Expanding your cleaning and restoration company to take on commercial jobs can seem like a daunting task, but it’s completely possible for anyone who’s willing to take a risk. Although the road isn’t easy, once you’re able to get repeat commercial clients, the payoff is huge.
How can you break into the competitive commercial market? We’ve gathered insights from experts who have experience doing just that. Here’s what they have to say.
Make A Plan And Stick To It
If you are looking to expand into commercial work, two things come to mind:
- You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
- “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”, Seneca
Although it applies to many sectors that our industry serves, it is important that you are prepared to execute and represent your company to the highest standards. If you come out of the gate strong, you have the opportunity to rapidly grow this sector.
The following is a short list to help you prepare to enter and grow in this sector.
- Business Continuity: Make sure you have an understanding of this discipline and are able to execute.
- Emergency Response Plans: Whether you offer planning services (ERP) or not, you have to be educated of your role in being a critical resource of the execution of these plans. Understand the variety of plans that may be in place and industry specific challenges, plans, etc. Business continuity and emergency response plans often extend beyond the physical building and its contents.
- Insurance Coverage: Understand Business Interruption Coverage and how your services relate to it. Also, be aware and properly educated on some of the unique coverage and policy language that you will find in commercial policies.
- Documentation and Communication: If your operation needs to work on these systems and best practices, make sure they are in optimal working order before venturing into commercial.
- Resources: Organize the additional and specialized resources that may be needed to facilitate a commercial loss. This can be an extensive list based on the types of commercial clients you will be serving. The very minimum is establishing resources for equipment and manpower.
– Lisa Lavender, Chief Operating Officer at Restoration Technical Institute
Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks
Taking on a commercial job can be a daunting task, but the ones who make it in this industry are typically a little on the risky side. There are three pieces of advice I have for you.
- The first thing I recommend is get your certifications in IICRC for Commercial Drying Technician. The class I took was with one of the most respected instructors/consultants in the restoration industry. The school had hands on training for doing losses and a well-recognized equipment vendor who came to the school and set up a generator and desiccant.
- The second piece of advice is to set up vendor accounts before the need hits. I set up my rental account with them the week following my CDT class so I would be ready when that first loss came; it will come! Seek out arrangements with labor providers as well. Having Master Service Agreements in place lets you know what your costs are ahead of time.
- The third piece of advice I have is to partner up with another restoration company from your local area. No one knows it all nor can one company handle all the work in the area when a surge hits. Work out arrangements before you need each other for rates you will charge on equipment and labor. Our company was the support for many fires and water losses behind the best in our area. I knew that if I got something bigger than I had equipment or skill for, my colleague would back me up. He knew that we would always be fair, consistent, and operate with integrity. We have our boundaries, and we never cross them. Not only can you support each other, you can also learn new skills and set up techniques making a commercial job a lot less intimidating.
-Tammy Stokes, General Manager at OK Disaster
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