Is Your Marketing Working For You??

If your marketing is working it will arrive on the job before you do.

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Understanding The Role Of A Public Adjuster

For some working with a Public Adjuster on a job is pretty common.

But for most of us it is a rare occurrence.


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Getting The Job Is Easier Then You Think

Too many times in our restoration businesses we get so focused on the “marketing” and signing the job that we miss the much bigger picture.

When someone has just been thru a loss of some kind the last thing they care about is the wrap on your work van or the catchy slogan on your business card.

What they really want and need is to be heard and to feel that you are there to take care of them.

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So You Want To Get Into CAT Losses Do You

Here is a four part series that I recently put together addressing the four things that you should know when it comes to Catastrophe Losses and what you need to avoid.

Let me know what you think by commenting below and if you have any questions:)

Part !:

Is there fire cleanup work on CAT losses?

Part 2:

Do you have what it takes?

Part 3:

Dealing with the Adjuster on a CAT loss is very different.

Part 4:

Show Me The Money!!

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Don’t Make This Mistake In Your Business

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A Great Resource For Your Business

Time is by far our most precious resource.

And I don’t know about you but I am very protective of my mailbox as well as my inbox for this very reason.

I don’t want to clutter either of them with junk that will suck my time and energy weeding thru to determine what is trash and what has value for me.

Restoration & Remediation Magazine has a lot of resources for the Restoration Contractor of today and is definitely worthy of your time to digest each month.

The printed magazine is free and delivered to your mailbox each month. Just go here to get your subscriptions started Restoration And Remediation Magazine.

There is also a weekly E-Newsletter that is sent out every Thursday chock full of free training and latest industry information regarding software, equipment and case studies.

Not to mention my weekly Ask Annissa Video Column that you don’t want to miss out on:)

So subscribe to the E-Newsletter here.

You can ask me anything you like about restoration i.e.: contents or structure cleaning, marketing, systems, pack out or employee hiring and I will answer you by posting a video on the column.

Send your questions to or comment here below.



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Hiring Employees – How To Avoid The Nightmares

happy employees


Problem employees or problems with employees is one of the biggest complaints that I here from business owners.

And I am not going to lie, employees can be one of bigger challenges of being in business.

How do you hire good trustworthy employees?

Once you have hired them, how do you keep your employees motivated?

I would ask you to consider that maybe the “problem” isn’t the employee.

I’ve been hired by companies to help in this department and a lot of the time what I find is not that they staff or employees are the problem but the lack of systems, training and accountability are what has the owner or boss wanting to pull their hair out.

You can hire all “A” players to work in your company or on your crew but if you don’t give them the right tools, direction and support one of two things will happen. They will either leave you for greener pastures or they will turn into a bad apple in a hurry.

So the first thing you need to look at in your company is you as the owner and your management team and ask yourself these questions with brutal honesty.

Am a supportive to my team in both morale and training?

What is my attitude and that of my management toward the staff?

What areas can I improve in my company when it comes to communication and systems with my team?

If you are honest with yourself you will find that the root of any employee issues you may be having starts with you and your management.

Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying that your employees or team aren’t responsible for their actions and job performance at all.

But what I am saying is that you are the person of control of the situation and it all starts with you as the owner.

There are definitely some things you can put in place to minimize your employee headaches.

I want to share with you a few that I do in my own company:

  • Background checks:All potential new hires are put through a full background check, including driving record. If you state in your application or hiring process that all applicants must be able to pass a back ground check, you can prequalify potential employees in advance.
  • Employee Handbook: A detailed expectation and agreement of employment will help you make sure that your new employees are in agreement with the standards that you have put into place in your company. It will also establish expectations of your new hires.
  • Company Culture: Creating an environment where others can excel and are rewarded for such goes a long way to set standards within your team. If you hire someone who doesn’t fit in with your team’s standards that they are all held to, they will likely weed themselves out.
  • Let Them Plan The Fight… Then, they won’t fight the plan. Include and engage your employees in planning your company’s success. If the plan isn’t working then they know they are the ones with the power to change it. Including their goals will give them a collective target to shoot for. This alone can minimize bad attitudes, lack of follow through and create the desire to help you and your business grow.

