National Inventory Certification Association – Education and certification for industry professionals
31 May 2017

Be Prepared for Your Appraisal Examiner Project

measuring a rugWhen the Directors of the National Inventory Certification Association received their first Appraisal Examiner opportunity for Nugent Appraisal Services, their thought was “We hope we can represent Ray well!  Cindy said, “We didn’t have ‘real’ concerns, so to speak, since we’ve been doing inventories for years. However, representing someone other than ourselves did make me a little nervous.”  After their first Appraisal Examiner assignment, Ray asked them to share a couple “takeaways.” 

Take more tools than you expect for the job noted.

The assignment was a bedroom set and 2 rugs, so we didn’t figure we needed a flashlight. However, we did need one. Luckily we have flashlights on our phones, which was required to read the dark label, on a dark rug, in a dark basement.

Verify receipts. 

The client stated that she had matched the receipts up with the rugs, We failed to verify them, and when we began to type the report, found the receipts were not the correct ones. In the future we will always read the documentation presented and verify the measurements and other details.

Take control of the process.

Following up from the previous point, the client handed us the receipts and suggested we take the photos before we went to where the rugs were, which we did. Then, when we got to the rugs, we didn’t have the receipts with us to compare. Having them with us, and to take the photos of the receipts along with the rug, would have immediately shown us the receipts weren’t the right ones. When doing home inventories, we ALWAYS control the process and take the receipts to photograph along with the items – we failed to follow that “tried-and-true” method this time, and it caused issues when typing the report.

Let the client guide the “getting to know you” conversation.

Our client was very friendly and shared her business ventures, then encouraged us to tell her about what we do. Others might want to be just strictly business. Let the client direct the conversation, being cognizant of their body language to help determine if they are wanting to chit-chat or have you just get in and get the job done. Be respectful of their time, and you could very likely be referred to others.

Plan to be there longer than expected. 

Our client had additional items to document in addition to the ones discussed with Ray Nugent. Though we didn’t mind (Ray did tell us he suggested she take advantage of the hourly rate and add additional items to be appraised). Be sure to be prepared for this to happen, and allow yourself plenty of time.

Ask questions about the purpose of the additional item appraisals.

Our original purpose for this assignment was to collect information of the bedroom set and 2 rugs for the purpose of a donation. When she said she had additional items for us to document, we failed ask if they were also for donations or another purpose. This information is important for the appraiser.

24 May 2017

Have You Visited The New NICA Website Yet?

NICA website home pageWe’ve received a lot of positive feedback from members and would like to hear from you. If you haven’t visited the website yet, please do so. Mary Gillen created a site that met all the requests we received from members and the Website Committee. The site is responsive (adjusts to all sizes of devices) and meets the ADA Compliance requirements (Mary will share more about this in a future issue of our newsletter).

While you’re checking out the new website, please review your Directory listing to ensure your contact information and the link to your website are correct. The directory was highest on the list of requested improvements, so we are confident that you’ll be quite pleased with the new look.

Please also review the Certification Page, as we’ve streamlined the processes for applying for the Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) and the Certified Appraisal Examiner (CAE) designations. The requirements to achieve these certifications are listed on this page as well.

What’s new? All applications are electronic, as we took into consideration that everyone’s schedule is quite busy. You can now apply for your designations via this online form – no need to send an email, request a form, wait for it to be emailed. etc. Additionally, when you have completed your 5 CEU requirement to renew your certification each calendar year, there is an online form for this as well. For all 3 applications, you just click on the button, complete the form, and click Submit. It’s that easy!

17 May 2017

Just Starting Out? How To Get New Business

Mary GillenHow do I get new business?” the new consultant asked me as we sat, having coffee. Good question.

I was not conversing with a dumb fellow. The man who sat across the table had almost 30 years of solid HR/corporate training experience.

He is not alone.

There are many folks who have left the corporate world — by choice or downsizing — who have never had to drum up business in their lives. There were always sales teams to bring in the bacon, supporting everyone on the corporate farm. So when these folks go out on their own, what’s to be done?

I answered his question:

“Find what it is that your competition feels is ‘beneath’ them to do. That’s where the business is, and that’s always where the dough resides,” I told him.

