Agent Newsletter April 2016

Jokes of the Day

Boy-laughingTeenager Driver
A teenager who had just received her learner’s permit offered to drive her parents to church. After a hair-raising ride, they finally reached their
destination. The mother got out of the car and said, “Thank you!” “Anytime,” her daughter replied. As the woman slammed the door, she said, “I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to God.”

Too Expensive
A very cheap man was looking for a gift for a friend. Everything was too expensive, except for a broken glass vase which he could purchase for almost nothing. He asked the store to send it, hoping his friend would think it had been broken in transit. In due time, the man received an acknowledgement from his friend. “Thanks for the vase,” it read. “It was so thoughtful of you to wrap each piece separately.”

Dog Calls
Bernard, who was noted for his gracious manners, was awakened one morning at four fortyfour a.m. by his ringing telephone. “Your dog’s barking, and it’s keeping me awake,” said an angry voice. Bernard thanked the caller and politely asked his name and number before hanging up. The next morning at precisely four forty-four a.m., Bernard called his neighbor back. “Good morning, Mr. Williams. I just called to say that I don’t have a dog.”

Charity Golf Events in June

Dacotah Ridge in Morton will be venue for the 2016 Golf Scramble benefitting Salvation Army. Choose one of two days for your team to compete:

Day 1/Option 1
Wednesday, June 22nd
Tee Times Start at 1:00 PM

Day 2/Option 2
Thursday, June 23rd
Tee Times Start at 1:00 PM

The top team from both days will win the 2016 ServiceMaster Cup trophy! The 2015 Winners were Vic Burthler, Jim Kehrwald, Greg Ganyo, and Ben Leach.
Golf Entry Fee: $120/team
($30/person) with 100% going to the Salvation Army. $5 Mulligans that day.
What you get: 18 holes of golf with cart, lunch and chance to help raise $$ for a great organization.

Register online at:

Two-Day CE Classes in June

In addition to the Water/Ethics CE Class in Edina on June 14th, we are offering a two-day option in Morton. See the charts below.

Ce Classes SVMPS











A golf option is also available. Register at

FredTop Phone Apps to Try

Here are some of my favorite free phone apps you might also find useful this summer.
Waze: My favorite navigation tool. Tornado by Red Cross: Keeps you prepared and alerted for weather events.
FEMA: Emergency app for many types of threatening events.
ICE Standard ER: Put your emergency health information on your lock screen wallpaper, in case you are in an accident.
Snapseed: Perfect your summer photos with this powerful photo editing software.
Family locator by Life360: The best way to stay connected with family, friends, and everyone in-between.

PatrickAir Movers: To Use or Not to Use

by Patrick Winter

At the beginning of any restoration job, there is generally a feeling of hope, trust and good will that the job will be done correctly and will be trouble free.
However, all that can change with the flick of a switch if an overaggressive drying approach is applied at the wrong time. It’s a basic principle of drying: air movement evaporates moisture and dehumidifiers extract the moisture from the air. So it seems logical when wet materials are found to start the dry-out process as soon as possible. However, applying air movers in the wrong situation can not only make a job quickly go south, it could also land a company in court. Merely teaching a technician how to install drying equipment is not enough. They need to be taught to analyze their surroundings and access the potential side effects of turning on the air movers. It will prevent potential property damage issues, health issues, and customer confidence issues. Sewage contamination can contain
Air Movers - ServiceMaster Professional Services Minneapolis and St. Paul, MNbacteria, viruses and micro-organisms and requires careful treatment when first starting the job. Airborne contaminants can be spread by natural circulation, an
installed mechanical system, or by using air movement equipment. When drawing out moist air out of potential contaminated cavities using negative pressure, an in-line HEPA filter should be used to remove contamination before exhausting air into the room. Restoration companies are cleaning companies so we have to remember to be aware of our surroundings, keep things clean and orderly every step of the process and this will keep us reputable. When people try to clean without this knowledge, extreme problems could be the result.Be safe, call a professional.

A Word from Our Customers

The following are testimonials from our recent customers:
– “ Thank you so much for all of your help. EVERYONE was great!!!”
– “The young man you have working for you is really a good man. I would keep him employ as long as you can. He is a fantastic worker.”
– “Adam did an excellent job”.
– “They finished the job quickly and didn’t leave a mess for me.”

