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06 Aug 2014

Revised Code of Ethics

CodeA major joint undertaking for the National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) and The Inventory Institute is completed. The Directors of NICA and the CEO of The Inventory Institute devoted many hours reviewing their previous Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct, respectively.

For the benefit of the inventory industry, these two documents were merged and edited into one industry-wide Code of Ethics that both organizations now share. Prior to adopting the new version as the official document, the NICA Board of Directors reviewed and approved the changes.

Though the two organizations’ Codes were similar, we believe that since we are working so closely together, with the effort to achieve cohesiveness and unity, that it made sense to establish one Code of Ethics for the industry overall.

The revised industry Code of Ethics

Professionalism

  • Promote professionalism through my products, services, and interaction with others.
  • Fulfill all obligations in a respectful and business-like manner.
  • Conduct myself in a manner that will not denigrate this industry or other inventory professionals.
  • Support fellow members and other asset industry professionals for the common good of the industry.
  • Promote the competency and professionalism of myself and my staff through continuing education.

Integrity

  • Conduct myself with honesty and integrity in all business and personal relationships.
  • Answer all questions truthfully and honestly prior to, during, and after services rendered.
  • Offer services only for which I am qualified, and make every effort to refer a service professional for those I cannot perform.
  • Promote and advertise my services honestly.
  • Respect the intellectual property of others and will not use this proprietary information without permission.

Confidentiality

  • Honor the trust expected of an inventory professional.
  • Take precautions to maintain all customer information in a secure manner.
  • Do not disclose information about my customers (i.e., data, photos, reports, etc.), in verbal or written form.
  • Do not sell, share, trade, or otherwise provide customer databases to other companies or individuals.
  • Publish client testimonials only with their written consent.

Customer Service

  • Serve customers with respect and courtesy.
  • Arrive at the scheduled time, prepared to complete the task promptly and efficiently.
  • Complete all projects within the agreed-upon timeframe and deliver the finished product on time and in the format expected.
  • Place customers’ needs first.
  • Strive to exceed customer expectations.

Approved by both organizations in July, the revised Code of Ethics were implemented immediately by NICA and will be effective 10/1/14 for The Inventory Institute.

The Code of Ethics is the backbone of how an industry and it’s professionals choose to conduct business; they will play a guiding role for the individual business owners and also for our two organizations as we move forward. They will be an integral part of achieving certification and designation renewals.

23 Jul 2014

Introducing the NICA Board of Directors

With anintroduce initiative to establish a structure that is in line with the standard business practices for associations, we have created a Board of Directors. This board will guide the National Inventory Certification Association through continued growth and improved processes in the functional areas of NICA – education, certification, and association management.

The board members were chosen based on their ability to lead as we move forward, and to advise according to their professional skills and knowledge base in the combined areas of technology, business, management, education, and the asset inventory industry.

Meet the NICA Board of Directors

  • Mike Hartman, CIE- Executive Director of NICA
  • Cindy Hartman, CIE – Managing Director of NICA
  • Debbie Mahler – CEO of Internet Tech Specialists
  • Johanna Curtiss, CIS – CEO of The Inventory Institute
  • Sean Hartman, CIS – Business Development Executive of Nationwide Inventory Professionals

Please visit the About/Contact Page of the NICA website to learn their backgrounds and qualifications. We are very proud that they have agreed to give their time and expertise to assist us as we move forward! Additional members will be invited to join the Board of Directors as the association grows and finds the need for an additional knowledge base and/or skill set.

16 Jul 2014

RV Contents Inventory Ebook

RV Inventory CoverCamping has gained popularity over the recent years. However, most campers aren’t willing to “rough it” like people did years ago with a tent and sleeping bag. Now we see campers and fifth-wheelers that offer many of the comforts of home. Others are so luxurious you feel you are home, but this temporary home is out in the wilderness or in a campground with all the amenities of a hotel or resort, including golf course, swimming pool, etc.

Then there are the full-timers (as they like to be called) who have sold their house and now live in a motor home, traveling across the country seeing sights they would have never seen if not for this new lifestyle.

