Restoration in the Digital Age: How Technology Is Changing the Game


Nick Maghielse
Trident Restoration


We’re saving a lot of time on site day one where we used to measure onsite with a laser or a tape measure and graph paper. So we’re able to capture the whole footprint of the house because everything done in Xactimate.

Hi, and welcome to the Home Service Hookup podcast. I’m Jonathan, and today we’re gonna be talking with Nick from Trident Restoration, and I’m really pleased to have Nick here to talk to us a little bit about his business, some of the things that he’s done to, to grow the business and share his story.

One of my favorite parts, as you guys all know, Is learning about your stories and how you got started in business, what’s been done, and then obviously learning from you in the process. So Nick, welcome to the podcast. We’re thrilled to have you. Could you give us an kind of start off with just a 32nd elevator pitch about who is Nick and tell us a little bit about Trident Restoration.

Sure. Thanks Jonathan. Yeah, charting, restoration reopened about a year ago, actually. Today is our one year anniversary. Hit a spice surprise or been so busy. We’re a water fire mold restoration company. Do the whole project all the way through completion. We’ve been, I’ve personally been doing it for really started in 2005 and joined the military and left for 13 years.

Came back and five years ago started as a project manager and then decided to open my own company a year ago. So that’s we’re, we’ve been busy from day one and we’re happy to be where we’re at. Wonderful. And before I forget, thank you for your service. My thank you son.

Spent four y just four years in the military, but you guys have got a soft spot in my heart, so thank you very much. We appreciate that. But tell me a little bit about getting started. Obviously it sounds like you were in the business be before editing in the military, and then when you got back you decided to get back in and start your own.

What caused you to say, Hey, I want to go out on my own and do this, and tell me a little bit about that process, if you would, Nick. Sure. Yeah. I was working as a project manager as ano at another company that was more designed for commercial large scale restoration work. And, we saw a need in the area for a more residential focused Restoration company, so when we opened, we’re really proud of we feel like we’re the most technologically advanced company in the area. We have the best equipment, some of the newest equipment and we’re, we take great pride in knowing the standard to the T and following it right down to the T. So that’s what we’re building our business around, is following standards and the best technology.

That’s fantastic. Talk to me on the technology side. It makes me think of tools and that, and tell me about some of the technology that you guys are using and do you have a favorite tool set or line of tools that you like that you’re willing to share? Anything like that. What can you share with us about some of the cool stuff that, that you guys get to use?

Yeah, sure. That could, that can open up quite a wide range of stuff for me to talk about. I could talk about it for a long time because that’s something that we’re really passionate about. But we’re definitely have really bought into the Phoenix drying equipment technology that they’re putting out.

We really like their dif fires and their fans. Think they’re the best out there, especially for residential work. And, the technology we’re talking about we’re really. Take great pride in our ability to capture the loss from day one. So we’re heavy utilizers of the Matterport technology, which is a 3D virtual technology that reuse.

We bring it back, we use it to estimate and to Xactimate or use Xactimate. We’re certified and Xactimate for estimating. And then as far as the technology as a technician level, all of our technicians are certified through the I A C R C. We have a master water restorer on staff. And everybody that we put on a job as had at minimum in-house training, if not.

I CRC training in person. So that’s something that we take a lot of pride in and we really believe in the I CRC certification process too. They’ve got a great certification process. I certainly know that. I’m really intrigued by the matter port. I obviously am very familiar with that in, in the real estate world and how it’s used there to showcase properties and that.

Can you tell me just out of the curiosity a little bit more how is that helping you in the estimating and the reconstruction PR and the restoration process? Sure. For one, it saves us a lot of time. We’re saving a lot of time on site day one where. We used to measure onsite with a laser or a tape measure and graph paper.

So we’re able to capture the whole footprint of the house because everything done on Xactimate is a sketch based off of Sketch. So we’re able to take that right outta Matterport and come in and put it right into Xactimate with very minimal effort from us other than the scan and actually manually putting it into Xactimate.

And from there. Way our estimators utilize it in-house here is we operate on two screens. One screen is the Matterport tour and the other screen is Xactimate. And me personally, I actually have a third screen up with the standard on it, on the third screen. So as I’m estimating, I can refer to the standard, I can put myself right into the house as if I was.

