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Step-by-Step: How to Start a Restoration Business 

Restoration Industry
Alison Bright // July 1, 2024

In the US, damage restoration is an expansive and growing industry. It’s estimated to generate $7.1 billion in yearly revenue.  

It’s also wide open to entrepreneurs interested in building restoration work. 

Unlike other home service industries such as lawn care, pest control, and plumbing, restoration is not dominated by major brands. Thousands of small businesses across the country are making healthy profits. This industry has steady demand and large contracts.  

But this isn’t an easy industry to operate in. The work itself is hard, and finding leads isn’t straightforward. That’s why it’s so essential to develop an understanding of the restoration business industry.  

This article is a guide to starting your damage restoration business. It outlines different types of restoration work, certifications you can earn, and steps you’ll need to take. Finally, it concludes with quick tips to jumpstart your restoration business. 

restoration worker holds a rolling paint brush

Understanding the Restoration Business Industry 

Restoration contractors put buildings back together after water, fire, or wind damage. Emergency restoration contractors must be available 24/7. And most jobs are paid out by insurance companies rather than property owners. 

There are different types of restoration businesses within the industry: 

  • Emergency restoration companies come in after an event, such as a leak or a hurricane, to protect the building from further damage. For instance, a water damage restoration contractor might remove wet materials like carpets or drywall. Then, they might place air movers, dehumidifiers, and other equipment to dry out the building.

  • Full-service restoration companies provide the initial emergency services. They also help return the building to its original state, so they have a construction division.

  • Content services companies remove damaged furniture and other building contents. They bring these items to their warehouse to be treated with advanced technology and cleaning equipment. Some full-service companies also have a content services division.

  • Exterior damage restoration companies repair roofs and other external structures of a building. Exterior restoration is not the same as the primary restoration business industry. However, these businesses often work alongside restoration companies.

  • Biohazard restoration companies specialize in clear-ups and restoration after a crime scene or hazardous event.

  • Environmental restoration companies usually focus on lead or asbestos abatement.

RELATED ARTICLE: Adapting to Changing Consumer Trends in the Home Service Industry 

Ultimately, there’s a lot to this industry, so you should spend time and resources educating yourself.  

Here are a few ways to build your understanding of the restoration industry:  

Visit the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) Website 

The IICRC provides resources on industry certifications. And it’s through the education involved in accreditation that you’ll learn the required technical knowledge. 

To become a water restoration technician, for instance, you need two IICRC certifications: 

  1. ASD – Applied Structural Drying Technician
  2. WRT – Water Damage Restoration Technician

Explore Other Companies 

Look at what services other companies are offering. 

Explore restoration businesses in your local area to see if you could fill any gaps in the market. But also look at successful remediation companies across the country. See what you can learn from their business models, marketing, and service offerings. 

Check Out Restoration Influencers 

Plenty of restoration business owners share industry tips and insights online. They discuss topics like finding leads and what materials to invest in. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: Advantages of Buying Water Damage Restoration Leads 

restoration worker lines up a woodworking project

Step-by-Step: How to Start a Restoration Business 

Once you understand how the restoration industry works and know what type of restoration business you plan on opening, you can start building your business.  

Here are nine steps to help you start your business: 

Getting Started 

1. Create a name for your company. Try to include your location and the type of services you're offering. For example, a water restoration company in Tampa might be Tampa Water Restoration Solutions.

2. Register your business. Once you have a name, register with the Secretary of State for the state in which you will be operating.

Marketing Strategies 

3. Build a professional website. All you need to start are a couple of pages to explain your services, contact details, and a little information about your company.

4. Start learning how to use digital ads. In the restoration business, you might get as many as one-third of your leads from online ads. Make sure you know how to use them.

5. Build your professional network. You'll get a lot of your leads from insurance agents and plumbers. Start building those relationships early on.

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: How Do Customers Pick a Contractor: What Customers Are Looking for in a Restoration Contractor 

Financial Management 

6. Develop a pricing strategy. Compare your competitors' prices to determine what's a good price in your region.

7. Talk to an expert. Getting your business finances right will make or break your business. Consider talking to a financial advisor or accountant specializing in helping small businesses grow.

Operational Efficiency 

8. Start purchasing equipment. Buy your essentials. If you're focusing on water damage restoration, you'll need inspection equipment, such as an infrared camera and moisture meter. You might also need commercial fans and dehumidifiers.

9. Begin hiring qualified staff. You'll need certified restoration techs, a project manager, an estimator and a relationship manager.

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: How to Start a Home Renovation Business 

Restoration worker drills into a wall

Top Takeaway Tips for Starting a Restoration Business 

Here are actionable tips you can use today to jumpstart your restoration business

  • Decide what type of restoration business to start. Most new business owners start small. Decide what you want to focus on. Then, explore the IICRC site to see what certifications you need.

  • Start brainstorming your brand. Vision. Mission. Values. Your business name. Your unique value propositions. Get a pad and paper or jot down your ideas in a digital notebook, but start defining your why today.

  • List your startup costs. Get a ballpark figure for how much you’ll need to start your business. Ensure you factor in equipment, certifications, insurance, advertising and hiring costs.

  • Build your tech stack. You’ll need software to manage jobs, customer relationships, and payments. Specialized home services systems will perform all these functions. You can also integrate with accounting software and other business tools.

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