Your business can benefit from membership in an industry trade association in many ways. Here are four key areas:
1 – Advocacy. Associations provide a group voice to help those in power to understand how what they do affects an industry or marketplace.
2 – Marketing. Being a member of a trade group gives a company standing or stature. If we join a trade group that our customer base is allied with, potential customers will see us as allied with them and that's good marketing. When we are recognized as a member of a respected trade group we are more respected.
3 – Negotiations. Being a member of a trade group can be supportive if you have a need for some kind of collective bargaining. Be it the union, insurance or cell phone service. It can be a very helpful tool.
4 – Support. Membership in a trade group can be a good investment when you need support and education. Trade groups can help with education and a variety of other powerfully supportive things that each of our businesses need and we as individuals need.
Reasons why contractors might not join a trade association include:
Trade associations can become expensive and can consume large amounts of your time and the time of your key people. Determine ahead of time how much time, effort and energy can you afford to invest in advocacy, marketing, negotiation and support.
Trade associations can become a very exclusive "club" that is very hard to get entry to, helpful for the few but not able to speak to and for the companies starting out and wanting to be involved. On the flip side, they can be so lacking in structure, just looking to bring in members, that they become ineffective at what they are intended to do.
The bottom line is to find an association that you like, that you can afford to get involved with, that gives you what you need and become an active member. If you do your homework before you join the benefits of membership will win out over the objections.
Martin Stout is president of Go Roof Tune Up, Inc. See his full bio here.