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Avoid These Missteps Following a Flood

7/27/2021 (Permalink)

mold growth on the bottom of a wall in the bathroom Flooding caused mold damage

After a Flood, Avoid These Common Blunders

Flood water in your home is one of the biggest nightmares you could face. Even minor house floods can cause widespread damage, while severe flooding can destroy your house and even cause harm. If you’ve experienced a flood in your Yucaipa, CA, home, you want to take the right steps. The wrong course of action could lead to further damage and escalated costs. Here are some hints to help you avoid taking a misstep following a flood in your home.

Don’t Wear the Wrong Gear

Once you notice you’ve got a flooded home, you need to inspect the damage. It’s essential that you visit every room in your house and assess where the damage is most significant. As you do this, make sure you take steps to provide for your own safety and that you’re wearing the proper protective clothing. These include:

  • Wear knee-high rubber boots.
  • Wear latex gloves.
  • Wear a mask.

Stay out of the Water

As you look for water damage, you want to avoid standing water. Not only is this a breeding ground for bacteria, microbes and other harmful substances including sewage, but there’s also a strong potential for electric shock.

Keep Your Hands and Face Out of the Way

Flood water is nothing to take lightly. There’s a strong chance it contains black water, which is water that has mixed with sewage. It may contain feces and urine from sewers or from overflowing toilets. If you make the mistake of letting it come into contact with your skin, you could get seriously ill. Worse, if you ingest this water, it could be fatal.

Don’t Delay Cleanup

The results of flood water could be devastating, so you don’t want to let a minute pass by before you contact your insurance company or start the cleanup process. Better yet, contact a restoration professional immediately for assistance in the cleanup process.

5 Steps To Keep Your Restaurant Mold-Free

7/20/2021 (Permalink)

Black mold contamination on a drywall. Mold damage

Five Steps To Prevent Mold

Dealing with mold is an issue no restaurant owner wishes to endure. The high humidity of a busy kitchen can be the perfect breeding ground for it, but as inevitable as mold spores are in the environment, mold growth is an avoidable occurrence you can help prevent with these five simple steps:

1. Keep Humidity Levels Low

The EPA recommends interior humidity levels be kept between 30 and 50 percent to limit the possibility of mold development. Aim for the ideal level of 40 percent by utilizing fans and dehumidifiers in key locations such as the kitchen, bathroom and basement.

2. Maintain Ventilation Systems

The nature of a restaurant kitchen creates immense amounts of water and steam, making ideal conditions for mold spores to develop. Ensure there is an efficient ventilation system in place in the kitchen and dishwashing area. Regular maintenance checks should verify the system is clean and functioning properly.

3. Clean Regularly and Thoroughly

Mold thrives in dark, damp places that are often unseen to the obvious line of vision. The nooks and crannies of a restaurant kitchen can create ample opportunities for mold to develop: underneath sinks, behind appliances, or within refrigerators. Move equipment often, checking for moisture or water damage and cleaning on top, underneath, and behind all surfaces to minimize the opportunity for growth.

4. Inspect All Food

Chefs and cooks should be well-trained to identify signs of mold growth on food. Mold spores spread quickly, and any contaminated food could not only infect other food items but also spread to all areas of the kitchen.

5. Schedule Professional Inspections

Prevention is the preferred method when it comes to mold growth. To keep your Redlands, CA, restaurant running fungus-free, it is best to schedule a consultation with the professionals. A mold remediation team has IICRC training credentials paired with high-tech equipment to verify your restaurant is not only mold-free but also at low risk for any future development. With a clean kitchen and professional contact, mold should find no home in your restaurant!

Why Is There an Adjuster Coming to the House?

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

Drywall removed due to pipe broken Water damage inside walls in a Redlands, CA home.

After a flood in Redlands, CA, you may be surprised by some of the to-dos you have. Calling in a local remediation team is a no-brainer, but do you really have to work with a home adjuster? Sure, you want your insurance to help pay for the damages, but can't the cleanup crew help you with the claims process? Your insurance provider may have several reasons for sending out an adjuster. Taking the time to work with this professional can help speed up your claim.

Damage Assessment

While your cleanup professionals can help you assess the damage done to your house, your insurance provider may want their own expert to take a look too. This extra set of eyes helps them get a better understanding of the following:

  • The damage done to your house
  • Personal property loss
  • The cause of the flooding

Your insurance claim may rely on a detailed inventory of damage and proof of loss, which is why it's important for you to allow the agent of the insurance company to come to your house.

