Today’s Top 5 Restoration Issues

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By Amanda Hosey

While most of our annual Cleanfax Restoration Benchmarking Survey consists of multiple-choice questions, we like to leave a few open for comment so we can hear from our readers in their own words. One of those asks the biggest challenges you face. I always like to share them because I think, while seeing that others in the industry have the same problems as you might not actually solve your problems, it always helps to know you’re not alone. You know the expression: “Misery loves company.”

These are the problems reported most frequently as the biggest challenges of doing business in the industry.

1 | Staffing

You knew it would be number one, but it was number one by miles. The majority (about 80%) of survey takers named it one of their two biggest problems.

“Staffing” is a general term. Some reported the main problem was finding qualified employees; others finding ones that worked hard; others finding workers who would stick around.

2| Competition

There was a higher-than-usual number of reports of trouble with untrained/low-ball competitors joining the market, perhaps due to an influx of people in the biohazard sector during the pandemic. Either way, it’s never a report the industry wants to hear.

There were also the usual pains associated with being a small operation trying to compete with franchise systems, as well as general struggles with winning out against competitors.

3 | Insurance companies

The ever-present issues between insurance and restoration topped many top twos. Challenges with preferred vendor programs seem on the rise, and grievances with adjusters lacking needed knowledge continue to grow.

Several people also reported struggling with changing requirements and rules from insurance companies, in addition to the age-old problems with timely and correct payment.

4 | TPAs

Third-party administrators are still a challenge, but the number of complaints was lower than usual. Perhaps this was due to efforts to mediate disagreements by many in the industry, including those of the RIA’s Advocacy and Government Affairs committee.

5 | The pandemic

While many in the industry have benefited financially during the pandemic, scores of others are struggling. The shutdowns, customer fears of allowing techs in homes and offices, and the damage to the economy have all contributed to difficult times across the industry.

Honorable mentions

There were many challenges reported only a few times, but they are still important to point out. Here are a few of the more common ones: trouble finding new customers/growing the business; rising operating expenses; cash flow trouble; pricing models not being updated to match changing costs; keeping up with marketing; succession planning; and federal regulations.

It’s been a difficult time, no doubt, but hopefully reading these and seeing your company isn’t alone in the challenges it faces at least makes it feel less lonely as you face them. Talk to others in online industry forums, chat at industry events (which are making their way back!), and learn from others how they deal with these problems.

There’s a whole network of your peers ready to share their hard-won advice with you.


Amanda Hosey is the managing editor of Cleanfax. She has worked as an editor and writer for more than six years, including four years with Cleanfax. Reach her at [email protected].

Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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