In this episode, we had the pleasure of talking with Mike Allred, Director of CAT at Royal Plus and a seasoned veteran in the disaster restoration industry, particularly in areas prone to hurricanes. Having made his start in restoration amidst the 2004 Florida hurricanes, Mike shares insights from his vast experience, the challenges faced during the hurricane season, and strategies employed by his team to weather literal storms. With an emphasis on building strong relationships, ensuring financial readiness, and the importance of meticulous documentation, this episode provides a wealth of knowledge for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of large-scale restoration work.
The hurricanes in 2004 occurred. Charlie Francis Jean had a $196,000 worth of damage to my home, and that was my first time dealing with mold and water throughout my entire house. Three floors were flooded.
Welcome to another episode of the Restoration Playbook podcast. I'm your host, Paul Silliman, and on today's episode, we're hearing from someone with firsthand experience in hurricane restoration. As we speak, we are in the midst of hurricane season here in the United States. Each year, the months between June and November serve as a stark reminder of the incredible power of nature. And for the restoration professionals, it marks a period of heightened vigilance, preparedness and response. Restoration work during this time isn't just about fixing what's broken, it's about rebuilding lives, communities, and a sense of normalcy in the face of immense devastation. Mike Allred Director of CAD at Royal Plus, knows this all too well. Back in 2004, when four hurricanes made impact on Florida in just six weeks, well, that's when he made his first start in restoration.
Since then, he's become a seasoned veteran in the world of restoration, and has navigated many a hurricane seasons, turning challenges into opportunities to learn, innovate and strengthen restoration efforts. We'll dive into his experiences, insights, and cutting edge strategies his team employs to weather the storm quite literally next. But first, a word on Knowhow. Imagine that whenever your team had a question, they could get an immediate, clear and concise answer in plain language based on your company's specific restoration processes and policies. That is precisely what KnowHow delivers. We are a mobile-first application that's designed to help restoration companies to answer those pressing on the job questions, instantly eliminating the need for time consuming searches through documents.
With Knowhow, our team has all the answers they need right at their fingertips, anytime, anywhere. But KnowHow doesn't stop there. From onboarding new hires swiftly and efficiently, even in large, chaotic situations like a large restoration project, to breaking down language barriers and empowering every worker with instruction. KnowHow is here to simplify, streamline and strengthen your company's processes. If you're striving to become a process driven company, KnowHow is ready to guide you with hundreds of customizable templates for common restoration jobs, enabling your team to access your standard operating procedures right from their device, regardless of their location. See what it can do for yourself. Book a demo with me at tryknow.com and discover how KnowHow helps restorers get the job done right, every time. That's tryknowhow.com. We'll also have a link in the show notes for your convenience.
Now, let's get back to Mike and hear what happens next.
Yeah, my journey, like most people, is kind of crazy and long flipped houses all through college and even when I used to own nutrition stores in a previous life. And in 2003, me and my wife finished college. We were living in the Florida Keys, and we moved to central Florida. And the hurricanes in 2004, occurred. Charlie Francis Jean had $196,000 worth of damage to my home and that was my first time dealing with mold and water throughout my entire house. Three floors were flooded. So I ended up calling out a contractor and restoration contractors and kind of got into the science and nerd of that. And we decided since it was going to take almost two years to rebuild our house because it was a historic home to move back home to North Alabama.
And there were no FQHCs, which is fairly qualified health clinics there. So Mike was back to school to work on his Master's, and I'd always done sales and stuff like that, and so I ended up taking a job as a salesman with probably the biggest restoration company and kind of just dove into it that way into sales. Not thinking that I was even going to stay in it because I was working on my master's in education and I fell in love with it and got bathed in blood in 2007 with the floods in Iowa and with running a major storm team at that time and kind of just took from there. And I fell in love with the production side of it.