All RVs have a lot more than just a sleeping bag, and the full-timers most often have all of their earthly belongings with them in their motor home. This encouraged inventory professionals, and founders of Nationwide Inventory Professionals, Mike and Cindy Hartman, to author the book, RV Contents Inventory. Just like a house or apartment, the owners must have a thorough inventory of the items in their RV so they can receive an equitable insurance settlement after a loss. If they never need to file the claim, the inventory will provide peace of mind, knowing they have this assurance to being able to remember all they owned.

An excerpt from the book

Consider anticipating another enjoyable day – just like most other days – only to return from a day exploring and find that your camping trailer, fifth-wheel, or motor home had been burglarized. Or possibly it, along with all your belongings, was damaged or destroyed by fire or a natural disaster.

Your emotions are raw. Fear! Anger! Frustration! Sadness! The first and most important thing, of course, is that everyone is OK. Then, with assistance, you find food, clothing, and a place to stay. Your immediate needs for you and your family are met…now what??

Now it’s time to recover. Now it’s time to file your insurance claim. You will need to list every item you owned that is missing, melted, shattered, drenched, gone, unrecognizable, scattered, or damaged. It doesn’t seem hard at first. You can certainly remember the TV and computer, but can you remember how many items of clothing you owned? Do you know how many CDs, DVDs, and books you purchased? Can you remember how many pots and pans, dishes, glasses, and linens you owned? How about make-up, toiletries, and cleaning supplies? Think about kitchen appliances – you probably own a mixer, blender, waffle maker, toaster, coffee maker, juicer … the list can go on and on.

Where to find this ebook for RV owners

The NICA Book Store now offers this guide for RV owners so they can create their own inventory. The download enables an immediate start to this important project. RV Contents Inventory is also available in paperback. Of course, for those who prefer to hire a professional, the NICA Directory lists all members of the National Inventory Certification Association so you can find a qualified inventory service provider near you.

02 Jul 2014

Membership Not Required

notmemberExclusive. Private. Restrictive. Closed. Exclusionary. Thanks to my Thesaurus, these terms are everything our Continuing Professional Education courses are not.

Though we are a membership organization, our Continuing Professional Education courses are available for anyone who chooses to learn about home and business inventories.  You might be someone ready to start a home inventory business and need some guidance on getting started. Possibly you have already started your business and want to learn more. Even a seasoned asset inventory professional recently told me, “Though I’ve been in business for quite a while now, even I learned a few things that were certainly worth the cost of the course.”

Online self-paced courses

The two courses currently available are Residential Contents Inventory and Business Contents Inventory. Both cover the foundation of the asset inventory industry, specific to residential and business processes. Insurance and a business code of ethics is also included. To accommodate your busy schedule, all courses are online and self-paced.

Association membership

As the title of this blog post states, you are not required to be a member of the National Inventory Certification Association to take these courses.  The reason for this “open” format is that we as an association choose to serve the entire industry, not just our membership. Non-members are always welcome to benefit from the education these courses provide.

I would be remiss, however, to  not mention that NICA members receive a great benefit – a 50% discount off the cost of all Continuing Professional education courses.

Newsletter

Our newsletter is also offered to anyone who is interested in learning about the home inventory industry or would like to learn more about the National Inventory Certification Association as we grow, evolve, and continue to find ways to serve the asset inventory industry. Click here if you would like to receive our newsletters.

 

25 Jun 2014

Who Are Your Teammates?

baseballWhen you hear the word team, most people think of sports. I remember playing baseball when I was young. All the kids in the neighborhood played, and we kept the same teams all summer long.  We knew that we would all get better if we continued to play with the same teammates – we would learn their strengths and weaknesses, which developed a stronger team.

The camaraderie that developed made for months of summer fun. We played hard and wanted desperately to win. We’d encourage our teammates when they did well. We also congratulated the winners of each game, and at the end of the day, we all remained friends.

Our team

In the business world, team is also a term that applies. The National Inventory Certification Association has a great team; without them, the association would not have accomplished what we have in such a short time.  This team of players are not rookies – they have experience in their specific industries, each bringing MVP quality to the association.

Members – fans are pertinent for a sports team to thrive. The same is true with the association. Without members, there is no need for an association. We have received a lot of great feedback from our members and will continue to look for their input so the association provides the services they want and need. They are solid professionals, realizing the value of continuing education.

