Necessity is the Mother of Invention

This proverb has been the driving force for Restoration Tools, a company that is developing industry-changing tools for disaster restoration. While the team was doing their work as members of a disaster restoration franchise, they realized the need in their industry for more innovative tools which allowed workers to complete tasks faster and more safely.

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With more than 40 years of combined experience in the disaster restoration industry, Restoration Tools partners are familiar with what it takes to run a franchise.  Designing and producing a new product was a totally new ballgame.

Inventing and manufacturing a product always presents unforeseen challenges. Identifying challenges, creating new solutions and overcoming roadblocks is part of the process of product development.     Restoration Tools has lots of ideas and their initial impulse was to try to develop them all at once.  With the guidance of Mike Cobert, NIU EIGERlab’s Center for Product Development director, they decided to tackle one invention at a time.

After settling on their first product, The Aerator, they soon realized they had a multitude of decisions to make.

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In order to achieve the best results, and not damage their new product, they realized it must be paired with a custom mallet for the best results.

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With more than one product element to be managed, the team decided to offer a custom carrying bag so the equipment would not be lost or left behind on the job site.  Another caveat to their current innovation underway is offering custom coloring for larger-sized clients such as franchise owners, to provide brand consistency for the company.  

The Restoration Tools team discovered that product development is a complex challenge and that when starting a new entity, you may need more time and capital than you initially forecasted.

“We’ve now participated in our first trade show, and advertised in our first trade magazine. People see the need and we’re elated to share that partnerships are forming,” shared Jocelyn Hare, Chief Operations Officer. “In addition, we have reconsidered our sales model, and plan to work alongside distributors who will not only assist with sales but will enhance our sales and marketing efforts.”

Accelerated Growth
The Aerator is a powerful tool because it allows a project that would have taken two technicians eight hours to complete to be handled by one person in a quarter of the time. Because this product is such a game changer for the disaster restoration business, it’s already in high-demand.

“From our test marketing, we knew the product had legs, but surprisingly, not to this level. Currently, we’re handling the assembly internally, but we anticipate the need to expand more quickly than we originally forecasted,” shared Jocelyn. “Being an owner of a restoration company for the last 14 years, the process of drilling holes has always been a headache. When you hire new technicians it is inevitable that at some point, they drill a hole above the baseboard which creates extra work and lost revenue. Not only does The Aerator totally eliminate that issue but it also saves so much time and effort with the process and cleanup itself.”

A local business owner recently bought two Aerators and are planning to purchase another three this month, due to increased productivity and rave reviews from employees.    

The Aerator product is just the beginning for Restoration Tools. “Now that we have experienced creating our first product, we plan to move on with additional inventions quickly. We anticipate starting the R & D phase of our next product in late 2019,” shared Jocelyn.

To learn more about The Aerator and Restoration Tools, visit https://restorationtools.com/.

To connect with NIU EIGERlab’s Center for Product Development to learn how they can assist you with moving your invention to market, phone 815.965.3522.

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