The New Kids on the Block

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Who’s going to fix your house now?

Much has been said about the EPA lead rule, old news now and I for one am glad to move on, lets just deal with it, after all its mostly about using cleaner work practices.

By The Paul

Who's going to fix your house now?
No lead in this home!

What’s coming next concerns me more, non compliant companies working on target housing. Not an issue with the high end remodelers, nope, wrong, their customers want lower prices too!

What about the rest of us?

Welcome the new breed of unlicensed contractor, the professional non compliant companies with clean trucks, sharp uniforms, good contracts, great brag books and good references. These are the guys that will show up and look as good as anyone else, and why not, they go to the same classes as we do, they read the same materials and they do good work, most are fair and ethical in their business life except for one thing, they aren’t licensed or lead safe certified. so they can offer quicker, cheaper work with the same standards of finish as the rest of us and for a lower price.

Won’t happen?

Too late because they are here and writing work as sure as I’m writing this short article.

Who are they?

They are contractors you see at the lumberyard, at NARI meetings at NAHB meetings, they are us. They are the people who are willing to roll the dice on getting caught or not, if caught I’ve been told they can handle that in a few different ways. Illegal yes, but not without legal counsel because some of these guys have talked to their lawyers and gotten advice to help them in the case of their being detected. They are as serious as you and I about getting work.

I’ve met a couple of these companies, people tired of the regulations. I agree with some of what they say, in a way I envy the fact they are willing to be outlaws because they do have some good points to make. We now have licensed and compliant contractors working the same customer pool as unlicensed and non compliant contractors and whats different is they went to the same school you or I did, they are experienced, capable and ready to build that job.

What should we do?

Its time we worked together as an industry, not as plumbers, general contractors or designers etc, we need to be an industry. This won’t be easy and will take time but its whats needed. What else? How about regarding worthy compliant competitors as allies. Homeowners have reasons to hire the unlicensed companies, the general public has always had trouble defining what makes a professional in our business.

Some folks say.

Turn them in.  Really?

This will do what for us, for the homeowner? Think about what being a snitch for our industry will do for our image, who trusts a snitch? There has to be a better way to elevate ourselves besides eliminating non compliant companies by hunting them down, the unions tried to eliminate non union workers by threats and intimidation. How did that work out?

Maybe,

Maybe you can get one trusted friend and they get one friend and just keep moving forward gathering like minded people, the people who are playing by the rules. Maybe an organization will evolve, a group that represents your interests and listens to your concerns. Join Remodel Crazy.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Great points Paul. As I was driving through our Neighboring town in Granville, NY I could already see 3 exterior paint projects going on without the use of containment, barriers, or signs indicating a possible hazard. All of these homes were built around 1900.

    I must admit that the thought of turning in these non-compliant companies did cross my mind as I thought of how many in my area have been told about these new EPA regulations and literally laughed them off. Some of these companies are small 1 or 2 man operations and some are larger companies employing up to 10 or 12 people. All in all, it was at first very upsetting to me to see that by joining with the EPA on this rule, I was joining a minority of contractors that were willing to raise their costs to provide this service.

    After the “dust settled” from my drive that day, I decided to concentrate on what I was doing rather than worry about what others don’t do. Once I did this, it didn’t change much from the way I’ve always sold my projects; by pointing out the advantages and the difference in the way we do our work. Some people get it and some people don’t but like always, we will find the right clients and the right clients will find us.

  2. Hey Jason, I thought it was interesting to see Granville NY mentioned (I’ve been there a few times).

    Same situation where I am in Central New York.

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