The Leaders in Water Damage Marketing
NO ONE has more experience.

Will Your Restoration Company Make It to the next Decade? Or be a Statistic?

After working solely on marketing programs for restoration companies for the last decade with literally hundreds of restoration companies worldwide, I’ve learned vital differences between the restoration companies that really thrive long-term and the ones that get their 15 minutes of fame and go the way of Velcro shoes.

My company delivers SEO specifically for restoration companies and we’ve been doing it longer than anyone in the biz. Now, maybe that sounds like a brag, but is actually stated to explain what an amazing window of observation of this whole industry I’ve had. You see, I get an amazingly objective and analytical view of restoration companies, their owners, their habits, and most importantly – I’ve seen who the stars are and who buries themselves.

So what I’ve done is I’ve categorized by name, some of my top observations of the guys who did not make it and why. Now, by observing this, we can understand failure and do the exact opposite. By doing so, we become the guys that will still be here next decade.

So here we go:

1. The Criminal   I’ve had clients that commit insurance fraud, embezzle money from their partners, deal drugs and even corporate espionage. Two I know are in jail, one bankrupt, another being sued out of house and home, one has ruined his reputation in this entire industry and one has even lost his life and family to drugs and alcohol. I’m willing to bet you even know one of these guys. Karma is a bitch. Skip the criminality bit.

2. The Blamer  – This is the guy who knows everything is everyone else’s fault – His advertisers, his employees, his office manager, his customers, the insurance companies, everyone but…well, him. The winners are responsible for where they’re at, good or bad.

3. The Magic Bullet guy –  He thinks there is one “magic bullet” to creating a successful company. And he really tries every magic bullet and none of them work. There is no single magic bullet to creating a successful company, ask anyone who has been around forever in this biz (Like Jeff C!)

4. The Veruca Salt guy – Remember her? From Willy Wonka? She was the spoiled brat girl who said, “I WANT IT NOW!” Well, don’t we all. But it isn’t like that. The fact is that only perseverance, intelligence, knowledge, hard work and hard-won experience will get you a winning company. Pay your dues.

5. The part-timer – He simply won’t put in the hours, effort or time. Even when the work is plentiful, he’s home by 5pm! When times are tough all he does is complain about it on forums and social media sites. We all know where that effort should be going, right?

6. The Industry hopper – This is the restorer who is a restorer when it’s convenient. Like in 2008-2009 when home building and remodeling was dead. All of the sudden they were all restorers! But…they weren’t. They didn’t learn the ropes and thought this business was just going to be easy money. Well, anyone in this biz, we know what it’s like. It is its own beast. You have to really specializes in this industry to really thrive at it.

7. The Short Term Thinker – He can’t plan or think past Friday. You can tell him until you’re blue in the face that rainy season ends or that there are lulls in this business, but does he plan for it? So he ends up having to lay-off staff and barely makes it out of the slow season, if he does at all. I wish I could tell you how many people I’ve seen this mindset bankrupt in the decade. Probably more on this point than any other.

Now, I could probably come up with another ten of these and make this article way too long, but these are the ones that roll right off the tongue as the most common that I’ve seen, the common company killers.

Remember, economies go up and down, the US dollar value changes, Presidents change, insurance companies get regulated, there is no such thing as all staying the same. But there are companies I know, lots of them, that thrive through all of that. How? By doing the exact opposite of those things above.

This may seem to be common business sense. But, apparently not.

To your success!

Dan York, CEO

Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

Who’s the hottest new Water Damage Marketing company for 2019?

Well, who is it? 

Look, every year some new marketing companies come in to the water damage industry, seeing the “quick buck” they can make off of water damage guys. So they act like “specialists” and start selling. They stick around for a year or so, and then they disappear like a fad when push comes to shove and they can’t get the job done. We’ve seen it every single year.

We’ve been the leaders in this space for over 10 years. We’ve generated well over $200m in revenues for hundreds of Water Damage Companies all over North America. No one knows this space better than we do.

But don’t listen to us, here’s actual testimonials from recent and real water damage clients:

“I have used Stellar for just under a year now, I refer to them as a “War Machine!” I let them have full reign of my website and SEO and the PHONE CALLS POUR IN AND DON’T STOP, Dan and His team are always responsive to my questions and I completely trust them to handle my SEO! Thanks Dan and Team for helping my business so much!! You guys are worth your weight in GOLD!!!”

