To Be, Or Not To Be (Accredited), That Is The Question
Home Performance standards can sometimes be as difficult to understand as Shakespeare, and the results of your work can have great significance. But while it may not be a life or death decision, anyone getting into Home Performance Contracting will eventually face the question of whether to become accredited. While you need to find your own path, there are a few things you should consider when making this decision:
1. Training and Certification
It is critical that anyone testing or working on the envelope and systems of a home understand what they are doing and follow established best practices. Home Performance Contractors can create unhealthy or dangerous conditions through their work if it is done improperly. They must understand what the testing tells them, and know what to do and what not to do, based on the testing results and individual situations they encounter.
Like a physician whose dictate is to first do no harm, training and education of Home Performance professionals is critical to ensure proper practice. Certification of those individuals demonstrates an understanding of the principles and standards required to complete Home Performance work safely and effectively. It is also typically required in order to participate in utility rebate and other incentive programs. Individual training and certification is ultimately, a requirement in this line of business.
2. Adherence to Standards
One of the unfortunate realities of Home Performance work is that you are a slave to many masters—and their name is Standards! These can come in the form of Standards from Trade and Industry Associations, Utilities, or even Local, State, or Federal Governments. They may be similar, but there is no guarantee they are, or that they will even agree—and you must learn most or all of them if you want to play this game. The good news is that there is a lot of pressure being exerted to create more uniform standards.
Regardless, following required and/or accredited standards can help assure that the work you are doing is of the highest possible caliber; it helps to protect you and your customer; and it ensures that your customer will receive any incentives due to them—which also helps you to sell more work. Like certification, adherence to standards is also a requirement in this line of business.
That leaves accreditation; and unlike certifications and adherence to standards, this may not be mandatory. It is also a lot more complicated. Unlike certification, which follows the individual performing the work, accreditation is for the company employing that individual. There are some pros and cons to accreditation, including:
Whether or not to become accredited often comes down to what is required to participate in incentive programs in your market. But if that is all that is driving your decision, I will give you another lesson from the Bard, as he explored the relation between slave and master in The Tempest: As one gains power, the other loses it. If your Home Performance business can’t survive without incentive programs, then you really don’t have a business—you are just a slave to a program.
We decided, after becoming accredited, that accreditation was not important to our business, and did not provide enough value to us to continue it. As a result, we did not renew our accreditation. However, it is an individual decision. You will have to consider all of the costs and benefits, and find the answer for yourself. To be or not to be (Accredited), that is the question.
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