Cleaning up and restoring a home or building from a flood, fire, or any natural disasters is considered restoration work. Their job is to clean up the mess, preserve and protect all the content inside, and restore the home to its original state.
Once a restoration company is awarded a project, it’s up to them who they will help them do the work. Some companies have a team that does all the work themselves, where others hire sub-contractors to do little bits and pieces of the project.
How I got Started in Restoration
Just before I started my small business I was desperately looking for work. I had a few jobs here and there but nothing stable. One company had me working part-time, but it never made me enough money to do anything except afford food and gas to get work.
I remember coming home on a Friday afternoon, tired and frustrated. I grabbed the local newspaper and turned straight to the employment section.
There I found a company looking to hire full-time workers/tradesmen ASAP. I called them up right then and basically was hired on the spot. They gave me an address and said, “See you on Monday”.
That following Monday I followed the address to a Hotel that was obviously under construction and doing a major renovation. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into but I thought I’d give it a shot.
I was welcomed by two men who quickly looked me over then introduced themselves. They asked me straight out If $25/hour was good for me. I said, “Sure is”. Then they quickly rushed me upstairs to meet the foreman.
I still had no idea what I was even doing there…
My job ended up being really easy. The hotel had had a fire. They called the restoration company who hired me, to restore it back to its original condition.
Working in Restoration
I spent the entire next 3 weeks with four other guys preparing each room for ceiling painting and texturing. Everything we did was organized and planned out so the workers and other tradesmen all knew their role and executed it like clockwork.
- We would first roll out poly on the carpet and tape the edges up the wall a foot or so
- Then we taped up poly along the top of each wall
- The poly unfolds and drops to the ground
- Then we covered the beds and side tables
- Lastly, we masked off any ceiling lights with poly
In the evenings the drywaller would come in and texture the ceiling where it needed, and the painters would follow behind and spray over the texture and blend it in with the rest of the ceiling.
Restoration work can come from anything like a fire, smoke, water damage or by natural disasters like a large tree falling on a house and damaging it. It occurs frequently in Canada because we get so much rain and snow that damages occur on a regular basis.
When it rains, the water can leak through ceiling or down walls. It totally destroys the drywall and has to be replaced. If someone in a building on the 14th floor overfills their bathtub, the water will run all the way down to the bottom floor, destroying the walls and floors on the way down. Even the carpet and underlay has to be replaced.
If there’s a fire in a building unit and it’s been controlled and put out, it leaves more damage with the smoke that will seep into the wood and walls. There are a few things that have to be done to fix this problem.
- Cut out and replace all damaged drywall
- Remove and replace any damaged insulation
- Remove and replace any damaged wiring
- Cut out and repair any damaged wood
- Spray and smoke seal the damaged areas
- Repaint the entire unit
So you can see just how much work is created in restoration work for every trade. Just in that one unit, you would need a demolition crew, dry-wallers, painters, electricians, framers and a project manager to oversee the whole project.
If you’ve been in the trades for a couple years and have a Registered Company, this is where you can make some big bucks and grow your company. You can Apply to any Restoration Company to do sub-contract work based on your trade.
Let’s say your trade is in hanging wallpaper. You could sub-contract yourself out to a restoration company that needs someone to install wallpaper.
When a project comes up they would hire your company to come in, match up the wallpaper with the same material as before, and hang it.
When the project is completed, the project manager would make sure everything was done to according to the scope or work order.
After the entire project is completed by all other trades, the insurance company issues a check out to the restoration company and they issue a check out to all the sub-contractors.
The best part of sub-contracting is you get paid by the project, not by the hour. So you could go in and install the wallpaper in one day or spread it out over the week and take on a few projects. The more projects you can handle, the more money you make.
Once you’ve proven yourself to the Restoration companies, they will start giving you lots of continuous work and your company will be able to grow and keep busy all year round.
Building a Crew
Some Restoration Companies will hire a sub-contracting company that can do all the work, instead of hiring multiple companies. For example, my painting company had a couple painters, a drywaller, a framer, and someone to handle the ceiling texture. We were able to totally restore a damaged unit as a crew.
Everyone had their part in each project that was scheduled out in step by step procedure called a scope. The scope is like our bible. It’s written up by the project manager on what needs to be done on the project.
Here’s what a scope would look like for a small project fixing or restoring a water damaged ceiling.
Once you’ve proven your crew is capable of restoring a project successfully and in a timely manner, you will start getting several projects to tackle.
If you can build a relationship with a project manager within one restoration company, you’ll find lots of continuous work for your crew and your company will be able to grow and keep busy all year round.
Good luck with your business everybody!
Mike and the Trade Trackers Crew