Photo: Jeff Keleher
Household emergencies can lead to long-term headaches for homeowners. Kitchen fires, water leaks, storms, and floods, among other unforeseen crises, can cause extensive damage to walls, floors, insulation, and other parts of the home, often necessitating the complete removal and replacement of affected materials. While homeowners insurance may pick up the tab for some of these expenses, there’s still the matter of hiring qualified professionals to assess the damage, remove debris, and clean or sanitize the home if necessary.
This is where a company like ServPro can help. After the crisis has subsided, it’s of the utmost importance to contact a professional restoration company to clear out any traces of damage from fire, smoke, water, or mold so homeowners can rebuild and restore their homes without worrying about lingering issues hiding beneath the surface. ServPro is one of the most widely used restoration and cleanup companies, with franchises located throughout the country, and it may be one of the first calls a homeowner makes following a disaster or emergency.
These kinds of projects can easily cost homeowners thousands of dollars before taking into account the construction and build-back process, so choosing the right service provider is imperative. Does ServPro live up to its claims as the nation’s premier cleanup and restoration service provider? This ServPro review highlights a hands-on experience with its restoration and cleanup service to help homeowners know what to expect when contracting this company to take care of their restoration needs.
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Our Verdict: ServPro offers thorough and professional restoration and cleanup services at a competitive rate. Employees are responsive to service requests and quick to both schedule and complete work for various types of jobs, including water damage restoration. The company will also work directly with a customer’s homeowners insurance company to make payment a breeze.
- Service area: Nationwide and Canada
- Scheduling: Phone
- Services offered: Water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation, specialty and general cleaning
- Certifications: IICRC, in-house employee training certification
- Availability: Variable; 24/7 depending on the service
- Customer service: Phone
- 2,000 locations across the U.S. and Canada
- Technicians arrive within 4 hours for emergencies
- Wide range of specialty cleaning services
- Competitively priced services
- Representatives assist customers with any insurance claims
- Company representatives contact the homeowner’s insurance company within 24 hours
- Comprehensive online FAQ section
- No online scheduling option
- Certifications for some services vary by location
- Guarantee information is not readily available
ServPro Review: Claims
Given the nature of its business, it may come as no surprise that ServPro focuses on its speed and availability in a crisis as core strengths. According to the company’s website, homeowners can contact ServPro at any time when they need assistance, with representatives standing by around the clock to help beleaguered customers. In addition, ServPro notes that it has franchise locations across the nation serving 90 percent of U.S. ZIP codes, so most homeowners can rely on ServPro for their restoration and cleanup needs. That large footprint also informs the company’s speedy turnaround times, as having so many ServPro locations minimizes the possibility of any given franchise becoming stretched too thin and unable to respond to service requests in a timely manner.
ServPro has been providing restoration and cleaning services for more than 50 years and has an operational footprint that stretches across the entire country. What began as a modest painting business in 1967 has grown into one of the largest restoration service providers in the nation. ServPro now has more than 2,000 branch locations equipped to assist both residential and commercial interests. Although ServPro is not a Fortune 500 company, it has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 ranking of the best franchise opportunities in the nation. In fact, ServPro has earned the magazine’s top spot for cleaning and restoration franchises for 19 straight years.
ServPro offers cleanup and restoration services to address water, fire, and smoke damage, and it can provide decontaminating and deep-cleaning services to affected areas of the home. The company also provides mold removal and construction services if needed. In many cases, customers will use ServPro to repair damage that is covered under their homeowners insurance, such as damage caused by storms or kitchen fires. In addition to its residential services, ServPro also conducts restoration and cleanup jobs for commercial property owners, which can include specialty cleaning services to address biohazards and viral pathogens.
Homeowners looking for qualified professionals to handle their restoration and cleanup needs may be interested to know that ServPro is an approved Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) Training School, providing its employees with ongoing professional training opportunities. That being said, certifications will vary depending on the location, and ServPro technicians may not always hold the latest certifications. Homeowners may want to check local ServPro restoration reviews from former customers or contact their nearest ServPro branch to check the certification status of a particular location.
