“I’m from Washington, and I’m here to help.”
It’s a line Ronald Reagan called the “most terrifying words in the English language.” But I just spent two days in Washington with folks from the National Association of Homebuilders, and they really do offer some things that are helpful.
Your membership in Metro also makes you a member of the New Jersey Builders Association and NAHB. I was among 40 new executive officers and regional field reps there to learn about the products and services available to us. They fall into five buckets:
- NAHB is best known for is its work tempering government regulations that hurt our industry. National staffers watch for and analyze emerging trends, warn us they’re coming and advocate positions more favorable to builders and remodelers. Not only do staffers talk directly to members of Congress and various regulatory bodies, they engage groups that are advocating for positions on various rules and regulations. And, of course, attorneys are prepared to take disagreements about these issues to court. Behind those doing the talking is an incredible number of expert analysts, scientists and others who develop the ammunition for these fights.
- That ammunition is available to each of us in the form of reports, research, articles, books, blog posts, talking points, webinars and answers by phone and email. They cover a huge spectrum of topics that can help with local issues, sales and marketing programs, public outreach, education and better building. Prepared by scientists, economists, business analysts and attorneys,
NAHB has some great services for every member.
information ranges from what people of different generations want in their homes to how much more it would cost you to build a green-standard-compliant home. They have ideas on running your business better and studies that let you benchmark yourself. If you haven’t done so, check out eyeonhousing.com, the NAHB housing blog produced by its economists. You may also find a newsletter that interests you at www.nahb.org/newsletters.
- Education and professional designations keep you ahead of the competition and distinguish you from others. We are fortunate to offer many classes close to home. Other classes are offered online. All classes meet standards set by NAHB, follow a syllabus set by the national organization and use instructors approved by National. That gives them instant credibility. In addition to showing you ways to work smarter, many of these classes help you earn one of 13 highly respected professional designations. There is a lot of information about the educational offerings on the NAHB website, but our own Sharon Barkauskas at Metro knows a lot about our educational offerings and is a great resource.
- Everyone’s favorite offering from Washington is discounts. Everyone likes to save money and NAHB is constantly adding new vendors to its “Member Advantage” selections. Not only do you save money when you do business with these folks, but Metro gets royalties on the sales. In fact, we just got a royalty check for just over $1,000. Thanks to all who used the program. The complete list of discounts is at nahb.org/ma. It includes vehicles from General Motors, Dodge, Chrysler, Ram, Jeep and Fiat; building supplies from Lowe’s; insurance from Marsh, AXA Equitable, and Geico; and car rentals, office supplies, computers, shipping, cell phones, home warranty services, and lots of other items. You just gotta look.
- The fifth bucket is the proverbial “other.” NAHB runs the International Builders Show, which is like New Jersey’s Atlantic Builder’s Convention on steroids. More than 1,300 companies had exhibits at the 2016 show last January. More than 120 sessions were available and more than 59,000 (no, that’s not a typo) people attended. How’s that for a learning and networking opportunity?
NAHB also operates the Home Innovation Research Lab, a wholly owned subsidiary that does market research, building science consulting, product testing and standards setting. The Home Building Institute is another related but autonomous organization that helps people find and build a career in homebuilding. It is best known for its site superintendent courses and its apprenticeship programs. Finally, the National Housing Endowment is NAHB’s charitable arm, giving a variety of grants to underwrite education and research.
You may not need all of these services, but it’s nice to know that they are there. As a member of Metro, you have access to these people and their expertise. You’ve paid for the services. You might as well use them.
If you need to take advantage of any of these or want to know more, start by calling me. I’ll try to help you find the right resources, whether they are close to home in Metro, in Hamilton at NJBA or in Washington D.C.
I guess you could say I’m from Morris Plains…and I really am here to help.