With growth, come growing pains. SERVPRO of Greater St. Augustine/St. Augustine Beach opened its doors a little over six months ago and the amount of growth this SERVPRO location experienced is tremendous. As SERVPRO in St. Augustine is taking on several extensive Damage Restoration jobs the need to expand infrastructure and staff increases. is where we are began to experience the most challenges in our early quest of market domination and is the main topic of our post. We are always looking to share our experiences with our customers
In the past month we have taken on several challenging projects, ranging from full house floods to full house fires, with big and small cleanings in between. The influx of business created an immediate need to increase certified staff, or so we thought. We have had several qualified candidates lined up from prior contacts and after all offers were accepted our staff additions joined up with the rest of SERVPRO of Greater/St. Augustine/St. Augustine Beach's team. Albeit, all of these additions ended up leaving or terminated before spending any considerable amount of time in their positions. Which put SERVPRO of Greater St. Augustine/St. Augustine Beach’s staff under a great deal of pressure.
The technician hired to assist on all construction related projects embellished qualifications and based on the quality and volume of work was removed after 2 days in the position. Second technician brought in to participate on the rebuild side of the business was somewhat an improvement, although still did not meet our quality and urgency standards and was released. Finally our newly hired restoration technician who had a little over a year of industry related experience (that’s typically a lot less than what we would normally accept) received an offer from the company he began his career with and left after one week of work and calling out the next. All of that turnover put SERVPRO of Greater St. Augustine/St. Augustine Beach under a great deal of pressure, it took a massive effort to keep up with all of the commitments and deliver quality.
It could probably take several pages to describe what kind of maneuvering it took to navigate through this attrition, all while taking on emergency Water Damage jobs, Commercial Fire Damages, and emergency cleanings in St. Augustine, Palm Coast and Daytona Beach areas. But it is time to reflect on what we have learned.
In addition to IICRC certifications the rest of our core technicians are demolition experts and are utilized on construction related projects. What we found out is that hiring technicians from other restoration companies or even other SERVPRO locations puts us at a disadvantage as these prospects usually have very limited expertise and are attached to performing processes a certain way, all while without any proof from IICRC or other related resources. This brought us to a new hiring strategy - not to bring anyone with restoration certifications or prior restoration experience and instead bring qualified individuals with extensive construction background. As construction is more involved, teaching someone how to setup air movement becomes an easy task, teaching them to do it the SEVPRO of Greater St. Augustine/St. Augustine Beach way (the best way of course) becomes invaluable.
It is much easier to bring someone on with experience, but when a candidate brings sense of decency, loyalty and fairness, no IICRC certification can match that! When your goal is to dominate Damage Restoration in St. Augustine and all surrounding zip codes you cannot travel on a well paved road, you make your own highway!
Yet another simple example of how SERVPO's St. Augustine location is able to adapt, adjust, overcome diversity, and learn all while providing superior full service restoration and emergency services to our neighbors and friends in St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach, Ponte Vedra, and the rest of St. John's County!