He looked confused.

“What does that mean?” he inquired.

“You know your business better than anyone,” I told him. “But when it comes to new business prospecting, small business people and consultants make a huge mistake by only going after ‘the big kill,’ the contract everyone is fighting over. Meanwhile, there’s smaller business hiding in crevices out there that you can take to the bank. The small potatoes fill you up, my friend. Think about it. It’s out there.”

So we finished our coffee and went our separate ways. A month later, he called me, very excited. He had his first contract.

The “little guy” wins big.

“For days I thought about what you told me,” he said. “One afternoon I was driving along the highway and noticed a work crew along the side of the road. There was one guy supervising them. It made me think, ‘Hey, maybe those supervisors need training.’ When I got home, I visited the state’s Web site, and sure enough, there was an RFP for management training of the state’s road crew supervisors. I did a proposal, went to see ’em, and got a year’s contract. And you know what? They told me they had trouble finding a professional who would take it on.”

Plain hard work.

This is no fairy tale, folks. He worked extra hard that first year. He traveled all over the state, teaching some people who could’ve cared less, others hungry for the knowledge. It was not a glamorous gig. It was something his suited competition would never consider taking on. But my friend treated every class as if he was still in the corporate training room, and it paid off for him in many ways:

  1. He gained solid, real-world experience on his own that lead to bigger business.
  2. He had receivables he could count on to support his family.
  3. He made more money that first year than he would have made if he was still employed by a corporation.

Remember the quote from master Thomas Edison: “Many people miss opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Great advice from Associate Member Mary Gillen. Whether you’re just starting out or looking for new business, Mary can help you with her full-service marketing services – Website Development, Copywriting, Search Engine Optimization, and Social Media. Mary is a Web developer, writer, technical trainer and online marketer…all under one roof. She uses her 22 years of Web development experience to build websites for tech companies, associations, non-profits and small businesses, blending professional design with measurable business results. See Mary’s portfolio at http://marygillen.com

10 May 2017

Organizer and Inventory Professional Achieves Certification

NICA Congratulates Organizer and Inventory Professional Member Rachel Lyddy for achieving Inventory Specialist Certification.

Rachel LyddyPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that Rachel Lyddy, owner of Louisiana-based iORGANIZE, LLC has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms her knowledge to provide quality residential and small business contents inventory services.

 

To earn this certification, Lyddy passed specified courses developed by NICA, agreed to conduct business according to the asset industry Code of Ethics, and accumulated a required number of Continuing Education Units. There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for a professional inventory service provider.

 

Rachel is adding inventory services to her current organizing company. She explained, “I started iORGANIZE about a year ago and realized the synergy these two services create. Being able to provide both organizing and inventory services to my clients is an exciting expansion of my business .It also provides an opportunity for me to educate people about the benefits of a prepared inventory.

 

Achieving certification is not required for the contents inventory professional. By choosing to invest in  continuing education, Lyddy stated, ”I wanted to receive knowledge about the Inventory industry and receive support from NICA. A certification will also reassure my clients that I have the necessary training to conduct inventories.

 

Cindy Hartman, Managing Director of NICA, said, “Rachel is a full-time educator, so the flexibility of her business is extremely important. Both the organizing and inventory services allow her to pursue both of her career choices. We are pleased to welcome her as a Certified Member, and know that she will serve her clients well.”  

 

Based in Many, Louisiana, iORGANIZE provides this line of services to residential and commercial clients within an approximate 100 mile radius. 

03 May 2017

Introducing NICA’s Newest Associate Member, Renovation Angel

Renovation Angel LogoA few months ago, Steve Feldman of Renovation Angel and Ray Nugent of Nugent Appraisal Services, held a conference call for NICA members. After explaining how they work together, and their vision of including home inventory professionals to assist with these projects, we determined that there is an obvious synergy with Renovation Angel. We are pleased that they have chosen to become an Associate Member.  

Renovation Angel is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Providing their recycling services in all 50 states, they are North America’s premier luxury kitchen renovation and furniture recycling enterprise. They have conducted thousands of projects including members of the Forbes 400, celebrities, sports stars, and high-net-wealth property owners.

