but these are the most common that I’ve seen, the common company killers. Remember economies go up and down; the dollar value changes; presidents change; insurance companies get regulated. There is no such thing as staying the same.

But there are companies I know, lots of them, that thrive through all of that. How? By doing the exact opposite of the things above.


Dan York is the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Stellar-eMarketing and is a seasoned entrepreneur, Internet marketing expert and administrative and marketing consultant, as well as a veteran public speaker. More information is found on York’s websites: www.Stellar-eMarketing.com and www.water-damage-marketing.com