The Industry’s Up-and-Coming Leaders: Tim Swackhammer, Mold Medics
Tim Swackhammer is the CEO of Mold Medics, a mold remediation company that provides high-quality services with a customer-focused approach. We sat down with Swackhammer in order to see how this youthful powerhouse has already made a major impact on the industry in hopes that others at all levels can learn a thing or two from his modern approaches to business and leadership. In this exclusive interview, the up-and-coming CEO shared insights into his background, his leadership style, and his principles for success. To see how this experienced trendsetter first set out and actualized the success he has now, read on and learn what makes Tim Swackhammer our first up-and-coming feature of 2023.
Humble and family-focused beginnings
Swackhammer’s experience in franchising began when he was a child working in his father’s line of dollar stores. The family later expanded to Verizon stores and currently has 20 locations.
Swackhammer also diversified into a home service franchise, which led to the founding of Mold Medics. “We noticed a gap in mold remediation services where customers couldn’t find good service providers for ongoing quality problems. Restoration companies were only interested in insurance-based work, while some contractors lacked customer service. We founded Mold Medics with a customer-focused approach,” he explains.
One of Tim Swackhammer’s guiding principles is having a growth mindset. He feels it’s his responsibility to continue his father’s legacy, take advantage of the opportunities he’s been given, and keep pushing forward. The growth mindset is crucial for him, and it helps him stay focused on his goals. His father also taught him yet another one of his guiding principles as a leader, “One of the most impactful lessons my father taught me is the importance of trust. I used to be less trusting, but he showed me that if you trust people and give them the right guidance and training, they can surprise you with what they can accomplish. In the business world, it’s essential to give trust, but also be quick to take it back if it’s not deserved.”
A ‘cultured’ industry
Tim Swackhammer attributes the growth of the mold remediation industry to the increasing awareness of the impact of the environment on health. He also noted, “The pandemic has made indoor air quality more critical, as we spend more time inside, working, and studying from home.” The mold remediation expert believes that there is still a gap in the market for high-quality service providers.
A typical workday for Swackhammer and his team at Mold Medics involves their technicians, who are their service professionals, correcting problems in customers’ homes. They’re cross-trained in mold remediation, Mold Medics’ core focus, and other services like Radon mitigation and air duct cleaning. Their environmental professionals conduct in-home assessments, informing customers of problems and posing solutions. They’re also responsible for writing up the scope of work, which is dispatched to the technical team. Lastly, their customer success manager handles inbound leads and ensures that all communication runs smoothly.
These well-defined and repeatable structures and processes have led to Swackhammer’s continual growth and success. As he states, “If you’re considering franchising, the biggest tip is systems and processes, period. That is what you can franchise; that is what you can scale. If you don’t have systems and you don’t have processes, it’s relying on singular start team members doing an excellent job on X, Y, and Z instead of a constant pattern of success. That’s not something really scalable. The moment you start really systematizing and putting together extraordinary processes and procedures, that’s when you’re ready to scale it up.”
Leading a growing team
Swackhammer’s leadership style is one of the things that makes him someone to pay close attention to as a peer or competitor in the market. As he explains, “The two words that describe my leadership style are direct and transparent. I try to communicate directly with my team, whether it’s good news or bad news. When things are going well, I make sure to give plenty of accolades and recognition. But when things are not going well, I emphasize accountability. Whenever there’s a problem or a customer service issue, it’s easy for everyone to point fingers and blame each other. Instead, we focus on resolving the issue at hand and preventing it from happening again in the future. Dishonesty is the only immediate fireable offense, as I need to trust that everyone is transparent and working towards the same goals.”
To retain a strong team, Swackhammer and his staff look for top performers who want to do well and work well with others. Negative people who only look out for themselves can quickly bring down the team’s morale. During their hiring process, they try to vet for these values as much as possible, but they also take quick action to remove someone who doesn’t fit their values. They use unique job descriptions that are direct and informal and encourage people to opt out if they feel they are not a good fit.
From a marketing perspective, Swackhammer’s strategies are solid and effective. As he shares, “We try to be omnipresent while controlling costs. Customer acquisition costs are a constant focal point for us. We use Google ads, local service ads, and paid resources like HomeAdvisor. But content creation has been a big focus for us. We create answers to commonly asked questions and problems, put that information out there, and direct people back to us. We work heavily in-house and with an external SEO company to optimize our website. At the end of the day, for pretty much any restoration service, people need to know where to find you when they have a problem. We work with insurance agents, realtors, and home inspectors because they’re involved with clients whenever they’re dissecting a lot of mold issues. It’s just about being everywhere.”
Compassion and expansion
As the demand for environmental solutions grows, Tim Swackhammer sees opportunities for his business to continue to expand. With a customer-focused approach and a team of highly trained technicians, Mold Medics is well-positioned to serve the needs of homeowners and businesses across the country.
Compassion rests at the forefront of this growth as remediation and restoration jobs often require that special human touch. When asked about dealing with individuals that demand that they have mold when they don’t, as well as his thoughts on companies that fabricate mold issues to get more jobs, Swackhammer stated, “Unfortunately, we see a lot of that. We have some competitors who heavily utilize different types of testing. I’m not sure if I would go as far as to say they fabricate mold issues, but they may use different types of testing and misinterpret the results. For instance, they might use ATP testing as a mold test, which it isn’t. Although ATP testing can be helpful in certain circumstances, it’s essential to ensure that clients understand what the test is, what it’s testing for, and when and why it should be used. At our company, we pride ourselves on providing informed opinions to our clients. Some of our best reviews on Google are from clients we didn’t even do work for. They contacted us because they were concerned about mold and health issues, and we were able to give them a thorough visual or some additional testing, which helped us give them a more informed opinion. Sometimes, we find that there’s no issue at all, rather than just invoicing them, doing some work, and calling it a day. It’s alarming to me that some contractors might take that approach. It highlights the importance of clients vetting the contractors they use.”
Swackhammer also ensures that his entire team knows how to properly handle disaster restoration projects with compassion to expand the brand through detail and personability. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian and other natural disasters, Swackhammer believes that restoration companies can help communities by separating their pro bono work from profit-making work. “While we haven’t directly encountered that level of devastation, we believe in separating our pro bono work from our profit-making work. We’re willing to give away our knowledge, as we believe that restoration professionals have a wealth of knowledge that’s not always shared. By sharing this knowledge, we can help people mitigate problems immediately, and potentially prevent them from getting worse while they wait for companies and insurance to come in. There’s a lot we can do just by sharing information and helping people resolve their issues,” he explains.
Now, Swackhammer continues to grow his own personal and professional brands. His success as a business leader in mold remediation and restoration is driven by his commitment to customer service, transparency, and trust. His leadership values have helped him retain a strong team and build a solid local community. Mold Medics’ unique customer-focused approach and highly trained technicians have positioned the company for continued success as the demand for environmental solutions grows. As Swackhammer shared about his drive and passion, “It all goes back to my father’s story. He grew up with a single mother, in government-assisted housing, and was able to build a better life for our family through franchising and entrepreneurship. I feel it’s my responsibility to continue his legacy, take advantage of the opportunities I’ve been given, and keep pushing forward.”
To see what’s next for Mold Medics, check out MoldMedics.com today and follow Tim Swackhammer on LinkedIn at www.Cleanfax.com/LinkedInTim
Read the FULL interview at www.cleanfax.com/swackhammer to learn more about his pricing strategies, products, processes, and success through franchise opportunities.