In our latest restoration survey (2020 Restoration Benchmarking Survey Report), you’ll find our yearly survey of more than 650 restoration professionals. Seeing the state of our industry is more important in our current, tumultuous world than ever. Let’s explore key takeaways from our research.

Biggest challenges reported in the restoration survey

After months of stay-at-home orders, sky-rocketing unemployment rates, a crashing economy, and unbelievable suffering, it’s not surprising that about 10% of respondents consider the COVID-19 pandemic one of their biggest challenges. Many reported losing employees during this time—some because of cutbacks due to reduced business, others due to employees choosing to quarantine out of safety concerns.

The majority (57%) of companies reported they were hurt by the pandemic but expect to recover. Several restorers, who offer carpet or other floor cleaning as a secondary service, saw much greater damage to that part of their businesses. One respondent to the restoration survey said, after more than 50 years in business, the pandemic had pushed him to go ahead and retire.

Pricing issues showed up in multiple forms—from carriers who claim to value service but seem to only value costs, to Xactimate pricing restrictions, to underhanded pricing from competitors. From pushing homeowners toward different, preferred companies to long wait times, adjusters, as they often do, presented challenges for many respondents this year. This leads to another often reported industry challenge: cash flow. Similarly, companies reported issues with TPA programs, preferred vendor programs, and insurance companies in general.

Finding and retaining dedicated employees was the most commonly reported challenge, as is typical. But with so many unemployed and looking for work, this is an employer’s job market. Perhaps this problem, at least, will ease for most companies. Other notable industry issues include the rising costs of operating, regulatory changes, finding the best marketing plans, and untrained/ unscrupulous competitors.

Most important advancement reported in the restoration survey

The restoration industry has been making great strides, both as a group and from a technological standpoint. When we asked respondents to name the most helpful recent advancement, the answers were varied. Many pointed to technological advancements that have aided operations. Some of the most reported ones include documentation software, cloud-based systems, offsite monitoring, CRM software, and online marketing, to name only a few.

A few tool advancements received multiple mentions in the restoration survey, with 3D and thermal imaging tools being pointed to most often. Increasingly smaller equipment that still maintains its power, integrations between equipment were also respondent favorites as well as the ability to track drying stats digitally. Not everyone considers technological advancements an improvement, with some considering it “more cumbersome than helpful.”

Outside of technology, many pointed to social advancements, specifically a greater sense of community within the industry through the RIA’s Advocacy and Government Affairs committee. Its work on improving Xactimate pricing models also received recognition from several respondents.

The survey responses were filled with positivity, proof that the industry will carry on no matter what is thrown at it. See a selection from the survey on page 17, and download the entire survey at cleanfax.com/2020-restoration-survey. Here’s to staying safe and profitable in the year ahead!