National Inventory Certification Association – Education and certification for industry professionals
09 Mar 2017

Central Indiana Asset Inventory Professional Achieves Certification

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Kate LeGrand for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist.

The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that Kate LeGrand, owner of Capital Counts Inventory, has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS).

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.

To earn this certification, LeGrand passed required courses developed by NICA, achieved a required number of Continuing Education Units, completed an established number of inventories, and agreed to conduct business according to the asset industry Code of Ethics.

A professional certification is not required for the asset inventory professional. By choosing to invest in  continuing education shows LeGrand’s desire to ensure that she provides quality inventory services. LeGrand stated, “My background is in accounting. Over the years I have seen many small business owners who don’t know the value of their assets. My focus will be providing my inventory services for these busy business owners as well as homeowners.”

Choosing to achieve the CIS designation through the National Inventory Certification Association, LeGrand exhibits a desire to show residential and commercial clients and potential clients that she is a dedicated professional. Cindy Hartman, Managing Director of NICA, explained, “Kate is a financial expert, and coming from that industry, which requires continuing education, she realizes that education is essential when you want to put the client first.”  

Based in Plainfield, Indiana, LeGrand provides residential and commercial asset inventory services throughout central Indiana. Included in the residential inventories are specialties of Collectibles and Estate Inventory Services.

07 Dec 2016

Ohio Personal Property Inventory Professional Achieves Certification

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Gina Wagner for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist.

gina picture 5The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that Gina Wagner, owner of Wagner’s Inventory Services LLC in Brooklyn, Ohio, 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, Wagner passed specified continuing education 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.

Achieving certification is not required for the contents inventory professional. By choosing to invest in  continuing education shows Wagner’s desire to learn the industry and let her clients know that she has gone the extra mile to ensure she provides quality inventory services. Wagner explained, “I believe in serving clients with professionalism and excellence. Having achieved my CIS designation helps show my dedication to my clients, my company, and the industry.”

Mike Hartman, Executive Director of NICA, said, “I was impressed the first time I met Gina. You can hear her excitement about this industry in her voice. Having narrowly missed a house fire really drove the need for an inventory home to  her. She now is on a crusade to teach others of the need for this service.” We are pleased to have her as a certified member of our association.”  

Based in Brooklyn, Ohio, Wagner’s Inventory Services offers residential and business asset inventory services to the Cleveland Metro Area and all of Northeast Ohio. 

11 Nov 2015

Customer Service Is Key Says Survey

CustomerServiceHow important is your customer service? More importantly, how important is your customer service reputation?

One of the difficulties with customer service is that it is difficult to measure. How do you put a number on the result of your interaction? Often people ask for a response on a scale of 1 to 5. What is the difference between 3 and 4, or 4 and 5? Does anyone deserve a 5? Would that mean they are perfect, or just that your recent situation left you extremely satisfied?

Often people turn to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to receive feedback regarding a company’s customer service. Unfortunately, one bad report will receive attention, while many might have been extremely happy with the service they received, but because of peoples’ nature, don’t report it.

In a recent survey, 64% of the respondents said that a company’s customer service reputation is “very important” when they are comparing and choosing which company to do business with. Good customer service is appreciated, but often it goes unmentioned. However, a company that provides bad customer service has found themselves blasted across the social media platforms and it spreads very quickly. Another 35% said it is “somewhat important.”

Knowing this, it is obvious that it is extremely important to provide a service that leaves the client feeling good about you and your company. This is true when seeking new clients, as well as being able to retain your client base. There are standards in the asset inventor industry, and this is addressed within the Code of Ethics. The National Inventory Certification Association offers an online, self-directed course, titled Customer Service. Topics covered are a variety of skills and techniques that can be utilized to aid in the success of an inventory business, as well as any service-based business.

Check it out, and learn some helpful information to help ensure that you have a great reputation for excellent customer service.

06 May 2015

Why Not Just Keep Up?

BeAheadA common comment from business owners goes something like this: “I know my business – been doing it for years –  but I don’t have much success anymore.”

An immediate thought might be that the economy is bad, or he isn’t trying hard enough, or people just don’t need her service or product; it’s run it’s course. However, when you take the time to really listen – really listen –  you’ll understand what the issue is. These business owners know their business, but lose touch with the business environment or their own industry.