I became the number one salesperson in the country for that group, for that company, and then just started learning more and more about the production side, got into the science side of things and then left that company and then came back to that company later on in my career but opened up a hygienist firm as well and did that for a while and have just grown. And now I feel like I'm probably with the largest privately held that's left with everything that's going on. Restoration company in the country. We keep about 50 tractor trailers loaded and ready to go and I'm about to add six more to that fleet hopefully before hurricanes hit, if we can. The trailers are here, I just haven't built them out yet.
We're in the process of doing that and it's one of those industries that every day is different and I love that. I work hard, work a lot of hours, but I love it. I enjoy it. And you know what they say, if you love what you do you never go to work. I don't believe that (laughs) from working quite often but I love what I do so it makes life enjoyable.
So it's obviously clear you've had a great path into restoration, you've got tons of experience. What we're really interested in is hear more about your involvement in the hurricane, kind of prep in your line of work, understanding these different challenges that natural disasters bring and kind of significant source of being ready for them. What kind of goes into that on your side?
It is a year-long project for us. Now, granted, there are times where we take breaks but we deal with storm preparedness year round here. And I've been at other companies where you start getting ready when it starts becoming hurricane season, but the stage is still the same. It's just here it's a lot more equipment that has to be maintained, a lot more training that has to take place. We still do rent equipment with the amount of work that we take on all of our generators and desiccants. We never rent portable equipment because I've got more than that, than I'll probably ever use. There has been a couple of times where I'd say 80% of it was at capacity. But I don't think we've ever exhausted that. Some of the big rental companies actually call us to rent equipment.
But in preparedness, I would say first and foremost, you need to know what you're doing. You need to be prepared for the financial side of this game. A lot of companies see the glamor of the cat world and want to jump right into it, but then they go do these projects, but they don't understand that it may take six months, a year, sometimes two years to be paid in full on these projects. And that's even if everybody's agreeing. Sometimes, especially depending on who you're working for, the money comes slower than others, especially if you're doing any kind of government or school system work. And so the biggest thing I would say is making sure you're financially ready to be in this industry. This side of the industry, it is a complete different ballgame.
It takes education and training, knowing how to deal with adjusters and consultants and your client, first and foremost, because that's legally who you work for. You do not work for those other guys, although they try to make it seem like they control they pull strings, and they kind of do. And so you don't want to make them angry right out the gate, but you also don't have to do what they tell you to do. But it's everything from training your staff and making sure that you get people to fill all the roles, from tracking equipment to doing the paperwork, making sure you understand whether you use clerk of the works or time of materials or any of those other programs like that. Making sure that you capture everything. Do not travel and do exactimate on mitigation.
You're going to not make money, you're going to lose money. And make sure you track every penny that you spend and that you have a good contract. That's another big thing, is making sure that you have hired a good attorney to design your contract for whatever state you may be working in. Making sure that you're licensed in every state. A lot of contractors found out the hard way during Ian that came down. A lot of them ended up in jail. Florida has really tightened up on contractors. You can come in and you can set equipment, but you can't do demo if you're not licensed in the state of Florida. And there are a lot of major companies that had owners of their franchises arrested. A lot of smaller companies, independent companies that were arrested on job sites handcuffed and taken to jail.
Most states aren't as bad as Florida is, but Florida did that, I think, after 2004 because a lot of people were taking people's money. A lot of contract, bad contractors. Contractors give us all a bad name, as we all know. A lot of us do well and do good. Ed Cross's books is another thing I would recommend that everyone reads. He is the king of our industry when it comes to attorneys and this. Yeah, he does a lot more with the residential side of things, and I think that's because he has more demand there. But a lot of his books, especially on the collection side and the RIA is very important as well. There's a lot of white papers and opinions that are there that are based on industry experience.