It all started when Founder Steve Feldman saw a “Demolition in Progress” sign at the former residence of Farah Pahlavi, the Last Empress of Iran, who had lived in a 10,000 square foot Rockefeller mansion. When he drove up the driveway, he found that the house was gone. Completely demolished, with  nothing saved or recycled!

With a desire to raise funds for other non-profit organizations, this gave him the idea to start a demolition donation program. The idea turned into a pilot project, and in 2005, Steve started Green Demolitions. In nine years they became America’s leading recycler of luxury pre-owned kitchens and showroom displays. Then in 2012, Renovation Angel was formed as the official donation program of Green Demolitions, and has since supported dozens of non-profits, with the number of programs continuing to grow.

Homeowners receive financial benefits of tens of thousands of dollars in savings for qualified projects. The clients receive

  • a full tax deduction
  • free, white-glove, insured, professional removal/pack/transport
  • no disposal fees.

Since 2005, Renovation Angel has created over $17 million in jobs, donated over $2.2 million to charitable programs, recycled over 4,700 kitchens, and diverted over 27 million pounds from landfills!

Teaming up with NICA is a benefit for Renovation Angel, our inventory professional Members, and Associate Member Nugent Appraisal Services. Tapping into the NICA membership, Project Angel can save travel time and expenses by utilizing your expertise. When Renovation Angel receives a recycling project, NICA members located near the renovation site (preferably those who have achieved the Certified Appraisal Examiner designation) will have the opportunity to assist. You will inventory the items to be donated, which entails measuring, logging descriptions, and taking photographs. Since these donated items need to have a value assigned for tax purposes, Nugent is called on to provide the appraisals.

This is what NICA has envisioned since its inception, and we are very excited to see it coming together, bringing all an additional benefit of membership. Working together on projects and calling on each others’ expertise is very exciting. Associate members have ready resources, and the inventory professional members have access to additional income streams – this enables all to find new opportunities and business growth.

26 Apr 2017

Lyman, South Carolina Member Achieves NICA Certification

Congratulations to member Brandon Ely, owner of Inventory Defense in Lyman, South Carolina, for achieving his Inventory Specialist Certification.

PRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that Brandon Ely, owner of Inventory Defense in Lyman, South Carolina, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms his knowledge to provide quality residential and small business contents professional inventory services.

To earn this certification, Brandon passed specified courses developed by NICA, agreed to conduct business according to the asset industry Code of Ethics, and accumulated a required number of Continuing Education Units. He then passed the final exam, which is the final step in achieving this designation.

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge and the ever-increasing busy lifestyles of homeowners and business owners alike create a growing demand for a professional inventory service provider.

Achieving certification is not required for the contents inventory professional. Choosing to invest in  continuing education shows Brandon’s desire to learn the industry. Brandon explained, “I believe in loyalty, privacy, and honesty and guarantee this to every client. Having achieved my CIS designation shows my dedication to professionalism.”

Mike Hartman, Executive Director of NICA, said, “Brandon is energetic and professional. He achieved his certification very quickly due to his desire to start his business with these credentials. He has already started working on his 2nd certification” We are pleased to have her as a certified member of our association.”  

Based in Lyman, South Carolina, Inventory Defense offers residential and business asset inventory services to the residents and business owners in  southwest North Carolina and northwest South Carolina. 

19 Apr 2017

What Are Post-Nominals And How Do I List Them?

Now that we have introduced a second certification for the home inventory industry, the question arose regarding what order the post-nominals (initials) should be placed in the new website directory. Do you place them in order of achievement? Maybe they should be listed alphabetically. Some members of NICA have other industry certifications, so do you group them by industry or mix them up? And for those who have college degrees, where do those initials fit in this line of initials?

To learn the proper placement for our directory, as well as for each of our members who choose to display their efforts of achieving certification, we relied on Robert Hickey, Deputy Director of The Protocol School of Washington® (PSOW). He has been conducting protocol trainings and workshops since 1988 and is the author of Honor & Respect, The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and forms of Address.

According to Hickey’s blog, Academic Degrees (BS, MBA, PhD, etc.) are to be listed first, followed by professional licenses and certifications. If you have more than one post-nominal in a category or industry, they should be listed alphabetically.