And estimate if I need to measure a window or something, a rough measurement I could get right from that Matterport scan. It just makes our estimates so much more accurate than if off the graph paper, if you happen in this one measurement, either you’re going back or you’re taking a guess.

So we don’t have any guesswork. We’re a hundred percent correct on our sketches and we miss very little in estimating if any. And I gotta believe that really helps the homeowner in making sure that you’re getting them restored back to original condition, getting them back to where they want to be without missing things and getting into a project and going, oops, we missed that along the way.

I gotta believe that’s just one of the things that really sets Trident apart from so many of your brethren in the industry. Yes. And it’s A lot of times we can take it a few steps further. We’ll do multiple scans throughout the restoration process. So we’ll have a pre-loss scan, we’ll have a during mitigation scan, and a post mitigation scan, and a post repair scan at times.

And even talking to an adjuster as long as their company allows them to look at it, it’s extremely helpful to them, especially in the, this post covid world we live in now. A lot of adjusters aren’t coming on jobs anymore. If, I can basically stick them onto the, that house and they understand what I’m talking about and the during mitigation scans, there’s no question how much equipment I had there.

I’ve got a whole 3D tour of every piece of equipment I had there and where it was. So that’s another piece that’s been really valuable to us, justifying what we’ve done. We do it to the standard. We can justify it with this 3D tour and bill for it appropriate. Again, I’m just thinking as a homeowner, the value that would bring to me, and knowing that with you being there, everything’s documented.

Everything’s being done accurately, and it really would, in my mind, tell me if I’m wrong, but it’s gonna minimize the. Ability of my insurance company to come back and say, Nope, that couldn’t have happened, or No, that didn’t happen. Or, no, that’s not normal because everything’s gonna be there. It’s all gonna be documented.

And that just, yeah. Wow. That, that just strikes me as an amazing system. I love that. You mentioned something that I want to ask about and I, maybe I shouldn’t, but I, it’s just my nature. You mentioned if their company will allow them, when you’re talking about I adjusters, if the company will allow, To look at the stuff, why, maybe I should know this, but why wouldn’t an insurance company want to actually see the facts?

And I don’t, I’m not trying to get you to get in trouble here. I’m just no, not at all. It’s a good question to ask. I wish I had a hundred percent. I wish I knew the reasons. Fair enough. I. There’s one particular company and I’m not gonna name ’em. It doesn’t matter. That’s alright.

No need to, they have a general email that we send estimates to, so that should clue some people in on what it is. That it gets blocked when you send it through there. And it’s it’s probably not Matterport directly related. It’s more of a hyperlink in the email related than anything.

Because it gets blocked in their system and then they sure it all. There’s some backdoor ways to get it to ’em if they really want it. Which we’ve worked with a few that will take that. But yeah it’s something that they probably need to grow as a company and see.

The value of it. I, it’s something that I generally don’t charge for. It’s something that’s a, it’s a valuable tool to us. I look at it as, I don’t necessarily charge for going to a house to measure it. I see it as the same way. It’s extremely valuable to my estimators and the time saver for them.

So I don’t, there’s times where I have charged for it if somebody specifically requests it, sure. But to us as a company it’s worth the time and effort it takes to do that. I wish there was a I wish I knew the reason why. Some of them don’t want that. I don’t know what the reasoning is, to be honest.

Fair, fair. No, fair. I appreciate that. I think it’s mostly a hyperlink issue with a couple of the larger carriers in the general emails. It’s just a security problem for them. Yeah. Large carrier, red tape, we can all imagine what’s happening yeah. I just, I wanna really commend you on that.

That is, To me, knowing the technology a little bit, being familiar with it, thinking about that, I just, I wanna commend you and not only doing it for your own internal savings, which I can see it would make you guys more efficient, and that’s great. As we’re building any bus, any business efficiencies help us create more profit and more value for our customers.

But that’s really the key part to me, is as a customer, The value that creates for me and brings to the table knowing that accuracy and the proof is all gonna be there, gives me as a homeowner such incredible peace of mind. Just I love that. That’s absolutely fantastic. And yeah, that’s probably one of the most common questions we get.

