Compliance with the new RRP Rule can be viewed as how to deal with enforcement and rising costs (heat) or how you take advantage of the opportunities to get more sales and make more money (light). The struggle for many of you isn’t about having to comply, after all you’ve had to follow a bunch of rules surrounding your business, such as building codes, manufacturers instructions, industry best practices - insurance, law and accounting as well. Compliance is not new. This is different. It looks different. It feels different. RRP is big time regulatory compliance. It is government mandates, inspections, backed up with all to real threats of big fines. It involves areas of concern you have never worried about or even considered before. Maybe worse, most of the techniques and materials involve work you haven’t done before and work that has little or nothing to do with your core business or trade. RRP interferes with what you do. It makes the work cost more. It’s almost a tax you have to pay in order to be in business. Worse yet, it does not add to your offerings much as it seems to distract from them. Plain and simple: Lead Safe Work Practices is another barrier between you and your customer. And, like you, your customers aren’t happy. More than one of us has heard our customers and prospects say: "What are you doing, ripping me off? There’s another contractor who isn’t charging me for any of this. I’ve never even heard of RRP!" Or they say: "I don’t want to hear about lead in my home. It will lower its value and I’ve already lost enough value with the housing bust." Or: “Wow, adding that much money for mandatory lead containment has made the job cost too much. I can’t afford to do the job." But — is it a hopeless quagmire? Hardly. What we haven’t heard is how RRP, and Lead Safe Work Practices, is an opportunity; a big opportunity for those who embrace it. No doubt- it can become your competitive edge in a low price, me-too world. It is tough, but many, many contractors are doing very well. These firms already realized that if they have to do it (and you have to), they might as well do it the best they can, be efficient, maximize the benefits and profits, and minimize the problems and costs. And they have found the ways to do it. In AWDI’s book, "The RRP Business Manual" (www.awdi.com) many of these ideas and techniques are discussed in detail. But there is one approach that can set you apart from the beginning. RRP shifts sale from Product to Service For most of your working life, consumer sales of renovation and remodeling has been product oriented. All the features and benefits of the new roof, or the remodeled bathroom or kitchen, or the energy savings and maintenance reduction offered by new siding or windows - that has been the focus. The RRP Rule causes much of the sales emphasis and purchase decision to shift from the product(s) to the procedure(s), and to deal with the fear and uncertainty the thought of the presence of a neurotoxin in their home will cause. Your success depends on how you present yourself to the marketplace. It makes sense that every business that wants to embrace the RRP lead containment rule needs to create a service identity. AWDI, LLC has created a service identity that is registered as a Certification Mark enjoying the same status as Energy Star, UL Labs and other marks that stand for a proper way of doing business. Certification Marks are licensed for use and require commitment by the licensee to perform services in strict accordance with the Certification Mark standard. The RRP Certification mark and in-home identity is called TLC Service, as an example of how you can identify your business in the marketplace and use something like this as a sales tool. The T and the L and the C, stand for Total Lead Containment, TLC sounds a lot like "Tender Loving Care." It’s an ideal way to be a little more warm and fuzzy to consumer when you start talking about the things that you are going to do to protect their home and their children, etc. To put your customer at ease, explain everything as a positive situation. Like any home improvement, you are offering to eliminate the problem (energy loss, old plumbing, inefficient kitchen layout, leaking sink, etc.) and provide a long-lasting solution. That’s why they called you. Dealing with the presence of lead dust is not different. You are the professional who is going to solve the problem and provide the long lasting solution. Pitch your service identity just like you might pitch the features and benefits of the home improvement. Explain how you make sure that any dust you raise in the renovation is going to be contained in a controlled area. Explain that it will not be spread through the house. Show how you are going to be cleaning on a regular basis and bagging the debris. A Service Identity helps you balance the Pain with the Pleasure While TLC needs to be licensed from AWDI, you can create one of your own that can be just as effective. The point is to balance the need for Total Lead Containment (pain) with tender Loving Care for the home and family (pleasure). --------------- Editor’s Note: John Jervis is the executive director of American Window and Door Institute (AWDI).