Colorado Cleanup Services is a Denver company on the move.
Founded in 2004 and now with nearly 20 employees and as many trucks on the road, CCS is taking care of business and providing full service emergency remediation and restoration services, including water, fire, mold, sewage cleanup, biohazard cleaning and much more.
Randy and Julie Johansen own the company, now in its 12th year of business.
Randy started working in the construction industry more than four decades ago. He worked with his father framing houses in 1971. By learning the construction industry from the ground up, this has given him a perspective that helps everyone in the company to realize the importance of teamwork.
In 1984, Randy started his own framing company and ran this successful business until 1997. At this time, he launched Advance Building Components (ABC) in Omaha, NE. In 10 years, Randy took this manufacturing and construction business from startup to more than $22 million in annual sales.
Julie has more than 15 years of office administration experience that she brings to CCS. She has been involved with the inside team to update and streamline CCS’s systems and processes that allows the company to better serve its customers.
One of Randy’s best friends, Cliff Cole, is president of More Floods. Cliff had broached the subject with Randy about entering the restoration industry. Cliff told Randy that this industry provides a much needed service with a respectable ROI and, unlike the building industry, is much more recession resistant.
In 2014, Randy and Julie purchased Colorado Cleanup Services from the previous owners, Jim Minter and Tom Furmanski.
Learning the trade
While there are similarities with construction and restoration, there is still more to learn. Randy and those in his company have dedicated themselves to learning the science of drying.
In addition to hiring the very best employees, CCS has found success by partnering with quality subcontractors.
Improving a culture to minimize employee turnover in an industry that is prone to high turnover is a company goal.
Making it happen
With a lot of hard work and plenty of savvy business acumen, CCS has enjoyed steady growth and is projected to have sales in excess of $4 million in 2016.
To attain their personal and financial goals, both Randy and Julie believe in the importance of being more than a company. They find much satisfaction in helping people in their community, especially those in need of their expertise.
They understand the value of marketing their company, never taking anything for granted. While the restoration industry is somewhat more recession resistant than the construction industry, Randy and Julie know they must be competitive in order to continue to build their company.
They use a balanced mix of online and referral marketing, along with networking with those in their marketplace. They also take advantage of the Better Business Bureau and other local organizations.
Future plans include to grow as rapidly as possible without sacrificing customer service, something the company truly values. The CCS team has always had a laser focus on its customers.
The company was founded on giving each and every one of its customers “world class service” and that belief has not changed over the years.
CCS built its reputation on not being just another company along the front range that does remediation and restoration work. They are not the largest but have found pride in being the best. The company’s reputation in the market is second to none and a large percentage of its business comes from referrals.
As both Randy and Julie believe, restoration companies shouldn’t be all things all things to all people. Their advice is to find the services that you know you can be “world class” at and focus on those. Create a company culture that allows employees to enjoy what they do.
PHC Restoration is a thriving, forward-thinking company in Lillington, North Carolina.
With Katie and Josh Smith at the helm, this 45-year-old company with 30 employees is seeing $4 million in annual revenues, providing clients throughout all of central North Carolina with full-service restoration and reconstruction services.
PHC Restoration evolved from humble beginnings. The company, which began as Professional Home Care and focused on carpet cleaning, was founded by Katie’s father, Carl Sherman. He retired three years ago from day-to-day activities in the business, but remains equal business partners with Katie.
Over time, restoration and reconstruction became the focus. PHC Restoration was born.
A family affair
As with many companies in the restoration industry, PHC Restoration is a family-owned operation. Yet that didn’t come about without some interesting developments.
Katie was presented with the opportunity to work for the company as she was looking for a change… she had just earned a broadcasting degree and landed what she calls “a fun yet low-paying job on a radio morning show” and was at a point where something had to change.
With no interest in moving from one geographic market to another chasing better broadcasting jobs, she did what she thought she would never do. Growing up, the only time she worked in the family business was when she was recruited by her father during her middle school vacation to clean books with the company’s contents crew after a fire at a local library. It wasn’t her dream job.
Yet the time came years later to come into the company fold. Katie made the move into restoration, leaving behind her fledgling broadcasting career.
Making an impact
It took Katie some time to learn the business and, as she says, to get serious about her opportunity and the company’s potential.
