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The True Cost of a Trade Association ,
posted by Brian Drucks on 1/1/2010

The True Cost of Belonging To Your Professional Trade Organization

Having just returned from my trade association’s annual convention, I thought I would post the true cost of attending one of these functions. In this day of second-guessing every click of the economy, the value of trade associations becomes even stronger. Since, I still hear the argument from some who try to justify the costs versus the return of these trade associations and conventions, I’d like to breakdown these costs and show you how easily they can be recaptured. Then list some returns that cannot easily be dollarized.

 

First the costs. I will use my membership in my trade association as our example:

 

Annual Membership:                          $   670.00

Entrance Fee to convention:               $   539.00

Airline ticket from NJ to CA:             $   398.00

Hotel for 3 nights:                               $   674.61

Breakfasts:                                          Included at convention

Lunches:                                              Included at convention

Dinners:                                              Included at convention

Misc. cash spending:                          $   200.00

Grand Total                                        $2,481.61

 

Actual cost to a company with 5 billable employees? .26 cents per hour. This amount should be passed on to your customers as an overhead item.

 

In this day, it’s tough shelling out almost $ 2,500 for anything. So is there value in attending a 3-day convention? Here’s the return on investment as I see it.

 

  1. Real time, real life data on the state of the economy, pertaining to your industry. There’s nothing better then hearing it from the mouths of your contemporaries.
  2. Referrals: So many people in the corporate world are being transferred on a regular basis. You would be surprised how many people will refer work to you from clear across the country. Consider the specialties in your industry that your company does not do. Being able to refer fellow association members is beneficial for all parties. Do your fellow members know your company’s area of expertise?
  3. Education: It’s invaluable to be able to learn from those who have been there before us. Educational programs from your trade association are specifically tailored to your industry.
  4. Tools and materials are changing at a pace never before seen. Some are technology driven and some environmental. Having the manufacturers educating you on new products and the “how to’s” can save you hundreds of hours in the field, as well as making you look more professional than your competition.
  5. This last one is the most important: Knowing you are not alone. When you run your own business it can be a lonely position. Your employees can’t relate. You may not want to share your worries and concerns with your loved ones. To be able to share with others who are either going through exactly what you are, or have, can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can walk away with.

 

I don’t think you can afford not to belong to your trade association!

 

 

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