Associations: the power of membershipCanadian Contractor Business Capacity Professional
Your reputation as a contractor can take a hit online even though you are a professional, competent businessperson and builder. Joining an association can enhance your credibility, even in the Wild West of online reviews that may or may not be fair.
On consumer-driven online sites, homeowners surf to find contractors. And on some of these sites, contractors need good reviews to help attract consumers to them. There is a downside to these sites when disgruntled homeowners post negative review about contractors – even when the contractor is not a member of that site or even aware of it. Online complaints can quickly tarnish a business’s name and they tend not to be retracted. In my article on May 7 I covered this touchy subject : Read article.
I believe that, with online reviews of contractors’ work becoming more and more commonplace, contractors need to become smarter and find ways to build and keep their credibility. There is no better way than becoming a member of an association. While the occasional negative online review cannot always be controlled, you always have control of your own professional development, and being a member of a credible association can only add to your reputation and credibility – and there are many great associations in our industry to choose from.
Some associations require applicants to supply references that are checked out prior to your membership being accepted. Some carry rules and regulations, like codes of ethics or conduct that members must maintain while transacting business. Some even supply a member in good standing certificate that can be used in your marketing to show prospective consumers that you did not simply pay a price to become a member but that you are still meeting the qualifications of membership.
If you join an association, your customers will know that they have a place to lodge a legitimate complaint if they feel they have been unfairly treated. Some organizations even investigate or mediate complaints in order to assist both their membership and the consumer.
Unfortunately, many consumer online sites do not have the capacity for this. Yes, you can post a response to negative or incorrect allegations made against you online but once the negativity is out there, it tends to stick. Joining a credible, well-run trade association can help to shore up your reputation and provide a place for the mediation of complaints, should they arise.
Check out CARAHS at www.carahs.org
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