Recently we provided a profile of builder members based on an annual survey conducted by NAHB’s Economics and Housing Policy Group. Now let’s look at associate members, who represent about two-thirds of the total membership and work in a wide range of professions related to home building. Here is a breakdown of the primary work activity among associate members:
- 40% – subcontractors or specialty trade contractors.
- 13% – professional specialty.
- 10% – retail dealerships or distributorships.
- 9% – financial services.
- 5% – wholesale dealerships or distributorships.
- 21% – another type of primary activity.
The median age of associate members is 54, and about half either finished college or have an advanced degree. Another 33 percent have some college education or career technical training. About 82percent of associate members are men and 18 percent are women. In comparison, about 93 percent of builder members are men and 7 percent are women.
The average number of employees on the payroll and company revenues for associate members varies significantly based on the member’s business activity; the median number of employees is 8 and the median revenue is about $1.3 million. Detailed information on the survey analysis is available here.
Each year, the Home Builders Association of Greenville holds an Associate Appreciation Night to thank companies and individuals that support the business of homebuilding. From bankers to brick masons, the Home Builders Association of Greenville is your source for finding builders, remodelers, specialty contractors, manufacturers, financial and insurance professionals, realtors, and many others who offer products and services for homeowners and first-time homebuyers.
This year’s Associate Appreciation Night was even more special as we were able to thank a local veteran for his service to our country with an exciting gift. As homebuilders, our passion is to provide people with the American Dream of homeownership. Without the service of those like Marine Sgt. Michael Batton of Mauldin, SC, attaining that dream could never happen.
In September of 2006, Michael was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq where he served as a headquarters platoon sergeant. During a mortar attack in December of that year, Michael sustained a traumatic brain injury, and was medivaced to Germany. Michael was granted permanent military retirement in April of 2011 and presently lives in Mauldin with his wife, Sarah, and their two children, Jenna and Tyler.
In conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project, the Home Builders Association of Greenville is providing the Batton family with a kitchen remodel as our way of saying thank you for everything Michael and his family have sacrificed for our country. We are hopeful the kitchen makeover will give the Battons an inviting space to create many fond family memories.
Several members of the Home Builders Association of Greenville will team up for the Batton kitchen remodel to be completed by the New Year. Those HBA members are:
Dillard-Jones Renovations, LLC
Builders First Source
GBS Building Supply
Greer Flooring Center
Gateway Supply Company
The Cook’s Station
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) began when several veterans and friends – moved by stories of the first wounded service members returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq – took action to help others in need. What started as a program to provide comfort items to wounded service members has grown into a complete rehabilitative effort to assist warriors as they recover and transition back to civilian life. The program seeks to: raise awareness and enlist public aid for the needs of injured service members; help injured service members aid and assist each other; and provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
The Home Builders Association of Greenville is excited to be a part of this worthwhile project and encourages you to take a look at how you might get involved this holiday season by visiting www.WoundedWarriorProject.org.
In this final part of our abbreviated Association Maximization series we will discuss leadership for both builders and associates. I hope you enjoyed the first 7 parts as much as I enjoyed writing them.
College gives a graduate the necessary knowledge to function in their chosen professions. It takes time to learn the chosen discipline when it comes to the real world because college gives you “book smarts” while the real world teaches you “street smarts” or, more to the point, “industry smarts.”
I don’t know how many people in our home building and remodeling industry have a college degree or any years spent in college but when it comes to this particular industry a college degree is great but it doesn’t prepare you for the challenges of this noble profession. The ultimate education, for the home building industry, is HBA leadership. The time, which certainly is money, you spend learning about the industry prepares you like no college can.
There is a worn out “joke” that is always used about builders and being president that builders always go bankrupt after they have served. Unfortunately some have but it’s not because of the HBA leadership role. Multiple factors may have caused this; economic conditions, poor management skills, poor time management skills or even the fact that maybe they should not have been a builder. Who really knows but I do know that it wasn’t being president that did it. Yes, it does take time to be a leader let alone president. By blending the following benefits of leadership into the way you conduct business, for both builders and associates, you will understand that serving as officers and board members you will gain immeasurable quality in return:
- Direct knowledge of industry threats or trends. In the meeting rooms of local, state or NAHB board of directors what could possibly affect the building industry is discussed and strategic plans are implemented. Knowing how certain or multiple items can affect the industry prepares you and your company for those affects. If it affects the building industry it has a direct affect on your business (this sounds familiar, doesn’t it?). As a general member you will get the same information but the amount of thought and discussion that went into the releasing of that information to the general membership is the education you , as a leader, receive. Your time spent volunteering at the leadership level should not be considered wasted time by you. It should, in fact, be considered education of the real world. The time spent and the knowledge gained is invaluable.
