How to Start a Water Damage Restoration Business


While water damage can be devastating to a home’s structure, there may also be a number of hidden, equally devastating effects such as mold, poor air quality, odors and insect and rodent issues. As a water damage restoration technician, you’ll need to be able to quickly identify and rectify the cause of the water damage and the devastating effects. Additionally, your business may service homes damaged by fire and smoke and take care of general contracting issues.

Things You'll Need

  • Liability insurance
  • Bonding coverage
  • Certification
  • Business license
  • Dryers
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Water extractors
  • Commercial vehicle

Identify a need within your community. If another business within your area provides water damage services, compete by offering additional services not covered by the competition. Other services you might provide include mold remediation, flood work, fire damage restoration, water emergency services, cleaning, smoke and odor elimination, dehumidification, sewage cleanups, debris removal, repairs, water extraction, sanitization, crawl space drying, carpet cleaning and structural drying. Additionally, offer 24-hour service.

Obtain certifications for each specialty that you and your contractors will provide. Dri-Eaz offers a number of restorative drying certifications and is approved by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certificate (IICRC), a non-profit certification body. Other certifications to consider are the Water Damage Restoration Technician, the Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration Technician, the Odor Control Technician and the Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning Technician.

Contact your county clerk to obtain a business license and a construction permit, if necessary. Obtain liability insurance and bonding coverage.

Purchase fast dryers, commercial carpet cleaners, dehumidifiers, deodorizing fogger, air scrubbers, water extraction tools for walls and floors and moisture detectors. Dryers range from about $400 to $35,000 for trailer mounted systems. Some dryers come equipped with dehumidification, spot cooling and heating. Purchase safety goggles, gloves, steel toed boots and uniforms.

Purchase a commercial vehicle. On it, paint your company's name, logo and telephone number, as well as the fact that you are insured and certified.

Build contacts with insurance companies and brokers to help ease the claims process for your customers.

Join a water damage network such as Dryout, Inc. to garner more business referrals.

Learn how to bid on contracts in your county.

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