Also, there is a frequently cited ‘rule’ that your list of post-nominals should not exceed three. This is not to be considered a hard and fast rule, just a preference, as we often see professionals list more than that suggested number.

What post-nominals should I list?

One factor to help you decide which initials to include and which ones to omit are to determine what is most pertinent to your clients. Let’s say you have a degree in nursing, have an MBA, and have chosen to be an inventory professional with both your CIS and CAE. The best choice is to leave off the nursing degree, as it is not as relevant to our industry. However, if you have an insurance certification, that would be very beneficial to show your expertise in this related industry.

Here are a few scenarios:

  • CAE, CIS (only inventory industry)
  • MBA, CAE, CIS (education, followed by industry)
  • MBA, CISR, CIS (education, insurance industry, inventory industry). The CISR is for Certified Insurance Service Representative.

Remember to add your certification’s initials to your website and other marketing materials, as well as LinkedIn and other social media and professional profiles. 

13 Apr 2017

Indiana Member Earns Appraisal Examiner Certification

National Education Association congratulates member Kate LeGrand for achieving Appraisal Examiner Certification.

PRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that Kate LeGrand, Certified Inventory Specialist and owner of Capital Counts Inventory, has recently earned the additional designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner (CAE).

The growth of the personal property inventory industry has created an opportunity for contents inventory professionals to serve as an Appraisal Examiner. This certification provides the credentials to assist appraisers by collecting the required information they need to create an accurate Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) compliant certified report. The purpose of a CAE designation is to establish recognition for this specialized service, providing the opportunity for appraisal firms to locate certified, qualified examiners, and for Certified NICA members to grow their businesses through additional revenue opportunities.

When completing an inventory service for residential and commercial clients, the inventory professional is often asked if they know the value of items, or if they can refer an appraiser. The CAE designation signifies that these inventory professionals have the knowledge and information required to collect and provide the necessary information for an appraiser to assign value. This allows for a two-way referral opportunity between these two industries.

Kate commented, “This certification enables me to expand Capital Counts Inventory‘s service offerings and serve more needs. For example, if an executor asks the estate attorney to refer an inventory professional to document the estate’s contents, and also an appraiser to value specific items, we can serve both needs. This enables the client and attorney to work with just one professional instead of two.”

To help ensure that the inventory service provider is prepared to serve the appraisal industry, the NICA Education Committee determined the requirements to achieve an Appraiser Examiner Certification. Only those who have earned their Certified Inventory Expert (CIE) or Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) designation can apply for this additional level. They are also required to successfully complete the Customer Service and Appraisal Examiner courses, plus an elective chosen from the NICA curriculum. This Committee included Members of NICA, an established property appraiser, and the Association Directors.

Based in Plainfield, Indiana, Capital Counts Inventory offers examiner appraisal, business, and home inventory services in the State of Indiana.

10 Apr 2017

What Is It Like To Be A Certified Appraisal Examiner?

Nugent Appraisal Services is utilizing their Associate Membership to benefit their business while also providing new revenue streams for our members. This business relationship is displaying the purpose and anticipated results of Associate Memberships with NICA.

Putting the newly-earned Certified Appraisal Examiner designations to good use, Nugent Appraisal reports that they have been able to secure jobs for our members since putting this working relationship together. This enables our home inventory members to add a revenue stream while Nugent saves time by reducing his hours of travel to document items out of his local area.

What does an Appraisal Examiner do?

We asked four of our members to share their experience as an Appraisal Examiner for Nugent Appraisal Services, and it appears that they all had positive results and are looking forward to future opportunities.

Kate LeGrand, a member located in Plainfield, Indiana and owner of Capital Counts Inventory said, “I totally enjoyed working with Ray and appreciated his professionalism, especially since it was my first examiner job. It was an estate, and only specific items were to be appraised. The executor walked with me from item to item, sharing the provenance of each piece.” Kate enjoyed hearing the stories and felt the client had become a new friend by the time the job was completed.

