Let’s take some time today to talk about how to improve aspects of your restoration business (as well as your bottom line) through spending more of your time and money on training.

In the mitigation and restoration industry, there are so many moving parts to completing a job successfully that it simply isn’t possible to expect quality without a substantial amount of training for your employees, whether it is on software, production, and/or customer service skills.

While every business owner looks at their financial reporting and thinks about where their money goes each month, it is imperative to not just look at the number on each line and think that it lives in a vacuum. What I want you to consider today is that increasing the amount you spend on the training expense line item will lead to savings on a number of other lines.

Here’s a quick look at some of the areas increased training can impact:

1. Customer Service – A happy customer is a product of many things (well done work, confidence in the process, a perception of quality, etc.), and all of these things are done better by a confident employee who knows as much as possible about how to handle any situation or contingency. A job well-done leads to good referrals and more business from customers and clients.

2. Job Quality/Consistency – Imagine the relaxation of knowing that it doesn’t matter which crew/team you send to a job because you feel that whoever it is will do it right with no issues.

3. Decreased Turnover – A well-trained, confident employee is more likely to feel good about the work he/she is doing and have an overall more positive approach to his/her work, and is less likely to leave (assuming no other issues like pay are there). The beautiful part about this is that training is a cumulative thing, and the more experience and knowledge a person has helps you over the long haul. Constant turnover means constant disruption and having to train new people repeatedly on the basics – never getting to the advanced skills you need your team to have.

4. Reduced Rework – How much extra labor and fuel expense is wasted due to work which has to be redone? More than any of us want to think about. Increased training can reduce the amount of rework required by enabling people to know how to properly handle all the situations which might be present on a job which, if not handled correctly, could lead to dissatisfied customers or secondary damages.

5. Better Documentation – Better trained people know what needs to be documented and why it needs to be documented, thereby preventing your business from being at risk of losing money in court or by having to replace items which had pre-existing conditions your team didn’t get notes and photos of.

6. Fewer Failed File Audits – Better trained people who feel comfortable building the job file get all the information needed, fill out forms correctly, and place the proper amounts of equipment so that the job documentation doesn’t get called into question no matter who is reviewing it.

7. More Referrals/Easier Marketing – Happier customers lead to happier adjusters and clients, and repeat business follows.

8. Better Office/Production Relations – Not that these two parts of your team ever bicker about how correctly something is done, but what if they didn’t have to any longer?

9. Faster Turnaround Time on Collections Due to Better Job Files – The fewer questions and issues an adjuster has with your job file translates to your business getting payment faster. Well trained people make better job files, and in a business where collecting money can be a pain, anything which makes collections easier is needed.

10. Cats Loving Dogs and Dogs Loving Cats – Okay, so maybe this is taking it a little too far, but by now you get the idea: spending the money to train your people pays off.

Don’t put your employees in a position to fail. Don’t put your business in a position to be sued. Arm your team with the tool that is the most essential one to doing the job right every time – training. Without training, you can probably figure out how to handle an extractor, but there sure are a lot of things that can go wrong if you don’t, including basics like set-up and take-down.

Remember – more training isn’t always better training if the training is not being conducted properly. People learn in different ways and you need to see which type of training with which they learn best. Shoving someone in a vacant desk with a manual to read in a loud, distraction-filled area may work for a few, but not many people learn well this way.

And always, always make sure that not only are the students being trained the “what” to do, but also the “why” behind the lessons. People are far more likely to take the time and do things the correct way if they understand why the extra steps are important.

Now that I have beaten you over the head extolling the virtues of spending more money to train your team, I can share one other tip that can possibly save you some money on the training you do. For starters, check with your tax advisors to see what training expense is deductible on taxes, as there could be some state or federal incentive based on the type of training involved. Also, there are a number of state and federal training/educational grants which your business may qualify for. Don’t leave money on the table that can benefit you and your staff.

Finally, for software like DASH to help your restoration business the way you want it to, there is no shortcut to doing the training. Commit to it. Make it a priority. Do those things and it will pay off in the end, just like all the training you do.