Servpro vs. Servicemaster; My Experience

servpro, servicemaster

Recently we had over 11 inches of rain in a 48-hour period.  There was widespread flooding, and many homes were damaged.  For the first time in 16 years, our home was one of those. Water backed up into our basement.  (Side note: They make an expanding drain plug that costs about $4.50 that you can stop your floor drain with in case it looks like water might back up.) Luckily, compared to many other people, our damage was very limited.  The water never ‘stood’, it just fanned out in a thin layer.  A third of our basement is carpeted, and the outer 3-4 feet of the carpet became wet.  I planned on putting some fans out, but the power went out for about 6 hours.  When the power came back on, I was able to put out several fans, and a dehumidifier.  All of this happened Friday night/Saturday morning.


I knew that my insurance was not going to cover whatever it was that I would need done.  I do not have flood insurance, so all of this would be directly out of my pocket.  Sunday morning I called Servpro because, well that’s the first name that pops up in a search.  I asked around on Facebook and talked to my insurance carrier, and the consensus was that they were good, but pricey.  Monday evening a guy stopped by to look at our basement.  Even though Servpro had ‘local’ franchises, they guy that came by was from Lexington, Kentucky, which was 300 miles away. By this time, we had been soaking up water with towels, had fans going, and a dehumidifier, and had moved anything that was getting wet.  I reiterate, we did not have standing water, just a wet perimeter.  The water was not even ‘over’ the carpet.  The guy looks around for about 30 minutes and says ‘it should be about $4600, worst case scenario’.  He said he would send me a detailed estimate the next morning.  My wife and I were in shock, as we tried to make it clear this would be all us-not insurance.  He was talking about taking the baseboards off, putting in air movers and dehus (the cool short term for dehumidifier I guess),  and removing some drywall.  He said the carpet should be salvageable and would not need to be removed. My wife and I decided that in the morning we would get a second opinion.


So as we waited for our detailed estimate, we called another contractor, Servicemaster.  At this point everyone was slammed, as there was much flooding in about a four county area.  Servicemaster called back that day (Tuesday by now), and said they would try to get over to look at it on Wednesday.  So I waited all day Tuesday for the estimate from Servpro that was coming that morning.  The estimate finally came Wednesday afternoon.  Now we were up to $5100!  They had decided that the carpet needed to be removed.  They were also charging for ‘furniture manipulation’ of $110 to move around the sectional we had that was in a dry area.  We had already moved everything else.  They wanted to put 15 air movers in a 860 square foot area  for 3 days, at $25.36 each (that’s 15 x 3 x$25.86)!!  They also had 3 dehumidifiers for 3 days at  $114.72 each (3 x 3 x$114.72)!! They were going to remove all of the baseboards, charge for carpet AND pad removal separately AND charge for water removal from the carpet they were ripping out!  Again the total was over $5100.  By this time, our floor was 99% dry anyway, and I checked the drywall and there was no water soaking into it.  But I was about to tear out the carpet myself to save a few dollars.  My wife convinced me to just wait on the second estimate from Servicemaster.

Later that evening, two brothers from Servicemaster came by.  Their office was about 3 miles away.  They looked around, took moisture readings in the air, carpet and walls, and showed me each reading.  They said that I didn’t need to remove anything because quite frankly, it wasn’t wet.  If it isn’t wet, it wont grow mold.  They explained the acceptable ranges for moisture content and nothing needed to be torn out.  They suggested that we continue with our fans and dehumidifier, and they would comeback next week and shampoo the entire carpet for $110.  Yes, I’m not missing any zeros!  On Tuesday of the following week, they came and totally cleaned the DRY carpet.  They took some moisture readings to make sure.  After they were done, they praised us for being patient with them because they had been so busy.  I know there were many people with FEET of standing water in their basement, and what we had to endure was very minor.  They said how much they appreciated our kindness, and said ‘how does $60 sound?’. I was shocked!  They even did our stairs, which we had not asked for.  These guys were very professional, and I really was impressed by how they walked us through every detail when they were taking readings.

Maybe we just got a Servpro representative who needed to meet a quota, but I cannot imagine whey they would charge if someone has flood insurance.  That would be borderline insurance fraud in my opinion.  But from this experience, I would definitely recommend Servicemaster the next time someone is in need of any kind of restoration.

Comments (6)

  1. A Former ServPro Employee

    I worked for ServPro as an office assistant for just under a year. Sadly, what you describe is not unusual. How they treat their employees is another indication that they are not a company of ethical or moral standards. I have seen your story many times over in just the short time I was employed. I could hardly stomach the way they took advantage of people in crises. I’m glad you chose Servicemaster. In fact, I had recommended SM to my own mother while I worked for SP. I simply could not, in good conscious, recommend these people to anyone, let alone my mother.

    1. theengineersadvice (Post author)

      Thank you very much for your reply! It seems like insurance companies would wise up and realize what they are doing in some cases is insurance fraud.

      1. Tasha Lynn Willet

        I worked for ServiceMaster Restore for almost a year and I would have to say that the way the person from ServPro treated you is how most ServiceMaster representatives treat the situation. Most franchises have to meet a quota each quarter so they can pay in their dues and so when techs are trained they are taught to put extra emphasis into equipment, as that is where money can go further, especially in the case with insurance companies.
        I am sorry to hear that in any situation you were not given the best customer service by all companies as I feel that everyone should, but sadly that is not the case. I had to walk away from representing ServiceMaster as I could no longer feel like a decent individual knowing people were being mistreated by a company both as employees and as customers. I am glad to hear you had great experience with them.

        1. theengineersadvice (Post author)

          Thank you Tasha for your comment! I suppose every company like this has their good and bad franchises. I guess I got lucky with ServiceMaster for our particular case.

  2. Jedi_Knight

    Hi… I have never had an experience with ServiceMaster yet, but I would like to share to you my experience with ServPro. Back in June 2017, I had water damage in my house due to a busted hot water pipe in the crawl space of my house. So basically, I only noticed it when I saw my floors cupping. Locally, I have friends who have a ServPro franchise, so I gave them a call… they basically promised me the moon and the stars that everything will be taken cared off, and I won’t have to worry about a thing. So they did their thing, did some remediation steps, packed out all my stuff… 2-3 months later in the height of the restoration/reconstruction process, I saw my fridge, gas range, dishwasher and microwave all dusted and exposed under the elements… ServPro left if there and just relied on the contractor for manipulations… I got so pissed, and tried to get to the bottom of it, but they were quick to wash their hands and deny having something to do with it… and they just kept telling me that the insurance didn’t pay for the pack out of those appliances. In short, they probably billed my insurance an exuberant amount of money, and the insurance only paid what they thought is logical to pay. But ServPro cut corners. So the construction went on, and finished (nevermind the headache I got from the contractor that is for a separate topic). Time for the move back… ServPro had the nerve to tell me that they will NOT unpack, and put back all the stuff they packed out saying that the insurance never paid for it. While, all the documents I have from my Public Adjuster indicates that what is paid includes the packback. So they let me and my 8 month pregnant wife do ALL the unpacking. And look and behold, when I was unpacking, I have boxes that contain 3 paper bags, and other boxes literally containing 2 plates, imagine the amount of storage they have billed my insurance…. I am really pissed at how they operated and handled my situation… They are money making scumbags… they will cut corners just to make $$$$. I would NEVER ever recommend them to any of my friends. I just wisk kharma will hit them back big time… I was and is still pissed at those people who handled my situation.

    1. theengineersadvice (Post author)

      I am really sorry for what you had to go through! I appreciate you sharing your story though!


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