BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – They’re quickly becoming a one-stop shop for just about any cleanup your home needs, including the rebuilding.
The familiar yellow and aqua ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration vans will not only come in and clean literally anything in your home, but now they can help repair it as well.
Austin Utterback, operations manager for the locally owned company, said the company made the decision in the spring to bring their own construction contractors on board to offer a full-service cleaning and restoration, and now remodeling service.
“About a year ago we met with ServiceMaster of Mt. Sterling because they had gotten into it,” he said. “They revamped their company and decided to move away from janitorial and focused on the disaster restoration and construction.” Utterback said. “Most of our local contractors here were three months behind and were really only bidding on large jobs, so we thought it made sense. We had just purchased the Burlington franchise so we didn’t want to move too fast, but we got to the point where we had to do something.”
“We’re not building houses or anything like that, but if you have some remodeling or something inside you need done we can take a look at that. Basically, the best way I can put it, is if you need something done just call and ask.”
He said before when his staff would go in to a project that had structural damage such as flooring or walls, they had to bring someone else in to do the structural repairs. Now the company can schedule and do the work itself.
“A lot of ServiceMasters will sub everything out and play general contractor and that just wasn’t working out around here. So we can now go in and do that work,” Utterback said.
“It was kind of a slow start but then we lined up a couple jobs and then things started stacking up,” Utterback said. “Now it’s going very well, but people should feel free to contact us with really anything they think they need done and we’ll see if we can help.”
He said insurance companies, which used to use multiple companies to mitigate customer issues, have gone the other way and now want to use one company for as much as possible.
“It works better for the customers that way, too. Now they can work with just one company to get the whole problem resolved. It’s nice when a customer can ask after things are torn apart, “Where do I go from here,” and we can tell them we can take care of all of it.”
Byron and Cristy Mowen purchased the company in 2000 and have begun to transform the ServiceMaster brand locally in Lee, Des Moines, Louisa, and Henry counties. They brought Austin, their son, into the business when they started looking at expanding territories and services.
Technology, as with any other business, has also had its impact on ServiceMaster’s services. Utterback said insurance companies now grade mitigation providers on a minute-by-minute basis when a property owner has a problem. In addition it’s made the industry more responsive to customers’ needs whether that’s property owners or insurance companies.
“We are tracked and have to report in when we get a bid request from insurance companies. If we don’t respond within in hour or aren’t on site within four hours we lose points and that goes against us when they rate us for their customers,” Utterback said.
“We’re also tracked on drying times and our frequency in checking in on projects to make sure things are going as they should.”
The company has gone through some changes of late including adding additional staff and the Burlington franchise. With close to 50 employees, the company is growing and has plans to continue to grow.
In addition to the 24-hour emergency services, the company now offers fire, water and mold damage remediation, odor and smoke removal, general house and carpet cleaning, power washing houses and decks, tile and grout cleaning, floor waxing and polishing, post construction clean up, marble and terrazzo service, and duct cleaning.
The operations center for Fort Madison can be reached by calling 1-800-584-3364 or (319) 372-5827 and is located at 1502 Avenue L in Fort Madison.