This annual list of the best restoration services franchises was revised and updated on January 28, 2022.
Severe weather events are on the rise. Hurricanes, superstorms, floods, wildfires, and tornadoes all affect American homeowners and business premises, as do more mundane disasters and deterioration over time. Americans spent $353 billion on home repairs and remodeling in the first quarter of 2021, much of which was driven by damage caused by severe weather. This has created a huge space for entrepreneurs who want to help people recover in difficult circumstances or keep older buildings in good condition.
Restoration services companies deal with a wide range of problems, including water damage, fire damage, smoke damage, mold remediation, regular carpet and upholstery cleaning, HVAC and air duct cleaning. While these companies are sometimes called on to sweep in after a dramatic disaster, they also have the day-to-day work of restoring rundown homes and other premises to keep them in business.
Climate change has brought more unstable weather, and so more disasters, increasing the need for restoration services. At the same time, macroeconomic growth in recent years has provided the funds to pay for restoration work, encouraging both individual and corporate customers to get restoration work done. As a result, the industry’s revenue in the US has increased by an average of 0.5% per year over the past five years, despite the economic setback of the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry is now worth $4 billion in the US and is expected to keep on growing.
The COVID pandemic initially caused alarm in the restoration industry, as jobs were cancelled by clients. But restoration work was still needed, ensuring the industry’s survival: 57% of restoration businesses were hurt by the pandemic but expected to recover. Adjustments to working practices let restoration businesses keep going, with improved hygiene measures, social distancing, and home-based administration. An increased focus on hygiene and deep cleaning may even provide new opportunities for this industry, through collaboration with or expansion into cleaning services. 50% of restoration businesses responding to a 2020 survey had taken part in COVID cleanup work.
When running a company in this industry, it’s important to work well with insurance companies, since they often end up footing some or all of the bill. Expediting claims on behalf of customers can be a strong competitive advantage. A business that can keep both homeowners and insurers happy, a delicate balance to achieve, is likely to see plenty of work. Quick response times, high quality repairs, and a willingness to be candid about the work to be done all help make a business stand out. Referrals are the leading source of work, used by 97% of restoration businesses, so establishing good relationships and a good reputation will be one of the biggest factors in making or breaking a business.
Commercial work is available, but for most restoration businesses, the majority of their work is residential. 77% of restoration businesses do the majority of their work on residential properties, and a further 6% have an even split. Homes are where most of the work can be found, and the place to focus as a new franchise. Two-thirds of work is on water damage restoration, meaning that if you’re looking for an area to focus your training, tools, and materials early on, then this is the area to start. But flexibility is important, and many of the resources needed to repair water damage will be equally relevant elsewhere.
One of the particular challenges for a restoration business is finding and hiring qualified workers. These employees are the backbone of a restoration business, so managing their careers and continually developing their skills is a key part of any franchise.
The industry is shifting to better leverage the power of “big data” in its operations, such as utilizing workflow automation and data visualization tools. This allows companies to better manage their work and to plan for what can be an uncertain source of business.
This is an industry with a strong franchised element, with around 32% of businesses run as franchises. Customers need to trust the people restoring their home, and a recognized brand helps to establish faith in restorers.
31% of restoration businesses are less than ten years old, and 16% less than five years old, so it’s clearly possible for new businesses to find their feet in this space. Reported startup costs range from under $10,000 to over $100,000, so there are options to fit different financial circumstances – which franchise you partner with will make a big difference to this.
The Top Restoration Services Franchises of 2022
1. ServiceMaster Clean/ServiceMaster Restore
ServiceMaster Clean/ServiceMaster Restore offers a variety of cleaning services, including janitorial and floor care, along with disaster restoration and rebuilding services. Its restoration services are available for both residential and commercial customers. In both cases, its three-step approach involves: (1) assessment (inspecting the extent of damage); (2) mitigation (preventing further damage to property and possessions); and (3) restoration (recovery from damage to return property to pre-loss conditions). The company offers services to address water damage, fire and smoke damage, mold, weather damage, odor damage, and a range of specialty services that may be needed.
ServiceMaster Clean/ServiceMaster Restore is part of the ServiceMaster family of brands, including Terminix, Merry Maids, AmeriSpec Inspection Services, Furniture Medic, and American Home Shield. Founded in 1929 by minor league baseball player Marion E. Wade in Chicago, incorporated in 1947, and franchising since 1952, the number of locations has held relatively steady in recent years and currently stands at 4,975 (up from the previously reported total of 4,937), of which 16 are company-owned and 1,874 are located outside the US.
Servpro offers a range of restoration and cleaning services to both residential and commercial customers, including water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation, storm damage restoration, and cleaning services (carpet, upholstery, air ducts, sewage and biohazard cleanup, and odor removal).
One of the company’s current slogans is “faster to any size disaster,” emphasizing its 24/7 emergency service. It is also a preferred vendor for many local and national insurance companies. Servpro also adheres to the standards of the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification).
Founded by Ted and Doris Isaacson in 1967 and franchising since 1969, the number of locations has risen steadily in recent years from 1,570 in 2012 to the current total of 1,930 (up from the previously reported total of 1,841), of which none are company-owned and 15 are located outside the US.
