If there is one industry that is getting more business after extreme weather incidents sweep through major metropolitan areas, it is the disaster recovery industry.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which left thousands devastated throughout the New York City region, recovery firms are relocating workers, dispatching equipment and sending resources to hard-hit areas — and very likely are making a good profit this year in the process.
One of these companies is Jarvis Property Restoration, a recovery firm based in Michigan with offices in Florida, Illinois and Iowa. Jarvis has dispatched over 150 workers and 20 commercial generators from as far as the Florida office to assist the recovery in areas ranging from New Jersey to Rhode Island.
So far, Jarvis has worked on about 40 commercial projects and several hundred residential recoveries. Don Marks, spokesperson at Jarvis, said that the last time the company was this busy was was during the cleanup following Hurricane Irene in 2011 — and Jarvis is getting more business this time around.
“We expect to do several million dollars of work related to the storm,” Marks said.
The biggest recovery project Jarvis has taken on after Hurricane Sandy was in helping Smiles Around US Academy, a 15,000-square-foot private school on Staten Island. “We take all the water out. We take anything that is damaged in the building, we dry it, and we do a special spray to help prevent mold grow,” Marks said, adding the project is likely to bring in several hundred thousand dollars in revenue.
The industry pricing for such projects follows the rate guidelines by insurance companies based on the level of damage. There are typically four categories of water damage for pricing, differentiated by square footage affected, water level and damaged materials involved, Marks said. Jarvis has attended to projects classified in all four categories after Sandy.
Another company that has been highly involved in the hurricane relief effort is Belfor, one of the world’s largest recovery firms with offices across the globe. Just hours after the storm, Belfor had dispatched 1,500 workers and 59 mobile trailers with equipment to the affected areas from all across the country.
Although these companies have the potential to turn a good profit, this is not an easy business. Recovery firms face great difficulties working on cleanup projects given the characteristic of the work. For example, the fuel shortage resulting from the storm held back the recovery efforts.
“It was a major hindrance on our ability to respond as quickly as we would like to,” Marks said. “ We also have trouble with the cell phone service — trying to coordinate with people, and follow up with people and getting in touch with property owners were a challenge.”
Other difficulties include accommodations for workers and equipment, and could also get as trivial as finding parking.
As businesses begin to open back up their doors and transportation resumes, hopes are these recovery firms will have their own recovery. And the chances that they come back with profits this year in the wake of Sandy are looking bright as well.