Unlike many that stumble with in-house fabric/textile restoration, Soil Away Cleaning and Restoration Services makes sure this service is much more than a “side gig” or afterthought.
There are two basic routes of fabric and textile restoration – either contract the work out with a dry cleaning firm or certified franchise qualified in the trade or a contractor can bring the equipment in house and do it themselves.
After years of doing this by way of the former method, New England-based Soil Away Cleaning and Restoration Services has recently brought such services in house, having acquired an Esporta wash machine at the end of 2013 in an effort to become more of a “one-stop shop.” Currently, they’re the only Esporta user in their geographical area.
“We had a good relationship with the dry cleaner, we trusted them, they did a good job, it wasn’t an issue with them as far as referring work out,” says Josh Solloway, Soil-Away’s Director of Client Services. “It was a matter of differentiating ourselves amongst what you would consider your average or typical contractor. There’s multiple spokes to the wheel – differentiating, marketing, being a one-stop shop, so to speak.”
Unlike many businesses that bring services in house, Soil-Away has a good system in place regarding textile and fabric restoration so it’s a priority and not an afterthought to the fire, water and mold services that it provides. Several employees have been cross-trained on the machine and are dedicated to jobs accordingly. Solloway himself is also qualified to use the equipment. Aside from personnel, Soil Away has also dedicated space within its facility to soft contents restoration. The space consists of a drying room with a commercial dryer, tables, folding materials, steam irons, conditioning products and a packing and a storage area.
“To be good at it, you have to be dedicated at it,” Solloway says. “It can’t just be a side gig or an afterthought. You can screw up. If you work hard and you’re organized, it can be very easy.”
So far, the investment has been well worth it. Solloway says they’ve gotten involved with losses where their competitors were doing structural drying, but they’ve handled the contents.
“That’s revenue we never would have seen if we didn’t have this equipment,” he says. “It’s allowed us to build relationships with new insurance companies because they’re all looking for ways to save money if they can restore and not replace. They’re all ears when they hear they can save money.”
Solloway relays a recent water loss Soil-Away worked, a shower leak in a high-end home’s master bathroom which seeped into the master closet undetected. The closet required a full mold remediation, but the clothes were another story. Solloway says the insurer valued the contents of the closet at $26,000, which Soil-Away cleaned for about $8,000. He says they were able to salvage 99% of its contents.
“The (machine) does a lot of things that the dry cleaner can’t do,” Solloway says. “For example, mold-effected or Category 3-affected items. It also does more items. We did see a lot of stuff being left behind by the dry cleaners. It could be a pillow or a stuffed animal or shoes – the (machine) can clean all that stuff… at least we’ve had success with it.”