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No Risky Business: PlusOne Solutions

craigA pioneer of contractor compliance, Orlando-based PlusOne Solutions Inc. helps companies provide exceptional customer service by making sure outsourced workers are squeaky clean — not only in terms of qualifications but also in their ability to provide a safe environment. “Companies may be diligent about screening employees, but will send contractors into someone’s home without thinking about the risk they may represent,” says PlusOne founder Craig Reilly. “Suppose the contractor is a registered sex offender, a convicted felon or has a history of violent crime. Companies spend years building their brands, which can be destroyed by a single negative incident involving a contractor — or be the target of negligent hiring lawsuits due to contractors’ actions.”

Launched in 2005, PlusOne has been achieving significant growth in recent years and exceeded the $4 million-mark in annual revenue last year with more than 50 employees. Currently the company is on track to hit $6.5 million for 2015.

In contrast to other risk mitigation companies that provide one or two aspects of contractor compliance, PlusOne offers a wider variety of services:

Background checks, which include drug testing and screening for driving and criminal history records. Document management, ensuring that contractors have the certifications, licenses and insurance to do the required work. Online training and assessments so service technicians stay current on new products and installation processes. HR compliance, which includes keeping clients updated on changing regulations that can affect how they hire contractors and vendors. PlusOne has also developed proprietary systems that link all client compliance requirements with the contractors’ company and employee information (including background checks, certifications and insurance documents). These systems are PlusOne’s secret sauce to proactively managing the client-contractor relationship.

Walking the talk

Integrity is another hallmark. “We do everything we can to protect our clients against litigation, class action suits and infractions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” says Reilly. “If we know that they should be doing something to be more compliant, it falls on us to advise them or fix it.”

And if clients aren’t serious about compliance, PlusOne isn’t interested in their business.

Case in point: Prior to 2012 PlusOne offered field service management, which involved taking repair calls for clients, determining what parts might be needed and then dispatching a contractor to the job site. “We realized that many of our field service clients weren’t participating on the compliance side,” Reilly explains. “We decided that unless they required background screenings for contractors who went into consumer homes, then we couldn’t take them on as a customer.”

As a result, the company fired a number of clients and shed about $1 million in business, which represented one-third of annual revenue at the time. Yet by growing its other offerings, PlusOne was able to recoup 50 percent of this loss within 12 months. (This was the only year of negative growth in the company’s history.) Another major event was hiring a director of compliance and privacy in 2013. “For a company our size, that’s typically the CEO’s role,” Reilly explains. “It’s something I planned to do in 2015, but we made the leap two years earlier, and it’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s enabled me to work on the company and build infrastructure and services that would allow us to grow, knowing we still have a full-time eye on compliance, which is our highest priority.”

Among recent innovations, PlusOne has developed a technology that enables consumers to go online and verify that the service contractor standing at their door is legitimate and has undergone a background check. Called CheckMyBadge®, this service debuted in 2014. Very few companies in the United States — and no other consumer-reporting agency (CRA) — offer anything like this, Reilly says. In fact, CheckMyBadge is playing a role in attracting new clients — including one that could help boost revenue beyond $12 million by 2017.

Going above and beyond

Although accelerating revenue numbers are gratifying, Reilly is most proud of the jobs that PlusOne is generating — and its industry impact. “We’ve been able to change how companies think about their relationship with contractors and increase safety for consumers,” he says.

In addition, PlusOne strives to help contractors. “The CRA industry, which we’re part of, has a bad perception,” Reilly says. “People think we prevent people from getting work. In reality, we fight for contractors so they have every opportunity to work — as long as they demonstrate that they are a safe individual.”

For example, most CRA-generated reports include so much data that an isolated criminal conviction could appear multiple times, due to it being reported by local, state and national agencies. This can cause fallout: An HR manager might interpret a single conviction as three different ones. To prevent this from happening, PlusOne cleanses the report so a conviction shows up only once — where the incident took place.

In addition, PlusOne doesn’t merely report if an individual has a criminal conviction; it digs deeper and reviews specifics. “Unfortunately, many people commit stupid actions in their teens that don’t pose threats but can still haunt them later in life,” says Reilly. “We ask what is the likelihood the action would repeat itself — and what risk would be posed today?”

Two other ways that PlusOne goes the extra mile to help contractors:

Portability. If a contractor gets a background screening from PlusOne for one client and then another company requires a check, the contractor doesn’t have to pay for an additional screening. With the contractor’s permission, PlusOne will share the report, which saves time and money. Acting as an intermediary. If contractors don’t have required insurance, PlusOne works with insurance agencies to help them secure coverage. Insurance can be an intimidating arena for many individuals because of all the industry jargon, Reilly points out. “Yet our employees are fluent with insurance lingo, so they’re able to find out what missing and communicate that to the contractors and their agents.”

To learn more about PlusOne Solutions, contact Craig Reilly by email at craig.reilly@plusonesolutions.net or visit the company’s website at www.plusonesolutions.net.

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