I would say the only other thing is to make sure that you have a good support network besides what you deal with your own employees and your own company is making sure you have good hygienists that are licensed in the state that you're going to be going to pull asbestos samples. We will not touch, no matter what the state law is, we will not touch sheet rock unless we have tested it. We're just not going to do any demo. I worked for a company in my past that got sued for $14 million prior before I got there, on a hotel that was two years old. Two years old. And that's because you can still go buy a bucket of mud at Home Depot today that's got asbestos in it.
It's one of those things that people try to think that they understand it, but asbestos is not illegal to the point to where we're testing it and everything. And so there are certain industries where it's not supposed to be used and people don't get into it because of litigation, but you can still find it. And so one of the companies there were two companies that did that job. One of them is no longer in business. And it was a big company. If I said their name, most people would recognize it. The company I went for work for was the sister company, and they went out of business about two years later. And I had to find another job because the financial impact of that lawsuit was just too great for them to overcome as well.
And so, first and foremost in preparation, is making sure you have your ducks in a row and that you are prepared to defend yourself first. That's your pocketbook and your liability, the whole nine yards. And that kind of goes hand in hand with the consultants that the insurance companies hire. It's not their liability that's on the line when they come in and try to tell you how to do your job. If you end up in court with your client, they're long gone. They have no stand in the fight. They work for the insurance company and their whole thing is, they will tell you that it's to control cost or that it is to look out to make sure the clients get a good job done for them. And I will say that's partially true.
They are there to do that but they're also there to control the spending and keep it under control. And sometimes that's needed. I mean sometimes I've seen contractors, I've driven by jobs. I've been called in behind other contractors. I'll try to set a 5000 CFM on a 2000 square foot building and there are contractors that try to throw big stuff at jobs that don't require it. So if you're going to go to anything and, it's in our day to day business as well, make sure that you can back it up. Just because it's a hurricane doesn't mean there's billions of dollars laying around to be given to you. You got to make sure that anything that you do that you're willing to stand behind in a court of law with expert witnesses on the other side.
And if you can fight that argument then you're good. So your resources good labor companies and I don't want to call anybody by names but make sure you're using some that have quality people not that are just gathering up homeless people off the street. I've known a contractor just two years ago that I used to work for that brought in a cheap labor company because they're looking to make lots of profit. They're charging $25 to $35 an hour for a labor that they're paying $12 an hour for. And there was a shooting, $380,000 worth of video captured theft and fights, and intravenous drug use and everything else called on this job site and they will never work for this company ever again. And matter of fact they probably won't work in that town much either because it's a tight-knit town. When you do work for a condo and the word gets around in condo association and what's bad is that is a franchise. And I know them and like them, I'm friends with them. But then when you look at it on a big scale, it gives everybody a bad name that's in that franchise group. And then it also gives contractors in general a bad name. So you handle yourself wisely. Make sure you have good resources. Partner companies, that's what we do. We partner with other companies throughout the country as strategic partners that do work for us. We make sure that everybody is doing a quality job and following our guidance if they're working on our projects just like we expect to do if they call us in to work under them and help them out. But having good resources is another important thing.
Absolutely. And there's a lot to unpack right there. So kind of one thing that you mentioned in there and especially with going out for hurricane losses, one thing we found in our State of the Industry poll we did last year is a lot of people are looking to get in the large loss type hurricane jobs when it comes to training and resources for your workers. Because this isn't day to day restoration, like employee burnout, the way you handle jobs, the hours that go in - vastly different from your standard three bedroom loss that you get on the day to day kind of what kind of training and resources do you really look to prioritize for your.
You know, well, resources for training? We're now, you know obviously the KnowHow app with you guys and within KnowHow. I deal with Jim Thompson quite a bit.
For those of you who are fresh to the industry. Jim is a seasoned veteran of the restoration industry who has shaped a lot of the standards we use today. And also, while I have you know, I can't pass up an opportunity to talk to you about KnowHow. Mike will go into why this is so critical, but know how customers get access to hundreds of step-by-step guides on common restoration jobs, making it easier than ever to equip your entire workforce with the expertise they need to get the job done right the first time. But it gets better. These templates are fully brandable and customizable so you can ensure each job is done in line with your company's standards. But you don't have to just take my word for it to see for yourself, go to tryknowhow.com and request a demo to see what KnowHow can do for your restoration crews. Okay, now back to Mike.
