Association Membership -- Why Bother?

Ask almost any long-time member of NAHB and the Remodelors™ Council or NARI, the reason they belong — they will stop and think before giving you one. Why is that? Why do they bother? Ask a nonmember, “Why not?” and they will usually answer, “It’s not worth the money or the time it takes” or they don’t like the politics. It’s politics when something you want doesn’t get approved; it’s preparation when it does!

Why do you suppose long-time members don’t have a quick answer? It has to be worth the cost, time and “poliyouknowhat,” right? I have been there for a long time and I’ll explain what I see in it, but first, here’s a thought for the “Not’s.” Even in the short run, it will cost you more than the amount of the dues NOT to belong. You will spend more time solving problems by your lonesome than you will asking a fellow member in your own back yard or calling a fellow member from another city or state, someone you wouldn’t know without a membership. As for the politics, it’s like voting: If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.

Joining won’t guarantee you success but you will learn what successful remodelers do. They don’t always agree — take Ted Newman Jr., in New Hampshire.and I — we don’t agree on licensing, but I believe he is someone who takes the business very seriously and we can learn from each other. A new business person can profit from watching the Ted Newmans of the industry. Good, ethical, well informed competitors are what we need because that raises the bar for the industry. That’s what association membership promotes.

An unscientific poll of some of my fellow remodelers listed networking as the top reason for membership. Networking is building or maintaining relationships that have the potential to bring advantages in business — Microsoft Encarta. Industry specific education and legislative influence are right up there, too, but it’s networking from which we take and give strength. The more we give the stronger we get. This is what the fence-sitters don’t get but need to.

I’m a little prejudiced toward NAHB but NARI is a great organization, too. The senior leadership of both NARI and the Remodelors™ Council attended each other’s national board meetings this spring to learn more about each other and to explore aspects of commonality. Who knows where that may lead but one thing is sure — you simply have a better shot at being and staying successful in remodeling as a member of your association. The association chapter in your area may not be perfect and you may never be completely satisfied, but you’ll never be sorry.

As a long time NAHB member myself, here are some battles I didn’t win but there are some jobs I got paid on that might not have happened without the “smarts” that networking has given me.

I am blessed with industry friends from all over the country whom I can call — it didn’t happen overnight but it doesn’t take that long either. Get involved now, spend some money, time and talent — it just might turn out to be a great investment for you.

If you’re not a member, bother to join, bother to participate, bother to be active, and if you decide it’s not worth the bother after five years or so, call me and I’ll come shovel your snow or mow your lawn if you ask nice. But you’d better hurry; I’m not gettin’ any younger . . . While you’re here.

M M “Mike” Weiss has been a full-service remodeler for over 25 years. As an instructor for the CGR and CAPs programs, he spends many weeks each year on the road teaching other remodelers. He is also a past chairman of the Remodelors Council of the NAHB.

And while you’re here . . .Agree? Disagree? Want to know more or even argue? Send me an e-mail with your ideas or suggested topics, we’ll think about them and see what we can do.