“We’re restoration contractors,” says Sean Wilson, “not just demo-remodeling contractors.” Making that distinction has kept Wilson on top with both insurance companies and consumers.

Wilson trains his crew to make clients feel comfortable from the start. “Most people have never gone through a disaster before and don’t understand why we have to break down our estimates in such detail for the insurance carrier,” Wilson says. The company does two estimates on most jobs. Once clients settle with their insurance company to cover what they need, they often choose to add to a project. Wilson hires an outside architect if needed, but mostly works directly with clients on design.

• Although the company’s main marketing thrust is to insurers, Wilson has also begun doing radio ads on a home improvement show aimed at homeowners. “I’m not looking for jobs,” Wilson says, “[I’m] looking to go to a home and have people say, ‘I’ve heard of you.’” That goes a long way toward building trust and making clients feel open enough to rely on S&J.

• Wilson has bonus systems for management and for field: 50% is based on performance; 50% on customer service scores. On the production side, if they hit it right, Wilson takes 10% of net and divides it among the workers annually.

• Crews use thermal imaging cameras and moisture meters.

• Everyone uses touchscreen laptops and can estimate right on site.