In recent years, the IICRC has been investigating other means to strengthen the Certified Firm Program without raising fees. The Certified Firm Committee has wrestled with different options and about 10 months ago, started to develop the program that is before you now. The committee soon realized that to truly strengthen the program, it would need an administrator. This meant extra work (which translates into increased cost) for the IICRC’s administrative staff. Like all of our businesses, when the cost of doing business goes up, the price of the service performed must also increase. That raise in price is sometimes painful, but if in the end there’s a better product, service or program, then it’s worth it. Please remember the decisions we make cost the board members as well—we pay the same fees you do.
When IICRC board member Lee Pemberton posted a survey on several Internet forums, the top complaint was the abuse of the Certification Firm Program. Respondents to the survey said it was too easy to become a Certified Firm and that the IICRC needed to establish and implement a system to strengthen the program.
Now that I told you why we changed the Certified Firm Program, I need to tell you what we changed. The Certified Firm Committee has changed both the initial application and the renewal application. They have added “teeth” to the information requested on the forms. Therefore, the IICRC can suspend or revoke a Certified Firm status if a company does not meet all the requirements.
A firm must have an IICRC Certified Technician present on all job sites and the technician has to be certified in all categories of services being performed at that site. A firm must also send a copy of their current business license, if applicable, plus a copy of the appropriate business insurance certificates. They must notify the IICRC of the number of technicians on staff and how many are IICRC certified. A list the technician’s name, with their certification number, is also required.
Lastly, a Certified Firm must annually demonstrate their compliance with the continuing education and training program requirements for training their IICRC Certified technicians.
What you may be wondering now is, “If I do all of this, what’s in it for me?” One of the biggest advantages that I see is that those firms that have been operating in the “gray areas” of Certified Firm status will not qualify under the new program and will not be approved.
As always, as an IICRC Certified Firm, your company will still be listed on the IICRC web site, IICRC CD Greendisk, and on the IICRC Referral System toll-free number. You will have use of the new IICRC logo with the toll-free numbers on it. You will also receive the Certified Firm Guide, which includes camera ready artwork, complaint forms for reporting abuses of non-compliant firms, consumer articles to use in marketing your company, and much more.
With all these changes, the IICRC will be able to keep better and more accurate records on each and every Certified Firm. This protects you, as the quality company you are, and the consumer who uses an IICRC Certified Firm.
Do I realize that if the IICRC doesn’t follow through with this program you may not renew next year? Of course! I feel this new Certified Firm Program has so much more strength then the previous program that it is well worth the additional cost. Believe me, I will be watching this program very closely to make sure we deliver everything we promise.