PuroClean Owner Jim Scalf Discusses Property Damage Restoration Business

Nov 07, 2022 at 11:50 am by Justin Stokes

Pictured: PuroClean Owner Jim Scalf. Used with Permission

Damage to a home or place of business is a troubling thought to any property owner. The owner is not only facing large out-of-pocket expenses, but they may also be utterly reliant on the opinion of an expert. Property owners can feel overwhelmed by the situation, as several things can go wrong.

Thankfully, there are options to treat such issues plaguing homes and businesses in Middle Tennessee. One option for property owners is PuroClean of South Murfreesboro (PuroClean), which serves Rutherford, Williamson, Wilson, Coffee, Bedford, and Cannon counties. Said services to these counties include property damage restoration caused by water and fire, mold removal, cleanup of biohazardous materials, and general property reconstruction. 

Buying into the PuroClean Vision

PuroClean comes to South Murfreesboro as a franchised business. Owner and President of PuroClean Jim Scalf—a proud husband and father of three—is no stranger to helping others restore their homes. 

Per the company’s website, “Jim often went with his father to rehabilitate homes and churches damaged by natural disasters. In college, he rehabilitated houses as part of a ministry to assist the Appalachian Mountains impoverished households.”

Just like with home rehabilitation, Jim followed in his father’s footsteps by serving his country.

“I’m a 31 year military vet,” Jim shares. “I joke with others that I spent 19 years in the Marine Corps before I spent a day in the Army. My dad was a sergeant major in the Marine Corps… I always used to joke, ‘Me and Jesus have a lot in common. We’re both the son of God!’”

Jim spent his time in various parts of the service and separately served as the director of a home for at-risk children. 

Retiring from the armed forces in 2019, Jim wanted to find a new career that let him utilize his problem-solving and leadership skills. 

“I considered starting a few different businesses,” he says. “I was analyzing the various headaches, heartaches, and hassles of being a business owner….”

Jim traveled to Tamarac, Florida to meet with team members of PuroClean at their corporate headquarters. Though he intended to rule franchising PuroClean out as an option, touring the facility and learning about the company’s values made him completely change his mind. Moreover, Jim learned that PuroClean was something that Middle Tennessee needed since many of the other home restoration businesses in the area have the luxury of specializing in particular types of restoration services. These businesses also tend to be recession-proof, since people always need home restoration work. 

“They sold me,” Jim recalls. After deciding he wanted to be part of the PuroClean family, Jim earned the necessary certifications in record time. His goal was to have two PuroClean crews operational within six months

PuroClean’s Launch During a Pandemic 

As fate would have it, PuroClean’s ability to earn money during a recession would be tested. Coming to the Murfreesboro area in January 2020, the business was greeted with the ugly presence of COVID-19.

“2020 was a great year to go out and start marketing!” Jim jokes. 

Amid COVID, Jim was stuck. He was still determining how to reach customers during the pandemic, as both the news cycle and collective interests were fixated on COVID-19. Social distancing prevented him from knocking on doors or doing any kind of in-person promotion. Not an experienced marketer, he lacked the savviness to helm a targeted digital media campaign.

Jim says, “I thought… you know, let me just call [these] restoration companies… let me see if there are any jobs that they don’t want.”

Most of the other restoration companies told Jim that they weren’t interested in giving him referrals. Jim’s ingenuity paid off, however, when he found some companies that weren’t interested in doing certain kinds of restoration work, such as biohazard cleanup. From there, Jim offered the companies that agreed to refer customers to him a referral fee. 

“It was pretty positive,” Jim says. “I actually came up with three different companies that said, ‘Hey, we don’t do biohazard,’ or ‘I don’t do mold.’” 

The referral work from these companies—which PuroClean still gets to this day—helped Jim get through the lean times of the pandemic. 

A Business That Really Cleans Up

The pandemic certainly presented new challenges for Jim. But with those trying times also came new opportunities.

“There were a lot of people required to come [to customer locations] and do what was called ‘COVID cleaning,’” Jim says. “My gross revenue for the first year was from COVID cleanings.”

Knowing that the pandemic wouldn’t last forever, Jim made investments in marketing that opened his business to a new base of customers for 2021 for reconstruction work. But according to Jim, the marketing investment was only half of the equation in letting people know about PuroClean. What has helped him grow his business is having a good team of employees under him who are willing to go the extra mile for customers.

Jim explains, saying “You’re only as good as the people who are going to work for you. I have learned the hard way: hire values first, skills second. Skills can be developed. Values either come or go with the person.”

Believing in his father’s credo of “Systems don’t work, people do,” Jim places good employees at a premium. This is especially true now after many employers are witnessing the aftermath of “The Great Resignation.” 

“The emphasis of any organization is on its people,” Jim adds.

Jim has now grown the organization to almost 20 employees between the South Murfreesboro office and the newer office in Nashville. Under a larger footprint, Jim can bring a greater quality of customer service to Middle Tennessee.

“I’m always looking to partner with organizations,” Jim says. “Like I did with other restoration companies.” These potential partner organizations include property managers, mold specialists, insurance agencies, and other businesses impacted by property damage.  

For further information about PuroClean, visit its website and social media.