Different certifications, licenses, and qualifications are required to operate a restoration and disaster recovery company. But not every state requires documentation for damage restoration, and others require particular credentials depending on various factors related to the job.

Varying from state to state and business to business, being informed about what certifications your company needs and the accompanying state laws will give current and potential clients confidence in your company. Restoration businesses could face fines, removal of projects, or experience business closures without acquiring and maintaining the proper credentials for jobs in their queue.

Location matters, different regions of the country experience disasters typical for that area. Each type of disaster requires specific remediation and reconstruction procedures. These procedures sometimes require specific licenses to complete the job.

When considering what credentials to acquire, consider the evolving landscape of common disasters in your area. Weather conditions in the southeast require restoration companies to focus on mold remediation due to flooding and water damage, while companies located in the West primarily focus on fire damage recovery due to the surrounding climate.

Extreme natural disasters are becoming more frequent, meaning recovery services will be a necessity. In 2021, the U.S experienced 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, making it second all-time behind the year 2020. The strength and damage caused by natural disasters are increasing. 

As a result, state and city leaders are adding new legislation regarding restoration. Acquiring the proper licenses and recommended certifications will prepare damage restoration companies for whatever mother nature throws their way.

While some states do not carry license requirements for restoration projects, others do and have extensive requisites required to receive specific licenses. Depending on the scope of the work required, a general contractor license may be required to complete a job. 

Some states may also demand a business register with the state contractor board. Furthermore, a handful of states obligate restoration companies to maintain a mold remediation license. 

Knowing state contractor license requirements is vitally important for every restoration company. Every state has its own demands for restoration businesses. Property managers and homeowners will often verify if hired contractors are properly licensed, to protect them from the dangers and consequences of work not being performed correctly. Restoration businesses must visit official state government websites to safeguard them from any violation. 


Although no state requires any certifications for restoration companies, the best businesses have them. Additionally, some certifications may be required in order to work with claim adjusters and insurance agents. Often, potential clients see certifications as a badge of trust, prompting them to work with certified companies. There are two types of certifications that most restoration companies hold: the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the Restoration Industry Association (RIA). Both IICRC and RIA's extensive training programs have made them the leading industry standard for restoration companies. All certified firms must demonstrate proof of insurance and maintain a written customer complaint policy. Although IICRC and RIA have similar curriculums, there are a few differences. 

Often, potential clients see certifications as a badge of trust, prompting them to work with certified companies.

IICRC- Is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting and improving the cleaning and restoration industry. IICRC is known across the world as the industry standard for professional cleaning and restoration services. Founded in 1972, IICRC has over 60,000 active members and 6,000 certified businesses in multiple countries. To become an IICRC-certified technician, you must successfully complete multiple rigorous training courses and be able to pass an exam. There are 26 classes to choose from, covering three overarching subjects: cleaning, inspection, and restoration. All IICRC-certified professionals are expected to uphold the Institute’s principle values of respect, responsibility, integrity, excellence, and expertise.

RIA- RIA is the oldest and largest professional trade association non-profit. RIA is dedicated to providing leadership and professional qualifications for the restoration industry. RIA provides credibility and educational knowledge to advance firms and individuals in the cleaning and restoration industry. With an extensive network of professionals working towards similar goals, RIA has become a trusted resource for cleaning and restoration companies. RIA represents 20,000 cleaning and restoration professionals specializing in cleaning, water, and fire damage restoration, contents restoration, mold remediation, and environmental issues. They have courses for Certified Restorer (CR), Fire Loss Specialist (FLS), Content Loss Specialist (CLS), Water Loss Specialist (WLS), and Environmental Risk Specialist (ERS),

Other Certifications

IAQA- Established in 1995, the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) is dedicated to bringing professionals together to prevent and solve indoor environmental problems for the benefit of consumers and the public. Classes taught by IAQA include:

Indoor Environmentalist/Consultant course (CIE)- teaching professionals how to identify poor indoor air quality.

The microbial Investigator/Consultant course (CMI)- teaches professionals how to diagnose and treat microbes.

Council-Certified Microbial Remediator course (CMR)- teaches professionals to become certified in microbial remediation. 

Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP) - This provides certification for professionals who are designing, implementing, overseeing, and monitoring ecological restoration projects throughout the world.

While none of these certifications are required by any state in order to own and operate a restoration company, holding one or all of them enables businesses to be viewed as credible and professional. Some may argue IIRC or RIA certifications are indeed required because insurance companies only work with certified businesses. Nevertheless, these certifications are paramount for any flourishing restoration company. 


Safety training is a vital part of the construction and restoration industry. All restoration workers, from remediation to administration, can benefit from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) safety training. The minimum company-wide safety training requirements for construction and remodeling companies include: 

10-hour OSHA card: The 10-hour course is for entry-level workers. It provides information about worker rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint. The course also outlines basic awareness training on, the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of workplace hazards.

30-hour OSHA card: The 30-hour course is intended for supervisors or workers with some level of safety responsibility. It provides a greater depth and variety of training on an expanded list of topics associated with workplace hazards than the 10- hour course.

OSHA Trainer card: This gives the authority to teach 10- and 30-hour OSHA courses.


Restoration work is a part of the insurance claim process. Restoration companies work closely with insurance companies, thus knowing the ins and outs of the entire insurance process and requirements will keep all parties informed and protected. Accidents can happen at any construction project or restoration job. Damage from fire, flooding, and other disasters can severely weaken the structural integrity of a building, making accidents more prevalent. Restoration contractors need an insurance policy to protect themselves and their workers while on site. There are usually two types of insurance that restoration contractors need to have:

General liability insurance- This provides legal and financial protection in instances where someone is hurt, or something is damaged during the restoration work. 

Workers’ compensation- This provides medical assistance and wage replacement for workers who are injured during the job.

For restoration and disaster recovery companies, potential clients may ask to see a contractor's licenses and other various environmental certifications. Certain states require additional documentation from restoration companies depending on the scope of the work. Obtaining these licenses and certifications before working on a project will not only eliminate any financial responsibilities in the event things go array but also being certified gives all parties the peace of mind that the job will get done efficiently and safely, efficiency and safety go hand-in-hand. Although certain certifications or licenses may not be mandatory for your area or the buildings you typically work on, having them helps assure safety on the job for you, your customer, and, the cooperating insurance company.