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June 2014 Foreword

An Industry United

June 1, 2014

“I got your back.”

That may not be a grammatically correct statement, but it’s one we like to hear when we are in trouble or are facing tough challenges.

And that is what entrepreneurs face today: Troubles, tough challenges and much more. Although the marketplace is a little healthier right now compared to the past few years, growing a business is not for the faint at heart.

If you are a business owner, you probably don’t really need caffeine in the morning to get your heart pumping. The very thought of daily challenges is enough.

Recently, troubles and tough challenges have targeted restoration contractors, although carpet cleaners have seen their fair share in the past.

That’s what I observed recently at the Restoration Industry Association's (RIA) 69th annual International Restoration Convention and Industry Expo in Orlando.

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.

The RIFL to the rescue?

There was plenty of discussion about the 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. You can search for that information on the Cleanfax homepage, www.Cleanfax.com.

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.