Water damage restoration is a fairly new industry, experiencing the vast majority of its growth over the last few decades. During that time, it has become clear that this is a unique industry to work in, providing challenges that differ drastically from those faced by other home improvement and repair industries. 
Perhaps that most challenging aspect of working in water damage restoration is trying to find consistent jobs in an unpredictable industry. There is no debate, water damage restoration jobs are hard to find. The first step to embracing and solving the difficulty of finding water damage jobs is recognizing exactly why this challenge exists in the first place, and taking a close look at the strategies that have the most potential to generate income for your business.
At its Core, the Water Damage Industry is Unpredictable
According to the Insurance Information Institute, a single home will only flood once about every 50 years, on average. While homeowners may carefully research a handyman or lawn care provider after moving in, most will not consider researching a water damage expert on the off chance a flood is in their home's near future. If they do deal with water damage in their home, it will be seen as an emergency. Without the time to research, homeowners don’t know where to turn and it isn’t uncommon for them to make a panicked call to their homeowner's insurance agent or to the first plumber they find. Because of the unpredictable nature of the water damage industry, homeowners are most likely to rely heavily on a local plumber, contractor or insurance agent instead of doing their own research to find the right restoration contractor for the job. 
When it comes to residential flooding, only 8 percent of water damage insurance claims are made due to weather-related flooding. According to a study conducted by Roto-Rooter, the remaining water damage-related claims are the result of plumbing problems within the home. Not only does this mean you cannot depend on natural disasters to generate work for your business, it is also a testament to how crucial maintaining strong, mutually beneficial relationships with area plumbers, insurance agents and other contractors is to your success. While it is important to maintain a strong consumer-facing brand in your area, the majority of your leads will likely be passed on to you by those who act as first responders to the homeowners dealing with plumbing failure in their home. 
Using Referral Marketing to Generate More Leads
We’ve already established that homeowners are not typically turning to a water damage restoration contractor as their first point of contact for water damage. Instead, they are turning to their insurance agent or contacting a plumber or contractor who may be able to fix the source of the problem, but isn’t able to provide the necessary cleanup and restoration services. 
Because of this, establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with insurance agents and area contractors will be essential to your success in the water damage restoration industry. Without a strong referral-marketing program that connects you with first responders, you can be sure restoration jobs are passing you by. 
A referral marketing system offers incentive to the individuals most likely to send work your way. Although some companies may hesitate to dedicate a portion of the marketing budget to referrals, it is helpful to understand just how beneficial these relationships can be for your company. Using referrals as one of your primary marketing strategies is a leveraged marketing play; one good referral source has real potential to generate multiple restoration jobs for your company. 
The Changing Role of Insurance Agents in Your Company’s Success
There is no arguing against the idea that maintaining relationships with the home insurance agents serving your area is important to your success. They may be your next clients first call and you want your company’s name on their mind every time they need to refer homeowners to a water damage restoration specialist. Still, the role of insurance agents in your company’s success is changing and this will require you to take a multi-faceted approach to marketing your business. 
Insurance companies are now using CLUE reports, comprehensive loss underwriting exchange, to view all previously filed claims in a homeowner’s history. Using this information, insurance companies may deny coverage to homeowners. As you build healthy communication between your company and insurance agents, work with them to make sure that they understand that a homeowner’s initial phone call may be considered a claim on CLUE reports, even if they choose self-pay to finance their water damage repairs. Because of this, we suggest encouraging insurance agents to refer homeowners for a free house visit and estimate so they can determine if they want to file claim of pay for their repairs out of pocket. 
Additionally, deductibles are increasing, insurance vendors are taking a portion of the claim which is why more homeowners are opting to self-pay for damage instead of filing a claim in hopes of avoiding increased premiums or cancellation. The role of insurance agents in your company’s success is changing, and there may be times they are not a reliable source of income for your business. This is where a multi-faceted approach to marketing your business will come in. By maintain relationships with multiple referrals sources, you can generate more leads for your business from a wide variety of sources. 
Understanding the Role Online Marketing Plays in Water Damage Restoration
As the water damage restoration industry has grown drastically over the last few decades, the competition within the industry has also grown. Because of this, it isn’t uncommon for restoration professionals to discover that their region is more saturated with options for homeowners dealing with flooding in their homes. Additionally, more professionals are seeing the importance of establishing their brand’s presence online, meaning the competition online is also prevalent. 
Those working in water damage restoration can no longer settle for a passive approach to online marketing and rely on the quality of their work to set themselves apart. The prevalence of competition requires an active strategy for establishing your presence and setting yourself apart from the competitors in your area. 
Overall, the most important response to the challenge of finding water damage jobs is a razor-sharp focus on selling the job anytime a lead comes your way. As a water damage restoration expert, you should be closely tracking your closing percentage at all times, paying attention to the marketing strategies that are bringing the most leads your way and the operational practices that are turning these leads in to income producing jobs for your company. Water damage jobs may be difficult to find, but a strongly organized and strategic approach to marketing your business will without a doubt play one of biggest roles in the success of your company.