Contractor Agreement

Your provider may also have a select list of contractors they want you to work with to make the repairs on your house. The home adjuster can help you get in touch with those contractors or approve the professional you're already working with.

Policy Overview

Not all sources of flooding are covered by a standard homeowner's policy. The inspector may need to come to your property to figure out what caused the water damage. He or she may help you better understand the causes covered by your current policy. Having an overview of your coverages prior to a disaster can make it easier for you to react appropriately should your home be affected by floods, mold growth, or fire.

Not all insurance companies require a home adjuster to make an on-site visit after a flood. If your provider wants to send this agent, make sure you cooperate with him or her.

Learn How To Properly Prevent a Cigarette Fire From Happening in Your Home

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

young man smoking outside at house balcony Take the cigarette outside.

Prevent a Cigarette Fire In Your Home

If you smoke cigarettes, it’s important for you to know how to prevent a cigarette fire from taking place in your home. It may seem like something that is preventable, but people have lost their lives due to fires that were started by a cigarette or the ash it leaves behind. There are three steps you should follow if you want to stay safe in Yucaipa, CA.

1. Don’t smoke in your bed. If you’re feeling tired and want to have a quick smoke, you may normally sit in bed with the ashtray and take a few puffs. This is a dangerous game to play because if you’re too exhausted, you could pass out on the bed with a lit cigarette in your hand that could end up causing a massive cigarette fire. If you’re going to smoke, make sure you’re not doing it in your bed.

2. Don’t use a traditional ashtray. A lot of people think ashtrays are safe to use, but they do pose some serious risks. In some cases, the ash doesn’t go out and ends up spreading even further, creating an ashtray fire. It’s better to smoke outside or to dump your ashes in water as soon as you’re done smoking so that you know everything is put out.

3. Take the cigarette outside. Rather than smoking in your home and dealing with the odor and all the potential risks, stand on your porch or sit in your backyard when smoking. It’s the absolute best way for you to prevent a cigarette fire in the home.

Many people have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a fire caused by a cigarette. Those people may have needed help from a professional fire cleanup company to salvage their belongings and restore their homes. If you want to prevent a cigarette fire, don’t smoke in bed, don’t use an ashtray, and simply smoke while you’re outside instead of inside the home in Yucaipa, CA.

Where Is the Post-Flood Stink Coming From?

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on wall Flooding caused mold damage in a Yucaipa, CA home.

Mold growth and odors are just some of the There are many obnoxious and lingering side effects that could occur in your facility after your business was the victim of damage from floodwater:

  • Mold growth
  • Unpleasant odors
  • Bacterial proliferation

There are plenty of ways that the recovery pros in Mentone, CA, handle these side effects. In fact, many professional practices are designed to recover from initial problems while simultaneously preventing future issues.

Cleaning

While it's generally a good idea to throw away all the porous items that were affected by flooding, some textile items, such as waterproof coverings, might be salvageable. Other items, such as upholstered furniture, will simply contribute to your risk of mold growth and terrible odors. Most disaster relief companies can make recommendations about what to keep and what to throw away. They also usually have partnerships with large commercial cleaners, so you can take advantage of the discounts available due to the economy of scale.

Odor Control
Trust your nose when it comes to bad odors after a flood. Residual water might start to cause a stink if it's left alone. Of course, time isn't the only thing that causes water to smell bad. If your facility's bathroom gets backed up, you'll face expensive sewage loss and the nasty smells associated with it. Acting fast according to best practices with commercial-grade antiseptics and deodorants minimizes your cost and discomfort.

Act Quickly, Clean Thoroughly
If you leave it alone, you could end up with black mold problems, insect infestation and even rodent invasion. Cleanup for these problems almost always involves several steps — and possibly multiple reoccurrences. Taking care of the flood decisively minimizes your chance of these secondary issues.
Odor, mold growth and insect problems are all frustrating secondary flood issues. You can't always see the cause, but the professionals know where to look. Work with a trusted company to make sure that you're getting the inspection and thorough initial cleanup you need to protect the future of your business.