The business environment

Major advancements in technology are mind-boggling. It seems that new software is being introduced daily. Computers become more powerful. CRM systems are doing so much more than they used to to keep track of your clients. Fax machines are out; scanning and emailing are in. Oh – wait – now you don’t need to scan and email, just put the document in Google Drive or Dropbox. Knowing how to utilize your time and accommodate your customers and vendors can be a job in itself!

Customer expectations have changed. Have you asked your customers lately what they think of your service? Knowing what they are thinking is a key in knowing how to improve your service.

Social media plays a large part in marketing plans. Which ones should you join? Is it acceptable to promote your business on that platform? How can you do it properly? You can learn about Social Media for Business here.

Unfortunately, many business owners haven’t kept up with the changes, advancements, and new opportunities – with the new ways of doing business. Years ago, staying in the office, “minding the store” as they used to say, was expected and also was enough. Times have changed. The ways to do business have changed. Business owners who keep up with these advancements are the ones who will stay ahead of those who continue to do things as they always have.

The industry

Conferring with others in your industry is essential. Think “co-opertition” instead of “competition” and work together to grow the industry. Learn about a new trend that might crop up in one area of the country – it will most likely enter your region soon. Is there a new opportunity for your service or product that wasn’t even considered a year ago? By being involved in your industry, instead of just your own business, will enable you to become and remain successful.

Join the asset inventory industry organizations. The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) offers online, self-directed continuing education courses and a certification (the only one recognized in the industry). The Inventory Institute provides many services, including coaching, seminars, webinars, industry update conference calls, referrals, project management services, and so much more.

Be aware. Be involved. Be a leader. Just keeping up with what you’ve always done will not keep you ahead.

22 Oct 2014

Certified Inventory Specialist Certification Program Improvements

certified RedDeveloped by the National Inventory Certification Association and operated in conjunction with the Inventory Institute, these two professional organizations have established a checks and balances to ensure an ethically developed and managed certification program. This is accomplished by the Inventory Institute assigning the prerequisites to achieve certification. NICA creates the education courses to meet those needs. Having one organization determine designation requirements, while another creates the education components with the CEU values assigned, helps ensure integrity in the program.

The purpose of these requirements for certification indicate that the certified professional has shown a proficiency of the knowledge and skills deemed important to the benefit of both the industry and the professional.

Certified Inventory Specialist

In line with association industry standards, a member of NICA can achieve certification as a Certified Inventory Specialist by earning Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through experience, education, military experience, Continuing Education Courses, and more. When the determined number of CEUs are earned, the candidate can apply for certification to achieve this level of professionalism.

Non-members can also apply for and achieve their CIS designation.

Renewing certification designation

Remaining within the guidelines of association industry standards, Certified Members will have CEU requirements to maintain/renew certification every two (2) years. Full details regarding the number of CEUs (and the various options) for Certification and Renewal are included on both the Inventory Institute and NICA websites.

This improved program was launched on October 1, 2014, and we are pleased with the favorable response we have received from our members. Having a more comprehensive certification program provides our members with a designation of which they can be proud.

02 Oct 2014

A Big Step Forward

step forwardWhen an organization is created, decisions are made regarding the business model under which it will function. New leadership creates the opportunity to review current processes and make educated decisions about each of these processes. It is not an easy or quick decision to change how things have been, and replace them with new; it is a serious and arduous project. There must be a good reason for the changes and a smooth transition to make them true improvements. It is also important to take current members’ needs into consideration. All of this has happened, slowly and methodically, over the past year.

Implementing a Board of Directors, as announced in a previous post, was a major step in reorganizing the format under which the National Inventory Certification Association functions.  We know this is the right choice. Decisions and changes will not be made by just the Directors of NICA, but will be required to be approved by this Board of Directors.

Meeting higher standards

In our continued effort to conform to the standards of the association industry, thus providing NICA members and non-members with a nationally respected and recognized certification, we are implementing improvements towards this goal. (See the press release here.) After a great number of hours researching and discussing association industry standards with leaders in their respective associations, we found that our current membership and certification as an immediate, combined process, does not meet these higher standards.