It was when she spent time with clients during their time of need when she appreciated the magnitude of what the company was really doing… helping people get their lives back into place, and building important relationships along the way.
In addition to how she felt about her clients, she also became aware of the importance and the responsibility of providing a livelihood for the people who make PHC Restoration a success.
Then began another exciting part of her career: Creating a destination workplace in a small market and attempting to build the very best company culture for its employees.
With her husband Josh — a former firefighter and EMT — working alongside her, they can both reach their goals: Serve others and be hands-on parents for their son.
Along the way, Katie has found that any challenges she has faced actually presented themselves as opportunities to learn and grow. She discovered that applying four years of learning how to read, write, edit and produce for radio, print and television wasn’t exactly going to fit the needs of a company in the restoration industry.
With absolutely no technical knowledge of restoration and reconstruction, she began her certification journey with the IICRC and spent time on jobsites learning the technical side of the industry. She eventually earned the prestigious RIA Certified Restorer designation.
To help with motivation and operations, she also began working with Violand Management Associates. To learn more about financials, she enrolled in a college-level accounting course. When she realized she needed to know more about the legal aspect of being an employer, she enrolled in an employment law course.
Now that she is focused on building a high-performance organization, the next step begins soon. She is embarking on the journey to obtain a master’s degree in organizational development.
She sees continuous improvement central to the company’s success, and takes on the responsibility to set the example for the team at PHC Restoration.
Focusing on the future
It has never been the goal of PHC Restoration to be the largest company in its geographical area. Instead, it has been the goal of the company to be the best.
With that in mind, plans are always evolving to becoming better, more efficient — and leaner. As Katie says, if being smaller and making more profit means they can provide more meaningful benefits and opportunities to its staff, they are very happy with that.
ServiceMaster of Salem, Oregon is a top-performing franchisee with rapid growth throughout the entire region.
With some 45 employees, a 35 vehicle fleet and covering five counties in the region, ServiceMaster of Salem does it all: Water, fire, smoke, mold, trauma, biohazard, hoarding, reconstruction and more.
ServiceMaster of Salem is owned by Brian Greer, a former college football coach turned restoration industry entrepreneur.
After college, Brian was coaching football at Willamette University, and dating the daughter of a ServiceMaster franchise owner. As Brian puts it, “My future wife encouraged me to job shadow her father.” He was immediately drawn into the industry as he was quick to see the effect a restoration company can have on those in a time of need.
Drawn indeed. Brian joined the family business in 2001, as a fire project manager. He was then promoted to general manager and then moved into ownership mode. He purchased ServiceMaster of Salem in 2011. This ServiceMaster franchise has been in the family for 36 years.
What has helped Brian grow an already successful business is appreciating the constant change that can occur. He has utilized his networking and friendships with numbers franchise owners who provided him with expertise guidance and mentorship — which he truly appreciated during tougher times in the industry.
He also cites his loyal and dedicated staff, which has been an integral part of the company’s success. Proof of this is the fact that since 2011 the company has doubled its revenues.
Charting company growth
ServiceMaster of Salem was started in 1980 by Craig and Kathy Healy to service Marion and Polk counties in Oregon. The Healy family started with a used carpet cleaning machine and a truck. From there they grew the business and added disaster restoration and construction.
When Brian joined the company in 2001, there was a staff of 15. A sales and marketing strategy was implemented and the business rapidly grew.
In 2004, Linn and Benton counties were purchased to be part of the Healy-owned ServiceMaster franchise. In 2011, Brian and his wife Kelly purchased the company from Kelly’s parents.
Business continued to boom. And in January of 2016, Brian — along with his general manager Noel McClorey — purchased an existing ServiceMaster franchise in Lincoln City, Oregon.
Today, ServiceMaster of Salem is a top 100 business with ServiceMaster. And Brian isn’t done. He plans to continue to grow market share for his company.
Words of advice
As others have helped him, Brian enjoys helping fellow business owners in the restoration industry.
As he says, to be successful, you have to be willing to take chances. When taking on new projects that are unfamiliar to you, do your research, work hard, trust your gut and always be ethical.
If you do those things, Brian believes, you be in a position to really succeed and grow your company.
Jeff Cross is the executive editor of Cleanfax and is an industry trainer, advisor and consultant. He can be reached via email at JCross@Cleanfax.com.