How It Works
Although there are many ServPro cleaning services available, many customers will find themselves turning to the company in an emergency situation where time is of the essence. For instance, homeowners who have standing water in their home due to a failed sump pump or water leak may require swift remediation to prevent mold from building up in their home’s walls and flooring. Homeowners may also want to quickly repair fire damage to remove smoke odors and soot as well as get rid of any damaged materials so they can rebuild as soon as possible. In these scenarios, homeowners can call a local ServPro franchise or the corporate call center to set up an inspection of the damaged area and build out a scope of work.
The company will send out a technician to conduct an on-site inspection of the customer’s home, taking pictures to document the extent of the damage, measuring floor space to determine how much equipment will be needed, and devising a plan of action based on the level of service the customer requires. After reviewing the affected area and determining the extent of work needed for mitigation, ServPro will create a scope with a breakdown of the costs required to remove damaged materials, clean and decontaminate surfaces, and restore the area to its original condition. If homeowners opt to use ServPro’s services, they may have the option to pay in full themselves or, if mitigation work is covered under their homeowners insurance, ask their insurance provider to foot the bill.
Water and fire damage restoration jobs may require several days of work to complete, as it will take time to remove excess moisture or smoke odors from the home after the initial teardown work has been completed. In those situations, ServPro technicians will stop by every day to check on the condition of the affected area and make sure all equipment is working properly. Once the assigned technicians are satisfied that the affected area has been fully cleaned and decontaminated, crewmembers will return to the home to remove the equipment. At that point, customers have the option to hire ServPro to handle any construction needed to repair damaged floors and walls, or they can turn to another contractor for that work.
ServPro provides a wide variety of cleanup and restoration services to homeowners and commercial property owners to help address all kinds of property damage. The core areas that ServPro focuses on include:
- Water damage restoration
- Fire damage restoration
- Storm damage mitigation
- Mold remediation and removal
Cleaning services may be included as part of a restoration project, but customers can also contract ServPro cleaners separately to take on other jobs. This work may cover:
- Air duct and HVAC cleaning
- Odor removal
- Graffiti removal
- Viral pathogen cleaning
ServPro even offers cleanup services for crime scenes, natural deaths, and sites of biological or chemical contamination that require hazmat assistance. The company provides much more mundane cleaning services as well, and customers can use ServPro carpet cleaning services to remove unsightly stains and unsavory odors from their home.
ServPro technicians can tackle many facets of the restoration process to bring a home back to its original condition after a devastating crisis:
- Remove and haul away debris such as damaged drywall and flooring
- Clean and decontaminate surfaces
- Store or protect personal belongings
- Dehumidify the affected area to remove moisture and prevent dangerous mold
- Remove smoke odors and soot
- Deep clean upholstery and carpets
ServPro also offers construction services to replace drywall, install cabinets, and paint rooms, among other jobs, to restore a home to its original condition. It’s worth noting that construction services are handled by completely separate teams from the crews that manage the company’s mitigation and cleanup services.
Availability and Emergency Service
ServPro maintains more than 2,000 branch locations across the country, putting its services well within reach of many homeowners. In fact, the company claims 90 percent of all U.S. ZIP codes fall into its service area, giving it a very large operational footprint. In addition, ServPro promises speedy and responsive service, noting that its technicians can respond to a service request within 2 hours. However, the site does not explain if that response time reflects the initial contact with a representative or an in-home inspection to begin assessing damage.
ServPro offers 24/7 support for emergencies, such as damage from heavy storms, fires, or flooding, in the event that homeowners cannot afford to wait to go through the normal quoting and scheduling processes. It is not entirely clear what this emergency service entails, what additional cost may be incurred for using these services, or how quickly ServPro technicians can respond to an emergency and address damage to the home. Even so, having that option may be a great relief to customers who want to begin fixing property damage and restoring their house as soon as possible.
