Last week I wrote about some of the hardships Clean Crawls went through as a growing company, and this week I am going to begin a series of blog posts about what makes Clean Crawls different.
When I started Clean Crawls, the retrofit, insulation, and clean-out industry did not have a lot of legitimacy as a business model. Retrofit is the improving of existing buildings and structures, usually with energy efficiency materials, processes, and equipment. In other words, remodels. In the 1990s there were no companies that only specialized in insulation removal and reinstallation for existing homes. It was during this time that I first started doing the removal of insulation here in Washington State. At that point, the only companies removing and reinstalling insulation into people’s homes were the big insulation companies. We soon discovered that the big insulation companies were not interested in doing retrofit jobs.
The insulation companies were primarily focused on new construction, and tract homes. A tract home is a way of building houses in which multiple similar homes are built on a “tract” of land which is then broken down into individual smaller lots. The insulation companies preferred doing this kind of work, one house after another on a mass production system. Tract homes are both a lot cleaner, and much easier to work on.
In the beginning, Clean Crawls referred all of our insulation installation work to these insulation companies. We did this because I believed that we needed to stay focused on our primary business. In the early years of Clean Crawls, we were focused on trying to get better and better at doing the removal service, and we did not want to take on a new challenge. Then we started realizing that the insulation companies we were referring our customers to were not living up to our standard of service.
As I said before, the insulation companies were not interested in doing retrofits in existing homes. So when those companies got a phone call from a homeowner, it would be two, three, or even four weeks before the company would call the homeowner back with an estimate. We felt our customers deserved a higher standard of service. Clean Crawls had plenty of discussions with the insulation companies, and I tried to get them to change what they were doing. Eventually, we just said, "You know what? It's time that we get into this line of work because our customers deserve better."
I have always said that the construction companies treated the retrofit part of the industry like a step-child. They saw retrofit as something to be written off, but I saw this as an opportunity. I knew that this was something the public needed. At Clean Crawls, our goals involve more than just working the job and making money. Our highest priority is having our customers be completely satisfied with every part of our work. Our dedication to professional conduct, diligent work, and quality services is what everyone at Clean Crawls strives for every day. The difference between Clean Crawls and those insulation companies is that we looked at the market, and we saw people who needed help. Even though I did not know how exactly to fill that need in the beginning, I worked as hard as I could to make Clean Crawls and the service we were providing as good as it possibly could be.
In the beginning, everyone had to work incredibly hard to get all the different components of our company moving together and in the right direction. Most people saw the insulation companies as contractors, but that is not the way that I wanted Clean Crawls to be seen. I have always said, "No, we're not a contractor. We're a service company."
I wanted Clean Crawls to be known as a company that delivered superior, healthy and clean environments to our clients. I wanted our clients to have comfort and peace of mind about the job that we did and that we did it right the first time. If I maintained this company as a service company and not a contracting company, then we would be successful. I applied the same rules of the service business to the contracting businesses. I poured sweat and tears into Clean Crawls, and through pure diligence and belief in what we were doing, we have been successful.
Within a year or two of Clean Crawls getting into the insulation business, many of the different power companies in Washington started taking notice of some things that we were doing a little differently. Like I said, I had no knowledge going into the industry, or very little I should say, and so there was a lot of things I had to learn. However, there were some things that we were doing differently because we believed in taking care of the customer. Many of the power companies we worked with, such as Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Power, Snohomish PUD (Public Utility District), and Cascade Natural Gas, started implementing some of the things Clean Crawls was doing into their programs. It is funny how that benefited both parties. We've even had HUD (Housing and Urban Development) consider implementing our manufactured home process just because it's a far better process than what other companies had been doing for years. We're always trying to look at what's going to be best for the customer.
At the end of the day, our clients are always astounded by the benefits of our services. Many people are unaware of the important role that the crawl space, attic, and air ducts play in determining the integrity, health, efficiency, and safety of the home. With Clean Crawls services, you can be sure that your home is in good condition and that it will continue to serve you well for many years to come.