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View Full Version : Online Certification ~ Pro's and Con's?



Carlos Gonzales
05-04-2009, 08:55 PM
Just throwing this out there to you all but wanted to see at first blush what the pros and cons to any type of online certification is?

This is a General Discussion!!

Terry Miller
05-04-2009, 11:33 PM
Carlos,
I am not sure what online Certification exactly is. If it is gaining Certification through online training and testing, I believe it could be part of an actual Certification. I also believe the actual training, testing, etc. should be done by qualified individuals. Not necessarily individuals who have years of experience or a profitable business. The Accreditation I hold presently is actually done through individuals who are not even in my work field. They are educators and business people. Some are skilled craftsman and all are trained in the field of training and or business. After all, we are looking for an education more then a piece of paper that says we know something. Too many folks sell Certification for profit. Unfortunatly the only winners are the seller. I also like hands on training. This could be done at a UAMCC sponsored event or convention. I hope I'm not way out in my thoughts. Thank you.

OrlandoRoofCleaners.com
05-04-2009, 11:47 PM
It obviously lacks credibility all the way around.

If I stay up until 2 AM, I can get accredited for anything I want on TV. :redcard::headshakesmile-fast

John Tornabene
05-05-2009, 12:10 AM
Terry good answer. I don't see a problem with doing online certifications if its done right. It all how you market most of this stuff anyway. Maybe you can have an initial class with a certification test afterwords and then a few years later those people for a cost may be able to renew there certification thru an online process.

There is so many different ways to look at this.

Ken Fenner
05-05-2009, 12:18 AM
This is where I think WRAPI hit it on the head. I'm not a big fan of the whole certification thing but if I were to participate I'd like to see a two part program. Online testing and printed manuals could be one phase but field work is where its at. WRAPI was going to be set up with wood working masters. These masters would then mentor and test people from their region. The effect becomes like a pyramid or hierarchy and the training spreads mwithout everyone have to travel to coporate headquarters to spend a week somewhere.

Damaris Sutton
05-05-2009, 01:31 AM
I think an option of Classroom and Online study courses with practical application in the science of cleaning and use of proper chemicals would be nice.

Also, I think when the person passes all the class room (on-line) study there should be a week of in field training to apply all that was learned, sort of like an applied science. What is the use of the knowledge without the appl;ication of it. What is the point of application left to yourself. There would still be a learning curve with all the info from an on-line certification in of itself.

So in essence there needs to be head knowledge and back application.

RMedbery
05-05-2009, 08:01 AM
I dont think certifiers should train nor trainers certify.

Mike Schoeben
05-05-2009, 09:06 AM
Certification only makes money for the folks who conduct the certification. How many customers actually check out anyone's certification in any field?

The biggest problem I see is who exactly is the "authority" in our respective fields? Who's the best roof cleaner, deck refinisher, pressure washer, or vent hood cleaner? Who's to say? Why would I throw away good money to get certified for something I already know how to do?

Like Don said, lacks credibility all the way around.

RMedbery
05-05-2009, 09:20 AM
I hold an FAA Airframe & Powerplant certificate and an FCC General Radiotelephone Operators certificate. They are both very credible, as a mater of fact you cannot work on those respective systems without them. So it depends on the credibility of the certificate issuer. Again the issuer should not also be the trainer.

Ken Fenner
05-05-2009, 09:33 AM
Mike, that has always been the problem with certification. I feel qualified to train guys in wood restoration using the right chems and low pressure. There is a guy in Texas that performs outstanding deck work and he uses high pressure and bleach and cheap stain. What benefit would he get from me ramming my technique down his throat?

With that being said, certification is primarily for new guys or for those looking for a piece of paper they can market to customers. Look how long hood certification has been around and to this day, that industry still fights over it.

I think the power washing industry is looking for a set of standards but I cannot see any washing standards being adapted that wouldn't conflict. The only certification that a customer would really appreciate is being "business" certified. (ie all licensing and insurance in place). I used to flash my Wolman certification and 8 out of 10 people would say "what's a Wolman?"