“I’ve worked with Stellar-eMarketing for nearly five years. Their team is an awesome bunch of professionals, and their results are superb. There are tens of thousands of SEO companies out there, but there’s only one company I trust: Stellar-eMarketing. They are the real deal!”

“I’ve been using Stellar for about 7 months now and consistently get 3-5 calls weekly just from Google. Very simply put if you’re using anyone else for your SEO services you’re doing yourself a disservice. The customer service is unmatched and their strategists really know how to make your business visible online! Would highly recommend over and over again.”

“I’ve used their team for over a year, seeing fantastic results. I don’t know how you guys do it, but keep up the great work.”

“Stellar-eMarketing has been a tremendous help in getting & keeping our website up to the top of the searches for our locations. This top-notch, tight-knit group are fantastic to work with and are very responsive to our questions. We have had other SEO’s but none have given us the service and results that Stellar has. They have our highest recommendation!”

“Great company. Specialists in Restoration Marketing. Everything they ever promised has happened. It is a process. They are a part of our team and we trust their input. Always have time for us. We are getting calls while ads are not running. Could not say enough great things about them.”

“We couldn’t be happier that we chose Stellar-eMarketing. They are easy to get in touch with and always keep us updated on a regular basis. Love these guys!”


So go use those other guys first, then call us after you’re done with them. 😉


Shana Randell
Water Damage Marketing
by Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.



Why you need to fire some of your clients…

Well, that’s certainly an alarming thing to say. However, anyone who has been in business a long time already knows what this means.

Some clients you just don’t want. They’re not good for you and your business, you and your employees. And you have to let them go.

We all want to grow our businesses, we all want more success, but there are certain clients that hinder your success. And you have to become expert at isolating who those guys are and firing them as clients.

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, there are just people that are wrong for you as a company. They might be right for someone else’s company, but they are wrong for you and you know it.

Think about this: 80% of all of your complaints come from less than 20% of your clients. And the majority of the worst complaints you’ll usually find come from less than 5% of your entire client base. And what does “this less than 5%” do? They make your staff hate their jobs, make everyone think your service is faulty where it actually isn’t, they eat up your precious time, they threaten lawsuits, they go on Google, Yelp, BBB and Angie’s List and write bad reviews, you know who they are. It’s that client you wish you would have never taken on. We’ve all had them.

But now here is the REAL kicker: You saw the red flags very early on with this person.

It’s sort of like dating. You might meet a guy or a girl and you want to see all of the good things and ignore the bad things, but in the end when things go south it was the bad things that you saw early on, and ignored, that really did you in. It’s no different with customers. You saw the red flags in the sales cycle, when you were in their home, talking to the customer on the phone, etc. But, you wanted to choose to see the good, or maybe you just had dollar signs in your eyes, either way you ignored the red flags.

In any well-run business, you need to spend 80% of your time on the 80% of your clients that actually deserve your work. These guys pay you on time, they’re good customers, you want to help them and they need your help. We won’t get into why this very small percentage of people seem to not want your help or make things worse for the both of you when you’re simply trying to help them, as that’s probably a subject for someone else to take up. As business owners the only thing we need to take up is getting rid of them.

I know it sounds harsh, but it’s just a fact of being in business. You owe good service to your good clients, those 80% of people to pay their bills on time. And if you and your staff are spending all of your time on that very small percentage of people who are “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, you were actually doing a disservice to the majority of your clientele. That’s the real issue you have to face in choosing to fire a client. It takes guts to fire a clients, but to the degree that you do that, your business will be smoother and faster it will grow faster, it will be quieter on customer service lines and you’ll just be plain happier.

You can also include in this those customers that do not pay their bills on time, that never make their appointments and anything else that stops you from running a  smooth business. You don’t need the money that badly. And if you do need the money that badly and you take on a client like this, I promise you you will stop other money that should be coming in from arriving.

I just talked to one of my clients about this about two weeks ago and he was talking about how much time he was spending on this one client, in her house dealing and with all of her customer service problems and the whole time he was there just dealing with headaches, he wasn’t paying attention to his other clients and no sales were coming in either he wasn’t getting any new business. And as soon as he said, “This is just not right for me”, he fired the client. Over the next three days he pulled in six more jobs, all of which were good paying, well mannered clients.

