Disaster Blaster Newly Launched Franchising Program

The challenge was how to take a business operating in an industry already valued at $210 billion and make it even better. The father-and-son team behind Disaster Blaster believe they have built a better mousetrap and are now ready to expand their business model on a national basis via franchising.

Founded in 2006, Disaster Blaster is a full-service, indoor restoration firm specializing in water damage, smoke damage, duct cleaning, asbestos abatement, and a wide range of other services, including meth lab cleanup and remediation – the only company in its market professionally trained to perform such work. Gary Lyons, 71, and son Matthew Lyons, 39, formed a mitigation and restoration company that separates itself from the competition with a simple but highly impactful strategy: Disaster Blaster offers the most services to the most wide-ranging customer base; one that encompasses insurance claims, commercial clients, property owners, cleaning companies, home sellers and buyers, schools, and universities and more.

“We wanted to address what we saw as serious issues inherent in the industry as a whole, such as the seasonality of service offerings and the over-reliance on certain customer segments and revenue sources,” Gary said of the restoration industry, which has been valued at $210 billion, according to IBISWorld. “That led us to develop the Disaster Blaster brand and concept that addressed the seasonality issue within our industry and create stability in growth, revenue, and income.”

Already approved to sell franchises in 30 states, Disaster Blaster is selling territories throughout the country, with the average territory including a population of between 150,000 to 200,000. Experience in management or the trades is beneficial, but not required. “We want someone who is honest, dependable, and ethical,” Matthew said. “We want individuals who will represent the Disaster Blaster brand well in their territory and have a long-term interest in the brand and fulfilling the needs of their customers. And we want to offer a startup business to couples and individuals who are looking to operate a small mobile business that otherwise may be out of reach for them.”

Disaster Blaster considers itself the “Indoor Environmental Experts” and also provides radon mitigation, flood cleanup, mold remediation, odor removal, vandalism repair, basement waterproofing and reconstruction. But Disaster Blaster’s meth lab cleanup and remediation is certainly a differentiator.

According to figures from a report by news organization Spotlight PA, the “Pennsylvania State Police, the agency that typically handles drug lab busts here, logged 923 incidents” from 2017 to 2021. Matthew said Disaster Blaster began offering meth remediation about six years ago after they received several requests for the service.

Spotlight PA further reported that although meth remediation makes up less than 10 percent of Disaster Blaster’s projects, Matthew said he’s hoping the state will eventually regulate the service. Clients are generally property owners or managers who want to clean a property so it can be rented again; people who purchased bank-owned properties without knowing the full history of the home; and insurance companies. The jobs are complex and take at least two weeks.

“We didn’t believe it was that big of a problem up here,” Matthew told Spotlight PA. “I grew up here. I’ve lived in northeast Pennsylvania most of my life. I never expected that we would have the issues here that we have.”

The possible effects of climate change are another area that Matthew said might impact their service offerings in the future. “It will be interesting to see how that may impact our services and/or the need for our services,” he said. “Additionally, homeowners are becoming more and more aware of the needs for our services for such things as mold, radon, or asbestos remediation.”

Although they formed Disaster Blaster in 2006, both Gary and Matthew have been involved in the industry since 1996. Both owned separate mitigation and restoration businesses until they decided to launch Disaster Blaster together. Gary also worked in the insurance industry for more than 20 years as a claims representative handling mitigation and property restoration claims and later as a claims manager overseeing close to 100 offices across the country. Likewise, Matthew started working in the mitigation/property restoration industry when he was 14 and holds multiple industry certifications.

“My experience in handling property claims for insurance companies has been invaluable in helping our customers navigate the claims process and will also be an invaluable resource for our franchisees,” Gary said.

While they both operated similar businesses on their own, Gary and Matthew said there was a period of adjustment as they combined their knowledge and experience to create a newly branded company. “We had to essentially start over from scratch,” Matthew said. “We had to market to customers who didn’t know our name yet. We had to develop our own marketing, relationships, and vendors. It was a lot of change, but it was well worth it in the end.”

“We love watching people succeed and are anxious to help our franchisees grow their businesses,” Gary said. “We are excited to watch the Disaster Blaster brand grow nationally, broadening our ability to assist more homeowners in need of our services or with existing environmental issues.”