As with any construction and repair industry, plumbing has a wide range of trade associations. These organizations provide education and a number of other benefits. But which ones are the right choice for your plumbing business? We've taken a look at some of the top national plumbing associations and given you a quick rundown to help you decide which one will work best for your circumstances.
What are the most common plumbing trade associations and what can they do for your business?
What trade association membership can do for your businessWhen you're part of a trade association, it shows that you're a professional who can be trusted to do a good job. But what other benefits can you expect when you advertise your association membership to prospective customers? Here's a quick list, though it doesn't cover every possible benefit you'll see.
- It demonstrates your professionalism. Joining a trade organization proves that you're in it for the long haul. Fly-by-night businesses won't bother joining a trade organization because they don't want to pay the extra expense of membership for a business they're not planning on keeping in operation for very long.
- It proves that you provide quality work to your customers. If a trade organization gets frequent complaints about an association member, they'll act to prevent that one member's bad plumbing and businesses practices from reflecting on other members of the association. This means your membership provides instant credibility for your company.
- It provides you with educational opportunities. Whether through formal or informal programs, trade associations are a great place to expand your knowledge of plumbing practices and upcoming trends. From gabbing with a few old timers during coffee breaks at meetings to formal certifications or seminar sessions, you'll gain a great deal of knowledge across a wide range of industry concerns.
- It gives you better networking opportunities. An association is just that – a place to associate with people who have similar interests in plumbing. A commercial plumber who has been approached about a residential project will often go to association members who are able to take on projects beyond his preferred field of interest.
- It provides advocacy. Whether you're worried about potential changes being considered for lead laws, new codes that don't provide clear guidance about what is considered acceptable practices or a new politician who seems more interested in making the industry impossible to work in rather than supporting your business, trade associations provide advocacy on upcoming issues, giving you more time to work in the field.
- It gives you a sounding board for problems in the field. Did you run across an odd fitting that is being a real bear to connect into a new system? Is there a particular problem in your project that you know someone has solved in the past but is being particularly difficult for you to find the right solution for? When you're part of an association, you gain access to the knowledge of other professionals who can help solve your problem.
- It helps grow your business. Need more training? Associations can help. Have questions about new products or techniques in a potential project? They have the resources to find the answers you need. Want to make your company stand out from the crowd? An association credential in your portfolio does a great job of making that happen. Dealing with a particular problem on your project? The association knows who does what and can send you in the right direction for answers.
Popular plumbing trade associationsWith these benefits available, it's easy to see why joining a trade association is important to growing your business. But which one is the right one? Though there are many plumbing trade associations across the country, we've stuck to national associations for this article. Many of these associations will have local chapters where you can exchange information, network and learn more about changes in the industry.
- American Society of Plumbing Engineers: Is your area of focus plumbing design and inspection? If so, this organization can be a great match, as it focuses on the engineering side of plumbing. It also offers certifications, allowing you to build your credentials and customer trust.
- National Kitchen & Bath Association: Need to get more business from other construction professionals? This association isn't only focused on plumbing, but on all trades in the kitchen and bath construction and renovation industries. If you're looking for professionals to network with so that you can land more subcontracting jobs, this is a great organization to consider.
- Plumbing Contractors of America: A membership in Mechanical Contractors Association of America automatically gives you membership in this organization, an excellent option if your business covers multiple mechanical systems, such as HVAC or electrical. The association has a wide range of educational material, including podcasts.
- Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association: Another association with services for different mechanical contractors, this organization is great to network with other professionals in person. It has many local branches where you can network, troubleshoot or otherwise get to know other professionals in your area.