Serving the Community with Guarentee Restoration

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As a leader in their industry and a community service leader in the markets they operate in, Guarantee Restoration has found that providing staff with fulfilling, meaningful work that has a real impact is one of the strongest retention strategies companies can develop. During the podcast, Shawn and Marcie share their insights on how to make time for community involvement, how to engage your team, and the impact community involvement has on your workforce. They also explore the connection between community stewardship and workforce engagement and retention, and offer advice for companies looking to become more involved in their community. Tune in to learn more about how Guarantee Restoration has evolved and grown their emphasis on giving back to the community over their 50 years of operation.

Read the five biggest takeaways of this episode here.

Episode Transcription

Shawn Folk
What I would highly recommend is that you start with your employees first to find out what's important for them, and then anything that they're behind, get behind it with them.


Paul Silliman
Welcome to the Restoration playbook podcast by Knowhow. I'm Paul Silman, and the goal of this podcast is to give you an insight into the restoration industry's most innovative companies that are building world class workforces one step at a time. We interview the names in restoration and explore in depth how they're building team culture, developing their employees, and strengthening loyalty, all while increasing their revenue. In today's episode, we're chatting with Shawn folks and Marcie Richardson from Guarantee Restoration. Guarantee has five offices along the Gulf Coast of the United States and is known throughout the restoration industry as a company that cares about community involvement. For a company that's over 50 years old, this emphasis is giving back to the community has evolved and grown over the years. To hear Shawn tell it, they've learned a lot of lessons along the way when it comes to building a company that's an integral part of your town or city, lessons I'm excited to dive into.

We'll kick things off with Marcie and Shawn from Guaranteed Restoration in just a minute. But first, let me quickly tell you about Knowhow. Knowhow is a software tool for growing restoration companies who are looking to equip their staff with the information they need to succeed in their role. From tight, structured new employee onboarding to step by step guidance on how to use equipment out in the field, knowhow ensures your workers do things the right way every time. Plus, with over 600 restoration specific templates on everything from how to set up a dehumidifier to which exactimate line items you should enter, you don't need to start from scratch to begin equipping your team. In fact, for listeners of this podcast, I created a comprehensive day one water mitigation checklist that anyone can use for free, even if you're not a Knowhow customer. Just head to to view it, print it, or send it to your team.

Again. That's We'll also throw a link into the show notes for you as well. All right, and with that, let's kick things off with Marcie and Shawn from Guarantee Restoration. Marcie, Shawn, great to have you guys on the podcast. Let's kick things off by exploring the story of Guarantee Restoration. In just a few minutes, can you walk us through the origin story of Guarantee?

So, Marcie and Shawn, how would you unpack the How Guarantee Restoration in just a few minutes to, like, a newcomer to the industry?


Shawn Folks
Sure, I'll take that one. So, a few minutes. My mom and dad started a company about 50 years ago, small, one bedroom apartment, kind of the American dream. Moved down to Baton Rouge and started a franchise cleaning carpets. Throughout the years, went through a couple of different changes and joined another franchise, went independent, went another franchise, and then went back independent and back to where we are now, to where we have five offices located along the Gulf Coast and we have about 160 employees. We do full service restoration and travel the entire country for any work. It built a strong base in our area and across the country, too, as well.


Paul Silliman
Perfect. Well, speaking of that strong base in your area, that's kind of what were diving into today is Guarantee is a market leader. You guys have very busy operations. You're down in the Gulf Coast down there. I'm in Florida. We have hurricane stuff coming through all the time. How do you guys make time for the community involvement?


Shawn Folks
Marcie, want to take that one?


Marcie Richardson
I think it's just important we live where we work, and so we want to make sure that we're always giving back to the community. It's necessary, right? We want to show that we care. We do care of where we work, where we live. Even as small as our employees. We have a program here. If your employee, if your child is involved in a sports activity and organization, boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, choir, whatever it may be, we give money to our employees, children's, organizations. We want to support them. We want people to grow. We want them to flourish. If our community is doing well, we're going to thrive in that area.


Shawn Folks
We made it a priority to put it out to our people to find what their interest is and definitely our clients, too, as well, and make those interests our interest and push the people to let us know what they need and what they want so that we can be involved with that, because it is important. It's important to our people. It's important to our clients. Therefore, it becomes important to me and our entire team.


Paul Silliman
No, that's fantastic, because it's something you don't see a lot. It adds a whole nother level to your company culture. With that, having that engagement with your team and deciding how to help run some of these places or helping with Girl Scouts or anything like that, what kind of sense of ownership and how have you seen that results on your team?


Marcie Richardson
Sense of ownership is, again, it's what they're doing every day, right? They know, hey, we're giving back hospitals, for example, or schools that we go and work in. It could be a school that one of our employees children's at, and it's ownership because, hey, they know that we're rebuilding that school, and it's where my child's attending, or it's the hospital that we go to. It's ownership in everything and every step that we do, because, again, we're out there. It's exactly where we are in the community that we live in, and it's our responsibility. We take very much pride in that, and that is the ownership for us.