I will tell you also that the more power and acknowledgement that you give to your employee the stronger and happier they will be as team members.

And when the people who are working in your business dealing with your clients everyday are happy and feel appreciated they will convey this to your client in their interactions with them.

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Some Key Information For Those Affected By Wild Fires

Carlsbad fires 2014


Wildfires are a huge tragedy in our country.

Every year millions of acres and hundreds of thousands of home are affected by them. The cost not only to the Departments and Agencies that fight them but to the innocent homeowners is astronomical.

Statistics for 2012 show that 67,774 wildfires burned more than 9.3 million acres in the United States costing the US Government almost $2 Billion trying to suppress them.

The tough part is that this cost the statistics show are not taking into account the emotional and mental price that some endure when caught in the path of such a destructive force.

When I decided to get into this industry more than 14 years ago it was because I wanted to help families and homeowners weave their way thru the difficult maze of fear and shock that they inadvertently found themselves in when they are thrown into a situation that was neither their fault or their choice.

My heart hurts for all the the families and innocent people that have recently found themselves in the midst of the wildfires that are ravaging Carlsbad and areas in Southern California. There have been lives, family pets, homes and untold amounts of precious keepsakes lost in the blink of an eye.

A good friend of mine once asked me if I had a super power what would it be? I didn’t know what to say at the time But now I know. It would be the power to wipe out a fire when it was just a small tiny flame stopping it from growing into a raging inferno that devours all in its wake.

Unfortunately I possess no such super power so I will do what I can. Which is to help with educating those who have been affected so that they can take some control over their situation.

So I am writing this post not only for those who have been affected but also for any Restoration Companies that are helping clean up after these fires in hopes that this information will reach those who need it.

In my experience there are 3 key things you need to know if you live in an area that has been affected by a wildfire. There is a very different criteria with a wildfire verses a regular house fire. In a regular house fire you can usually see the damage caused by the flames but when it is a wildfire most often you cannot. So those affected don’t even realize that they have damage in their home or to their belongings. I hope you find these helpful in someway either for yourself or for someone you know and please pass this information on.

1. Your home and belongings may be covered with smoke or soot even though you cannot see it: You cannot always see smoke and soot intrusion with the naked eye or by wiping your hand over a surface. (which I do not recommend using your hand as the oils on your skin can actually cause more damage if there is soot present on the area you touch) Have your home and your belongings tested for damage. A Certified Cleaning and Restoration Company can easily do this testing for you. When testing they will use a special sponge to wipe different areas and surfaces in your home so they can see what areas are affected and how badly. When your home is in an area ravaged by a wildfire the smoke and soot can travel a long distance depending on wind and get sucked into your heating and air-conditioning unit. Even though you can’t see it on your walls, furniture and horizontal surfaces, your home could be covered in harmful soot.

2. What you can do to help minimize damage:  Assuming you have already called your insurance company, there are some very important things you can do yourself once you know that your home or belongings have smoke and soot intrusion to prevent further damage. As I mentioned above have your home tested by a professional to see what if any you have for affected areas. Changing out the filter on your furnace/air-conditioner right away is a good idea. It will likely be done again once your air ducts are cleaned and furnace checked out but that could take some time to get done and in the meantime your filter is probably full and unable to let your system breathe. Put vaseline on any faucets or metal fixtures in your house that you have been affected. Soot is very corrosive to metals. Remove your house plants and replace their soil after soaking them throughly to rinse off any soot and smoke from their roots or leaves. Some insurance policies do not cover house plants so if you want to save them its up to you. Also if you have an aquarium your fish inside it may not be covered either. Regardless you must act quickly to save them. Remove them right away from the affected area. Clean the filter system and replace the water in the tank as soon as possible. Keep your house temperature cool. When the temperatures rise it causes pores to expand and allows the smoke and soot to penetrate deeper into some materials. If you have corian or granite counters wipe them off with a wet soft cloth. Do not eat open food from affected areas such as fruit on the counter, open bread or crackers that may be sitting out. This includes open containers of dog or cat food as it can make your pet sick if it is contaminiated. Do not turn on computers or electronics until they have been looked at by a professional to make sure they are not contaminated. Turning them on could cause damage. Remove fire arms if you have any in your home and take them to a gun smith to be looked at as soot can etch them very badly and most restoration companies will not handle or transport firearms. Save your receipt for this as you may be able to get reimbursed under your contents policy. Hire a professional Restoration company that is experienced with this type of cleaning once you have checked their references. Ask to see the testimonial from their last fire cleanup job.

