Affordable finds silver lining in disasters

FORT COLLINS – Troy Jennings and Jim Simpson, the president and vice president of Affordable Restoration in Fort Collins, must be some of the most easygoing and jovial business owners around. With a 301 percent increase in revenue over one year’s time, they’ve definitely got a lot to be happy about.

Affordable Restoration, a fire, water and mold disaster restoration business, began in 2008, as a partner company with Affordable Roofing, which was launched in 2006 by Jennings.

“I think it’s filling a niche,” said Jennings of the restoration business. “There’s a couple of other restoration companies in town, but not with the extensive experience we have in claims from start to finish.”

Their rivals might argue that point but Affordable Restoration made it onto the Mercury 100 this year – not them. The company ranked No. 1 among businesses with revenues between $1.39 million and $2.94 million.

For Jennings and Simpson, a typical day in the restoration business means responding to a homeowner — commonly their biggest client — who has just suffered from a mishap such as a home fire, water leak or hail damage from a storm.

The restoration team assesses the extent of the damage and works with insurance companies and the client to determine what must be done to repair things and how to return people to their homes as quickly as possible.

The two men have seen a lot of disasters in their day, but their real start as a company began just after the Windsor tornado occurred.

Simpson and Jennings were friends before becoming business partners, which might account for the relaxed nature of their business environment.  

“We were friends in high school and one of our bonds was that we had a mindset for business entrepreneurship growing up,” said Jennings.

This is definitely a family business. Both of the men’s wives and Simpson’s mother-in-law are employees. The two owners feel that developing this positive and family-oriented work environment for their 18 employees may have attributed to some of their success.

“We have a great culture,” said Simpson. “People have a true career path here; they have a vested interest in continuing.”

The company also keeps employees happy with a competitive salary package, a 401k, a quarterly profit-sharing program and the opportunity to be trained on the company’s expense.

Jennings handles more of the sales and Simpson specializes in production. This balance, coupled with their 20-plus years of experience and commitment to staying atop the latest technologies in the field, has helped the company grow, the men said.

“You just have to be organized within your office,” said Jennings. “Somebody is assigned to every single task; for every segment of the process, we have somebody in place.”

That approach helped the company win the Rookie of the Year award in the First Choice Repair Program, which is operated through Farmers Insurance, Allstate Insurance and American Family Insurance. The program assigns a specialist to homeowners in need of restoration consultation and in Northern Colorado, that exclusive specialist just happens to be Affordable Restoration.

“From start to finish, we’re almost immediately two steps ahead of where another company can be,” said Simpson of Affordable Restoration’s involvement with the program.

Well, again, rivals might balk.

In any case, Affordable Restoration promises to respond to a client 24 hours a day, seven days a week within three hours of any fire, mold or water disaster.

Affordable Restoration leans on “over communication” with clients in order to keep them satisfied and updated.

“We let them know what’s going on every step of the way,” said Jennings. “That’s become our No. 1 goal.”

The men have also just recently taken on a third partner, Cory Braesch, who brings nearly 20 years experience in fire-disaster restoration to the company.

“His specialty is fire and we feel we’ve added a sector we weren’t involved in,” said Jennings. “We just went and added the best and most experienced guy to our staff and our ownership.”

Additionally, the company has hired a marketing consultant to help reach new customers and is in the planning stages on a new 5,000-square-foot facility.

While their beginnings were without question modest, their ambitions are anything but.

“I’d like to be a national disaster relief company,” Simpson said. “To be a large catastrophe response team is something I’d be interested in.”

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