3. Rainbow International Restoration
Rainbow International Restoration provides both home and commercial restoration services to address fire damage restoration, water damage restoration, mold removal, smoke damage restoration, cleaning/deodorizing (air ducts, carpets, upholstery, odor removal, overspray protection, and trauma scene cleanup), and reconstruction (content pack-out to remove property for reconstruction, board-up and tarp-over to protect property until reconstruction can begin, and full-spectrum start-to-finish post-disaster reconstruction and restoration).
The chain is IICRC-certified in water damage restoration. Rainbow International is a Neighborly company, a collection of 21 different home service brands that collectively provide every service a homeowner could ever need.
Founded in 1981 and franchising since then, the number of locations peaked at 419 in 2019 and has since declined to the current total of 374 (down from the previously reported total of 410), of which none are company-owned and 61 are located outside the US.
PuroClean offers various property emergency services to help families and businesses recover after devastating setbacks from water, fire, mold, and other causes of property damage. Additional services include biohazard cleanup, carpet and upholstery cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, air duct and vent cleaning, and reconstruction services.
The company’s “rescue” approach to its property work has led to its slogan, “The paramedics of property damage.” Employees receive very thorough training at the PuroClean Academy, including advanced Applied Structural Drying (ASD) techniques in their “flood house,” one of the few such training facilities approved by the IICRC.
This company restored 300 properties in the wake of Hurricane Harvey – and did it in just one week.
Founded in 1990 and franchising since 1991, the number of locations currently totals 328 (up from the previously reported total of 309), of which none are company-owned and 42 are located outside the US.
5. Paul Davis Restoration
Paul Davis Restoration provides restoration and cleanup services to both commercial and residential customers to address water and flood damage, fire and smoke damage, mold remediation, wind and storm damage, trauma and biohazard cleanup, and reconstruction.
The company is committed to environmental responsibility through its use of cleaning products with green ingredients. It has also been a pioneer of various technologies, including thermal imaging to identify water intrusion without tearing things apart, and its MICA web-based monitoring tool used in repairing and settling water damage claims.
This chain’s parent company is FirstService Corporation, a leading property services corporation. Founded by Paul Woodall Davis in Jacksonville, Florida in 1966 and franchising since 1970, the number of locations has grown in recent years from 237 in 2018 to the current total of 265 (up from the previously reported total of 251), of which none are company-owned and 60 are located outside the US.
Duraclean started out as a fine rug cleaning service, but has expanded greatly from those humble beginnings to offer a wide range of cleaning and restoration services, including drapery cleaning, ceiling cleaning, fire and smoke damage restoration, deodorization, fabric protection, janitorial services, dryer vent cleaning, air duct cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, furniture cleaning, leather cleaning, carpet cleaning, animal infestation/odor abatement, hoarding cleanup, crime scene/trauma/biohazard cleanup, mold remediation, and water damage restoration.
The chain’s services are available to both residential and commercial customers.
Founded by Irl Marshall Sr. in Racine, Wisconsin in 1930 and franchising since 1945, the number of locations has been declining in recent years from 307 in 2012 to the current total of 261 (down from the previously reported total of 271), of which 10 are company-owned and 146 are located outside the US.
7. Restoration 1
Restoration 1 is the “new kid on the block” for this list in terms of how long it has been in business (11 years). This chain’s specialty is 24-hour rapid response for a variety of crises, including water damage, mold remediation, fire damage, and a host of related services (odor removal, crawl space encapsulation, biohazard cleanup, pack out and storage, crime scene and trauma cleanup, carpet cleaning, ceiling and basement leaks, air duct cleaning, storm damage cleanup, and pipe burst cleanup. Services are available to both residential and commercial customers, as are more specialty services for industrial facilities such as factories and refineries.
All franchisees are required to attend special trainings through the IICRC.
Founded by Andor Kovacs in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2008 and franchising since 2009, the number of locations has grown rapidly in recent years from 12 in 2012 to the current total of 259 (up from the previously reported total of 225), of which none are company-owned and all are located in the US.
8. 911 Restoration
911 Restoration calls itself “the fresh start company” because that’s what people need when disaster strikes their home or business. Being sensitive to the human emotional aspect of disasters has been an important focal point of this company from the beginning. It takes a caring approach to customers going through difficult times.
Whether it’s a residential or commercial customer, available services include water damage restoration, mold removal, fire and smoke damage restoration, sewage backup cleanup and general disaster restoration, as well as complimentary pre-loss planning. And the company even promises a 45-minute response time within its service areas.
Founded by Idan Shpizear and Peleg Lindenberg in Los Angeles, California in 2003 and franchising since 2007, the number of locations rose rapidly from 35 in 2012 to 178 in 2020 but has since declined to the current total of 169, of which three are company-owned and two are located outside the US.
Steamatic provides cleaning and restoration services to residential and commercial clients. On the cleaning menu are HVAC and air ducts, furniture, hard surfaces, dryer vents, and carpeting and area rugs (using its special super-heated water, powerful vacuums, and recirculating system).
The restoration menu includes water damage (including extraction and drying), fire and smoke restoration, mold remediation, contents recovery (including cleaning and deodorizing), dehumidification, electronics restoration, art restoration, document recovery, and damage caused by storms (wind, hurricanes, tornadoes).
Founded by Bill Blackmon and Scott Mooring in Forth Worth, Texas in 1948 and franchising since 1967, after steep declines in 2013-2014 and 2019 the number of locations has held steady at the current total of 133 (no change from the previously reported total), of which one is company-owned and 90 are located outside the US.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.