New process unanimously approved

Therefore, we have presented the proposed revisions to the management of membership and certification to our Board of Directors who have unanimously approved the efforts we have given to this improvement initiative. Prior to being able to apply to take the certification exam, the inventory professional will be required to achieve 10 CEUs earned through life experiences, professional education, and courses offered through NICA. Two required courses are Code of Ethics (1 CEU) and Inventory 101 (2 CEUs). Additionally, an elective course offered through NICA is also required. This is to ensure that a solid foundation of industry knowledge is achieved prior to seeking certification. These new implementations were effective October 1, 2014.

 

 

18 Apr 2014

Now Available! Continuing Education Course – Residential Contents Inventory

Professional DevelopmentA large number of inventory professionals are seeking continuing education. This was made evident by those who completed the survey recently distributed through a joint effort by National Inventory Certification Association and The Inventory Institute. In response to this survey, NICA has just completed “Residential Contents Inventory.”

This course includes the variety of processes that are currently used by successful inventory professionals. Therefore, this material serves two purposes: 1) to introduce the many options from which a new inventory service professional can select and develop a quality service of their own, and 2) to provide this collective information for established inventory professionals who seek to learn other methods, in an effort to continually improve their process.

Additionally, this course offers a general understanding of homeowners insurance. This is to enable the inventory professional to properly recommend when it would be a benefit for the homeowner to discuss coverage with their agent.

It is imperative that a home inventory service provider conduct business with honesty, integrity, sound business judgment, and professionalism. Course material reinforces best practices, which support the National Inventory Certification Association Code of Ethics.

Documenting the contents of a residence is the foundation of the asset inventory industry, and in essence, where the home inventory industry began. It makes sense that this be the focus of our first course.

Residential Contents Inventory Course

Some of the topics addressed in the Residential Contents Inventory course are:

  • Disaster Preparedness and Recovery
  • Additional Reasons for a Home Inventory
  • Determine Your Process
  • A Systematic Approach for Your Service
  • The Finished Product
  • Best Practices
  • Safety

Visit the Continuing Education Section of the NICA website for a full description of the course. Members of the National Inventory Certification Association receive a 50% discount off of all Continuing Professional Education (CPE) courses.

12 Mar 2014

Inventory Survey Results Are In

SurveyThe Inventory Institute and the National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) joined together to conduct the first Inventory Industry Survey. It was distributed in late February 2014, and netted a better-than-normal response rate. This shows that Asset Industry Professionals welcome the opportunity to provide feedback for their growing industry. In response to the two organizations’ goals of being member-focused, there are plans to reach out to industry professionals again to gather more pertinent information.

As Industry Organizations, The Inventory Institute and NICA will continue to work on developing information, creating metrics, and achieving industry related initiatives that will enable them to support their members and the industry as a whole.

As a gesture of thanks for the time spent answering the survey, a drawing was held after the survey. Congratulations to Patty Kreifels of Picture This Asset Inventory Service, as the winner of the book, A Business Guide to Asset Inventory.

If you did not receive the first survey, and would like to provide your thoughts and ideas in the future, please email Johanna Curtiss of the Inventory Institute at jkcurtiss@inventoryinstitute.org to be placed on the mailing list. The results of the Inventory Industry Survey, along with the comments associated with the questions, are provided for your review.

Both organizations welcome members as well as non-members to share ideas that will benefit either The Inventory Institute, the National Inventory Certification Association, or the industry in general.

 

01 Mar 2014

Survey Responses – Winner Announced

Business Inventory CoverA recent survey was distributed to asset inventory professionals throughout the United States. The purpose of requesting this information was to gain insight from those who offer this service. Knowing the needs of these business owners will help The Inventory Institute and the National Inventory Certification Association serve them individually, as well as the industry as a whole.

Some chose to skip questions. That was fine, as we value all responses, and appreciate everyone’s input. We did offer a gift to one person who completed all questions. A drawing was held; we are pleased to announce that Patty Kreifels, of Picture This Asset Inventory Service, in Lincoln, Nebraska, is the winner! She received a book titled, “A Business Guide to Asset Inventory – Protecting Your Company Assets,” which contains tips on how to complete a commercial inventory.

The survey results are being tabulated and and the information will be shared soon on this news page as well as on the LinkedIn Asset Inventory Group Discussion Board.