Recent Commercial Posts
Business preparedness plan are you ready?
Knowing who to call and having vendors set up for your business before a disaster happens increases your chances of reopening by more than 50% . Ar
When you have a commercial loss at your property having a property management company to call is simply is not going to be enough. There will be steps you need to take for prompt resolution. This timeline can be daunting for many business owners just looking to get back open.
The process is complicated and time consuming. When you have a lot of moving pieces and coordinate various vendors, service technicians, displaced employees and insurance adjusters. Having a plan in place ahead of any disaster will mitigate damages and the risk of you not opening back up. More than 50% of businesses that have a disaster do not reopen. Do not be one of them.
Let us take a look at some of the things you need to even if you do not know what will and will not be covered by insurance. You are obligated to protect the property from further damage and also from secondary damage. This means that tarps must be put on a compromised roof. Water must be extracted out, and wet materials need to be removed.
It is critical that you get in touch with the insurance company as soon as possible so that they can come out and start assessing the damages and assign coverage decisions. Once you have called the insurance company there is a lot of things to get through. The checklist below will allow you to get started.
____ Call the fire department and local building inspector. They will check for any structural issues and can also assess if the utilities are safe to be turned on. It is important to have a qualified technician turn on utilities. DO NOT RECONNECT UTILITES YOURESELF.
____ If structural issues are found call the local police to make them aware the building will be uninhabited. Obtaining private security depending on your situation could be something to think about. .
____ Take pictures a lot of them. Photograph everything. Papers, furniture, Knick knacks, food, clothing, appliances, all computers and IT equipment. Photograph any before during and after photos. Save it all to a hard drive or a zip drive.
____ Any incurred expenses you will have resulting in the loss. Must have a saved receipt to be considered for reimbursement.
____ Along with the photos it is important that any items not salvageable be set aside for the insurance adjuster to come out and review. Do not repair or throw away any damaged property until after an inventory is taken and approved by the insurance company’s adjuster.
____ Emergency Service contracts are the only ones you should be signing until the insurance company approves anything. You could be on the hook for some hefty bills.
____ Many insurance policies have a lot of clauses or deductibles. It is important to know these policy limits, so you are not caught by surprise.
____ Often times business insurance has other policies tied to it separate from the main policy. They could be business interruption claims, environmental claims, loss of use, business interruption…ect Check each policy accordingly you may have to file multiple claims.
____ Having a single person that will be the go to point person will make things much easier for you when trying to work through all the various people that will be involved.
____ Stay focused on getting back to business let those you have brought in work on the details needed for the claim filing. This is why having the place in place ahead of time will allow to have the right people already in place.
____ Delaying filing the claim can and we have seen it result in claim denial. It is an obligation under policies to notify all parties with a vested interest in the property when damages occur.
____ Creating a team of people that are on your side is the best and most effective way to make sure you get things taken care of quickly and in your best interests.
Having a plan in place before you need it is your best assurances that you can get back to normal as soon as possible. Starting with the right insurance agent that can properly asses your business its needs. Finding out your insurance is not adequate for the damages that were caused after the fact is the not the time to find these things out.
Trying to rally vendors, contractors, and such once a damage occurs is much more difficult when you are in the middle of a disaster. It can also be a lot costlier if you do not have established relationships. So as you plan for the new fiscal year take a look at your preparedness plan. Talk to the vendors you currently do business with and see where there are gaps. These gaps can be used as a guideline for setting your business up for a successful restoration.
Fires at your business
Fire safety at your place of business or where you work is essential for a safe work environment. Being prepared should something happen is pivotal.
With the colder weather setting in there is an increased risk of fires. A fire at a business can have a dramatic effect on the community and surrounding homes and businesses. They can be debilitating and many facets of business interruption occur.
Having to close your doors to clients, employees and revenue are the most disastrous. Many times businesses without a solid plan do not reopen. We are here to show you some ways to prevent that from happening. Timely responses are going to be your best friend when disaster strikes. Proper communication will provide you with a true scope of the damage as well as an explanation of how it will be handled.
First and foremost you must have a plan of action you will take prior to any major disaster. Whom it is you will be calling to get you back to normal. What company do you have to do the remediation process?? What you do not know, So you will be calling your agent they will know who you can call Right??? They are closed or on vacation. So you are going to call in a claim to the insurance company??? Where is your paperwork, in the desk where the fire just occurred? Probably as you have never had to use it before. So now without a plan you have just spent the better part of an hour trying to find someone to call.
Over an hour has passed and you are stuck in an endless call tree waiting for your insurance company claim department. Did you know most remediation companies can show up within 4 hours of the initial call. Many times it is much earlier than that. Starting the process of cleaning up your damage sooner rather than later will reduce the secondary damage that many insurance companies will not cover. . With solid knowledge of the claim process and the need for their services most insurance companies do not need prior approval or a claim number before services are started. Calling a restoration company and having one already in mind can save you valuable time.
