President and founder Michael Mastous started Delta Restoration Services in 2006 after 30 years in the restoration industry and launched its national franchise model soon after. Delta is projected to grow to 250 locations across the country after its acquisition by the company Michael worked for 30 years ago, straight out of college. “Don’t burn bridges is my advice,” he says with a laugh. Delta’s serious growth is the result of great community involvement and a dedication to efficiency and education.
What did you learn starting your business in Arvada?
The outpouring from the city was so different than other cities I’ve been in. The Chamber reached out to me immediately and I got involved with the city’s economic division pretty quickly. We were recognized as a Colorado Company to watch, in large part because the City of Arvada was involved. We were recognized as the Arvada Outstanding Business of the Year and were an Inc. 500 company, all during the recession. Our whole goal was to franchise and be able to offer this to entrepreneurs around the country and be based in Arvada.
What makes Arvada a great place to do business?
I have a certain philosophy to have a family-friendly business in a place where people like to work. Most of my competitors are located off the nasty highway 70 corridor near the airport. I could have built for less to be in some of those commercial markets. What’s cool about this market is that we feel at home here. We love Old Town. We’re foodies. We like the feel of Arvada. We like the fact that our employees can walk out the door and find their bank, or barber, or doctor, or children’s schools are close. The services around here make us feel like we’re in a hometown type of environment where we feel comfortable. And when we come in our doors, we’re working nationally and internationally. I like the balance that gives us.
We’re so excited about this training facility you’re building here. How did that get started and what will it eventually provide?
Mayor Marc Williams knew that last year we were looking to build this very unique flood training house and make it work in the city of Arvada. Marc put us in front of city planners, fire department and key people in the community to embrace this. The warehouse in this building will have a 1,500 square foot built-to-code residential home that will flood with 2,000 gallons of water, in addition to the sort of things you would expect to see in a warehouse, like this crossover ladder from Platforms and Ladders, for example. We’ll train our franchisees on best practices on water restoration, bringing the home back to pre-loss condition. We’ll also smoke part of the home and teach them odor-management and smoke restoration. That is a state of the art facility that has never been done before in the western part of the US before. There’s only a handful of them in the country.
Delta franchises is in the top 1% of all trained restoration firms. We feel that education is the cornerstone of what we do. The barriers to enter this industry are very low, but we want to separate ourselves from the competitors through training.
Where else otherwise are you getting trained in this industry?
That’s a good point. There’s private training. There’s some industry training and governing boards. We have industry training programs. But not to the degree that we have it here. At Delta, it’s a requirement, not an option. If you’re gonna be part of our brand, you’re required to have these classes in order to be at Delta. And we provided continued education with weekly training programs and weekly webinars.
What’s a surprising trend you’re seeing in this industry?
What we’re seeing that’s really cool, and Delta’s been ahead of this, is we’re becoming a very tech-savvy industry. Our platform is completely paperless and we’re one of the first firms in the nation to come out with the tablet and smart technologies. Everything is documented in real time. I’ve got technicians in 100 or so jobs in the metro area and I can tell you where each job is at any given moment. That is very important to the progress of our industry and we’ve left many of our competitors behind because of that technology.
What area do you feel you’ve grown recently as a manager?
I feel like I’m always learning and growing. To be successful in this business, you have to be very humble. You have to leave your ego at the door. Every project, customer, referral source, is different. You can’t be everywhere that you need to be, so you have to train people properly and have a lot of trust in them.
As far as meetings are concerned, they’re all purposeful. They all have time frames and they’re all collaborative. There’s no stale space or stale conversation. We have a very orderly regiment in a very disorderly world. There has to be structure around chaos or it’s all chaos all the time.