There are additional benefits to holding designations and even in the process of obtaining them, Hunt says, attributing a current job he’s working to the contacts made through educational endeavors. “I always enjoy being in a roomful of my peers,” says Hunt, who has been an instructor for a number of certification and other educational courses. “I will tell you that involvement has direct benefits to me and has put food on the table,” he says
Don Van Cura, MCR, CKBR, GCP, CLC, UDCP, of Don Van Cura Construction Co. in Chicago, is a NARI member who is equally convinced of the merit of education, saying of those who are skeptical of education and certification, “You don’t know what you don’t know — until you know it.”
“We have this fireman mentality as remodelers; you know, the phone rings, and you say, ‘Yes, ma’am. I’ll be right over.’ You’re mentally geared to serve people and respond, especially when you have a lot of competition because of the economy,” Van Cura says.
Remodelers, Van Cura thinks, hesitate to become involved in certification because they feel they don’t have the time. The truth is “if people would stop and get involved in certification, they would learn how to gain the time. They manage their business with much less effort, and they have more time.”
Van Cura acknowledges it’s hard to convince people who haven’t taken a serious step toward certification. “People are looking for instant gratification, and just being a member of NARI, NKBA or NAHB doesn’t mean people are going to flock into your office or showroom,” he says. Nevertheless, he reports that a considerable number of potential clients mention seeing his certifications on the Van Cura website. “The value and public perception is a gold mine,” he says.
He mines that perception by constant promotion of the designations his employees hold. “Our guys have their names and designations on their shirts. It’s amazing how many people ask what those letters mean,” he says.
Asked how remodelers can find time to become certified, Van Cura cites Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People as his inspiration, and particularly Covey’s dictum to “sharpen the saw.” Van Cura gives the example of someone who doesn’t have time to sharpen his saw because he is too busy cutting down a tree, not understanding that if he stops to sharpen the saw, the tree will come down in a matter of minutes instead of hours. “That’s pretty much my outlook on certification. You just have to stop and take advantage of it; that’s the only way you’ll see results,” he says.