Documentation Tools for your New Water Damage Restoration Business
WHAT TRAINING DO I NEED?
Owners need only a couple of classes initially to get industry grounded and ready to open shop. The first is the Water Restoration Technician (WRT) course. There are many classes offered by various groups across the country so you should have no problem finding one nearby. I would encourage you to choose a source that provides an IICRC WRT Certification as part of the training. The WRT course familiarizes the new owner with the science of drying, common terms and best practices for mitigation. This is important since you are likely to do some of the work yourself early on in your startup and you need the familiarization necessary to properly supervise your crew. This course will provide you with both.
The second course needed is the three day Xactimate training. Xactimate is an amazing program and the centerpiece for your billing process. There are a number of really good sources of help that provide estimating services and template for construction take-offs that helps you record the scope of damage and repair as enables the services to provide you with a thorough and well written mitigation and rebuild estimate. Don’t be afraid of this – there is a lot of good and affordable help available to you to address estimating needs.
That is all the industry training needed to get underway with confidence. I recommend taking both classes before you begin your marketing and initial launch.
3 steps to start your Water Damage Restoration business
While water damage can be devastating to a home’s structure, there may also be a number of hidden, equally devastating effects such as mold, poor air quality, odors and insect and rodent issues. As a water damage restoration technician, you’ll need to be able to quickly identify and rectify the cause of the water damage and the devastating effects. Additionally, your business may service homes damaged by fire and smoke and take care of general contracting issues.Identify a need within your community. If another business within your area provides water damage services, compete by offering additional services not covered by the competition. Other services you might provide include mold remediation, flood work, fire damage restoration, water emergency services, cleaning, smoke and odor elimination, dehumidification, sewage cleanups, debris removal, repairs, water extraction, sanitization, crawl space drying, carpet cleaning and structural drying. Additionally, offer 24-hour service.
Obtain certifications for each specialty that you and your contractors will provide. Dri-Eaz offers a number of restorative drying certifications and is approved by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certificate (IICRC), a non-profit certification body. Other certifications to consider are the Water Damage Restoration Technician, the Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration Technician, the Odor Control Technician and the Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning Technician.
Contact your county clerk to obtain a business license and a construction permit, if necessary. Obtain liability insurance and bonding coverage.
Purchase fast dryers, commercial carpet cleaners, dehumidifiers, deodorizing fogger, air scrubbers, water extraction tools for walls and floors and moisture detectors. Dryers range from about $400 to $35,000 for trailer mounted systems. Some dryers come equipped with dehumidification, spot cooling and heating. Purchase safety goggles, gloves, steel toed boots and uniforms.
Purchase a commercial vehicle. On it, paint your company’s name, logo and telephone number, as well as the fact that you are insured and certified.
Build contacts with insurance companies and brokers to help ease the claims process for your customers.
Join a water damage network such as Restorer’s, Inc. to garner more business referrals.