I hate to tell people how long it takes to learn this lesson, but usually for people that didn’t learn business from their father or anything like that, we learned this after years and years of working on these types of people and finally discovering that the best thing you can do for your company, your finances, your growth, your employees and clients is  to fire that very small percentage of clients. Get rid of the squeaky wheel’s that get the grease. Grease the four wheels that are actually rolling and keeping the car on the road.


Dan York

Founder and CEO

Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

Can SEO get us in front of the major storms like Florence?

Every time a storm comes in, a major hurricane or the like, we get a lot of people calling in to ask us, “Can you get us in front of the storm so that we can get the work?” As we all know, there are a lot of water damage restoration companies that will “storm chase” and travel to get work.

Unfortunately, to jump in front of a storm, requires some very fast work. Any marketing company that you will use, regardless of what their marketing technology is, will be hard-pressed to get you in front of a storm in enough time. This is especially true with the number of requests that any marketing company gets every time one of these large storms roll through.
So, when you’re dealing with specific marketing technology in the digital age, you need to consider which one will actually achieve the goals that you want, which in this case would be getting you in front of the storm fast. And there are only really two technologies that will get you there that quickly.
1. Google pay per click ads. This is easy as it can be turned on and off in an instant, they are quick to design, and they will launch instantly. But they do not have any long-term effects, so when the storm is over, you can turn them off and be done with inquiries from the area. However, in a situation like this, you have to realize that they can get expensive very, very quickly.   You are not the only ones that will be doing this.
2. Social media marketing. Now, usually you won’t hear me beat the drum for social media marketing when it comes to getting work for water damage restoration companies. However, this is under normal circumstances. In the event of a hurricane, many people will go to Facebook and other social media outlets to let their loved ones know that they are OK. You can put ads on Facebook very quickly, in fact, just as fast as you could with Google pay-per-click ads. You would need a company that you’re working with already, one that can turn them on and off quickly.  You will also need a rough design, which can be done usually in minutes on Facebook.
Of those two digital formats, I would be preferential to Google pay-per-click ads.
Now, SEO, this is what we do. This is not a good strategy to get in front of hurricanes. This is more of a long-term business development strategy for your company overall. The return on investment is really easy and very excellent, however it is not the right type of marketing to go jumping in front of the hurricane. It’s takes longer to achieve results, sometimes for most customers it can take 3 to 6 months. So you see the issue here.  SEO should be considered your bread and butter marketing, your new phone book. It is not a great type of marketing for hurricane chasing.
In the end, you should be doing all of these things – chasing hurricanes with Google pay-per-click marketing, getting your daily bread & butter with SEO, social media marketing for branding and public relations, and this should all be done in the smart company with a good digital strategy.
Best of luck,
Dan York
Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

Why is generating new business online for your company so different than other trades?

Why is generating new business online in this industry so different than the other trade industries?


Theres a million online marketers out there, from big agencies to your teenage nephew who now does it. But what’s it actually going to take to generate new business online in this industry compared to other ones? Why? Well, its actually only one answer. Emergencies. It’s the emergency nature of the business that makes it different from the other trades while generating business online. Even Mold Remediation is completely different even though it is we all consider it to be closely related.


You’ve got Roofers, HVAC guys, Electricians, etc. Every single one of these niches requires different sets of knowledge to know how to get that online business. Each website is slightly different, each message, slightly different.


Let’s look at it from the point of view of the customer. You’ve had a storm blow some things off of your roof. That’s an emergency, sort of. Do they freak out like when there is 4 feet of sewage left in their basement? Not really. Let’s even take HVAC –  the A/C goes out. Again, sort of an emergency and they don’t tend to wait on calling them either, depending on the weather. But do they treat it with the same freak-out level of attention as their entire kitchen hardwood floor being soaked and potentially buckling due to moisture forcing a huge replacement? Maybe.


Emergencies obviously change the way people react. They aren’t getting bids from three contractors. They want you there now. First one to the job typically gets it. This mentality extends all the way to the front-end of how your business gets noticed. If they want the first company that can get there to get there, they will probably choose one of the top companies they find in Google or if they’re still using it, their phone book (unlikely).  And if they are going to be quick to pick a company that shows up first, they’ll probably not want to read a ton of your website to know who to pick to come over to their home, right? And they don’t want to have to mess around doing a ton of research on whether you’re reputable or not either. Get the idea?


