Recent Why SERVPRO Posts
Owners Corner: 4th Quarter 2019
Jim and Trish Wall at the start of it all.
Owner’s Corner: 4th Quarter 2019
Wowza. Has it been a year! Last quarter’s “Owner’s Corner” focused on the big, surprise announcement that occurred earlier this year.
Just as a quick recap, Blackstone entered into a recapitalization and long term partnership deal with SERVPRO Industries in March 2019. Blackstone did an incredible amount of market research and determined there is huge growth potential for the SERVPRO franchise system in the restoration market. This single conclusion has been THE catalyst for innovation and change for SERVPRO franchises across the country.
So how has it affected Team Wall’s business and franchises? One word… “wholeheartedly”.
In January of this year, we had a total of 3 franchises and were a month away from opening up our very first out of state office in Harrisburg, PA. Now, here we are, midway into fourth-quarter 2019, and we have acquired a total of 11 franchises and are operating in 3 locations. This is the most in SERVPRO history and Team Wall is honored and proud to pave the way for others in our franchise community.
So let’s get down to it. Where in the world is Team Wall’s SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team? Well, here’s the rundown:
- Hunt Valley & Harford County: Our office is located in Sparks, MD; Employs over 70 people; Services Maryland, Virginia, Southern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and travels the East Coast for Catastrophic Storm Response; We offer full service mitigation and reconstruction in this office.
- Harrisburg West: Our office is located in Camp Hill, PA; Currently employs a team of 15; Services Central PA and travels the East Coast for Catastrophic Storm Response; We offer full service mitigation and reconstruction in this office.
- Metro Pittsburgh East: Our office is located in North Versailles, PA; Currently employs a team of 30; Services Western PA, Eastern Ohio, West Virginia, and travels the East Coast for Catastrophic Storm Response; We offer full service mitigation and reconstruction in this office.
Running 3 offices and a team of 115 plus employees may seem like a daunting task, but we have searched high and low for some amazing team members to help make this adventure a successful one. Please check them out in our 4th Quarter hiring class article! These added members to our team really have made a significant impact already and have been so helpful in navigating our new business model.
Expanding geographically means nothing but good things for our customers:
- Larger Geographic Territory: Operating 3 offices spaced out throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region enables us to service customers who have multiple locations as well. We can be the go-to vendor to count on no matter where a property is located.
- Larger Team: We have 4 crews in our smallest office and 15 crews in our largest… and that number is only growing. If a large influx of work affects one office, we can share resources from our others to ensure a quality and timely job is produced. These shared resources apply to production staff, equipment, office responsibilities, training, and so much more. Sharing resources and best practices makes Team Wall a more effective and reliable team no matter what region we are serving.
- Focus: Growing from 1 to 3 offices in a 250 mile radius within a mere 10 months may seem disorienting, but we have been able to focus more than ever. Focus on our processes, on our team, on our service lines, on our training programs… bottom line… on our business in every aspect. This has made our team more reactive, more knowledgeable, and completely focused on a superior customer service experience. Jim and I are focused on working “on” our business and not “in” our business. We have seen the positive impact this has made in the short term and we’re confident this will make us the restoration vendor of choice in the long term.
Looking back through this article, we have used the words “change”, “daunting”, and “disorienting”. But, we’ve also used the words “innovation”, “impact”, and “successful”.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
We are excited to see where this road leads us and, as always, thank you for your support and loyalty as a customer!
Jim and Trish Wall
Jaime the Employee of the Quarter: Q3 2019
This month's Hunt Valley & Harford County SERVPRO Employee of the Quarter is Jaime Orellana!
