By Steve Sullivan
Associates Council Chair
If it affects builders, it will affect associates. We must be active.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of two parts about the purpose and mission of associate membership – to provide unity, collaboration, promotion, forum, advocacy and community support. It will appear in the upcoming edition of Oklahoma Builder magazine)
As of July, OSHBA had 911 builder members, 1,303 associate members, 325 affiliate members. We are not close to the national average of one-third builders to two-thirds associates and affiliates. The power of two-thirds of NAHB membership can be a major force for the HBA if given the guidance and structure to work as a collective. We need more associate members in Oklahoma!
Associates are the home-building industry’s suppliers, service providers and product manufacturers. They support the industry in many different capacities and are a vital component of the association.
For us, joining an HBA is an opportunity to network and spotlight our products and services provided to builders, remodelers and associates; learn more about the industry, help promote a positive economic and regulatory environment for home-building and related businesses.
Part of business success is about what you know and who you know.
Associates benefit from the strengths of industry representatives advocating for small and large business on industry-related issues. Our home builder associations are here to help us with local, municipal, state and national issues and concerns.
OSHBA encourages associate members to learn more about home building and broaden our industry knowledge.
Getting by just to get by doesn’t cut it anymore in today’s world. Knowledge is power and awareness is critical if you want to be successful. Time spent by associates to be more aware of the building industry can only help make them better professionals.
Associates frequently say: “This HBA needs more builders to come to the general membership meetings.” I’m more focused not on quick sales and business card overload to a builder, but more about developing “social capital” which helps me with warm introductions to business opportunities. Home builder and associate meetings are ideal for lead generation.
Many of us join our local, state and national association of home builders just to get business from the builder members and some associates. Business does not come to you by just simply being a member. If you want to do more business with builders, you must get involved, be active. Learn all you can about our industry.
When I joined the HBA, I could not see how getting involved was going to help me with gaining business or where it would lead down the road. After joining and serving on different committees, I met and worked with the executive officer and many other people.
At first I felt out of place, but after a while I started to share my ideas. Some of the committee members would say “I have sat on this committee for years, that will not work.” However, others would say “it’s great to have new blood with new thoughts.”
Builders, do business with associates!
The builder member who regularly engages associate members is one that should be held in high esteem. Business is business and builders need to get the best possible combination of price and quality.
However, doing business with an associate member who can provide what the builder needs is an outstanding example of how our association is supposed to work. Builder members should engage with active associates & seek bids from associates, particularly those who volunteer their time to help the local HBA.
It will be up to each individual associate to be professional, know the builder’s product and who the associate is competing against.
Associate membership has many other benefits and privileges, from discount programs for many goods and services to a wide variety of insurance discounts for property, general liability, workers comp to auto insurance. Get involved!