Is Joining the Cabinetmakers Association Worthwhile?

Some members say that active participation in the CMA has boosted their businesses. May 31, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I’m looking for members or former members of The Cabinet makers Association (CMA) for a real world opinion of the benefits of membership. Is it worth the fee? Do most potential clients really care if I'm a member? Is it more about the professional networking? Are there other benefits I'm missing (or not)?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor U:
The benefits are both tangible and intangible. I don't think you will win or lose any jobs due to your telling the client you are a member, but belonging to trade associations is one of the marks of a progressive, successful business and is part of portraying a professional image. In other words, it doesn't hurt to have a couple of logos on your business card.

The more tangible benefits come from the networking and association with other business owners, who operate in the same industry and confront the same problems, and in many cases have already solved the same problems that you are facing. There is a lot of knowledge available in the forum archive and a lot of expertise available just for the asking. I could go on but hopefully others will chime in.

From contributor Z:
My only regret is that I was undecided for so long on whether to join the CMA or not. A couple of the members were friends and kept telling me I needed to join so I finally did. The members of the CMA are truly interested in helping me be a better cabinetmaker. They've answered a bunch of stupid questions from me and have never made me feel stupid. I was told when I joined "If you don't participate you probably won't get much out of it, but if you do then you'll reap the benefits" and that was right.

From Contributor W:
Nice work and website. I stopped doing residential kitchens a few years ago and reputation was the main source there. In the area of commercial there is no better group than the AWI. The reach to Architects and GC's is a very good dollar spent.

From Contributor K:
If you're happy with every aspect of your business, you don't ever have any questions about anything and you find there are just not enough hours in the day to spend your profits, then I wouldn't recommend joining. We have found zero net gain in sending dues in to the CMA or any organization for that matter, but rather from joining and getting as involved as we can. The forum has become a very powerful tool in this business, not to be outdone by the networking within the group. If you want to join to get a sticker for your window or a plaque for your office in hopes of attracting more customers save your money. If you care to join and participate in discussions, ask questions, answer questions, meet up when time and money allow, you'll harness an incredible opportunity to grow as a person and as a business. It's always cheaper to learn from other's mistakes.

From contributor C:
I am a member. You could get your fee out of reading the info in the back issues of the quarterly magazine, Profiles. I have read and re-read the back issues over and over to find out what I can extract that I didn't the first time. I wish they had been around when I started my shop. Good group, great leadership and excellent members. Always willing to share info, and answer questions. The depth of knowledge of is just incredible. The discussion board is very professional. Good luck with your decision either way.

From Contributor E:
By this time in your career, I would agree that having a CMA certification isn't going to help you land any jobs. My feeling is that it helps someone just starting out that needs some credibility with the public to gain their confidence. What it can do is help you to figure out best practices.

On the CMA Forum I'm always pleasantly surprised on the openness and willingness of the members to share their advice and what they have found to work best for them. If you're willing to not let pride get in the way and ask for help and advice, you’re going to get your money’s worth. If you just log onto the forum and read, then no, save your money.

A month or so ago, one of the members was asking about closets, and if memory serves me correct there was a member that just did closets and he not only answered some questions for him, but offered to answer any additional questions he might have if he wanted to talk.

From the original questioner:
Your perspectives have all been very helpful. I think I'm leaning towards not becoming a member. WOODWEB is certainly enough to satisfy most of my discussion needs. I doubt the certification will generate or close any jobs. I will revisit as things progress.