Air Date: 5-18-2018|Episode 504
This week on IAQradio+ we welcome two of the founders of the Restoration Rebels. The disaster restoration industry is going through trying times and the rebels’ mission is to take back the industry that they love. We will talk about the reason the group was formed, the current state of the industry, and what the future looks like with Andy McCabe and Joe Ledbetter.
Andy McCabe is a long-time restoration professional who lives in Bend, OR. He has written a book for mitigation contractors called The 24HR TECH, created an online training course by the same name, runs a podcast called The Claim Clinic and is President of the Alliance of Independent Restorers. Andy started his career in restoration, after brief stints as an electrician and financial advisor, with Dow Columbia restoration based in Portland, OR. Murray Dow Sr., the founder, was an original member and past president of both the NIRC and ASCR. Andy has worked his way up through just about every position in the industry. During that time he witnessed two former employers go bankrupt, and saw the rise of the TPA. After starting an Xactimate estimating service, Claims Delegates in 2012, he began to see some common problems that contractors deal with nearly every day. The two biggest problems were declining profits and increasing overhead. Everyone saw it, but it seemed no one was willing to do anything about it. So Andy decided to do something. Since the spring of 2017, he has run a free, contractor-focused Facebook group called the Restoration Rebels. Restoration contractors come to the group to solve problems and create solutions. Membership sits around 2,400 people as of the time of this writing. Andy is a vocal advocate for restoration contractors internationally.
Joe Ledbetter is the Owner and Senior Business Consultant for DISASTERCO.COM(previously Clean Source Consulting) of Warren, MI. He is also President – Founder of Mannle Construction in Warren, MI. Prior to founding his current companies he was the Co-Founder/President of the Cleaning Connection of Warren, MI and the Director of Business Development of Drytech Group, in Ottawa, CA. In 2016 Joe surpassed 1 billion square feet of mitigation to commercial buildings and 1,000’s of residential losses ranging in size from $5,000.00 to $200,000.00. He is also one of the Restoration Rebel Leaders and his role is to help build and grow the group through sharing his knowledge and experience and helping develop the management and revenue opportunities for the group.
Andy McCabe a seasoned and experienced restoration professional saw the two biggest issues facing restoration contractors to be: declining profits and increasing overhead. According to him, everyone saw it, but no one was willing to do anything about it. So,he decided to take action. Since the spring of 2017, he has run a free, contractor-focused Facebook group called the Restoration Rebels;where Restoration contractors come to solve problems and create solutions. Current membership sits around 2,500 people. Andy is a vocal advocate for restoration contractors internationally.
Another restoration veteran Joe Ledbetter is also one of the Restoration Rebel Leaders and his role is to help build and grow the group through sharing his knowledge and experience and helping develop the management and revenue opportunities for the group.
Nuggets mined from today’s interview:
Frustrated by facing squeezed margins and increasing administrative burden, Andy McCabe’s restoration clients and associates asked him to form a group to do something about it. He posted a video on his www.claimsdelegates.com website (which according to Joe Ledbetter) which struck a nerve. A Facebook group was formed. The group’s first summit meeting was held in Bend, OR with 45 attendees. A recent event in Nashville, TN had 175 attendees + vendors. People left Nashville excited and asking when and where is the next one?
According to Joe Ledbetter, there is nothing like this fast-organically growing which people are joining to learn how to improve their businesses. It’s a movement moving in an unmapped direction.
The group currently has 4 leaders, Andy, Joe, Klark Brown and Jonathan Grubb. The leaders are the leaders because they were all sincerely interested and willing to volunteer their time.
Andy McCabe- Left the RIA/TPA event with the opinion that TPAs sell their contractors to insurance companies and having their contractors pay for it.
Joe Ledbetter- Predicts that TPAs will go away due to algorithms, direct consumer marketing and new products offered by innovative new companies such as Lemonade.com
Andy McCabe- With Restoration Rebel membership comprised of both franchised and independent firms, the common denominator among members is their independent mindset. You’re not in the fight alone. You’re not the only firm facing the challenge.
Joe Ledbetter- New firms entering the market want information and answers: what works best and what dehumidifier and meter to buy?
Andy McCabe- The group is evolving and a work in progress. Among the leadership, there is no further desire to remain nonprofit.
Joe Ledbetter- After suffering a claim, not all policyholders want a Wal-Mart service and pricing model. Customers want to choose their restoration contractor. They want and prefer a better level of service.
Andy McCabe- The fat has been cut off the bone. Current delivery of restoration service is efficient. Policyholders should be aware of material allowances. Why should the homeowner settle for Home Depot flooring when the current product in their home is superior.
Joe Ledbetter- Membership breakdown in Restoration Rebels is: 2200 in US and 300 internationally. (51 Australia, 47 Canada, UK 9, etc.)
Andy McCabe- The pain among restorers is felt internationally.
Andy McCabe- The 911 restoration model interrupts message sharing between policyholder and insurance company’s preferred contractor. Going directly to the policyholder allows the contractor to build a client relationship.
Joe Ledbetter- There is a process of public accountability on claims handling through Google Reviews. Our President tweets on Twitter to circumvent the media and communicate directly with the public. The future will tell when we look back in hindsight and ask: did this jive or did we overstep the boundaries?
Andy McCabe- Opined that insurance companies were involved in industry standards writing. As an estimator for a restoration company he had the unbearably stressful responsibility of trying to satisfy my boss, the policyholder and the insurance company.
Andy McCabe- Moving forward, the evolution and conversion of a Facebook group into full-time employment and a profitable commercial enterprise.
Joe Ledbetter- One goal is to improve accountability on social media.
Andy McCabe- Reach out to your local fellow restorers. There is enough work available for everyone. There is a brighter future if using the tools of speed and technology we can come together.
Z-Man- Google reviews for insurance claims to me is very scary as it allows policyholders with unrealistic expectations to leverage the threat of damaging the reputation of service providers to extract more goods and services for situations beyond the contractors control such as: high deductibles, policy exclusions, preexisting conditions, etc.
- The Answers to Questions posed on industry websites are by parroting industry myths and/or misinformation learned in IICRC courses.
- Loss of generational fire restoration memory.
- Loss of generational memory of past organizational activities and attempts.
- Just because something is new doesn’t make it better.
- Historically RIA has pioneered the field of insurance damage repair and has represented the interests of members: https://fmlink.com/articles/
nidr-releases-2nd-edition- guidelines-for-fire-and-smoke- damage-repair/
Z-Man signing off