Who would have imagined that our government would enact an unfunded mandate that may actually help LEGAL contractors in the residential construction industry?
By now you have probably learned about the EPA Lead Rule requiring that all work on pre-1978 homes shall be done by an EPA Certified Renovator. If you haven't heard you can learn more at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm This rule applies to remodelers, general contractors, electricians, plumbers, hvac, painters, roofers, siding and window contractors, handyman, insurance restoration and any contractor who works in homes and buildings. If your work disturbs more than 6 square feet of painted area, then you must follow the EPA procedures for mitigation. Fines for non-compliance are $37,500. The date to be certified is 4.22.10. You can apply to the EPA now and schedule your class after.
This mandate is a true opportunity that will change our industry for the better by forcing contractors to professionalize. For years contractors and consumers have been frustrated at the dysfunctional standards for certifications and licensing of contractors in the residential construction industry. Confusing rules and poor enforcement allow for a black market construction industry that keeps prices low, produces shoddy work, puts consumers and employees at great risk, provides work for illegal aliens and allows for tax evasion and unpaid insurance premiums. From state to state and town to town, unlicensed and unqualified contractors take work away from the companies who decide to follow the rules and run their companies legally.
Wouldn't it be nice to compete against contractors who play by the same rules as you?
Your opportunity is to win business by educating your prospects that will care about hiring a legal contractor. There are consumers who will care about the professional way you run your business, the way you protect their family, and the way you take care of your employees who will do the work in their home. There are people who will want to do the work right because they will not want to jeopardize the value of their home doing it illegally. There are people who know that if they hire a contractor who is not legal, they run the risk of having shoddy work, unfinished jobs and a contractor nightmare.
The key is to educate the right prospect, how they will WIN with you and LOSE, if they hire any contractor who works illegally. The right prospect is the consumer who is looking for the professional. Your marketing program should attract the prospects that will welcome your professionalism.
In order to do this it will be helpful to show that you follow the rules and politely educate the prospect, without trashing the other contractors, about the dangers of hiring the illegal company. You will let them know that anyone can report their project and illegal contractor by calling the EPA. You can inform them the illegal contractor may get shut down while on their job and fined $37,500 for breaking the law. You can ask them if they would want to chance having their house tagged with an EPA violation.
You can let them know that the EPA is looking for opportunities to fund their program by fining contractors who don't comply so they can hire more inspectors.
Today's consumers are well educated and when you show them that you are the professional, you will win their trust and sell the job at your fair and honest price. When you skillfully educate them about The Lead Rule, the right consumer will disqualify those who don't comply.
If professional contractors view this change as an opportunity and embrace it, together one customer at a time, we can begin to force the illegal companies to either professionalize, go out of business or find work with the uneducated consumer who won't pay a fair price and isn't worth your time.
Thank you EPA!