The Growing Need for Change
Hardly a day goes by without my thinking about how the IICRC can better position itself in the industry. A key issue that keeps coming up, and is one that I have addressed in this column, involves IICRC Certified Firms. The overwhelming response I receive when speaking to cleaning, restoration or inspection groups is that the IICRC needs to strengthen the requirements for obtaining, maintaining, and advertising Certified Firm status. When former Certified Firms were asked why they chose to not maintain their Certified Firm status, many of the cleaning and restoration professionals responded that “It’s because the IICRC will let anybody with a check into the club”.
As much as that statement is not true, it has made some professionals in our industry wary of either maintaining or obtaining Certified Firm status. Obviously, this is an issue that the IICRC must address even if it may require significant change. The IICRC cannot be unresponsive and let the small minority of undisciplined Certified Firms cause problems for the entire Certified Firm program. Recently, Peter Masi was appointed to head the IICRC Certified Firms committee. In order to address this issue, Peter has spent several months understanding how the current system could be misused or abused by less than stellar companies that can currently call themselves Certified Firms. He was able to give a detailed report to the Board of Directors last spring detailing positive steps that can bring about proactive changes in the Certified Firms program. Peter has also scheduled meetings for his committee to brainstorm this issue and bring a revamped program back to the Board of Directors, geared toward providing great company referrals. The bar for companies applying to become Certified Firms will be raised, and the marketing effort employed by IICRC to provide referrals for firms will be more beneficial for all involved, from firm to consumer.
The backbone of the new program will focus on significant additional reporting to IICRC about the company profiles of Certified Firms. In addition, a renewed effort will be launched to find a cost effective way to monitor the Certified Firm database, and a relentless effort will be extended to remove the undesirable companies from our list of firms. The IICRC will expect all of our firms to follow the Certified Firm pledge that was signed on their applications, especially the clauses involving the continuation of training and the efforts of the firm to have Certified Technicians in all areas of service. That having been said, I wish to applaud all of our current Certified Firms that meet all of the requirements of the pledge. The numbers overwhelmingly show that the majority of the Firms and Registrants do follow the rules.
The IICRC is sensitive to the issues involving fair trade practices, professionalism, and our ability to make sure our referral program has absolutely the best cleaning, restoration and inspection professionals available in the industry. Please help us make this a reality. In order for these changes to take place, we need your support. If you are currently a Certified Firm, please re-read the pledge you signed with your application and make sure you are adhering to it the best you can. If you currently offer service in an area, please make sure that you have Certified Technicians employed in all those areas of service. If you have chosen not to renew your Certified Firm status, please rethink that decision. Whatever the reason for leaving, rest assured that it is being addressed by your current Board of Directors. You will not find a better bargain anywhere in our world.
The IICRC has given the benefit of the doubt to this industry for many years. It’s now time to return the favor. Change is for the better, and with communication we will get to the root of the problem and fix it. Let’s look ahead, together, and realize that as an industry we are only strong when we are together.