restoration management software | iRestore Restoration Software

Things I Learned From Running A Restoration Company

company culture employee managementBy Lisa Lavender M.T.R., M.F.S.R., M.W.R.

I absolutely do not know “everything” and am grateful to learn new things every day. As I consider myself an operations person, my work is never done. I have learned and continue to learn from mistakes, others, and anywhere else I can find knowledge. As I continue to expand and grow, I keep saying: “It is just like running a restoration job!” I do not know if those that I work with are finding it obnoxious. However, I keep finding myself amused.

You may have heard of the best-selling book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. You will find his first nine of sixteen thoughts listed below and see that they are quite profound:

“1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush…….”

At a glance, you can see the value of these lessons shared by the author.

I am still learning in my role operating a restoration company. The things that I have learned in restoration thus far have been put to good use in other ways — in restoration software, restoration training, and six years as a co-owner and operator of a professional arena football team. I also have had the opportunity to share what I learned with friends in other unrelated industries.

As I continue my career journey, I am grateful to learn, apply, and share some of the things that I have taken from my experience in the restoration industry. The following list has served me well thus far:

  1. Proactively Manage Expectations
    Customers, members of the team, and all involved are best served when we proactively manage expectations. We should train and develop our best practices around this concept.

    1. Be upfront and honest.
    2. Explain the process and/or experience: As we seek to master this in our organization, this applies to both “negative” and “positive” elements of the experience.
  2. Manage Projects
    Project management skills are essential to not only restoring homes and businesses but also executing anything that needs to be done. Projects should be managed efficiently and effectively by:

    1. Establishing a scope of work
    2. Setting timelines and accountability
    3. Budgeting
    4. Managing Resources – in-house and subcontracted
    5. Effective communications
    6. Orders of operations – i.e., critical paths
  3. “Start With The End In Mind”
    Stephen Covey nailed this one and it should be used as a guiding principle in all we do. We must have clear objectives and desired outcomes as we define the path and all the necessary steps. I learned to embrace this in restoration, and it is most helpful to keep top of mind as an approach to executing many tasks and projects.
  4. People First
    At the end of the day, our people in the organization are the greatest asset and make the difference. The right people, values, and leadership are always of the utmost importance to reaching goals. There are countless ways to develop management and leadership skills. There are so many opportunities to grow and develop. A good start is a true and genuine care for people which will propel you to continuously grow and lead you in the right direction. Even if you make mistakes, people who feel cared for and respected will stick together and rise to the challenges.
  5. Things That Get Assigned Get Done
    Be clear on expectations and assignments of responsibilities. The story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, Nobody reminds us of this important lesson:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wgucw8ZJijc
  6. Communicate
    This may be the equivalent of “Flush” in the kindergarten book. It is a vital element for effective internal operations, serving customers, managing resources, and even marketing and business development. Not just communicating, but good communicating and listening are critical.
  7. Best Practices 
    Clearly defined expectations that are documented and repeatable are important to create consistently excellent outcomes. Best practices can lead the way in supporting growth, accountability, and training.
  8. Be Resourceful And Never Stop Learning
    You never know what you need or what you need to know.
  9. Continuous Improvement – You Are Never Done
    The world is constantly changing and evolving. Accept that your work is never done and enjoy the challenges and the opportunities as you go.
  10. It Does Not Work If You Do Not Use It
    This applies to equipment, software, knowledge, and the NeoraFit Wellness & Weight Management System that I purchased.

May sharing the things that I have learned help bring you much continued Restoring Success.

Originally published in R&R Magazine online.

How CRM Systems Can Help Your Business Grow

restoration industry softwareAccording to a recent study, 80% of business leaders use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software as a single source of information for their customers. CRM’s role has clearly evolved beyond that of a contact management tool. Advanced CRM systems empower leaders to efficiently unite teams around a common view of data, and also, more notably, to manage client relationships with ease.

Restoration Industry Software

Customer relationships are vital for the growth of your company, so you must be able to scale personalized interactions as well as develop consistent experiences across the company. Here are some ways CRM systems could help your business grow.

  1. Connect With Your Ideal Customers

You’ve invested resources and time in attracting as well as generating new leads, but how do you prioritize them?

How would your teams determine which opportunities are the most appealing? Opportunities come in many sizes, and it’s crucial to always have a strategy in place for nurturing them in different ways. Integrated CRM solutions enable multiple departments to have a complete view of prospects and leads, allowing them to create focused engagements and easily reach key decision-makers.

  1. Manage Customer Relationships Proactively

Many sales professionals reported that the pandemic increased the importance of developing trust before a sale. Get a deep understanding of a customer’s business, and you will be able to build a strong relationship rooted in trust early on.

How A CRM System Can Help A Business

  • Relate To Their Challenges. Quickly learn what matters to your clients, their challenges, goals, as well as preferences, and have personalized recommendations sent to them.
  • Relevant Engagement. By collecting information on their business needs, service and marketing teams can also recommend suitable promotions or even educational content that helps their decision at the perfect time.
  1. Minimize The Cost Of Sales

New customers are a vital ingredient for continued growth but aren’t always easy to come by. The great news is that you could offset new customer acquisition through sales to the existing client base. Gain better visibility into the cross-sell, up-sell, and also renew opportunities in your client portfolio and you will definitely see an increase in repeated sales thanks to the trust you have already gained.