The 5 Love Languages BookBook to Read

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to
Love that Lasts by Gary
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge! How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life?
In the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy.

Have a Claim? Call us directly.

If you have a claim, call us on our cell phone for fastest, priority service. If we don’t answer, call (800) 245-4622.


ServiceMaster Professional Services - for ever y mess we've got the master

Agent Newsletter January 2016

Managing Down ServiceMaster of MinneapolisIt is Time to Stop Managing Down and Start Coaching Up!    
By Bryan Dodge

  • Manager: a person who has control or direction of a business, or of a part, division, or phase of it.
  • Coach: a person who gives instruction or advice to elevate the performance of an individual or student.

Look at the two definitions above and think about which of those people is going to get the results needed in business today. Coaching is all about focusing on the talent of the person, and not so much about the production of the job description given when hired. Yes, businesses hire a manager to control the output of sales in order to control the outcome or production of business. However, if the focus is on enhancing the talents of hired staff, I believe the outcome will be greatly improved. Coaches focus on supplying the means to achieve, not on the fear of employees losing their jobs. It is the title of “coach” that helps to express optimism for the future with a firm walk in life.

A coach must keep hope alive from within the person. They must always strengthen their players’ belief that life’s struggles will produce a more promising future. This evolves into an intimate and supportive relationship, a relationship based not on pure authority, but on mutual participation that results in an inner renewal. The coach sees the good in you, and it is his or her job to bring the good out and place you in a position where your talent matches the task so success is almost a given. It is when you put people in positions of your needs that you are thinking like a manager, not a coach. Your job isn’t to put people in a position of your need; it is to put them in a position where they will succeed.

Business owners should be looking for that quality in a coach for their team. Coaches, study your competition. There are strategies out there that are proven in the marketplace and should be followed, just like the skills to make a three point jumper shot at the buzzer.

It is when the pressure is on that the title Coach becomes so important. A manager thinks one way and a coach thinks another. A coach says, “I asked you to be on this team because I believe in who you are as a person, not just as a player.”  A manager sees what is on the outside and pushes it in. The good coach sees what is good on the inside and brings it out.

Man Organizing documents - ServiceMaster Minneapolis MN4 Tips to Getting Organized in 2016  by Fred McGuire

Here are some of my favorite ways to get/stay organized.  I have found that these reduce my stress.  These might help you too.

Everything has its place:

  • Bills always go in the top tray at my house. We have a special place in our home where the bills are stored along with any receipts, stamps, envelopes and the checkbook.  When it is time to pay bills or look for something important, it is there.
  • In the same way, find the best place for everything in your home or office and keep it there. You will be less stressed looking for things when you need them.

Tackling Emails:

  • Determine a time to look at them and deal with them only once. Read them, then file them, or respond to them immediately.  Don’t waste time re-reading an email, do it right away and forget it.
  • When my personal email gets clogged I sort it by name and start erasing. It sounds harsh but must be done.

Every dollar has a name:

  • This is a money-handling tip I learned from Dave Ramsey. I have created a spreadsheet which includes a list of the bills due each month and which paycheck is used to pay it.  This includes all expenses including auto gas, dry-cleaning and fun.  Give every dollar a name.  If you want a copy of the Xcel file I use, email me at and I will send it to you.

Using software:

  • OneNote is a simple place to organize thoughts and store information you will need later. It is FREE and syncs with your computer and smart phone.  Never miss a good idea or important note again.
  • Producteev is a simple to use project management software to tackle a bigger project. It is FREE and also syncs with your computer and smart phone.   Learn more at


Boy-laughingJokes of the Day

The Flu

Suffering from a bad case of the flu, the outraged patient bellowed, “Three weeks? The doctor can’t see me for three weeks? I could well be dead by then!” Calmly the voice at the other end of the line replied, “If so, would you please have your wife call to cancel the appointment?”

Small Town Emergency

The sheriff of a small town was also the town’s veterinarian. One night the phone rang, and his wife answered. An agitated voice inquired, “Is your husband there?”

“Do you require his services as a sheriff or as a vet?” the wife asked. “Both!” was the reply.

“We can’t get our dog’s mouth open, and there’s a burglar in it.”

