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Calgary-based ProStar Cleaning remedies damage caused by disasters

Jodi Scarlett’s Alberta-based disaster restoration company, ProStar Cleaning and Restoration Inc., has grown steadily and did especially big business after the province’s epic flooding in 2013. The company remedies damage caused by flooding, sewer backup, fire and smoke, as well as mould, biohazards and odours.

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The house above was destroyed by an explosion due to a gas leak. Neighbouring properties and cars were also damaged, and ProStar was called to do the restoration work on one of them. Annual sales for Ms. Scarlett’s company reached $8-million last year, and she anticipates $7-million for 2015. “We’ve had a little less revenue this year because there hasn’t been catastrophic flooding in our region.”

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The crew of ProStar at work. The big Alberta floods also had another effect on ProStar, however: The payment cycle has slowed drastically for restoration work performed in the residential condo market, which is ProStar’s biggest, accounting for 60 per cent of its revenue. Insurers have begun syndicating their coverage among five or six underwriters. Instead of being paid one large cheque for each project, ProStar now has to wait for a series of smaller cheques from multiple payers.

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These changes have left ProStar facing a more fragmented and drawn-out payments cycle, which has left the company in a cash-flow crunch. Here the crew is at work on a property impacted by the nearby gas explosion. Employees from left to right: Brittany Ponto, Tiffany Kjartanson, Carlie Senkiw, Mandy Murdoch and Gary Hennessey.

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The great time and effort devoted to managing cash flow has left the company focusing on day-to-day concerns rather than strategic projects, Ms. Scarlett says.

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