Tue, Oct 18, 2022 9:24AM • 16:11
mold, remediation, contractor, people, test, kit, professional, notify, disturbing, respirator, Jason, inspection, document, sample, symptoms, financials, air, gases, asthma, ruth
Ruth King, Jason Earle
Ruth King 00:00
This is Contractor Cents with Ruth King. Welcome to Contractor Cents, here you discover ideas, tactics, news, and information that matters to your contracting business. I’m your host, Ruth King. This episode is sponsored by Profitability Movement, google Profitability/movement to join this community of business owners focused on building profit, increasing wealth, and giving back. Thank you for joining us, here’s how we will help your business and you today.
Whether you’re in the plumbing, HVAC, electrical generators, or another trade that enters people’s homes, you’re likely to encounter mold at times. What’s the right thing to do? My guest today, Jason Earle can answer this question and more. He’s the founder of Got Mold?. And Jason has personal experience with mold and resolve the issues related to mold in his life. Jason, welcome to Contractor Cents.
Jason Earle 00:50
Hi, Ruth, thanks for having me.
Ruth King 00:52
My pleasure. So I want to start with your story because you were affected by mold yourself.
Jason Earle 00:59
Yes, I… people always wonder why I got in the mold business in the first place. And most of the people that I know, that are in this space, that are doing really great work, have a personal story. Because, you know, mold isn’t really… there’s no academic track…
Ruth King 01:13
No, there’s not.
Jason Earle 01:14
…for you know, for healthy building consultants or for mold in general.
And so it’s one of those things that people often I think, get it done… fall into the industry due to their own personal experience, and then find that’s irreversible knowledge that they’d like to pay forward and help other people not have to go through the steep learning curve, and it’s costly. And it costly, you know, in terms of health, and also costly in terms of money, so… and so it’s one of those things where, you know, mold is something that you don’t really think about too much until it affects you. And then once it affects you, you will never forget.
Ruth King 01:50
How did it affect you?
Jason Earle 01:51
I was around four years old, suddenly having trouble breathing and lost a bunch of weight in a three week period, and my parents were uncomfortable, took me to the pediatrician who said you should take him to the hospital. And they took me to Children’s Hospital, which was a renowned respiratory hospital. That was just an hour away from our house. And based upon my family history, and the symptoms I was presenting with they initially diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which thankfully, six weeks later, there was a second, they get a second opinion.
And they concluded they didn’t have CF actually had asthma, compounded by pneumonia. And when they tested me for allergies, I was alerted to literally every single thing that they tested me for, which was like grass, wheat, corn, eggs, dogs, cats, even cotton. So clothing and sheets were irritating to me. And so I lived that way until I was about 12 years old, at which point my folks split up.
And we moved out of that house and all my symptoms went away. And I never really thought about again, because my grandfather had grown out of his asthma. And so we talked about it, but it was just never, we never connected thoughts on it really, until I had you know, through a series of interesting circumstances, I became a stockbroker at a really young age when I was 16. I did that until I was 25. And then one day I went on walkabout because I wanted to do something meaningful with my life. And while I was away, I was reading a story about a guy who’d gotten sick from a hotel where he was an employee was actually in Hawaii, and I was there.
And the gentleman had developed at 40 years old, adult onset asthma, as well as sensitivities, all these things that he had never even had problems with all these foods and things. And it was like a deja vu moment for me because suddenly I was thinking, geez, I wonder if all that stuff that I had going on as a kid was mold related. And I wonder if we didn’t know anything about mold. I call my father and asked him if he thought we had a mold problem. And he just laughed and he said, Jason we had mushrooms in the basement. Of course we have mold.
Why do you ask? And that one moment was such a lightbulb for me because it was a first of all, that was just this flippant response that, of course we have mold, who cares? Well, yeah, they had an asthmatic kid. Well, they both also smoke indoors.
So not for lack of love, but for lack of awareness. That was the 70s and 80s, right? But the bottom line is that I immediately connected in my mind, an interest about how buildings impact people’s health, I was raised in a construction and health care family. And so it’s kind of a kind of natural, we were talking about… you know, like, we’re in the trades, and also my a lot of my family was in healthcare. And so the idea that I would marry these two ideas, you know, and find, you know, any interest in it is, is not really a surprise in retrospect.
Although I would have never have told you that I would have been the CEO of 1-800-GOT-MOLD?. If you told me that when I was a stockbroker, you know, I would have laughed out of the room. But here we are today. And so basically, I came back to New Jersey armed with curiosity started working for a remediation company because I wanted to understand what was going on. There were really not very many remediation contractors at the time, they were actually a basement waterproofing contractor that was doing mold remediation, and I quickly saw that they were getting that they were really not doing the right thing by consumers.
And so I started an inspection company on the side with the idea that all of these environmental hazards eventually bifurcate into an assessment side and a remediation side. Bridge regulations usually do that, and so I decided to just plant my feet on the inspection side. And that company, we pioneered the use of mold sniffing dogs, which gave us a lot of national attention. And then that became 1-800-GOT-MOLD?, our mold assessment business that I’ve been running for 20 years.