UPS claim

I called UPS about an insurance claim I had filed on a package. I knew the automated voice response system wouldn’t be able to handle this issue so I immediately said, “customer service.”

It did a little beep-boop-bop computing noise, and then insisted that I first pick from its menu, none of which items bore any resemblance to insurance claims. I tried “track a package.” It recited the status, followed by “Can I help you with anything else?” I said, more insistently, “customer service,” at which it complained that that was the most recent shipping information.

Exasperated–but a bit curious–I said, “STUPID MACHINE,” and after the little computing noise, it swiftly transferred me to customer service.


CE ClassesCE Classes in 2016

(insert image: ce class)

This year’s 3 hour topics include:

  • Framing Our Ethics
  • Best Practices for Water Damage Clean-Up
  • Best Practices for Mold Clean-Up
  • Best Practices for Fire Clean-Up
  • Claims: When Bad Things Happen to Good Homes
  • Handling a Hoarding Dilemma

Each class is paired with a second one for a 3 or 6 credit hour day.  To register, go to our website for the schedule and to sign-up .  See you there.


Young man giving a gift$100/Day Christmas Giveaway

Congratulations on our winners for 2015!  Over $1,400 was given to people or organizations in need.  Anyone that saw Fred/Patrick this holiday season or replied to the Facebook post was entered in the daily drawing.  Each winner was given a $100 Visa Gift Card but not for them but rather someone they knew who needed it.  Gifts were given to sick friends, Salvation Army, Place of Hope, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and much more.


Now a Word from our Customers

The following are quotes from our recent customers:

  • “Attention to what needed to be done. Equipment was excellent. Service was excellent. Julian was our service tech and he did a great job. Came out over the weekend to make sure drying process was going on. Excellent job.”
  • “The rep you sent was amazing and worked so hard on a tough job.”
  • “Response time was very quick and they started work immediately. The technicians were very friendly and professional.”
  • “Professional and courteous young men. Their dedication to service and helping us, as clients, was evident and so appreciated.”


hug-your-hatersBook to Read

Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer coming out on March 1st.

Too many companies are using yesterday’s techniques to try to satisfy today’s customer expectations. That’s why Hug Your Haters is the first truly modern book on customer service and customer experience.

The book is based on an extensive, proprietary study of how, where, and why we complain, plus case studies from businesses of all types and sizes from around the world, and more than 50 interviews.

Whether you work for a mom-and-pop store or a global brand, you do have haters — and you can’t afford to ignore them. This book will teach you how to embrace complaints, put haters to work for you, and turn bad news into good.


Young man giving a giftHoliday Giving 2015 by Patrick Winter

We had a lot of fun leading up to Christmas with our $100 a day giveaways last month. It was so much fun seeing so many of you and being able to reward many of you the weeks leading up to Christmas. It was neat hearing what many of you were going to do with the money as well, most paying in forward which was our hope. I will be sharing some of those stories.

Nikki from Bloomington was going to use her $100 gift card to go out and get toys for tots, and items for the food shelf, something she always wanted to do and now she can. Tom, Anita and Joe from Eden Prairie donated their card to make-a wish which is a great cause before the holidays. Pam from St. Louis Park was having a rough week so this came at a great time to help remind her what the holiday season is all about. Danielle and Terri from Rogers decide to give their card to the Histiocytosis Association in honor of Terri’s daughter who suffers from this. Tom from Minnetonka was going to give it to his sister who is out of work this holiday season, a very nice gesture.

Probably the story most near and dear to me was Jenny and Sara from Buffalo. They wanted to donate their card to a go-fund-me account for someone suffering from cancer. I told them that was a great idea and that I had lost my father to cancer when he was only 59. They told me they lost their father when he was only 58. Best wishes to everyone suffering from illness this holiday season.

