A membership in a professional construction association can boost your business image and increase your chances of landing new projects. Membership perks include networking opportunities, learning programs and discounts on insurance, supplies, bidding and more.
Contractor members build the infrastructure that supports and moves our economy forward. These projects include roads, bridges and tunnels that accommodate car, truck and waterborne traffic.
In addition to the valuable information and networking opportunities a construction association provides, membership offers contractors access to several business services and discounts. The Associated General Contractors of America, for example, has partnerships with office supply companies, construction equipment and software providers that offer discounts to members. The group also has a Web-enabled document management system that allows members to share contract documents and templates with each other. The association also hosts educational offerings that run the gamut from training material for elementary students and craft workers to seminars for upper management.
Other member benefits can be very practical, such as the ability to purchase insurance at competitive rates. Construction associations often offer health and worker’s compensation coverage that is significantly more affordable than the rates available to independent contractors who purchase their own insurance. This type of savings can help small business owners and freelance professionals afford the essentials to cover their employees, protect themselves against liability and provide peace of mind for clients.
A construction association may also offer a job bank where members can post open positions. This helps them find qualified employees and gives prospective employees a chance to connect with top employers. The RCA, for instance, has a free job bank that can be accessed by anyone. It can be searched by keywords, location and position type.
RCA also offers an online community that brings together industry contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. Its website features an events calendar, discussion forums and articles on various topics in the industry. Members can post and share news and events, search for jobs and vendors and connect with other contractors in the area.
Another service that RCA offers is its compensation survey. The survey lets members see how their wages and benefits compare with other companies performing retail construction. Participating in the survey costs nothing and the results are confidential.
Founded in 1966, the ASA promotes professional subcontractors and seeks to level the playing field for all trades. The organization has been an advocate on behalf of its members in New York City and at the state and federal levels. The association works to establish industry contracts that allow for fair competitive bidding and saves taxpayers money. It also provides road construction safety programs and supports its members in labor contract negotiations.
Networking is one of the most important things you can do as a construction professional. Whether it happens at your neighborhood potluck, at your local dive bar or at the stands of your son’s soccer game, you never know when you might have an opportunity to meet someone that could be your next client or subcontractor. Always have a handful of business cards handy, and be ready to give them out if an appropriate moment presents itself.
Many professional associations provide networking opportunities through bigger and smaller events for members. Attend these events, and you will be able to talk with contractors in the industry from all over the country.
For example, the Association of General Contractors (AGC) has an annual convention as well as regional networking events for their members. Other organizations offer specialized networking events, like the Associated Subcontractors of America, which provides opportunities to connect with specialty trade contractors. Some professional associations also provide opportunities for education in the form of seminars and webinars. For example, the Construction Marketing Association offers marketing and business development resources for the construction industry. They also have a membership directory and career centers for their members to network with each other.
The construction industry requires specific education and credentials to get the job done right. Contractor associations can provide the education, training, and certifications you need to stay ahead of the competition. In addition, they often have a list of preferred vendors who can offer the materials you need for the job at hand.
Continuing education is important for any career, but it’s especially helpful in the contracting world. It’s important to show prospects and clients that you have the skills and knowledge to do what you say you can do. When a client is choosing between two contractors with similar experience and qualifications, they are likely to choose the one with more education.
Contractor associations also offer educational opportunities that can help you gain new skills, learn about trends in the construction industry, and stay up to date on changes in technology and tools. You can find information about the various types of education available through a simple online search and then talk to mentors, other contractors, or other professionals in your field to determine which type of course will be the most beneficial for you.
In addition, contractor associations often work with local high schools and other organizations to promote the industry and encourage students to pursue a career in construction. The AGC of Kansas, for example, works with students of all ages to promote careers in the construction industry through programs like Youth Force 2020, where students build structures at the state fair; ACE Mentor Programs that provide mentoring, scholarships, and internship opportunities to high school students; Turner School of Construction Management, a non-profit technical education institution that offers degrees in Construction Management, General Contracting, and Architectural Engineering; and many other initiatives.
Another education resource is the Subcontractor Association of America, which provides education and networking to help contractors succeed in their businesses. Founded in 1966, the ASA is dedicated to promoting professional subcontractors and advancing their rights. Its membership includes general contractors, specialty trade contractors, service providers, suppliers, and manufacturers. ASA members benefit from education and advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels, including a network of subcontractor-to-subcontractor relationships that helps them win more jobs.
Whether you’re looking for information about the industry or a contractor to work with on your next project, Valuable Contractor Association has what you need. Its members are building construction, highway heavy municipal and utility contractors of all sizes. They operate in public and private markets, in both the commercial and industrial sectors, with a full range of labor relations types.
The association’s programs and services run the gamut from a Web-enabled, pay-as-you-print construction contract document service to career and educational offerings ranging from material for high school students and craft training to seminars for upper management. And its annual conventions, mid-year meetings and DC fly-in events provide valuable opportunities to socialize with fellow contractors from around the country. The national association also maintains a collection of member discount programs with vendors like Home Depot, office supply companies, uniform providers and more.