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My role as President and CEO of ACCA is to be a solution generator for our members to succeed. Those solutions include access to the best technical & business expertise, customer service, employee retention, and profitability.  That’s part of our most recent strategic plan. The most important role for us is being a conduit, a voice for the members. We want to establish ACCA as a place where you can’t afford not to be part of.

Excellent Value for Money

Our current annual membership fee is $575.  That’s nothing in the association world. And we work hard on this, on our price point. We’ve questioned raising the price, but we’re established to be a service. So I don’t want to lose that.

Ironically our price point can be its own detriment.  People assume that we don’t have all the stuff that other “for-profits” groups have. But that’s just not the case. We offer a similar level of benefits, and networking opportunities as other groups out there that are over $5,000 a month, all while also looking after your interest on the technical and policy, regulatory, and code front at the local, state, and federal level

For example, we’ve recently partnered with Savings 4 Members, which allows us to offer great discounts for our members on various necessities from fuel to uniforms to credit card financing and more. The discounts are with merchants like Sprint, Exxon/Mobil, Philips 66, UniFirst, ADP, and CardConnect AIP.  Be on the lookout for how ACCA members can enroll to take advantage of this exclusive savings.

More than a Bundle of Benefits

I want ACCA to be more than just a bundle of benefits. I want members to feel the pride that comes with being part of something bigger.  The value must be there, but the pride has to be there, too. ACCA is a place to belong, where a lot of people share knowledge and work together towards goals. A lot of our work and what we’re known for is probably the technical products.

But we’ve got a members-only online Contractor Forum that is second to none. The general Contractor Forum has 7,400 members, with 4,700 discussions, and 87 libraries to date where there have been multiple discussions on a topic. That’s a powerful network of peers to go to. It’s pretty neat to see the kind of impact of the collective wisdom of over 7,000 contractors at your disposal, who can share all the missteps and the right steps they’ve made along the way.

A lot of our members belong to MIX® Groups. The acronym is Management Information eXchange, but everyone just knows them as MIX® Groups. We’ve got over 50 of them. They’re usually similar sized companies. Most of them meet in person two times per year. They share sales and operation policies and how their advertising budget works. They even interview their staff and look at each others’ facilities. It’s a powerful peer group.

Partnership with Manufacturers and Distributors

We’re dependent on manufacturers to make good solid equipment, and we want to make sure that people are trained on how to use it. We want to make sure that distributors have what our folks need. And we want to provide our members with what they need to communicate with their customers. We are in this together. I do believe that we are stronger together.

I believe one of the most important roles that ACCA can play is a clearinghouse of companies that have worked to improve our members’ businesses and highlighting those companies. We already have quite a few of those through our corporate partners.  To a big extent, our corporate partners allow us to maintain our low membership fees. Going forward, we intend to do a better job of holding up our corporate partners, especially those going above and beyond to help you succeed

ACCA as a Badge of Quality

Only a handful of states have licensing requirements in this industry. It’s kind of the Wild West for a lot of people. We believe the people that are doing things the right way should be rewarded. They shouldn’t have to compete with the guy in the pickup truck that’s not permitting and not investing in training.  ACCA is there with that one lens for the contractor to make sure that we improve your position. We’re here to help eliminate that competition.

We have an outward facing part of our website that provides information to consumers, including our contractor locator. Especially during peak season there are many consumers looking for honest information on where to get a good contractor. Making an investment in a trade association is a good indicator that somebody is committed to being part of something bigger and something better. It’s a great place to highlight the ones that have the training.

Making ACCA H.O.T

I read an article that claimed women desired men who were H-O-T: humble, obedient and trustworthy. And really, that’s what ACCA is. We’re obedient because we’re working on what we’re here to do for our members. We’re a trustworthy source. But we’re too humble.

We need to create an army of ambassadors for ACCA that only want to do business with companies that support their trade association and our goal of helping our members succeed. They want to see other contractors be part of it because they know if they want to expand their business they want a healthier business to expand into. Or if they want to sell their business they have somebody that’s doing better who wants to buy it.

I can only imagine if every one of our regular show attendees or our MIX® group members told their stories of how ACCA benefited them and encouraged someone else to get involved. That could be a game changer. If you are interested in sharing your ACCA story and becoming and ACCA Ambassador. Please drop me a line or give me a call.

Barton James

Posted In: ACCA Now, Opinion

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