As we’re signing a client and we’re onboarding them into our process is, I think a lot of people, it’s their first time ever filing a home insurance claim. A lot of, sorry about that. That’s all right. We they’re, they haven’t filed an insurance claim and they’re scared of the process cuz they’ve heard stories about insurance companies not paying for things and it really puts ’em at ease when.

I keep some some sample tours on my phone and iPad and I show ’em like, this is what I’m gonna do. There’s not gonna be any question on what I’m doing. I follow the standard after that. Yeah, they, it really does put ’em at ease on a lot of customers that are new to this water damage claim or any kind of claim world that it really puts ’em at ease.

Which is good, that process cuz it’s a stressful time for them and it’s just really helps with their nerves on the whole problem. Oh, absolutely. And one of the questions I was gonna ask you today was, walk us through the process of what you do to work with insurance companies to ensure that process goes smoothly.

In my mind, you just answered all of that. They had explained so much of it right there. So I think that’s incredible. The other, the huge value obviously is I’m assuming that you are working on behalf of the client with the insurance company to try to make sure that everything’s restored as, as best as possible and maximizing what that residential owner, property owner can re get back from their insurance company to get them as close to normal as possible.

And that’s really cool. Talk to me a little bit, Nick, about team training. We, every, one of the questions we get a lot is, how do you keep your team, especially with a company like you that’s so focused on using technology to create efficiencies and value, how do you keep your team trained and up to speed on all of that, that, that tech, in the, and the tools that you’re, Yeah.

It’s, it is something that, it’s a hard battle for us to fight at times. We do dedicate quite a bit of time to training. I keep a small staff and that’s I think I, I keep a small staff of, well-trained guys that are paid well. And that’s, I might not be able to handle some of the bigger stuff because of that, but that’s, that’s what we’ve built our business around is that mindset.

So if that means I can’t handle some of the bigger stuff, or I, I’m having to turn a job away because I’m swamped with other jobs at the moment and I just can’t get to ’em, then so be it. It’s not, As a business owner, I don’t like ever turning work away and we always have a list of people that, that are on a waiting list if it’s a cat category or a cat event or whatever.

We just had to freeze around Christmas time this year locally and. We had a waiting list and it, I only have four guys that work here and I can bring in other laborers. I have other guys that we’ve trained, but when it comes down, I’ve got a core of a small group that knows what they’re doing and we don’t venture far from that.

And we also try to keep up with any reviews being done with the I a crc. They review Their standards often. Especially in my inside the office, the two of us really focus on trying to contribute to those standard reviews being on top of what’s coming out new with that process.

And we’re committed to continuing training, even a master water restorer. We still have classes planned for him just to continue his education, even outside the I C R C, which there’s a bunch of other training we can do. He’s. He’s recently gotten more focused on safety training. So that’s another avenue that he’s pursuing that, we’re continuing to find better ways that we should be doing things and how to protect the homeowners and the our employees better than what we’re used to.

So that’s we’re always trying to grow. That’s always a focus we have is when we sit down on the goals for the year, we’re looking at, okay. What’s our revenue goal? Of course, how many jobs do we want to do? What equipment do we want to buy? But a big piece of it is what training we’re gonna do this year.

And that’s whether it’s in-house. We just did in-house training yesterday. We had a half a day of in-house training yesterday. And it was review. It’s just a lot of times it’s review training, and it’s just to reiterate, this is the process that we’re following and this is what we’re gonna continue to do.

And this is the only way we’re doing it. Again, kudos to you. It so many times when we talk to people in the home services business, they get started in the business because it’s something they’re good at. Maybe they’ve been doing it, it’s a job. They want to create their own job, go out on their own.

And while that certainly is great and admittedly it’s part of the reason I started Valor Circle. It’s so awesome to talk to a business owner like yourself that also looks at it as a business and is obviously treating as such and planning and making things go accordingly to focus on the business because that’s gonna allow you to better serve your customers and candidly, better serve your team long term as well.

