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Restoration / Disaster Restoration

The 2010 Disaster Restoration Industry Leaders Review

October 13, 2010
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Lamunyon Cleaning & Restoration

Lamunyon Cleaning & Restoration is a successful company that has put a lot of miles behind it — especially via country roads as this company covers a lot of territory through central and north-central Kansas.

With President Mike Lamunyon at the helm, Lamunyon Cleaning & Restoration is headquartered in Hutchinson, KS, with two additional locations in Salina and Clay Center.

The company''s primary service area comprises about 350,000 in population, spread over hundreds of miles of country roads.

Lamunyon''s is a typical diversification story, starting with contract cleaning services and adding restoration to increase income. But the concept of restoration was difficult for Mike to grasp — at first.

Floods? What floods?

Mike entered the restoration business after a good friend of his told him about doing "flood" work, but the concept was difficult for him to grasp as he was only familiar with "50 year" floods and "100 year" floods.

He had no idea that there were so many water intrusions from such events as washing machine hoses, burst hot water heaters, broken water pipes and more.

His company first trained with what he calls "the father of on-location water dry-outs: Lloyd Weaver in Rapid City, SD" and took the plunge into fire and water damage restoration.

At the time, Lamunyon''s was operating a janitorial service, getting burned out working nights and feeling the pain of getting out of bed.

The profit margins of his janitorial service had slipped for several years, and he believed that, after researching the restoration business and particularly water damage restoration, that he could make more money in less time, with less people.

Road to growth

Lamunyon Cleaning & Restoration has tripled its revenue since 2004, and is now averaging 20 percent annual growth during the past four years.

The water damage portion of the business has continued to expand rapidly, and now comprises about 65 percent of overall sales.

How did he grow his restoration business? Mike attributes it to a tried-and-true marketing method, what he calls the "Toe and Heel Express".

He believes the best way to do business is to get out and knock on the doors where business is happening: Insurance agents and adjusters, plumbers, janitorial and carpet cleaning companies. His company calls on referral sources regularly and asks for their water damage referrals.

To tap into additional referral sources, Lamunyon Cleaning & Restoration joined More Floods Inc. in 2006, which helped the company to significantly increase its water damage business. Mike credits additional business help to Violand & Associates and by attending the Strategies for Success seminar.

Future plans

Mike continues to look at expansion.

His expansion plans for the business include continuing to write a business plan with reasonable growth and profits every year, working the business plan and growing the most profitable part of the business — water damage in the commercial arena by means of Emergency Response Plans.

Part of the growth plan is to continue to invest in education.

Lamunyon Cleaning & Restoration spends about three percent of its annual revenue on education. Mike feels that too many business owners are "Lone Ranger" types that feel they can figure how to run a business on their own, or their belief in education only goes to the extent of educating themselves.

Mike Lamunyon''s philosophy is to educate himself, his management team and his front-line people.

Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling

It''s been said many times that the disaster restoration industry is recession proof, and belief in this statement has helped the Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling of Greenville/Spartanburg, SC, find some smart owners.

Owners Gordon McPhee and Dan Driscoll both have quite varied backgrounds and both have much in common.

The Greenville/Spartanburg Paul Davis location was started in 1989 and Gordon, with a background in banking and finance, was investigating industries that were stable and would stand the "test of time". He found and purchased this Paul Davis franchise in 1995.

Dan, with a background in the construction industry, researched franchise opportunities and soon found that the restoration industry appealed to him because of its reputation of being "recession proof". Like Gordon, he also saw this as an opportunity to operate a small business within a large industry — insurance. He joined Gordon in 2005.

The Greenville/Spartanburg location boasts two warehouses totaling 11,000 square feet, 15 vehicles, 33 employees, a workshop, equipment room and full contents restoration and storage facilities on site.

Services include mitigation, restoration, remodeling, contents inventory and restoration for both residential and commercial facilities.

The office is centrally located within its South Carolina service territory, which includes a population of approximately 860,000 in the counties of Greenville, Spartanburg, Laurens, Cherokee and Union.

Accurate predictions

Would this franchise location prove profitable during a recession and stand the "test of time"?