So what’s the lesson to be learned here? If you own a Restoration company, make everything fast to comprehend – visually & content-wise, everything. Show up first. Make everything read fast, talk fast. Get there fast. You all know this already, I know. 😉




Dan York, Founder

Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.



Clearing up Confusions of Modern Day Marketing

Why is your marketing and advertising program not generating the results you want? Is it working for your friend’s company but not yours? Why is that?

This seminar undercuts all of the modern online marketing technologies, and teaches you the fundamentals that none of us were ever taught. Fundamentals that can make or break the success of your marketing program.

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Cleanfax Live Interview – How to Vet an Internet Marketing Company

Looking for an internet marketing company that’s RIGHT for you? Here’s a live interview with Cleanfax Magazine’s Executive Editor Jeff Cross:

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Want Some Hot Action Now?

Want some hot action right now?

This is the saying of a lot of guys in the water damage restoration biz who want leads quickly, and I really understand it. Everybody wants now, now, now in today’s society. That’s life today.

However, if you want something more for fulfilling, something more real, and something more sustainable & long-lasting, of course you have to dig a little bit deeper.

Let’s liken my point to dating.  Sure, maybe you want some hot-action on the first date, but will that result in a long-term relationship where you get everything that you’re looking for?  Will it help you grow personally?  Will it give you all of the feelings and emotions and lifelong for fulfillment that you really need? No. It may give you some short-term fun, but it’s nothing to really build on. Its kid’s stuff. When you’re ready to grow up, you want more.

The same goes for your Internet marketing strategy and building your business for real. There’s a lot of guys that are hooked on buying leads. It’s like buying drugs. It’s a short-term fix with no long-term solution and actually in the end, can be quite damaging and everything can disappear, forever with no long-lasting results. No big business, ever, was built by simply buying leads.

Am I saying don’t buy leads? No. If I were running water damage restoration company I would also be buying leads. But I would be also developing several long-term strategies that I own, and that I can depend on that are not fly by night and will not disappear the second that I shut down my lead generation campaign.

It’s easy to get stuck on the quick fix. But the quick fix is never a long-term solution. This is a concept that you probably understand in many other parts of your life, but you really need to understand when you’re talking about business development in growing your company to real and sustainable sizes. The largest companies you see out there in this business, believe me they have that concept down. That is why they’re so big.


If you want to be the “kid” in the relationship who is looking for the quick fix, fine, but you’ll reap the consequences. I suggest you grow up and be the man and make a real relationship. Figuratively speaking of course! Your business will do what you really need it to.

Best of luck out there.


Dan York, CEO

Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.


Is your Lead-Gen Company sending you phone calls meant for the big Franchises?

Is your Lead-Gen Company sending you phone calls meant for the big Franchises?


I’ve been in this business a long time & I know just about everybody out there. Because of that, I know where everyone’s calls come from. Here’s something no one really talks about and for good reason: A lot of you are getting calls meant for large franchises from the Lead Generation companies you’re using.


At the last The Experience convention I was approached by a lot of guys asking me if the calls I send them will be for other large Water Damage franchise companies. I told them no. And why.


Let’s first cover what I’m talking about for those who may not know. You hire a lead generation company to send you phone calls. They send you a water damage call, you pick up the phone and the person on the other line says, “Is this Servpro/Servicemaster/Etc.? Clearly this call was not meant for you. The Lead Generation company you’re using is obviously marketing using Trademarked names and then driving that business to you.


Now you, not wanting to lose the call, may ignore this and say, “What can I help you with?” Rather than acknowledging they were looking for that franchise.  Some companies I know straight up lie and say, “Yes, it is, what is your emergency?”


Look, I get it.  You need more calls.  But let’s examine this:

  1. This can be sue-worthy and you’re putting your whole company at risk for hone calls that were meant for that Franchise. Don’t fool yourself, they do sue companies over this. A case can be made for Trademark Infringement.
  2. In the marketing world this is known as ole’ bait-and-switch.  Showing the customer one thing and then giving them something else. It’s a credibility killer.


I know most of you are trying to build a solid & ethical business and you know deep-down that it’s not right or maybe consider it a “necessary evil.”  I know some of you won’t care, and that’s your view.  But here is the truth – you can’t keep doing sketchy things in business and think it won’t come back to haunt you at some point. It will recoil eventually and you don’t want your whole business at risk because of this lazy move.


So, how exactly is your Lead-Gen company doing this?