I had so much fun with our giveaways. It was great seeing so many of you and hearing what you were going to do with you gift cards. A big thanks to our owners Trent, Kendall, and Jon for allowing us to do this. We hope to make this an annual event. I hope all of you have a fantastic 2016!


puffback SVMPSPuff Backs & Routine Fuel Oil Furnace Maintenance – Something Worth Talking with Your Insured About  by Mike Erath

The majority of the furnaces found in today’s home are natural gas and propane powered units.  However a considerable number of home’s are still heated using fuel oil both in urban and outlying rural areas.  While the number of fuel oil furnaces is in decline they are still present in significant numbers

Fuel Oil Furnaces are unique in that the produce the most heat (most BTU’s) of any heating options on the market.  However Fuel Oil Furnaces do need to be routinely maintained in order to avoid malfunctions that lead to what is known as a “Puffback”  Puffbacks or backfires are specific to fuel oil furnaces that are  not regularly maintained and occur when unburnt fuel oil collects overtime within the furnace and then ignites.  The subsequent explosion or  “Puffback” creates excessive pressures which force fuel oil soot through both the supply and return lines of the air ducts covering the inside of the home and all of the contents in fuel oil.

Puffback SVMPS 1The fuel oil residue is not able to cleaned by a home owner and requires the involvement of a  Restoration Company such as ServiceMaster.

A typical puffback can run upwards of $20,000 to return a home to pre loss conditions as the following services need to be performed:

  • All exposed external surfaces need to be manually cleaned including ceilings, walls, doors, windows, cabinets, furniture.
  • Repainting of home
  • Replacement of carpets, furniture and window treatments maybe necessary as well

Puffbacks are preventable when the home owner has their system maintained by a licensed HVAC Contractor

HurtisLogoWe spoke to Jim Hurtis of Hurtis Heating & Air – Marathon WI and he recommended the following to properly maintain a fuel oil heating system and minimize the risk of a puffback:

  1. Schedule an Annual Safety and Efficiency tuneup (Hurtis Heating & Air Cost – $150)
  2. Maintain a full oil tank especially during the summer months to prevent condensation
  3. Call Your HVAC Contractor if the furnace begins making an unusual noises or fuel oil odors are present.





Adjustor January 2016 Newsletter

Fred McGuireWhat is the dry standard and how do you calculate it

By Fred McGuire/Jerold Anderson

When faced with water damage, drying building materials back to its original state is your goal.  So what are the dry standards and how do I know when I get there?

Let’s start by defining the Dry Standard: The drying goal established in water restoration.  It is determined by measuring the moisture content of unaffected materials in an environment.

Simply stated:  A sample reading taken on an unaffected material. This reading is then used as the unaffected control or drying goal.


We see the effects of water damage on walls every day.  Drywall is a panel made of gypsum plaster pressed between two thick sheets of paper. Its thickness varies between one-half inch and five-eighths inches.  Meanwhile, lathe and plaster is a building process used to finish mainly interior walls and ceilings in the United States until the late 1950s. After the 1950s, drywall began to replace it.

Drywall and plaster can absorb water and be successfully dried. For drywall, if the paper is wet but the gypsum inside has not started to degrade; you are probably ok to salvage it. If the paper is saturated and the gypsum is starting to turn mushy, or is crumbling you are likely too late.

When drywall is wet, it can be dried without demolition if a trained professional does the work.  This requires a combination of the proper number of air movers and dehumidifiers.  Drywall will dry to a hardness that will be equal to other areas that were not wet and much less costly to do so.  Therefore we often dry walls without removing them.

So how do you know when a wall is dry?  Using a non-penetrating moisture meter, you begin by determining the dry standard for that home by testing it in an unaffected area.  This should be at least 5 feet away from any wet area or in an unaffected room of the house.  That is the dry-standard for the home.  In Minnesota it is normally reads from 7 to 9.

Plaster/lathe Exceptions

Plaster/lathe normally takes longer to dry than sheetrock. It may take the infusion of extra heat over the surface to increase the energy so water molecules move faster speeding evaporation.   Expect dry times to be 5-7 days vs 3-5 for sheetrock.  Drywall nailed over paneling, and the reverse, is a challenge.  These layers don’t promote drying.  We can’t dry it easily.

According to the IICRC the drying process can be finished when the readings are within 4 points of the original dry standard. Then you can expect materials to finish drying the rest of the way in a few more days.

Wood Floors

Wood floors have a normal dry standard of their own.  Check a dry place on the floor for set your standard and then check daily to monitor the results.  Solid wood floors often respond well to the drying process, laminate floors not so much. Laminate flooring most often is replaced due to its composite construction which warps when wet.  Hardwood floors warp also but they can be dried and regain their original shape.  Laminate floors most often need to be replaced.


