Insurance restoration is certainly a different animal than other areas of remodeling. Companies like Georgia Property Restoration (GPR) must please two clients: insurance carriers and homeowners.

Regarding the first, Tom Witts says that what makes his company stand out is its commitment to customer service. “I tell adjustors that if they get a complaint from a homeowner, it's one we don't know about, because if we had heard it, we would've fixed it,” he says. In 2002, after having done business primarily with one insurance carrier for four years, Witts made the smart decision to spread his work around. “I felt uncomfortable,” he says. “If they decided they were mad at me, I'd be in big trouble.” GPR now works with more than a dozen carriers annually.

As for following through on that customer service promise, GPR does all the customary niceties like dust protection. But Witts says his company stands out because of one woman, vice president of operations Lynda Huff, whose duties include setting appointments and scheduling work. But her most important role is that of mother— or perhaps big sister. “Lynda listens,” Witts says, noting that GPR customers are given her phone number and the green light to call her 24/7. “She assures them that everything is going to be OK.”