Ground Floor: Marion man’s franchise works even when the stock market doesn’t

Kovarik studied 50 franchise opportunities before deciding on Restoration 1

Restoration 1 Man laying floorsOne year ago, Larry Kovarik came to an important realization.

“It was time to find a way to work for myself,” he said.

Kovarik’s job in public safety sales had terminated March 1, 2016, triggering a one-year noncompete agreement with his former employer. With his ability to find work in the same field limited, Kovarik decided to purchase a franchise.

“I didn’t want to try to go out and learn things the hard way,” he said. “I knew the best way to go into business for myself would be a franchise, which is basically a business in a box.”

Kovarik started looking at both existing franchises for sale by their owners and new franchise opportunities.

“I did a lot of research,” he said. “I looked at close to 50 different businesses.”

A franchise broker told Kovarik about Restoration 1. The company, which was founded in 2008 and began franchising in 2009, has 24-hour emergency restoration services for water, fire, smoke and mold damage.

Restoration 1 Man laying floors

In June, Kovarik traveled to Waco, Texas, with his wife, Robin, and son Skyler to meet with Restoration 1 President Gary Findley.

“That was the moment we realized this was a perfect solution for our family in general,” Kovarik said.

Aspects of the opportunity that appealed to Kovarik included a fairly low buy-in, the ability to run the business from home without investing in a facility and a business that is largely recession-proof.

“If the basement is flooded, the stock market doesn’t matter,” Kovarik noted.

The Restoration 1 business model involves working with trade partners in the construction, property management, maintenance and emergency services industries and offering free inspections to partners’ clients.

After completing certification training in fire restoration, water damage restoration and mold remediation, Kovarik opened Restoration 1 of Eastern Iowa on October 1. It is the first Restoration 1 franchise in the state and covers the Corridor.

Skyler also has completed certification training and serves as lead technician for the business.

Restoration 1 employee putting baseboards in his company truck

“He’s my right hand man,” Kovarik said. “I’m grooming him to be our successor.”

Kovarik just hired a second employee and has plans to add two more technicians and a salesperson by year end.


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A version of this post originally appeared on The Gazette.