DATAC is proud to have so many incredible members working within their communities across Canada to bring best practices and best protocol to the drug and alcohol testing industry.
Today we are featuring Armour Safety, a company that has been working with the DATAC for many years. We are fortunate to have such a great company as a DATAC partner and for them to take time to provide us with their insights into how to navigate the drug and alcohol testing world while also building a solid business.
How long have you been in the Drug and alcohol testing Industry?
We started doing collections 7 years ago.
How did you start your business?
We have owned a safety training and consulting business for 10 years. In 2009 We were approached by a drug and alcohol testing company from Ontario that was looking to break into the Saskatchewan market. Three of us got trained to do the testing. It didn’t amount to much to begin with because it was a sideline and nd we didn’t have a dedicated area set up. But over time, wth proper marketing and a new facility with a dedicated drug testing area, we have gotten a lot busier. We now have many clients and are also a third-party collection site for several other companies. Today we have 4 trained collectors and Breath Alcohol Technicians (BATs) and can do DOT and non DOT testing.
What kinds of testing do you do?
The bulk of our testing is the standard 7-panel urine point-of-care and breath alcohol tests. However, we can do many types of testing so we are able to meet the needs of most drug and alcohol policies. The evidential ibreathalyzer we use is an Intoximeter Alco Sensor IV.
How did/does DATAC play a role in the starting and running of your business?
DATAC has been instrumental in supporting our growth. All of our collectors are trained through DATAC and our facility is DATAC accredited. Whenever we have questions we pick up the phone and call or email and we get timely and quality help. We have spent a lot of time on the phone with your experts who have patiently answered all of our questions! We have also had DATAC prepare service agreements specific to drug and alcohol testing and programme management. Whatever we have needed DATAC has been able to help.
Do you have an insight for those who may be looking to starting a drug and alcohol testing business?
I think it’s important to have proper training, certification and affiliate yourself with a recognized drug and alcohol testing association. From the business side of things knowing your market and understanding how the big players work is helpful as we are collection sites for some of them. When you see how they do things and how things are priced you can model your business after them.
Another challenge is establishing a network of third-party collectors so you can service your clients outside of your home base area. Something we have been very successful in doing.
Also, it’s very important to understand the legality of testing and to make sure you are protecting yourself and your clients properly. We always think backwards. If you had to defend yourself in court, would you be able to say that you have done everything properly.
What were some of the issues you encountered as you were building your business?
We grew very slowly. Marketing is very important and we did it passively. We thought our training side of things would expose clients to the other things we do. Once we started actively pursuing business things picked up.
We have always been very careful to do things properly but we have realized along the way how important it is to review our training and create proper policies and procedures for our collectors.
Having a dedicated testing area was also a challenge in the beginning. We only had one bathroom when we started and it was used by trainees and staff. Now we have a dedicated space and it works much better!
Dedicate Collection Area & Work Area – Great Setup
Check out those easy-to-access water shut-offs – every collector’s dream!
Are there any changes you see happening in the drug and alcohol testing industry in the future?
One trend is that a lot of workplaces are using point-of-care testing. Some policies still have not adopted the instant, on-site testing but most of our current clients appreciate the ability to receive negative test results immediately.
A big unknown is the issue of marijuana legalization. There is a lot of misinformation out there and I think it’s going to take awhile to sort all of that out. Some people have a prescription to smoke it for medical reasons. Employers are frustrated trying to accommodate while ensuring the safety of everyone at the workplace. We count on DATAC to keep us in the loop which helps us communicate more knowledgeably with our clients.
Testing methodology will probably have to change as well when it is legalized. I’ve read some interesting articles about a new marijuana breathalyzer that could be used.
Right now in Saskatchewan there are a lot of places that do not test. Or test only when required by a general contractor for site access. Companies often do not have Drug and Alcohol Policies. I think in the next few years as the economy improves more testing will be required and more companies will see the value/need to have proper policies in place.
Any closing words of wisdom or any other things that you have to mention about the industry and/or collections or DATAC specifically?
We have benefitted immensely from the relationship we have with DATAC, if you’re not part of the association, you’re missing out.
Need testing or a collection site in Saskatchewan, here’s Armour Safety’s info:
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