Posted: November 02, 2012
Top Company winner: Delta Disaster ServicesNora Caley
Delta Disaster Services
When Michael Mastous moved to Colorado, he thought it would be the perfect place to start a disaster restoration business.
"I didn’t know anyone, and I didn’t have any contacts," says Mastous, who is originally from Wisconsin. "My goal was to do business in the most challenging environment."
One of the challenges was that there was tremendous competition. Mastous says when he founded Delta Disaster Services six years ago, there were 180 operators who had the word "restoration" somewhere in their description. Many of them would only occasionally repair damaged floors and walls after a fire or flood, as a side business. "A lot of competitors are general contractors who back into it," Mastous says. "There are a lot of people in the arena who are not in it full time."
Mastous, who had built restoration businesses in California, decided to differentiate his company by making restoration after a fire, flood, or mold the main focus of the business. Today 75 percent of Delta Disaster Services’ calls are about fire or water damage, caused by everything from unattended cooking to a break in an ice maker’s water line. Most customers are referred by their insurance companies, and Delta Disaster Services does get repeat business. "We have one customer who has called us four or five times," Mastous says.
The other factor that makes Delta Disaster Services different is its franchise model. Mastous worked as director of franchising for the carpet cleaning business Chem-Dry, so he also has a background in recruiting people to open locations of a growing business.
The Delta Disaster Services headquarters in Arvada has 30 employees and 60 contractors. The employees reach the disaster site right after the fire department arrives, and are often welcomed. "People are pleased when we show up," Mastous says. "We are heroes."
Nora Caley is a freelance writer specializing in business and food topics.