That appears to be the case, with sales up 40 percent in 2008 and 58 percent in 2009. Although numbers are obviously not final for this year, growth looks strong.

The company operating margin has increased 300 percent since 2007.

Branding the company

Part of the Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling of Greenville/Spartanburg growth strategy has been company exposure through its service area.

From extensive graphics on vehicles, combined with having employees wear logo apparel, placing yard signs at job sites and ensuring that the company logo is seen everywhere has been a large part of the branding process.

This has helped people, both within the insurance industry and the general population, recognize the company name and realize that this is not a small operation.

In addition, developing rapport with one-on-one visits with agents, adjusters, property managers and other industry professionals has laid the groundwork for establishing open communication and trust-based business relationships.

The company has also been reaching out to insurance professionals in its service area by offering regular continuing education classes on topics such as water, fire and contents damage restoration, flood insurance and ethics for the insurance professional. This helps enhance the company image as the cutting-edge expert in the field and further enhances name recognition.

Advertising on television and the Internet, including a new website with extensive search engine optimization efforts and active participation in online social media has increased sales.

Major success factors

A commitment to excellent customer service is recognized as vital to this company''s success, beginning with the person who answers the telephone and extending across the organization.

Both Dan and Gordon agree: A focus upon excellent customer service and communication must permeate all interactions — not only with the direct customers who have property damage but also with insurance industry professionals, subcontractors, suppliers, delivery personnel… everyone.

Team members are a huge asset. Recruitment of top notch personnel and continuous training is company policy. Employees regularly attend the Paul Davis Restoration national training center in Jacksonville, FL for industry training and certification.

Community involvement is important to Dan, Gordon and the entire Paul Davis team. They have been involved with several community service projects. Most recently, as part of the Paul Davis Restore America effort, they completed a rapid-fire extreme home makeover for a missionary family who adopted two boys from earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

The next community service effort includes plans to help local veterans through the local Wounded Warrior Regiment.

Royal Plus Inc.

The success story of Royal Plus Inc. can find its roots in a 16-year-old kid and his start-up carpet cleaning company making a simple business mistake.

It seems, the story goes, that the young entrepreneur just wanted to help one of his clients put in a closet door in addition to cleaning the carpet, but a local contractor heard about it and turned him in for not having the proper business license…

And that caused the young man to obtain his Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) license and he''s been helping people in binds ever since.

Matt Odachowski is now president of Royal Plus Inc, also a Disaster Kleenup International (DKI) member company.

Rapid expansion

Over the years, Royal Plus has expanded into many other geographical areas and has added additional services that the company now offers to property owners.

Matt admits that, while experiencing tremendous growth and keeping the goal to be as self-supporting as possible, his company has had its share of trials and tribulations during the years.

But Royal Plus has always kept the motto of "Being Positive is Contagious" and Matt demands that everyone in his company treats others as they would be treated.

The company''s best marketing method has always been great job performance. Matt let''s his customers spread the word.

Matt has seen his company expand successfully and has, in addition to the company''s 120,000 square foot headquarters in Snow Hill, MD, additional offices in Ocean City, MD, Baltimore, MD, Millsboro, DE, Philadelphia, PA, Onancock, VA, Jacksonville, FL, Kissimmee, FL, DeLand, FL, and Key West, FL. Royal Plus has been in business since 1983.

The Royal Plus individual locations service approximately a 75 mile radius, while its catastrophe (CAT) team can service the continental United States and Canada.

Company emphasis

Although already a success story, Royal Plus has no plans to slow down.

The company has consistently expanded, with an emphasis on its CAT team.

When Matt joined DKI more than 10 years ago, he had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the best restoration companies in the United States.

This opened his eyes to potential benefits of increasing its CAT coverage.

Since then, Royal Plus has continued to purchase more tractors, trailers, desiccants, command centers, portable equipment and truckmounts… virtually anything it needs to take care of those in need.

When Royal Plus rolls into a CAT site, it is a self-sufficient company that works around the clock to get the job done.

Other locations will open in the future.

For Matt Odachowski and the Royal Plus team, it has been a fantastic evolution from that closet door to the Country Music Hall of Fame, a recent Royal Plus restoration project.

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