Residential Cleaning

How Should Your Residential Cleaning Team Handle Antiques, Valuable Art, Wine Collections, and Other Expensive Belongings?

Easily the biggest pain point that most residential repair businesses face is figuring out how to handle client belongings. When a home is damaged in a fire or flood, or when it needs to be cleared for serious mold problems, the belongings are sometimes still in the house when the restoration team arrives. As the restorer, it is not actually in your job description to move/remove these assets. However, to do your job, you do need them out of the way.

For this reason, many restoration companies end up biting the bullet and moving or temporarily storing these items for the clients. Some restorers have even started charging extra for these services. After all, if the client expects removal and storage to be included in the restoration service, then your company might as well start charging extra for those services, right?

Part of the reason that many repair companies don’t think twice about providing removal services is that most clients have items that are quite easy to move. Furniture, dishes, books, electronics: these categories tend to include most of the assets. That your team will expect to remove from the average client’s home.

However, when it comes to more expensive items, you might want to think twice about offering removal and storage solutions. Precious antiques and valuable art, for instance, might be fragile, cumbersome, or difficult to store. Antiques can easily break in transit, while some vintage art needs to be kept in a specific climate to avoid deterioration.

Wine collections pose another significant question mark for restoration teams. Wines require very specific conditions to retain their flavor and benefit the aging process. Wines stored in the wrong temperature (too hot or too cold) can spoil. As can wine stored in environments where the temperature fluctuates rapidly and drastically. Also, tend to do best with specific levels of humidity and light. As you might expect, the average storage unit is not an ideal place to store wine. It’s possible that by moving a client’s wine collection from their home and moving it to a storage facility somewhere—or worse. Using a PODS unit in the driveway—you could inadvertently cause the entire collection to spoil.

Damaging a client’s priceless antiques or ruining thousands of dollars’ worth of wine are bad enough by themselves. A customer might forgive a scuff on her grandma’s walnut credenza or one bottle of wine that spoiled in storage. However, larger blunders are less likely to be forgiven—even if you compensate the client fairly out of your own pocket. Arguably the worst part of this entire situation is that those damages would come out of your pocket. Since your restoration very likely not insured against contents loss or damage.

The best way to avoid the potentially costly liability of accidentally ruining or damaging a customer’s prized assets to decline any job. Where you expected to remove items from the house. After all, your company is a residential restoration business; shouldn’t restoration be your only priority?

The problem with this approach is that you might end up turning down a lot of jobs and leaving a lot of money on the table by declining to take on the removal and storage steps. As such, a better option might be to hire a removal company.

My business frequently works with restoration services like yours in situations just like the ones described above. Whether the client’s assets are Ikea furniture and easy-to-pack books or Rembrandt paintings and thousand-dollar bottles of wine. We can pack and store them safely and securely. We also carry contents insurance, so that if an antique damaged in transit or a bottle of wine spoils at the storage facility, it’s covered.

Don’t risk the liability of handling the contents of a client’s home—especially if those belongings are valuable enough to knock out the earnings of your entire project and then some. You don’t need the potential expense, and you certainly don’t need the damage it can do to your reputation. Call my company instead and let us handle the removal side of the equation for you.

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