There’s something about this industry that I truly believe is unique to restorers. It’s difficult for those who have known nothing but restoration to recognize, but for anyone coming in from the “outside,” you feel it as soon as you meet your first fellow restorer. There’s a bond between us. A willingness to share, collaborate, and help each other. We form business relationships that develop into meaningful friendships that span across the country, and in some cases, the globe.
Input equals output in everything we do, and that holds true for our industry relationships. Once you begin to put the effort into building a network of people who can support you and help you succeed in this industry, you realize the value in association memberships. The mission of the Restoration Industry Association is to be the restoration contractor’s foremost resource for advanced education, professional practices, member advocacy, and cultivation of industry relationships.
Input equals output in everything we do, and that holds true for our industry relationships. Once you begin to put the effort into building a network of people who can support you and help you succeed in this industry, you realize the value in association memberships.
Membership in any association is what you make it. Membership doesn’t end with paying the dues invoice. That’s only the first step! What do you do after you pay the dues? You get involved! What makes the RIA unique is that the organization is governed by and comprised of volunteers who are active within the industry. The members of the board of directors, committees, and councils are on the front lines every day facing the same issues as you. Those issues (and the solutions) are incorporated into webinars, convention sessions, and advanced educational offerings that can help you and your company adapt to the changes our industry faces at a rapid pace.
The RIA’s annual convention is the best platform for cultivating those industry relationships mentioned in the mission. In order to make the most of the opportunities provided on the convention agenda, you’ve got to get up early, go to the breakfast, attend the sessions, sit with (and talk to) strangers, go to the social events, and get out of your comfort zone. Once you do, you will find like-minded people with companies similar to yours who share your struggles, and business owners who have built successful companies and can serve as mentors to help you build the company of your dreams.
You can cast a broad relationship net at a convention, but if you’re interested in building relationships on a deeper level, the RIA’s advanced education learning opportunities are a great avenue to explore. It’s impossible to leave a few days of learning with the same small group without building friendships that last for many years. Once those friendships develop, it’s not uncommon to call someone up and ask them:
- What kind of marketing campaigns have been successful for you?
- I need to hire a project manager. Are you using a recruiter or social media to find talent?
- I’m thinking of switching to a new CRM software. What works for you?
- Have you been sending pricing feedback to Xactware? We’ve seen our labor prices increase tremendously!
- Are you wasting a lot of money and productivity when the whole crew stops at the station to fuel up? I’ve got two techs coming in early to fuel up our fleet and it saves us a lot of time and money!
- Our turn on A/R is 33 days - do you want to know how we’ve been dealing with the mortgage companies?
- I’m thinking of adding a new service line. What do I need to know before I get into commercial duct cleaning?
All of these examples came from real conversations that I’ve had with friends across the country. Some of them transpired with friends made during the Certified Restorer prep and exam week. Do you have a network of friends you can turn to for advice on the different issues, stressors, and trials that we encounter as restorers? If not, why are you facing all of this alone? There are thousands of us who have been where you are, or are currently in your shoes. We’re all in this together. When we bond together, we make our industry stronger and build positive awareness in the consumer’s mind. So, what are you waiting for? Get involved and register for the RIA’s annual convention! I hope to see you there!