The IICRC has compiled results from its referral systems, which show the total number of phone referrals from the 800 number (800-835-4624) for 2004 was an average of 5,622 per month, or more than 67,000 referrals per year. The number of online referrals for 2004 was 14,887 per month, or about 178,600 per year. These figures represent millions of dollars of revenue from referrals for IICRC-Certified Firms.
Enhancements to the IICRC's new consumer Web site, www.certifiedcleaners.org, which launched in mid-2004, allow consumers to easily locate an IICRC-Certified Firm in their area via an online search. Following IICRC policy, individual technicians do not receive referrals. Only those companies which have applied for Certified Firm status and have been approved by the IICRC appear on the list made available to consumers.
"The referral system is only one of many benefits to being an IICRC-Certified Firm," said IICRC administrator, Tom Hill. "Many government agencies, insurance companies, franchise companies and carpet mills recommend or even require IICRC-Certified Firm status when making recommendations to clients or putting bids out for cleaning and restoration."
Firms that become IICRC Certified gain instant credibility, thanks to the IICRC's dedicated marketing and public relations efforts, which help educate consumers on the importance of selecting an IICRC-Certified Firm. In addition, IICRC-Certified Firms become part of a valuable network that offers access to ongoing training opportunities, proprietary marketing and promotional materials, representation at key industry trade shows and much more.
Obviously, more companies are becoming aware of the tangible benefits of certification. A surge in enrollment in IICRC certification classes has resulted in more firms and technicians becoming certified and registered with the IICRC. The IICRC is currently processing about 3,000 certification exams per month. In 2003 there were 3,328 IICRC-Certified Firms and 27,593 IICRC-Certified Technicians registered with the IICRC. In 2004, the IICRC proudly boasts an increase to 3,627 IICRC-Certified Firms and 32,300 IICRC-Certified Technicians.
It is important to note the distinction between being a certified technician and a certified firm. Simply having a certified technician on staff does not mean that the company itself is certified. To become certified, the firm must complete an application process and meet stringent requirements designed to maintain the integrity of "IICRC-Certified Firm" status for all registrants. IICRC-Certified Firms must have at least one certified technician on staff for each advertised service, provide proof of business licensing, liability insurance and consumer complaint follow-up programs and must meet other requirements as described in the application process.
The IICRC-Certified Firm designation represents a company's commitment to consumer protection and quality service. In return for this commitment to true industry professionalism, the firm may use the IICRC logo in all advertising and promotional efforts.