If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times, "Let's go to Florida I hear there is so much money to be made doing hurricane losses". Well there is and there isn't, it all depends on how prepared you are to handle the issues that will most definitely come up.
- Lodging: If you have a crew you must be prepared to house them for an extended period of time. This can get very expensive and don't expect to pay for hotels with money you will collect because that will not happen.
- Perdiem: Also a very expensive endeavor. Think about $ 45.00 per day per crew member for 3 months.
- Coverage: Important fact to remember, Most insured have no idea what is covered in their policy and you could perform a 20K mitigation job without coverage.
- FEMA: Lets take that 20K mitigation loss mentioned above. With FEMA that invoice of 20K can end up being 10K and there is not a thing you can do about it because like they say "you can't fight city hall"
- Customers at Home: This goes without being said but, the fastest way to lose good customers at home is to neglect their needs while you are gone. Make sure they know whats going on and who will be their contact while you are out of town.
- Equipment: Fastest way to lose expensive equipment while out of town is the same as when you are in town, bad tracking procedures. The only problem is when you are at home equipment is easy to pick up once you finally locate them. Out of town equipment will be an expensive endeavor to retrieve by shipping or trekking back to pick up.
Now these are only a few of the issues small restoration contractors can face but there are some things you can do to avoid problems for future CAT losses. First of all the cost of doing business on a CAT is expensive. I would put money away all year so you have the funds to support at least 2 months of expenses.
Before performing the mitigation it would be wise to contact the customer's insurance agent. They can supply the policy information for coverage and deductibles. Also it is imperative to collect a deposit before starting the mitigation project.
Make sure you know and understand the FEMA guidelines so you do not perform services you will not be paid for because FEMA will not negotiate.
If you are prepared and educated, CAT losses can make your year and help grow your company for years to come. You just need to think and protect yourself from the unknown problems that can occur when you travel out of town. Hope this helped and good luck and happy trails!