Jim Thompson is and him and his guys, they write a lot of the stuff that you get in the ICRC and he dropped a bond on me about a year ago, basically told me the S 500 never was and is not intended to give guidance for large loss and commercial losses, much less hurricane losses. And so now they're writing the S 550. So making sure you've got certified guys that understand, especially if you're jumping into the hurricane and you're planning on doing commercial on hurricane. There's a big difference in people that travel for residential on hurricane losses and commercial. If you're going commercial and you're going large loss, you need to make sure that you have people that are even on the construction side of things on your team, because you really need to understand the building envelope and what stresses that building has gone through in the hurricane. You may walk up and everything looks fine, but you're going to have bends and twists and everything else, especially in high rise buildings. We did one in Metairie year before last in Louisiana and the people were on the top floor. That was where the company's command center was that they stayed there during the hurricane and they were scared to death. The building was twisting 20ft each direction. It held on, but then you start thinking that these windows are okay in this part of the building, but then you start looking close and the seams, all the seals are broken and cracked. So you got infiltration of moisture there that you're having to contain just to do drying.
And that's not the obvious because it's not like the windows are broken out like it was in the other building. We had like 250 windows blown out. But understanding building structure and envelope, obviously we all know water is going to take the path of least resistance. And you better make sure that you are utilizing all the tools from moisture meters to infrared. And I suggest if you're going to get into this game, that whoever does your infrared images has some sort of a certification. I've seen people get lambasted because they're claiming things are wet with an infrared camera when they were capturing a heat source a couple of feet away and looking like it's wet. And then they bring in their guys that are trained that know how to use an infrared, has certification for it, and they're showing that you're wrong.
And so then they're going to cut your equipment, they're going to cut your bill, and you're not going to have a leg to stand on because you can't stand behind what you did in court. And so training comes from all aspects. Construction background is good, or at least people on your team or consultants that you bring in have a good construction background, large equipment, Sunbelt - I don't want to name drop. I'm trying to avoid that- but just to give them as an example, I'm sure HERC and all the other ones do too. They put on large loss clinics that you can send your guys to learn how to set up generators and desiccants and power distribution and understand all the aspects of that.
And whatever software that you're using to track your bills, you need to make sure that you've got a team that's adequately trained in that. Because first and foremost, as a business, you've got to watch your bottom line. And yeah, I know we always want to run and rush to take care of the client, but if you're not documenting that, it's not worth you even being there. And that's a big mistake that I see a lot of people do that jump into this, especially early on, is because they rush out and they want to make an impression on the client and they throw everything they got at this building or buildings and they get everybody running. And no one has documented a single thing. Nobody has written down your vehicles or your equipment, your labor, your consumables, any of that type of stuff. And the next thing you know, you're trying to back into it. Anytime you back into it, you're losing money and none of us will do this for free. I mean, we're all here to make money. As I've grown in this industry, when I look back, even when I was running a storm team and man, we left 35-40% on the table because we didn't properly track things. And so those are lessons that you learn as you get experience. I would probably recommend the number one thing to do is if you're trying and have decided that this is what you want to do, is that you team up first with a company that has already been doing it. Most companies like us are always willing to let people come and help us out.