Part Five: Reputation and Hiring the Right People

6/24/2021 (Permalink)

I came across a well worn quote recently, it was by the famous and highly successful Warren Buffet, 
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.
 Pat Padgett the Carpet Cleaner wasn’t Warren Buffet and he wouldn’t have put this thought exactly the same way, but he also knew this to be true. Spending decades as the local serviceman was all about reputation. Communities are small, even our big ones. What was true then is still true today, reputation matters. A Vulnerable ReputationThere are two primary aspects of a business that are most vulnerable to depleting a reputation, the quality of work accomplished and the people who represent the company, your employees. If I were to heed Warren Buffet’s words I’d have to focus on my hiring. I’d have to hire the right people. Because Pat Padgett had a simpler operation, the company's reputation fell onto his shoulders. My dad’s proximity to his reputation guarded his reputation. But, I was trying to do something different, I was building a company intentionally larger and more complex and so I had to walk carefully and make intentional decisions along the way. Over time I learned that hiring the right people had a lot to do with being the right company. And so, I pursued after this goal. Building systems, making good hires, focusing on culture, and pursuing everything we do with excellence. It worked. Progress and Growth: Building a Winning TeamOur team continued to expand and continued to grow. Few managers develop the talent and skill necessary to realize full and maximum return from their employees. The managerial task is to take a newly hired person and make them fully productive as quickly as possible. This has a two-sided benefit: the company benefits, produces new revenue quickly, the employee benefits, it provides gratification. Pat Padgett the Carpet Cleaner employed 4 people, by 2015 I was employing 45 people, now SERVPRO Team Jeffrey Padgett has 30 in just 5 short years.  Early on I developed a strategy for hiring good people and keeping good people. I found that my best applicants came from two sources: people looking for work (at this point I know there are levels of motivation) and employee referrals. I especially valued employee referrals because I know that if someone I already trust is willing to back another with their reputation, they’ll likely fit in well. I made sure that every hire had clear expectations and even wrote out explicitly what these expectations were, I still do this. I found this to be important because, if a difficult conversation needs to be had, it can happen maturely. I had this somewhat unorthodox interview strategy that I found effective. I’d present a potential candidate with a group of blocks, each with one letter of the alphabet. I’d ask them to order them in alphabetical order — yes, I did receive a few cock-eyed looks. But what I found was this. I was able to glimpse the character of a person, if only for a moment. There is something about this task that tests a person’s patience. I’d glimpse the thought process, see how they approached a problem and then see their willingness to receive instruction. Reflections on Building the Right TeamIn those years I was trying, attempting and implementing. Not everything I did was a success, some things were outright failures. But I found the failures were equally important, the wrong hires taught me lessons for the future. In those early years I plowed forward, I still am. I think back to dad, to what Pat Padgett would think. Would he give me that attaboy, would he be proud of the progress I made? I know he would. He’d laugh with me at my mistakes and give me his onerous opinion where he felt it was needed. My Dad was worried about the reputation of Pat Padgett the Carpet Cleaner, but he was also concerned about the reputation of the Padgett name. I wasn’t my fathers employee, though at times I was, I was his son. And he invested himself in me, he taught me the ropes and I continue on, continuing the work, furthering the reputation with each new hire made. 

Part Four: Casted Shadows and Resting in the Shade

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

Old photo of two men. Pat & Jeffrey Padgett.

Rightfully so, Pat Padgett cast a long shadow, in a similar way any patriarch of a family does.   And, it’s the responsibility of young men to stand in that shadow for a time and then eventually “venture off.”

By 1991 I had built something meaningful. But that year was a fork in the road. It was a year to build something larger, or a year to play it safe, stay in the right lane and only merge when the road requires it. But a 25-year-old Jeffrey Padgett wasn’t looking to play it safe, he was hungry and ready to prove himself, ready to test the boundaries of that shadow and to set off on his own journey. 

In hand I had a business consultant, Mack Clark, I had a management book, Small Business Management by H.N. Broom, popular at the time but has since faded into obscurity, and ambition. These were together a dangerous combination: a coach, resources, hunger. 

From Mack, I had caught the vision of expansion. Up to this point, I had grown a business, I had managed a business, but I had yet to expand a business; this moment was a real test for me. H.N. Broom’s book was helpful because it filled in the details. 

Early on Mack helped remove the blinders. In many ways, I was like that carriage horse with his periphery cut off. I saw what was in front of me, but I wasn’t able to see the edges. As the blinders were removed I learned that there were more opportunities out there, in related fields that would, if I allowed it, expand the business. 

The opportunity was emergency restoration work. 

The first step to expansion was research. I had to do a market study. I had to answer basic questions about my neighborhood: Who is my customer? Does this business make sense for them? Is there enough potential work to support a new business in town?