Carpets are dried after the pad is removed and discarded.  They respond well to air movers and dehumidifiers.  Oftentimes the carpet is floated by and air mover as part of the drying process.  Later the pad is replaced and the carpet re-stretched. However if carpet is wet for too many days, it will delaminate as the glue breaks down and needs to be replaced.

Rely on ServiceMaster to attempt to dry all structures and building materials rather than replace them which saves time and money.  Our highly trained staff will do their best to do so and therefore will save money on each claim.



Latest Edition

Odor Removal after a Fire

By Patrick Winter

Cleaning the damage that is caused by a fire is the easy part. The more difficult task is making sure that not only is the odor from the smoke and soot removed, but that it doesn’t come back later. There are some important steps you need to follow to make sure the odor is gone once and for all.

  1. Odor Removal after a fireFirst you must remove any structural components that have visible char or items that have fire damage.
  2. You need to thoroughly clean all materials, both structure and contents, that were affected. This cleaning must be very detailed. Use cotton towels, micro fiber towels and lots of Q-tips. After that you are ready for the next step. There are several really good industry specific solutions you can use when cleaning: Wall Wash, Degrease All, and Woodcreme Restorer to name a few. You will also want to have everyday cleaning items like Windex and 409 to use when necessary.
  3. Use a wet deodorization solution when possible. Be sure to mix it following the directions. More is not good in this instance, so do not use too much solution or you can damage fabrics and materials. After the wet process has been applied, your next step is to use Hydroxyl.
  4. It is very important that you have a second person to check for odor in all areas and on all items that have been cleaned and deodorized after they have had some dwell time. If odor is present, go back to step two and repeat. Once the item has gone through the process a second time and odor is still present, it may need to be logged and destroyed.
  5. Any areas of the structure that are raw unfinished wood may need to be soda blasted to remove soot or sealed with oil-based paint to seal in any possible odors.
  6. All papers that were exposed to smoke or soot will likely need to be disposed of. They are very absorbent and will hold a lot of odor in. This does not apply to books.
  7. Always clean in a warm environment as odor can appear to be gone when temperature is cooler and present when temperature rises.
  8. A final step is to walk through the structure checking for any and all odor present. As for the contents, do the same with a final odor check. Have two different people from your team do this as double check.

I cannot stress enough that even the tiniest soot particle that is left behind can cause odor to re-contaminate the structure. So be very detailed in your cleaning and you will not have a problem with odor.


Sunlight Dangers

By Bridget ConwellSunlight Dangers

The summer heat is finally here! While it is typically welcomed, it can be extremely dangerous when combined with a material that refracts sunbeams. If you have ever seen Toy Story you’ll know that Woody uses both the sun’s rays and Buzz’s plastic helmet to focus the heat on a rocket fuse in order to catch up to Andy and the moving van. As brilliant as it was in the movie plot, real life typically has a much more disastrous ending.

Earlier this year, a large house fire occurred in London that destroyed the kitchen, a bedroom, and parts of the roof. The culprit was a glass Nutella jar that was being re-used as a holder for one of the daughter’s bracelets. The glass jar refracted the light onto the fabric of the curtains and set them ablaze. Luckily the family was not in the home when this occurred, but it did claim the life of their family dog due to smoke inhalation. It will be at least a year until the family can once again live in their home.

It’s more than worth it to take a few minutes to check through your own homes for glass or plastic items in window sills, or items that have direct contact with the sun. Look for potential dangers and move items if needed. Stay safe and enjoy your summer!


Get Better Organized in One Weekend

Many of us are breathing a sigh of relief that Spring officially begins on March 20. With the warmer temperatures comes a desire to shake off winter by getting your home organized and clean for the Spring.Get Organized

Here are five things you can do in just one weekend that will better organize your home and your life.

  1. Gather important papers.Collect all the important papers from around the house, such as bills, school notes and invitations, and place them in a folder. Schedule a time each week to address them.
  2. Eliminate 10 items from your closet.Look through your clothes, shoes and accessories, and select 10 things from your closet that either don’t fit well, are out of style or you simply don’t wear. Take them to a clothing donation store in your area.
  3. Look at the next 30 days on your calendar.Review the next 30 days of your calendar, and list anything you need to prepare for such as purchasing gifts or cards, writing a report for an important meeting or getting your dress/suit cleaned for an event.
  4. Complete one home repair.Select the thing in your home that needs to be repaired most and fix it this weekend, either by doing it yourself or calling a professional.
  5. Find a home for 10 things.Identify 10 items in your home that look out of place, take up a lot of room or are in the way and find a new home for them. Relocate the item to somewhere close by and handy if you use it often, or store it out of the way if you use it less frequently.



