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State of the state: franchising

When Centennial resident Kathy Lawrence's condo community decided to undergo a roof remodeling project, she ended up having water coming through her walls, thanks to a rainstorm that hit during construction. A neighbor facing the same chaos referred Lawrence to Delta Disaster Services.

The Arvada-based reconstruction and mitigation company has plans to grow via national franchising despite the economy. Founded in 2006, Delta Disaster Services handles any property damage-related project from emergency water removal to complete reconstruction.

Founder and President Michael Mastous attributes Delta Disaster Services' success to a full-service business plan and the fact that property damage due to fires, floods and other environmental disasters is recession resistant, providing steady work for skilled general contractors.

"Unlike other reconstruction companies, we take the initial call for emergency work and take that all the way through the reconstruction process as general contractors," Mastous said. "When you're dealing with disasters, time is extremely important. We're here to offer peace of mind in uncertain times."

When Lawrence called Delta Disaster Services after being referred by a neighbor, she didn't expect them to come to her home on a Friday night or be so understanding of her traumatic experience.
"When you've got that much damage in your home, your sanctuary, you want it put back together as quickly as possible," Lawrence said. "The gentlemen that did the reconstruction couldn't be more wonderful. They even took care of the paperwork, which took stress away from dealing with the insurance company."

The slowdown of new housing construction has made it difficult for general contractors to find profit, which makes reconstruction work ideal for homebuilders and remodelers. Delta Disaster Services experienced a doubling of revenue during the first two years of its operation.

Through its franchise development team, Delta Development Group, the company plans to have five new units by the end of 2011 and an additional 20 by the end of 2013. Locations include southern Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Missouri and Oklahoma. A conservative and controlled business plan ensures success, Mastous said.

"I think franchising is a great opportunity to put people in business and show them how to build a national organization," Mastous said. "By building a proper foundation for franchises, they will grow themselves."

Before partnering with a group of individuals to become pioneers in full-service restoration in the early '90s, Mastous was the director of national and international franchising at Chem-Dry. He conducted full-service operations during disasters such as the Malibu fires and the Northbridge earthquake.

Mastous also worked as an expert property claims consultant where he was the first responder on many disasters such as the Los Alamos fires, the Oklahoma tornadoes and Hurricane Katrina. Delta Disaster Services was one of the first reconstruction companies called up to Boulder during the Fourmile Canyon fire in September.

"We understand that people don't expect to ever have to deal with us; they don't expect to be involved in a disaster," Mastous said. "Hopefully, we deal with someone once in their lives, if ever. We don't have repeat customers."
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Patricia Kaowthumrong

Patricia Kaowthumrong is a student at the University of Colorado School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Contact her at Patricia.Kaowthumrong@colorado.edu.

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