How Can I Begin Offering IAQ Services in My Business?
Because we do so much training on indoor air quality (IAQ) and most of our members are entrepreneurs (I say “self-unemployed”), we get this question often. Now, due to COVID-19, most business owners are trying to figure out how they can pivot and include IAQ services—either assessment or solutions—to their existing customer base and, at the same time, attract new customers. The path to success in the IAQ industry can be both successful and rewarding if the business owner learns to walk before he runs.
For years, I’ve said just like in the medical industry, “prognosis without diagnosis is malpractice!” I encourage you to quote me on that because it’s absolutely true. If a client doesn’t have a problem, you don’t have a solution. As such, the sales pipeline must start with some type of screening or assessment process. You can’t fix where it hurts if there is no pain. The way to find the pain point is through the assessment process.
Screening for IAQ
There are so many ways to get the information you need to identify a problem. Some of the screening equipment, like the ATP Luminometer, is very quick in determining microbial contamination on surfaces while some of the newer technologies, like the AirAnswers device, may run for five days to test for airborne mycotoxins and other allergens. Obviously, having equipment that runs for 120 hours instead of five or ten minutes like a simple spore trap will give a much better picture of how the people are living in the environment.
NORMIPro Monitoring IAQ Assurance Program
We recently put in place the NORMIProMonitoring IAQ Assurance Program where WIFI monitors that measure a variety of IAQ components can be left in place to evaluate what’s actually happening to the indoor air quality in that environment in real-time. Identifying problems, remember, is the first step toward developing a solution. This program has become a lead sourcing tool for our trained IAQ professionals who would like to do a full-blown assessment to develop an IAQ profile for every job. However, far too often, that full-blown assessment only happens when the client knows there’s an issue that needs to be addressed.
Solutions to Offer IAQ Services
Since COVID, the IAQ industry has been flooded with products making (in several cases) outrageous claims about what they can do. Sorting through the fog isn’t easy, but is doable. With a proper understanding of the seven basic components of indoor air quality, under which virtually all contaminants or conditions fall, the IAQ assessor can quickly tailor a solution to that specific environment.
To underscore the idea of designing a specific solution to a specific environment, every indoor environment is unique based on size, airflow, occupancy, finishes, use, and many other factors.
I’ve used this illustration with success:
I live in a home with my wife, no pets, and no children. If I sold my house to a family of five with two dogs, a cat, and a parakeet, do you suppose the indoor air quality would change? That is just one of the many factors that need to be considered when designing an IAQ assessment. I have 9′ and 12′ ceilings, three sets of French doors, spray foam insulation, carpet, and tile floors. All of these must be taken into consideration to provide an effective IAQ management program.
And when it comes to filtration and purification solutions, every piece of IAQ equipment on the market utilizes only one or more of five (5) technologies:
- Germicidal UV
- PCO with target plate technology
Just like the chemical industry where a single ingredient (a quat, for instance) might be sold under multiple labels, if you know what that ingredient does and its pros and cons, you know how to use it. It is the same with IAQ technologies. If you understand the pros and cons of each of the five, you know instantly whether or not the claims made by the marketing department are accurate or not.
Of course, there are subtle differences in how some of the technologies are deployed but again, with that knowledge, you can design an IAQ management program that fits that environment in both residential and commercial applications.
So, the simple answer to this question of how to break into the IAQ industry is to get trained. Training that is specific to the industry taking the student from the simple to the complex is the first step toward understanding the industry, the solution options, and the sales process. Marketing yourself as a Trained IAQ Professional can be very rewarding because the field is ripe for harvest. We just need more well-trained and informed harvesters.
You can also call or email NORMI at 877.251.2296 and [email protected]
Doug Hoffman is the CEO of NORMI, the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].