From Heartbreak to Success, an Entrepreneur’s Success Story

In this Salute to American Success, we’re taking a look at Restoration 1 and founder and CEO Andor Kovacs. This company specializes in fire, smoke and water damage restorations of commercial, residential and other structures or buildings. In 1999, Kovacs came to the United States from Hungary, landing in California in the hopes of becoming an actor. His lack of fluency in the English language caused him to give up on those dreams and start working any job he could find.

“My first love [acting] broke my heart,” Kovacs said. “I felt so lonely and decided to start all over again in a new country. Once my English improved, I started my first business.”

Already having experience as an entrepreneur back in Hungary, Kovacs created a few different businesses over the course of the next several years, including a company that was the predecessor to Restoration 1. According to Kovacs, that first company, which he created with a friend from his home country, was started with $120,000, all of which he put on his credit cards. After having issues with his business partners, Kovacs decided to start Restoration 1 in 2008 and sold the first franchise in 2010.

Despite the company being created at the height of the Great Recession, Kovacs said it was not impacted.

“Restoration is a recession-proof business,” he said. “Everyone was downsizing and laying people off, but we weren’t.”

Today, the company has a total of 42 franchises sold in two countries, around 30 of which are currently open, according to Kovacs, who has major plans for the company in the future.

“The goal is to build the largest restoration company in the world with a minimum of 8,000 locations,” he said. “We are looking to sell 15 more franchises by the end of 2015 in the U.S. alone. We are also looking to open in other countries, including the United Kingdom. In 2016, we are looking to add around $50 million in system-wide revenue.”

Kovacs said since coming to the United States, he is thankful for the opportunities America allows to all individuals.

“America is still the greatest country in the world,” he said. “People are so lucky they are living here. They should take risks [as entrepreneurs]… success will come. With every bad, there’s a good thing too. As an entrepreneur you can only concentrate on that. It’s tough to do, but when one door closes, another one opens.”