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Meet Patti and Danny Brown of SERVPRO

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patti and Danny Brown.

Patti and Danny, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My husband and I started our business in 1999 after he had worked for SERVPRO Industries in Gallatin, Tennessee for several years, SERVPRO is a fire and water restoration business that works with the insurance and property management industry to take care of their client’s properties when water or fire damage occurs. I worked in the radio advertising industry (was in it for over 25 years) and when we first moved to Atlanta I was fortunate enough to work at WSB-FM in sales. I worked there during our first couple years until we decided it was time for me to join our own company and work together in our own business. We purchased our first franchise in 1999 in Henry County (SERVPRO of Henry & Spalding Counties) because it was one of the few remaining territories still available.

Later we purchased SERVPRO of Clayton County and then SERVPRO of Decatur. My husband is from Georgia, so he really wanted to return to Georgia to raise our only child, so she could be near her grandparents. That was the underlying reason for our timely return to Georgia. We have strong family values in our family and it was very important. My husband really liked the SERVPRO culture and experience in the restoration business. While Danny was working there he really appreciated how they did business and how the helped its franchisees succeed, so we decided if we both worked as hard as we did for the companies we worked for that we surely could be successful working for ourselves. It was hard work, when you receive a franchise license, I always joke that we are handed a piece of paper saying “now you own it”.

We had to complete our training, locate a warehouse, and hire office and technician staff, not to mention getting out and marketing your services. The first year was hard, which we were prepared for, and we just worked hard, hired good employees, and our motto was “do what is right”…. do your best and if there were problems get on them immediately and don’t ignore them because they will always get worse if you don’t. The other thing we decided to do as a business is to become involved with our communities. I have a long laundry list of all the things we have done which include the chambers, our church and schools, leadership programs, and sponsorships for many good causes. I think when you are trying to build relationships in your community it is very important to do something that can affect the community as a whole. Over four years ago, when I had an opportunity to lead the local chapter of the FERST Foundation for Childhood Literacy, I felt it was the right community project that would definitely make our community stronger for the future. For the past four years, our FERST volunteers have continued to grow the number of our pre-school children in Henry county receiving a free book.

FERST Foundation Mission: To improve childhood literacy in Henry County by providing free books to preschool children. Our Strategy: Ferst Henry is sending out more than 1,800 books each month! Our goal is to be able to afford to send books out to every single preschooler in Henry County. The only thing stopping us is adequate funding. Every registered child will receive an age-appropriate book each month until they turn five years of age and enter kindergarten. Since 2007, we have sent over 180,000 free books to preschool children in our County.

The first 3 years of a child’s life is so critical when it comes to developing a vocabulary and that is why we want children to start receiving books at birth.

Our organization makes sure that young children have age-appropriate reading materials from the beginning.

We are now in business for 18 years and have 40+ great employees, a great reputation with our clients and are known in our community as a local business that supports those in it.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In the beginning, the first person he hired was an office manager, to help run the business and get things organized. Then we hired a technician to help with the work. Danny was either working the jobs or marketing our services. We had to live apart for about 6 months so we could sell our home in Nashville and I could look for employment in the radio industry in Atlanta. Our plan was for me to continue working to support the family expenses and he could focus on building a great company. So we each had a good part in starting our business. He stayed with family and worked long hours for those first 6 months…….but it paid off fairly quickly. Nothing wrong with hard work!!!

The other big struggle was learning about hiring employees. Never having done that before it was hard to recognize a good potential hire. We also were very kind hearted, so it was hard to fire folks in the beginning. So that was a real struggle, but with guidance and more experience we soon recognized and eventually figured that part of the business out. We learned that if you want good employees you have to set expectation, and more importantly “inspect what you expect”. You have to be there every day, setting an example and making sure they are doing what you have asked them to do. Many people get into business so they don’t have to work. While that can be a goal to work less as you become fully managed, that can’t be your goal the first 5 years! That would be a big mistake………employers need you to be there to set examples and guide employees so they know what you would do. But most of all, no matter what, always listen to your people and do your very best to be fair.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with SERVPRO – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
SERVPRO of Henry & Spalding Counties is known for providing services to help homeowners, business owners and the insurance industry that need help with fire or water damage happens. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals respond immediately and use advanced equipment and techniques to remove the water quickly. They closely monitor and document the drying process to verify your property is dried properly and thoroughly. We provide both residential and commercial services. Most proud of the employees who work for us. We are open 24/7, 375 days a year. So our managers and crews work hard and sometimes have to be away from their families at night, weekends and even holidays.

SERVPRO understands the stress and worry that comes with a fire or water damage and the disruption it causes your life and home or business. Our goal is to help minimize the interruption to your life and quickly make it “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO specializes in the cleanup and restoration of both commercial and residential property after a fire, smoke or water damage. SERVPRO of Decatur can also mitigate mold and mildew from your home or business.

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. With a nationwide system of qualified franchises, no damage is too large or too small for SERVPRO of Decatur.

Danny and Patti Brown, owners of SERVPRO of Henry & Spalding Counties, became part of the SERVPRO franchise system in 1999 and continued growing with the purchase of SERVPRO of Decatur in 2003 and SERVPRO of Clayton County in 2004. Today we operate out of a 25,000 sq. foot warehouse in McDonough, GA, and have a team of 40 professionally trained employees. We are active in many industry related organizations including the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)

If you had to start over, what would you have done differently?
This is a tough question because I feel we are very happy where we are today, but I know there are always things that you could have done better and quicker when you start a company. The biggest thing I would have done sooner is tracking customer satisfaction starting the first day of a job. If you keep in touch with the customer on a daily basis you can catch misunderstandings and/or issues quickly and fix them fast. Once a job gets sideways…………sometimes it can never recover. That is probably my biggest lesson learned!

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I’ve had many and most ALL of them have to do with the hard work our crews and managers put in each and every day. We have a business that we just can’t always control when it will come into our offices. Every job we get is something no one planned for that day! Many days we have multiple large jobs. These jobs can be 300,000 sq feet and affect hundreds of office tenants or it can be a 3 story home with elder people. These jobs are always stressful on the client’s side. Seeing how hard are people work 24/7 and holidays, weekends always… always makes us proud. We get such praises and accolades from clients…………..it just about makes me cry to hear what are people do to help our customers, not to mention that they must be away from their own families at night and even weekend on some occasions. They are FANTASTIC people and we couldn’t have the great company we have today without their dedication.

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Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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