And everybody wins in that process. I really appreciate you sharing that and how that works. Talk to me a little bit. You, what about communication? I know one of the things that so many. Of home services contractors, restoration contractors, everybody struggle with is communicating in customer service during the job itself.

When that’s going on. What, talk to me a little bit, Nick, about what’s Trident do to keep the homeowner involved, but also not too involved because you don’t want them looking over your shoulder every moment and telling you what to do either because that makes you more inefficient. How do you walk that balance and what have you found works well for you?

Sure. We talked about client onboarding earlier a little bit. That’s another piece that when we’re onboarding a client and to put ’em at ease in the process, is we tell ’em that, this is, we’re ultimately working for the homeowner. We’re not an insurance company. I’m not on any program work.

I’m not working for an insurance company. But there’s three parties involved. There’s the restoration contractor ourselves the homeowner and the insurance company. It ultimately, we’re hoping that the money’s coming from the insurance company through the homeowner back to us on a lot of these projects.

So one of the key words I like to use is transparency. I never. To keep the homeowner outta the loop on anything that’s going on. That being said, I hardly ever call an insurance adjuster. I primarily email and it’s always with a CC to the homeowner. Okay. It’s cuz they’re, they, it’s their vested interest in their home, what’s happening to it.

Scope of work, especially on repair work we want them to have. We want to have that transparency for them to see what’s going on. Any, I’ll get a lot of questions from them sometimes, and is it looking over our shoulders? Sometimes it can be a bit much with some clients, and sometimes we have to have that conversation let’s figure out a scope of work and then let’s talk about this other stuff.

Yep. And I think it’s critical when you’re onboarding to explain that to the homeowner. It’s when we’re onboarding a client, we’re. Explaining our process. We’re explaining everything we’re gonna be doing, but we’re also prepping them for the whole process, what we’re doing, and what the insurance adjuster’s gonna do.

And so it’s an important to, to set the expectations right from the get-go. And that doesn’t work with every client. Some clients think that they’re my only customer and that yes they could call me at nine o’clock at night. Which I typically will answer, but there’s usually a conversation with them like, Hey, everything’s fine.

This is what’s going on. Let’s talk tomorrow. Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, it’s, in, in the insurance restoration world the three parties, it can be difficult at times. But yeah, it. Onboarding is critical to us, and that’s, it’s the way we really focus on the resetting, the standard on communication right from the get go with them.

It sounds like you’re setting expectations really well upfront, and that obviously makes a huge difference throughout the project. If for no other reason, just your ability to remind them of what the expectations were set upfront and move forward with that. So Nick, one of the things I wanted to ask you about and obviously as we talked to other, Restoration companies and people in home services.

One of the topics that I know some companies really wanna avoid is anything in the biohazard area. And I know that’s one of the things that you guys do. Can you talk to me a little bit more specifically about that and what types of things you’re doing, and maybe even without too many gory details, any interesting stories that you have about jobs in that?

Sure. It’s not a huge portion of our business. We are we are certified to do trauma cleanup through the I C R C. It’s, it was a fairly new course two years ago. It was one of the first, I was in one of the first classes for that certification. It. I’m really grateful that the IRC Rrc finally published a standard for that industry because it’s and there’s, it just went through a review process recently too, because there weren’t a whole lot of regulations in that industry until just recently. And it’s even still, it’s still fairly loose until that new standard comes out. I think it’s gonna come out Sure. Soon. It was just up for review.

I think it ended February 14th okay. Real new. Yeah, it’s yeah, it’s, and it needed updated drastically. But, some of the things we’ve done in the past unattended deaths, someone that lived by themselves that, they passed away and no one was home and, no one was checking up on ’em daily or something.

So those can get pretty nasty. Usually some other problems in the home. Along with that too, that we refined a lot of hoarding. We did one that had, it was a hoarder who also had the unattended death and also had a sewage backup in the basement probably for two or three years. Oh wow. So walking into the house, it was.

The scope of work in that house we were able to fully restore that house. But it, it took quite a bit and it was even dealing with it, it’s, there’s a whole nother challenging p position in that from a restoration standpoint, because if they were to sole homeowner, Even figuring out who the insurance company is can be a challenge.

