ServiceMaster Restoration by Wills Has Built a Team to Tackle Any Crisis
Service is right in the name. ServiceMaster Restoration by Wills sets a standard of service for themselves that sets them apart. It earned the company national recognition in 2018. The Marion E. Wade Award, named after the company founder, is given to ServiceMaster’s top-performing franchise in North America, out of over 4,000 franshises.
“At the core, it’s about operating with integrity,” said Steve Wills, owner and president of ServiceMaster by Wills. Steve keeps in mind the advice his father gave him: “Make sure your decisions are the same when the lights are off as they are when the lights are on.”
The full-service disaster restoration service has offices in New London, Hartford, and Stamford as well as a large loss division, SRM, that directs operations at sites around the world. Water, fire, mold—ServiceMaster Restoration by Wills has teams ready to handle individual jobs and the know-how to project manage city-wide disasters.
Flooding from the mountains in Thailand led to an extended job in the Bangkok area that spanned four months beginning around Thanksgiving and continuing into March. Steve recalls city residents turning the high-piled sandbags into de facto Christmas trees with festive decorations during the Christmas holiday. The residents’ approach mirrors Steve’s passion for the work.
“You are always taking a bad situation and making it better,” said Steve, who has managed massive restoration projects like the aftermath in Houston when Hurricane Harvey dropped over 50 inches of rain or in Boston when a utility crises led to whole neighborhoods of historic homes needing restoration services.
Steve began his career in ServiceMaster in high school as a summer job, and really enjoyed being there to help people in their time of need. When a franchise became available in 1982, Steve and his wife and co-owner Sheri began serving the Stonington area. They have grown the company over the years by focusing on developing a strong, dedicated team of employees who represent the company’s values.
New London and Hartford Senior Operations Manager Jeffrey Lame describes their customer centered approach. “First, we restore calm, then we restore order, and then we restore property.” Putting the customer first has put them first among franchisees. Working with Jeffrey in New London are Rory Bedell as Production Manager and Jay Rashleigh as Regional Account Manager and Estimator.
The strong team behind this success is built on trust and empowering employees to make the right decisions with the customers’ interests in mind. Those decisions are based on consistent, up-to-date training opportunities, and the knowledge that the company has your back. In Houston, with over 224,000 man hours on the job, there was not one recordable injury thanks to the careful management of team leaders and safety protocols put in place by the Wills team.
“How we lead is a willingness to go side-by-side with people in our training and show them how we want things to get done,” said Steve. Running operations can mean 60 plus hour work weeks whenever the emergency losses happen, which is a reminder to Steve how much he appreciates his people that answer the bell 24 hours a day.
Regarding retaining members of his team for decades, Steve added, “Today’s business owner has to be more empathic than they were in the past, more understanding of the trials of work in today’s world.” With many families juggling two jobs and kids, he says employers need to have open communication with employees and be willing to adjust where possible. The payback is a dedicated workforce. “We do the best we can to help our employees grow and develop in our company.”
While it’s tiring, the job is still exciting and they are fully invested in helping people at their time of need, bringing calm and organization to difficult situations. “At the end of the day, we love what we do and that’s what keeps us going.”