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Restoration contractors are just like everyone else: They look to join forces and get some assistance when tough challenges arise.
Sitting alone in an office and facing a formidable foe is one thing. Networking and discussing strategy and then creating a unified front is quite another. It empowers you and gives you hope that things will get better.
That’s what I observed recently at the Restoration Industry Association's (RIA) 69th annual International Restoration Convention and Industry Expo in Orlando last week.
Some 850 individuals, either trade show attendees, full registrants or exhibitors, were on hand to rub shoulders, shake hands and network. An intelligent group with solving challenges the first thing on their minds.
A common theme among attendees is that business is good, and for some, quite brisk. One issue most have? Too much work. Many would say that’s not a problem, but quite the opposite.
But that’s not all they were discussing.
Uniting an industry
There was plenty of discussion about the RIA’s Restoration Industry Legal Fund (RILF), both in quiet conversation and then publicly during the business meeting Friday morning, April 11.
Incoming RIA President Scott Stamper was quite passionate about the issue of restoration contractors being sued for using technology that requires high heat for drying structures. It’s a patent issue that is slowly plodding along, and if you do restoration work, you know the details.
As Stamper said, small companies under attack are finding it nearly — if not totally — impossible to mount a legal defense because of the tremendous costs of litigation. “Small companies can’t afford to fight,” he told convention attendees, “and they give up. Big ones [companies] pay hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
What’s the solution? Uniting the industry, and part of the process includes the RILF, which is continuously accepting donations to fund the legal defense for restoration contractors.
“When they sue, it’s not about winning. It’s about fear,” Stamper said. “One member company can’t handle it alone.”
At this time, an RIA patent lawsuit in response is at play, so restoration contractors can breathe easy for a little while until that is settled.
It was interesting that a press release was sent to Cleanfax during the RIA convention, exactly about this legal issue and a decision handed down by a U.S. District Judge. Click here to learn more.
This could be the start of better things for the restoration industry.
If you are a restoration contractor, and you want to help with this important legal issue, contact the RIA at RILF@RestorationIndustry.org or call (800) 272-7012.