This article appears courtesy of Jon Bell in the October edition of the Home Building News
Julie Nolta has officially been in the interior design business since 2005, and she opened her own firm, Julie Nolta Design, in 2008. While she’s always done a fair share of marketing and networking, Nolta decided to kick it up a notch earlier this year with one simple step: she joined the HBAMP.
“I just really wanted to get to know more people and learn about the industry and get more involved with the industry,” said Nolta, who as a member of a design team that decked out a home on the 2006 NW Natural Street of Dreams. “Networking is really important to my business, and getting referrals from people you know, people you trust, those are the best clients for me.”
Many HBAMP members have been with the organization for years; some even for decades. But at some point, they all were just starting out, and in a range of different ways, the HBAMP can be a big boost to new and growing businesses.
“Just looking over what all the HBAMP does, we saw a lot of potential benefits from signing up,” said Mark Nichols, owner of Nicholas Carpet Care, a full-service carpet and floor-cleaning company in Portland. Some contractors that Nicholas had been working with suggested he join the organization, which he did back in June.
Though he said it’s still a little too early to realize all the benefits that come with being a part of the HBAMP, Nicholas does see plenty of potential.
“We know that there’s a huge amount of benefit out there,” said Nicholas, who’s company has been around since 1992. “Just looking over all the things that the HBAMP does and offers, we see of lot that will be a big benefit to us.”
One of the many benefits of HBAMP membership, particularly for new businesses, is the ability to network extensively with other professionals across the entire homebuilding and remodeling industry. From regular lunches to special events and social functions, the HBAMP offers members all kinds of opportunities to meet, mingle and do business.
Nolta has been taking advantage of that aspect of her HBAMP membership since she joined in May. She said she’s gone to several different events, including the chili cook-off and a couple of social mixers. She’s also joined the PRO committee and talked to the Home Builders Foundation about possibly donating some of her services to their projects.
“I’ve met some really great people, and I love how active the organization is,” she said.
Photographer Paul Sivley has been an HBAMP member for years, and he’s made great connections for more than just his business through the association. This summer, he had some “pretty extensive work” done on his house. For that work, he only hired HBAMP members, including some who had referred business his way before.
“It’s a great way to develop business growth through two mutually beneficial directions,” he said, noting that he refers business exclusively to HBAMP members as often as he can.
For Brian Schmidt, owner of Brian Schmidt Builder and a current board member for the HBAMP, joining the association should be a no-brainer for anyone in the industry.
“I think it’s just a given that if you are going to be a builder that you ought to be a member,” he said. “They’re the ones working for the benefit of our industry, so we should all be a part of it.”
Though he started his own building company earlier this year, Schmidt’s history with the HBAMP goes back much farther than that. He used to work for Olsen Homes and saw how the HBAMP benefited that company. Case in point: the NW Natural Street of Dreams.
“When we did the Street of Dreams, we got a lot of business directly because of that,” he said.
Schmidt also noted that belonging to the HBAMP has other concrete benefits, as well. HBAMP members get fuel discounts from Supervised Fuels, up to 22 percent off Verizon cell phone packages, workers comp and insurance discounts from Montgomery and Graham Insurance and savings on credit card processing fees.
Another big benefit that HBAMP members can take advantage of — and save big money from — is the Oregon Home Builders Association Member Rebate Program. Through the free program, builders and remodelers who use products from a list of select manufacturers and then fill out a quick form are eligible for a quarterly rebate.
For any company, maximizing an HBAMP membership is not too challenging. Simply joining the association aligns industry professionals with a strong organization that provides valuable advocacy, representation and support for the homebuilding industry. But to really get the most out of the organization takes a little more effort.
“You’ve got to be willing to get involved and stick with it,” said Andrew Tull, a principal planner with 3J Consulting and the current chair of the HBAMP’s Government Affairs Committee and a member of the organization’s political action committee. “It’s not something that you can just fall right into. You have to be active.”
For Tull and 3J, who joined the HBAMP about three years ago, that’s meant being involved at the committee level and regularly attending HBAMP events and activities. He said doing so has also helped the firm focus its marketing efforts on areas that make the most sense.
“One of the mistakes that businesses make is by taking a shotgun approach to marketing and talking to anyone and everyone possible,” Tull said. “But getting into an organization like the HBAMP, you can narrow down your aim and focus your efforts on those most likely to use your services. It’s really helped us to establish the size of the market, who the players are and where we should be focusing our efforts.”
On top of the business benefits of belonging to the HBAMP, Tull also said the fun and camaraderie that come along with it are hard to be, as well.
“The HBAMP offers so many events and fun activities to do,” he said, noting that the association’s golf outings are among his favorites. “You really get the opportunity to talk to people and have fun with potential clients and develop friendships. That can take years if you don’t have a regular social setting like this. I’ve met a lot of really great people.”