3. What not to do: Do not wash affected laundry in your own washer or dryer as it can damage them. Do not start throwing things away that you feel is damaged beyond saving as you may be able to get reimbursed for such items under your contents policy once your adjuster has seen them and they are inventoried. Do not use your household vacuum to clean up soot from furniture or carpets as you will contaminate it. (This may not apply if the vacuum is already contaminated by the fire and you feel that using it to get soot off of other items that may help save them) Do not wash contaminated dishes in your dishwasher. Do not handle this on your own or with the help of a neighbor down the street. It is usually a recipe for disaster as this type of work is a very specialized field and takes a well trained professional to get the job done thoroughly.

It is your decision and yours alone who you choose to hire to handle the clean up in your home or business.

I hope you have found this information helpful. It is important to know that you are responsible in the eyes of the insurance company as the insured to mitigate and take any necessary action to stop further damage or loss to your property. That may be but not limited to some of the items I have mentioned above. The most important thing you can do is hire the right professionals to help you by making sure that they provide you with references and guarantees on their work.

If you have any questions or further topics you would like me to cover please comment below this post.

I wish you all the best.


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If You Want It Then You Have To Earn It

How does that saying go…


Although I do believe that showing up early bright eyed and bushy tailed gives that little birdie an advantage over the other little birdies, it still doesn’t mean he’s getting the worm. He needs to do more than shown up to seal the deal.

The worm has to be earned.

So ask yourself what are you doing to earn your jobs?

There are 3 key ways that we earn jobs in any industry.

One is by having an extraordinary skill set and ability to get the job done well. There are classes you will need to have under your belt so that you have the knowledge you need to do the work you are telling your customer that you will deliver for them. As well as equipment that needs to be available so you have the ability to get it done correctly and efficiently.

The second is the intense desire to get the client the end result that they are seeking. after all it is ultimately the client that is paying you not their insurance company.

And the third is providing outrageous value. Value to all involved. There is usually at least three different people involved on every job. A homeowner, the insurance company and a subcontractor.

Notice I used the words intense, extraordinary and outrageous. Not good or average. There are lots of businesses out there that get things done with “good” or “average” results. If you are one of them I don’t care how early you show up you probably won’t get the job. And you won’t get an adjuster or insurance company to use you exclusively sending you more work than you can handle.

If you approach every job or client with the mentality that you must earn their business you will transform your checkbook, your profits and your team’s commitment in no time.

I know that a lot of you have awesome businesses that do these things already.

So I challenge you to ask…How can I do AWESOME even more AWESOME?

We can improve almost anything if we put our focus on it.

So let me know by commenting below how you plan to take AWESOME to a whole new level in your company? :)


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We Decided To Put On An Extra Class…You Coming?

Due to popular demand we have decided to add an extra class into our schedule this year.

Normally our schedule is April and October. But for those of you that missed our Spring class the good news is you won’t have to wait until October to add a huge high value service to your cleaning business.

We have added a special class this June on the 12th and 13th at our Washington State location.

What will the class cover?

How Much will I need to invest?

Check out the details here and see what our students have to say about Firehouse.

See you in class!! :)

Talk soon,


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