American Restoration Contractors
American Restoration Contractors (ARC) has become the St. Louis metropolitan area’s premier restoration and reconstruction company. ARC specializes in fire, water, storm and disaster damage restoration for both residential and commercial clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.
ARC was founded in 2003 by Chris Schmitt and Rick Drevet. In 2007, Sam Colton, now one of the managing members of ARC, joined the team, providing knowledge and a new perspective from his previous experience as the owner of a remodeling construction company. Now co-owned by the trio, ARC continues to rely on solid business principles and ethically minded experts to provide quality service to its customers and build upon its successes.
“Fire and water damage restoration is an interesting business because we are working on remodels with home and business owners who were not expecting or looking for a change,” says Sam. “They need it done and we’re there to help, regardless of the customers’ mentality — it’s a tough job and everyone is not cut out for it.”
Because the company works on both home and commercial restoration projects, the market is very broad and diverse; anyone with a home or business space is a potential customer. However, Sam notes that due to special adjustors and preferred contractors on commercial work, the number of commercial jobs available to ARC is limited to one or two annually.
The nature of the industry allows ARC to pick up new jobs every day – usually an emergency with fires, disasters and pipe bursts. Because these projects require swift attention and special consideration from insurance companies, ARC is a member of Crawford Connection, a residential and commercial restoration and remodeling program that provides qualified leads from property insurance carriers, service providers and homeowners.
As a member of the Crawford Connection program, ARC is listed as a preferred premium service provider for 37 insurance companies, including major carriers that span the nation and Canada. This segment contributes to the bulk of ARC’s workload.
“We have new projects every single day, so it can be overwhelming, but we just take it one day at a time,” explains Sam. “Being affiliated with Crawford Connection keeps us busy year-around — we are always busy. There are people that think the program will go away, but it gives a reliable and dependable resource for people who need contractors quickly.”
Unlike most companies, which only specialize in one area, ARC is a full-service operation, employing an average of 30 workers and completing reconstruction, mitigation and contents — positioning it as a leader in the field. While the company keeps most work in-house, ARC is dedicated to fostering strong relationships with its plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) subcontractors.
“It’s challenging to manage all aspects of the restoration and rebuilding process under one roof, but homeowners respond better to it because rather than dealing with three companies, they work with one,” explains Sam. “Emergency restoration is a tough experience for a home or business owner, and we try to make it as easy as possible.”
Sam and the ARC team take great pride in helping the surrounding communities and on each restoration, customer satisfaction is ARC’s ultimate goal. ARC takes complete responsibility for the comfort of its clients and strives to provide exceptional service throughout and after the restoration process.
“Our word is better than any set warranty on a product or job and that’s what is keeping us in business,” Sam explains. “We don’t let customers get upset about their homes or business — we fix everything to their liking. I even have several elderly customers that call me on a regular basis and I go and fix whatever they need, regardless of their warranty.”
Helping in tough times
Throughout winter 2014, the company averaged 150 pipes per month, as a big freeze debilitated the region. The company worked around the clock and reached out to all communities in need, including a neighborhood in Illinois that lost power for a week.
The company has also responded to critical disasters in St. Louis, such as when a tornado hit a large building material supplier just miles away from the ARC headquarters May 31, 2013. ARC used on-hand supplies to help with immediate relief of water damage to the severely damaged building.
One project that stands out to Sam and the ARC team was in May 2008, when the home of a 90-year-old retired school teacher caught fire in Ferguson, Missouri. The flames left the house almost unsalvageable and ARC put its expert renovation skills to work to build her a new house.
“Helping the elderly, in particular this woman who lost everything, is very rewarding; she still sends us a Christmas card every year,” says Sam. “It gives me a lot of gratification to give homeowners who have been living in a damaged home, or who have just experienced a traumatic situation, create a new start.”
To ARC, customers are more than just people and houses, these people are part of the community and what keeps the business going. Sam foresees the industry improving along with the economy and American Restoration Contractors hopes to gain more commercial work in the future.
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