If you ask members of the American Society of Home Inspectors, also known as ASHI, they’ll probably tell you that ASHI is the way to go. But you can expect the same type of answer from the members of any home inspection association, whether it’s a national organization or one at the state level. So, how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Here are a few things to look for.
Does the National or State Association Have a Chapter That’s Close to Home?
Whether it’s a national or state association, driving several hours to attend meetings will probably grow tiresome in a hurry. But don’t be quick to assume that a state association will have better options.
Investigate the organizations that interest you to learn about whether they have local chapters. You might find that a national association has meetings close to home while one that’s run at the state level doesn’t.
What do Your Membership Dues Include?
When you pay your annual dues, what do you get in return? If the benefits appear to tip the scale in favor of the association, you might never get your money’s worth. Because dues aren’t necessarily cheap, they can add up to a business loss over time.
Here are a few of the many benefits that make an association worth the investment:
- Regular meetings
- Advocating on behalf of the industry in state and federal matters
- Useful resources, such as educational materials, that you can access
- Forums where you can communicate with, get help from and offer help to other members
- Discounts for relevant items, such as insurance and trade magazines
What Kind of Leadership Opportunities Exist?
High-level home inspection association leaders usually have many years and lots of experience in the industry. As your business grows and you have more to offer the community, can you expect leadership opportunities, as well? That’s a big selling point for some members.
Leadership opportunities will likely open up at the smaller-scale, local level first. As your experience grows and you contribute more to the association, you should have a chance to move up and help effect positive changes.
Does the Association Offer Relevant Continuing Education Opportunities?
Continuing education isn’t just about cracking books, although you will probably read and take exams from time to time. Home inspector associations should also offer different ways to earn continuing the credits that your membership requires.
Here are just a few possibilities:
- Teaching a class
- Participating in a seminar
- Conference attendance
Are There Regular Meetings? How About Conferences?
How often does the association have regular meetings? Too often, and you might feel like you’re missing out if you can’t attend every one. If they’re too infrequent, you might wonder if all of the dues that you pay are really worth it.
Conferences have numerous benefits. They let you network with other inspectors who aren’t in direct competition with you inside your market. They tend to have an energetic atmosphere that can help revive your enthusiasm about the industry. And they give you the opportunity to learn about what’s trending and what’s on the horizon for home inspectors. To get an idea about what’s possible, check out what’s on tap for the 2018 CREIA conference.
Home inspectors aren’t required to join an association, but the potential benefits make it a choice worth considering. Spend some time with research before you commit.
Is there bickering among members, or is there a helpful and friendly atmosphere? What will you get in return for your dues? Can you expect association membership to enrich your career? Answer those questions, and you’ll have an answer about which association, if any, is right for you.
If you haven’t earned your home inspection certification yet, there’s no better time than today to get started. Enroll now and change your career path in just a few short weeks.