Ruth King 05:15
Yep. So let’s assume that, you know, a contractor or a technician walks into a house and he discovers mold. What should he do?
Jason Earle 05:26
First thing you do is document it. But the first thing you have to do is figure out how do you know that there’s mold, right? Because…
Ruth King 05:32
That’s a good question.
Jason Earle 05:33
Ruth King 05:33
Black spots on the walls, or there’s stuff in the heating and air ducts and vents, and it’s black, and it looks like mold. So what do we do?
Jason Earle 05:42
Well, first things first is you have to make sure if you see something, smell something or feel something you want to document it. And so that means you want to take plenty of pictures, you want to take notes, you want to make sure that whatever when you walk onto a property and there’s a preexisting condition of mold or moisture, you want to make sure that that’s well known to all relevant parties, because you don’t want to be blamed for it.
The other thing is, you don’t wanna start messing around with these things. Any mold, disturbing moldy building materials is a great way to increase your liability. I’m not a lawyer never played one on TV, but moving moldy stuff makes mold disperse into the air, and it will increase the cost of a job potentially exponentially.
And so when you see a mold… moldy project, one of the things that actually a lot of contractors are doing now we created a do it yourself test kit a number of years ago to answer the needs for people who were on a budget and couldn’t afford a professional inspection. And a lot of contractors are now using that, it’s the Got Mold? Test Kit, you can go to gotmold.com.
A lot of contractors are going into houses, if they see a mold problem, they immediately take the kit out of the truck and they grab an air sample to document the presence of the mold. And then they begin to go to work. But the next step is if you’re going to go to work, and you can do it in such a way that you’re not going to disturb what’s there, you have to protect yourself. That means you have to wear a full 95 respirator. But quite frankly, you’re better off with a P 100.
You’re better off with the full face if you’ve got any sort of allergic sensitivities, because your eyes tend to be… they tend to be sites for reactions in a lot of sensitive individuals. But if you’re not that sensitive, at the very least you want to reduce your exposure and mold is tricky because it’s not just particles, it’s also gases.
That musty odor has an immune creates an immune response and many people and so you want to also make sure that whatever respiratory respirator you’re using doesn’t just take up particles but also the gases, the VOCs. And you’ll know if it’s working because you won’t smell the mold in your respirator and you take it off and you’ll smell the mold. That’s the respirator you need to protect yourself.
Ruth King 07:43
Okay, so when we get back from break, we’ll continue you know what we do so how do people contact you if they are interested in the kit or finding out more about Got Mold?
Jason Earle 07:53
Gotmold.com And right on the homepage right there you can you can ask whatever questions you want. And also we filled questions on our Facebook page, which is at Got Mold?, or facebook.com/gotmold.
Ruth King 07:56
Gotmold.com Got it? Okay, we’ll be right back. Thanks for listening to Contractor Cents. You can’t. That’s my daughter Kate told me when I said I wanted to make financials fun. The Gauntlet was laid down. The red blanket was waved in front of the bull run in the rubber duck was born. This ebook is a whimsical look at financials from a ducks perspective. To get this fun, easy to read Kindle book, go to Amazon and search for Ronan the Rubber Duck Dives into Financials. That’s r o n a n the Rubber Duck Dives into Financials. Let me know if I made financials fun for you. We’re back. Thanks for listening to Contractor Cents. I’m here with Jason Earle, who is the founder and CEO of Got Mold?, and Jason give everybody your website address again, please.
Jason Earle 08:55
Sure it’s gotmold.com G O T M O L D .com
Ruth King 09:00
Just like it sounds..
Jason Earle 09:02
That’s right. sounded out. Yeah.
Ruth King 09:04
So before the break, we were talking about a heating and air technician a plumbing technician and electrical guy. I’m sorry, guys. So Electrical Technician walks into a home and they see what they think is mold. And you had mentioned you have a like a test kit. And we should start documenting. So that was part one. Part two was to put on a mask and you mentioned a specific type of mask. What was that?
Jason Earle 09:31
Right, that’s right. So, n95 are the masks that most people are familiar with because of COVID and they will arrest 95% of particulate matter within a certain size range. Much like a HEPA filter, but not quite as efficient. The air quality problems are generally caused by a combination of particles and gases and mold in particular, is produced by a suite of these things and so you need something called the P 100. Or even a p95. But the P, it includes the VOCs, includes the gas is very important.
Ruth King 10:03
Okay, so we take pictures, we put on P 100 mask to protect ourselves, can we work or not?
Jason Earle 10:11
Well, yes, you can, as long as you’re not experiencing symptoms, and as long as you’re not disturbing any of the substrates that have mold on them, now, your company policies may be different. And I would say that that’s really something that should be discussed with with as as a, as a company, you should have a policy on that. The other thing is you should notify your supervisor, and you should notice that notify the property owner presence of mold immediately, they may not want you to proceed.