Directors – our two directors have over 30 years each holding management positions in various corporate levels and 10 years as owners of their own home and business inventory service company.

Content writers – all courses are written by those with experience in their fields, as well as a firm knowledge of the asset inventory industry.

Editors – they are either professional writers or have years of experience in copy writing. Helping to ensure we have quality, well-written courses is a top priority.

Instructional design professionals – knowing the importance of creating the correct type of questions for exams, these team members either have a degree in education, have successfully completed instructional design courses, or both.

Webmaster – we have  put a lot of pressure on our webmaster, owner of Internet Tech Specialists, and she takes the ball and runs with it. In addition to developing our website and maintaining it, her company has tested and helped us determine the software that would be best for the continuing professional education courses, certification, and membership management. This software enables us to offer online self-paced courses for our busy inventory professionals. Her guidance and expertise makes her an all-star!

The Inventory Institute – NICA is the designated education and certification organization by the Inventory Institute, to the point that they have made us an Exclusive Business Partner. Our continued collaboration on the needs of the industry, how we can help each other’s organizations meet members’ needs, and play as a team rather than look at each other as opponents, has helped us, together, establish industry standards and a code of ethics, and work together so each member of this industry wins.

As you can see, we have a great team. If you’re a professional home inventory provider, we welcome you to join us. It’s a large playing field, so there is plenty of room for everyone!

18 Jun 2014

Fullerton, California Inventory Professional Achieves Certification

National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member
David Perry for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist.

PerryThe National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that David Perry, owner of Southern California-based Inventory Solutions, has earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms his knowledge to provide quality residential, commercial, and storage contents inventory services.

A requirement for certification and membership with NICA is to agree to the Code of Ethics, which helps ensure that all clients are served with integrity, respect, and confidentiality. Having achieved his B.A. from California State University of Fullerton and an M.A. in Philosophy from San Diego State University, he understands the value of continued learning.

David Perry entered the inventory industry after experiencing a number or personal losses due to personal damage and theft. It was only after losing some of this valuable property that he realized its intrinsic value to his life and life projects. Inventory Solutions is a representation of Perry’s commitment to ensuring the integrity of his clients’ estate so that they can focus on more important matters in their own lives.

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge creates a greater demand for a professional inventory service for both residential and commercial clients. Choosing to achieve certification will enable Perry and Inventory Solutions to stand apart from other asset inventory professionals who have not yet achieved designation as a Certified Inventory Specialist.

Based in Fullerton, California, Inventory Solutions provides residential, commercial, and storage asset inventory services throughout Southern California.

11 Jun 2014

Tampa Bay Area Home Inventory Professional Achieves Certification

National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member
Debra Palmer for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist.

PalmerPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that Debra Palmer, owner of Tampa-based Palmer Home and Business Inventory Professionals, has earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms her knowledge to provide quality residential and business inventory services.

An increased awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a photographic and written record of one’s personal property has resulted in the growth of the asset inventory industry. This is creating a demand for this professional service for both residential and commercial sectors.

Debra Palmer has been a business services entrepreneur in the Tampa Bay Area since 1988.  In 2013, she was introduced to the concept of third party inventories and spent extensive time researching the industry. Through exhaustive research and direct communications with individuals who had experienced losses and endured the claims process of their insurance companies without up to date documentation to substantiate equitable settlements, Debra realized the need for inventory professionals in the Tampa Bay Area.

Choosing to achieve certification will enable Debra and Palmer Home and Business Inventory Professionals to stand apart from other asset inventory professionals who have not yet achieved this national designation. A key requirement for certification and membership with NICA is to agree to the Code of Ethics, which helps ensure that all Certified Inventory Specialists serve their clients with integrity, respect, and confidentiality.

04 Jun 2014

Indianapolis, Indiana Inventory Professional Earns National Certification

National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Jo Soard
for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS).

SoardNational Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that Jo Soard, owner of American Home Inventory Professionals, has earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation through NICA confirms her knowledge and competence to provide thorough contents inventory services to businesses, homeowners, and renters.

