What would the industry be like if there were no IICRC?" he asked.
Believe it or not, I have a thought or two on the subject. Keep in mind I may have a slight bias when it comes to this organization. You, on the other hand, may have a totally different perspective; I look forward to discussing it with you the next time we meet.
Associations were originally formed, and thrived soon thereafter, because there was no other place for an independent cleaner to learn about the changes in the industry. The associations would bring in top speakers and industry experts and hold classes to provide information that could not be attained elsewhere.
However, the education being received, albeit good, varied from association to association. Large franchise organizations have always had the financial ability to keep their franchisees informed. This has always been one of their strong points, although the information was, and still is, somewhat one-sided. If you did not belong to an association, or were not part of a franchise, your only alternative for education was the manufacturers of the equipment or cleaning products you used. As could be expected, however, the manufacturer classes tended to be biased toward working with their specific products.
Now comes IICRC. A set of standards outlining, then going into great detail, information essential for a cleaner or restorer were developed. This information is not biased toward a single cleaning system or product line. The material is generic, purposely so in order to be used by independent and franchise cleaners around the world to perform better, to know what they are cleaning and to understand the best products and procedures available to them.
In the past, the carpet manufacturing industry has looked upon the cleaning industry as disjointed, existing without a single, unified body to speak for it. Many equipment manufacturers have made inroads, but these companies are selling their wares; the independent cleaner is a secondary concern. Many franchises have worked with carpet manufacturers but, more often than not, they do not have an adequate number of cleaners to provide coverage for them. The IICRC has more than 23,000 registrants around the world for manufacturers to call upon, including independent and franchise cleaners.
The IICRC has helped countless companies to become more successful, better educated and set apart from the run-of-the-mill cleaning company. The IICRC is not perfect; however, the IICRC has made, and continues to make, the industry better for all cleaning professionals, even those that don't believe in certification.