Below is our Senior Production Managers official statement regarding Jaime's hard work and dedication over the last quarter:
"Jaime Orellana exemplifies everything we look for in an employee by consistently displaying SERVPRO’s “7 Pillars of Success” in his work without fail. He produces high quality work in every job he performs and he consistently hustles to get his assignments complete. He is a team player that is willing to assist other crews by lending a helping hand even when he is not obligated to do so. His persistence to perform at his highest ability and his willingness to continue to learn is contagious while helping to motivate other employees around him. He also is accountable for every issue, decision and solution that may arise on his jobs. It’s because of his consistent hustle, quality, persistence, and his willingness to be a team player that we have chosen Jaime to be the Team Wall Hunt Valley employee of the quarter. We are excited to see where Jaime’s drive and positive attitude can take him within the company and look forward to watching his continued development."
Owner’s Corner 3rd Quarter 2019
Every year at this time, all of the SERVPRO franchises worldwide, totalling over 1700 in number, came together for the yearly SERVPRO convention. Learning, networking, and sharing advice as well as stories, we all came together as one team. Doing so facilitated the growth and strength of SERVPRO’s presence in today’s cleanup and restoration business.
This year’s convention was particularly special, as it marked the 50th year of all the franchises coming together. To honor the milestone, the SERVPRO story was told, illustrating Ted and Doris Isaacson’s creation of the company in Sacramento, California in 1967. It was inspiring to learn how the Isaacsons’ business grew into a $2.4 billion franchise thanks to the persistence of a talented couple and, eventually, their three children as well.
The company that Ted and Doris was initially a painting service, but became a carpet and drapery cleaning service soon after. After this decision was made, Ted and Doris chose to franchise the company. With a considerable amount of hard work and perseverance, SERVPRO has grown into the international emergency restoration, reconstruction, cleanup, and asbestos elimination service that it is today.
Celebrating our 10 year anniversary this past May, Jim and I can attest to the fact that SERVPRO underwent various significant changes just during our short time here. While change can bring about both positive and negative results, these changes have all had the common goal of keeping the franchise on its toes, becoming a proactive force in the midst of modern customers’ ever-changing expectations. In March, an unexpected press release surfaced that brought about arguably the most significant change:
By Jaewon Kang and Miriam Gottfried
March 18, 2019 3:12pm ET
Blackstone Group BX -0.11% ?? LP is nearing a deal to acquire cleaning- and emergency-restoration services provider SERVPRO Industries Inc. for more than $1 billion including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
The private-equity has emerged as the winner in an auction for SERVPRO run by investment bank Harris Williams & Co., the people said.
SERVPRO, of Gallatin, Tenn., operates a network of more than 1,700 franchises that specializes in fire, water, mold and other cleanup services for residential and commercial customers. The closely held company was founded in 1967 by Doris Isaacson and her late husband, Ted Isaacson, as a painting business and is currently run by their eldest child, Susan Steen.
Two out of the three Isaacson children who had been serving as leaders of the company decided to step down and retire after their father, Ted Isaacson, passed away in 2017. From this point, Blackstone entered SERVPRO, ushering in tremendous ownership changes. Though franchises and employees were concerned for what this change would mean for SERVPRO’s future at the beginning, attending a convention detailing Blackstone’s intentions of increasing opportunities for our franchises, that attitude has changed. We are so excited about what Team Wall will be able to supply to our customers in the near future.
Finally, we’d like to acknowledge the accomplishments of our 70+ team members whose loyalty and diligence has allowed our franchise to be so successful. In 2018, 0ur franchise was ranked in the top 20 out of all 1700 franchises for the fourth year in a row. Without the everyday hard work and excellence of our team members, this kind of recognition wouldn’t be possible. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge our customers, whose loyalty has been the driving force behind our growth. Thank you for all of your support!
The future is looking bright and we’re looking forward to sharing the road ahead with all of you!
Jim and Trish Wall
Out of all the businesses damaged in the wake of natural disasters, half never make a complete recovery. What’s the secret behind those companies that do recover? The answer: An emergency plan put in place well in advance. Opting to have an emergency plan can act almost as an insurance policy, ensuring protection that will decrease the stress that you feel no matter what mother nature has in store.
Even though there are a plethora of different types of disasters, no one type is more serious than another. Despite the size of the disaster, from a small leak to major flooding, there’s no harm in being as prepared as possible.
