by Richard Knaub.
I’m not a gambler. Outside of a dollar bet on the Super Bowl with members of my family, I don’t make bets. I do make projections, which basically means I don’t have anything at risk when I try to tell what the future holds.
My crystal ball says you are going to meet a stranger who is going to evaluate your work, which will affect whether you make any money on the job. OK, maybe this isn’t much of a prediction. Most utility and weatherization programs have some kind of random QC inspection, around 5 percent of all work performed. So maybe one out of twenty jobs involves a stranger evaluating your work.
But there are two factors that could come together to make this a more common occurrence. First is that except for used car dealers, consumers complain most about contractors. The second is that the U.S. Department of Energy is funding national Home Energy Professional certifications, including a Quality Control Inspector certification. Offered through BPI, they will pilot in June.
The first one is nothing new. There are plenty of bad apples out there making life difficult for everyone else. But this means that with the new QC Inspector certification, there are some immediate opportunities:
EE Program QC: Suppose a jurisdiction wants to protect consumers, increase energy efficiency and improve indoor air quality (obviously, there’s a campaign slogan there somewhere). That jurisdiction could move to require inspections of home performance jobs by a certified Home Energy Professional QC Inspector. Before this new certification, putting in place an inspection process would have been nearly impossible, particularly with tight budgets. But now, this certification makes it a snap.
Build client trust: Having a certified in-house inspector is a great selling point to assure clients your work is high quality. If for no other reason than the peace of mind it gives the client, it may be worth it. When your ad says “certified inspector on staff” and that isn’t in your competitor’s ad, it says something to a prospective customer.
Expand your business model: Your inspector can be inspecting other contractor’s work as well as your own. With incentive and rebate programs potentially using certified inspectors, this it is another service your business can provide. Having your company’s name on a QC report is pretty good advertising for quality work.
Then there are all of the different energy incentive program credits. Only two states in the country don’t offer some sort of program for energy efficiency. Of the other 48 states, some offer a type of tax credit; most have rebates, grants or loans, but needless to say in this time of budget and revenue scrutiny, these programs are all receiving careful review. Someone is likely to suggest that the Home Energy Professional QC Inspector certification is a way to see to it that the government gets the energy savings it is paying for. I won’t make a prediction here, but any talk of fiscal responsibility begs the question “how do we ensure we get what we are paying for?”