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Paul Davis ‘Zee Deploys Resources to Help Limit Spread of COVID-19


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After the initial shock wore off from cancelled and delayed projects, Ofelia Lucas and her team jumped into action with support from their franchisor.

Ofelia Lucas, a United States Air Force veteran, invested in Paul Davis Restoration in April 2015. Since then, she has become a top-performing franchisee, reaching $3 million in gross revenue in 2019. But in March, sales at her Miami location dropped 25 percent—even with Paul Davis being classified as an essential business during COVID-19 shutdowns.

Paul Davis Restoration was selected this year as a Franchise Times Zor Awards winner, our annual project identifying 10 best brands based on operator profitability. We’re checking in this week with some of those brands to learn how franchisees are navigating the pandemic.

“We had some ongoing projects and some getting ready to start, and to hear those projects have to be put on hold or cancelled, that’s where all the worries started happening,” Lucas said. “What are we going to do now? How is it going to impact our business and team in general? With no money coming in, how are we going to be able to sustain and keep going?”

After the initial shock wore off from cancelled and delayed projects, Lucas and her team jumped into action with support from their franchisor. After strategizing how they could help limit the spread of COVID-19, they realized they already had necessary resources they could deploy.

Project managers—now with no projects to manage—shifted to calling and offering their services and materials such as N-95 masks and other personal protective equipment to clients. A new technology they’d used for mold projects called “fogging” is being offered to businesses for disinfecting purposes, where an electro-static sprayer “goes into all the crevices that a normal cleaning product wouldn’t reach,” Lucas explained.

As business picks back up, Paul Davis is educating customers on its “rules of engagement,” making sure they know what to expect from Paul Davis and asking them to comply with safety measures such as wearing masks and gloves when interacting.

“This is a time for us to shine and help people in their time of needs,” Lucas said. “I think we're going to be a lot better company for that, to be able to not close our doors. I feel very blessed.”

Paul Davis Restoration has grown to more than 300 franchise locations in the U.S. and Canada, and according to Franchise Times Top 200+ data, systemwide sales have grown consistently since 2014, including a 12.9 percent increase in 2018 to $921 million.

Lucas praised her franchisor for immediately implementing daily network calls at the start of the pandemic.

“We normally set this up when we do catastrophe events such as hurricanes,” Lucas said. “We as a network join hands and say, how are we going to get through this?”

Lucas also appreciated communication of best practices from her franchisor and advice on how to keep employees motivated.

“How are we going to keep our hourly employees employed and busy when everything is shutting down?” Lucas said. “We’re also making sure we’re asking the right questions. We want to make sure our employees are going into safe environments.”

In the near future, Lucas hopes to send a team into the veterans hospital in Miami to disinfect and clean some of its areas, pro-bono. Her team normally interacts on a quarterly basis with the hospital.

“We’re waiting for the green light to make sure it’s OK,” Lucas said. “We have the tools and materials to do it, and I’m getting asked by several of my employees to go volunteer, which I think is pretty brave.”

Read more from our Zor Awards update series this week:

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 

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