ICS Magazine

One Down, 23 to Go

October 22, 2002
This is my first “message” as CFI president. My buddy Dennis Iverson, who preceded me, reminds me that I “only” have 23 more of these monthly messages to write!

Dennis and I joke about how the qualifications to be on the board of directors are:

  • You need to be a CFI member,
  • The mirror needs to fog up when we put it in front of your mouth.

    Actually, I consider it a great honor to have been elected to this position, and I have two years to make my mark with an association that has been one of the key pieces behind my business and personal success in the past seven years. So here we go!

    Mold is EVERYWHERE
    I’m just coming off a phenomenally successful convention that CFI and PCUCA put on in Sacramento. It was one of those educational events where your head hurts from all the knowledge and new ideas crammed into your mind. And mold was a big part of the undercurrent of the event. Our members are primarily cleaners who do not do water damage restoration work, but even a rug cleaner like myself is affected by the mold hysteria currently spreading throughout the states, especially in California and Texas.

    Barry Costa mentioned in his convention presentation, How to Protect Yourself in this Environment of “Mold Mania,” that mold is everywhere and how we as professional cleaners cannot eliminate mold, we can only “manage” it. That we can help to reduce excessive levels that may be unhealthy to some, but unless the source behind the excessive levels is dealt with (pipe leaks, poor irrigation, etc.) the problem will continue to return. Another thing he mentioned that I wrote in BIG letters in my notebook was: “We Can Either Guide This Industry…Or We Can Be Led.”

    The IICRC Mold Task Force came to our convention to do committee work on the standards being written for this specialized field. The 4-day IICRC Applied Microbial Remediation Technician/Specialist Certification course has recently hit the market, and CFI is one of several regional trade associations that have sponsored this course so members can pursue certification and hands-on training.

    Linda Burns, a partner of North American Insurance, the CFI-endorsed insurance broker, came to our convention this summer. Actually, she comes every year. Not to get more policies, because she already has our endorsement, but to learn more about our industry. She also came to share some of the changes occurring in the insurance industry because of mold lawsuits, construction defect lawsuits and the current state of the stock market. All of this has led to some BIG bad news on the horizon.

    The Un-Franchise
    Trade associations like CFI are one of the best-kept business secrets in this industry. For just a few hundred bucks you are brought into a group of success-minded cleaners who share all the solutions they’ve discovered over the years to help you find your “shortcut” to where you want to be. It’s the reason why you come to a convention and find members who have been in the organization for 10, 20, even 30 years. It’s the reason behind every board member’s desire to “give back” to the group and choose to volunteer time as a director. In fact, a number of associations will be joining up for the Connections 2003 convention and trade show at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Oct. 2-4, 2003. If you want to learn more about the power of being part of an association, this would be a fun and lucrative way to get your feet wet (better wear shoe booties).

    There are more than 60,000 carpet cleaning companies in the United States. If you conservatively estimate an average of 2.5 “technicians” per company, that’s an awful lot of technicians. We have more than 20,000 IICRC certified technicians worldwide and more than 5,000 IICRC certified firms – that’s maybe 10 percent of the overall carpet cleaning industry.

    Regulation is Around the Corner
    Like it or not, regulation is inevitable. With all the mold-related lawsuits inundating California and Texas, we have insurance companies ceasing to underwrite policies for both homeowners and cleaning and restoration companies. Be assured, someone is going to grab our unregulated industry and do something about it.

    The question now is this: are we going to step in and guide this process, or are we going to wait to be led? I’m hoping for the first choice. And I know is, no matter what happens, I stand a much better chance of surviving this litigation and insurance tidal wave if I’m holding on to CFI and IICRC.