A numbers game

1-800 Water Damage mops up revenue in local market

It’s possible for a new business to have a phone number before deciding on a name, but to get them both in the same swipe isn’t very likely.

When Jim and Pam Chiodo were narrowing down opportunities for opening a business franchise, 1-800 Water Damage was one of the first they threw out of a list of 20 recommended by a consultant. But with the consultant’s urging, the couple included it in a short list of four they decided to research further. And while initial interest and knowledge of the business was minimal, the more they looked at it, the more it made sense.

The Chiodos learned it isn’t always best to choose a franchise based on what one is most comfortable with, "Because then you end up being the technician instead of running the business," said Jim Chiodo.

Headquartered in Seattle, 1-800 Water Damage has more than 80 locations throughout the country. The Chiodo’s location is the first in this market.

Although there are a number of competitors in the area, Chiodo said there is a lot of business.

Customers are guaranteed service within 90 minutes and 1-800 Water Damage relies on Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification requirements that specify techniques and equipment to properly dry structures. The business focuses on repairing damage, many times with carpet and furniture in place. Even wet drywall can become dry again.

Clients typically require the company’s service following a burst pipe or failing gutters or broken supply lines to appliances.

The Chiodos began operating their business from the new Minnehaha Business Park in September with the goal of generating $150,000 in revenue the first year. And while things began slowly – they became their second customers when a tree limb crashed through their home’s roof during heavy rains – business eventually picked up, significantly. Within the first six weeks, the business had generated $50,000 in revenue. Within a month, the business had reached a level the Chiodo’s hadn’t expected to see before eight months. Despite a scary start, the couple has adjusted projections upward with plans to continue growing the business.

The bulk of customers are in the Vancouver area, but their territory extends as far north as Lacey. The business employs one office worker, and 1-800 Water Damage relies on independent contractors to perform its services. Chiodo said a third contractor may be added within two months. But bigger plans call for entering the Portland market within five years, possibly sooner.

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