Reorganization, unification, increased productivity and streamlined technological advancements are all part of the new Water Quality Association (WQA). The WQA is taking great strides to make changes to help enhance the benefits to its current and future members. The benefits to members are numerous and worthy of the fees. In times of tougher state and federal legislation, new product certifications and consumer awareness, now is a time to be associated with an organization that fights daily for your needs. Education, certification and lobbying to better the water treatment industry is what the WQA achieves for its members.
Take a look at what the WQA has to offer its members.
- Up-to-date information on legislation, whether it is softener bans or "do not call" lists, it works for members and addresses the issues.
- Monthly newsletters, faxes and e-mails help keep the members informed.
- Its website not only is comprehensive and informative for members, but it is educational for consumers as well.
- Public education is the key to promoting water treatment products to the average consumer, and the organization is doing a better job in reaching consumers and promoting the organization's members.
Certification programs that help educate "would be" water dealers, salesmen and installers, as well as seasoned professionals, are available to set standards for the industry. Over the years the water treatment industry has met challenges and taken some blows by unscrupulous dealerships or individuals. By using the technology that is available and utilizing resources, the WQA is helping set standards that the consumer will recognize and rely on for high-quality products and services. Recently, two national publications mentioned the WQA as the only international water association that is making an impact on public awareness.
Organizations such as NSF International and WQA perform testing and issue seals of approval on products. But many times the products are not used in compliance with the approval or are not applied correctly to the water being treated. Failure of these systems because of misapplication are not the fault of the manufacturer or consumer, but the fault of the installer or system designer. The WQA can help with proper water analysis and design to avoid the negative impact a professional may endure.
The water professional strives to be the best in an industry where do-it-yourselfers buy equipment and install systems incorrectly, only to have systems not provide desired results. This negative implication often radiates incompetence of water treatment products and falls back on water dealers. The WQA promotes public awareness of buying certified products purchased from certified dealers and this helps self-regulate the industry.
By making this organization aware of changes that its members want and what non-members thoughts are, the association can grow, members can prosper and the public can enjoy great quality water at affordable prices. Many non-members feel that the franchise groups are the ones being protected by the WQA when legislation curtails the use of equipment such as bans or bad media publicity. The fact remains that if the franchises are protected, then the small independents also win. The caliber of lawyers that can be hired by an association are far better than what any small dealer could afford on his own accord. An organization of this magnitude generates many benefits that could not possibly be achieved individually.
As the WQA becomes a household word, members will want to have certifications and member logos proudly displayed. Membership is more than just sending in annual fees, it's about being active within the organization. Being active does not mean someone has to be a board member, task force member or even president; he just has to attend educational seminars and meetings. Keeping informed and staying in tune to changes within the industry makes water dealers, salespeople and manufacturers more aware of what is happening in the industry.
The November 2003 WQA News had an article entitled, "WQA membership—10 Myths debunked...." excerpted from an earlier piece by Richard Ensman.
The following list of myths are just what the title states: myths.
- Membership costs too much. Membership is inexpensive coonsidering what there is to gain. Do the math and see the return on your investment.
- I already know people in my industry. So, expose yourself to more people within the industry. Remember, stagnant brain cells, just like stagnant water, don't change or get better on their own.
- I'm just one person; I don't really make a difference. This reason is just plain foolish. You do make a difference, and it only takes one person to energize a group.
- I've already learned what I need to know in my profession. Well, that explains why so many dealers just don't try anything new or move forward in their business. Complacency sets in very easily in many dealerships.
- Association issues don't concern me. No, they do concern you. If it concerns the association, it probably affects your business in some manner.
- Members attend too many meetings. It is up to you how involved you get. Remember, just sending in dues doesn't make you an active member, but you also don't have to attend all the meetings or conferences.
- The association just helps my competition. This myth is something dealers must get over. There is no way to corner the market in any given area. There aren't enough good water treatment dealers now, so if we educate the consumer there will be more than enough business for everyone. As we help each other, the industry gets stronger. If the association did not provide for the members, then why have an organization?
- WQA is not really interested in me. Actually, the truth is quite the opposite. You are the core of everything the WQA does.
- It's just all too tiring. Use the positive influence of the shows, conferences and meetings to recharge your batteries.
- It takes too much time. Leaders need to spend time on professional development and education. Only a few hours a week can add up to a lot of valuable information. A few conventions, seminars and meetings per year can help you on your way to long-term success.
Becoming a member is easy. Mentioning this article when you contact WQA gives you an opportunity to a three-month free trial membership (to the first 100 respondents). Alternately, you can sign up for a six-month membership at half price, giving you even more time to evaluate the WQA.
Contact the WQA at 630-505-0160, fax 630-505-9637, [email protected]  or www.wqa.org to find out how to become a member. If you have been a member in the past, find out how the organization has changed and how it can benefit your business.
What the WQA is doing to strengthen your business