Paul Daley and Joe Rizzo took a good, long test drive together before becoming entrepreneurs and now the two business partners are laying the groundwork for their children to follow in the footsteps in an industry that seems likely to be in high demand if the present portends the future.
The 56-year-old Daley and 58-year-old Rizzo are co-owners of Paul Davis Restoration of Metro New York, a disaster restoration and remodeling company that provides cleanup, restoration and remodeling services to residential and commercial properties.
Franchise owners for seven years, Daley and Rizzo learned the business by working as associates at a Paul Davis franchise serving Long Island, Daley for 14 years (eventually becoming vice president of operations) and Rizzo for six.
They both have children involved in the business. Rizzo’s son, Michael, is an associate, while his daughter, Gina, is office manager and job cost accountant. Daley’s daughter, Nicole, is mitigation manager.
While both men gained the invaluable experience of spending a combined 20 years in the industry before becoming Paul Davis franchisees, Daley said there is a difference when the buck stops at your desk.
“It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and having your eye on the prize,” Daley said. “As a franchise owner you must realize that you have taken the risk, you have invested your money and it is your responsibility to be successful.”
As franchise owners within the Paul Davis network, Daley and Rizzo are part of a $70-billion-plus industry with direct network program sales of more than $80 million. Paul Davis is also a premier insurance vendor with 22,000 assignments.
Daley and Rizzo serve customers in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and eastern Brooklyn. Although each had extensive industry experience, Rizzo said they had to be in business for two years before national insurers accepted them as “approved vendors” for insurance restoration jobs.
“The majority of our business right now is insurance restoration, but we are looking to diversify,” Rizzo said. “We are in a big push to be the ‘go-to’ company for property management companies.”
Added Daley: “Although having to wait to obtain national accounts sounds like a bad thing, it actually forced us to work harder to obtain business outside of national programs. We believe we are a better company because of that hard work.”
Since 1966, Paul Davis has been at the forefront of innovation in the property damage emergency services and restoration industry by pioneering such things as three-day drying and new water damage assessment and monitoring technology. Customer calls are returned within 30 minutes of first contact, teams are onsite within hours and all work is thoroughly documented.
Similar to other companies in the disaster restoration industry, the work of Paul Davis franchise owners is most appreciated when its services are needed most. According to reports, weather-related disasters are growing at an alarming pace. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction found that between 1995 and 2015, storms wrought more than $1 trillion in economic losses worldwide, with North and South America ($870 billion), enduring the largest amount of financial damage.
“The challenge we face every day is how to constantly grow an everyday business that can still handle the next big storm or weather anomaly as it happens,” Rizzo said.
With their children holding key roles in the company and a strong roster of employees, Rizzo and Daley believe they have a strong foundation in place as their Paul Davis franchise continues to grow.
“Restoration businesses are not a business in a box,” said Rizzo, who worked as an insurance adjuster and owned his own construction business before joining Paul Davis. “It requires extensive training and lots of funding. But we are truly problem-solvers for our customers.”
Before joining Paul Davis, Daley said he had never even heard of the restoration industry, had no construction knowledge and wasn’t even a computer user. Now Rizzo and Daley have not only succeeded on their own, they have positioned their children for small-business ownership in a growing business.
“As you grow and add employees, you must instill in them your theories for success,” Daley said. “In five years I see myself in more of a consultant’s role in our organization. Of course, this is ‘our baby,’ so Joe and I will continue to monitor operations to make sure we maintain the reputation we have in this industry.”