Steve Meyer Discusses Savings and Buying in Bulk

On December 13, published an article by Steve Meyer, assistant vice president of high risk and hazard claims for Safeguard Properties, entitled Creating A Bulk Buying Process To Ensure Property Repair Savings.

REQUIRED READING: Servicers and investors count on their field service partners to help maximize the value of real estate owned (REO) portfolios with new approaches that are both creative and cost-effective.

As part of the REO property repair process, field service companies save servicers and investors significant dollars by establishing agreements with national suppliers to purchase quality products at lower costs and create an efficient bulk-buying process for contractors.

For example, field service companies can negotiate pricing with a national supplier to obtain the builder-grade carpeting that servicers and investors prefer to have installed in their REO properties. Through these negotiations, field service companies can assure that their clients save significant amounts of money on a national scale. 

It is not uncommon for field service companies to pay upwards of $22 per square yard for carpet when contractors purchase carpeting from their own local suppliers. By purchasing the same carpeting under their field service company’s national supplier agreements, contractors can achieve potential savings of 20% to 25%.

As thefts of heating and air conditioning systems increase, field service companies have found it necessary to establish national relationships and leverage better pricing for these products as well. Similarly, obtaining roofing material is another area where contractors need help acquiring quality supplies more efficiently. This is necessary if there is a leak or other damage that can potentially get worse because the contractor needs to get the repair done quickly.

Working through national suppliers, contractors save time and money because they can get products more quickly. This is because under national purchasing agreements, contractors can obtain supplies almost immediately. Even when items need to be ordered, carpeting can typically be delivered within three days, and appliances often can be installed within 48 hours.

The big-box retailers, like Home Depot and Lowe’s, also help contractors streamline the REO repairs process with “pro-desks.” Contractors can call in or order online, and the store will prepare the order for special pick-up in a designated area of the store – often at the door. Stores sometimes offer discounts for ordering products this way. These efficiencies have helped reduce many of the challenges contractors have experienced in planning their work days because of supply delays and the need to make numerous and unplanned stops at local suppliers to obtain items needed to complete repairs.

In lieu of…

An important area where field service companies can help save significant dollars is in the selection of alternative materials to repair REO properties and put them in marketable condition. 

Copper plumbing may be the best example. In properties where copper plumbing has been stolen, field service companies and their contractors can replace it with a plastic-type product called PEX. Not only is PEX a deterrent to thieves and vandals because it cannot be sold at salvage yards, it costs less and installs more quickly. As a result, servicers and investors have begun to request PEX over copper plumbing in many of their REO properties.

An alternative to lath and plaster material in older properties is drywall. Drywall is easier to work with and less expensive to use. Similarly, off-the-shelf cabinetry is often used to replace custom-made items.

The decision to utilize these alternative products, however, also depends on the type of home being repaired or renovated. In higher-priced homes, for example, custom cabinets and copper plumbing may be wiser investments to assure that the property can command a higher price and compete against similar homes that may be marketed in the area.

Also, when utilizing alternative materials, field service companies and their contractors must be familiar with local requirements, deed restrictions and other ordinances that may dictate the use of specific materials to maintain quality standards or historical preservation.

The price is right

Verified pricing is another way field service companies can streamline their REO repair processes. Implementing flat-rate pricing for repairs eliminates bidding wars. With flat-rate pricing, field service companies have already established a negotiated price with their contractors and do not have to spend time getting multiple bids and hoping for the best price, whereas the price has already been validated as fair and reasonable.

Verified pricing also reduces the time it takes to obtain bid approvals. The alternative is to have multiple vendors bid on each repair, which delays the process and still does not guarantee a reasonable or best price.

Industry cost estimators help verify pricing as well. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) uses the RepairBASE brand of cost estimators. Field service companies should use similar cost estimators, or several of them, to be consistent with what HUD and other investors and servicers will pay for the repairs, and to verify that a contractor’s pricing is consistent with the local market.

There are several software packages available that allow a company to verify that construction pricing is reasonable and appropriate for both the scope of the work and the area where it is being performed. The companies that offer this estimating software collect data from a number of sources to ensure the pricing is verifiable.

By using these cost-estimating programs and national suppliers, working under national bulk pricing agreements and having access to pro-desks, contractors get the best pricing on the quality products that servicers and investors prefer. This streamlined process creates savings in time and money and helps to assure that high-quality supplies and appliances are used to repair REO properties. This, in turn, allows contractors to handle large volumes of REO properties in a more efficient manner. Ultimately, this proves to be a win-win situation for all parties involved.

To view the online article, please click here.

