“[Northern Initiatives has] really been there for moral support as well, and that’s valuable.”
– Juli Sauve, owner of Right Away Restoration & Cleaning, LLC
The hugs Juli Sauve receives from clients while out and about in Alpena demonstrate that her team’s personalized, empathetic response to those confronting disasters in their homes is appreciated. She started Right Away Restoration & Cleaning to “bring a bit of sentiment to the industry.” When two of Sauve’s previous employers transitioned to corporate franchises, she said there was an adverse impact on customer service.
“They developed a cold, all-business approach that I didn’t feel comfortable with,” she said. “People spend much of their adult lives paying for a house and putting their hearts into making it their own. A fire can ruin all of that. It’s important to empathize with homeowners and personalize the claim. I might walk into a house and start a conversation about a picture on the wall—anything to put them at ease before they show you their basement filled with 14 inches of water. I also encourage our technicians to interact with clients and even join in to help if they want.”
Northern Initiatives helped Sauve secure a loan to purchase the equipment required to hit the ground running as a full-service business in 2013. It sent a trainer to guide her through QuickBooks and a bookkeeper to help straighten out some errors that she questioned. Sauve also took advantage of Northern Initiatives’ educational seminars in profit mastery, marketing and time management.
“They’ve really been there for moral support as well, and that’s valuable,” she added.
It was a challenging initiation for Right Away, Sauve said. Most insurance companies require that a restoration and cleaning business operate for two to four years before its name can be added to the referral lists companies share with customers. Now residential and commercial insurance claims comprise most of Right Away’s workload.
In the summer, homeowners call for assistance cleaning windows, carpeting and upholstery. Duct cleaning requests ratchet up in the fall. Sauve and her employees are also certified in meth lab cleanup and lead abatement.
“There’s a sense of pride in knowing that I employ six people and can support their livelihood and families,” Sauve said. “I might struggle more because my business isn’t corporate, but I’d rather struggle and have people thank and hug me when I’m at the store than point me out and say, ‘She’s from the company that charged me $14,000 for that little fire.’ I like making my own decisions about how to run my business.”
Sauve has more than 20 years’ experience in the restoration and cleaning business. She also holds numerous certifications ranging from water damage technician and advanced structural drying to the more technical microbial contamination remediation and trauma scene cleanup.
Right Away Restoration & Cleaning, LLC Impacts