Revised and updated January 22, 2020.
Severe weather events are on the rise. The ones that most commonly affect homeowners in North America include hurricanes, superstorms, floods, wildfires, and tornadoes. Americans spent more than $322 billion on home repairs and remodeling from July 2018 to June 2019, much of which was driven by damage caused by severe weather. Entrepreneurs who want to do well by doing the good work of helping homeowners restore their houses will want take a close look at these 8 best restoration services franchises of 2020.
The wide range of issues and problems addressed by restoration services companies includes water damage, fire damage, smoke damage, mold remediation, regular carpet and upholstery cleaning, HVAC and air duct cleaning, and more.
An important aspect of owning a company in this industry is the ability to work well with insurance companies, since they are the ones who often end up footing some or all the bill for needed work. Expediting claims on behalf of customers can be a strong competitive advantage in this industry.
One of the challenges this industry faces in a historically tight labor market is finding and hiring qualified workers to perform the services. The industry is also shifting to better leverage the power of “big data” in their operations, such as utilizing workflow automation and data visualization tools allowing companies to go paperless and use real-time data.
Here are the top 8 restoration services franchises of 2020:
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 1,521 in 2009 to the current total of 1,715 (up from last year’s total of 1,687), of which none are company-owned and 17 are located outside the US.
2. 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 has been growing in recent years from 198 in 2009 to the current total of 419, of which none are company-owned and 121 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 442 in 2009 to the current total of 271 (down by eight from the previous year), of which nine are company-owned and 146 are located outside the US.
4. 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 been declining in recent years from 260 in 2014 to the current total of 237 (down by three from the previous year), of which none are company-owned and 45 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 285, of which none are company-owned and 38 are located outside the US.
6. 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 has risen rapidly in recent years from 60 in 2016 to the current total of 204 (up from the previous year’s total of 179), of which none are company-owned and one is 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 8 in 2011 to the current total of 201 (an increase of 35 from last year’s total of 166), none of which are company-owned and all of which are located in 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, the number of locations has held relatively steady in the last several years and currently totals 184 (up from 172 in the previous year), of which none are company-owned and 120 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.