Tips for hiring a mold remediation company

Tips for hiring a mold remediation company

In this article, I will reveal some key tips to consider when sourcing out your best option before hiring a mold remediation company. If you are unfamiliar with the potential dangers of mold contamination to your health and pocket book, take a look at this article first… Ok, now that we are up to speed, consider these two important questions:

 1) Where is the mold coming from?

Unless obvious, you will need to know the source(s) so it can be prevented in the future. Initially, many remediation companies are primarily concerned with testing the air quality for mold spore counts and removing the mold.

Although a good indicator of the indoor air quality as it relates to mold, air sampling and lab reports cannot help you figure out specifically where the problem exists. In addition, remediation contractors make the bulk of their revenue by removing the mold and restoring the home to safe conditions. This is great in the short term but will not prevent the mold from coming back. So your best option is to hire an independent mold inspector to determine where the mold is coming from, why it is growing and what to do about it. Mold inspectors leave the mold removal to the remediation and restoration contractors.

 2) How much mold can be identified, or how big is the problem?

This next question is so very important because the answer will help you determine how it effectively needs to be dealt with. In another article, I detail the severity of mold contamination, in relation to how much is found. Essentially, if you see more than 10 square feet of mold growth, you will need to call in a mold remediation company to rectify the problem.

Alright, so how do we choose the best mold removal company?

Below I have listed a number of questions that will help put you choose the best company for your needs…

Do they offer pre & post indoor air quality testing or recommend a third party?

It is standard practice for mold removal companies to conduct pre and post indoor air quality testing for mold. Typically they do this to maintain control of the remediation process. It also saves them time.

A few select companies will suggest you have an independent, 3rd party mold inspector come by to perform air quality testing before (if necessary) and after the job has been completed. This is further assurance that the company is ethical and confident in the work they do. Air testing by a 3rd party mold inspector will be able to verify through the lab reports if the air quality is safe upon completion of the remediation job. I wouldn’t suggest that all companies doing their own testing are unethical, however, to be sure that the testing is unbiased, it would be best to go with a mold inspector, not a remediation company.

Also, it is not unusual for remediation companies to conduct air quality testing as soon as they arrive on site. This should be avoided, as a thorough inspection needs take place first. Also, it is not recommended to test the air for mold when it is visible. This is not necessary and a waste of money.

Regardless of which company performs the air samples, they should be sent to a qualified American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) approved lab for analysis.

Does the company have a proven track record? How experienced are they?

One way to find out about the company is to check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if there have been any complaints. You can also do an internet search titled “reviews for company” in Google. Many companies don’t have a lot of reviews. This does not necessarily mean they are bad. However, if a company has a lot of positive feedback, and provides an opportunity for clients to do so, then this is a good first step. You also want to find out if the companies will provide references for past work completed, and if they offer a guarantee for their work.

It is advisable to find out how long the company has been doing business and how much experience their employees have. You should ask the contractor if this is their full time job, or just a part time endeavor. Often a strata or property management company will use handymen, as they charge less. In addition to being less expensive, they typically lack the necessary training and expertise needed to perform the job. So always choose a remediation company over a handyman.

Does the company take the time to learn about your mold problem?

This is an important part of your search. The company representative should ask you a number of questions over the phone to learn as much as possible prior to booking a visit. Some questions include…

  • When did you first notice the mold?
  • How did you discover the mold?
  • Is there a moldy or musty is an odour?
  • Where is the mold?
  • Is this a reoccurring mold problem?
  • Have you spoken to any other companies? What did they tell you?
  • Have you had any prior testing done?
  • Are you aware of any present or past leaks?
  • Do your use your kitchen and bathroom fans?
  • Has the outside of the home and or the roof been inspected?

 These questions will show you that they truly want to understand and solve your mold problem.

Mold Remediation

Remediation contractor at work

 Will the company provide a clear scope of work along with the quote?

 After their initial assessment the company should provide a detailed plan (scope of work) on how they will remove the mold and restore your home to a safe living environment. The quote and scope of work should be detailed and specific, yet absent of additional work that is not required. It should include details about containment and equipment use.

 There are several remediation companies operating in each city, so be sure to ask for a few quotes to compare. If you are not 100% clear on what they are providing for you, then ask them to explain and justify it. And last, make sure that you have a full scope of work along with the quote before the job begins. This will protect you from additional charges that “come up” after the job begins.

Do the company technicians have the appropriate credentials, training, insurance and experience for the job?

 There are very strict protocols set out by associations and organizations offering certifications. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning & Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) are two such examples. Remediation companies are required to follow these protocols when removing mold. You’ll want to ask if they do so and if their employees are certified.

They should belong to a relevant association, such as the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA). Find out if the company has other experts that can be called in to help them, such as Industrial Hygienists. You should also ask if they work with insurance companies in case you want to make a claim.

 Do they use safe cleaning agents during remediation?

 There are many cleaning products and chemicals that are used remediation contractors. Some of the chemicals in the cleaners are not approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Properly certified contractors are knowledgeable about cleaning and restoration methods, chemicals and cleaners. Ideally, they should be using non toxic Eco-friendly natural products. Ask if any of the products they use have been linked to heath issues, and therefore not recommended for use.

 Are you getting fair value?

 When you take a look at the quotation, ask yourself if everything seems reasonable. This may be difficult, especially if you are not experienced at studying their quotes or scope of work.

As mentioned earlier, it is best to compare quotes from a few different companies. You may consider calling an established, credible mold inspector for an opinion. Ideally the scope of work from each company should be relatively consistent. If a big discrepancy exists between the companies, you will need to probe further to find out why.  

 Some companies will offer a free estimate in an effort to earn your business. This is great, but should not be expected. I do not recommend choosing a company for this reason alone. Remediation companies charge by the time it takes to complete the job, the service required, labour and the products they use. So, in reality, the estimate is only free if the company does not get the job. You can be sure that they will build the cost of the “free” estimate into the final bill.

 For more information on this topic, feel free to contact me at 604-729-4261