A Break in the Storm

Posted April 20, 2016

Some of your most important preparations for remediation projects happen after a significant storm event. This is a perfect time to look back at what you learned from this last bout of restoration work and look forward to how you will handle the next storm event more profitably and successfully.

Time to Talk

No one can accurately predict the weather, but by learning from how you responded last time, you can remove some of the uncertainty.  As Jeremy Toubl, owner of Toubl Contracting in Beloit, Wisconsin, points out, you have to ask yourself, “How did we do?”

He advises having an open mind about needed improvements that will make for a better next storm event. This means spending time with all of your stakeholders.

  • Your crew – This is your post-game locker room huddle. Did they feel supported? Was there clear communication? What did you do better or worse than the previous storm? Ask them to pass along customer comments and find out which jobs turned out to be your company’s best efforts, which ones weren’t, and why? This will be a great time to remind your crews of your company’s standards and bring them up to date on OSHA standards as well.

    Assess the various roles in your company; based on the past storm, determine who is good at each job and who may need additional training. Your crew needs to be tightly organized so they can repair roofs within the first month following the weather event to maximize the number of jobs you can handle and, most importantly, satisfy anxious homeowners.

    The key to coming out of the storm season profitably is being able to deal with the different ways dozens of insurance companies operate. Set up the experts in your central office who can best perform the estimating process.
  • Your partner contractors – Evaluate strengths and weaknesses of those businesses you worked with following the storm to tackle the widespread devastation—and your own strengths and weaknesses when it came to interacting with them. This will be your opportunity to trade notes, find ways to collaborate better, and perhaps learn about new technology for project coordination and storm mapping. Solidify your relationship with these resources.
  • Your customers – Even for jobs that went well, there could be weak spots that you may learn about through talking with the homeowners. For example, be sure to ask about their assessment of the crew. Your crew should have taken pictures of the damage upon their arrival. Approach the customer about endorsing your company and then get permission to take pictures of the finished project, contrasting the photos of the repairs with those of the damage.
  • Your supplier – Stop in at your local ABC Supply. Since every storm seems to produce new challenges, you can strategize how to work most effectively in “the heat of the battle” and put together a plan that will minimize the chaos when repairs are in full swing. 
  • Your promotions – Based on all that you have learned from the various debriefings highlighted here, take a look at your printed and on-line material for ways to better represent your company.

Every storm event is a learning opportunity. The contractors who are successful at these storm remediation projects make it a point to be aware of what they are doing every step of the way, document what they are doing, and take advantage of all the input they can enlist when the season’s work is done.