As I travel to various chapters, I find that there are a lot of members who do not belong to a chapter. I also find that there are chapter members who are not ASHI members (ghost members). I am grateful for the people who do join national and a chapter and attend chapter meetings. Ghost members concern me, though, because there is the potential for conflict between them and those who are ASHI members and chapter members. There is a dues requirement for each that ghost members are not paying. There is a lot of WIIFM to those ghost members at a cost to the dues-paying members.
I do not understand why someone would not join ASHI national. There are many benefits to belonging to national and a chapter. The work members get from the Find An Inspector search function on our Web site can pay for your membership dues many times over. The Reporter is a great resource for all members; it is full of articles, updated educational opportunities and news from a national outlook. Members get a discount on many benefits such as E&O insurance, education programs, health care plans, pre-paid legal and The Journal of Light Construction, which is another great resource for home inspectors and construction inspectors/consultants.
I have found many articles that have assisted me in my consultations. The latest one was from a builder of homes in Alaska about building for very cold climates. The weatherproofing, flashing and wrap details were applicable to many other areas of the United States. How they use heat-recovery ventilation is something anyone looking at green buildings would learn from. This is a WIIFM that is sorely overlooked.
Belonging to a chapter brings more benefits. Usually, there are discounts for education seminars. Being able to network with others is a great source of information. I urge everyone who does not belong to a chapter to find the nearest one and go for a visit to see what you have been missing. Those who belong to a chapter, but not national, need to join; everyone in a chapter should encourage all chapter members to be ASHI members. Most chapters also have a marketing plan for their members and a good relationship with the real estate professionals in their area. Chapters are one of the most interactive WIIFMs there is.
ASHI has several online education modules for use by members and chapters. There is InspectionWorld, the annual education and association meeting. IW is something you cannot miss; there is so much information to be obtained from the seminars and from networking with your peers. There is a chance to see the latest gadgets and software and visit with the authorized vendors. You never know how you will benefit from IW until you go. I was with one of our members, and we were discussing business operations. What he learned that day more than paid for all the InspectionWorld conferences he attended. IW is another overlooked WIIFM for most members.
I have heard people say dues and IW are too expensive. Our dues are lower than most associations. For most of us, it is one or two inspections and the dues are paid. IW is four to six inspections for registration and hotel. If we save the fee for one inspection per month, we will more than pay for our dues and IW. What’s more, these are costs of doing business and usually deductible expenses.
I started off by asking, “What’s in it for me?” I think I have given some answers to that question. I also know you get out what you put in. Go the extra mile and check out all the benefits from belonging to the best home inspector association. Get involved in a chapter and attend IW, sign up for the other benefits, and I’ll bet you will reap more rewards than you realize. I know I’ve gotten way more than I paid for. Let me know when you do.