With this considered, SERVPRO has created the Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) app, accessible to tablets and smartphones. A convenient, easy to use, and completely free tool, the app allows you to formulate and control your specialized emergency plan using a method that is as stress-free and simple as possible.
A simplistic process, completion will only take up a small portion of your time. Verifying your preferred SERVPRO, the app can preserve your time and money through its simplification of the process of authorizing the start of restoration.
The profile offers convenient access to various resources that will be helpful in the event of an emergency, allowing you to quickly reference facility details and contact information. Restoration is a time-sensitive process, therefore having SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile app will prove to be a useful tool, promising that you will be “Ready for whatever happens”.
Happy 10 Year Anniversary!
Our SERVPRO family!
May 2019 marks a very big milestone for the Wall Family. 10 years as SERVPRO owners and operators!
Many people don’t know the personal journey behind our SERVPRO franchises and many more don’t realize that SERVPROs are independently owned and operated.
There are over 1800 SERVPRO franchises throughout the United States and Canada. Our family runs and operates three of these offices: Hunt Valley, Harford County, and New Cumberland/Carlisle, PA. It’s been a path of quick growth and an incredible amount of dedication and hard work by an entire team of people.
We thought sharing our SERVPRO story might be appropriate for our 10-year anniversary. So, here’s how we got here…
Jim and I met while working in Philadelphia, PA at a public accounting firm, KPMG. We were engaged quickly… 6 months! And, at the same time, left our public accounting firm jobs to pursue other career paths. Newlywed life was good and our jobs were solid. That is until the recession rocked our country to the core. We found ourselves laid off (both of us), living with Jim’s parents, and pregnant with our first child. Life never goes the way you plan it, does it?
An opportunity to open a SERVPRO franchise in Hunt Valley, MD presented itself and we are thankful every day for taking the chance. SERVPRO corporate provides tremendous support to their franchisees and their core values aligned directly with ours. It was a great fit, and luckily due to the optimism youth can bring, we took the risk, moved our life to Northern Baltimore County, rolled up our sleeves, and got to work.
This is very much the abbreviated version and those 10 years hold a lot of trials and tribulations along our path to growth. It is ultimately the solid team we have been so lucky to build that has helped us grow to be among the top 20 of 1800 SERVPRO franchises. Consistently. Year after year.
We want to take the opportunity to thank all of you directly for your continued support through out the last decade. Ultimately, if it wasn’t for a customer, we would not have the opportunity to be a business. Thank you very much for giving us a chance to earn your business not just once, but for a lifetime.
Many thanks and looking forward to another great 10 years on this SERVPRO journey!
Jim and Trish
Coastal Carolina Condo Development
Damaged interior caused by Hurricane Florence
SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville was quick to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Florence's destruction of the Carolina Coast. Our crews were called into help restore eight condo buildings on the coast of North Carolina which suffered varied degrees of water damage from the storm.
Our team walked each and every room of the eight buildings affected with a member of the condo association board. We worked with them closely documenting the steps to be taken to restore their buildings and educating them on the process along the way.
Each room had varied degrees of damage and so a thorough and detailed scope of action was necessary. Our team continued to work very closely with the condo association board and property manager keeping them up to date and fully informed on our daily progress for the duration of the project.
SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville successfully mitigated water damage in 70 of the condos in this coastal development within the expected time frame of two weeks. We are known for our quick response, but also have a long resume of large-scale jobs with quick turnaround times. We couldn't be more proud of our team and the kind accolades they received from this condo development's property manager:
"SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville was onsite less than 24 hours after contacting them, ready to work...they were able to scope the damage in all units and begin placing drying equipment within 48 hours of arriving onsite. Demo of wet and damaged areas began shortly thereafter and was extremely organized. The SERVPRO staff was courteous and worked amazingly well with my owners and guests onsite. They made a huge job, and even bigger mess, something manageable. I highly recommend them because of their professional attitude, meticulous work ethic, and unmatched experience."
