Want to do something great for your landscaping or garden business? Consider joining a professional or trade association! There is a professional or trade association for almost any field in the Green Industry you can mention and you can join at any time.

Professional and Trade Associations are organized around a  functional area or a field of interest.  Some organizations will cover a wide area such as for Landscape Contractors, but members will provide services in contracting, installation, lawn maintenance, irrigation, sprinklers, waterscape, interiorscape, nursery, design, grounds maintenance, and more. Other associations will be more specific and will cover more narrow, but related fields.

Generally they are national or state associations that sponsor local “chapters” around the country or state.  The local chapters hold periodic meetings, special events, and sponsor trade shows, seminars, and other events.   For instance, a professional association might hold a monthly dinner meeting in a local hotel which offers members a chance to network with other professionals in that functional area, followed by a lecture on a current topic of professional interest.
Why join a professional association?   The main reason people join is to network.   These meetings allow you to meet people in similar positions in other companies, and to learn about their jobs and those companies, and sometimes to learn about hot opportunities.  Some professionals find that having a network of friends and acquaintances in other companies who can offer advice is useful when they are facing a tough challenge on the job. The professional association meetings also allow you to practice your business etiquette so that you are well-prepared for your own meetings.

Another reason to join a professional or trade association is that the lectures and other training opportunities offer you the chance to stay on top of cutting-edge topics in your field. Many groups offer certification programs and training opportunities for your employees.   The people who are speaking at professional meetings are often working in leading-edge companies who are paving the way in terms of new ideas and approaches.   Consequently, attending these meetings will give you an advantage over your competitors in terms of your job-related knowledge.

Group Dynamics - Joining a professional or trade association could set your business agenda in motion.  The December 2002 issue of Entrepreneur reviews the benefits of trade associations. 

Why Join a Professional Association?

A Green Industry Professional or Trade Association membership is a MUST in today’s competitive business environment. Your future colleagues, customers and competitors recognize the value of professional affiliations - show them that you’re the PROFESSIONAL they’re looking for.

If you strategically choose a few associations to join and become actively involved with them, you’ll soon earn great career dividends, says “Going the Extra Mile”, National Business Employment Weekly.

How Professional and Trade Associations can assist your business planning!

An association of members (people working in a particular industry) represents most professions. These professional associations perform a variety of functions, which could include;

  • Establishing and monitoring industry standards and professional codes of practice.
  • Advising educational institutions on curriculum development.
  • Promoting and providing professional and business development activities.
  • Providing a forum for networking of members.
  • Promoting the profession in the community.
  • Providing career information to prospective students.
  • Assisting graduates with career planning and job seeking.
  • Maintaining a professional library for members.
  • Producing a regular publication on professional and industry issues (i.e. newsletter or magazine/journal).

Why join?

Business people in any field of the Green Industry can benefit from membership of a professional or trade association. By participating in the activities of the association you can gain practical experience and meet other professionals already working in the field. Through involvement with a professional or trade association you could also:

  • Increase your knowledge of the profession and industry.
  • Increase your knowledge of other companies and organizations.
  • Learn about day-to-day issues you will face in the work-place.
  • Remain up-to-date with developments in the field.
  • Network with prospective colleagues.
  • Socialize with fellow business people who share similar interests and goals.
  • Develop skills through participation in professional development activities.
  • Work for the association on projects and develop new skills.
  • Improve your business etiquette and communication skills.

There are some excellent reasons for joining one in your chosen field.

Professional and trade associations publish journals and/or newsletters (which often are a benefit of membership) are helpful to:

  • Keep you up-to-date on issues and developments in your field.
  • Show you who the “movers and shakers” are in your field.
  • Tell you out about companies, or individuals, with whom you would like to work.
  • Offer information about upcoming conferences and professional development opportunities.
  • Professional associations often have some mechanism for sharing job listings. This could be a “classified” section in the journal or newsletter, a section on a web site, or a separate publication available to members only.
  • As a member, you will be eligible to attend the group’s conferences. Whether at the state, regional, or national level, professional and trade conferences offer excellent opportunities to:
    • Build your network of professionals in the field.
    • Learn the latest developments in your field.
    • Take professional courses and seminars.

Do your future a favor. Seek out and join the Green Industry professional or trade association in your area of business.