Restoration 1 Franchise Review: Meet Brian Christensen
Long-time franchise owner opens up about how he became one of Restoration 1’s top-performing franchisees
When Brian Christensen answers the phone for this interview, there is a noisy crew working in the background. While Brian has helped hundreds of home and property owners free their spaces from mold as an owner of a Restoration 1 franchise in Orlando, Florida, this time he had to call his own crew in to address a mold problem in his own home – proving that mold growth can happen to anyone at any time, even the owner of a multi-million dollar Restoration 1 business.
“I’m allergic to mold, so it’s good that I’m the owner of a Restoration 1 franchise,” Brian jokes. “On a serious note, mold is extremely dangerous, and my company deals with it on a daily basis. We’re helping people live in safer homes, and experiencing it personally, seeing how sick it makes me, is a great reminder of the impact we’re having in the community.”
Before Brian became one of Restoration 1’s top-performing franchisees, and in January Brian was the top performing franchisee in the entire system, he was in the decorative concrete business. The business was taxing, long hours in the sun, and the income stream would dry up during a recession when consumers opted to save their money rather than spend it on their pools or kitchen countertops.
“I was killing myself, standing outside in the heat, working on someone’s pool,” he says. “I knew that I had to find something to do that I could do for the rest of my life.”
Finding success in a new career as a Restoration 1 franchise owner
When one of his best friends had a flooding issue in his house, Brian had a realization: there is a lot of money to be made in the restoration business because a flooding emergency, mold growth or damage from a fire is not dependent on whether the economy is up or down. A homeowner faced with these challenges has to act quickly to make their homes safe to inhabit again.
“I came across Restoration 1 online, and I reached out,” Brian says. “They got back to me the next day. I reached out to two other restoration companies, and they didn’t get back to me until three months later. I thought, ‘If this is how you treat someone who wants to buy into your business, how do you treat your customers?’ ”
After doing his due diligence, Brian decided that Restoration 1 was the right fit. The Restoration 1 executive team helped him secure financing, become certified, properly trained, and Brian hit the ground running. In six and a half years, Brian is now looking to purchase his third territory and employs over 150 people.
“We’re busy every single day,” he says. “I love this business because we’re not chasing insurance company claims, we’re striving to become the preferred brand for restoration services in our community. This means that every job we do is critical in terms of our performance, how we treat our customers, our attention to detail; everything has to be perfect. As a result, the amount of referrals that we get from homeowners and third-party vendors, such as plumbers or construction companies, is enormous.”
The demand for restoration services is going to continue to increase
Living on the East Coast of Florida, the seemingly endless demand for restoration services is compounded by severe weather. When Hurricane Irma hit last year, Brian was there to aid homeowners whose homes were damaged during the storm.
“When Irma hit, there was a shortage of restoration equipment in Orlando, as it had all been shipped to Houston to help out in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey,” Brian says. “We were there to pick up the slack. In fact, we’re still dealing with it. We have 25 jobs right now in a nearby area that are directly related to damage from Hurricane Irma.”
The benefit of franchising with a brand with visionary leadership
While Brian was one of the first Restoration 1 franchisees, the impact of CEO and President Gary Findley taking the reins of the brand in 2016 has reinvigorated the franchise network.
“Gary is an outstanding leader and his vision for the brand is forward-looking, inclusive and positive,” Brian says. “He fosters a family-type of culture, he inspires franchisees to grow, and every year, franchisees who generate more than $1 million in revenues get to go on an awesome vacation. We went to Cabo together and we had a fantastic time.”
The Restoration 1 franchise network is likewise supportive, coming together to help answer each other’s questions, learning from each other’s mistakes and successes.
“I’m on the phone with one of my fellow franchisees on an almost daily basis,” Brian says. “There’s constant communication. Everyone is incredibly supportive. I’ve learned in speaking with friends that are a part of other franchise systems that is rare in franchising. Restoration 1 franchisees aren’t in competition with each other, we’re there to help each other.”
Restoration 1 franchisees give back to their communities
Being successful in business offers the advantage of being able to give back. Every year, Brian is able to contribute meaningfully to charities that are near and dear to his heart.
“I’m proud to be able to give back to my community, that’s what being successful is all about,” Brian says. “We are an active donor to the Aven Crane Cancer Foundation, which means a great deal to me, because I lost both of my parents to cancer as a teenager. It’s rewarding to be able to give back and help people who are going through something so terrible.”
As Brian looks forward to his expanding business, he has some sage advice for new owners considering franchising with Restoration 1:
“I talk to potential candidates often, and I always tell them that this business is great because it’s recession proof,” he says. “Plumbing problems, fires and mold growth doesn’t care if the economy is in good shape. As long as you’re willing to work hard, take care of your customers, keep your team highly trained and accountable, you’re going to be successful.”