Sean Scott might be a familiar name, as he has been a valued contributor to R&R since at least 2018. Scott has over 43 years of experience in the restoration and construction industry, and has published numerous books, papers and articles including Secrets of The Insurance Game and The Red Guide to Recovery Resource Handbook for Disaster Survivors

Restoration dates back to 1937 in Scott’s family and it is how he found his way to the industry. His father was a fire restoration contractor in Chicago in the 30s, working with the fire chief to rebuild structures damaged by fire. There were no respirators and asbestos was rampant. There was also a higher level of craftsmanship required in rebuilding considering the vast collection of Victorian homes, full of detailed woodwork that is not as common today.  

Scott recalled a gradual, but thorough growth experience from his early days working with his father. 

“Essentially, you start from sweeping floors, digging ditches, setting forms, pouring concrete. You learn – at least I did – every facet of how to build a building, commercial or residential, from the ground up; surveying land, all of it. Then from that it just grows into learning how to run a business, how to deal with employees, compensation packages, sales. There really isn’t a school you can go to to learn this business,” he said. 

Today Scott focuses mostly on consulting; expert witness work; estimating for insurance companies, property owners and attorneys; dispute resolution, largely as a neutral arbitrator; mentoring and coaching. From time to time, he still takes on a good restoration job. 

His passion area is sharing what he’s learned with fellow restorers as well as consumers. 

“I’ve spent millions of dollars in mistakes and that’s what’s given me the ability to write books about my journey,” Scott said. “I just feel like it would be a crime for me not to be able to share lessons learned with all of our industry because there’s no need for others to experience the hardships I did. I love to share and see I’m making a difference and helping people – not just the consumer, but restorers.” 

Scott’s favorite kind of restoration work is fire and smoke damage, primarily residential. He also enjoys working with older homes built in the 1800s, restoring detailed woodwork.  

“I really enjoy being involved in fire restoration because it’s far more complicated than water, mold, sewage or flood damage. Although those can be complex, fire and smoke tend to require a higher level of experience and knowledge to do the job right,” Scott said. 

This episode covers:

  • Where restoration begins in Scott’s family and how he found his way into it
  • The different roles he has played related to property restoration, from estimating services to contracting to authoring
  • Similarities between running an estimating and consulting business, and a restoration company
  • Tips for restoration professionals considering expanding their fire and smoke damage service offerings
  • Scott’s most memorable fire damage restoration project
  • The moving story that inspired Scott to go from restoration and estimating to authoring
  • Takeaways from his publications, Secrets of the Insurance Game, Red Guide to Recovery and The Personal Property Memory Jogger & Home Inventory Tool
  • The biggest lesson Scott has learned over the course of his career
  • Advice for newcomers to the restoration industry
  • A comprehensive list of publications he turns to for inspiration and education
  • How exactly Scott will be more closely partnering with R&R into the future! 

Check out this episode of Ask the Expert to learn more. You can watch the video here or listen to the audio version of our conversation here. You can also find our show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Just search for Restoration & Remediation Ask the Expert, then hit Follow

If you’d like to share your story on a future episode of Real Stories in Restoration, email