You're going to make money, contract is going to be with us most likely. But we're all here to build a good network of teams of other companies and teach. And if you're part of a franchise group, same thing. Tie yourself and get to know one of your storm teams, you know whether you're ServPro, Service Master, Paul Davis or anything like that. I've worked for two or three of those guys in the know. But make sure that if you're going to make alliances with other people that you make alliance with someone that can teach you and help guide you and that's looking out for your best interest. I would say finding people know, have a good reputation and that are honest and dependable is one of the hardest things in this industry, not because they're few and far between, but the good ones have also been burned by bringing in people up underneath them. And so building a relationship ahead of time is the most important thing. Don't just run out and work for somebody you just met. Don't work with somebody you just met. I spend all year working on relationships, whether it's with vendors and suppliers, the whole nine yards and other contractors. And that's probably half my job, is making sure that I have good relationships with all these people and resources and to make sure that we get what we're going to get when we get on site.
And pay your bills. That's the big thing that really hurts a lot of contractors that jump into this is because they run out and they do a million dollar project and they rent it $400,000 worth of equipment and then they're not paying that rental bill until they get paid. Well, the problem with that is that when you run into companies that do pay their bills and they pay them on time, they pay it within their 30 days or whatever. When it comes to the next storm, that rental company is not going to answer your call. They'll put you on a list. They'll come to you when they give out the equipment to all the people that do pay their bills because it's all about the bottom line and it's the same thing with us as an industry. The more transparent and the better you document everything, the quicker you're going to get paid and the less argument there's going to be from the other side. And hiring your own hygienist, even if insurance don't pay you back for that, it's enough to justify what you did. And then you have your own consultant that has their insurance assigned to you and that will be in the courtroom with you if something does go awry. And they hate that. The other side's consultants hate that. But I would tell you that's one of the most important things that we do.
Absolutely. One of the things you mentioned in there, especially if you're a restoration company listening to this, maybe you're on that spot where you're like, maybe we need to get into this, or maybe we'll start doing a little bit of storm work or large commercial work. This isn't your day to day restoration. The amount of organization that goes into it, like you mentioned, being able to pay bills on time, making sure you have things documented, these kind of jobs are so complex and big, you're not going to be able to just say, oh, we'll go back and get that information in a couple of days. We'll catch the back end of the file up as we go. That can end up just that additional labor and time spent could be that profit margin you make on a job.
So getting those organizations, that standard processes in place, it's paramount in this. If you don't have those organizational skills and have that ability to track live as you go, making sure your employees are doing things the right way the first time, I mean, it's paramount. And it seems like that's something, especially anyone who's listening to this that's never done this or wants to get into it, please, if you take anything away from this, it's the organizational side of this, that how much time are you going to spend on the back end on something as simple as photos? If you don't have the photos to document your work, you're going to lose profit on this. And from what you're saying, that seems to be the biggest portion of this.
Yeah, I mean, documentation is major, whether it's you're documenting your time and your materials. But like you said, photos, photos. On a typical job site, we do a minimum. Like I just did a college that was just three floors, maybe 20 rooms. I bet we did 100 photos a day just for that. Before and after every day. Document all your equipment every day. Make sure it's in a program. Don't want to name drop any programs like we use because I don't want to get into endorsing or anything like that. But make sure it's something that time and date stamps it. I mean, that's the biggest thing.
And a lot of things, I've had adjusters and consultants and insurance companies come back to me, and I'm always able to pull up a photo and say, yes, there it is, time and date stamp by a whole nother company. There you go. There's that piece of equipment you said we didn't have, or there's that scaffolding that we used. Whatever the case may be, making sure you have a line of credit. You don't necessarily have to have cash in the bank to pay those bills. Making sure you got a line of credit not only to support the work and your vendors and things like that, but your own staff. It gets expensive out there, and it's usually more expensive on the front end just getting everything mobilized and getting to the location where you're at and then trying to find a lay down yard or trying to find a place for your people to stay and the food and everything else. Another thing I hadn't even mentioned yet is we've invested for all of our command centers last year, Starlink and Mofi devices because there's usually no power, there's no Internet. So that's been the great thing with Starlink is now at least at all of our command centers in the surrounding area, there we have Internet so we can communicate and document, document is the biggest thing. And make sure you do a self audit before you turn anything over. You're going to have pressure on you.
