Spotlight: Restoration 1 of Birmingham Owner Went from Secret Service to Franchisee

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Franchise ownership can provide many benefits, from a clearly defined path to profitability to the flexibility to spend more time with family. It was the latter point that originally enticed the owner of Restoration 1 of Birmingham, a former Secret Service agent, to franchise ownership. Learn about his unique journey and what sets his business apart in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Provides a variety of restoration services across the Birmingham, Alabama area.

Owner Chad Yeilding told Small Business Trends, “Restoration 1 is a trusted name in the property restoration industry, dedicated to delivering exceptional customer service during times of crisis. Franchise businesses across the U.S. – including Restoration 1 of Birmingham – offer a comprehensive range of restoration services tailored to meet the needs of home and business owners. Our team is equipped to handle any situation 24/7, from water damage to mold remediation, fire and smoke damage, and more. Whatever the challenge may be, Restoration 1 provides reliable and professional assistance every step of the way.”

Business Niche

Being part of the community.

Yeilding says, “While competitors may focus solely on the technical aspects of restoration, we prioritize being there for our community when they need us most. Our ability to respond swiftly and effectively in times of crisis sets us apart. We understand that disasters don’t adhere to a schedule, which is why we’re always on call, ready to assist at any hour of the day. Furthermore, the network of franchise owners is what truly makes Restoration 1 stand out. I can easily pick up the phone and call 15-20 trusted franchise owners in other markets if I have a question or come across something I haven’t dealt with before. This culture of care and support ensures that we have each other’s backs, enabling us to deliver exceptional service consistently.”

How the Business Got Started

As a way to prioritize family.

Yeilding explains, “I was previously a U.S. Secret Service agent, navigating the demands of a career that often required relocating at a moment’s notice. When an opportunity arose for a prestigious assignment in Washington, D.C., I had to decide between pursuing that position or prioritizing my family’s well-being. While many agents aspire to such roles, I couldn’t ignore the toll it would take on my family and made the decision to explore alternative career paths that afforded me more time with them.

“Through diligent research and the guidance of a consultant, I stumbled upon Restoration 1. Similar to buying your first home, I evaluated several franchise opportunities before realizing that Restoration 1 aligned perfectly with my values and aspirations. Much like my experiences in the Secret Service, it offered a chance to assist and uplift individuals during their most vulnerable moments. People don’t call you on their best days; they call you on their worst days. Being able to assist individuals during those critical moments – to restore their homes and their lives – has been incredibly fulfilling. It’s a reminder that even in the face of adversity, there’s an opportunity to make a meaningful difference and give back to the community that has given me so much.”

Biggest Win

Making it through six years in business.

Yeilding adds, “In an industry where many businesses falter within the first five years, each anniversary is a testament to our team’s resilience and dedication. We celebrate every milestone, recognizing the collective effort it takes to weather the storms that come our way. Our employees, who rely on us for their livelihoods, are a driving force behind our determination to succeed.

“Like any business, we’ve faced our fair share of challenges. Cash flow fluctuations, unforeseen obstacles, and the unprecedented impact of events like the COVID-19 pandemic have tested us. However, it’s during these trying times that we pull together, adapt, and innovate to overcome whatever obstacles lie in our path. We’ve had our share of triumphs and setbacks, but through it all, we remain committed to serving our community with integrity and dedication. Each day, we strive to make a difference in the lives of those we serve, and our continued success is a reflection of that commitment.”

Biggest Risk

Stepping away from a successful career to invest in a new business.

Yeilding says, “At the outset, there was a palpable sense of confidence in my abilities and the venture’s potential. However, making the decision to invest all of my savings into this endeavor proved to be a leap of faith into the unknown. By believing in myself and the Restoration 1 franchise model – as well as leaning into the network of franchise owners and the valuable resources they had to offer – I poured my heart, passion, and determination into building something meaningful.

“Had things gone awry, the consequences could have been dire, as I risked losing my financial security and job stability. Despite the uncertainty, taking that first step toward franchise ownership ultimately defined my journey. Sometimes the greatest risks yield the greatest rewards, offering us the opportunity to make our mark as a successful business within our community. My decision to start a franchise may have been risky, but it was also the catalyst for our team’s most significant accomplishments.”

Lesson Learned

Keep moving forward.

Yeilding explains, “I firmly believe in the power of learning through experience, and I often remind my employees that wisdom is cultivated through both triumphs and failures. By embracing the concept of “failing forward,” we’ve fostered a culture of resilience and innovation. Instead of fearing mistakes, we view them as opportunities for growth and refinement. As long as we all keep moving forward, solutions will present themselves, and success will follow suit.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Various strategic growth initiatives.

Yeilding adds, “If an extra $100,000 found its way into the business, my primary focus would be on strategic growth initiatives. I would allocate a significant portion toward expanding our team and hiring additional skilled employees who can contribute to our operations and customer service. Investing in human capital is vital for maintaining high service standards and meeting growing demand.

“Additionally, I would earmark some funds for purchasing supplies and equipment that streamline workflows and enhance efficiency. By providing our employees with the tools they need to excel, we are improving productivity while cultivating a positive work environment.

“Lastly, I would set aside a portion as a rainy day fund to ensure we have a financial buffer to weather unforeseen challenges or capitalize on future opportunities. This cautious approach to financial planning will ensure our long-term sustainability and resilience in an ever-changing business landscape.”

Team Motto

Go the extra mile for the community.

Yeilding says, “I have a strong set of core values, emphasized by my time as a Secret Service agent and leader of a restoration franchise. My team embodies these values, especially when it comes to “second-mile service.” With a goal of outfitting every vehicle in our fleet with landscaping tools, heaters, and more, we can have the ability to assist a single mom who needs a quick lawn mow or elderly individuals who need extra heat in their home when it’s cold outside. We believe in extending kindness to those in need, even when there’s no immediate financial gain.

“We also celebrate our team’s dedication and accomplishments in a unique way, always mixing work and play. When they hit their goals, we take them out for a well-deserved treat, ensuring they clock in so they’re compensated for their time. Whether it’s a fun outing to Top Golf or another exciting activity, it’s our way of showing appreciation for their hard work while fostering a sense of camaraderie and team spirit.”

Favorite Quote

“The same wind blows on us all; the winds of disaster, opportunity, and change. Therefore, it is not the blowing of the wind, but the setting of the sails that will determine our direction in life.” – Jim Rohn.

*****

Images: Restoration 1 of Birmingham, Chad Yeilding




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