Qualified Remodeler Magazine

AUG 2018

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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people, how we incentivize them, and how we create an employment package in an environment that they'd like to come to work everyday is something we've done well to this point. "is is not always the cleanest or easiest job to do," he continues. "ese jobs are in burned-out homes and businesses, and you are dealing with smoke and water. So [it's] creating a competitive benefit package that pro- vides an environment where people do like to work for us through multiple generations. e company is actually able to bring in different family members, and now have fathers with sons and daughters coming up through the business. And it's really an exciting thing. It's kind of cool to be around. So you have this loyalty-based, quality type of employee who wants to work for you, and that is how we navigate these issues through the ups and downs of these different markets." e company says it certainly works to attract all types of trades, but the skills being passed from father to son or father to daughter in carpentry have been particularly important, Kevin adds. A CONSERVATIVE PHILOSOPHY In 1918, Walter Giertsen launched his business as a glass replacement firm for commercial storefronts. at led to commercial restoration work for building owners, and ultimately residential restoration, remodeling and repair. e company was past its 80th anniversary when it began opening offices in other metropolitan areas. Today, Giertsen runs divisions in Milwaukee and Chicago. e new markets have helped the company grow to a level where it generates $23.3 million in remodeling and res- toration revenue on 1,285 jobs. As Giertsen looks at opportunities this year and next, the focus is on better execution, tighter systems and pro- cesses that will help make the company more profitable while growingly modestly to an estimated $24.5 million in 2018. e focus of the company's business offering is consistent with this view, where service extensions are logical "next steps." "We are making sure each city is profitable and doing well," Kevin says. "At this point, we are enhancing those services. We are not looking to go into different cities at this point. e opportunity is really growth within for us and bettering our systems. With that said, we will go with the storms. We have clients across the country. We have done a lot of work in Florida, and we have our Florida license—that is from hurricanes. And we have affiliates across the country from Oregon to Boston, so we do move around. Recently there was a large tornado in Iowa. It's how you have those crews mobilize and how you go in and help out specific communities. It really sets us apart from other types of builders, contractors, even remodelers. It's nice that we can do that for people." Technology is an area where there has been gains for the company, Kevin notes. Most insurance restoration firms use a software called Xactimate to quickly estimate and settle on price to be paid out by insurance adjusters. "Obviously, there is a lot of technology in place today," he adds. "Utilizing those platforms and streamlining our crews and how they are expediting the jobs that are com- ing down the pipeline and increasing their efficiencies on the jobsite; and at the same time, communicating effectively with the customer, getting the information up to the insurance programs and preferred vendor programs in a timely basis. It's everything from photos to work authorization forms, so technology has really helped our business today. If you are not embracing that, I think you are going to be here today and gone tomorrow." Kevin points out that the nature of insurance work demands a set of skills not necessarily required in other parts of the residential construction market. "Let me say another thing: When people see us, they are devastat- ed," he explains. "ey've lost everything. ey've lost keepsakes, and you have to have empathy. You have to kind of sit with them and work with them. And connect with them. And get them back up and running. And that is what is quite unique in the insurance restoration business." | INSURANCE RESTORATION DATA An overview of the 35 insurance restoration firms on the 2018 QR Top 500 TOTAL REMODELING REVENUE: $2,267,378,967 TOTAL JOBS: 190,523 2018 REVENUE FORECAST: $2,220,060,757 INSURANCE: 82.8% ROOFING: 16.2% SIDING: 1.7% WINDOWS: 1.1% AVG. SPEND ON MARKETING: 3.57% of revenue TOP LEAD SOURCE: Referrals 43.2%, Repeat business 15.7%, Canvassing 8.4%, Signage 4.8% EMPLOYEES: 10,513 PERCENT OF GROSS SALES SPENT ON MATERIALS: 23% QualifiedRemodeler.com QR August 2018 39

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