I think there is so much other stuff the UAMCC (just my contractor opinion) could work on that would better the industry from the top down versus opening the certification can or worms.

Thad Eckhoff
05-05-2009, 09:48 AM
Too many folks sell Certification for profit. Unfortunatly the only winners are the seller.

How much does a piece of paper or online certificate cost?
It can be very profitable. You just need a really cool sticker.


It obviously lacks credibility all the way around.



Terry good answer. I don't see a problem with doing online certifications if its done right. It all how you market most of this stuff anyway.

The only real use for online certification is for a sales tool.
And I'm not saying that I definitely wouldn't use it.


I dont think certifiers should train nor trainers certify.

Somebody ban Roger. Quick!
He's making logical sensible posts. Can't have that.


Certification only makes money for the folks who conduct the certification. How many customers actually check out anyone's certification in any field?


It can be used as a sales tool, depending on how well you sell it and how impressive the sticker is.

Jeff Wible
05-05-2009, 03:27 PM
Unfortunately, the fields of work we're speaking of are "considered" in most part to be doable by just about anyone. The general public would consider certification in our fields a joke. Would be like certifying the lawn guy. It's not state regulated at all, and has no set guidelines or "tests" to pass. Never gonna be worth any time or money put into it. Easier to focus on what it is,... and what you can make out of it by being your best at it and let your customers decide who is considered "certified",...simply by proving it,...over and over again!!

Jeff

Damaris Sutton
05-05-2009, 04:28 PM
I think there will come a time with certification. If you do not believe that just look to the EPA. If they can regulate water use and chemical use, then they will require there be a certification. Why jump on their wagon later instead of creating our own now?

Beth Borrego
05-05-2009, 04:28 PM
This was a popular topic with PWNA in the past also, but they never did anything about it. As I recall, part of the discussion was regarding contractors who became certified but then let certification lapse, or who simply could not afford to travel and attend certification classes. In either case the online certification (or re-certification) was appealing. Another appealing thing they did was to accept certain things as CE credits so that you didn't have to re-certify if you had done certain things.

I know we would be interested in being able to test and retest online, as needed.

Beth

Gary Schell
05-05-2009, 10:02 PM
Hmmm.

Pros
-convenient
-flexible, meaning gives the person ability to do it on their time

Cons
-other than a marketing tool, what does certification really prove in this line of work?

A contractor's body of work should be certification enough

Damaris Sutton
05-05-2009, 10:28 PM
I guess the whole certification thing is to somehow be able yo justify the prices we give. Lets just do this. "I am sorry you can not seem to afford my service Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner, maybe if you had not lived beyond your means you could afford a few hundred dollars for once a year service :eek:

Too blunt you think...:biggrin:

Henry Bockman
05-06-2009, 12:24 AM
I'm a big promoter of education and certification. If the UAMCC comes up with a class and certification I'll take it. I've won a LOT of contracts because of the training and certs we have taken over the years. Maybe training doesn't mean much to some of the guys on here but if it means anything to the customers I'm bidding a job for and other bidders don't have it... Then it's priceless! As we do more larger contracts our training and certification is really a nice edge to have. I'm bidding 28 shopping centers in the DC area and the price is well over $100,000.00, and they specifically asked for EPA compliant cleaning.

How many people in the DC area have taken any type of EPA compliance training or courses for pressure washing?

I know Beth, Rob and I have. Anyone else? It looks like there may be some value in training after all!

Even if our clients don't care about our certifications, at least we know how not to screw something up that will jack up our insurance rates after some claim!

Jeff Wible
05-06-2009, 07:05 AM
I think this thread is leaning toward certification in knowing how to do the work in general, not how to be compliant in different aspects. Although that would be part of being certified, I don't think what you speak of is of relevance to this "certification" thread,....because there is apparently already a certification test for EPA compliance,...so this thread wouldn't be debatable.
But with that being said, there probably should be a standard in this business set by the state that requires EPA certification, it would be good for the environment and stop a lot of guys from just jumping into this work for extra income.

Jeff

John Orr
05-06-2009, 09:15 AM
A goal of every business should be to work hard to create a difference between themselves and the competition; to give your customers a reason to choose your company. That's why we work hard on ads, websites, truck lettering, uniforms, etc.