There are restoration companies out there that provide emergency preparedness plans that are accessible from an app on your phone. All important contacts right at your finger tips. Filing a claim directly from the app allows you to put into motion the clean up process to ensure there is no lapse in executing a plan. These plans can also show emergency responders where your major shut off valves are so they are able to keep themselves safe as well as stop any additional damage from occurring.
Although a fire may be contained on one floor, the damage caused by the fire may affect other floors within the building. As a business owner your focus is on handling the job promptly and properly to minimize disruptions to your customers, employees and vendors. Prompt action by a professional helps reduce secondary or long term effects allowing you to return to business as usual. How you can prevent additional damage until a professional arrives is.
1) Limit movement within the affected area
2) Place towels, sheets or old linens on areas where traffic will occur to prevent additional contamination or tracking soil into unaffected areas.
3) DO NOT ..>DO NOT attempt to wipe off or remove any soot that sits on any walls furniture or stationary object. This can push the soot and odor deeper into the material making it more difficult or impossible to remove later.
4) DO NOT attempt to clean any carpets or upholstered furniture without speaking to a professional.
4) Turn off and or unplug all technology in affected areas and do not turn on until you consult a repair service
5) DO wipe chrome faucets, appliances or other non porous surfaces ( NO Stone counter tops do not count) The apply a light coating of lubricant.
A professionally trained individual is the best way to ensure that you have the most effective cleanup possible following a fire. Attempts to clean up the damage can result in improper drying resulting in mold. Smudging in the soot deeper into the materials can result in inability to remove the damage and lock in the odors.
Not every fire damage is the same but there are some basics of treating fire damage that remain constant.
What to expect:
Smoke and soot removal
Water Removal and dehumidification
Many times restoration companies will contact you back to arrange services within an hour. Their arrival is usually no later than 4 hours after that initial phone call and they will communicate the scope of work and how things need to be handled within 8 hours. This ensures a solid foundation for getting you back up and running as soon as possible. They are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week including holidays so that you can start getting back to normal right away.
Ridding your business of Graffiti
Graffiti be it a message of Love or hate is damaging to the property. It is costly to remove and can take its toll on the community.
Graffiti in Arlington a few months back as reported by channel 5 WCVB showed a side of the community hate to see. It also showed those trying to overcome it and show love. While the efforts of those trying to make things right did not go unnoticed it was still graffiti and caused damage to this building. Resulting in a clean up process that cost quite a but of money and time.
Victim of Graffiti or Vandalism?? Here is what you can do
Has your home or business become the victim of a vandalism or graffiti? This is never a pleasant situation and can be difficult to remove. One very important part of the process is removing it as quickly as possible. The less time the graffiti is up the less likely it will continue to happen as it is meant to be seen and can also attract others to use your property, a battle ground of sorts. Also with the materials that are used the sooner they are removed the better as many can take time to set into the material they were sprayed on. Keep in mind graffiti is never easy to remove and will require some patience and elbow grease.
Prevention is ideal. What you can do.
- Motion sensor lights
- Covering your property with a protective coating that will prevent sticking on some materials
- Securing the property with fences or structures that will block access to the building
- Use darker colors for painting outside this will deter due to visibility issues
- Participate in Neighborhood watch groups.
- Plant taller shrubs, climbing vines, or thorny plants on the edges of the property
- Use graffiti art or murals to deter other unwanted artists.
Should you still become a victim of graffiti here are some tips for removing it. Depending on the scope of the damage, location, and material the damage is on you may need to hire a professional cleaning company. No matter if you hire someone or do the work yourself knowing the material it is on an the proper way to remove it will make things go more smoothly. Also we cannot stress enough that you have 24-72 hours to remove the damage or things get more complicated. There are environmentally safe products that you can use to remove the damage and it is always recommended to use those. There are options at times to paint over the damage but making sure you the right paint so that the graffiti will not seep through the paint and continue to show. Some communities even have volunteer programs to help with such problems as part of community beautification. They may be able to help. Before you do any work lets talk about the best ways to clean off from some of the main materials.
Removing Graffiti on Specific Surface Types
The first thing you need to do is figure out how porous the surface is. The more porous the surface the longer you will need to let the cleaner sit for it to soak into the area. While the cleaner is soaking into the materials it is advised that you scrub it to ensure a deep penetration. This can be done with a strong bristled brush or hand held scrub pad.
For some jobs you will need a power washer even to mix in the cleaner with the water to deeply penetrate the area. Always test a small spot for color fastness as well to ensure it is compatible with the surface and that you are using it for its intended purpose. If you are going to paint over the affected area make sure that the color will match the rest of the building once dry and that it is thick enough to not allow the graffiti to bleed through. Making sure you are being safe and have the taken all precautionary steps prior to starting work is important. This will protect you, the building and the environment.
