Who Does This Guy Think He is, Anyway? Behind the Scenes with A1 Mold Testing & Remediation’s General Manager Dave Bayne
When you pick up the phone to call A1 Mold Testing & Remediation for help, you’ll hear just one voice: Dave Bayne, the company’s owner and general manager.
Dave likes to answer incoming calls whenever he can. Why?
- Most callers want information about mold, and Dave is A1’s mold expert
- Customers are often anxious about a mold problem, and they appreciate being able to speak directly with the company owner
- Dave deals with customers as people, not numbers. He enjoys getting to know the people he’s helping
But those points don’t really tell the story of the man who runs A1 Mold Testing & Remediation.
We recently sat down with Dave to learn more about who he is and why he works so hard in this challenging field.
- How did you get started in the mold remediation industry?
Dave: “Like a lot of people do with their careers, I sort of fell into this industry by accident. I moved to Lincoln from Chappell (in the panhandle of Nebraska) and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. My parents introduced me to an old family friend who happened to own a small mold remediation business, and I went to work for him.”
- What was the work like?
Dave: “Well, I wasn’t really familiar with mold remediation at all back then. I quickly realized that it can be backbreaking work. You’re wearing these hot protective suits, breathing through a respirator, and tearing out moldy drywall, carpet, lumber, paneling all day, every day. Sometimes you’re crammed in an attic in the middle of summertime and it feels like you’re inside an oven. But it was just part of the job.”
- How long were you strictly a laborer?
Dave: “Not long. I started helping with office work and my boss decided to give me a lot more responsibility. I started attending courses to become fully certified for mold remediation, too. Within a few years I was doing a lot of customer communication, inspections, report writing, and more. The business really started to take off.”
- How did you wind up with A1 Mold Testing & Remediation?
Dave: “After a few years, I went to work for another company, A1, which was run by a guy named Steve, who split his time between carpet cleaning and mold remediation. I was hired as the General Manager of the mold remediation side of things, and eventually Steve just let me run with it. The company grew almost 700% in the 10 years I was the general manager. We were really fortunate that the business grew and grew.”
- And now you own the company?
Dave: “Yes, in 2017, Steve decided that he was ready to start living a life of semi-retirement [laughs]. He sold A1 Mold Testing & Remediation to me, and now I’m the owner and general manager.”
- How does it feel to be in charge of the company?
Dave: “I not gonna lie to you, I mean, it’s a lot of work. Like early morning and late lights and weekends. I drive hundreds of miles every week. I bought my pickup new in 2016 and I’ve put almost 200,000 miles on it so far. I’m lucky that I can do a lot of my business on phone calls while I’m driving, otherwise I’d never get anything done [laughs].
I make all of the major business decisions and handle all of the important paperwork. On top of that, I take almost all of the phone calls. I do all of the inspections, write all of the inspection reports, and do all of the mold sampling. I also guide the work crews and do quality checks to make sure the job’s done right.”
- What’s the A1 Mold Testing & Remediation office like?
Dave: “We have a large space in south Lincoln where we keep our equipment. That’s also where my office is located. A lot of people would probably be shocked by the size of our operation. We have six work vans for the crews. And inside the building we have dozens of air scrubbers (air filtration machines), air movers, fans, HEPA vacuums, and power tools of every kind. It’s kind of overwhelming to organize and keep clean sometimes.”
- What do you like / dislike most about the job?
Dave: “That’s tough. But I guess I’d say I really like working with people and I like helping them solve their problems. The downside is that a lot of the people I interact with are very stressed out because they are worried about their homes and their families. It’s hard sometimes to keep that stress from affecting me, too.
The best part, though, is that we always get through it. At the end, I like knowing that we’ve done all we can to give customers peace of mind about their family’s health. Sometimes I feel like I should’ve gotten into business as a therapist, though [laughs].”
- What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in your line of work?
Dave: “I remember once I did a mold inspection for a family in central Nebraska. It was a typical older farmhouse, and it did have a significant mold problem in the basement, but nothing out of the ordinary. I did a report and offered a remediation plan but didn’t hear back from them.
A couple of years later, the homeowner called me back saying there was a mold problem in the basement. So, I went back out to do another assessment – that’s not totally unusual because some families put off remediation until they realize the problem is out of control. Then they ask me to come back out and give them a second inspection.
When I arrived at the house, I didn’t recognize it. It was like a brand-new home. When I spoke to the owner, they said that after the initial inspection, they’d decided not to do a remediation – instead, they bulldozed the entire house and completely rebuilt it. And now, their new home had mold, too.
It was one of the craziest stories I’ve come across. And if you have a mold problem, definitely don’t tear down your house [Laughs]. At least, not until we’ve had a chance to talk about it!”
- Where do you see yourself in this business 10 years from now?
Dave: “I’ve come to love this work, partly because it’s so challenging. It’s satisfying to help homeowners and business owners when they really need guidance. I’m constantly educating myself so that I can continue consulting and offering my expertise in the Midwest and around the country. I want to share my knowledge with other mold professionals, too, because a lot of them are struggling to make the business side of their services run smoothly, and here at A1 we’ve got that part figured out.”