A requirement for certification and membership is to agree to conduct business according to the Code of Ethics, which are approved standards for the personal property (home) inventory industry. Members of NICA hold themselves and each other accountable to ensure all clients are served with integrity, respect, and confidentiality.

Certification and Membership with the National Inventory Certification Association enables Ms. Soard to be associated with other like-minded inventory business owners. The asset inventory industry continues to grow, and becoming certified represents the dedication and professionalism of all members of this association. Adding this designation to her other industry credentials helps bring credibility to her company, individually, and national recognition to the industry as a whole. In addition to being certified, she is bonded and insured.

Known as “the Inventory Lady” throughout the Indianapolis Metro area, Ms. Soard began offering this much-needed service due to her family’s experience with Hurricane Katrina. As the awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a photographic and written record of personal property grows, the asset inventory industry continues to evolve. Choosing to achieve certification will enable Soard to stand apart from other asset inventory companies that have not yet achieved this designation.

Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, Jo Soard, the Inventory Lady, provides residential and small business asset inventory services throughout central Indiana. Visit her website for more information.

29 May 2014

Remodeling and Adding On

When a house is not large enough, people add a room or rooms to serve their needs. When a house is needing improvements, whether structural, functional, or cosmetic, the owners often remodel. Both adding on and remodeling projects require a lot of planning, investing, and having a plan so the effort has a purpose and serves a need.

The National Inventory Certification Association has just completed projects that can be categorized as adding on and others as remodels. We are continually looking for ways to improve the association and provide additional benefits of membership. Many changes and investments have been made, based on membership feedback and requests.

Remodeling – Improving the Basics

Over the past few months our remodeling projects have included

  • Upgrading the website (which remains an ongoing project)
  • Upgrading our membership software
  • Upgrading course software to a more efficient and more responsive program

Adding On – Continuing Professional Education

Until a few months ago, the certification program was the singular education offering. After survey responses were reviewed, the two most-requested courses were introduced to the “new addition” of Continuing Professional Education Courses. This add-on education section will receive additional add-ons. Here is what is completed, and what is in the planning stages of Continuing Professional Education Courses for the remainder of 2014:

  • Completed and now available: Residential Contents Inventory
  • Completed and now available: Business Contents Inventory
  • Initiated development of four additional continuing education courses – again based on survey responses
  • Added ebooks and audio files that cover a variety of business topics

With construction tools in hand (a webmaster, content writers, editors, ebook authors) we have a plan, blue prints, and a focus to serve our members well.

15 May 2014

Business Contents Inventory Continuing Education Course

ContinuingEducation 200 x 225The National Inventory Certification Association’s main focus is to provide industry education for those who provide inventory services. Recently, NICA and The Inventory Institute, conducted a survey to capture the needs of these industry professionals. One of the main areas of interest was for a course on business asset inventory. Therefore, with a focus on serving our members, creating this course was placed as a high priority.

The growth of inventory services has expanded to include – in addition to personal property – other business asset categories such as consumables, fixed assets, and retail. This course focuses on the contents, but also provides a general knowledge about these other commercial asset inventory needs.

Business Contents Inventory course

Many inventory options are introduced in this course, based on the successful processes and practices currently being used by inventory professionals. This enables the inventory service professional to develop and/or alter their business asset inventory process based on previously implemented procedures.

For the beginner, the Business Contents Inventory course will introduce the differences between providing a home inventory and a commercial inventory. For those who currently provide commercial inventory services, the course information is two-fold. First, they can verify that they have considered all options in their service process. Secondly, they can learn of other commercial inventory service needs, which may introduce them to add another service to their business inventory services.

Topics covered in this course are:

Lesson 1: Business Inventory

  • Asset Inventory Definitions
  • Business Needs for A Contents Inventory
  • Insurance Basics

Lesson 2: The Inventory Process

  • Getting Started
  • Determine Your Process
  • Photographic Documentation
  • Written Documentation
  • Tools of the Trade

Lesson 3: Your Business Inventory Service

  • Establish Your Inventory Routine
  • The Finished Product
  • Additional Inventory Services
  • Documenting Assets Other Than Personal Property
  • Best Practices
  • Safety

The introductory price for this course is $60; National Inventory Certification Association members receive a 50% discount.