The other thing is that it should be referred to a qualified indoor environmental consultant. This is also tricky, because there are very few that are independent, but that person would potentially be hired by the property owner to do a proper assessment. And they will generate a scope of work and then bring in remediation contractors. So another key in other words, bottom line is this document document document. Notify, notify, notify, protect yourself, you know, don’t go boldly, and you’re not going to win any awards by being a hero and ultimately, property.
Ruth King 11:13
No, definitely not. But what does the test kit do specifically?
Jason Earle 11:17
Sure. So if you want to have your house tested for mold, right now, the spectrum of products available or spectrum of services available, kind of starts at a $10 test kit that you can buy at Home Depot, those petri dishes, which do not work, they’re scientifically invalid, there’s all sorts of, you know, guidance that says don’t use those, they sell some hundreds of millions of dollars a year worth of those things don’t buy those don’t use as they’re always positive, they’re just petri dishes. On the other side of the spectrum, you’ve got these professional tests which which which require a professional but also this air sampling pump and these cassettes called spore traps.
What we did was we took the technology of the spore trap and shrunk it down and made a consumer friendly way for people to use that test that a professional use. But without all the costs and aggravation, and concerns about finding and hiring a qualified professional. And so the air sampling kit that we sell the got mold test kit allows you to sample the air in up to three rooms. And then once you buy the kit. And by the way, when you sample the air in three rooms.
There’s… it’s a sample collector device with a prepaid mailer that goes directly to the top lab in the country EMLab P&K. The turnaround time is one business day once that once received at the lab, and you get a full report with a with a simple interpretation green, yellow, orange or red, depending upon the severity of what was found, as well as next steps as well as resources where to find professionals, whether it be an inspector or a remediation contractor, as well as an e book that we include.
It’s basically filled with inspection checklists and guidance on on what to do. And we find that we get a lot of positive feedback about that. But the… once you use the kit, you also get you the air sampling pump, which we created the duplicate the professional air sampling pump, exactly, you get to keep that and then you if you want to retest and this is really great for contractors, because once you buy the kit, you get the pump, and then you can just buy refills, and the refills are $50 less. So for one room, it’s it’s $99 for one test, so you could just throw those in the back of the truck and all the lab fees all the all the mailings all the shipping both ways all included. So there’s no surprise fees, no hidden charges.
Ruth King 13:20
Cool. All right. So we also have to educate the techs on this too, that sounds like.
Jason Earle 13:25
For sure, for sure. And but the good news is that this kit was designed to be easy enough that a four year old could do it. It really is that easy. And so the Educate the the learning curve isn’t nearly as steep as it would be if you were using professional equipment. It’s really, really easy. Once they do it once it’s just like it’s almost…. it’s almost Child’s Play really true.
Ruth King 13:47
I like child’s play, it’s fine, it’s a little easier.
Jason Earle 13:51
Ruth King 13:52
So document, tell the homeowner, what’s going to…
Jason Earle 13:56
Ruth King 13:57
Yeah, take pictures, and then do the sample, send the sample in continue work if you’re not going to disturb the mold and go from there, once they get the results, correct?
Jason Earle 14:08
And you’re not experiencing symptoms, right? So you know, if you’re if you’re properly protected, and you’re able to do the work without disturbing the materials, what you’re… where you’re seeing mold, and that also you also have to be careful, right? If HVAC contractors, you know, this is something that they need to be hyper aware of.
But you know, movement of air is moving in there and so disturbing a surface to me just that are flipping a switch. And so you know, you just have to really think twice about that. And my suggestion is don’t do the work. But if you are under pressure and you need to do it, then at least document notify and protect yourself. Those two might that’s the best advice I can give.
Ruth King 14:41
Yeah, if it’s 20 below zero and there’s no heat, you’re going to do the work, mold or no work.
Jason Earle 14:46
You’re going to do the work. You’re gonna do the work. I mean, we’re there for emergency stuff, right? A lot of times that’s what’s happening and so Plumbing Contractors really come into that situation a lot where they’re coming in, there’s been a flood, there’s been a leak, you know, I mean, they’re not going to stop the work until remediation because the whole point by the way, the root word of remediation is remedy.
So before any of what people call remediation, which is tear out, you know, basically demolition in a controlled setting and cleanup, that remediation, the first step of that is actually remedy. So truly, by definition, the plumber or the HVAC technician is or the roofer is the first step in remediation.
Ruth King 15:23
Yep, absolutely. So, Jason, give us your website again.
Jason Earle 15:27
Sure. It’s gotmold.com, g o t m o l d .com
Ruth King 15:34
Thank you so much for being my guest.
Jason Earle 15:37
And thank you, Ruth.
Ruth King 15:38
All right, and thanks to all of you for joining us choose one thing that you discovered and implemented in your business. These ideas, tactics and strategies help you make more money, have more free time and give back. If you liked today’s program, spread the word. Please review this podcast on any device you’re listening to add on. help a fellow contractor make more money too. For comments or questions call me at 770-729-0258 or email RuthKing@HVACchannel.tv Thanks for listening. Have a great and profitable day.