Restorer's Perspective: Who Are the Rebels?
The Restoration Rebels and the movement they support exist to take back the restoration industry we love.
We remember why we got into (and stayed) in the restoration field: because we love helping people. Why else would we have stayed all these years? Lord knows there are easier ways to make a living.
We exist because no one else has stepped up to fight for us. So, we have become the leaders we need.
If the following article inspires you, I invite you to do something about it. We still have room for more Rebels. My name is Andy McCabe – your Restoration Rebel leader.
“Don’t we have an association for that?”
There are industry groups which have existed for longer than most of us have been in restoration. These groups started in much the same way the Rebel movement started: like-minded folks looked around and decided that for the good of the whole, an organization must be formed.
Things were good. Initiatives were undertaken. Goals were set and achieved. A united voice was heard and heeded. The organizations grew and foundations were set for a future of learning and comradery. Then something happened.
Or, rather, nothing happened.
Be Relevant, or Die
In the book Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam describes the decline of social clubs and charitable organizations in the United States over the past 25 years.
I’ve seen the same decline in my local adjuster’s association. The annual symposium was a standing-room-only event. The golf tournament “suffered” from OVER attendance, with vendors practically wrestling to sponsor holes and long-drive contests. Coffers were full and life was good. The monthly luncheon was a great place to meet industry leaders and to find a job if you were just starting out.
Fast forward 15 years. This last year, the annual golf tournament almost didn’t happen, and the monthly luncheon is a contractor and lawyer meet and greet. The adjusters simply don’t show up anymore.
The things that people joined associations for have changed. Folks used to get together to fulfill needs that they couldn’t get in other places. Community, belonging, and social relevance are things which were provided by belonging to an association. Belonging to a tribe was, and still is, important.
These things are all online now. Social media has given us a more efficient way to find “our people.” “Work/life balance” has created a culture of people who want to actively turn off their “work” as soon as they leave the office. Job seekers have LinkedIn and Indeed.
Instead of taking the lead on national issues, some of our “associations” became consumed with political infighting and distracted by one-upmanship. Where there should have been advocacy and lobbying, there were trade shows and “white papers.” Mission statements became watered-down versions of something that had meaning once. Trade associations and clubs are quickly losing relevance. It’s time to take action.
The Rebel Response
I’ve been a rebel for as long as I can remember. The surest way to get me to do something is to say it can’t be done.
I’ve been writing Xactimate estimates independently for five years now. At the outset, there were very few who agreed that I was headed down the right path. “You can’t do that,” was the most common response when I explained my business model. “That will never work.”
So I turned to social media. Here was this messaging channel that was free, democratic, and allowed me to be laser-focused on a niche of a niche market. I started a YouTube channel. And a Google Local Business, and podcast, and self-published a book.
There was no one there to tell me “it will never work.”
And then it worked. I was able to build a client base of like-minded contractors who understood my new value proposition. The most common response I receive is “man, I wish I’d known this service existed years ago.” The solution was simple and folks find it difficult to imagine how they ran their businesses without it.
Fast-forward a couple years and my rebel spirit just keeps leaking out. I’ve got a library of YouTube videos getting hundreds of views every month. The seeds of discontent have been planted.
I’ve worked for more restoration companies than I care to admit. I’ve worked in the good times and lived in the bad times. I have seen how the restoration industry has changed, and can see a better future. And, yes, I’ve been fairly vocal about it. When I see carriers and TPAs telling contractors how to run their businesses, I can’t just look the other way.
My platform began to really take shape in the fall of 2016. Weekly phone calls and daily emails from complete strangers became something I could no longer just ignore. “Andy, I’ve been following what you’re doing...” or “I’ve watched every one of your videos...” and “what can I do to help?”
My inner rebel had begun to touch YOUR inner rebel
Why isn’t anyone saying anything? Aren’t we all experiencing the same problems? Am I the only one who has to fight carriers for every little thing? Don’t we have industry groups who can advocate on our behalf?
What about the big franchises? Don’t they feel the same pain?
The restoration industry today is like a pot of boiling frogs. The water used to be a nice temp. We all hopped in and started swimming around. Profits were acceptable, growth was the norm, and we all got along fairly well.
Then someone started turning up the heat. With the rise of TPAs and vendor programs, it has never been more difficult to be a restoration contractor. Endless middlemen are taking their cuts and good businesses are going under every day. The industry service providers are the frogs, and the water is now boiling.
We need more leaders showing us the better path. No one is advocating and working to help the restoration contractor.
Except US. We are the Rebels.
We are contractors who believe in serving one client: the insured. Our loyalty is not for sale.
We believe that restoration is a craft which cannot be taught in a three-day seminar. We know that when things get tough, it is our reputations and relationships in our local markets which will see us through.
We believe the only one who will help us, IS us. The only survivors of the impending transformation of the P&C market will be those who are proactively changing their processes now.
The RESTORATION2.0 Movement exists to help restoration owners and operators survive the impending market shakeup, and thrive in the NEXT version of the restoration industry. Our purpose is the affect the claims process for outcomes which best benefit our client: the insured.
As we gain momentum, the Rebels are coming together for the Restoration 2.018 event in Nashville this May 4-5th. To learn more, head over to RestorationRebels.com.