Plumbers sometimes ask us to explain the advantages of being a member of The Master Plumbers and Gasfitters Association of WA.
They may be licensed plumbing contractors who are thinking of joining, or existing members looking at what they get in return for their annual fee.
It’s a question with a two-part answer - the value equation and the 'value of belonging'.
The value equation
Even without allowing for the fact that the Association's membership fee is tax-deductible, the cost is easily outweighed by the dollar value of the benefits.
Some of this dollar value comes from the discounts we have negotiated with suppliers. Members and their staff can claim these discounts on a wide range of goods and services for business or personal use. They can potentially add up to thousands of dollars a year, every year.
Then there are all the free resources and business tools available in the members-only area of our website. We provide these to assist members with business management responsibilities including, for example, pricing and estimating, industrial relations and paying the correct wages. Our free MPA Online Training Directory provides easy access to a range of business skills training opportunities.
The list of free offerings also includes legal advice from a leading law firm, technical advice, industry information forums and social events.
There is also tremendous value — financial and otherwise — in MPA Insurance, MPA Finance, the MPA Work Health and Safety Management System and our professional business mentoring service.
The 'value of belonging'
While this part of our answer is harder to quantify, it is incredibly important.
Industry associations like ours connect people to help them achieve common goals and support each other. This connection is something every licensed plumbing contractor needs and it's why members have an automatic advantage over non-members.
The ‘value of belonging’ is so important because our industry consists mainly of small to medium-sized businesses, many of which are family-owned and operated. They are vulnerable to forces such as the ever-increasing risks and costs of compliance, unfair competition and the cost-cutting practices of some builders. They may struggle to stay on top of industry information and as individual businesses, have little or no bargaining power with the cost of services like insurance.
Another word for the 'value of belonging' is 'strength'. There is strength in numbers, strength in a common voice and strength in being part of WA's only industry body dedicated to licensed plumbing contractors.