Should a builder join a building trades association?

For any builder the question of whether or not to join a building trade association is an important one. Building trade associations have a high media profile and given the number of horror stories involving cowboy builders it is true that membership of a trade association may provide a sense of security to potential customers.

On the other hand, from the builders point of view and given the multitude of trade associations available for building companies, it can be difficult to know which association to choose while membership of more than one building trade association can prove costly every year in membership fees – increasing the building company’s overheads.

I suppose that the answer lies in the ability of the building trade association to vet a building company membership applications thoroughly and to continue to check those builders who are members of their organisation. However the reality is that if builders did not subscribe to building trade associations then the trade association would not exist, the association can only trade because of its members and I think that you only have to look at how many building trade associations exist to ask yourself how feasible constant vetting of their members can be?

In the end whether or not a builder wants to join a building trade association is a personal choice. Some may not even fit the criteria to become a member of a particular building trade association, after all,  just because someone has a logo on a van doesn’t make them a competent builder!

I have given much thought to joining these associations and I carried out some research into this area.   In fact around 3 years ago I thought about joining one of the more prominent building trades associations however, after a home visit by their assessor I did not feel comfortable with how keen they were for me to join; to me  it felt they were more interested in my membership fee than the vetting process which is wrong.

As an experienced builder, my personal opinion is that “I do not want to pay several hundreds of pounds every year for a logo to claim I am vetted to a certain standard” when I have many references and evidence from my previous customers to say I have carried out a good job to a high standard. To me my previous customer’s opinions are worth far more than any membership accreditation could be. You may think that the membership fee’s is only a small amount of money in respect to the turnover of a business? But the cost of becoming a member of a building trade association is not the reason I decided not to join one. I honestly don’t think that they are worth it; if you search the internet you can find plenty of horror stories about building work carried out by members of building trade associations.

CJK Builders trades on its name, reputation and the service I provide to my customers and this for me is the most important thing. I passionately believe that providing a high standard of work, having a good knowledge of building practice, not taking short cuts to save money, using the right materials for the job, and having a good professional customer service package is the key to running a successful business, not a logo on your van!