ServiceMaster Clean of Fredericton: Turning Disasters into New Beginnings

ServiceMaster Clean of Fredericton (SMC) is a business co-owned by three partners, each with an eye on success. Chris Brown, president of SMC, along with John Brown, vice president of SMC, and Robert Sweeney are proud of what SMC has become. The three partners also co-own ServiceMaster Restore of Fredericton (SMR), which works alongside of SMC.

SMC’s parent company, ServiceMaster, boasts over 3,400 franchises in North America alone and spans internationally from Europe to Japan. To note, the Fredericton branch has been rated in the top 100 of franchises on its continent.

Roughly 15 carpenters, an esteemed group of painters, an electrician and the rest of the talented cleaning and restoration specialists are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SMR stands out because the franchise encompasses various components of the restoration business without subcontracting, except for plumbing and cabinetwork.

“We do construction, carpet and furniture cleaning, shampoo cleaning, paper products, janitorial products,” says Chris Brown, co-owner and president of SMC. “We do pretty much anything for the home or business.”

Most of the building and disaster cleanup work comes to SMR through insurance companies. “We have a few core components that make up one business,” Brown explains. “We all feed off each other.” Brown believes that the business’ staple is the janitorial side of SMC.

Works in Progress

SMR is in the middle of a large restoration project at a home for senior citizens; the team is remediating the issues in the building. “We’re removing drywall, crack-filling, painting; it’s similar to the asbestos removal process,” Brown explains. His team is also on the go rebuilding a few homes that suffered major losses to fire. The construction end of the company is full service, and is capable of performing everything from reroofing houses to installing heat systems.

The company is implementing green products, services and practices into all of its divisions. For starters, SMC’s janitorial service is transitioning strictly to green cleaning products. On the construction end, the company is staying ahead of the competition with alternative energy solutions.

“I’m a bit of a tree hugger,” laughs Brown. In 2010 SMR moved into a new office; the company built a large commercial building utilizing geothermal energy, a heating and cooling source that transfers temperatures through a series of air pumps from deep in the ground. “We drilled nine wells,” Brown explains. “Three for cooling and six for heat that were 600-feet deep.”

The commercial building is the first of its kind to utilize this technology in Fredericton, although Brown says the practice is more common in Europe. Geothermal is in place throughout the area, but it is more common in the residential sector.

What Goes Around …

SMC’s decision to utilize geothermal energy in its own facility was a direct result of caring for the environment. The installation of these systems runs around 60-percent higher than conventional electric or oil systems, but Brown believes in a future for the technology. While initial installation is very expensive, Brown says, “The return is quick. Geothermal pays for itself within four to seven years.” SMC is located in a 16,000-square foot, two-story facility that includes an office, as well as a production area.

The company has felt strains resulting from the economic downturn, but Brown believes in his team. “It’s like an elastic band,” he says. “It’s stretched out as far as it can and it’s starting to contract a bit.” He is proud to report that his franchise has not had any layoffs.

Despite more competition, SMC is holding its own and will continue to do so; the restoration business is full of surprises. “We could have 30 to 40 flooded homes in the run of six hours due to bad weather,” Brown explains. “I’ve got a staff here that would go through the wall for me when we’re busy, so I’m here for them when it’s not.” Although he’d like to, Brown admits the company can’t be busy all the time, and he is happy to take the good with the bad.

SMC has been around nearly 35 years and Brown and his family can expect many more down the road. The family-oriented attitude combined with a sincere appreciation for SMC’s hardworking staff strikes an uncommon balance; one Brown learned from his father.

“My dad put me to work when I was 14, and I’m 44 now,” he recalls. The elder Brown started the business with a partner in 1979 and purchased the franchise in 1988. Brown has been working with SMC full time since 1991, and eventually bought out his father’s founding partner’s share.

“I’m the second generation,” says Brown. “I hope my kids will follow suit.” With a solid team of 160 guided by positive family values, ServiceMaster Clean of Fredericton maintains a quality of service and a sense of social responsibility that guarantee a future of growth.