Shawn Folks
One of the things too that we did. We put it back on our employees as well. To give you a great example, this past summer, each branch, we did a thing called pie in the face. Different people, the executive team and the leadership team, the people at the individual branches got to bid on who was going to pay how much to put a pie in either my face, Morrissey's face, our branch managers faces, our CFO, all these different people, and they put up their own money. They had buy in on it too. And then the company matched all that. What we did with all those proceeds is we bought, I think, probably $25,000 worth of school supplies to donate to local schools in our community. It was our employees buy in too as well. It wasn't just something here, we're pushing this out. It was, this is something we're going to do. You have the opportunity to pie me in the face, which I would highly not recommend, because after they do it, you smell that all day. It doesn't matter how many times you shower. It's awful.


Marcie Richardson
Especially in July.


Shawn Folks
That might have been a winter month. One there. The buy in from our people was where I think we got a lot of momentum with that one and a lot of traction that really was great for the culture and for also to our community.


Paul Silliman
That's fantastic. One thing we found in our book, Why Workers Quit is one of the strongest retention strategies is to provide your staff with fulfilling, meaningful work that has real impact. How do you think of thisguarantee?


Shawn Folks
Well, I'll take that one. Every month we do company meetings and we have somebody from the company come up and we incentivize them to memorize the mission statement. With our mission the way it is, it's giving back to our community and helping our partners and our friends and all the different things along with it. We make them tell us how they lived the mission last month. What we're trying to promote that on all of our people is like, we're not here for a job, we're helping these people get their lives back to normal. It's like I always tell people, we're kind of like doctors. The flu season comes around and we're not happy about it, but we're happy to help our friends and family. Don't look at yourself as just out there doing a job cleaning up sewer underneath a trailer at 03:00 A.m.. You're helping these people that live inside that trailer get their lives back to normal. We've got a lot of great success with that in our people too, as well, where it's not just a job.


Paul Silliman
No, that's great to hear. Especially in today's day and age, finding employees is an issue for everybody. Having that sense of community and having that sense of ownership is huge. How has that affected retention, people wanting to stay, enjoying, coming to work for you guys?


Marcie Richardson
I think that the main thing for us is number one is finding that right person. We always say we hire for heart. We make sure that when people are coming here, that they know this is more than a job, right? They have the ownership, when we're living that mission statement, it's just not words on a wall. It's not just on a piece of paper. And that's what Shawn saying. We recite it. We ask them, what is your buy in on? That when people truly believe in everything that they do and they believe the company is for the people at the heart. When they have that buy in, they're going to stay and they're going to give you 100% day in and day out. I think that's what we've really established and gotten with our employees here is that they know we're here for them, we're here for our community, and we're going to continue to live that every single day.


Paul Silliman
No, it's a key thing. And it's not only just community involvement. You guys are on the Gulf Coast. You see some pretty bad storms come through. It's one thing to, like you mentioned, have a school flood that someone goes to. It's another thing to have a hurricane come through and being able to know, not only have you built that relationship with your community, people know you're going to be there, your employees are going to take that seriously. I've worked at a handful of restoration companies where I don't even know if we had a motto. I couldn't even tell you if we had a mission statement. Being able to have that is great to hear. Kind of diving into the nuts and bolts, say, if we have a company that wanted to become more involved in their community and give back, what steps would you have them take to kind of get started? Or what values or beliefs do you think they need to dive into on the leadership level?


Shawn Folks
Well, I got to be honest, before we got where we were, I was mainly focused on growing our company and developing our company and didn't think about any of that stuff. We had somebody that came to work for us and was big in that and helped me realize that it was important. The way we first started was we found out what was important to our clients and then we started becoming members of that and doing things with that, and then we realized, like, that's great and all, but it really is about our employees and the people that work for us. What I would highly recommend is that you start with your employees first to find out what's important for them and then anything that they're behind, get behind it with them. Don't take the lead because that's what I found is if I'm taking the lead and I don't buy into it or it's somebody else's idea, but I'm trying to run with it doesn't go anywhere.


Shawn Folks
If I have somebody that their spouse or they have a sibling or they have a child that has some disease or a cancer and they want to do a walk, we're going to make shirts. We're not going to pay for everybody to walk in the walk, but we may match that sponsorship for the people that do come. We always want to make it to where they have some skin in the game or it's not like the company is just providing this free outing for everybody they're paying to walk. The company is going to match whatever we raise for that too as well. But it's more about the employees. If I could go back, I'd start with my people first to find out what's important to them and then make it important to me. Because, I mean, I have the things that are important to me and I do all those too as well. When it comes to work, it's employees first.


Marcie RichardsonI think passion is contagious, right? If somebody is seeing, hey, that we are passionate with them of what's important to them, it's going to be contagious and they're going to come up and show up to work happier and more productive and a better employee because they're saying, hey, what, my company is also caring about what I'm passionate about. That's just going to continue to filter out to everybody.


