Did you know that a trade association could be your golden ticket to growing your landscaping business? There are tons of benefits to joining one of these organizations, and it is a fantastic way to invest in your brand. If you’ve heard the term but are unsure what it means, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading for the highlights.
What is a Landscape Contractor Trade Association?
A trade association is an organization made up of businesses operating in the same industry. Their goal is to make life easier for businesses and their customers, by providing b2b networking, education and training, certifications, advertising, lobbying, and political donations. To become a member of an association, businesses pay a membership fee, which is normally paid on an annual basis.
Trade associations exist across a plethora of business sectors, and might also be referred to as industry trade groups, business associations, or industry bodies. Whatever their title, their purpose remains the same.
There are hundreds of Landscape Contractor Trade Associations in the USA, ranging from large national organizations to smaller, state-specific ones. Most national associations have local chapters, which cater to individual issues and regulations in each state.
In the words of John Donne, “no man is an island”. This is particularly true in business. One of the hardest things about running a company is knowing where and how to connect with others in the industry. Landscape Trade Associations are a great place to start. Most organizations run regular networking events, specifically designed to help members connect and share knowledge with each other.
Networking events come in many stripes: conferences, workshops, charity events, and even happy hours are some of the most popular. Building your professional network can help forge stronger and easier partnerships, locate higher-quality job candidates, and boost sales.
Education and training
Trade associations are made up of a diverse body of business owners, all keeping abreast of current issues, products, and technologies. This pooled awareness helps associations pinpoint the most relevant and up to date training requirements for landscapers, and provide members with learning opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
These might come in the form of skill-building workshops, online courses, industry seminars, or exclusive certifications or accreditations.
Lobbying and advocacy
Trade associations make powerful allies. With the unprecedented strain on businesses right now, it has never been more important to have a seat at the table. Trade Associations work on a “strength in numbers” basis, working directly with those in the landscaping industry to pinpoint the issues and legislative difficulties being faced.
Organizations provide advocacy for landscape businesses, ensuring companies know their rights within local and national laws, and stepping in to add weight behind cases when those rights are threatened.
A great example of this was in 2011 when the Californian Landscape Contractors Association successfully lobbied to include the design and installation of commercial and residential rainwater capture systems as work authorized by the C-27 license, helping protect contractors from legal repercussions for everyday work.
In addition, NALP has a task force that is dedicated specifically to fighting for the H-2B visa program.
Increased customer trust
Becoming a member of a landscape trade union can significantly boost your company’s reputation. Because trade associations only accept reliable, reputable businesses, savvy customers often look to them for guidance when it comes to finding a contractor. Being backed by a trade association shows potential clients that your business is legitimate and trustworthy, and meets the professional standard expected in the industry.
On top of this, trade organizations provide members greater visibility via their online listings and directories, helping more people find your business without the need for clever SEO or expensive advertising.
Membership discounts and deals
If you’re looking for ways to save money, then look no further than a trade association. Most organizations are a treasure trove of member discounts and member deals, thanks to agreements with suppliers, vendors, and insurers.
Some of the most exciting perks include whole-staff health insurance, slashed price equipment and tools, and access to education and training courses.
Bigger associations tend to have the best deals, but those with a local focus often have great links with regional suppliers and businesses.
How to find the right trade association for your business
Now you’ve decided to join a trade association, it’s time to consider your unique business needs so you can find the right organization. Consider what you would like to gain from your new membership. Perhaps you’re on the hunt for a better deal on contractor liability insurance, or maybe you’re hoping to build a stronger professional network to further your reach.
Look for an association that provides solid evidence of its benefits – has it achieved its lobbying goals? Does it host regular, well-attended networking events?
Make sure the association provides up-to-date contact information. Most reputable organizations will have a phone number you can call to ask any questions.
Here at LandOne Takeoff, we are proud members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and we highly recommend them!