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CASE STUDY

“Our Honesty Cost Us $250K”

Project Information

Client:

Location:

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Bureau Of Land Management

Springfield, VA

Overview

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) stores the books, surveys, and plats that map out all the land in America. It even houses the original maps of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  

These artifacts are on display to the public, but the BLM protects them like a mama bear protecting its cub. The items are housed in several fireproof vaults, which are guarded at all times during business hours.

Unfortunately, armed guards and fancy vaults don’t stop mold.

The building’s HVAC system was calibrated incorrectly. This caused high humidity levels in the vaults for years… which inevitably led to mold growth on the ceilings, in the HVAC system, and on the bindings of roughly 8,000 (!!!) irreplaceable survey books.

Long story short: This would be a giant undertaking for whichever mold company the Bureau hired.

Structural Remediation Vs. Content Remediation

The Bureau had already contacted a mold company prior to calling us. The company said they’d remove the mold from the ceilings and walls, but not from the books. 

Why? 

Because this company only performed structural mold remediation. Structural mold remediators just handle mold on, you guessed it, structures (e.g., walls, ceilings, floors). Removing mold from books falls under the category of content mold remediation (a.k.a. content cleaning)

Not only did BLM want to divvy up the cleaning structural and content cleaning… they also wanted to hire a third company to clean the mold from the HVAC system!

At Valor Mold Removal, we handle all three types of remediation… but BLM wasn’t interested in having us perform all three phases of the project. They were set on dividing up the project among our company, the structural remediation company, and the unknown third company that was supposed to handle the HVAC remediation.  

Unfortunately, splitting this kind of project was the worst possible idea. So we sat them down to explain why. 

“You Pick The One Right Tool”

Dividing this job would have been a recipe for accountability issues and finger pointing. 

Valor owner David Myrick asked the facility director which remediator would be held accountable if the Indoor Environment Professional (IEP) failed the air test results of the project. The facility director never heard of an IEP, so she didn’t have an answer.

That’s when David sat down with her and discussed the best plan of action:

  1. Hire an IEP to helm the overall project and write a protocol about what should be done, how it should be done, and when.
  2. Hire one mold company to be responsible for all three phases of the project.

The facility director was grateful for the advice and hired the IEP David recommended. She now had to decide which mold remediation company would do the job.

Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t us.

Honesty: Not The Best Policy (For Our Wallet)

The BLM facility director chose not to hire us for this project. 

Not because we were unqualified. Not because we lacked proficiency. But because we were too honest!

We’ll explain.

After the facility director hired the IEP, David (Valor owner) helped the IEP with the mold testing. It’s unusual for a remediator to help an IEP do testing. But the vault ceilings—where a lot of structural mold was visible—were 12’ high. 

David is 6’8” and the IEP was 5’2”, so David could reach the ceiling on a regular stepladder, whereas the tester would have had to get a special stepladder. As such, David was the perfect assistant for the IEP.

The testing took weeks, but it allowed David to stay up to date on the mold tester’s results. That sounds like a plus for us, right?

Here’s why it backfired big time…

Since David was helping the tester, he knew the exact scope of the project: cleaning four huge vaults and thousands of books.

The problem? 

Another remediator created a bid based on old, pre-test information. So instead of bidding on cleaning four vaults—and the contents within—they bid on cleaning ONE vault. 

Our bid (which included four vaults): $250,000. 

The “winning” bid (which included one vault): $80,000.

Since the facility director wanted the work done within one month, she didn’t review the $80K bid in detail. She simply saw that it was substantially lower than ours and based her hiring decision on that. 

The $80K Project That Cost Over $1 Million

We didn’t find out about the other company’s lowball bid until a year later, when David followed up with one of the BLM facility’s managers. 

The manager told David that the facility director chose the other company because their bid was so much lower. It wasn’t until after work started that the BLM realized why the other company’s bid was a third of the price of ours. But by then, it was too late to start over.

The manager went on to tell David that the project was an absolute nightmare. 

As mentioned, the BLM wanted the work done within a month. But with all the change orders, the project was still unfinished one year later! Not only that, but the cost for these change orders put the job at over ONE MILLION DOLLARS

Long story short…

They went with a quote three times lower than ours—and ended up paying over TWELVE TIMES what they anticipated.

Quality, Price, Speed… Pick 3, Get 0

The BLM wanted their cake and to eat it too. 

But you know the saying: “Quality, price, speed—pick two.” Choose a contractor (in any industry) that promises all three, and you’ll likely end up getting none. 

At Valor Mold Removal, we don’t promise that we’ll be the cheapest. We don’t promise that we’ll be the fastest. We simply guarantee we take the time to perform the job RIGHT… and do so for a fair and honest price.

And we wouldn’t do things any other way. Even if it costs us a quarter of a million dollars.

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