Lead safety issues are all over the news these days and contractors are well aware of the fact that they are required to be certified in EPA lead safety procedures. Federal law requires that not just contractors but all types of maintenance workers –from plumbers to electricians – who do any type of renovation work in pre-1978 buildings, homes, or other facilities must be classified by the EPA as Lead-Safe Certified Renovators or face heavy fines and penalties. This is because these projects can lead to the disturbance of lead-based paint and cause a wide variety of health problems.
Educating Customers about Lead Safety Procedures
While those in the construction industry understand lead-related issues, many consumers do not. Companies and individuals simply see it as an extra line item on their work estimate. In many cases, construction companies are even accused of tacking on extra charges for their own profit. However, EPA compliance does not come cheap. In addition to training and consulting costs, special materials and equipment are necessary. In light of these facts, some people will specifically seek out non-certified contractors in an effort to save money.
In order to prevent the loss of a contract simply because a customer is upset about the costs passed along to them, it is important to help these customers understand what they stand to gain from a reputable contractor who is lead-safe certified. Here are some things to keep in mind when talking to your client about lead removal:
- As the contractor, you should be the one to bring up the fact that lead-paint may be present and needs to be dealt with for the health of your client. Don’t wait for your client to ask about lead removal as this may seem like an effort to mislead the client.
- Let your customer know that you are committed to doing things by the book. Do they really want to work with a shady contractor who is willing to skirt the law by taking shortcuts? If they are willing to be dishonest in this manner, can you really trust them to do a good job for you?
- Know your stuff. Don’t just tell a potential customer you are certified because it’s the law. Rather, let them know the dangers. The more knowledgeable you are, the more your client will trust you.
- Show your credentials. Telling a client that you are lead-certified doesn’t carry as much weight as showing them your certifications. It also shows that you take your responsibilities seriously.
- Tell your client how any lead-paint will be handled. Although lead-based removal is a critical procedure, clients many times have an exaggerated idea of what exactly the process will entail. Letting them know what to expect will make them feel more comfortable with the whole process and put their mind at ease.