2015 Charity Golf EventsSM Cup Trophy

All events are to raise money for the Salvation Army. Donate $30/player to save your place in the event. Winning teams are invited to the ServiceMaster Cup Championship at Madden’s in the fall.

Sign up as a team of 4 or we will pair you up with others. Clients, friends or family are welcome.

July 31st @ Bunker Hills, 9 AM Start

August 6th @ Dacotah Ridge, 10 AM Start

Learn more at


Continuing EducationFred McGuire

$10/class for CE in 2015

Celebrating 10 years of CE, all 3 hour classes are now only $10! Attend two classes on any date in 2015 for six hours of CE will only cost you $20 and that includes lunch!

You will find two new classes for 2015 including a new “Framing our Ethics” and “Extreme Cleaning: Handling a Hoarding Dilemma” taught by instructor Fred McGuire.

Find the complete schedule on our website at

See you there.



Adjustor June 2015 Newsletter

Substitute TeacherBoy laughing

Walking through the hallways at the middle school where I work, I saw a new substitute teacher standing outside his classroom with his forehead against a locker.

I heard him mutter, “How did you get yourself into this?”

Knowing that he was assigned to a difficult class, I tried to offer moral support.

“Are you okay?” I asked. “Can I help?”

He lifted his head and replied, “I’ll be fine as soon as I get this kid out of his locker.”

Soda Machine

Julie was standing in front of a soda machine saying, “You are a dumb-looking button. You don’t have much of a future, either. People are going to be punching you all your life. Then you are going to be replaced by a much better-looking button.”

I foolishly asked what she was doing.

Julie pointed to the notice on the front of the machine, which said, “Depress button for ice.”


A doting father used to sing his little children to sleep until he overheard the four-year-old tell the three-year-old, “If you pretend you’re asleep, he stops.”


Why use Air-Scrubbers on a water loss? Air Scrubber

By Fred McGuire

Why do adjustors frequently see Air-Scrubbers used on a water loss?

Air-Scrubbers are often seen at fire restorations since the air is heavily contaminated for both the workers and the homes occupants.  Insurance adjustors should also use HEPA air scrubbers on all water losses.  Why?

Water losses, just like fires, create opportunities for several types of unseen air pollution.  Tiny particles such as mold and bacteria grow in wet indoor situations.  Water problems originating from clean sources can even trigger indoor air pollution.

How does this happen? Air movers produce a high volume of air at high velocity. When air movers are used to dry surfaces and other remediation activity occurs, contaminants are released into the air.  Once airborne, workers and homeowners can inhale them causing adverse health problems.  Air-Scrubbers will significantly reduce if not eliminate all types of air pollution.  They can also keep the dust in check throughout the process to reduce the costs of final cleanup.

These machines are filtration systems that remove mold, dust, gasses, and other airborne contaminants from the air to help improve indoor air quality.  Air-Scrubbers typically use fans to draw air through a series of filters to remove the contaminants and then release the filtered air back into the work area or are vented outside.

Air-Scrubbers have a first stage standard paper pre-filter that captures large particles, and a second-stage primary HEPA filter rated to capture 99.97% of remaining particles down to 0.3 microns.  This traps even the smallest mold spore and much more. Carbon filters can be used to absorb organic vapors, thereby reducing odor.

Again, using an Air-Scrubber during water clean-up removes particulates in the air generated by the remediation process, water moving through a structure and odors from the water contamination.  It also eases the customers mind about the clean-up process.  Often residents have respiratory issues that can be minimized by scrubbing the air especially if they are sensitive to allergens and air borne dust.

Using Air-Scrubbers will:

  1. Remove potentially harmful particles and pollutants from the air by scrubbing the air at least 5 times per hour.
  2. Lower job clean-up costs and the recontamination of clean areas.
  3. Provide negative air pressure (if needed) to avoid cross contamination in the structure.
  4. Remove foul odors and low levels of VOC’s.

