By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
Sandy Hastings got into the cleaning business the old-fashioned way: She married into it.
Hastings’ husband, Richard, started the second SERVPRO franchise in Missouri, one that was formerly known as SERVPRO St. Louis-Southwest. They ran that business together for a while, but when they were ready to raise their daughter, they decided to move to Sandy’s home town, Cape Girardeau. So they sold the St. Louis franchise and opened one in Cape Girardeau in 1992.
“We started from nothing,” Sandy Hastings recalls. Now in its 24th year, SERVPRO of Cape Girardeau and Scott County has annual sales just over $1 million and a service area that includes also Mississippi, Bollinger and Perry counties officially. It has worked in areas beyond its borders, especially when franchises in other areas were slammed with natural disasters, such as the December floods in the St. Louis area.
Hastings said the business has positioned itself as a residential and commercial cleaning service in addition to providing cleanup and remediation for natural and man-made disasters, such as fires, floods, sewer backup or burst pipes.
The business tends to be driven by disasters, especially those involving water damage. Last year, the company worked on 145 water damage claims and 18 fires, and that was a slow year. About 80 percent of the company’s business involves customer claims with insurance companies.
“We’re usually the first ones in and the last ones out,” Hastings said. “We get the smoke cleaned up, move out the contents, and then the contractor comes in and puts the house back in order. Then we come back and do the finishing touches.”
As a franchise, SERVPRO must adhere to strict standards for training, insurance and service levels. For the Hastings family, that’s almost second nature. Richard Hastings is a director-level franchisee, which means he does inspections and training at other franchises.
“Our employees are taught, insured, drug-tested and background-checked,” Sandy Hastings said. The firm hires temporary workers to staff up as needed, but those workers have to pass background and drug tests to be considered as permanent hires.
“We want people who will be team players,” Hastings said. The company’s motto is “success through service,” and teamwork is essential to doing the job promptly and well.
Customers are asked to fill out a survey after the job, and they can do so anonymously, Hastings said. Each customer gets a call after the work is done. Hastings said that feedback helps the company make sure it’s doing the work right.
“We believe if you treat people right, they will treat you right,” Hastings said. “We treat everybody fairly. We have mutual respect for customers as well as employees.” She wants employees to treat customers’ homes as if they were their own.
SERVPRO sponsors charity golf outings and other events in the Cape Girardeau region. The Hastings also are very involved in their church, and they sponsor several Haitian children and people who do mission work in Haiti. Several employees are active in the Optimist Club, Kiwanis, Lions and several BNI groups. The firm recently had a colon cancer awareness day in honor of an employee recently diagnosed with the disease.
Hastings said her appreciation for Better Business Bureau has grown recently, and she puts the BBB Accredited Business logo on business cards, calendars, in ads on the company’s website.
“I have found that people look at that,” she said. Now, she does, too, when she’s considering doing business with a company.
Profiles of BBB Accredited Businesses and BBB Accredited Charities are created as part of BBB’s TORCH Award process and are not intended as an endorsement. SERVPRO of Cape Girardeau and Scott County has applied for the Cape Girardeau Region TORCH Awards.