Restoring Homes, Empowering Women: My Journey in the Restoration Industry

AdvantaClean crew

As March is Women’s History Month, Cleanfax presents this first-person narrative from Sherri Koppelkam, co-owner of AdvantaClean in Naples, Florida, regarding her experiences as a female business owner within the cleaning and restoration industry.

Sherri KoppelkamI joined the home restoration service industry in 2018, becoming the local franchise owner of AdvantaClean in Naples, Florida, which is a part of the Home Franchise Concepts family of home service brands. AdvantaClean offers a full suite of services for residential, commercial, institutional, and governmental properties that make these buildings clean, safe, healthy, and efficient for the occupants. We can renovate, repair, and even rebuild homes and buildings after tragedies—including water or fire damage and clean up, mold removal and remediation, moisture control, and more. Having a managerial background, I wanted to utilize my skills for something new that could provide me the opportunity to give back to my community. I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, and AdvantaClean was the perfect avenue for me to achieve that.

Just a few years after opening my business, Hurricane Ian hit Florida’s southwest coast. It was an absolutely devastating event, with thousands of people displaced from their homes. A powerful category four storm, Ian caused $112.9 billion in damage, ranking it as one of Florida’s most costly hurricanes in the state’s history, according to the National Hurricane Center. Seeing my home community struggle after such a tragedy was unbearable, but I was grateful to be able to give back through my business’ restoration efforts.

The demand for mold, water, and moisture remediation services skyrocketed, far surpassing the available resources we had on our team alone. The urgency of the situation was palpable, and we were struggling to keep up with the amount of phone calls coming in requesting our help, but we knew we wanted to help as many people as possible.

Shortly after Ian hit, I received a call from a fellow female business owner in the Home Franchise Concepts family—Nicole Winter, co-owner of Kitchen Tune-Up in Naples. Nicole and her team decided to halt their kitchen renovation services, offering to help in the restoration efforts post-Ian. I was blown away by their generosity. It was a gesture of solidarity that spoke volumes about the strength of community and the power of collaboration in times of crisis.

Together, our combined crew worked tirelessly, day and night, 24/7, hoping to save as many homes as we could before the moisture damage from the storm set in. The urgency of the situation demanded nothing less, and we were determined to meet the overwhelming demand head-on. Each home we restored, each family we assisted, became a testament to why I entered the restoration industry— to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Through our collective efforts, we sought to instill a sense of hope and optimism in those who had lost everything.

This event truly solidified my reasoning for becoming a part of the restoration community. I felt so empowered working alongside another female business owner toward a common goal of restoring our community, and it deeply fueled my passion for this industry more than I ever thought possible.

I share my story in hopes that more women will continue to leave a mark on traditionally male-dominated industries. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 53% increase in female representation in home remodeling and construction among the 13 million women-owned businesses in the United States. Females are challenging the status quo and redefining entrepreneurship, and the restoration industry is no exception.

The camaraderie displayed during our time restoring Hurricane Ian’s aftermath underscored the importance of collaboration and support among women in business. It’s about lifting each other up, breaking down barriers, and creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all. Together, we can inspire and pave the way for next generation of female leaders.

As I reflect on my journey in the restoration industry, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunities and experiences that have shaped me into the leader I am today. Each challenge has only strengthened my resolve to make a positive impact in my community and beyond. And while I’m certain there will be more challenges ahead, I am confident that with determination, perseverance, and the support of my fellow female entrepreneurs, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

I hope women everywhere feel encouraged to embrace their passions, even if they need to step outside their comfort zones to do so. The restoration industry is ripe with opportunities for women to make a difference, and I am proud to be a part of this movement toward greater diversity and inclusion.


Sherri Koppelkam

Sherri Koppelkam joined the home restoration service industry in 2018, becoming the local franchise co-owner of AdvantaClean in Naples, Florida, which is a part of the Home Franchise Concepts family of home service brands.

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