  1. Increase Staff Productivity

Adopting the right technology will free up your staff from process-heavy tasks, which gives them more free time to connect with customers. Manual tasks like hunting for contact data and entering information could be automated or removed from customer-related procedures. Automation across service, marketing, and sales will free your staff so they could spend a lot more time speaking to potential customers and also strengthening relationships with existing customers, which moves the needle for your business.

Through technological tools, you could improve business flow by optimizing your staff’s time and talents. iRestore is a comprehensive customer service management solution developed by restorers for the restoration industry sector. Our powerful relationship management system (CRM) enables you to easily manage all of your business and personal relationships. It lets you manage and track all of your relationships, which include previous customers and subcontractors. Call iRestore today.

How Restoration Contractors Can Let Go to Grow

restoration management softwareWhy is letting go so hard? As a recovering micromanager myself, it often sounds like this:

  • Nobody will do it as well as me or do it right. How do you know if you do not give them a chance?
  • It is easier to do it myself. Have you tried to clearly define how to do it?
  • It is too hard to do. Not everything we are doing is that hard and others can do difficult things.
  • You do not have time to train anybody. And you never will – if you do not let go. 
  • I need to know what is going on. You can with the right systems, processes, reporting, and visibility.
  • Nobody else cares as much as I do. How can you be sure of that and how can you change that? Why don’t they care?
  • I cannot find the right person. The right person will not be a magic wand. 

Resistance to letting go is the nemesis of growth. When you let go:

  • You grow, not only potentially in rank or size of the company you are leading, but you also grow professionally. Your leadership and management abilities get challenged and honed while you let go to grow.
  • Your Company can only grow if many more people can do what needs to be done in alignment with company objectives.
  • Others are given the opportunity and the tools to grow in their positions if they are given the chance.

The following are a few tips to help let go; some of these tips are interdependent. For example, if you use the 70% rule of delegation, you should also have checks and balances, systems, and the ability to review key metrics and information. These are tips that I personally have employed. The benefit of employing them is that you, your company, and others can grow. You can get time to rest and recharge and pursue opportunities that help your company thrive.  

  1. Develop Repeatable Processes And Best Practices: This is not as hard as it sounds. Once you identify the task, start breaking down the steps and best practices that create the desired outcomes. This will be the guideline for others to follow. Document and communicate to the person(s) who will be responsible.
  2. Give People The Opportunity To Establish A Do-It-Better Mindset: This tip is more about changing your view. Instead of thinking, nobody will do it better than me, think about the opportunity of someone doing it better than you did. This is possible when given clear expectations, a road map, and trust.
  3. Consultant Or Coach: It is okay to seek help. If you know that you are having trouble letting go and it is stagnating your growth, consultants and coaches can help you overcome the mental blocks, as well as the process and strategy to employ the letting go in your company.
  4. Reports, Metrics, Information: Maintaining a reporting system that allows you to monitor processes and outcomes is key to making sure that everything you let goes of is running smoothly. Whether it is one functional unit that you are managing or an entire company, there are a variety of ways to keep your pulse on things without doing it all yourself. Be disciplined in your reviewing of reporting systems. A functional unit or an entire company is never going to be “set it and forget it,” Ron Popeil
  5. Respect The Chain Of Command: As you let go, the process may entail establishing reporting lines and chains of command. Be careful with the transition and selection of those to who you have entrusted to do their job. If you break the chain of command to transfer some responsibilities, your efforts may be futile, and you are not giving trust and opportunity to the person assigned the responsibilities.
  6. Use The 70% Rule Of Delegation: Many years ago, I was exposed to this concept. It has had a profound impact on how I make decisions on assigning myself a task or delegating. I use the 70% rule daily as a “still in recovery” micromanager. There are many things we all want to do ourselves because we either like doing them or we think we can do better than anyone else. The reality is that if we stop there and act, we will stagnate ourselves, the company, and others.

When making these decisions, and setting aside the fact that someone may be able to do more than 100% of what you do, I sometimes employ a part two of the thought process. What is the worst thing that would happen if it were done 70%?

As an actual and maybe ridiculous example, I want to order all the food for our classes. I want to control the food; nobody will get just the right combination and quantity. I need to let it go and trust and if by the slight chance that we do not have bananas one morning or 50 pounds of extra frozen meat in case of a food emergency; it will be okay, and the world will not end.

  1. Do Not Enable As You Let Go: If something goes wrong, or if mistakes are made, you may have to take action. However, do not slide back and just fix the immediate issue. Stick with the letting go strategy and continue to develop your team members to their full potential.
  2. Clearly Define Expectations And Assignments: This concept has been making my list in many of my most recent articles as it is often the root cause of not getting the outcomes that we desire. Another light and easy example that can be applied to even more complex issues: The company was out of bandages in the first aid box. It was an inventory maintenance responsibility that slipped through the cracks over the years. Solution: A position and person was assigned the role of inventory, ordering, and restocking once a month. The person in the position enthusiastically accepted the responsibility and the problem was solved.

