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August 10, 2021

Preparing for CAT work: essential tips for restorers

With the increasing amount of natural disasters, the need for restoration contractors to respond to catastrophes is in high demand. There is plenty of work to be done and money to be made, but the question remains: Are you prepared for this line of work?

Today, we’ll take a look at what it takes to tap into CAT work and the resources needed to be successful and avoid the pitfalls.  In the end, you can decide whether or not this is the right path for your restoration business.

Do you have a plan?

While you can, in theory, simply show up to a catastrophe event and try to find work, this is not the ideal method for securing jobs. Instead, you should draft a detailed plan for how you will mobilize resources, finance your response, secure work, and get paid before leaving your office. 

Start by doing a thorough risk assessment. What are the potential worst-case scenarios? What are the areas where your business is most weak?  Do you have the funding to support working remotely? Is your staff prepared to be away from home for weeks or months? 

Common risks that you might encounter include:

  • A lack of resources when you arrive on site. Often, after a catastrophe occurs, there is a huge demand for resources and a lack of supply. This could include everything from building materials, to equipment, to housing for your contractors.
  • A lack of labor. You will either need to bring your entire team to the job site, or you will need to secure local labor.  Finding skilled labor after a disaster isn’t always easy, and you’ll be competing with every other restoration business on the scene.
  • Oversights in licenses and certifications. When you move into a different jurisdiction, the regulations and laws change. If you don't know what the local licensing and certification requirements are, you can put your entire business at legal risk.
  • Poorly written contracts. A contract that does not have detailed information in it or is missing critical information around the who, what, where, why, and when of the job can end up causing you to lose out on getting paid.

These are just a few of the risks that must be mitigated with a solid plan prior to ever setting foot into the world of CAT work.

Do you have the resources?

CAT work can equate to high rewards; however, it also requires a lot of resources up front. Often, you will be financing the entire project from the beginning to the end before you ever see a dime of money from your client.

With insurance companies involved in most payouts, it can be a long haul until payday. Make sure you have the right finances to handle this.

In addition to financing, you will need to secure ample resources to get the job done. In many situations, you’ll be entering an area where resources are limited. You need to ensure that you have the staffing to handle booking lodging for your contractors, securing needed supplies and equipment, and even finding fuel when it might be extremely limited in disaster-stricken areas.

Are you prepared for the long process?

Realistically, you already know that your team can handle the actual work involved with CAT restoration. You’re already taking on these jobs at home.

However, the main difference lies in how long the process can take between work completed and pay out.

Make sure that you are prepared to have contracts and agreements signed up front before beginning work that clearly state what, when, and how you’ll be paid. The more detailed your contracts and agreements, the better. This can help protect you against pushback from insurance agents and adjusters.  Seek legal advice about your contract and working in other states and provinces.

Additionally, before you ever mobilize your team, ensure work is secured. By lining up work before sending your team to the site, you can better plan for the amount of labor and resources you will need.

Tapping into CAT work with Encircle

If you are interested in responding to catastrophes and increasing your restoration business through this much-needed line of work, make sure you prepare ahead of time. At Encircle, we provide a field documentation tool that makes it easier for you to track jobs from beginning to end, no matter where the job takes you. This can help you get paid faster and mitigate common risks associated with CAT work.

In the end, CAT work can be truly rewarding for your business, making it a great choice if you are looking to expand.

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