Jeff Salmons remembers the phone call from the State Farm adjuster. “We’ve been observing your company for a few months,” the adjuster said. “Would you be interested in doing insurance work?”
“My first reaction was: ‘Hell no! You don’t pay and when you do it’s not enough,’” Salmons says. The agent suggested lunch. Salmons listened, signed up, and found himself lucky when the 2008 recession ravaged the remodeling industry.
House Works uses guerrilla marketing-type branding campaigns to create top-of-mind awareness. The company helps build its brand with a line of private label products, four so far, including a barbecue sauce it distributes at local banks when giving away free burgers and hot dogs. The barbecue sauce “doesn’t go in the drawer, like a pen would,” Salmons says. Its message “We should be your next phone call if you ever have to call an adjuster.”
- After initially re-directing its marketing message from homeowners to insurance agents and adjusters, House Works now favors gorilla marketing type branding campaigns using private label food products to create top-of-mind awareness. The line consists of four barbecue items, including red pepper sauce, distributed when the company sets up its barbecue rig at local banks and gives away free burgers and hot dogs on Friday afternoons. The barbecue sauce “doesn’t go in the drawer, like a pen would” and the message is: ‘We should be your next phone call if you ever have to call an adjuster.’
- Insurance restoration falls into three broad areas: weather, water and large loss. And though “we will do anything attached to an insurance check,” the owners of House Works made a decision to specialize in “large loss,” which mostly includes fires.
- Once an adjuster assigns the job to House Works, the company contacts the property owner within an hour, sends the board-up team to secure the location with plywood and caution tape, and the job is turned over to one of the company’s six managers, who “owns that job, cradle to grave,” Salmon says.
- House Works can speedily restore “large loss” homes, getting homeowners back into their rebuilt dwellings and saving insurers the large sums paid out as “Additional Living Expenses,” i.e., hotel rooms and meals.
- House Works spends “a ton of money” cleaning up, i.e., requires that its subcontractors clean up every site, every day, by placing debris in contractor bags at the curb so that “the city and neighbors aren’t complaining. A huge difference.” House Works also provides homeowners with a five-year workmanship warranty, backed by insurers it works with.
- Salmon is president of the Jackson, MS Home Builders Association and a regional vice president of the industry group.