Mold Remediation and Business Challenges
Western North Carolina is a beautiful place – often referred to as a temperate rainforest, our region is blessed with a huge amount of biodiversity, in both plant and animal life. Unfortunately, what makes the area so well-suited to supporting its unique flora and fauna also makes it ideal for something else – mold. For homeowners and real estate professionals, that can be a major problem, but Mary Palermo, CEO of Rainbow International of Asheville, is here to help!
Rainbow, a local mold remediation and restoration company, offers a wide variety of services to help clean up and prevent the recurrence of mold growth in residential and commercial spaces. Palermo, who started the company’s Asheville branch in 2014, sees these services as extremely necessary in an area that most people aren’t terribly well-informed about. Mold and mold remediation can be complicated, she says, and most property owners are in the dark, so to speak when it comes to the subject. “I’m still walking in the dark,” she says, due to the complexity of the matter and the individuality of each separate case.
For that reason, Palermo recommends that everyone should test a home for mold before they purchase it. No one wants to spend a lot of money when selling a house, so it’s common for smaller mold issues to get glossed over – as a buyer, you want to protect yourself and your investment, and know what you’re walking into. It isn’t terribly expensive to test, Palermo says, so it’s well worth doing ahead of time to avoid an expensive problem down the line.
For those who already own property, prevention is key – and, even more than that, education is essential. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” Palermo says, so it’s important to educate yourself about the signs and potential risk factors and problems for and of mold. Rainbow can help with this awareness, by bringing in a set of tools to provide the information that property owners need in order to stay on top of potential issues in their property.
While these issues can come from anywhere, Palermo says that one of the primary sources of mold in our area is rain. While newer-built structures will have a protective layer on their foundations to help keep water out, that layer of protection wears down over time – and if a way it exists, water will find it. Furthermore, mold can move quickly once moisture is present. “It only takes…48 hours to become an issue,” according to Palermo, and the problem may not be contained to the point at which moisture entered the home. Mold spores can become airborne, she says, and can spread throughout a house very quickly.
Of course, some people are more significantly affected by mold than others, and different types of mold are more dangerous to people’s health than others. This may make some situations more urgent than others, but it doesn’t mean that a small problem can’t quickly become a large one – Palermo recommends addressing any issue as soon as it’s spotted, or preferably before it ever begins through proper prevention.
But regardless of the specifics of a given situation, there are some constants that help to guide Palermo and her company. In particular, they maintain a consistent ethical approach to each case – “the code of values,” Palermo says, is what drew her to Rainbow, to begin with, and what has helped to guide her business ever since. “That’s what we wanted to represent,” she says, citing a list of values that includes respect, integrity, customer focus, and fun.
That last point can be difficult at times – theirs can be an emotional industry, Palermo says, as clients typically call when they have a problem. In that sense, the business is often more reactionary than it is preventative, although Rainbow does work to educate its clients about mold prevention for the future. In order to successfully navigate working with clients who may be going through a difficult time in their property ownership, Palermo says, you have to be a compassionate and good listener.
These are skills that have helped her not only in working with clients but also in building her business, to begin with. Perhaps the most important thing she has learned since starting her business is the importance of authenticity. “Don’t sell – just build relationships,” she advises. In Asheville in particular, which is highly community-driven, this is essential. Palermo stresses the importance of building a network of relationships that are authentic rather than being built solely around the business. “I’d rather give than receive,” she says, and feels that this is an important attitude to have when networking and building relationships – while it’s always nice to get something back out of a relationship, professional or personal, in business it’s important not to expect it or make the relationship contingent upon an equal give and take. This way, she says, you can maintain positive connections – and maybe even call in a favor or two when needed!
On the whole, Palermo is extremely excited about the future of Rainbow, and their goal of maintaining their code of values and becoming the number one restoration company in Asheville. She believes that, by sticking to what she sees as a very strong code of values guiding her business, building customer loyalty will come naturally. “If there’s a question in how I need to deal with something, the answer’s in that code of values.”
To learn more about Rainbow International of Asheville, call 828-333-6996 or visit RainbowIntl.com/Asheville.