About Safeguard
Safeguard Properties is the largest privately held field services company in the country. Located in Cleveland, Ohio and founded in 1990 by Robert Klein, Safeguard has grown from a regional preservation company with a few employees  and a handful of contractors performing services in the Midwest, to a national company with more than 1,600 employees. Safeguard is supported by a nationwide network of subcontractors able to perform any requested superintendence, preservation, and maintenance functions, as well as numerous ancillary services in the U.S., the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.



Alan Jaffa

Alan Jaffa is the chief executive officer for Safeguard, steering the company as the mortgage field services industry leader. He also serves on the board of advisors for SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Alan joined Safeguard in 1995, learning the business from the ground up. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2002, and was named CEO in May 2010. His hands-on experience has given him unique insights as a leader to innovate, improve and strengthen Safeguard’s processes to assure that the company adheres to the highest standards of quality and customer service.

Under Alan’s leadership, Safeguard has grown significantly with strategies that have included new and expanded services, technology investments that deliver higher quality and greater efficiency to clients, and strategic acquisitions. He takes a team approach to process improvement, involving staff at all levels of the organization to address issues, brainstorm solutions, and identify new and better ways to serve clients.

In 2008, Alan was recognized by Crain’s Cleveland Business in its annual “40-Under-40” profile of young leaders. He also was named a NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® finalist in 2013.


Chief Operating Officer

Michael Greenbaum

Michael Greenbaum is the chief operating officer for Safeguard. Mike has been instrumental in aligning operations to become more efficient, effective, and compliant with our ever-changing industry requirements. Mike has a proven track record of excellence, partnership and collaboration at Safeguard. Under Mike’s leadership, all operational departments of Safeguard have reviewed, updated and enhanced their business processes to maximize efficiency and improve quality control.

Mike joined Safeguard in July 2010 as vice president of REO and has continued to take on additional duties and responsibilities within the organization, including the role of vice president of operations in 2013 and then COO in 2015.

Mike built his business career in supply-chain management, operations, finance and marketing. He has held senior management and executive positions with Erico, a manufacturing company in Solon, Ohio; Accel, Inc., a packaging company in Lewis Center, Ohio; and McMaster-Carr, an industrial supply company in Aurora, Ohio.

Before entering the business world, Mike served in the U.S. Army, Ordinance Branch, and specialized in supply chain management. He is a distinguished graduate of West Point (U.S. Military Academy), where he majored in quantitative economics.



George Mehok

George Mehok is the chief information officer for Safeguard. He is responsible for all strategic technology decisions, new systems deployments and data center operations supporting a national network of more than 10,000 mobile workers.

George has more than 20 years of leadership experience dedicated to high-growth companies in the mobile telecommunications and financial services industries, spanning startups to global industry leaders.

George played a senior role in the formation of Verizon Wireless, leading the IT product development and strategic planning team. He led the integration planning for the Verizon merger including: GTE, Vodafone-AirTouch, Bell Atlantic Mobile and PrimeCo.

As chief information officer at Revol Wireless, a VC-backed CDMA wireless communications network operator, George’s team implemented an integrated technology infrastructure and award-winning business intelligence platform.

George holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Eastern Michigan University and an M.B.A. from The Ohio State University. He is a board member of Akron University’s School of Business Center for Information Technology, in addition to an advisory board member for OHTec.

In 2013, George won the Crain’s Cleveland Business CIO of the Year award for his team’s work in completing a major acquisition and technology transformation at Safeguard. In 2015, George’s team was recognized by InformationWeek’s annual Elite 100 ranking of the most innovative U.S.-based users of business technology. The mobile inspection technology developed at Safeguard was selected as InformationWeek’s “One of the top 20 ideas to steal in 2015”.


General Counsel and Executive Vice President

Linda Erkkila, Esq.

Linda Erkkila is the general counsel and executive vice president for Safeguard, with oversight responsibilities for the legal, human resources, training, compliance and audit departments. Linda’s broad scope of oversight covers regulatory issues that impact Safeguard’s operations, pro-active risk mitigation, enterprise strategic planning, human capital and training initiatives, compliance and audit services, litigation and claims management, and counsel related to mergers, acquisition and joint ventures.

Linda’s oversight of the legal department along with multiple compliance and human capital focused departments assures that Safeguard’s strategic initiatives align with its resources, leverage opportunities across the company, and contemplate compliance mandates. Her practice spans almost 20 years, and Linda’s experience, both as outside and in-house counsel, covers a wide range of corporate matters, including regulatory disclosure, corporate governance compliance, risk assessment, executive compensation, litigation management, and merger and acquisition activity. Her experience at a former Fortune 500 financial institution during the subprime crisis helped develop Linda’s pro-active approach to change management during periods of heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Linda previously served as vice president and attorney for National City Corporation, as securities and corporate governance counsel for Agilysys Inc., and as an associate at Thompson Hine LLP. She earned her JD at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Linda holds a degree in economics from Miami University and an MBA. In 2017, Linda was named as both a “Woman of Influence” by HousingWire and as a “Leading Lady” by MReport.


