By Diane M. Calabrese / Published July 2017
If a good option is always there, it’s all too easy to delay. Think of scheduling a vacation trip to the Rockies versus contracting for a new roof in need of repair. The new roof is a must, while the Rockies will be there next year.
Joining—and maintaining membership in—the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA) is a good choice. Make that a very good choice. For those who have not yet taken the step, or have somehow allowed a membership to lapse in the quickened pace of operating a business, take time now to get going and join (or rejoin), advise some current members.
Jerry Meyer is owner of Meyer’s Pressure Cleaning in Brown Deer, WI, and he tells us that he has been a CETA member “on and off for 25 years.” He recommends membership without interruption. The distinction of being a member can be an advantage in itself—a selling point in some places, he explains.
Being a member is an excellent way to “have some voice in our industry and to be part of a directing group in your industry,” says Meyer. Among the many CETA benefits he appreciates are opportunities for training.
“I find the planning for profit scenario very helpful,” says Meyer. “It’s great. It’s all done third party and confidential.” Yes, he explains, benchmarking can be had from other entities—and his accountant is a good source of information—but the benchmarking provided by the CETA program is industry specific, making it particularly useful.
More members add power to CETA. The adage about strength in numbers applies. Join and boost the industry. As CETA has grown across the years, it has been able to do more to promote the industry and offer more benefits to members. Meyer looks forward to seeing even more growth in the organization.
Among the many benefits of membership is the ability to get to know colleagues and prospective colleagues. Nothing shores up relationships like going to the annual convention, says Meyer. “Seeing some of our vendors face-to-face is a real plus.”
Indeed, for Dean Rhoades in sales and service at E.F. Rhoades & Sons Inc. in Pierceton, IN, it was interaction with CETA members that put him on the path to joining. “My brother and I attended a CETA convention—mainly for the vendor display—in Chicago,” he says. “We were impressed with the value of being a part of the organization.”
More than 20 years later, Rhoades appreciates his membership. Being part of CETA allows him “to support an organization that promotes and makes available the enhancement of the pressure washer industry,” he explains. “That is a worthwhile investment in our business.” Looking back, Rhoades is grateful toward those who got CETA started. “I appreciate the men and women who have had the vision to make CETA what it is today,” he says.
Paul Middlecoop, president of 3R Sales & Service in Barberton, OH, has been a member of CETA for 22 years. He was motivated to join the organization after he received a personal contact from a member. “CETA called me when I was new in the pressure washer business, explained the benefits, and asked me to join,” he says.
“Being a member of your trade organization will bring you knowledge of your industry markets, products, services, trends, techniques, etc.,” says Middlecoop. “I am still with CETA to this day because of the relationships we have built with other dealers around the country, learning from them and socializing with them as well.”
In addition, says Middlecoop, the sharp focus of the organization makes it valuable. “CETA is always working for the betterment of the pressure washer industry and keeping us informed as the industry changes.”
Demonstrated expertise and commitment to excellence—the essential components of professionalism—are what CETA members expect of themselves and their colleagues. The professionalism draws members to CETA.
“I am a member of CETA to help promote standardization within our industry,” says Jim O’Connell, president of Hotsy Pacific in Modesto, CA. “I want to encourage up-and-coming small business owners in our industry to become more professional and hold themselves to a higher standard. If we all work off the same playbook, we will all be successful.”
What also matters to O’Connell is fortifying the web of support among colleagues and competitors to the benefit of all. “I also believe we need to give back to an industry that has provided some great opportunities for me,” he says.
The benefits flow back to members in multiple ways, including the area where personal and professional ties overlap. “I have met some incredible people and have forged some lasting friendships across the United States,” says O’Connell. “I would have not had that opportunity without CETA.”
For each of us, there will be times when somehow, something gets overlooked or put aside. Like Meyer, O’Connell has had a few breaks in membership, so both members understand and recommend doing what they did: reconnecting.
“I have been a member off and on for approximately 15 years,” says O’Connell. He adds that the reasons he joined the first time are the best reasons for sustaining membership.
“I became a member to keep current with industry standards and to be more informed about what was happening within our industry regarding regulations, best practices, and new innovations,” says O’Connell. “I also wanted to be able to network with my peers from other parts of the country.”
For nonmembers and members who have taken an inadvertent or intentional pause from CETA, there may be reasons other than the demands of running a business. If there are, address them, recommends O’Connell.
“I believe there is a lot of misconception about CETA,” explains O’Connell. “I would like to encourage any distributor, manufacturer, supplier, and now, contract cleaner, to make a point to reach out to a board member and ask any one of us questions they may have about CETA.”
Candid questions are absolutely welcome. “I think the questioners may be surprised by how open and forthright the answers will be,” says O’Connell.
It’s fine to let some self-interest direct the decision regarding whether or not to join. In fact, self-interest will more likely than not lead to membership.
“We tend as people to always look at what is in it for me,” says O’Connell. “I am no different, and what is in it for me may not be what you would want for you.” Yet it is entirely possible that different reasons for joining will emerge.
For O’Connell, identifying reasons for membership is easy. “I want to make a contribution to our industry and not for recognition but rather for self-satisfaction,” he says. “I also value the ideas and opinions of those around me—we don’t always agree, and I am good with that. The experience is well worth the commitment.”
Friendly competition invigorates. “We need our industry to become more cohesive and not get caught up in battling over products or manufacturers,” says O’Connell. “There is enough business in this country to support us all, and if we all keep high standards, we will all win. CETA can help us accomplish that.”
Why not take the time to join CETA today? (www.ceta.org)