The 5 Foundations To Building A Profitable Restoration Business

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Have you ever stopped and wondered why you can’t seem to accomplish more in a day? You know everyone has the same 24 hours to work with but you swear someone has stolen at least six of yours. This leaves you wondering how your week got so disorganized and nothing you set out to do, got done. How are you supposed to grow your business when you don’t have any time to work on it? Then you head into the weekend either looking to get in a little family time or possibly catch up on work –only to answer your phone, jump in your truck, and head out to a new loss.

And it’s not just the number of projects you are juggling; add in the challenges from customers, demands of the industry, regulations, and any legal issues you may be dealing with. It’s a never-ending cycle, a vicious circle, a relentless stream of chaos that chips away at your energy. And yet, you and your team continue to show up day after day to head out into the field and help another family in need.

This leaves you wondering “Is this how it’s supposed to be?” How long can you sustain running your business in its current state? How do you know where to make changes when you don’t know what to fix?

That’s exactly how I felt! The day-to-day business operations got in the way of working on the business itself and I couldn’t see the forest through the trees. That was until my business partner died and left our company scrambling for solutions. The next 18 months were a series of lessons that came with an extensive amount of pain, work, and financial losses. 

It was during that time that I discovered five foundations that were the difference in our business success or filing for bankruptcy. Every time I invested in one of the foundations, the company improved. Every time I didn’t, the company suffered.

Once I figured this out, all I could think was ”In all the years I’ve been doing this, how come I missed this?” Then I looked back at the other companies I was running, and that’s when I saw the pattern. All at once, everything became very clear –it was magic!

I know what you’re thinking –alright Houdini, show me magic. What are the five foundations and how are they going to help me become profitable?

The 5 Foundations To Building A Profitable Restoration Business

  1. Technology Stacks
  2. Knowledge: The Never-Ending Journey
  3. Estimating For Scope, Pricing For-Profits
  4. Simplicity Through Consistency Driving Consistency
  5. Making The House Feel Like Home

We will cover the first two in this article, the Technology Stacks and Knowledge: The Never Ending Journey, and in the next article in the March/April issue, we will unpack the remaining three in the list.

Technology Stacks (Tech Stack)

The first foundation is having technology stacks that you can build from. If you have no idea what a tech stack is, don’t worry neither did I, but you need to know this because – it’s wicked important. 

A technology stack is simply the combination of various programs/apps that you adopt and integrate with each other to make your company easier to run. 

The key word is “EASIER”. I have made my share of mistakes buying technology for the sake of buying technology. This goes not only for the office but the field too. Does anyone else have 12 useless tablets displayed as trophies in their office? 

The main concept of building a tech stack is to trade dollars (the price you pay) for the technology to save time, drive consistency, and increase efficiency to improve your profit (the benefit you receive). You should look at your tech stack as an investment, not an expense. 

Think of your tech stack as individual segments, where you build them for performance. There are four segments to focus on. They are:

  1. Accounting
  2. Job Management
  3. Field Documentation
  4. Estimating

Let’s look at the accounting segment and think about what your tech stack might look like. 

You decide Quickbooks is your central hub for all accounting purposes, including tracking your financial performance. Your company decides that collecting deductibles and private payments in the field would reduce lag time for receivables and increase cash flow. You will need to integrate a payment processing app that works in the field and communicates with Quickbooks in the office. An app such as Quickbooks Mobile, Square, or even Freedom Merchants would be a great addition to your tech stack.

Or let’s say that you have a small office team and you are still filling the roles of many. In addition, your tech stack may include a service like FundThrough. A service that integrates with your Quickbooks to provide flexible funding so you can get paid faster from your customers, decrease payment waiting time, and increase your cash flow. 

Just remember when tech stacking: technology, software, and apps that do not integrate with your core programs –hinder your performance, slow down your team, cost you a TON of money, and damage the foundation your business is built on.

If you need help figuring out which technology is helping or hindering your business, go to www.profitablerestorer.com and download the profitability workbook. Check out the Technology Stack section where we help you assess your software selections and uncover areas that need improvement.

Knowledge: The Never-Ending Journey

Do you remember your last day of school? When that clock hit 3, you were out of there. Tossing your backpack onto the passenger seat of your rusty truck and squealing your tires all the way out of the parking lot. You were done with school and you’ve never looked back.  

Until now. Nowadays it seems like school is never over. You’re always studying for another certification or taking classes to learn a new technique that someone somewhere is requiring, in order for you to get paid. Technical knowledge in this industry is a never-ending journey. 

Right there, that’s the secret. Our second foundation is incorporating a “knowledge is a never-ending journey” mentality. You might be rolling your eyes and thinking “Righhhht…really deep Kris!” Stick with me on this one, because the sooner you accept this fact, the faster you can take advantage of it. 

How do you level up your company’s skill set? You find people who are thirsty for technical knowledge.

These days I love helping others learn and instructing the RIA courses. And the people who come to the RIA pillar courses are really eager, thirsty, and humble restorers who are continuing their knowledge journey. Almost everyone who attends is a restorer who I would love to hire, work with, or work for.

What do top performers look like? They are the people who eagerly invest their time into your company to learn something new. In turn, you invest in them by teaching them more. From day one, you show them how they can build a solid foundation and then piece by piece, they can add on more every year. Over time, they become confident, take the lead, and are more apt to teach others. They realize quickly that your company supports their people and invests in THEIR future. But at the same time, if you throw a person who is thirsty for knowledge into a disorganized business that doesn’t support continuing education, they will shake their head and leave.

The amazing thing is that top performers come from all walks of life. Ranging from high school dropouts to college grads with advanced degrees. In this business, it’s all about finding people who have the will and drive to do more.

Realize that when you have someone on your team who is done with learning, it’s going to be harder for them to fit in. Starting today, aim to only hire and work with people who are on the continuous learning journey. It’s a game-changer, I promise.

Solid Foundations

It can be incredibly frustrating to have to go back and correct those shotgun approaches you’ve made. But what’s worse – forcing yourself to pause to finally address the issues that are stealing your profits or shutting the doors permanently because there are none?

The best companies in this industry focus on all 5 foundations in order to drive repeatable profits and create a sustainable business. In the next article “Part 3: The 5 Foundations To Building A Profitable Restoration Business”, I will unpack the remaining three foundations. 

If you want to see how you’re shaping up go to www.profitablerestorer.com and download the profitability workbook and listen to the podcast for discussions on these topics. 

And remember! Every dollar counts!

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Kris Rzesnoski

Kris Rzesnoski, CR, WLS, is the vice president of business development at Encircle. Kris guides the technical development of Encircle’s solutions to ensure they exceed industry expectations. With over 15 of years of experience in the restoration industry, Kris is committed to driving Encircle’s delivery of intuitive, easy-to-use solutions that allow contractors to improve productivity and profitability. Kris sits on RIA’s Restoration Council, Canadian Education Committee and is the chairman of the Estimating Committee.

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