Mold Removal – Choosing a Contractor
I need a remediation contractor to do some mold removal, how can I tell a good one from a bad one?
Like many other trades and professions, the determining factors that should be evaluated when choosing a remediation contractor are: education, licensing, experience, reviews. Your assessor should have already provided you with a reasonable estimate that a remediation contractor should charge for the work, so price should not factor into your decision. Let’s take a look at each factor and what requirements within it a contractor should be able to meet.
Education – The remediation contractor doesn’t need to be a scientist or certified industrial hygienist, that’s an assessor level education. The contractor does need to understand what they are remediating, and how to contain it so the remediation process doesn’t contaminate other areas of your home. Mold is too small to see when airborne, it can float in the air for weeks before settling. The remediation contractor should be able to give you a clear explanation on how they are going to contain the area and trap any disturbed mold spores while working. There are accepted standards that clearly define methods to do this. Understand what standard your contractor follows and do a little research to confirm they know it. The most universally accepted standard is from an organization known as the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Remediation Certification), your contractor should have technicians working who have at least an AMRT certification (Applied Microbial Remediation Technician) on the project, and the company as a whole should be certified as well, ask for the documentation.
Licensed – As previously discussed, NYS requires every person on the job, as well as the company itself, to be licensed by the state to perform the work. This is an easy check, NYS issues cards just like Drivers Licenses for workers and project supervisors to carry on the job site.
I didn’t include Insurance as a factor to consider, because NYS keeps a company’s insurance certificate on file. If the insurance lapses, the licenses are revoked. NYS does not require a contractor to be insured for what is known as “pollution” and “errors and omissions”, checking to see if a contractor caries this higher level of coverage often distinguishes the true professionals in the area, ask this question.
Experience – The quality and quantity of the companies work history should be part of your hiring decision. How long have they been helping clients? Are they local? Have they invested in education for their staff? Do they show their level of experience through their online presence? Whenever I have to have a medical procedure done, I don’t ask how much it costs (at least at first), I ask how many times, Mr. Doctor, have you done this procedure? I want someone who is young enough to be up to date on all the latest medical advances, and old enough to have performed the work on someone else a hundred times. A great contractor will be proud of their work, they have their experience ready to show off to you at the drop of a hat. Experience matters, ask what they have.
Reviews – Many people use online reviews of previous customers as the main determining factor. Those reviews are important, but how many of those customers went through the vetting process first? How many of those customers have been through a mold issue before and have some basis for the review? What are they comparing to? Read the reviews, ask the contractor about the specific reviews and the project associated with it, but as importantly, does the contractor have reviews and recommendations from others in the industry? A client will tend to base a review on customer service, an industry leader or educator will give recommendations on performance and true capability. Get both kinds.
Choose your contractor carefully, use these tips to help guide you when discussing the project with them.