As I asked these questions and did my own research the answers I found were encouraging. The customers did exist because they were the same people I was already servicing. My target customer-owned a home that they valued and put their blood, sweat, and lives into — a highly motivated group of people. 

But could they pay for the services? 

This is always the hanging question. By this time H.N. Broom’s words were seared in my mind. I had spent countless hours scouring these pages, his book was an old friend, dog-eared and worn edges. Broom’s reminder was ominous and I took heed of his warning, “customers who have unsatisfied needs but who lack the money and/or credit are poor markets because they have nothing to offer in exchange for a product or service.”

Broom was trying to protect me from heartache, in plain speech, “people may have needs, but if they do not have the capacity to fund these needs, the business fails.”

But this herculean hurdle was different for me. Because I did have customers with needs, but these customers also had insurance policies on their homes. And there it was: need plus funding capacity, both these answers were now a yes. 

I was on to something and I was committed to plowing forward. And I did. In 1993 I ended the chapter of Jeffrey Padgett the Carpet Cleaner and opened Padgetts’ Cleaning & Restoration, Inc. then eventually in 2015, SERVPRO Team Jeffrey Padgett. 

As I think back, I wonder what was going through the mind of Pat Padgett the Carpet Cleaner as he saw his son running and working. I know he was approving and I know he was proud. He didn’t always say so, I didn’t always receive the attaboy, but that’s how his generation was. Pat Padgett’s generation is remembered as the Greatest Generation, so-called because they experienced the turmoil of the 20th century, the poverty of the Great Depression, the faint memory of the Great War, the turmoil of a second World War, and then came out on the other side in one piece and went to work. He was a man who fought and worked not for fame or recognition, but just simply because it was the right thing to do for his family.

As time progresses I test the edges of Pat Padgett’s shadow, at times thinking I’ve ventured off, only to realize in my more cognizant moments, that I do not need to venture from the shadow, only embrace it and realize the shadow is fine enough for me. 

What Is Business Interruption Insurance?

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

Boxes inside a warehouse wet, flooded ware house, worker bringing inside warehouse water extractor machine Flooded warehouse in Redlands, CA.

As a business owner, you want to have sufficient insurance coverage in place to allow your business to survive whatever the future holds. If a storm or other disaster were to strike Redlands, CA, and cause serious damage to your building, for example, it’s good to know that your commercial property insurance will cover most of the costs of repairs and storm damage cleanup. However, it can take a long time to rebuild your business, and a closed business doesn’t generate income. To replace your business’s lost income and cover ongoing expenses during the rebuilding period, you need interruption insurance.

What Does Interruption Insurance Cover?

Business interruption insurance, sometimes called business income insurance, is a type of commercial insurance policy designed to complement your other business insurance, such as property insurance and liability coverage. In the event of a natural disaster or other covered peril, an interruption policy typically helps your business remain financially afloat during the time it must remain closed for repairs. Most business income insurance covers ongoing business costs, such as:

  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Taxes, such as business or payroll taxes
  • Credit card and loan payments
  • Employee and contractor wages
  • Equipment lease payments

In some cases, interruption insurance also replaces your business’s lost net income during the time you are closed to rebuild.

What Is Excluded From Business Interruption Coverage?
While policy terms differ from one insurance provider to the next, most business income policies specifically exclude coverage for any damage or loss that could be covered under a different type of insurance. For example, damage that is or could be covered under your property insurance, commercial auto insurance, flood policy, or earthquake insurance is not covered by interruption insurance. Most interruption policies also exclude coverage for utility payments and disease-related losses.
Interruption insurance is a wise addition to your commercial coverage portfolio. Together with your other policies, this type of coverage can ensure that your business has the resources to rebuild and reopen after a disaster.

4 Common Places To Find Mold Growth in Your Home

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

Mold inside cabinets Mold growth inside cabinets.

Four Places You Might Find Mold

Mold damage is pretty common with homes, especially ones with humidity or moisture issues. Fungal spores thrive on dampness and organic matter such as paper, carpet, and wood; therefore, they are likely to grow where these factors are present. To catch issues early, homeowners in Yucaipa, CA, should keep a vigilant eye on the following four places.

1. The Bathroom
Mold and mildew growth are often noticed within the bathrooms, especially within the shower. Moisture is often in excess here and resides on the tile. While the ceramic or porcelain may be harder to penetrate, the grout itself is vulnerable to droplets. Residents are likely to see growth within the lines.
Fight it off by using a squeegee after you shower. Also, run the fans for at least 20 minutes after, pulling out as much wetness as possible. Recaulk often to avoid weaknesses in the grout lines.

