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Content Packing and Moving

When it comes to pack-outs and contents cleaning, a lot of general contractors are not set up efficiently enough to deal with the details required to profitably and consistently deliver this service efficiently. They typically sub-contract this type of work, which is a big opportunity for restoration businesses that are able to do these types of services. You will get opportunities to pack-out fire damaged homes for a new floor with no claim-related damage. You may get smoke claims and/or big projects that include contents with the possibility of asbestos or mold on the contents. If you are dealing with contents covered with asbestos or mold it is important to know your capabilities as well as the relevant federal and state regulations. It makes sense to refer these jobs out until you are confident that you can comply with these regulations.

Sometimes there is a fire that affects a part of the house and the contents need to be cleaned, but a contractor needs the contents moved out of the rooms so he can re-carpet, paint, etc. When dealing with fire damage, insurance companies usually ask for a company to do the pack-out. This commonly consists of the following: inventory of every item, packing it in a moving box, signing off on an inventory list, moving it out of the house, storing it, cleaning it; and returning it when the house is finished being repaired. There are many detailed steps in between those general ones, but you get the idea. Currently, in an effort to reduce claim costs, insurance carriers are requesting to keep as much of the belongings onsite in garages or bedrooms to avoid off-site storage and labor fees. This is important to know because if you start with that assumption first, until the option is ruled out, you will be the most credible. It is always best to demonstrate your care for keeping the cost as low as possible as this builds trust and confidence with insurance carriers.

There are many more complexities to consider, but a few key ones include:

It is also important to note that some insured’s think their belongings are from Nordstrom, even though they bought it at Wal-Mart. This adds to an already complex situation.

The adjuster calls and says the policyholder hit their limits and there is no money to pay your bill.

The insured may claim, “This scratch wasn't on my table when you took it,” or “I had 3 Rolexes on my night stand before you came in, you owe me!!!”


1.  Take your time and treat their belongings like they came from Nordstrom’s and not damage anything because the insured will be unrealistic in what they want you to pay for its replacement. The adjuster will already have his hands full.

2.  If limits are tight, ask the adjuster about moving the inventory part of your bill to the expense side of the claim to free up some of the coverage limits for the insured or your invoice. The insurance company has this option but it is likely to be based on your relationship with the adjuster and how you have handled him/her up to this point, because they do not have to do this.

Before you let anyone in the house, make sure that you walk through it with the homeowner present and video record every inch of the house from right to left. Open every drawer and record it in enough detail that you would catch all dings, scratches, etc. In terms of the watches, have a  'valuables' sheet that the homeowner has to declare their high-end jewelry and antiques ahead of time and put a value on them. Once they say how important those items are to them, we usually will ask them if it is that important, would they feel most comfortable if we took it to their hotel or temporary housing. They usually all say yes. This really helps to reduce the restorer's risk.

Contact us at (800) 684-0518 for the best ways to start or improve your restoration business and for expert advice and experience on how to clean up after a fire. Impact Restoration Supply stocks wholesale moving and packing supplies, ozone equipment, contents cleaning supplies, moving boxes, chemical sponges and odor control equipment at manufacturer direct pricing. 

Click on the Account Log In tab on the left hand column of our website to register, create your own account and get started.  If you're still looking for more information, click on the 'Request more information' tab on the upper right hand side of the page. Our knowledgeable sales team is here to help.

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