Everywhere in the country will have a catastrophe eventually. The Northeast will get clobbered with storms that tear apart houses and businesses. California will have earthquakes or wildfires that devastate massive areas. Texas’s deep freeze in February or hurricanes in summer create messes that need to be dealt with.
If you have a restoration business in the area, it can get overwhelming quickly. Suddenly, you have thousands of jobs that need to be done.
How do you manage them? What can you do for your customers? Where can you find help?
If you’re a franchisee, there’s a good chance you’ll hear from the corporate headquarters about how they’re going to send other franchisees into the area to help. If you need to, you can call you fellow franchisees in areas that weren’t affected by the event and ask them to come and help. They might be willing to subcontract under you, since you have all the licensing and the contacts. Otherwise, they might simply take the contracts entirely.
If you’re not a franchisee, you might build your own network. Most disasters, except earthquakes, let you know they’re coming. Some, like wildfires and hurricanes are predictable. They arrive almost every year.
In fact, here’s your notice, there will be wildfires and earthquakes in California and the West Coast. There will be hurricanes in the South and along the East Coast. The northern states will have devastating freezes. The Midwest will have massive flooding and powerful snow storms. The Moountain states will have deep freezes and intense snow.
Now that you know there’s going to be a problem, start building a network.
Send emails, call, or meet people at conferences that are outside your area. For example, if you’re in Florida, make friends in Iowa and the Dakotas. Wisconsin businesses can look for new contacts in Louisiana and Colorado.
Let them know that you’re willing to travel to help them if they need it. Ask them if they’re willing to travel to help you if you need it. Depending on where you’re located, you can even guess what time of year it will be. In the north, you know that it’ll be in the winter. In the southeast, you know that summer and fall will bring storms.
Set up a network to call upon.
You can and should pre-negotiate what they’ll be paid. What percentage of a contract, how much per day, etc. However you want to set up the contracts, make it easy on yourself and have it all figured out. That way, when you call, you confirm what’s going on and get them set up.
It’s also good to plan where they can stay. If your crew can put people up, that’s great. Maybe someone has a vacation house nearby. You can even look at renting trailers to put in driveways. Again, have it all lined up. If you’re renting something, call the rental company ahead of time to confirm and give them money. You don’t want a crew arriving from a thousand miles away to not have a place to stay.
You don’t need to be a franchisee to have a catastrophe network. Put one together now, and you won’t be sitting around wondering what to do next when a catastrophe strikes.
Do you have a catastrophe network?
Learn to delegate well, even to other business owners. It will save you a lot of pain and hassle.
A Note on Greed
For some of us, it will seem better to keep the jobs and do them all ourselves. After all, why give away the money?
Don’t think about the money; think about the customer service. How much will your neighbors and customers appreciate that you were able to put their lives back to normal fast if you bring in someone new to help?
You might lose a little money in the short term, but the long-term goodwill and branding will more than take care of it. Get your community put back together and your customers will thank you.
Disaster will strike everywhere. Turning it into a chance to build your brand and care for your neighbors is good business.