If a certification is relevant to your business, why wouldn't you want it? (How many of us are "Wolman Certified" and use their products?)

Henry Bockman
05-06-2009, 02:44 PM
That's a good point Jeff and I'm already working with some AHJ's here in Maryland to require licensing for pressure washing and I'm also working with the EPA departments in Maryland to create BMP's for the state. I've been talking with these people for years and slowly starting to bring them around. I think I'm finally starting to make some major headway though!

Ken Fenner
05-06-2009, 04:05 PM
Not to steer this conversation sideways but I will for a moment. Henry mentioned licensing. I'm all for it if it is enforced. That seems to be where the plot falls apart. AHJ passes a licensing law but has no plan in place to implement the manpower (or the money to increase public awareness) for enforcement. The same goes for reclaim. I'll buy a $30,000 rig if it puts the smaller, corner cutting companies out of the game. But, just like gun control, and security cameras, the only ones that abide by the law are the ones that were already doing the right thing.

How do we go about convincing municipalities that passing BMP's and licensing laws without enforcement is just a way of screwing the honest guys?

Henry Bockman
05-06-2009, 07:21 PM
In the DC area consumers are pretty careful, if the MHIC says someone should have a license most people will use a contractor that has one. The ones that hire the cheap illegal guy don't bother me too much, they will mess something up and get sued by the homeowner. Once licensing is required in Maryland the MHIC will enforce it when they find a non lisenced contractor. It's revenue for them! Also, some advertisers won't list unlicensed company advertisements, so that's another plus.

In the long run it may or may not make a huge impact in MD but it will help and it will force these guys to become compliant or face fines and jail time. Expecially if they mess up someones property without a license!

Beth Borrego
05-14-2009, 08:49 AM
In the DC area consumers are pretty careful, if the MHIC says someone should have a license most people will use a contractor that has one. The ones that hire the cheap illegal guy don't bother me too much, they will mess something up and get sued by the homeowner. Once licensing is required in Maryland the MHIC will enforce it when they find a non lisenced contractor. It's revenue for them! Also, some advertisers won't list unlicensed company advertisements, so that's another plus.

In the long run it may or may not make a huge impact in MD but it will help and it will force these guys to become compliant or face fines and jail time. Expecially if they mess up someones property without a license!

Well put. There are some really good unlicensed companies, who I hope get their MHIC, they are a credit to our industry. :clap:

On the other hand, I have seen too many blow and go hack jobs where the decks are torn up and need serious work to be fixed. Why?

1. other guy was cheaper
2. other guy could be there within 48 hours
3. washed and sealed in one trip (don't even get me started on that)
4. washing sold as "green" - high pressure only
5.other guy gave a phone quote based on the client trying to figure out how big the deck was.

AAAAGGGGHHH!!!!! :mad:

Beth

Daniel Hulbert
05-16-2009, 10:37 PM
I agree with Roger You can't have the test conducted by the training facility. I think a separate group should be tasked with creating a test independent of the trainers and should be proctored by another party as well. When I took my Real Estate License test first you had to go through a 65hr course then you had two chances to take the test if you failed the first time you had to wait 30 days then take again.The second test was a completely different test and was designed to be harder then the first test, if you fail the second test you had to retake the 65hr course and retake the test again this goes on until you pass. Seems kinda harsh but will definitely weed out the Home Depot weekend washers that low ball everything. With an org like UAMCC if this was setup properly from the start it could definitely bring credibility to the industry.

Tony Shelton
05-17-2009, 01:18 AM
I agree with Roger You can't have the test conducted by the training facility. I think a separate group should be tasked with creating a test independent of the trainers and should be proctored by another party as well. When I took my Real Estate License test first you had to go through a 65hr course then you had two chances to take the test if you failed the first time you had to wait 30 days then take again.The second test was a completely different test and was designed to be harder then the first test, if you fail the second test you had to retake the 65hr course and retake the test again this goes on until you pass. Seems kinda harsh but will definitely weed out the Home Depot weekend washers that low ball everything. With an org like UAMCC if this was setup properly from the start it could definitely bring credibility to the industry.

