New industry group again?

Paul the Remodel Crazy guy.

Remodel Crazy thinks another industry group makes sense.

Why, since we have so many?

The answer will satisfy some people and others will see no need.
Simply this, we are not considered professionals by many people, in fact I meet people all the time who tell me they are capable of doing what I do, they think anyone can pull a building project off. They are right in a way except, although I can do my own brakes and install a starter, that doesn’t make me a mechanic.

I think the benefits would help the people who join a builders group that has standards for business and craft. Other standards might be to be used to influence lawmakers and building officials.

What’s in it for me?

That’s the #1 question being asked. An easy answer would be what do you want and would you work for what you want?

We have things to gain by a powerful industry group. The downside is groups have a way of setting requirements that piss a lot of people off, that is always a danger and is something that needs to be watched. Also many groups end up with a few people at the top getting the better benefits and they have a tendency to become clubby and autocratic, also things we would need to watch.

On the upside consider NAR or the National Association of Realtors has over 1 million members and it sees to enforce standards and protect it’s members from unqualified and unlicensed practitioners. It isn’t perfect but it does do good. You don’t have someone laid off from a job starting a brokers office and watering down the commissions. NAR also monitors it’s members so they perform to accepted industry standards.

On licensing, in some areas its a joke, but in many places it keeps the pros from competing with inexperienced competition. I started out unlicensed and have been licensed for the last 25 years, nothing to brag about but it does add some legitimacy. Again, a license doesn’t make you good or ethical but it does ensure the homeowner is most likely dealing with a real business.

In summary, I think this group would elevate the profession, help protect our livelihood and allow us to sell work from a better perspective. Homeowners would have a group to help work out problems, kind of like when Sears or Home Depot tells people “we’ll always be around”, that’s a forward sounding statement and a strong well branded industry group could give the similar message, perhaps with more meaning than the big businesses that use these type of qualifying statements.

What about NARI or the NAHB?

These groups exist and offer education and certifications and they do a good job of that, but few people recognize the certifications and homeowners are rarely impressed.

A CR is what Mister Homeowner?

On the other hand most everyone knows what PHD stands for.

That’s all, maybe its not for you but it could be for everyone who wants to see this industry be more professional and get a better image. Many groups exist already but they have little impact with the public.

So, you can go it alone, or you can work to building a more professional industry, its simply what you want, do whatever makes you comfortable.

By Paul Lesieur


  1. Paul,
    Thanks for the push to improve the industry. However, I didn’t really see an answer to why not NARI or NAHB-R. They do education already. Why couldn’t they help push higher standards? I would argue that they are in many ways, at least locally. They came together to create MN GreenStar to provide a higher standard with a market based value proposition. BAMN and BATC have both advocated stricter licensing standards. These efforts have so far been unsuccessful at the legislature due to a perception that they are anticompetitive. BAMN and BATC have advocated clear and enforceable performance standards and it is now law that these must be provided to consumers. The next step is ensuring that those standards are meaningful.

    I do like the NAR analogy. They have a strong membership and they do protect members. However, I don’t think it is due to high standards. It is largely due to control of the local MLS systems. If you want to list and market a house you need to be a member of the association. Unfortunately in our industry it is possible to find a remodeler from your neighbor’s buddy’s coworker’s uncle that did some work for so and so.

    Lastly, although the perception by some people that they can do the work themselves is unfortunate, what is worse is the lack of distinction between remodelers. As you note, the certifications provided by the associations provide little consumer relevance. How can an association (new or existing) help consumers make a smart decision when hiring a remodeler? (I don’t ask to dismiss the influence of an association, but to highlight what I believe is one of the most important questions that need to be answered).


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