Sometimes we’ve done some investigative work and found the a policy in the house or something that, a lot of times, some a relative or an acquaintance will help us figure that out. But it’s, they’re a big challenge for sure. If we don’t see a whole lot of ’em it.

It’s a tough cleanup. It’s a, when we’re training our guys for it, I, it’s one of those few things where I will never tell one of our guys to go on it if they’re uncomfortable. Luckily I have a very strong stomach’s probably why I’m decent in this industry. Nothing really bothers me, you knows.

Step around and sewage with the right PPE on it doesn’t bother me. So doing some of those cleanups, I’ve done ’em myself by myself before just because one of my technicians couldn’t handle it. We did a a. A school shooting a few years ago that a child had died on. And, like I said, I ended up not allowing a few of our technicians to work on it.

That’s, that was tough. And it’s something that, it’s, you gotta live with it after you’re done it. And so yeah it’s a interesting part of our business. We don’t do it very often, but when we do we’ve put the right PPE on and follow the standard just like we would any other job.

And it’s important, we need professionals to deal with certain things in life, and not all of those are pleasant. And, I certainly can imagine while I don’t know any hoarders, thankfully I’ve watched the show a couple times and I can only imagine some of the scenarios that one might get into in a situation like that.

And again, I’m just, I’m thankful we have profess. Organizations like yourself that have standards that can be followed so that there’s some protection for everybody involved in the process. And I think that’s just, that’s amazing. I think it’s another important piece is empathy. It’s, oh yeah.

Out of everybody that works here, I don’t think anybody here. Has they’re very empathetic of everything and we’re e even from the small little water damage on the floor we treated as if their whole house, to, to the homeowner’s eyes that their house could fall down from that. And you can, some people are fine.

But a lot of people we run into, It’s one of the worst days of their life, even for a small loss. And so when you talk about the trauma biohazard cleanup it’s even more just because, there’s usually a loss of life or someone was badly injured or that they’ve discovered a problem in the house, relative that they didn’t even know was going on.

So it’s sure empathy is a big part. What we do. And that, so that’s tough at times, but it’s a big portion of what we’re doing there is, understanding and not pushing the people. We’re there to help and that’s part of doing the help. As you look at the industry, Nick, and obviously you’re paying a lot of attention cuz you’re contributing the standards and all that.

What do you see if you have any type of crystal ball, or if at least you can pretend you do for a moment, what do you see happening over the next few years? Any significant changes in the industry that you’re envisioning or anything that, that it might be coming down that the average layperson like myself isn’t as familiar with that.

Sure. I think the I think there’s a good chance the mold industry’s gonna change quite a bit in the next few years. Ni years, who publishes their standard. I think everything that says, that we should remove everything. I really think that the encapsulants in everything have come a long way.

We still follow a standard to a t But I think the technology is catching up to we, we might not be tearing out as much as we did in the past. On a mold job, it’s, a lot of times it’s a demo job with p E involved. Sure. It is probably still gonna be that way even as technology changes for the most part.

But there’s times where I think the encapsulants have come a long way, and I think they’ll continue to grow the, some of the cleaning products the peroxide cleaners and everything have come a long way too. Until it changes. We’ll, we’re gonna continue to follow the standard, but I do think that there’s a good chance the mold industry is gonna change in the next few years.

It makes a lot of sense. And I love, that’s why I love asking cause I love hearing about what things are happening either technologically or chemically or however we wanna say it, that are changing. It’s one of the things that I can absolutely imagine that Yeah. If you would, can find a good way to encapsulate that mold and know that basically you were neutralizing any.

Risk from that. In many cases it would seem that would be far better than trying to have your entire team show up in p e and remove and then restore everything. So yeah. Very interesting. I appreciate you sharing that. Nick, as, talk to me a little bit about your area, because I want people listening to the podcast to, to know where you’re based out of, and.

Tell us, if we’re a homeowner on here, or maybe we’re just another restoration company owner that doesn’t cover your area, and we wanna refer to somebody that knows what they’re doing. What’s the best way for somebody to get in touch with you guys? Sure. We’re, our office is located in Richmond, Indiana.