Daniel, I hate to burst your bubble, but every housewife and car salesman with a pen and a few hours a week to spare was licensed as a Real Estate Agent in Nevada for the past 6 years.

Now they are all gone. Licensing didn't weed them out. The ones who planned for the long term weeded them out along with REAL competition.

Vigorous competition thins the herd, not government regulation.

Daniel Hulbert
05-17-2009, 09:09 AM
Your not bursting my bubble :headshakesmile-fast but here in Florida you have people working out of the back of there station wagon with a Home Depot PW, no county license, no insurance and absolutely no idea what the he!! They are doing, what Im getting at is due to the cost and time they would have to commit to achieve the education and certificate you will thin out some not all, also Im not talking about any Government involvement just a professional organization that has National recognition. There are alot more pieces of the puzzle that will need to be put together before anyone will see results but all great ideas have to start somewhere sure there will be mistakes along the way and ideas will have to change as well but we need to start somewhere and the sooner we start to develop some form of education and certification program the better

Doug Rucker
06-11-2012, 07:59 AM
Some great points here,,,, I think the main thing is we need to educate....increase the professionalism of our trade...somehow market that not just anyone can do what we do, the way we do it, with the results we achieve...and safely. Some how the public has gotten the idea they can just go buy a PW'er at HD, Lowes and get the same results we do. It's just not possible. I think by offering certifications and teaching contractors how to use the certifications would go a long way in that. That and a National Advertising Campaign.

Tony Shelton
06-11-2012, 09:06 AM
Some great points here,,,, I think the main thing is we need to educate....increase the professionalism of our trade...somehow market that not just anyone can do what we do, the way we do it, with the results we achieve...and safely. Some how the public has gotten the idea they can just go buy a PW'er at HD, Lowes and get the same results we do. It's just not possible. I think by offering certifications and teaching contractors how to use the certifications would go a long way in that. That and a National Advertising Campaign.

Doug, here is a test for you.

Let's say you are getting ready to hire an HVAC company to fix your AC. You figure you might have to spend up to $3k.

Where do you look?
What certifications must they have?
What org must they belong to?

Now, before you start looking that info up, think about last time you called on an AC company and answer those questions based on that time.

I am just trying to get us looking in the right direction before we spend a lot of time and effort on anything that may not have as much value as we theorize.

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk 2

Doug Rucker
06-12-2012, 07:33 AM
Where do I look?? My Church
Certifications?? Didn't really Check
Org? Not a requirement for me because I know the person/company

How I find a contractor or person to work at my home is far different than the General Public does though. Having worked in the HVAC business, I do know from past experience that the certifications we had did matter to a lot of people, not all but a lot.

Tony Shelton
06-12-2012, 09:46 AM
Where do I look?? My Church
Certifications?? Didn't really Check
Org? Not a requirement for me because I know the person/company

How I find a contractor or person to work at my home is far different than the General Public does though. Having worked in the HVAC business, I do know from past experience that the certifications we had did matter to a lot of people, not all but a lot.

Maybe we can all put our heads together and figure out what really drives a customer to a particular contractor and focus on that angle once the certs are in place.

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk 2

Doug Rucker
06-12-2012, 05:29 PM
Yes I agree Tony, I often get customers asking if I am "licensed" and insured, these of course are always owners of very large upscale homes, 1, 2 million and above. I often wonder if a cert would fit nicely in the conversation right there, as well as talking about continuing education.

John Orr
06-14-2012, 10:07 AM
In my residential washing, Angie's List, as well as surfers, have become a major lead generator. My point is that more and more Homeowners are turning to the Internet to find "qualified" contractors of all types.

Case in point, I scheduled a new customer last week that found me through PayPal! PayPal has a listing of businesses that accept PayPal payments. This customer is in Japan and owns a home in my area, so how to pay was a concern.

John Orr
06-14-2012, 10:09 AM
My point was that customers are making buying choices without actually meeting us, so a great resume will bring us business.

Doug Rucker
06-14-2012, 01:38 PM
John, how do you get on that listing???