And I know I'm kind of jumping around a little bit, but you're going to have pressure on you from consultants and adjusters to turn over your paperwork. They want to see it, we got to see it. No, they're not entitled to that until you're ready to give it to them again. Go back to Ed Cross's books. Read that. If you don't have the experience, that will at least give you some good grounds to know where you're at. Now, you don't want to act aloof or like you're trying to be dismissive, but you can just tell them, it's our policy that we do not turn anything over until it's been audited. And the reason is because you or your guy that's tracking that equipment may have missed something, but then that's what the photos are great for.
I kind of circled back around there and the photos then you can go back when you're doing your audit and was like, man, he left that whole room out of equipment, or he tracked the stuff inside, but he left out the AC units and generators that are outside. He thought somebody else was going to track that, and I've had that happen tons of times. So doing a self audit before you turn everything over is very important and.
Kind of circling back around something you said earlier, especially about building that relationship and kind of helping yourself stand out in the community. Have you seen any restoration companies really succeed in building that strong community relationship and establishing that trust? That you're going to come in and do the job correct, especially in those hurricane prone areas.
Well, the problem is that's the reason it's good to build relationships ahead of time because a lot of times if you're getting into this industry, most of you aren't. Like me, I'm in Florida. Most people are not from here. And so you're trying to come in and I would say the best thing to do is if you say you're going to do it, do it, because you're not going to have an existing relationship there unless you've come back to the area and you can point to some things that you have done. Having a past performance, whether it's electronic or even in paper format is real good, capability statement, all that kind of stuff.
Because when it comes down to it, your Google reviews, most people that know what they're talking about these days and are tech nerds like I am a little, know, they're going to know that you can pay companies to build your Google reviews know. So they're really looking for someone to be a man of their word or a woman of their word. My motto, and a lot of people in our industry have this, but it's underpromise and overdeliver. If I think it's going to take a week, I tell you ten days, then hopefully I'm going to finish in five to seven and then I'm going to be the guy that did exactly what he said.
The other contractor is like, oh yeah, we'll knock that out, we'll be in and out of here in three or four days and then they have a hiccup and it takes one extra day. They're the loser. They are the loser. And I promised five extra days, but because I came in a day under that, I'm the winner. And so the only way to really establish that is long term reputation and relationships and kind of comes down to marketing at the same time. Our industry, I would say, is built for longevity off of relationships and sometimes you're building that quick.
But most people these days, especially when you come to a hurricane prone area, they've heard it all before, don't come in thinking you're going to win Floridians or Louisiana or Georgians or anyone else like that over with a sly sales pitch or anything like that. We've been through this a million times. We go through it every year just about. So we've heard every song and dance coming in with the bright lights and the flashy signs. That's not what they're looking for. They're looking for someone who can do what they say and so capabilities and letting them see. If you say that you're going to get them started today, you better significantly get them started today, you better be able to point across the parking lot at your tractor trailers or your box trucks or whatever the case may be on the size project that you're doing and say, I can have them here in 30 minutes. Kind of a thing. Do not promise that you can jump on this job. And you still got equipment coming from New York or Texas and you're coming into Florida and you're a day and a half, two days out because that's going to be delayed too with traffic, road closures and everything else. So be a man or a woman of your word, I would say, and prove it quickly, communicate every day.
