Paul Davis Restoration is a North American franchise that was founded in 1966 in Jacksonville, Florida, with the vision to provide extraordinary care while serving people in their time of need. When there is no time for second best, this full-service residential and commercial emergency cleanup and restoration business tackles disasters of all sizes.
Paul Davis has been active in Canada since 1986 and under new leadership, has shifted into assertive growth mode. In 2015 Paul Davis, U.S. and Paul Davis Canada unified and unveiled refreshed branding. Three years following, in 2018, long-serving team member Bill Dietz was promoted to President of Paul Davis Canada, and is looking forward to expanding the franchise into new territory.
“Over the last number of years we have re-energized as an organization,” says Dietz. “We are proactively looking to lead this industry. We are excited about the team that we have built of franchisees, and our corporate team in Canada and in North America. We are excited about the future and focused on becoming number one in this space.”
Paul Davis operates under four core values: deliver what you promise, respect the individual, have pride in what you do, and practice continuous improvement. “Our focus has always been to be innovative and try to lead the industry with technology that delivers great service to both our customers and insurance clients,” adds Dietz.
Paul Davis was acquired by FirstService Brands, a major provider of property services in 1997. The family of companies is known for its relentless focus on the customer experience. FirstService adopted the Net Promoter System (NPS) across its businesses in 2008, and this system allows Paul Davis Restoration and its sister companies to connect better with their customers and use the feedback to improve operations.
“We adopted NPS over a decade ago. It’s a way for us to measure at the end of each project – and in many cases throughout the project – how we are doing for our customers and clients. We take a lot of pride in it. It is not only just knowing what our score is… We seek to understand what we can do differently or what patterns are emerging that we need to fix in each of our locations, to ensure that we are delivering a world-class brand experience,” Dietz explains.
As part of Paul Davis’ parent company campaign and hashtag, #FirstServeOthers, the company puts a focus on community involvement at an individual franchise level, altogether supporting hundreds of thousands of local charities. Moreover, it has a FirstService Relief Fund (FRF) created by the parent company that will assist anyone within the company who happens to be going through hardships.
Indeed, Paul Davis Restoration seeks to be an employer of choice and a good corporate citizen. In April of 2018, the company won the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) Gold Award of “Excellence in Franchising,” in its category as a non-traditional (not food-related) business. The award is granted based on a survey of franchisees, and is directly driven by their sentiments toward the overall organization, making the award a great honour to receive.
There are many ways that Paul Davis Restoration develops its employees. Through its Leadership Development Program, the company offers learning opportunities to its corporate team and franchisees. The training includes topics such as coaching, running an effective meeting, dealing with conflict, situational leadership, and more.
“In our industry, we have a number of certifications, IICRC and otherwise, that we need to be trained on in order to do the work properly,” explains Dietz. “But beyond the physical work that we strive to be world class in, we have also created a leadership and management program that delivers both classroom training and specific certifications that our current and future leaders can earn through one-on-one coaching.
On top of IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certifications on drying building structures, deodorizing after a fire, and other topics, Paul Davis Restoration also makes use of a very sophisticated online Learning Management Tool named Paul Davis University. It provides ongoing support for everybody from the general managers to the technicians, who can access training resources both on how to run a business and also how to perform effectively in the field.
Paul Davis Restoration also conducts training and hosts industry events for insurance professionals at its large training center at its Jacksonville headquarters and throughout North America. The center even has a recently upgraded flood house, so insurers can see how Paul Davis’ work is done and trainees can get hands-on experience. “We do everything from courses on water mitigation to applied structural drying, fire, odour and trauma scene cleanup. We bring in subject matter experts to do lead and mold courses as well. We’ve got an industry leading team there that does training for the whole network and our key insurance partners,” says Dietz.
Paul Davis Restoration is always looking for potential franchisees, but has a rigorous process that candidates must undergo to ensure they’re a good fit for the business, both from a personality standpoint and a business and capital perspective. A background in construction is not a prerequisite, but it is certainly helpful and preferred. Many Paul Davis Restoration franchisees were once in related businesses, such as general contracting or carpet cleaning.
“We are looking for people who are strong leaders, strong business people, who understand how to run a team and a more sophisticated business with a number of different elements to it,” shares Dietz. “These include emergency services, rebuilding structures, and moving and cleaning contents that are stored on the premises. There are a lot of moving parts, so we need bright people with smart business acumen, well capitalized, but most importantly, someone who shares our values and will deliver a great brand experience – someone who will take care of our customers.”
Even with all of these pieces in place, starting a new business is always challenging. Paul Davis Restoration makes sure that its franchisees are set up for success through the support of its dedicated and ever-growing corporate team. The Paul Davis network includes key partners, subject matter experts, an advertising team that will help new franchisees launch a marketing plan, an accounting specialist, and a business development team that can help them score their first clients.
In fact, the company as a whole has been revamping its social media and online marketing efforts in order to continue to propel its growth forward by complementing its nationwide TV campaign. Paul Davis Restoration’s goal is to be the premier property restoration company in Canada, both in size and brand experience. In particular, the company is actively growing its footprint with commercial work to achieve the ideal residential-commercial balance.
“Recently, we got a new Canadian franchise sales website, and we use search engine optimization tools to target the specific areas where we don’t currently have a franchise. We are also looking to make acquisitions of independent operators. So in some these areas, if there is an independent operator there now, we would be interested in an acquisition if the people fit with our vision, values, and mission,” explains Dietz.
Online outreach coupled with a clear branding strategy is one way that Paul Davis has been attracting the right franchisees to its team. Dietz also believes that looking within the network at existing franchisees and their colleagues is another effective method.
“We would also like to grow through some of our strong existing operators,” he says. “We are conducting specific searches online and through print media looking for the right people; we are being very selective. We have a person, Director of Franchise Development Dan Hopkins, who focuses on franchise sales. That is his sole job: to fill those remaining locations with quality people, being very particular about whom we bring on the team, through our franchise sales team and networking with our current operators.”
In the short term, Dietz says the franchise would like to add another 15 locations in Canada. There are over 370 in total, with most being in the United States.
“In Canada we’re at just under 60 locations right now – 58. We can add another 15 viable locations, and we would like to achieve that in the next two to three years.”
To learn more about whether Paul Davis Restoration is the right opportunity for you, please visit www.pauldavis.com.