Time flies in the remodeling industry. Finding time for family and relaxation is difficult enough for most remodelers, so it's no surprise that many professionals claim they don't have the minutes to spare for participation in local trade associations. Yet these same associations can end up saving time for remodelers who use the resources available to them, freeing up precious work hours and streamlining business processes.
According to Mark Brick, president of the Milwaukee chapter of NARI, many remodelers aren't aware of the advantages that trade associations provide. "I think that a lot of them don't see the whole picture," he says. "If they would simply read the materials put in front of them and take the time to see what is out there, they'd realize that there are opportunities they're missing every day."
Association involvement can improve major areas such as marketing and advertising. By using the networking benefits of associations, remodelers can build referrals and lead generation. "Building up a strong rapport through associations gives you more referrals," says Brick. "It's a strong form of advertisement for doing very little. It also keeps you in the forefront of the industry."
In addition, associations provide remodelers with the tools to build credibility within their local markets. Associations are the easiest routes to award programs, educational programs and media exposure. With every award or article on display in a remodeler's office, the odds of landing a job over the competition improve. "Every time you receive a credential, people notice. Clients listen more, and you have more credibility as a professional," says Brick.
Associations also keep remodelers current with government and legislative issues that affect their businesses. When new regulations and requirements are passed, associations not only distribute information but also provide tools to help remodelers understand the impact of changes and adjust their businesses accordingly.
Simple tools such as Web sites and directories can also help trade professionals better understand the remodeling industry. "These resources interlink you with other vendors and new product information," says Brick. "There's information to be picked up on Web sites and in professional magazines, and there are even more opportunities there, too." National conventions and trade shows, sponsored by associations, help remodelers network with other professionals and share ideas as well.
"Associations do a lot that most remodelers don't even realize," says Brick. "From marketing to home shows, they have all the tools and assets to take a small business and turn it into a big business."