What should you let go of to grow? As a manager, leader, or owner, as you let it go, you, your company, and others will be able to grow and enjoy much Restoring Success.

Why Should I Have Project Management Software?

restoration project management softwareThe world is becoming more and more technologically advanced in recent years. It has become increasingly difficult to keep track of everything with papers and a mental checklist. However, it may be the way you have been doing it since the beginning of your company, and you are just used to it. Though change may seem challenging, it can bring on a more efficient business model, especially with the evolving world around us.

Restoration Project Management Software

If a company has been operating with a simple calendar for as long as the company has been operating, it may seem inconsequential to keep it the way it is. However, there are some reasons to consider switching the way you manage projects in your company. 

Organizational Advantages

Restoration companies like your own have to handle and keep track of seemingly endless claim documents, contacts, estimates, insurance information, and notes taken on the job. Losing even a single sheet of these valuable papers can create huge problems down the road. Using management software can ensure that this doesn’t happen by keeping it in a single digital repository to retrieve it whenever necessary. Submitting important documents and entering notes and contacts into this software can guarantee that nothing is lost. Additionally, any team member can access it when they need it. They are more likely to complete a restoration job on schedule and keep within a set budget. 

Increased Productivity

As mentioned prior, any team member can access important information to complete jobs, as well as keep notes and contacts in one place. By doing this, they are less likely to stay on the job site to complete restoration, rather than running back and forth from the office for this information. With all the necessary information at their fingertips, your business is guaranteed an increase in ROI. 

Not only that, but with the increase in restoration demand, it may be confusing for employees to keep track of each job. The needs of each restoration can be met properly without forgetting the necessary steps and jobs aren’t accidentally confused for others. 

Tracking Financials

Keeping track of a budget for every home can be difficult, especially when there are so many restoration jobs. Unforeseen costs can pile up and carve away profit margins for the job. With crucial financial data stored in a single database, managers and executives can continually be informed based on real-time financial numbers across the entire organization. Restoration jobs can be kept within the budget and keep profits up. The last thing that a company needs are surprise costs that end up turning a job into a bigger loss than a gain.

Where Can I Get Project Management Software?

After considering the advantages of management software, iRestore can help you venture into this new world of technology. The tools that are offered will improve operations within your company and improve organizational habits. iRestore provides a one-stop place for all of your data that can be shared companywide to make both employees and customers happy.

Embracing Technology In The Restoration Industry

restoration project management softwarePredicting the future of your restoration company has never been easy. “Business as usual” certainly has been unusual this decade. Consider the high speed of change, political uncertainty, health challenges, safety protocols, and an ever-changing market. Just think of how the last decade of technology has shifted our interaction with employment, communication, education, and online shopping. 

Have you put your company in a position to adapt and capitalize on these changes? For the past few years, most restoration professionals have worked within the constraints of the COVID-19 situation by inventing new processes and policies “on the fly.” As the pandemic stabilizes, you have to take purposeful actions to stay nimble, flexible, and alert for additional shifts in the industry. 

Lingering Supply Chain And Labor Problems

Two wheels on your metaphorical car are supplies and people– both are in short supply. Lead times on many materials are still affected by supply chain disruption. Commodity costs like lumber and sheetrock continue to rise. Some specific technological equipment is still affected by chip shortages in the manufacturing process; thankfully most have eased since last year. However, signs of inflation keep pressure on you to make capital investments sooner, not later. 

Most metro areas are still struggling to fill vacant positions for frontline workers. Many companies have had to limit growth due to available staff. To locate great people you need to take deliberate action. As a leader, you need to make locating staff a priority and incorporate weekly recruiting activities to keep your pipeline full. 

Opportunities Via Automation And Digitization 

Your continuing challenge is to identify opportunities to get more done by managing the data you have and can easily access. For example, tap into crowd-sourced data to improve your estimating process. 

Many activities, from project management to job site tracking, can be reworked to maximize results. When the physical world becomes digitized, like with Matterport or DocuSketch, many functions can be automated: measurement, drawing, and estimating. This will allow estimators to produce faster and more accurate estimates.

Search out new systems to automate repetitive, manual processes to lower operating costs and improve accuracy. Interconnected tools (phones, tablets, laptops) using 5G technology can provide immediate job site communications to the office and insurance companies. Every minute saved in sharing info at the site of water damage can represent less damage and faster drying time. And if the job tracking information is more accurate, invoices might get paid quicker. 

Take note that all of this technology will increase the cyber risks in your business. Manage your data, maintain standards, and protect your business from the many controllable data breaches. 

Moving Forward In Uncertain Times

Face the operational challenges today with the best tools and team you can find. This technology revolution is really imminent. Like you, iRestore focuses on solutions and continues to embrace change. Do your homework, create a nimble company, and look for partners to leverage this technology. 

Explore iRestore Restoration Project Management Software

As you assess the current situation and make plans for the future, you are gathering data and exploring ideas to manage growth. iRestore offers project management exclusively for the restoration industry. iRestore has tools to improve operations and add efficiencies with a minimum learning curve for your staff.