- Scrape it off. Use a razor blade in a holder and scrape at a 30 degree angle to the glass.
- If the paint does not come off completely after using the razor blade, use ultra-fine bronze wool with water to gently rub the remaining paint off.
- Metal and masonry surfaces:
- Power-wash with a pressure washer
- Paint over the graffiti
- Try wiping it off with a light, penetrating oil. Do not use paint thinners as they can soften the plastic and can cause clouding (if clear plastic) or permanent tackiness of the surface.
- If this does not work, you will have to paint over it.
- Wood Surfaces:
- If the wood is not weathered and is sealed with paint, stain or sealer, remove it by wiping it with mineral spirits
- Power wash it with a pressure washer
We hope you never need to use these tips but in case you do we hope they were helpful. Remember help is only a phone call away
Yeah We do that.. Commercial Property
50% of businesses never reopen after a disaster. Do not be a statistic be better "Like it never even happened"
Did you know we can provide services for your commercial properties?
Serving the local community when disaster strikes is always important. So is maintaining the cleanliness of your property as well as restoring it when an unforeseen issue occurs. Our services are not limited to residential
Many times business owners and property owners will call us to assist in a thorough cleaning quarterly. This helps maintain high standards while taking the pressure and time off of your staff to focus on the money making aspects of the business. Restaurants in particular reach out to us due to the strict standards set forth by the board of health. When the grease has begun to build up, or the walk-in had just too many articles of food under the floor grate they will call for a once over.
Ok so what is a once over? It is a team of people that clean every nook and cranny, wiping it all down. It can mean trash removal, disinfecting, duct cleaning, brick cleaning, and even air quality checks. The list is exhaustive as we will customize every aspect of your needs to ensure your project is done.
When you do have an emergency is it important that you get back to normal as soon as possible with as little interruption to your clients and their access to your goods and services. There are so many reasons business interruption can occur but the most common for businesses are cooking, electrical, heating, arson, smoking and combustible materials. I see you already shaking your head, we only have a microwave and a coffee maker here. All of our employees go outside to smoke and our wiring is up to code. We do not have any combustible materials in our office and who would set fire to the building.
Guess what each and every one of the things listed above are plausible. While some may be more inclined to happen than others they are the top reasons for damage. We are able to help with each and every one in addition to a few extras. Think your building is too large or small for our services? Think again we have access to a full arsenal of resources to scale up or down based on the projects needs.
Emergency Ready Plans:
What do you do in an emergency? Who do you call? Great you know the plan, does everyone else? What happens when and if you something happens and you are not around? We have a solution for that. It puts vital information at your fingertips immediately. These plans outline where key shut off valves are within the building to mitigate damages. It will also supply everyone with immediate points of contact for starting the process of cleaning up as soon as possible so that loss of business can be reduced as much as possible. Ask us today about these FREE PLANS.. Yes you read that right. FREE>>
Water and Fire damage cleanup:
While this sounds straightforward enough there are a whole set of rules that come with the proper cleaning up of this sort of damage. Water damage rule number 1 just because you cannot see it does not mean it is not there. Unless you have moisture meters and know what the resting state of the building is vs the area where the water damage occurred you cannot tell if it is dry or not.
Oh and that soot you see all over the wall LEAVE IT ALONE… chances are you will clean it wrong and will not only make is worse but push it into the very fibers of whatever material it is on and make it impossible to get out. I bet you did not know that there are 3 different kind of smoke damage? Wet smoke, dry smoke, & protein fire residue, each one requires different treatments and some are invisible to the eye. Due to each cause of damage being different and having different chemical reactions that cause the residue it is important to understand analyzing the situation and selecting the right solution will be the only want to ensure that your problem is solved correctly the first time.
Mold & Air Quality:
Have you ever cleaned up a water loss with your own in house team? Did a pipe break get cleaned up professionally but everyone forgot about the duct work? Do you have a lot of employees calling out and taking sick days? This all costs time and money which is valuable. Have you ever looked internally to see if the culprit could be the building itself? Many times these overlooked areas of money saving attempts can be the cause of such issues. Providing proper air quality that is free of mold and contagions will keep your staff as healthy as you can control and in turn reduce time away from the office.
If you are not sure we can assist you with your building give us a call and just ask chances are if we cannot assist we will surly know who can. We are here because life interrupted is no fun. 617-629-5333.
Restoring Your Arlington/Somerville Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event
Flooding and water damage events at Arlington/Somerville commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.
About SERVPRO of Arlington/Somerville
SERVPRO of Arlington/Somerville specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.