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Spotlight October eNewsletter

IICRC International Spotlight

Mark Carey, Managing Director
Emergency Property Solutions
Newton, South Australia

How did you land in this industry?

I landed in this industry very much by accident as I was in partnership with another person in a property maintenance business. We decided to grow our business through the acquisition of an industrial cleaning business which did some restoration work. A couple of years later, I bought out my business partner and rebranded the business. We then set about professionalizing the business through training and development of our team.

How are you involved with the IICRC?

Over the last three years or so, we have undertaken a number of IICRC courses. Having achieved the qualifications, we decided to fully commit to the process and become a Certified Firm.

What do you do to market your business?
The majority of our growth over the last six or so years has been organic. Word-of-mouth and referrals are the main source of new work, especially given that we focus on the commercial property management sector – the domestic sector is a market we struggle to compete against small operators.  

To market our business, we use a mixture of networking events combined with having a good website and our listing in the Yellow Pages, which brings in many good leads especially from the mobile platform. Through our sponsorship of local sporting groups, such as the Scouts and a number of select charities, we are able to get our message out. A fully active SEO program and a more active Facebook presence are the next items for improvement.  

If you could give one piece of advice to a young professional starting out in the business, what would it be?
Get properly trained and work with technicians who want to help you grow in the industry. Listen and learn, whilst you can’t put an old head on young shoulders, you can certainly fill the young head with good information if the person wants to learn.

What is the most rewarding thing about owning a cleaning and restoration business?
We deliberately chose the word “solutions” as part of our business name, as we specialize in doing the odd and unusual cleaning, property maintenance and restoration jobs. We get a lot of satisfaction from providing solutions to our clients and their customers’ property issues. Our type of business gets us behind the scenes and into places most people don’t get to go. We also have the opportunity to quote and do some interesting projects (i.e. remove 8 tonne of bird waste from 2 heritage listed crane cabins (70m2 each) without the dust and debris getting into the adjacent water body). A few years back we even got asked to quote for a high pressure wash of a submarine prior to it being put back into the water! We didn’t get that job but it was interesting to quote.

Can you talk about a restoration "horror" story or anything funny you have encountered during your career?
Our horror story was the one that got us into IICRC training and development of our team – a whole house fire clean-up for the largest insurer in our state. We had been knocking on the door for years and finally got a chance and we blew it.  In summary, our quality control was not up to standard. During the final inspection, we opened a built-in cupboard and guess what? We hadn’t even cleaned the inside along with a number of other issues. Fortunately, we had done a good job for the majority of the project; we just needed to finesse the job better. Also, our pricing was not as keen as it should have been due to the poor techniques we were using (inherited from the previous owner). The insurance company’s assessor gave us the chance to fix the problem, which we did, and his feedback helped guide us towards our involvement with the IICRC and membership of the Specialised Cleaning & Restoration Industry Association.




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