Pricing and Cost
ServPro’s restoration and cleanup costs can vary depending on the scope of work required and the extent of the damage. The company calculates the cost of each job based on the labor and equipment needed to complete remediation and cleanup. Labor costs on ServPro restoration services are billed by the hour, and can include the time needed to:
- Remove drywall, flooring, insulation, cabinetry, and other damaged materials
- Wrap furniture and personal belongings in protective plastic
- Disconnect washers, dryers, and other appliances
- Clean walls, floors, carpets, and upholstery
- Set up ServPro equipment such as air scrubbers or dehumidifiers
- Monitor equipment performance
- Remove restoration equipment once the job has been completed
Customers are also charged for each piece of equipment used during the restoration process and are billed based on the amount of time that this machinery runs. Some ServPro restoration and cleanup projects may also require decontamination—for example, overflowing water resulting from drainage backups could contain sewage that needs to be completely removed from the home. ServPro will add an extra charge for those services as well as any specialized equipment used during the cleaning process—air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters, for instance.
Getting a Quote
Homeowners looking to get a quote on restoration services from ServPro will need to call a local branch and schedule an appointment so an employee can assess the damage and the amount of work required. In some cases, customers may be able to set up an inspection within 24 hours of speaking with an associate, but exact timetables may vary from one branch to another and may depend on the location’s volume of work. For instance, homeowners in areas hit by widespread flooding following heavy rains may experience longer delays in setting up a home inspection due to the increased local demand for restoration services.
During the inspection, a ServPro technician will review the damaged area and create a floor plan detailing the square footage of each room requiring mitigation and cleanup. This floor plan may also include the expected placement of specialized equipment—for instance, detailing where air movers and dehumidifiers should be located to maximize their impact. In cases involving water damage, technicians will also take moisture readings so they can anticipate how many dehumidifiers, air movers, and other machines will be needed to remove excessive moisture from the home and prevent mold from building up.
After the inspection has been completed, homeowners can expect to receive a breakdown of the scope of work within a few days. ServPro quotes are sent to customers via email, but homeowners can reach out to their local branch with any questions they may have. Quotes detail the cost and expected time frame to carry out the requested restoration service, and they will also include a breakdown of the machinery used and labor required. Homeowners will want to keep in mind that quotes will only cover mitigation and cleanup; they will need to follow up with ServPro to receive a quote on construction and build-back services, as those are managed by a different team and are not included in a restoration quote.
Once a customer has received a quote from ServPro and has decided to go ahead with restoration, they can schedule their work either through an email or over the phone. When scheduling restoration and remediation work, homeowners may want to anticipate a multiday lead time after they have agreed to contract terms with ServPro in writing or over the phone. ServPro will provide a couple of dates and times for the customer to choose from, although finding a time outside of normal business hours could be tricky. Since homeowners will need to be present to let ServPro’s technicians into their home to remove debris, set up equipment, and monitor restoration progress, finding a time that suits their schedule may be an issue for some customers.
Customers who are paying for ServPro services through their homeowners insurance will likely need to provide information about their policy before work can be scheduled. That information may include their insurance carrier, claim number, and the name of their insurance adjuster. Customers may also need to provide contact information for the adjuster handling their insurance claim so ServPro can work out the payment for its services. If homeowners are paying ServPro entirely out of pocket without using insurance at all, they will want to note that they may need to make a down payment equal to 50 percent of the scope of work estimate up front.
Customer Service and Support
Homeowners can reach out to ServPro’s customer service representatives either over the phone or via email. The company’s Customer Care Center is open 24 hours a day—even on holidays—so there is always someone available to assist a customer who needs to schedule restoration services, has concerns about an ongoing job, or wants to ask a question about their invoice. It should be noted that ServPro’s Customer Care Center is a corporate call center fielding calls from homeowners across the country. As such, representatives may not be as familiar with a customer’s specific job or account as a team member from a local branch would be. Customers who need to reach out to their local ServPro office directly can also call to speak to a technician in their area for assistance, although local representatives may only be available during normal business hours.
