Developing a relationship between a restoration provider and a facility management firm provides benefits to both. Rainbow International of Greenville, South Carolina, works to do just that. The company has become a trusted vendor for local property managers by networking, starting small and delivering strong results when needed most.

Ward Prain, account manager for Rainbow International Restoration of Greenville, said the company belongs to and is active in the local apartment managers association. This goes beyond paying dues and having a certificate on the wall in the firm’s office. Rainbow representatives attend the group’s events, with the company often acting as a sponsor.

Rainbow often starts small with a client, performing services such as cleaning carpets and dryer vents. Of course, in a large facility, these “smaller” jobs are actually fairly large, but they are less profitable than major repairs. Eventually, however, they lead to the bigger work.

“We’re building relationships as we service them,” Prain said. “They’re getting to know us, we‘re getting to know them. So when the big ones happen, they trust us.”

Show Up and Do a Good Job

That was the case with Victoria King, a property manager with TriBridge Residential. She met Prain through the association and first contracted with them for carpet and dryer vent cleaning. Soon she was calling them in to handle water damage or clean up after a kitchen fire.

“I knew he and his team were going to show up and do a good job,” King said.

“If you can do the small jobs well and build rapport with the property management companies, you’re going to get referrals, which turns into more business.”

– Ward Prain, Rainbow International

“If you can do the small jobs well and build rapport with the property management companies, you’re going to get referrals, which turns into more business.”

On any given day, Rainbow staff will complete three or four different jobs at a large apartment complex. These range from biohazard clean-up to mold remediation to fire damage. Sprinkler heads go off frequently, which creates the greatest demand, along with hot water heater spills. Condensation leaks are another common source of damage. In one case, Prain said, the tenant left for several months and the leak turned into a major disaster.

The worst event King ever had to call Rainbow involved major water damage. A PVC pipe burst following a weather change, flooding four very large apartment units.

“It was raining water from the second-floor apartments onto the first floor,” she said.

The Rainbow crew was onsite in 10 minutes, King said. This saved the management firm thousands of dollars. Just as important, it made the affected tenants feel better about the situation. The Rainbow technicians’ conduct helped a lot in this area. King said a restoration staff with a positive demeanor who communicate well with residents goes a long way.

“Many times, especially in an after-hours emergency situation, the residents are not in the best of spirits,” she said. “The person going in to handle the emergency, if they can reinforce to the resident with our team that we have it under control, that can de-escalate those emotions.”

Prepared Staff Improve the Process

A prepared property management staff makes the process much easier. Unfortunately, Prain said, that’s often not the case. Often a Rainbow crew rushes to the scene, only to find no one can sign a work authorization form. Sometimes this takes days.

 Other times, the maintenance tech on duty just started last week and has no idea where the water is coming from or how to shut it off. Training staff in these kinds of basics should be part of the onboarding process, King said. At her properties, an emergency plan is in place, which includes posting vendor lists in the office and providing proper signage for evacuation.

“I think it’s honestly one of the most essential, basic approach is to create emergency plan,” King said. “It’s really essential for the property manager to have those discussions with their teams and know how they’re going to handle those situations.”