And another thing in there is having that, you know, like you mentioned, having equipment on site, ready to go. A small story, I'm from central Florida as well. My parents house flooded after this last hurricane that came in and we had two restoration companies come out and be like, oh, we'll have it done in a day. Well last I checked, you couldn't even drive on the roads, let alone where are we getting trucks from, how are we doing different things? And it just kind of sets a bad taste in everyone's mouth from the get go. But also are you prepared like you mentioned? Do you have those tractor trailers ready to go? Are you able to get walk in that house and start right there? Do you have any stories that have led to restoration, company's readiness, making a big difference after when a hurricane hits?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I would say Metairie last year in Louisiana, we mobilized to begin with. We start trying to watch where the storm is going to track. Obviously employee safety is important, so then we try to skirt underneath or around depending on what it's at. Try to be the first people in town before they close the road is what we try to do. Now you do have to be careful in areas that are prone to flooding and storm surge and things like so, you know, there are some apps out, know flood maps and things like that you can utilize to know where to know and where to park, that kind of a thing. But we stopped off in Pensacola and then skirted in straight into Louisiana and were there before I saw hardly anybody. We're pulling in with our caravan of 15-20 tractor trailers and campers and command centers and we're ready to drop and rock and that really goes a long ways. And then you pull up to a place that you see is affected. You start having to do research. That's where your back office support is really good in because if you can get satellite phones, that's not new technology. But that's definitely something you got to have when you're traveling for hurricanes is because there's probably not going to be any cellular service. So having a satellite phone is important. But then you can say, call your home office, say, hey, I'm right here outside so and so mall or this building, I need to find out who it is. And then get them on the horn, having a good - I'd say they're almost like salespeople, in house salespeople that are trying to track those people down for you and try to get in front of them and then those people are going to see that you're there. These people got their crap together, they're already here, boom, sign the contract. That kind of thing I see happens a lot. Early bird gets the worm, kind of a thing. Now if you just got salespeople out running around and you don't have the meat to back it up, you're going to be in trouble.
And that's something I think you just hit on right there. I want to circle back to is that back office staff. Because anybody can have a truck and run around and sign jobs, but if you don't have those processes, procedures, that staff back at home managing, where's our equipment? Where's our resources, our paperwork going, people keeping things streamlined. Speak to real quick how important it is to have that full team, not just crews and equipment, but really having that back staff that's able to handle the logistics and everything that goes into it.
Yeah, I mean everything from accounting staff to help process all of your invoices that you're getting to per diems for your workers, the whole nine yards. You got that. Then you got to have your human resources staff involved with your people and anything that may happen. Having someone I hadn't even talked about safety a whole lot, but having people that have at least their OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 like I've got, on the ground and then also maybe even having a safety person back at home to kind of help guide through things if you run into any issues. Logistics. We have logistics people that stay back to help us with orders and we have logistics people in the field to help with the delivery and what we may need. It takes a team. 36:27
I mean, it's all about teamwork and that is one of our mottos is teamwork or respect. And we try to look at it that every position is important. It doesn't matter if you're the guy turning the wrenches or the guy that's running the project. You can't do one without the other. And same thing with salespeople. There's a lot of people that disrespect salespeople and I came from that side. Well, you generally aren't going to get the contract without some kind of a sales. Someone's got to sell it at some level or another. Sometimes it may be the owner, sometimes it's a salesperson, sometimes it's one of your technicians that happened to be at the right place at the right time. So making sure that your entire company represents you well is important.
But the people back home are who's going to be able to find and get you resources when you don't have cell phone signals because sat phones are horrible. They are horrible. Anybody that has a crystal clear sat phone that works everywhere is lying to you. I'm still sometimes with a sat phone, having to stand one leg and lean out the window kind of a thing because reception those, especially after hurricane, is still choppy because you got to think, especially the early going, you're getting there, it's still cloudy, you still got tailwinds that are coming through and lots of cloud coverage and things like that. And it can interfere even with the satellite coverage. And then there are just dead spots with everything, whether it's sat alone, even with the Star service, it's spotty in certain areas. It's not good across everywhere. It's not like there's one satellite that feeds the whole world. It's a million different little satellites they have up there right now. And so it's the same thing with the cellular service and the sat phones. The time of day has a lot of impact on how good your service is. So having that support staff back home that you can reach out to help, whether it's finding clients or finding resources or placing orders for consumables or finding an equipment that you need to rent, it's paramount. You got to have it.