Compared to its 24-hour call center, ServPro’s online customer support options can feel a bit slight. Although there is an FAQ section to answer questions customers may have about the company’s services, homeowners are encouraged to call their local ServPro office or the corporate call center if they have additional questions or need assistance. The company had announced plans to launch a chat feature on its website to help customers and connect them with a customer service representative, but it’s not clear if that feature ever came to fruition. It does not appear to be active on the ServPro site at this time.
Although ServPro’s online resources are somewhat limited in number, they are fairly extensive in terms of scope. This is especially true when it comes to online materials to assist or educate potential customers. The company maintains FAQ sections for each of its main service types, which include restoration and cleanup following water, fire, and storm damage, as well as mold remediation, construction, general cleaning, and specialty cleaning services. While each section contains only a few questions on the main FAQ page, customers will find a more robust list of questions if they click into each individual service area.
The information contained in these dedicated FAQ sections can be fairly extensive at times, offering useful guidance for homeowners following a fire, storm, or flood. For instance, the site provides preliminary steps customers can take on their own to mitigate water damage after a flood, such as shutting off the water supply, protecting furniture, and removing electronic items from the affected area. Access to this information can be extremely helpful in the immediate aftermath of such a stressful event, as homeowners may not know how to properly respond to unexpected situations of this nature.
ServPro’s site also has a lengthy glossary section that customers can reference if they run into a term they are unfamiliar with regarding the company’s restoration and cleanup services. This glossary covers everything from hazardous materials that may need to be removed (like asbestos) to specific methods the company employs, including bioremediation, atmospheric sanitation, and negative pressure drying.
Putting ServPro to the Test
Thanks to an overnight thunderstorm and some torrential rain, I woke up one summer morning to find that my basement was actively flooding, with water coming up from the drain in the floor. At its peak, the water was up to my shins, cresting over the lowest step on the basement stairs and rising above baseboards and electrical outlets. Within an hour, the water had subsided and went back down the drain, but the basement walls were soaked through along the entire perimeter. At my brother-in-law’s suggestion, I contacted ServPro to help clear out any materials that had suffered water damage and to clean and sanitize the entire basement.
I was pleased with ServPro’s work overall as a result of the company’s responsiveness and affordability. Although work was delayed because my insurance company insisted on getting a quote with another contractor, ServPro was able to offer a lower rate for its services and put me on the schedule shortly thereafter. The company’s teams worked quickly and efficiently, but they were also a bit careless at times, causing minor damage that could have been easily avoided with a bit more diligence. Overall, though, ServPro was worth the price.
Setting Up an In-Home Inspection
Knowing that water damage can lead to mold in a hurry, I called ServPro to set up a time to inspect the basement and get a quote for cleanup and restoration. Although I also called a few other service providers, ServPro was the only business to pick up the phone. Given the high demand for water remediation services in the area following a major storm, it wasn’t much of a surprise that other businesses were inundated with service requests and could afford to turn away work. Even so, it was a relief to finally get someone on the line who could help me with my problem. Due to high customer demand, the representative I spoke to said that they wouldn’t be able to send out a technician to do an inspection until the following day.
During that 30-minute initial inspection, the ServPro technician reviewed the affected area, took pictures of the water damage, measured the moisture levels in the walls and floors, drew a floor plan of my basement, and created a preliminary list of work that would be performed to mitigate the damage caused by flooding water, which would include:
- Removing waterlogged drywall, insulation, baseboards, and a built-in cabinet
- Cleaning and sanitizing floors and surfaces
- Running air movers and dehumidifiers for a few days to remove excess moisture
Getting a Quote and Scope of Work Report
Three days later, I received a scope of work report from my local ServPro franchise, which provided a detailed and itemized breakdown of each fee, such as the cost to tear out drywall, remove debris, run dehumidifiers, and monitor moisture levels. I was still in the process of gathering quotes from other businesses, including my insurance company’s preferred service provider, so I did not immediately agree to start restoration and cleanup. After I compared scopes of work, though, ServPro’s estimated rate was significantly lower than what I was quoted by other companies—30 percent lower, in fact. Choosing ServPro was a no-brainer based on that price difference alone, especially as water damage restoration costs can add up quickly when taking into account all factors.