Member Tricia Hoekwater of Uniquely Yours Digital Solutions in Pittsburg, California stated that her complete time onsite was just about an hour. The client wanted to donate furniture and art for a tax write-off, which included living room furniture, four pieces of art, some large picture frames, and a sleigh bed with wood and steel frame. “This particular project did not garner the gathering of much information about the pieces other than the purchase location and approximate year so it was very easy to document and gather the photographs needed for the appraisal. Being a certified appraisal examiner is fun and what is particularly enjoyable is having the front-end work of marketing and communication with the client done so I could come in and get right to work for the client. The template provided by Nugent Appraisal is wonderful and makes the job so easy. The back-end work was minimal and it’s a great income source for my business.” 

Documenting two Tiffany lamps in Pennsylvania was the scope of this appraisal examiner project completed by John Maida, owner of Cherry Hill, New Jersey-based WJ Home Inventory. He took many photos, descriptions, and measurements of the lamps. “The appointment went well and Ray was happy. It was a small assignment, but quite interesting nonetheless.”

Debra Palmer of Palmer Home and Business Inventory Professionals, LLC in Tampa, Florida was providing examiner services for Nugent Appraisal Services years before they became an Associate Member of NICA. Debra shared, “I became aware of Ray Nugent and Nugent Appraisals a few years ago as I was starting up my inventory business.  Through various teleconferences/webinars I was able to connect with Ray and he offered me the opportunity to do appraisal examinations for Nugent Appraisals in my business territory, Central Florida.  Ray has given me several appraisal examination assignments that have included a wide range of items such as art and collectibles collections, gun collections, coin collections and office furnishings. Project size has ranged from just one fine art item to over 100 items.  Each project has been so interesting and I have found working with Nugent’s clients to always be a pleasure. This collaboration with Nugent Appraisals has helped to grow my business and gives me great hands-on experience with dealing with higher value items in clients’ properties. I look forward to continuing to expand the appraisal examination aspect of my inventory business and completing the NICA Appraisal Examiner Certification in the very near future.”

From a pair of lamps to over one hundred items, comments from these members show the variety of projects that are and will be offered, as Ray anticipates growth through expansion due to interest in the Certified Appraisal Examiner opportunities. Those members who have achieved their Certified Appraisal Examiner designation will be given preference when there is more than one inventory professional within the geographic area of the job. NICA will assist Nugent with finding qualified members and distributing the jobs to all in areas where there are multiple CAEs interested in receiving these assignments.

07 Apr 2017

New Jersey Member Earns Appraisal Examiner Certification

Member John Maida has achieved his designation as Certified Appraisal Examiner.

PRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that member John Maida, owner of WJ Home Inventory, has recently earned the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner (CAE).

The growth of the personal property inventory industry has created an opportunity for contents inventory professionals to serve as an Appraisal Examiner. This certification provides the credentials to assist appraisers by collecting the required information they need to create an accurate Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) compliant certified report. The purpose of a CAE designation is to establish recognition for this specialized service, providing the opportunity for appraisal firms to locate certified, qualified examiners, and for Certified NICA members to grow their businesses through additional revenue opportunities.

When completing an inventory service for residential and commercial clients, the inventory professional is often asked if they know the value of items, or if they can refer an appraiser. The CAE designation signifies that these inventory professionals have the knowledge and information required to collect and provide the necessary information for an appraiser to assign value. This allows for a two-way referral opportunity between these two industries.

“Adding property appraisal services to the other WJ Home inventory options enables me to serve my clients’ needs when they are asking for valuations of their antiques, collectibles, etc. Achieving this certification shows clients and referral sources that I value education and choose to raise my professionalism to another level,” John explained.

To help ensure that the inventory service provider is prepared to serve the appraisal industry, the NICA Education Committee determined the requirements to achieve an Appraiser Examiner Certification. Only those who have earned their Certified Inventory Expert (CIE) or Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) designation can apply for this additional level. They are also required to successfully complete the Customer Service and Appraisal Examiner courses, plus an elective chosen from the NICA curriculum. This Committee included Members of NICA, an established property appraiser, and the Association Directors.

Based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, WJ Home Inventory offers examiner appraisal and contents inventory services in the State of New Jersey and also Eastern Pennsylvania.