Topic: Elizabeth McKenna, managing partner of NARI, joined the Carey Brothers

During this edition of CareyBrosPros, you’ll find out: 

– How NARI can benefit you (no matter the size of your business) 
– What to expect from a NARI membership 
– Why you should attend tradeshows like IBS/KBIS in 2019

Guest: Elizabeth McKenna – Principal/ Managing Partner of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) the oldest remodeling trade association in the country. NARI offers education, certifications, and recognition for anyone who wants to build a better business for themselves! 


3 Points for Success – from Elizabeth McKenna:  

1. Invest in yourself and your business by getting additional certifications and enrolling in education programs. 
2. Get recognized for your hard work by submitting to become the Contractor of the Year Award and review the previous winners. 
3. Stand out from the crowd by taking advantage of NARI’s accredited Remodeling Company Program.

Magic Mike: [00:00:00] Welcome to CareyBrosPros the podcast for construction bros by construction bros. Because good information is always the best tool in the bag. Now here are James and Morris Carey.

Morris: [00:00:17] So good to have you with us for another episode of CareyBrosPros. Hi I’m Morris.

James: [00:00:25] And I’m James. And today you are absolutely going to love our discussion. That’s because we’re going to help elevate your business, make you more professional, win more jobs, have happier customers, and a better bottom line; and that’s been the mission of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry: the oldest remodeling trade association in the country. And with us is our guest Elizabeth McKenna who is with NARI.

James: [00:01:00] Welcome Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: [00:01:02] Well thank you Morris and James. I’m thrilled to be here.

James: [00:01:05] Well we’ve been members of NARI for about 35 years, and we were responsible for bringing one of the first chartered chapters of NARI to California. I think we we made it by a week. Folks, ours was the East Bay chapter and then San Francisco fell into line and and San Jose fell in.

Morris: [00:01:27] Sacramento.

James: [00:01:28] Sacramento and there were a number of chapters that were chartered at that time but we were very proud. But my brother came to me, Elizabeth, and he’s the older brother got more experience, and he said, “Well you know what I think we should get involved with this NARI.” National Association of the Remodeling Industry and that’s because we were approached by Steve Foster who at the time was the Director of Membership Services for NARI. And Steve was selling NARI membership and Morris said, “I think we ought to join.” And I said, “Well, why in heaven’s name do we want to be involved with an organization consisting of our competitors in our market. They’re the enemy.” And Morris said, “No no no, little brother, you’ve got it all wrong. They’re our allies. The enemy is the non licensed uninsured contractor who doesn’t do things according to the law who’s part of the underground economy who takes money and rips the consumer off. We want to compete against other pros. That will only make our price look better and we’ll win more jobs.”

James: [00:02:43] Was that the discussion that we had.

Morris: [00:02:45] Boy you have a good memory.

James: [00:02:46] That was 35 years ago. And so as it has always been the case. Older brother is right. And fast forward 35 years here we are still promoting the benefits associated with NARI membership and there are certainly more today than there were many many years ago. But as the credo states, it truly is remodeling done right.

Morris: [00:03:11] So tell us what’s going on with NARI right now, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: [00:03:14] Well we have some really exciting things happening and I think you mentioned that it’s 2019 designing construction week is just coming to a head here in two weeks. Cannot wait. We’re going to be back in Las Vegas after a couple of years in Orlando and one of the things that we’re going to do is that we really view part of Neris mission is to help remodelers become better and so daring IBS, we’re going to be hosting a series of education sessions and so if you’re going to be anywhere around designing construction week in Las Vegas the week of February 18th I believe the show is February 19th to the 21st stop by the NARI booth. We’d love to see you. We’re going to be on the IBS side in our booth numbers N 1 1 7 3 and we really would love to see anybody there. We’re going to be learning about hover which is a very cool application to help with estimating accuracy. We’re also going to get some information about why purple which is the National Gypsum’s new drywall product.

James: [00:04:21] Oh you didn’t know, Elizabeth, that I went off to the National Gypsum world headquarters in Charlotte and I was part of a national competition and I walked away with the gold medal as a pro installing their product. How about that.

Elizabeth: [00:04:36] That’s awesome. You know what they love to say this ain’t your granddaddy’s drywall.

James: [00:04:41] Boy it certainly isn’t.

Elizabeth: [00:04:42] That’s great to hear.

James: [00:04:43] Yeah they have about a dozen different products for specific applications. And I’m so excited. See that’s the value in NARI is to help folks that do what we do understand the choices that are available to them that will help them create a better installed product for the consumer.

Morris: [00:05:06] I’m so sorry, Elizabeth, that more contractors, especially remodeling contractors don’t attend the shows like they should. There’s so much to be learned, so much information to be gained that can be an additional arrow in their quiver that they can use to be so much more effective for their clientele.

Elizabeth: [00:05:30] Well that’s exactly right. And you know what I think is just amazing about designing construction. You know when the International Builders Show and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show decided to co-locate, there now is the opportunity during one week of the year to see over 2100 exhibits. I mean that is just outstanding. And when you think about all of the product innovation and the new technology that is you know being put into all different types of products I mean we’re talking about national Gypsum’s purple product. It’s amazing. I just think about gosh if I were going to take some time off of work that’s the place that I would want to go.