By going with ServPro for the cleanup and mitigation process, I would have plenty of money left over from my homeowners insurance claim to help pay for construction and replace the drywall, insulation, and other materials that would be removed by the company. Because I was going through my homeowners insurance, which included water backup coverage as part of my policy, I did not need to pay the standard 50 percent down payment before work could begin. ServPro only requested some basic information about my insurance before starting work, including the carrier, claim number, and insurance adjuster’s name and phone number.
Scheduling the Initial Remediation and Cleanup
After I confirmed our agreement via email, ServPro was able to put me on the schedule for the following week. The restoration and cleanup team arrived promptly at the scheduled time and began work wrapping furniture and personal belongings in plastic before tearing out the drywall, baseboards, and insulation that was unsalvageable due to water damage. Once all the debris had been removed from the home, ServPro’s team cleaned and sanitized surfaces that may have been in contact with the flooding water.
Once the basement had been cleared, the technicians set up 19 pieces of equipment, including air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and air movers to remove moisture and any potential contaminants from the environment. I was told this equipment would need to run nonstop for roughly 3 days, and that an employee would come out to the house once a day to check their levels. All told, this initial demolition and cleanup work took no more than an hour to complete.
The Restoration Process
The next few days went by just as the ServPro technician said they would. The various air movers, dehumidifiers, and purifiers ran all day and night. Since these machines were restricted to the basement, the amount of noise they created was not disruptive in any way. Once a day, a ServPro employee would stop by to take moisture readings, check on the equipment, and make sure that moisture levels were steadily going down. After 3 days, the technician was satisfied that the amount of moisture in the air, walls, and floors had dropped to a normal level and scheduled a cleanup crew to remove the equipment from the premises.
Again, the team arrived promptly on time and worked quickly, removing 19 pieces of machinery—as well as a couch and loveseat that I decided was not salvageable—in a short amount of time. If anything, the team may have worked a bit too quickly as they had inadvertently damaged a couple of electrical outlets when ripping out drywall and dented my washing machine when removing their equipment from the basement. These are minor complaints, though, as the electrical outlets were improperly installed to begin with and needed to be replaced anyway, while the washer was able to buff out the dent on its own through normal use. Also, the crew did not reconnect the washer and dryer once the job was finished even though that work was included in the invoice, but taking care of that myself was a minor inconvenience.
From the time I made that initial call to the technicians removing the final pieces of equipment, ServPro was able to mitigate the water damage in under 2 weeks. Once all the work had been completed, ServPro sent me an invoice since my insurance company elected to pay me directly for my claim. A few days after I mailed ServPro a check, a representative confirmed receipt of payment, and that wrapped up our business together. Although ServPro does offer construction services, the technician who conducted the initial inspection told me that those jobs are handled by a completely different team separate from restoration and cleanup. Beyond that conversation, no one from the company ever mentioned the availability of construction services or offered to provide a quote on those repairs.
Is ServPro a reliable restoration company?
Despite some relatively minor quibbles, I was pleased with ServPro’s services overall. The company was responsive at all times, even when representatives were likely inundated with requests from other homeowners in the area who were dealing with water damage after a major storm. Cost-wise, ServPro was able to undercut other companies by a significant amount, which was very important to me since I wanted to leave as much money as possible left over from my insurance claim to pay for construction and repairs.
The cleanup and restoration crews were prompt and worked very quickly, so it didn’t take a lot of time out of my day to coordinate with them. I could just open the side gate in my fence, give them a clear path from their vehicles to the basement, and let them do their work. Although my insurance adjuster opted to pay me directly instead of ServPro, the company is more than willing to work with insurance companies to handle payment so customers don’t necessarily need to get involved at all.
Those positives more than outweigh any negative comments I might have about my experience of working with ServPro. The company’s speed, responsiveness, and affordability all made it worthwhile for me to choose ServPro for my restoration and cleanup needs.
