It’s no secret that the property damage restoration industry is highly competitive. Which is usually a good thing for the consumer as competition stabilizes prices and forces vendors to bring more value for their buck in order to win your business. We have great sportsmanship when it comes to this because satisfying our customers is a purposeful endeavor for us. But where do you cross the line between healthy competition and down right disrespect? And no so much for one damage restoration company to another, but for the victims of the disaster that are further confused and distraught because of the ambitions of the vendor.
Very recently there was a big job that affected many residents. To no surprise there were almost 5 other restoration companies that showed up to the site. However, only one was called by the property manager as they were previously verified and approved by the association. This wouldn’t be a problem except many challenges ensued for the residents and for the property damage restoration itself.
4 examples of how vendors can turn your disaster into a catastrophe:
- Each unverified company brings their team of 5-10 technicians. This causes major confusion for the front desk and the residents. In this instance, there was only one working elevator in the whole building. The overflow of workers congested the hallways and elevators. The property damage restoration process and the residents daily activities are disrupted in all ways. The truth is, that many of these companies were not called by a unit owner. Most make their way through security and “fish for work” once they are in the affected areas. They lure unit owners into hiring them on the spot with scare tactics. Not a big deal right? Wait for it…
- Now the unverified restoration company makes it past the front desk and has made it to one of the affected units- Unit A. They convince Unit Owner A to work in their unit. Unit Owner A may be unsure as to the delegation of responsibility. They may be asking “What is the association responsible for? What about where the disaster originated? Was there negligence? Are they responsible for my damages?” Unit Owner A may agree to the terms thinking that the scope of work will be reimbursed by the association or that they can sue Unit Owner B for their damages. If Unit Owner A is misinformed and allows work to be done in their home in areas they are responsible for, like their floors and cabinets, they will be responsible for the bill. Maybe they have insurance, but many times they don’t. I know what you’re thinking. Who doesn’t have insurance? Trust us, it happens ALL the time. Why is this such a big deal? Yes, Unit Owner A would have to foot the bill anyways, even if they went with the verified company because damages must be mitigated. But sometimes, these companies may say anything a unit owner wants to hear in order to close the sale. The unit owner allowed them to do the job under false pretenses and end up feeling deceived and indignant. A reputable company will walk your residents through the property damage restoration process and make sure the unit owner is properly informed BEFORE the job begins. It’s about trust. Ask yourselves “Can I trust this company I’m letting into my building?” That’s a difficult question to answer if no prior relationship exists.
- Now imagine, the disaster has left your building in total disarray. As you’re working with your verified company to start the work and get all the paper work out of the way, two more unverified vendors are breathing down your neck, asking for documentation for the unit’s they’ve fished out. It’s easier to manage one big job than 1 big job and several little jobs at the same time. There’s just too much going on.
- Being the responsible property manager that you are, your verified vendors have had their insurance authenticated. These other companies have not. What happens if they cause further damage while doing a job or cause an accident? Are they even insured to work in high-rise buildings? Many companies are only insured to work in building of 3 floors or less. And this information will not show up on their certificate of insurance so the only way to know is if their insurance company was called. It is doubtful that your residents will take this very important step before allowing the unverified vendor to do the job. Especially in a state of disaster.
What can you do to prevent this? Have a list of your verified vendors and their contact information easily accessible for all your staff. Delegate a chain of command in case you are out of the office. You don’t want big decisions to be made by staff members who are not qualified to asses the situation properly. Be in communication with your residents and inform them why it is important to stick to your approved vendor list. As always, we find that communication is key to overcome a disaster.
As a respectable property damage restoration company, you will never see The Water Restoration Group engage in this behavior. We will never show up to a property unless we are invited. We take pride in being gentlemen… and ladies. We rely on our exceptional workmanship, customer service and reputation to get business. And although we respect healthy competition, we also have respect for ourselves and our clients.