Updated: Aug 18
Article courtesy of Deck Specialists Magazine - Spring 2018.
Written by "The Carrey Bros" - James and Morris Carrey, Renovation Experts
You are up before dawn, off to the job, and may not return home until dark. You grab a bite; wrap up a few loose ends, before settling in for the evening. Sounds familiar?
Because you are so stretched, you don’t take the necessary time to network with other professionals to stay up on trends, technology and education that can benefit you, your team, your business and your clients. You may think you do not have time to be a member of an industry trade association, and that you simply aren’t a “joiner”. Trust me… I understand.
Many years ago as young contractors and businessmen, my brother and I were approached by a membership representative of a local builders association. He wanted us to join and proceeded to lay out the benefits of membership, including networking, educational programs, certification, money-saving group insurance programs, and legislative power in Washington DC that could benefit the industry and our business.
My brother thought it was a good idea, but I was resistant. My position was simple: “Why do we want to take time out of our already busy schedules to be around a bunch of competitors?” The older (and wiser) brother said, “You are being a small thinker.”
He went on to explain that it was a good idea to network with other pros that do what we do. They weren’t the obstacle. It was the other guys who were anything but professional; undercutting our bids and preventing us from getting out share of business. He went on to say that these contractors typically don’t have a license, worker compensation insurance or general liability insurance, don’t pull permits, don’t pay fair wages or benefits, pay cash, don’t pay their taxes, and leave the consumer in a world of hurt when something goes wrong.
Fast forward 30 years, hundreds of meetings and events, and the older brother was, and still is right. Don’t be a small thinker. Make time to network. You’ll find you have much in common with the other local pros, and they can be an ally, not an enemy. Together you can work to eliminate the unscrupulous contractor and the underground economy and elevate the industry in your area, enjoy a more level playing field and save consumers a lot of heartache.
Education and certification are other great benefits. And you don’t even need to leave your home or office thanks to the virtual classroom. However, you may find a trip to the annual Builders Show to be as invigorating as it is informative.
Finally, it doesn’t hurt to have an advocate in your corner who can lobby on the state and federal level to ensure our industry stays strong. There is strength in numbers. You don’t have to be a “joiner”, but you do need to join.