Like most contractors who join NARI, I originally thought it would help me make more money. I thought that my homeowners and potential customers would be very impressed with my affiliation with such an elite remodeling organization and be more willing to sign with me than a non-NARI member. I also thought that some of the advertising opportunities that NARI presented in their member marketing would help my phone to ring more than it had been. I even had the notion that with one or more of those NARI certifications, I would stand out above my competitors. I remember once even believing that some of the NARI associate members would recommend me if I gave them some of my business.
Guess what? I was right. In the past 24 years as a NARI member, all of the above has happened. To put it in simpler terms, I made more money and I made a lot of friends along the way. It did cost some money and a few hours a month to volunteer, but it was worth it. Joining and paying your dues is only the beginning. You must get involved. About 10 years ago, I was convinced to get active in the Chapter and then was asked to be a member of the Board of Directors and help make the decisions that shape the future of the organization. As a board member I worked my way up to become President of our Chapter. I still sit on the board and participate in about five committees and it is very rewarding to say the least. So I guess you want to hear how I made more money.
Since I keep track of where all my leads come from I can easily list those jobs I can credit to my NARI membership. One of the major promotions that our Chapter offers is the Remodeling Today magazine published twice a year and distributed all over Long Island and handed out at the Home Shows. The editor has printed my ads, written articles about my work and highlights all of the CotY awards every year. Homeowners love the magazine. I have received at least 11 jobs from my ads in that publication that amounted to $1,202,700.00. Yes it cost me money to advertise, but the return was huge.
I received a job from a homeowner who was referred by a former NARI member who was out of business but was a friend of mine. Her job and the three referrals that came from her amounted to about $855,000.00. Another source of work came from a NARI member who I had referred to my customers for his landscaping business and his referrals to me amounted to $524,000.00. One day I got a call for a kitchen job. This homeowner got my name from the NARI photographer who was in her house photographing the stairs and rails done by another NARI member. I got that job and it was $90,000.00. While I was Chapter President I had a booth in the Home Show. Our Chapter also had a booth at that show talking to homeowners about NARI and in their conversations the volunteers at that booth told the homeowners that the NARI President, me, was at the show at his own booth. The work that I signed from those homeowners and subsequent referrals totals $677,000.00. Just last year I received a referral from a NARI architect member who had a friend that needed a contractor for a Sandy damaged home. That job was $120,000.00. Earlier this year she referred me to one of her clients and that job was $520,000.00. I’m not finished yet. Finally, one of my longest friends in NARI in the business of Home Improvement loans has referred me to her clients and that total is $105,000.00.
You don’t need to get a calculator because I will tell you that the total of all of these jobs that I credit to my affiliation to NARI is $4,093,700.00. If you were to divide that by the 24 years that I was a member, you would get an average of $170,570.00 a year in revenue. All of that from $560.00 in annual dues, dinner meetings costs and Coty award fees.
The rewards that I can’t put on a spreadsheet are the friendships and free advice I received over the years from other NARI members. Our Chapter is a free resource center for all those who take advantage of it. There is a wealth of knowledge sitting at your table every month at the dinner meetings. While on the executive board, I got to travel (for free) with the executive committee to eight different cities and participate in national discussions about our industry. I made friends with contractors all over the country. I also traveled for the National Awards night every year for the past nine years and that was just the icing on the cake.
So after you read this you can join NARI if you want, but if you don’t attend the dinner meetings, enter the CotY
Awards, join committees and basically get your name out, you are wasting your money. If you don’t plan on getting involved and making friends and building relationships with other members don’t bother joining. Save your money, you’re gonna need it.