Managing a 70/30 split of insurance restoration and kitchen-and-bath remodeling requires organization. “Communication is really the hardest part about being a contractor,” says Gainesville Restoration president Chris Pickering.

To make it more manageable, Gainesville Restoration uses whiteboards to keep a two-week view on projects. “This makes it easy for the salesperson to call the client regularly and let them know what’s happening next,” Pickering says. “There might be times when we’re not on the job for two or three days because we’re templating granite, but we don’t want the client to feel ignored during that time. We always keep the client in the loop.”


—Pickering is able to earn a relatively high margin on his remodeling work and is able to cut into it slightly to draw customers. Advertising a 10%-off coupon in a discount book attracts new clients, but the numbers play out in such a way that the reduction is only about 5% for the company.

—A cross-trained staff that can handle insurance restoration and standard remodeling jobs helps keep the company running lean. The staff includes crew members trained in framing, roofing, and demolition, plus two master carpenters “who can do it all,” Pickering says.

—Pickering owns a second insurance restoration and remodeling company in Ocala, Fla., which is managed by his father and business partner. The two companies are entirely separate, but Pickering and his dad meet weekly for at least three hours to keep up to speed on what’s going on at each location.