Most remodelers nix ties to remodeling organizations in favor of devoting time to groups more in tune with their needs and that directly help their business.

Conventional wisdom has it that remodelers are not joiners. And when it comes to industry activities, remodelers earn their reputation. Membership in the two national remodeling associations, at about 9,200 contractors, is a fraction of the 171,500 general and specialty firms identified by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Yet 83% belong to community organizations. What motivates remodelers to join associations or other groups? It's all about real benefits, to them or their customers. Of those who haven't joined, about 38% say remodeling associations are too expensive; 33% say they take too much time.

What could associations offer to entice membership? Some suggestions include local industry compensation surveys, employee training videos at cost, advanced business management training, business analysis, ways to improve leads, group buying power, workers' comp insurance, reports on software that works, and a central system to facilitate employee swapping.


Why They Don't Join

"I'm doing well on my own. I've never advertised; all my business is word of mouth. My business consumes a great deal of time. " Ed Skelton, Skelton Construction, Germantown, Md.

"I have never received any information that compelled me to see the benefit." Michael Raymond, M.C. Raymond-Builder, Port Townsend, Wash.

"I don't see any evidence that the average homeowner knows what either NARI or the Remodelors Council of NAHB are, what they stand for, or what contractor membership means to them as homeowners." Russ Pilato, Russ Pilato, Remodeling Contractor, Clifton Springs, N.Y.

Other Reasons:

"My chapter was very insular and dominated by a clique." Greg Moore, Moore General Contracting, Philadelphia

"You get back what you put in, and I didn't have time for the meetings." Dick Noffke, Glenlake Building and Remodeling, Chicago


Should We Have One or Two Associations?

* When asked whether customers understand the differences between the two remodeling associations, more than 90% of remodelers surveyed said no or didn't know.

* More than 50% of remodelers surveyed don't understand the differences between the two associations themselves.

* 39% agree the two associations should combine into one; 25% are neutral; 16% disagree; 20% don't know.