Industry standards and certification do more than validate professionalism, says ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride. A third-party audit proves a company providing snow and ice management services is operating by a prescribed set of snow-industry standards, especially as it pertains to documentation.
In Snow Magazine's May issue I revealed for the first time the Accredited Snow Contractors Association's pursuit of an ISO-certification program and how it is being designed to meet the unique needs of the professional snow and ice management industry. (Click HERE to read "ASCA introduces indepedent audit")
I am very excited to report that this process has moved into its action phase following the ASCA's Industry Standards Committee's completion of the snow removal industry's first set of professional standards.
This summer, snow contractors will, for the first time, be able to obtain an independent audit of their snow removal operations and prove that they are abiding by specific best practices as outlined by the ASCA.
Now, I've heard the naysayers’ comments. Kevin, they say, what's the big deal with ISO certification?
Actually, it's a very big deal. Industry standards and certification do more than validate professionalism. In fact, these two key components stretch outside our industry and impact property managers (your clients), insurance companies and plaintiffs' attorneys. Keep in mind that ISO certification is an internationally recognized certification process. It is well known that ISO-certified companies have recognized and accepted processes and procedures in place to ensure product quality.
And in our industry "product quality" includes customer satisfaction and risk mitigation. A third-party audit proves a company providing snow and ice management services is operating by a prescribed set of snow-industry standards, especially as it pertains to documentation. This is a flashing neon sign to the outside world that your professional affairs are in order, and it would be a fool's errand to challenge your operation with a slip-and-fall lawsuit.
Most lawsuits in our industry are settled out of court or lost due to lack of proper documentation. But imagine a plaintiff’s attorney, while doing his or her due diligence, discovering you have earned ISO certification and declining to file a slip-and-fall lawsuit because it's an unwinnable scenario.
Still not convinced?
Then I suggest you attend our 2012 Executive Summit, being held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Aug. 9-11. There you'll gain a wealth of information about what the ASCA is doing to mitigate contractor risk and how ISO certification benefits the entire professional snow removal industry. In addition, a hand-picked lineup of speakers will educate you on how to better run your business and plan for future success.
Click HERE for conference registration info. I hope to see you in Fort Lauderdale. I hope to see you there.
Kevin Gilbride is executive director of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association. Contact him direct at email@example.com