I recently received an email from Javier Lesaca of Bakersfield, Calif.-based Lesaca Landscape Co. He's the director of membership for the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA), and he wanted to share his response to the question, "What value have you received from your association membership?" Belonging to an association is something he says he always considered a "no brainer," but it's clear others don't always agree.
At Landscape Management, we're proponents of industry associations; you know, it's the whole "rising tides" thing. For more potential benefits of associations, we'll share with you what Javier had to say:
"I first joined CLCA for the insurance program. Then I realized this association had more to offer than affordable insurance. I saw they had many programs that were developed to help their members to become better business owners. These are programs that will help you shorten your learning curve and help you become a successful contractor with fewer trials and errors ... Along with these programs, CLCA members have the use of California Association of Employers HR hotline for any of their human resource questions and an attorney on retainer that can answer your questions to see if you’re on the right or wrong side of the law. If you were to use any of these programs and services you would definitely see a return on your investment with your membership.
"Networking is defined as a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups with a common interest. This is the definition, but as a CLCA member you can add 'friendship' to the definition. In my early landscape career, I would use my local contractor contacts and vendors as my support system, but because we were working in the same area I wasn’t always sure if I was receiving an honest answer. After becoming a CLCA member I began to network with other members at different events like the Landscape Industry Show, leadership conference, legislative conference, summer family extravaganza, annual convention and my local chapter events ... What I found is that many people I have met are willing to share their knowledge and wisdom with me.
"CLCA’s influence in the state legislature is well known. Whenever there is a decision or potential new law that will affect our members, CLCA is there to ask the right questions. We all hear how California is not the most business-friendly state. As business owners, we need all the help we can get. CLCA is there ready to fight for our common interests, whether it's for our C-27 license, workers' comp, water, employment issues and any other potential law that will affect us, CLCA is there fighting for us. This is one benefit that every C-27 contractor or anyone else in the green industry profits from.
"Just paying for a CLCA membership will not make you a successful landscape contractor. But, if you take advantage of all the programs, services and new friendships you will make, your career in the landscape industry will be more profitable and enjoyable."
Well said, Javier! --Marisa Palmieri