2. The Closets and Cabinets
Mold damage may happen in the corners of closets or inside cabinets. These locations may have water exposure from pipes and remain dark often: a perfect habitat for the organism. If discoloration is noticed, call a mold remediation company to evaluate the trouble. The area should be inspected, and the impacted drywall torn out and replaced.
Combat trouble by keeping closets cool, running fans in the bathrooms, and using moisture-absorbent products in cabinets.

3. The Kitchen
When the oven is going, heat builds. This environment assists in building humidity and mold growth. Keep the oven fans going and run the air handler. Be aware of how much you're running appliances and check the plumbing for rust, leaks, and corrosion.

4. The Air Handler
The air conditioner is a protective device against mold, assisting in maintaining cool, dry space. It also moves the air from room to room and takes on the dampness. Mold can multiple within the pipes, spreading to other locations. Have the system cleaned and checked regularly.
Mold damage likes hiding in places you don't often look. Those tiny spores cling easily, reproducing where water and organic structure meet. Be proactive, and keep a lookout for early stages.

Part Three: Leveraging Consultants and Pursuing Growth

5/25/2021 (Permalink)

I remember early conversations with Pat Padgett. Like my Dad, he carried this regular burden for my success and he would tell me so. He wanted my life to be different and better than his life and the way he saw to accomplish that was college. 

But these conversations also confused me. I would look at my Dad’s life and see happiness and success. I didn’t see a struggling man, I saw someone who knew what they wanted and knew how to run after it. And, as a young man at the starting line of life, I was biting at the chomps to also “run after it.” 

But, Pat Padgett was a man who knew things and as my Dad a man whose opinion I respected immensely. And so, after my Tennessee Nashville Mission, I set my sights on college. The school to go to at that time was Brigham Young University, prestigious, known, and respected. But, my lack of interest in school caught up with me and I was denied entrance. I instead enrolled at Ricks College with the aim to work hard, prove myself and continue applying to Brigham Young (the comedy of the whole thing is that Ricks College would eventually be absorbed into the Brigham Young University system, becoming BYU Idaho). 

I followed that plan and it worked, I became a BYU student and then… well, then opportunity. I began working for a movie studio, eventually moved to Salt Lake City to pursue an opportunity at a petroleum company. Those opportunities eventually ran their course and I found myself at a dead end. 

Around this time Pat Padgett began throwing around the idea to sell his business. This was my opportunity. I approached my Dad again, he balked, but I expected that. I laid into him and began laying out the reasons that made sense: having my hands at work in the business would be a big help, eventually I could buy the business, I suggested ideas and opportunities for growth. 

He bit, finally. 

I worked, hard. I did see the business grow. By 1989 — in the midst of a slump in the trades industry — I recruited my brother and we doubled the size of the company. We were hungry and we progressed forward by pure grit and determination. 

One year we decided to invest in a carpet cleaner’s convention in Oakland. There we met Mack Clark, a business consultant. Mack intrigued me because he understood the carpet cleaning industry, but he also understood business in ways I did not. 

I found him after one of the sessions and interrogated him the way only a Padgett could. That turned into a profound moment. That relationship decided my future. Mack talked a language I was yet to speak. He talked about sales goals, future planning, business plans, projected expenses, and an opportunity to leverage insurance damage claims. 

I was hooked. 

For a fee and a percentage of our work, he would guide me. In a journal I wrote around that time I said this about him, “in return (from the fees I paid him) I would get a consultant who was never wrong because he got paid too much money to ever be wrong.”

That year my brother and I met with Mack Clark was a huge year for me as a business owner. I went from grinding to working smarter. I learned things that are in some ways the basics of business but are only obvious once they’re said. And, having never seen a business at work at this level I put in the work and reaped the benefits. I learned the five functions of management: planning, staffing, organizing, directing, and controlling. 

I learned time quality management. I learned to live by goals. I learned to work hard and value education. 

I left Brigham Young University in 1989 to work in the family business. I thought when I left Brigham Young I was leaving education. But I wasn’t. When I began working with Mack I found myself in another school. This school didn’t finish with a diploma, it wouldn’t go on any resume, but it was the best education I could receive. 

Pat Padgett labored for me to go to school, he eventually relented, but the lesson took root. Jeffrey Padgett made it to school, maybe not in the way Pat envisioned, but in a way that was meaningful and worked.