Mold growth in a basement after significant water loss
At SERVPRO we are not only dedicated to helping our customers get back to their lives after a disaster, but we also feel it's important to educate our customers so that they can make informed decisions. Mold is a common problem that most homeowners in the area deal with. What is mold? They are a type of fungi that exist everywhere and only need moisture and a compatible surface to survive. There are at least a hundred thousand different species of mold. While some types of mold are benign, some other types can be toxic.
To address mold growth, it’s important to know the different types of mold you’re dealing with. Each one comes with its unique characteristics, and growth patterns. It’s also important to know what areas are attractive to mold in your home.
Here are some of the common mold species found in your home:
Acremonium: Found on dead plants and soil, it grows indoors on paper and drywall tiles.
Alternaria: This mold is very commonly found on food, plants, rotting farmland manure and is resistant to most fungicides.
Aspergillus: There are many species of Aspergillus
Botrytis: Associated with plants, high humidity levels and plenty of plants attract this mold.
Our technicians receive advanced training to deal with your mold issues. When you are looking for the best mold remediation services, SERVPRO is the only name to trust. Committed to providing excellent remediation and restoration services, SERVPRO has the dual advantage of highly trained staff and cutting edge technology.
Causes of a Flooded Basement
Sump pump failure caused this flooded basement
Main Causes Of Basement Flooding
Whether in Towson, Timonium, or Parkton, flooding of basements is one of the most common issues homeowners face. Although flooding occurs during the rains or rapid snowmelts, it can also occur in dry weather.
There are many reasons for basement flooding including seepage, storm sewer backup, improper sloping and others. As the basement lies in the lowest level of a building, it is prone to flooding.
What causes basement flooding?
These are the most common causes of basement flooding:
Foundation Leaks: Water can seep into the foundation if there are cracks in it. The risk of flood in your foundation is more if your home is near groundwater. Cracks in the foundation can lead to significant water leakage into the basement.
Leaking basement windows: Windows in the basement can leak and let water creep in during rains. Whenever it rains, there could be a significant collection of water on the windowsills. Fixing the windowsill is the only option to prevent basement flooding.
Blocked sewer: If the manifold that connects the public sewer system to your house is blocked it can lead to floods in your basement. It is important to call local authorities immediately to address blocked gutters.
Debris in gutters: The gutters play a critical role in preventing basement flooding as they carry away rain water from the home. If they are clogged or damaged, they can overflow during rains and allow water to build up. If the ground near the basement soaks up too much water, it can seep into the basement as well.
Improper grading or sloping: If the yard does not slope away in the right manner, rain water does not drain effectively. If the sloping is towards your home rather than away, excess water can result in basement flooding.
Improper downspouts: Downspouts channel water away from the foundation and should be at least 5 to 6 feet away from the wall of the basement. If the downspouts are missing or broken, water tends to pool near the house and slowly seeps into the basement.
SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville provides professional cleanup and restoration services on a 24 x 7 basis to ensure your building and basement is free from flooding and other water-related damage.
Illustration of ice damming
What Is Ice Damming?
Weather is often the most obvious culprit behind a host of problems including building or structural damage, injuries, mold growth, water damage or flood.
An ice dam is a common occurrence in winter in areas where snow is in plenty such as the Hereford Zone. Basically, an ice dam refers to build-up of ice on sloped roofs’ edges of heated buildings. The build up occurs when melting snow beneath a snow pack reaches the roof edge or eave and freezes there.
The frozen snow on the eave prevents the meltwater drainage that further builds the ice dam. The backup of meltwater causes water leakage and structural damage to buildings and their contents. Ice dams can also damage ceilings, walls, insulation and other areas. When there are areas of dampness, the risk of mold growth is also high.
What causes ice dams?
Along with snow, the outside surface temperature on the roof should be more than 32 degrees F with lower surfaces on the roof being less than 32. When outer surface temperature is more than 32, the snow begins to melt. The melted snow flows down into the roof and reaches the lower surface where the temperature is less than 32 and here is where it freezes forming an ice dam.
