By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
Brad and Dinah Weston started United Services in 1988 as a contracting business. Early on, they began to gravitate toward disaster restoration and for a while did so as a franchise business, says Jim Rable, the Westons’ son-in-law and now president of the business.
The company adopted the name United Services Disaster Restoration after dropping the franchise and working with several other firms who had similar businesses. There are five or six United Services businesses scattered around the country, but each is independently owned and operated.
Rable joined the business 16 years ago, and his father-in-law has since retired. His mother-in-law remains as chief financial officer. When he joined the company, it had 12 or 13 employees and a focus on the structural side of disaster restoration. Rable felt there was a need to offer services to deal with a customer’s possessions as well.
“Possessions are the things that mean the most to people,” he said. United Services now has a facility to clean and deodorize things that can be salvaged from customers’ homes. Other services include all types of floor, carpet and rug cleaning, power-washing, document-drying, furniture restoration and more.
“It brings us pretty close to our customers,” Rable said.
United Services has established processes for handling each job, but the process isn’t static. “We’re constantly working on the process here at our company,” Rable said.
When a United Services representative goes to a customer’s home, their first questions are aimed at getting to know the customer rather than immediately telling them what needs to be done. “We want to know what’s important to you – what we need to get out right away,” Rable said. After that, the rep can start making a plan with the customer and set up a schedule for a job that can take six months from start to finish.
As production begins, customers get weekly communications on what’s going on, including explanations of any delays caused by weather or materials issues. The communication continues until the job is completed and the customer is back in the home or business.
On the commercial side, United Services offers disaster planning to help companies prepare for an unexpected catastrophe. It challenges business owners to think through what would happen if there were a fire or flood, how they would communicate with employees and how they could function if they couldn’t use their building.
“A lot of businesses fail because they don’t have a disaster plan in place,” Rable said. United offers preferred clients an app that keeps emergency phone numbers in one place and allows employees to check in and get instructions if there’s a disaster.
The company has its own plan aimed at being responsive to major disasters. It can scale up by bringing all team members in and adding temporary help that can be available around the clock, not just during regular business hours. The company also can bring in equipment from satellite offices in Columbia and Cape Girardeau or from other United Services businesses.
By adding services and locations, United Services has grown to 70 employees serving most of the eastern half of Missouri. Each of its three offices serves an area within about an hour’s drive of the office.
Rable says his business philosophy is to work hard, play hard and be humble. He wants employees to have time for their families as well as work. “I’m not interested in creating an atmosphere where someone has to be here 50 or 60 hours a week.”
“We’re just here to help people,” he said. “We try to hire people with a desire to help.”
United Services Disaster Restoration, 13701 Green Ash Court, Earth City, Mo. 63045
President: Jim Rable
Mission statement: United Services’ mission is to be Missouri’s leading responder when disaster strikes. Our skilled professionals’ passion for excellence will differentiate our services from those who follow. Our clients will be absolutely satisfied with the process and the completed project.
BBB prepares profiles of BBB Accredited Businesses and BBB Accredited Charities as part of its TORCH Awards process. United Services is a winner of the BBB St. Louis 2016 TORCH Awards.