Not scrubbing air can lead to higher clean-up costs, increased worker health issues and frequent homeowner complaints.  Even clean water sources pose the risk of releasing harmful particulates in the air and result in a happier, healthier property owner.

The Lack of Margin in Our Lives: Learning to Expect The UnexpectedMargin

By Fred McGuire

When demands appear to be greater than our resources, the result in our lives is stress. We feel stressed in different areas of life: finances, time, physical energy, emotional energy, and relational energy. Stress then displays itself in our lives in a variety of negative ways.

Some years ago, Dr. Richard Swenson wrote a book entitled, “Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives”. The concept of “margin” is that it is wise to leave space in our lives to deal with the unexpected or unplanned events in our lives therefore relieving stress. This is in contrast with our tendency to pack our schedule full. I have learned much from his writings.

The problem is – life does not occur without interruptions. If we plan and schedule our days and lives with no room for the “unexpected”, then the stress in our lives dramatically escalates when the “unexpected” occurs.

The odds of one of these things (both positive and negative) happening in the near future is very high:

  • Traffic/road construction delays
  • Computer or internet problems
  • One of your children gets sick
  • Weddings
  • Births
  • Car breakdown
  • Moving
  • Professional opportunities
  • A major client calls with a problem
  • Getting sick
  • Weather delays


Results of Living Without Margin

Results like: increased stress, irritability, tension, poor communication, relational conflict, being chronically late, missing important events, not being adequately prepared for meetings, poor quality work, frustration and anger, guilt, loss of sleep, depression.

How Do We Start to Change

Change starts with awareness and acceptance of a problem. Is this you or not? Be honest.

Next, look at your calendar for the next week and month. Are there any unscheduled blocks of time (during the work day, evenings, weekends) or is your calendar already packed?

In what arenas of your life do you tend to live “close to the edge”? With your time? Finances? Physical and emotional energy? Develop a plan to explore and correct the distortions you have.

Remember, we were not designed to live life under constant, unrelenting pressure.

* * * *

Note: This is one of those topics where I share some wisdom which I am still in the process of incorporating in my own life.

2015 Charity Golf EventsSM Cup Trophy

All events are to raise money for the Salvation Army. Donate $30/player to save your place in the event. Winning teams are invited to the ServiceMaster Cup Championship at Madden’s in the fall.

Sign up as a team of 4 or we will pair you up with others. Clients, friends or family are welcome.

July 31st @ Bunker Hills, 9 AM Start

August 6th @ Dacotah Ridge, 10 AM Start

Learn more at .


Fred McGuire2Continuing Education

$10/class for CE in 2015

Celebrating 10 years of CE, all 3 hour classes are now only $10! Attend two classes on any date in 2015 for six hours of CE will only cost you $20 and that includes lunch!

You will find two new classes for 2015 including a new “Framing our Ethics” and “Extreme Cleaning: Handling a Hoarding Dilemma” taught by instructor Fred McGuire.

Find the complete schedule on our website at

See you there.


Matt Paxton TeachingHandling a Hoarding Claim?

Many adjustors attended our recent special event featuring hoarding expert, Matt Paxton from the TV show “Hoarders”. With over 1,000 hoarding clean-ups under his belt, he had some great advice for all of us when faced with a claim in a hoarded house.

The following is an excerpt from Matt Paxton’s book, The Secret Lives of Hoarders.

When cleaning starts, hoarders tend to pick up and clutch items in their hands without putting them down. Pretty soon their arms and pockets start to fil up like they are a squirrel storing for the winter. They talk very fast and won’t look people in the eye. These are sure signs that anxiety is taking over. Someone having and anxiety attack simply can’t function.

Dealing with the anxiety is not necessarily the job of the cleanup crew, which is why it’s essential to have a trusted and empathetic advocate on call—a therapist, social worker, or clergyman—who is not involved in the physical cleanup. Depending on the severity of the hoarder’s anxiety, the cleanup may be halted briefly, or for a longer time if other professional and emotional support is needed.

Trying to power through the cleaning process with a hoarding having an anxiety attack will only make it worse. Ignoring these emotions and not listening to the hoarder could cause major issues down the road for the cleaning and the relationship.

Want a free copy Matt’s book or to borrow a copy? Email Fred McGuire at and you will get one.

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