James: [00:06:08] Yeah for sure. And we’re very excited because we’ll be broadcasting our radio program On The House and our pro podcast CareyBrosPros from your exhibit at the International Builders Show Kitchen Bath Industry Show. So thanks for making space for us.

Elizabeth: [00:06:25] Absolutely.

Morris: [00:06:26] Elizabeth here on CareyBrosPros we like to ask our guests to share three points for success with our listeners. Could you share yours?

Elizabeth: [00:06:37] Absolutely. Certification and the education programs that NARI offers is probably my number one. I think that there is no better way to invest in yourself and invest in your business than to get additional education and training and that’s really a core value that we can offer its members. We offer eight different certifications and it’s everything from lead Carpenter to certified project managers to kitchen and bathroom owners all the way up through a master certified remodeler. I just think that that as you know cannot be underestimated the value and sure it takes a little bit of time to go through the study group and to take the exam. But then that is also something that you can market and you can include in all of your materials that you use for marketing to consumers and really again you know substantiating the value that you bring to homeowners when working on a remodeling project. So certification is my number one.

James: [00:07:40] Good.

Elizabeth: [00:07:41] I think another tip for building your business is to take advantage of one of NARI’s best programs which is the contractor of the year award program. Every year we run this program that happens regionally but also some chapters are on their own. And the best thing is that we just announced our 2019 regional winners on February 1st and this is again another awesome opportunity to highlight the beautiful work that you’re doing and be recognized for that. And you know we’re going to be on your side of the country in April at the spring business meeting where we also do that evening of excellence and the evening of excellence is one of the best nights of the year. It’s when we get to recognize the National winners of the contractor of the year award program and James, Morris the projects you get to see they’re outstanding they just make your mouth water.

James: [00:08:38] Well we’re going to be there all tell you we wouldn’t miss that for all the tea in China by the way is there still Tea in China. OK. What’s next Elizabeth?

Elizabeth: [00:08:47] I think so. My third tip for trying to build your business and trying to really improve what you’re doing NARI offers the only accreditation program, that I’m aware of, in the country that’s really focused on remodeling and our program is called “the accredited remodeling company program” and it was really born out of a need to help companies differentiate themselves as having mastered and being committed to continuous improvement of their business processes and best practices. It’s everything from documenting standard procedures to financials to marketing to even the way in which you work with your employees. I mean it is just outstanding. It’s for anybody who really is trying to get their business to the next level. The accreditation program as you know for companies what the certification program is for individuals and so I think what’s really awesome about this is that NARi offers something to a whole host of our members whether or not you’re a little company and you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for 35 years and you’re continuing to or perhaps you’re thinking about what’s next for your business and looking to either sell it or have a succession plan in place.

James: [00:10:08] You know Elizabeth so much great information that’s of value to the remodeling professional. By the way you don’t need to be just a remodeling contractor, you can be a lender, you can have a window company, you can have a siding company, roofing, anything involved in the home improvement industry you can benefit from. Our thanks to Elizabeth McKenna. She is with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. That’s N.A.R.I and you may learn more about NARI by visiting their website. It’s

Morris: [00:10:43] And remember you’ll find our guests information as well as additional podcasts videos and articles on our website at CareyBrosPros dot com.

James: [00:10:56] Thank you Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: [00:10:58] Thank you. See you in Las Vegas.

Morris: [00:10:59] You bet.

Magic Mike: [00:11:00] OK everybody. Hold on to your hardhats. It’s time for a quick bro tip from the Carey brothers.

Morris: [00:11:08] Regardless of your trade, if you employ workers you’ll need to supply them with certain tools. Yup! Tradesmen should each be required to provide their own hand tools and most carry a cordless drill. And in some trades the circular saw OK skill saw. So what tools should your employee provide and what should you provide? The answer is really quite simple. Your primary responsibility to your employee is their safety. That’s right, their safety. You should provide all power tools and safety equipment of all kinds. Why? Because when you own equipment the age and condition are known to you. Tools such as roto hammers, reciprocating saws, chainsaws, table saws, chop saws, grinders, electric planes, threaders, and more require constant upkeep and maintenance. So do ladders, benches, scaffolding, and safety harnesses. You can’t count on an employee to keep a personal power tool in safe condition. A smart business person budgets for tool maintenance and repair as well as loss and theft. When you include loss and theft in your overhead costs your estimates will have to be slightly higher, but you won’t take a major financial hit when something goes wrong. Keep in mind that insurance deductibles are commonly written at two thousand dollars and two losses are almost always less than such a large deductible. I guarantee you, ya don’t want to have an OCEA investigation of an employee injury.

Magic Mike: [00:12:46] Well that’s our podcast for today. Thanks for listening to this edition of CareyBrosPros: the podcast for construction professionals by construction professionals.

Magic Mike: [00:12:55] Want more? Check out You’ll find articles and videos to help make your business a success.

About The Author James Carey

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