ServPro Reviews by Customers
Customers’ ServPro reviews can be a bit of a mixed bag, which may be a reflection of the company’s franchise model. Negative Trustpilot reviews referenced a lack of responsiveness when trying to schedule emergency services as well as significant delays to restoration projects in some cases. However, satisfied customers contradicted those reports, praising ServPro employees for their quick work and willingness to diligently follow up both during and after restoration work. Consumer Affairs reviews are similarly divergent, with some customers complaining about excessive delays and careless work while other homeowners noted that the technicians were both professional and highly capable, able to complete the requested services in no time at all.
It’s worth keeping in mind that ServPro branches are run as individual franchises, so the quality of work and responsiveness could vary from one location to another. As homeowners compare ServPro reviews, Yelp comments may express very different customer experiences across ServPro franchises. A negative experience with one ServPro franchise may not suggest that customers should expect similar treatment or service quality when working with a different ServPro branch—even in the same metropolitan area. In addition, customer reviews are highly subjective by default, and unhappy customers are more likely to submit a review than someone who had a good or perfectly adequate experience. As such, it’s important to take extremely negative reviews—especially those that verge on hyperbole—with a healthy dose of skepticism. That holds true for both ServPro Google reviews and Yelp reviews.
When vetting restoration and cleanup companies, customers may want to focus on reviews pertaining to the specific services they are looking for since businesses like ServPro can handle a wide variety of jobs. For instance, homeowners looking to remove mold and mildew from their property may want to look closely at ServPro mold remediation reviews rather than put too much weight into ServPro employee reviews or fire restoration reviews.
How ServPro Stacks Up to the Competition
ServPro is one of the top providers of restoration and cleanup services in the country, and it compares favorably with many other companies offering similar services. One notable way in which ServPro distinguishes itself is its nationwide footprint, with franchises located in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C., and parts of Canada. Not all property damage restoration companies have such an extensive coverage area. PuroClean, for instance, has a smaller service area that covers 44 states and Washington, D.C.
Perhaps ServPro’s most eye-catching quality is the wide variety of cleanup services it offers, including several specialty services—such as biohazard cleaning and document restoration—that may be difficult to find elsewhere, even with other leading companies in this space. For instance, ServiceMaster Restore’s additional services may be fairly limited in comparison to ServPro’s extensive cleanup options.
Homeowners who would like to quickly schedule an appointment online may find it inconvenient that all ServPro work needs to be scheduled either over the phone or through email. That being said, many restoration and cleanup companies follow similar policies, and the lack of an online scheduling option may only stand out against competitors such as Stanley Steemer when it comes to ServPro’s ancillary services such as air duct cleaning.
Should You Hire ServPro?
When suddenly faced with a crisis or emergency, homeowners need to act fast to mitigate the damage and avoid more expensive and extensive repairs. ServPro claims to offer a speedy and effective restoration and cleanup process, and to that end, the company succeeded when called upon for water damage restoration. Local representatives were readily available and quick to set up an inspection. Once contract terms were agreed upon, ServPro was able to schedule restoration and cleanup work within a matter of days. Homeowners looking for a bargain on restoration services may find ServPro’s competitive rates very appealing—especially if they are trying to stretch their funds from an insurance claim and make every dollar count.
The wide variety of specialty services may be appealing too, as the company can act as a one-stop shop for property owners’ restoration needs across both residential and commercial buildings. It’s worth keeping in mind that ServPro’s franchise model could result in a drastically different customer experience for homeowners in various parts of the country. As a nationwide brand, though, ServPro champions its availability, speed, and professionalism, and on those merits, the company came through when called upon for water damage restoration and cleanup. Homeowners who have the unfortunate experience of dealing with a crisis such as a flooding basement, grease fire, or extensive storm damage, which requires immediate assistance from one of the best restoration and cleanup companies, may find that ServPro can come through for them in their time of need.
We independently reviewed this service by weighing the company’s claims against first-hand experience with its professionals. However, due to factors such as franchising, human error, and more, please note that individual experiences with this company may vary.