What I Wish I Would Have Known Before Getting into the Restoration Industry (with VIDEO!)


As a business consultant who has worked with 100’s of start-up to medium sized restoration companies there is a common theme I run into with most business owners……… What I Wish I Would Have Known Before Getting into The Restoration Industry. When I ask my clients why they decided to get into the industry, the answers are pretty similar across the board. 1. It’s a recession proof industry 2. It can be financially rewarding 3. The barriers to entry are low. While I wholeheartedly agree with these answers, I also know that if you can’t get your phone to ring none of these answers do you any good at the end of the day.

Many restoration owners I talk with feel like they did a thorough job of due diligence before opening up their doors. However, I dare say that the majority of you wish you had done more. We all know that one can never be totally prepared but there are some common themes I hear from my clients I think will resonate with anybody who is reading this article. If you’re new to the industry or looking to start a restoration company hopefully you can find some valuable takeaways that can help you be better prepared.

  1. I had no idea how much technology is used in this industry. The days of pen and paper have been replaced by moisture mapping software, sketching tools, quoting/pricing software, CRM’s, data analytics etc. Whether we like it or not, the trades industry is quickly evolving like the rest of the world and technology is shaping the future for everything that you do. If you aren’t “techy” you can still make it work but you will find that it’s getting harder and harder to use “old school techniques.” Many of my clients ask me what the single most important software they should utilize, and the sad truth is there isn’t a one stop shop. Unfortunately, this makes it even harder on business owners because they must learn multiple platforms in order to do their job.
  2. I had no idea how much money I needed to set aside in order to survive. Many new pre/post start-up owners come to us asking for help to get their business up and running. One of the first questions we ask them is how much money they have set aside. I wish I could say most of the owners have at least 1 years’ salary set aside but unfortunately; we all too often get the answer of “Oh, I have a couple months of savings I can use.” A few months aren’t going to get you by. Unless you come into this industry with prior experience and a rolodex of contacts who you know will use your services, you need to know it’s going to be a slow, expensive process when it comes to getting jobs.
  3. I had no idea how competitive this industry is! Yes, believe it or not this industry is extremely cutthroat and super competitive. We are hearing about new restoration companies that open their doors every single day. If you don’t know what your “Unique Competitive Advantage” is, you better find out quickly because somebody will come in right behind you and offer something better.
  4. I wish I had tracked my numbers better when I first started. Whether you are a big company or small company, this is a common theme among most owners. I tell all my clients “he who knows his numbers wins.” Track your numbers. If you aren’t a numbers guy, try and find somebody who can help you so you know how to make future business decisions.
  5. Finally, many owners had no idea how much the industry ebbs and flows. When the phone rings, you get all your jobs at once. When it’s slow, you are wondering if you are going to go out of business. Start-up companies have to be ready for really big highs and unfortunately, really big lows. Make sure to set aside money when things are good because it might be a week or two before you get your next job!

Even with all the hardships we have as new start-up companies, the beautiful thing is many of you make it and are highly successful. Restoration is still an excellent industry and can provide a healthy lifestyle. If you are in for the long haul and willing to put in the hard work, the rewards await you.

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Nathan Cisney

Nathan Cisney is nearing two decades of experience in the restoration industry. During his tenure, he’s helped build and scale multi-million restoration companies, and has been actively involved in training and educating contractors through media and supplier organizations. In addition to holding IICRC certifications, Nathan is a State Certified Instructor for the Division of Insurance, and has led or taught CE courses to more than 1,000 insurance agents. In his free time, Nathan is an avid cyclist!

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