Photo: Compoa

Diversification keeps Jack Anderson (Big50 1991) busy. To his original company, Insurance Reconstruction Services, he has added Tech Design/Build & Remodeling, which does non-insurance work —kitchens, baths, and additions —and a subsidiary of that called Greenville Kitchens & Baths, a showroom and design facility that sells kitchen and custom cabinets.

Most recently, Anderson formed another corporation, Enviro-Clean, which has two areas of expertise: mold remediation and structural drying. His son Eric runs that business, and in the three-plus years since it started, Enviro-Clean has become the largest division of all of Anderson's companies. “How many fathers can say ‘My 28-year-old kid is making money for me?'” Anderson asks.

The businesses — none are franchises — are designed to complement one another. “In [maybe] 50% of fires you get insurance work in the kitchen,” Anderson says. “What that also means is that we can feed Greenville [Kitchens & Baths], so we're cross-selling.”

He is also able to keep his staff busy all year long. In the Northeast — Anderson is located in Smithfield, R.I. — insurance work occurs more often during the winter due to an increase in fires and storm damage, and remodeling is the mainstay the rest of the year. Although Anderson owns all the entities, each has its own chief operating officer who reports to him, and Eric owns part of Enviro-Clean.

Having so many businesses seems complicated, but Anderson says it isn't. “The office and administrative staffs are employed by Insurance Reconstruction Services,” he says. “We handle the rest through management fees or percentages.” For example, two full-time secretaries, as well as a controller and a bookkeeper, are employed by Insurance Reconstruction Services but do work for the other companies, which contribute a percentage based on gross sales. Each business has its own salesforce and does its own marketing, with occasional cross-marketing. “We sub out all trades but do all carpentry in-house to maintain close control,” says Anderson, who is conscientious about being sensitive to clients' lives. “You're not building a house; you're working on somebody's home.”