We’re located really right in the main area of Richmond, Indiana. It’s a, I recall it, a small town. It’s 40,000 people probably here in Richmond, Indiana. We’re right on Interstate 70. It’s I like living here. We’re close to Dayton, Ohio. We’re close to Cincinnati, Ohio.

We’re close to Mun Indiana. We’re close to Indianapolis. So all of those, that’s going all four cord cardinal directions from us. So we can get to a lot of places within an hour. So we’re able to cover a pretty wide area if we want to. We generally focus in the 30 minute, 30 mile radius of us, but, willing to travel if need be.

Best way to get ahold of us our phone number (765) 488-2178 or through our website. You can get ahold of us through our website. So that’s the best way to get ahold of us. And we’ll put all that contact information on the screen as well, just to Okay. It’s easy for people to get and that but yeah I know that was one of the things I noticed when I was looking up and say, okay, whereabouts are you guys at?

It’s you’re almost perfectly between, Dayton and Indianapolis and Cincinnati, although it’s not necessarily a perfect triangle. It’s wow, that’s, it’s amazing how you’re situated right there. Very cool. My shop. Three minutes from I 70. So we’re right on I 40 that hits I 70.

I can be pulling the trailer down the road in three minutes if down I 70 if I want to be going towards Dayton or Indianapolis. So it’s, we’re in a good spot. It’s, to be able to hit those areas if need be. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I get, I’m betting with some of their suburbs that, particularly Dayton, some of those suburbs are really close to your half hour mark probably by the day.

Yeah. Actually we have been doing a ton of work on the that side of Dayton, the Englewood Clayton area, we during the freeze, we did a few over there. We’re getting to be known a little bit over there, so we’ve been getting some phone calls, just referral based stuff over there. So yeah, we fantastic.

Not an area where I had really thought we would be, but it’s a good area for us to work. It’s our right clientele for us and we’ve been happy to be over there. So we’ve been a little bit more involved over there lately. We’ve done a couple fundraisers and stuff over there, so very cool. We’re really happy to be over there and working.

Absolutely. Last question, and it just happens to be as we’re recording this, so by the time this goes live, this particular storm event will be long over, but I’m curious, in Michigan right now, we’re getting a bunch of snow and ice and it looked from the radar like that was a pretty wide ranging storm.

Are you guys getting any of that down there in your area or are you actually, currently it’s, we have the garage doors open on the shop. It’s 60 degrees. We were cleaning content this morning in the shop. Fantastic outside. I know my phone alerted one of, one of my friends is playing golf today what a difference if you hours slow down tonight, but we’re not getting nice and snow from what I know.

I haven’t seen that good. I mean although that certainly can drive some business, I know it’s certainly pleasant thing to live through, yeah, it it, I always love to ask if it amazes me how much, how different things can be in a few hours, you sure. Yeah. Drive. Awesome. Nick, anything else you’d like to leave us with?

You’ve been a great guest. I’m so thankful you’ve been on. Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you think would be relevant for audience to hear or anything about Friday you wanna share that I didn’t ask? Oh, no. I call some prompts. Yeah. I don’t, I don’t have anything else to add, I don’t think you made it real easy for me, I’ve loved having you on the podcast, and I really want to thank you for sharing some of the things you did about the technology you’re doing and the standards and that it just, I, again, I love talking to home service sector. Business owners and hearing the different ways that they do things and the different way to solve problems and often get to that same objective.

And I must admit what you’re sharing with me today, r Nick really resonates with me. So I really appreciate that. Oh yeah. And look forward to hearing more about that as you guys continue to grow and have, I’m sure some tremendous success. I hope so. Thank you. No, thank you. Thank you. If you’re watching the podcast today, we want to thank you for tuning and joining us.

If you’re in the area, I really encourage you to reach out, to talk to Nick and his team. I am truly impressed with them as I’ve gotten to know them over the last number of months and talking to Nick today. Really grateful for his time and if you are interested in learning more, The home services industry, home services, marketing, things that are happening, and how you might be able to grow your business as a result.

Make sure to tune in for future episodes where we interview other successful businesses and home service business owners and find out what they’re doing to serve their customers and grow their business. With that, everybody, make it a great day.



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