Montrose Business Times
A restoration business that serves Montrose and the surrounding counties is expanding.
Servpro, which opened in Montrose in 2013, recently moved into a new building and has doubled its space, allowing for the business to continue to grow.
Tom Miller, owner, says the move is necessary given the growth the franchise has seen over the past three years.
Servpro is a large, national business that lets potential owners buy franchises. The business deals with homes and commercial properties that have been damaged by fire or water.
Servpro is just one of such businesses in Montrose, but it covers a large footprint geographically, from Telluride to Gunnison to Delta.
The recent expansion comes as the business has seen continued growth. Miller said he’s seen about a 30% increase in business each year for the past three years and calls the business recession-proof, because there will always be a need for restoration work.
The new building the company operates out of is at 2990 N. Townsend Dr., but it still has its old location, which it uses specifically for storing and restoring goods damaged in fires or floods.
“Water is probably 70% of my business. It’s the biggest,” Miller said. “Sometimes it’s the failure of parts, for instance. The icemaker line in the back of your refrigerator springs a leak and that can easily turn into a big problem. It can be a small problem. But generally when I get the call it’s a big problem.”
Many of his jobs are in vacation homes that are only used part of the year. When someone isn’t around to check on the house often, a busted water pipe or an appliance malfunction can lead to big problems.
His biggest challenge since starting the business — and business was tough at first — is finding good talent locally. He said there weren’t many in the area who specialize in restoration, so much of his job was providing training to new hires.
“I’m sure a lot of other industries have the same thing right now, but for me, the hardest thing to find is someone that has a lot of t tech skills and being able to tell a story in a manner that other other people can understand,” he said. “And then that same person has to be able to go into a crawl space that has dead rodents and mold.”
He first got the idea to start the business from a friend who owned a Servpro franchise in Durango. He wanted to start his own but had to find an area with enough people to serve. That’s when he happened upon Montrose.
“There’s a lot of challenges to owning a franchise,” Miller said. “Geographically, the franchise is set up so that they try to start out with a population base of 95,000 people.”
Montrose doesn’t have nearly 95,000 people, so he had to get creative. Hence, he added every county that surrounds Montrose into his service area, which means lots of traveling costs, but also plenty of customers.
Other investments in recent years include high-tech cleaning equipment, more hires and a fleet of vehicles that can get from one point to another reliably.
His new cleaning equipment uses technology that can restore items that would normally be thrown away because of the damage. That saves the customer’s materials and saves a headache from the insurance company the person is dealing with.
“One of the things we did was start carpeting and surface cleaning. So I have a truck dedicated and an employee dedicated to that,” Miller said. “And searching for that person for the six month ordeal. And at the end of six months, he fell into my lap. The guy has the experience. He moved away for seven or eight years and lived in a large metropolitan area. He’s just out there killing us right now.”
Justin Tubbs is the Montrose Business Times editor. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 970-765-0915 or mobile at 254-246-2260.