Paul Silliman
No, I think that's a key point you just touched on is that passion and let's be frank with each other, restoration is not an easy thing to be in sometimes, but it's a lot easier getting out of bed knowing the company I work for cares about my passions, they care about our coworkers passions, everyone's involved. If there's something I feel strong about and you guys are willing to jump on board, it makes me want to come in every day. It's very easy to get lost in the shuffle of everything. No, that's fantastic. How do you guys think about spotlighting or promoting your community involvement? Especially not only just sharing it, but sharing in a way that's very authentic to where it's not like you guys just said something that's top down, getting pushed around.


Marcie Richardson
I think sharing our community involvement, it's not really about the spotlight, right? It's not saying, hey, look at guarantee, we're doing this and we're out and show voting. It's not about that, right? It's just really to show the compassion, to show that heart of us, right. Restoration, like you said, it's not always glamorous, but it is making sure that we're showing how we are empathetic. We're showing that we do care that at 03:00 A.m., you went to the restroom and you got two inches of water. That's a compassion. Or if you're in the middle, your house catch on fire. It's the compassion. We want to show that we're always there and that we're going to be compassionate just to show that passion. Right. Because we do want to continue to put it out there but not showboat.


Paul Silliman
Correct. Yeah. I think it's key because it's not only showing it from a company's perspective, it's your employee's family is seeing this. Not only are they wearing you guys' gear, but now their parents might see it or a friend of theirs is like, man, I saw you guys' company, we're out at this or that. It drives that and brings that pride to working with you guys as well.


Marcie Richardson
Well, I think that's a great point, Paul, is that one of the things we always unfortunately, you don't want to forget about our employees families. Our employee families also give a lot back when they have that call at 02:00 a.m. That they're the ones going out there to receive that call or we're going out of town to whatever loss may be. There's families that are left back. We want to show that we're also caring about the families because they're giving up some of their time with their family member of doing those calls at late nights or going out of town. Great point.


Paul Silliman
Absolutely. Because especially in the area you're in, I've done some cap deployments. I've gone to some of these places after storms and it's almost like a deployment. You're going to be gone weeks at a time. Having that pride not only as an employee, but as a family, as people connected to your employees, and it has a great reach and spreads a great message. For anyone who's listening to this, who is just as inspired, they enjoy everything they hear and they say, what? This is something we really need to incorporate. Do you have one or two just key little nuggets on how to get them out there and kind of advice for them?


Shawn Folks
Be real. Be real. Let your people see you real. When they have things that are important to them, make it important to you and don't make it fake. I mean, some of the things that, for the I used to be people used to call me like a robot, right? Because I was very regimented. It was black or white. This is what we're doing. Why are we doing that? Because that's what were supposed to do. That's what were told to do. When I realized that this business and business in general is more about people and it's not about processes and systems and all these different things, that's when we really started to take off. Our turnover ratio is we had of a hiccup last year like everybody did with everybody, the great resignation. Our turnover ratio compared to the industry average is significantly lower. We've done a great job. A lot of times people that leave it's because it's just not a good fit. It's not bad, it's not people aren't leaving because they hate the company or we're not firing people for things like that. It's just because they're not a good fit. We help them move on if they want to move on.


Paul Silliman
Yeah, no, I think that's fantastic. I mean, it's the truth in restoration, not everybody it's not a perfect fit for everyone. So that's key. Especially knowing that when they do move on or you do find other employees, it's finding that right fit, finding those employees that want to live your values and really enjoy what they do every day. Where can people find you guys if they want to learn more about how Guarantee Restoration, where can they find you.


Marcie Richardson
We are all over. You can see this man, his videos on our Facebook page and our LinkedIn page. You could definitely visit our website at Take you to the links, but definitely visit us on Facebook and LinkedIn. It's where we're always showing what we're doing, what we're giving back, what we're involved in. We keep it up every day. There's always something new; new article or new whatever we're doing.


Shawn Folks
Also, too, we go to the majority of all the conferences. We'll be at RIA, we'll be at Crawford, we'll be at Alacrity, we'll be at the PLRB, a lot of the different events, we're always there. I always invite people to come to our facility and see us if they ever want to. Where we got today isn't because of me. It's not because of Marcie. It's because of the people that helped us get here. I remember ten years ago, I went to go see Warner Cruz at JC Restoration, hosted an event, and I went to him after the event and said, hey, I'd love to come back and see your facility. He invited me with open arms and just some of those things that other people have invited me in is how we got great to where we are today. I invite people to come see us. We built our own Floodhouse and training facility and working on getting an ICRC approved. Hopefully people will come to see our facility and be able to do trainings here as well.


Paul Silliman
That's awesome. I got to come down and see this thing. I'm excited now. Well, that's awesome. Thank you guys so much. Hopefully everyone listening can take something from this and get out in your community and help grow that culture and base with your people. This is awesome. Thank you guys.


Paul Silliman
There you have it. Thanks again to Marcie and Shawn for showing us those incredible insights to our listeners. As you heard, you can check them out at If you like it, please remember to share it with friends and give it a good rating wherever you find your podcasts. Remember, you can get free access to my free comprehensive day One water mitigation checklist for free by heading to Thanks for tuning in and we'll see you again here soon.