- Working knowledge of government. In your role as an HBA leader you will be asked to be involved with your state legislators or your state’s federal legislators. This places you in direct contact with the lawmakers meaning you are building relationships with those who can control your career, your destiny. I can’t place a dollar amount for your return on your investment here either. This is another benefit of leadership that is invaluable.
- Your career or business improvement and direction. Learning about this industry from all angles prepares you, makes you more in tune with trends that can make your company stand out. It gives you a road map for your company’s, or your personal, short term and long term plans. The direct knowledge you gain as a leader could save years of retooling, restructuring, reinventing yourself and company. Once again, invaluable.
- Relationships that last a lifetime. The leadership level brings you into a family style environment. Like any large family, there are people you like and people that you don’t like. Just like a family, your personal feelings are put a side when turmoil or crisis hits. The bonds become stronger and the relationships get deeper. Leadership at this level brings that social capital I spoke about to a higher plane. Say it with me…. INVALUABLE.
If you properly time mange the risks are minimal and the benefits are enormous. Not everyone is a leader and that’s fine although everyone has certain leadership skills inside them. It maybe that you are not as confident as you’d like to be or maybe you don’t relish the idea of public speaking. Added benefits of HBA leadership would be that you will develop a more confident attitude and as you get to know the members at this level you will speak with confidence as well. Time and gradual participation is all that’s needed and you ascend at your desired pace.
Stepping away from what’s been written there is another reason for you to become a leader. Your industry needs you. We need new ideas, fresh takes on situations, new faces with raw and exciting passion that only comes from the beginning. The next generation of leadership will decide the future of our building industry. These new leaders will be properly mentored in what has worked and what hasn’t worked. The new leaders will listen to the past, pay attention to the present and craft strategies for a better future of home building and remodeling. Don’t look at the “ask” of being involved on the board or as an officer to be a burden to you or your family. Look at it as a great business asset that will enable your family to have a great life. Today’s 21st century leader has enormous advantages that the past did not have. With the rise of social media and instant contact time management abilities have skyrocketed. When your local, state or NAHB leaders come to you to discuss your HBA future, listen to what they have to say.
Becoming an HBA leader now may not be the right time but it is absolutely the right direction for anyone whose passion and career is in the building industry.
Submitted by: Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chair
Director of Trade Association Relations, ProBuild
Ask yourself these two questions; “Do I have a product or service that is needed in the building industry?” and “Do I have competition?” If the answer to the first question is YES and the answer to the more important second question is NO then you are in a very unique position to have all the business you can handle. But if you are like 99.9% of the other associate members you do have competition and your product and service is not unique.
The HBA offers you an advantage that only members receive and one that you may want to utilize. That advantage comes in two distinct forms. The first form is the business connections you are making. We talked before about building social capital with other associate members. Here is where you receive more returns on your HBA investment. By developing association friendships you are expanding your sales presence. Think about it for a moment; when one of your HBA friends is meeting with a customer wouldn’t it be great if they could refer you to the builder? They would only refer someone if they could depend on the person that they were recommending. That only comes from working side by side with someone in order to understand their professionalism as a volunteer and how that professionalism cold translate at the income generating level. This scenario can be multiplied by the amount of interaction you have with other members which in itself is worth the yearly membership and eliminates the dreaded cold calling.
Always remember, however, the laws of reciprocity. Don’t be known as a “taker” but do develop the reputation as a “giver.” It’s always better to give than receive but it will come back to you so make sure you do some unsolicited referring. Your HBA actively engaged membership can fast track this process which can save you years of developing relationships the old fashioned way; one at a time and very slowly.
The second advantage comes in the form of industry awareness. Again, going with the assumption that you do have competition, what do you have that stands out from them? A particular product? So does your competitor. Outstanding service? Well, we all have offered, that haven’t we? The only thing that you have that is different from your competitor is….. wait for it…….. YOU. Your professionalism and your “likeability” factor are the keys to separating yourself from the others. But it takes time to demonstrate that, doesn’t it? To gain new business you need to be given an opportunity and persistence with patience will reward you with that opportunity. In the meantime, when you are delivering product information and pricing why don’t you utilize something that can actually help the builder with his or her business? That something is at your finger tips on a sometimes daily, most times weekly, basis. That something is industry updates and information. Your HBA provides to you, its member, this information for your use. It helps you with your business planning and, by understanding how this information affects the building industry, you can then talk with your customers and potential customers about something other than product, price and service. You become the “go to sales rep” for industry knowledge. Not product knowledge, industry knowledge. This is a great way to distance yourself from your competitors while at the same time making you the “go to sales rep” for your company as well.
Through established business connections and your willingness to understand your industry, where you earn a living, and becoming a valuable source of information, your HBA membership can provide you with an impressive return on your yearly investment. These two advantages are there for you to utilize you just have to want to stand out.
Next week’s blog will talk about the “Right and the Wrong” ways to enjoy your HBA membership.
Submitted by: Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chair
Director of Trade Association Relations, ProBuild