— Interview with Michael Di Taranto —
R&R: Where are you based and how long has the company been in business?
Michael DiTaranto: We are based in Long Island, New York. Solutions Management, Inc. (SMI) was founded in 2004; Disaster Recovery Services (DRS) began in 2012. Both companies work in parallel supporting our clients with program and as-needed maintenance services and large recovery services. Our consistent growth in both businesses is driven by instilling trust in and with all of our partners.
R&R: What is your title? How long have you been with the company?
DiTaranto: I am the COO of our Disaster Recovery Services division. I started with SMI | DRS as the senior operations manager for SMI in August 2013.
R&R: What trades/services do you offer retailers and restaurants?
DiTaranto: DRS nationwide services include:
- Mold, bacteria and asbestos testing.
- Mold remediation and build back.
- Flood remediation.
- Fire and smoke restoration.
- Biohazard cleanup.
- Natural disaster preparation (sandbagging and boardups).
SMI’s nationwide core trades are:
- Window care.
- Powerwashing (patios, entrances and exits).
- High dusting.
- Floor care.
- Handyman services.
- For restaurants, complete FoH and BoH cleaning.
R&R: In what regions of the country do you conduct most of your business, or are you nationwide?
DiTaranto: We are a nationwide company serving all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.
R&R: What makes your company’s “signature service” stand out?
DiTaranto: SMI offers interior maintenance services, and DRS offers disaster recovery services. Working in conjunction gives our clients the assurance that whether they need routine maintenance or urgent crisis remediation, they can rely on expertise, fair pricing and the ideal level of communication throughout the process.
What makes SMI | DRS services stand out is a decades-long approach to partnering — and partnerships built on a foundation of integrity, intelligence and superior communication. Our Service Provider and Associate Network (SPAN) consists of top-tier partnerships that are consistently honed through rigorous vetting practices. We’re able to achieve this by being the fastest paying national management company in the country, building what is quickly being recognized as one of the most contractor friendly portals, and providing a friendly, professional team at the ready 24/7/365.
We treat every service with a high sense of urgency, proactive communication (and competitive/leveraged pricing), allowing all of our customers ease of management from both a customer service standpoint as well as invoicing. We take an enormous amount of pride in taking our customer’s issue and providing a solution, no matter how big or small.
R&R: What kind of feedback do you receive from clients?
DiTaranto: We have been fortunate not only to grow our business but retain all of our clients throughout various economic cycles and RFPs in a competitive, fast-paced and ever-changing retail climate. We have been referred to new clients from our existing ones and have testimonials praising our response time, operational efficiencies and attentive staff. Visit our website: www.smi247.com.
R&R: Why should owner/operators choose your company to be their next vendor partner?
DiTaranto: We should be considered because we treat our service providers, our staff and our clients with the same professionalism and integrity on every service. The majority of our crews and professional staff have been with SMI for 10+ years, which speaks to our leadership’s ability to train, promote and recognize talent across the board.
Our DRS team have all been IICRC-certified for water and mold restoration, allowing us to understand and better strategize, execute and communicate with clients and suppliers with extreme transparency and industry expertise. Our continued growth has afforded our customers to benefit from leveraged pricing without ever sacrificing the customer service experience.
Finally, partnering with us means never worrying about managed maintenance or emergency services. We handle all of it — from the day to day to the extreme situations that sometimes arise.
R&R: How many retail/restaurant clients do you have, and is that sector growing for you?
DiTaranto: We started with and still predominantly service retail clients, now over 75+ companies; however, with the changing environment of brick and mortar we have expanded our nationwide reach to a variety of industries (i.e., fast-casual dining, healthcare, finance, dentistry and grocery chains). We currently service several regional and national fast-casual and grocery accounts and are rapidly expanding.
R&R: Many traditional retailers, in particular, are downsizing their portfolios. What other trends are you seeing in the industry? What is your advice for FM vendors?
DiTaranto: We have found that where traditional retailers are downsizing their portfolios, new business types are entering the brick-and-mortar space such as shared office spaces, urgent care centers, etc. We’ve adapted by expanding our business model to include more service types, broader industry clientele, and an extensive and continuous use of technology to automate, inform and streamline our financial, operational and management processes — including third-party portals for ease of sharing information and communication with our crews and, soon, our clients. We focus daily on strengthening skillsets, use of tech and speed of communication to serve our clients best.
R&R: What predictions do you have — for your company, your industry or both — in 2020?
DiTaranto: Our industry, and SMI | DRS, will increasingly use technology to automate repeat procedures (e.g., service transactions, billing, payments, scheduling and QC communication, custom portal) and increase the use of AI equipment and tools to perform services.
For our business specifically, we strongly believe in the value of human interaction whether on job sites, in office and/or in meeting with our third parties. We anticipate and support an effort towards more social entrepreneurial awareness and action. SMI and DRS are actively involved in clean water initiatives internationally, nationally and locally.
— This article originally appeared in the December 2019/January 2020 “Signature Vendor Spotlight” issue of Retail & Restaurant Facility Business magazine. For more information on upcoming “Signature Vendor Spotlight” opportunities, please email Associate Publisher Scott Royal at [email protected] or call 404-832-8262.