  • They buys ads from Google on your behalf (called Pay-Per-Click Ads, where you literally pay per click). Those are those ads that show up at the top of Google when your potential customer is searching for you.
  • When the Lead Gen companies set up these ads with Google they have to pick the words your ad will show up for, they’re called keywords.  They then use the Big Franchise group’s names in the background so their ads show up for their names.
  • Then when someone looking for the big franchise company clicks on the ad and calls them, they forward that call to you, which is why the customer says, “Is this Servpro/Servicemaster/etc?” That person obviously Googled for them, not you.

“But isn’t that Trademark infringement?” you say. Well, that’s the question isn’t it?  Is using the big franchise group’s names as keywords in Google ad setups Trademark Infringement? Well, Google currently allows this somehow.  The ads your Lead Generators are creating are not allowed to say those big franchise’s names in the ad, but they do allow them to use the franchise name as a keyword to market for, in the background. This is exactly how you’re getting phone calls for them.


Again, this won’t last forever. This will recoil at some future point on the people who are doing it the most. When? Who knows. You can’t do questionable things at high levels for a long time without expecting “what goes round to eventually come round.”


So how do you keep your nose clean and still get calls? Easy. The biggest companies I work with don’t do what I’m talking about in this article. They don’t need to.  Keeping your business ethics tight is a good start though. Don’t risk your whole business on something stupid.



Dan York, Founder of Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

Top 3 Things the Largest Water Damage Companies are Doing that You’re Not

Top 3 Things the Largest Water Damage Companies are Doing that You’re Not


Working with literally hundreds of water damage restoration companies over the last decade, running their marketing programs and seeing their successes and failures, gives you a very streamlined viewpoint of what works and what doesn’t in running a water damage business.

It is a frequent question asked of us when new client signs on for our program, “Should I be doing anything else?” The answer is always yes. But what?

I’ve written articles about this before (click here to read it) that are spot on, but I’d like to try and narrow down the top three points I’ve personally observed.

I’ll start by saying that I wish it was just as simple as they work really hard at it. It isn’t that simple. Of course you have to work hard, but that won’t get you into the top tier of water restoration companies out there.


  1. They work hard at getting their company noticed by EVERYONE. They have loud vans/trucks, they are in every paper, they have billboards on major highways, they have top rankings in SEO, top placements in PPC, they do Lead Generation (usually with several companies), they network contractor groups and plumbers and property management companies and other potential commercial accounts, they care about their branding (everything looks the same – like them). They realize there is no single “magic bullet” to building a huge company. You’d think their jobs would take up most of their attention, but they don’t. Eventually they appear to be everywhere and then look like market leaders and before you know it, they are.
  2. They never turn away work.  You think this wouldn’t happen, right? But you’ve probably done it. A big storm rolls in, you can’t handle the volume, so you turn off the phones and kick on the answering machine. Done. But here is what the bigger guys typically do – they grow with each major occurrence. A storm rolls in for example, they don’t turn off the phones, they invest in and buy more equipment to handle it, they hire contractors to handle the extra calls, they have their crews running all hours of the day until everything is handled, on and on. You see then, even though things slow down after a storm, not only are they more prepared for the next big storm, they’ve made a killing on the last one so they now have more part-time contractors and more equipment to drop in customer’s houses. They also now have all of these additional resources they’ve invested in, so they market harder and faster for more business as the additional income and resources are now available. The never “turn off” marketing for slow seasons or storms where everyone is getting work. This simple cycle I’ve seen keeps companies growing going up to $25m+.
  3. They fire the wrong people. Now this is business 101 I suppose, except that we’ve all violated it. If an employee isn’t pulling their weight, you let them go. The biggest most successful companies have great staff. They have great execs that make great decisions, proven estimators and sales staff, their techs are clean and thorough. They base their hiring decisions on numbers and production, not friend-type relationships. If someone isn’t hitting their numbers, they’re gone. If someone isn’t expanding their department, they are replaced. If they have a bad apple, they don’t let it ruin the whole damn bunch. They don’t waste time on family squabbles within the business or long-term petty disputes with staff or execs. They are focused on getting more business.


I know it aways seems like there is some secret trick to building huge companies, but there isn’t. The secret is that there is NO secret. It’s simply what you do with your time, and where you put your attention and effort. These are my personal observations of the biggest water damage companies I’ve ever worked with. You yourself, no matter your size now, can make these simple changes above and grow faster every year than you did the last.



Dan York

Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.

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