Amid Unprecedented Weather Events, Disaster Cleanup Franchise Servpro Saw 20% Financial Growth

A year of extraordinary weather had the company has been busier than ever, which landed them the #8 spot on our Franchise 500 ranking.

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This story appears in the January 2022 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Started franchising: 1969        Total units: 1,930        Cost to open: $191.8K-$245.7K

Courtesy of Servpro

As a disaster cleanup company, Servpro couldn’t have been better positioned for the last two years. In the past 12 months alone, it helped during snow and ice storms that caused widespread power outages and burst water pipes in Texas and dozens of other states. The summer brought crippling heat waves, some of the largest fires in history on the West Coast, floods from Hurricane Ida in September, and ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks with the Delta variant. More than 1,900 Servpro franchises stood ready to respond to whatever crises were in their regions, fueling a projected financial growth of more than 20% for 2021. “The work they did is the biggest part of that,” says CEO Rick Isaacson.

While Servpro was helping with the onslaught of external catastrophes, its franchisees also had to navigate an internal one. The labor shortage made hiring difficult, particularly in an industry full of dirty work. But the company stepped up support with a national ad campaign to highlight the benefits of working at Servpro. It also launched a new technology platform that aggregates all participating franchise job openings across the nation, allowing job seekers to easily search open positions in their region. Both efforts drove a record number of applicants. “Focusing on our team is critical right now,” says Isaacson. “We want to remind people that what they do makes a difference.”

Related: Servpro's Business Is Booming As It Helps Clean Up Covid

This year Servpro will roll out another first-of-a-kind tech platform that documents everything done on a project with photos and measurements to make jobs faster and easier.

All of this was clearly compelling to prospective franchisees, which helped Servpro add more than 85 new units in 2021 and land in the Top 10 for the second consecutive year (and for the ninth time in company history). Servpro invests in national advertising to ensure it remains the brand people think of when disaster strikes, a decision the company made 20 years ago. “We’re now the leader in our space because of it,” Isaacson says. “It’s important to have brand equity because we don’t know what tomorrow brings.”

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