Environmental Testing? NEED ADVICE

OK so my first post here and I’m a newbie HI but with many years in contracting and a former RE Agent. So go easy and let’s try to keep it civil and constructive OK?

My Question is…
I’d like to be a one stop shop for a variety of environmental sampling (send to lab for testing) and I’m a bit overwhelmed by the variety of opinions and options as seen on the boards. It’s not really about the $$ but rather a competitive edge of offering exceptional service. Right now I’m deferring clients to other companies but would like to simplify the process for the client.

Here’s my list I’d like to offer and in MI basically there is little if any licensing req’d.

Radon? In my area it seems all the inspectors do it. Question is Rad Star, Sun Nuc 1030, Eperms, unprofessional looking DIY bags from Air-Chek?

Mold? sampling when observed on surfaces for toxic mold as a preliminary investigation? Seems like a simple enough idea but reading other posts, people sure seem upset about this… If you do it, what kit or lab would you recommend?

Well Water - I got that one covered from ETR Labs at $195 per test with no mark up but would be interested what other folks do and what kind of markup if any?

Lead Based Paint - lots of older homes here which I’m sure have it but do you guys do any sampling for the clients if there’s flaking paint? What lab or kits would you use?

Asbestos? Again, I’ve seen a good bit of it but never done any testing. Any recommendations for sampling kits and labs?

Air Quality - I’m planning on just deferring this one to a local specialist but would still be interested in how you guys deal with referrals like this? I’ve had troubles several times in the past referring someone I thought was great but ended up screwing things up for the client. Anyone have a sampling system or ideas on this one?

Meth Labs - Lots of potential around here to come across this… Sample kits? Recommended labs (not for obtaining Meth but for testing)?

I know there will be lots of opinions but I’m looking for constructive advice and I’d rather not differ everything and make the client scramble to find these folks. The biggest problem I see with all this (besides obvious liability), and the reason I’d like to offer some of these services, is the time line. Most folks have less than 10 days for a binding contract by the time they schedule with me and simply don’t have the time to schedule extra inspections or the companies just can’t get it scheduled in time. Thanks in advance.

Brett Huckabee
Down Home Inspections, LLC

A lot of those answers will be answered while taking your education in those subjects. I seem to get the better education from companies not connected to a lab. As far as differing opinions on this board, you will understand who is right after you get your education.

Thanks for the tips.

Most of these take special equipment, licensing, and/or training. In my area of the country, the home inspector doesn’t do asbestos or lead based paint testing. But there are a boat load of licensed testers/technicians to do both of these.

For Radon your state may require licensing, but don’t use ESA for your training. Check thislink out.

Some inspectors will do mold. Some will not. You have a lot of research to do on these subjects.

Water testing may take special licensing for the lab. In other words, you may not be able to use the DIY homeowner test.

If you are just starting out, I suggest starting with just home inspections and maybe radon. As you go along you can choose to add services. Don’t bite off too much at once, it will give you a terrible stomach ache.

Begin by going down to your local Health Department and having a chat with them to find out what criteria you need to train to, and what Labs are authorized to read your samples. This is usually State mandated, but most Counties should have the information you need.

Thanks for the replies fellas. Yeah I get it, take it slow. I am using/referring to a local lab for most stuff currently but just thought I’d think ahead. Surprisingly in MI, as I stated, there are no licensing requirements for mold or radon sampling. I spoke with the state asbestos office and looked over the law and surprisingly it is totally legal to take up to 6 samples of any 2 compounds for asbestos testing without any licensing. I’m not saying I’m going this route just that it would be a huge bonus service for the client to have sampling of suspicious duct sealant or insulation taken during the inspection and have it submitted to a lab that day. For now I’m going to focus on radon and home inspections only. I did get in touch with some local environmental quality firms (they do all sorts of testing) and had them price out various services so I can at least refer a reasonably priced, EPA certified lab.