Sources of heat within the building lead to formation of ice dams include:
- Air leakage
- Improper insulation
- Exhaust systems
Ice dams and injuries
Ice dams can cause serious injuries and some businesses and homeowners have experienced property damage up to $20,000 because of this phenomenon.
Many of the claims are because of property damage that occurred due to pooled water in the ice dam or roofs collapsing.
Why choose SERVPRO? SERVPRO is the leading specialist in water removal and clean-up when your property or structure is at high risk of damage from ice damming or water leaks. With state-of-the-art drying techniques and water removal equipment, SERVPRO can help restore the building to its original glory.
What to do When You Have Frozen Pipes
SERVPRO responded to a burst pipe at a 12 story office building in Cockeysville, MD in the midst of the freeze-and-thaw winter pattern
Every year when winter arrives, homeowners and commercial establishments brace for icy conditions and plummeting temperatures. Close to 250,000 homes experience burst or frozen pipes in the U.S. every year. In fact, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville responded to a burst pipe at a 12 story office building in Cockeysville, MD in the midst of the freeze-and-thaw winter pattern. A pipe broke on the top floor of a 12 story office building affecting every floor beneath it and 30 occupied units. Our team was able to extract and dry the building in 72 hours with minor demolition required. All tenants were able to stay open for business throughout mitigation.
Apart from cutting off access to running water, frozen pipes can damage property when they burst because of the immense pressure created in the faucet, so what should you do when pipes are frozen? Here are some of the emergency measures you can take to thaw frozen pipes:
- The most popular pipe-thawing option is with hot water. Wrap the pipe with a burlap bag or a heavy towel to concentrate heat against it. Place a bucket to catch excess water and pour boiling water on the towel.
- Some plumbers also advise pouring a big bowl of hot water to which some salt is added down the frozen drain. The slurry acts like rock salt that is used to melt sidewalks that are covered with ice. Repeating this a couple of times can get water flowing again through the pipe.
- A thaw machine is a portable device used by plumbers to thaw the frozen pipe. The thaw machine provides high currency, low-voltage electricity to thaw the pipe. As sections start to thaw, warm water flows through the ice and melts it.
- Propane torch with flame-spreader nozzle is used by some, but this can be a dangerous device to use. When not used carefully, the torch flame can ignite or damage wall behind pipe. Placing fireproof material between the wall and pipe can be a precautionary measure.
- Using a garden hose is also one of the safer options to thaw pipes. Insert a hose as far as possible and feed hot water using a funnel at the other end.
Calling a plumber immediately is always the best course of action to prevent serious consequences of a frozen pipe, but if you need mitigation from a burst or frozen pipe, SERVPRO is the trusted leader in the cleaning and restoration industry and has the required expertise, technology and training to handle wide-ranging water damage restoration services.
SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville was thrilled to raise $2,700 for the children of St. Vincent's Villa.
It has always been important for SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville owners Jim and Trish Wall to give back to the community. They were thrilled to be a part of St. Vincent's Villa Pancake Breakfast with Santa, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus on Saturday, December 8th in Timonium, MD.
SERVPRO of Hunt Valley reached out to friends, family, vendors and to the public, and boy did they respond! We collected $1,350 which was matched by the company for a total donation of $2,700 for gift cards for the children of St. Vincent's, a comprehensive residential treatment facility for children, ages 5-14 operated by Catholic Charities of Baltimore. Our generous donors had their names written on ornaments placed on a tree which was presented to St. Vincent's along with gift cards and small gifts by our festively dressed marketing staff, and our very own SERVPRO Storm-troopers.
As you can imagine, the Storm troopers were a big hit with the children. According to Trish, "This morning was truly one of the most special and rewarding experiences I have ever had. Watching those kids’ faces was priceless and getting to interact with them to make them smile was amazing. Thank you all for making this a possibility and I really hope we can make it an annual event."