The ICS 2011 Disaster Restoration & Remediation Market Study

Chart I

The annual ICS Disaster Restoration & Remediation Market Study is an examination of the opinions and preferences of restoration and remediation professionals concerning their business.

The overall purpose of the study is to measure the opinions and preferences of professionals concerning their disaster restoration and remediation business, including:
  • What types of restoration work are most in demand today?
  • What tools and equipment are currently used for disaster restoration and remediation work?
  • What are the leading brands of equipment used in disaster restoration and remediation?
  • What cleaning chemicals are most often used in disaster restoration and remediation jobs?
  • What expectations do restoration professionals have for future restoration/remediation work?
The total sample for the study consisted of 2,564 active, qualified ICS subscribers and 3,650 Restoration & Remediation direct-request subscribers who have purchase authority and whose primary business is smoke/water damage restoration specialist. The sample was selected on an Nth-name basis from the magazine’s domestic circulation.

Chart II

Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents claim smoke-water damage restoration (69%), mold remediation (14%) or professional carpet cleaning (6%) as their company’s primary business. Residential work makes up 71 percent of the disaster restoration and remediation work respondents perform (Chart I). On average, respondents report that a little more than two-thirds of their business (68%) involves disaster restoration and remediation work.

Structural drying, deflooding/water extraction, and fire/smoke damage are the top three services, respectively, to which those surveyed attribute most of their disaster and restoration work. Additionally, 35 percent of respondents answered “a great deal” when asked how much of their disaster restoration and remediation work could be attributed to mold remediation (for deodorization and contents restoration, the numbers were 22 percent and 16 percent, respectively).

Survey respondents plan to spend an average of $30,163 on equipment within the next year, roughly the same as they did in 2009. Antimicrobials (86%), deodorizers (79%) disinfectants (72%) and biocides (57%) top the list of chemicals survey respondents claim to most commonly use in disaster restoration and remediation (Chart II).

Obviously, industry professionals purchase their own chemicals; to help supplement their privately owned equipment inventory, 59 percent of respondents use rental equipment, a three-percent bump from last year.

Chart III

The industry has seen numerous advances in technology and equipment in the last decade. With progress comes the need to be better prepared and educated to properly execute and verify the work. More than two-thirds of respondents have used a laboratory for testing (72 percent) or verification (also 72 percent), while 75 percent acknowledge having worked with an industrial hygienist.

Education is clearly at the forefront of the industry’s collective consciousness. The vast majority (95%) of those responding indicate they or someone in their company have taken classes, attended seminars, or done course work relevant to disaster restoration and remediation, almost the same as in 2010. And when it comes to certification, 74 percent of respondents claim a water restoration technician, or WRT, certification designation, while 58 percent have a fire and smoke restoration (FSRT) certification. Fifty-seven percent hold an applied structural drying (ASD) certification (Chart III).

The outlook for the disaster restoration and remediation business is good: three-quarters of respondents expect their business to increase by an average of 32 percent. The factors most often cited that respondents believe will influence their success in the business include marketing (37%), relationships with insurance companies (34%) and the weather (12%) (Chart IV).

Chart IV

The most significant concern held up by respondents, 46 percent of them, about their disaster restoration and remediation business is collection and cash flow, a 14 percent decrease from last year. Preferred Vendor Programs grabbed second place with 23 percent, with legal liability (9%) labor (8%) and insurance (5%) bringing up the rear. The ICS Market Study Series is intended to help manufacturers and professional end-users better understand their market and, more importantly, each other. The ICS Disaster Restoration & Remediation Market Study is a doorway to yet another important segment of the cleaning and restoration industry; it is up to you to step through it. This article is a snapshot of a new comprehensive study examining the disaster restoration & remediation market. The conclusions are based on the opinions, preferences and purchasing behavior of professionals who agreed to participate in the survey.

The survey was conducted and findings were compiled by Clear Seas Research, a division of BNP Media. For information about ordering or to find out more about Clear Seas Research services, contact Jennifer Loomis at

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