Chief Financial Officer

Joe Iafigliola

Joe Iafigliola is the Chief Financial Officer for Safeguard. Joe is responsible for the Control, Quality Assurance, Business Development, Accounting & Information Security departments, and is a Managing Director of SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Joe has been in a wide variety of roles in finance, supply chain management, information systems development, and sales and marketing. His career includes senior positions with McMaster-Carr Supply Company, Newell/Rubbermaid, and Procter and Gamble.

Joe has an MBA from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University’s Honors Accounting program.


AVP, Operations

Jennifer Jozity

Jennifer Jozity is the assistant vice president of operations, overseeing inspections, REO and property preservation for Safeguard. Jen ensures quality work is performed in the field and internally, to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. Jen has demonstrated the ability to deliver consistent results in order audit and order management.  She will build upon these strengths in order to deliver this level of excellence in both REO and property preservation operations.

Jen joined Safeguard in 1997 and was promoted to director of inspections operations in 2009 and assistant vice president of inspections operations in 2012.

She graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in business.


AVP, Finance

Jennifer Anspach

Jennifer Anspach is the assistant vice president of finance for Safeguard. She is responsible for the company’s national workforce of approximately 1,000 employees. She manages recruitment strategies, employee relations, training, personnel policies, retention, payroll and benefits programs. Additionally, Jennifer has oversight of the accounts receivable and loss functions formerly within the accounting department.

Jennifer joined the company in April 2009 as a manager of accounting and finance and a year later was promoted to director. She was named AVP of human capital in 2014. Prior to joining Safeguard, she held several management positions at OfficeMax and InkStop in both operations and finance.

Jennifer is a graduate of Youngstown State University. She was named a Crain’s Cleveland Business Archer Award finalist for HR Executive of the Year in 2017.


AVP, Application Architecture

Rick Moran

Rick Moran is the assistant vice president of application architecture for Safeguard. Rick is responsible for evolving the Safeguard IT systems. He leads the design of Safeguard’s enterprise application architecture. This includes Safeguard’s real-time integration with other systems, vendors and clients; the future upgrade roadmap for systems; and standards designed to meet availability, security, performance and goals.

Rick has been with Safeguard since 2011. During that time, he has led the system upgrades necessary to support Safeguard’s growth. In addition, Rick’s team has designed and implemented several innovative systems.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Rick was director of enterprise architecture at Revol Wireless, a privately held CDMA Wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana, and operated his own consulting firm providing services to the manufacturing, telecommunications, and energy sectors.


AVP, Technology Infrastructure and Cloud Services

Steve Machovina

Steve Machovina is the assistant vice president of technology infrastructure and cloud services for Safeguard. He is responsible for the overall management and design of Safeguard’s hybrid cloud infrastructure. He manages all technology engineering staff who support data centers, telecommunications, network, servers, storage, service monitoring, and disaster recovery.

Steve joined Safeguard in November 2013 as director of information technology operations.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was vice president of information technology at Revol Wireless, a privately held wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana. He also held management positions with Northcoast PCS and Corecomm Communications, and spent nine years as a Coast Guard officer and pilot.

Steve holds a BBA in management information systems from Kent State University in Ohio and an MBA from Wayne State University in Michigan.


AVP, Business Development

Tim Rath

Tim Rath is the AVP of business development for Safeguard. He is responsible for developing innovative growth strategies for Safeguard and developing and overseeing potential partnerships, mergers and acquisitions.

Tim joined Safeguard in 2011 as project director and has filled numerous roles within Vendor Management, most recently serving as director of vendor management, a role he assumed in 2011.

Prior to Safeguard, Tim worked as director of supply chain at PartsSource Inc. in Aurora, Ohio, a provider of medical replacement parts, procurement solutions and healthcare supply chain management technology services. He also has held sales positions with Rexel, ComDoc, and Pier Associates, all based in Ohio.

Tim holds a degree in marketing and sales from The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. He also earned his FAA Certified Commercial UAS (Drone) Pilot license in 2017.


Assistant Vice president of Application Development

Steve Goberish

Steve Goberish, is the assistant vice president of application development for Safeguard. He is responsible for the maintenance and evolution of Safeguard’s vendor systems ensuring high-availability, security and scalability while advancing the vendor products’ capabilities and enhancing the vendor experience.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was a senior technical architect and development manager at First American Title Insurance, a publicly held title insurance provider based in southern California, in addition to managing and developing applications in multiple sectors from insurance to VOIP.

Steve has a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University in Ohio.