Back in 1984 and shortly after my first few Garden State Chapter meetings, I found myself part of a group of like-minded individuals who ranged from skilled and seasoned tradesmen to credentialed professionals. I was struck by their dedication to personal growth and to the betterment of the home inspection profession. I found a “home” in which to learn about the myriad pitfalls that exist in every building inspection, sometimes through examples of the mistakes made by those before me. This, I thought, was good stuff. More importantly, I was surrounded by individuals willing to share their skills with me, the skills necessary to perform at a professional level, thereby avoiding those same costly mistakes. I found company with peers experiencing the same growth pains I was experiencing in the day-to-day workings of my home inspection business.
Navigating unknown territory
In the early days of this business, we all found ourselves struggling to establish guidelines, seeking guidance from any source to help define the craft of home inspection. ASHI members in those early years can be thought of as pioneers venturing into unknown territory.
These days, I believe we continue to navigate our business in uncharted areas. We are influenced or regulated by laws enacted by those who do not know the nuance of our business, yet subtleties in law can have a dramatic impact on how services are delivered to homebuying consumers. And, as long as we are professionally fragmented — especially about ethical practices, preferred vendor programs in creative disguises and groups that disguise low-entry qualifications with no- or low-experience component — the home inspection business will continue to struggle with direction and consumers will continue to commoditize our services toward low fees...who could do the same service cheaper since there’s little difference between inspector services? If you fancy yourself as a conspiracy theorist, you can imagine that influential groups in our business are content on keeping us off balance.
Or, maybe we are simply witnessing behavior from folks who don’t care about qualifications or meaningful logos, or don’t care if consumers are hoodwinked into thinking they are hiring someone with qualifications when, in actuality, they are not. It seems there are too many individuals who are interested in starting a business without a journeyman’s approach to learning it first. Consider these finer points the next time you have a discussion with someone who maintains dual membership, especially in virtual organization groups. We all suffer when a standard bar is set too low.
The ASHI way
Well, in my book, that’s just not the ASHI way. So what can we do? We can start by regularly attending chapter meetings and getting involved locally. Start simple with regular attendance. Invite a seasoned inspector to join you. Once there, show support by engaging in education sessions, sharing experience and participating in the dialogue about the things that affect our business. ASHI’s strength lies in our strong network of viable chapters, populated with some of the most seasoned inspectors in the business. This is exactly how I started, and in only a short time, I found myself looking forward to the next meeting and then the next one. My association involvement over the years has had a positive impact on my life, both inside and outside of my professional work, and the same opportunities are available to the entire membership.
Opportunity for chapters
And then there’s the chapters’ opportunity, even a responsibility, to get involved nationally. In October of each year, our chapters participate in an educational event by sending one or several representatives to the Chapter Leadership Days conference in Chicago. This is a full one-and-a-half day marathon of information, acquired over years of successful application and designed to influence this business and enhance life within our chapters. Started in the mid-1990s, this yearly event has evolved into a phenomenal learning experience that is well received by each attendee, and it gets better with each year.
ASHI provides unifying voice
ASHI plays an important role in providing a national voice that does more to unify the home inspection profession than anything else. No other group, service provider or organization has this type of influence, stature or impact on our profession. Our membership supports this effort each time we pay our annual dues. Your leadership is determined to assure ASHI’s continued success on the national stage. And, by taking advantage of learning events like Chapter Leadership Days and becoming engaged as an active chapter member, we carry this message each day to the neighborhoods where we apply our craft.