A lot of absolute just golden nuggets dropped on this one. But as we kind of wrap up on this, is there any key message or real piece of advice or wisdom you'd love to leave with the listeners today about kind of getting into hurricane or being prepped for hurricane? Anything you really want to leave as kind of a high point?
Well, I think the high point is be prepared. And I know that covers a crazy amount of thing and we spend all year with it. But when it starts getting into this time of year, I start off generally in May. I'll have a Cat meeting every other week, every two or three weeks, depending on where we're at in the process. But like, starting at this point in July, it becomes every week there's a meeting and then I'm following up. I end up letting other my duties fall behind, really, because making sure that everybody is trained. Staff turnover in our industry is horrendously high. I don't care how good you are, you might be an excellent company that has all your employees for 20 years, but you're a rare bird if that's the case.
Most of us, especially on the technician level, who is doing the majority of your work, has got a high turnover. And so your guy that was great on the hurricane last year has moved on. Somebody else paid him more money or he got burned out. You never know. The only other big thing is to appreciate your people, I would say. Because without your people, you're not going to be able to get the job done. And if you don't give them breaks every two to three weeks for a few days to go visit family and friends, you're going to have problems on the job site. I've seen divorces, I've seen fights, I've seen people go into financial issues even though they're making more money there. They're spending it like crazy because they're immature, whatever the case may be. And so they still need their anchor.
And so get them home to see their family, their loved ones, their wives, their kids, their husbands, whatever the case may be, and make sure that they come back, even if it's just two to three days. Fly them home and then fly them back. That's money well spent. And when they return, they're going to be refreshed, re-energized and ready for the next project if you've already got one under control, because it's not uncommon to be on hurricane for a month, two months. And what we try to ask out of all of our staff that we hire, I mean, every employee, when we hire an employee, I don't care if they're an admin that's answering the phone, when we hire them, we ask them that. We ask for at least two weeks of travel. 41:14
But that first two weeks is the most important time on the ground. Getting the job started and getting it even if you're stabilizing and you're going to end up tearing the whole thing out because it's cat 3 water, getting everything underway, documented, stabilized is the most important spot. Then you can start letting people go. Go home for visits and cycle people in and out. But your people is probably the biggest thing that a lot of people in our industry, especially owners and managers, they miss. And it's because they're looking at the dollars and they're looking at the bottom line.
And what ends up happening is you either get a bad reputation amongst people that need to work for you, it don't take long for people in your area to find out that you're a crappy employer and you don't treat your people well, or your people are going to burn out and you're going to do a bad job for your client. Then again, it won't take long, especially during a hurricane. People are on message boards more than they usually are. People like myself that don't do a whole lot of social media, I'm checking it then! Trying to find out what's going on is the power company in my area or whatever. And so this kind of circles back around to the sales side of things. If you got a happy customer, they're going to tell one, maybe two people. You piss a customer off, he's going to tell eight to ten people. And so think of that. The same thing in everything that you do, whether it's doing the job for your client or taking care of your people. Same thing with disgruntled employees. If you make one mad or you treat them bad, he's going to tell everybody he knows, don't ever go to work at that place. And then they're going to get on social media and even spread lies about you, possibly, or lambast you. And then next thing you know, people are trying to do a quick research before they hire you and they're like, man, this guy don't treat his people well. And today, more than it has been in the past, that is a huge issue. Quality of life is what employees are looking for now. 43:12
The world has changed since COVID and so we've got to evolve as employers and make sure that we're sticking with that and treating people well.
There you have it. Thanks again to Mike Allred from Royal Plus for sharing those incredible insights with our listeners. As always, if you like the episode, please share it with a friend and give a good rating wherever you get your podcasts. Interested in learning more about KnowHow? You can go to tryknowhow.com to schedule a time with me to show you, and let's see what KnowHow can do for you. That’s tryknowhow.com to see for yourself and how KnowHow can empower your workforce out in the field. Thanks for tuning in and we'll see you guys again here soon.