April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
19 Oct 2016

Integrity In The Home Inventory Industry

integrityThe level of integrity of a business owner can make or break any business. In the home and business contents inventory industry, it is critical.  The need for integrity is highlighted in our Code of Ethics, under which all members of NICA agree to perform business.

As a service professional providing a home inventory, you are being entrusted with possibly more information than many family members have. And when inventorying a business, you might see or hear confidential information. Keeping that information to yourself builds credibility.

There are three specific subcategories under the Integrity section that we want to focus on  today:

  • Answer all questions truthfully and honestly prior to, during, and after services rendered.
  • Display honesty and integrity in all business and personal relationships.
  • Promote and advertise services honestly.

Honest and truthful – a key element of the Code of Ethics

Being honest and truthful during the entire inventory process is extremely important. Answering questions fully is essential for a successful outcome of the sales process as well as the inventory process itself. If there is a misunderstanding, it is imperative to discuss and reach an agreement before proceeding. Likewise, advertise your services honestly. Whether you are promoting your business in print ads, through promotional mailings, or face-to-face at vendor events, always ensure that your information is straight-forward and honest.

Developing positive customer and personal relationships will help you receive further business via referrals due to your clients’ comfort level with your integrity.

Examples of recent phone calls regarding integrity

Following are examples from recent phone calls. These were not regarding any member of NICA, and we are very proud of this! Some specific things happening in the industry that are not in line with our focus on ethics:

  • Asking for and receiving copies of a person’s inventory records – this is a breach of privacy and is regarded as very poor business practices. When becoming certified, NICA does not ask for these records for this reason. Those requesting to be certified must state that they have completed at least 2 inventories, and state that this is a true statement. We will never ask for your clients’ inventory records.
  • Selling names in a database – this goes without saying. Keeping your database confidential is – or should be – part of your standard confidentiality agreement. The only time it is proper to share thie information is with the clients’ consent, such as when asking for testimonials to place on yoru website.
  • Not showing up for an appointment – we can’t imagine not showing up, but it happens, unfortunately.

Click here for a full list of the Code of Ethics.

16 Mar 2016

California Inventory Professional Achieves Certification

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Pam Simpson for achieving designation as a Certified Inventory Specialist.

TakeStockPRESS RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that Pam Simpson, co-owner of Take Stock, 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.

Take Stock launched in early 2016, established due to the losses Ms. Simpson observed over the past two years. “The South Napa Earthquake in 2014 and the Lake County ‘Valley Fire’ in 2015 encourage me to think about providing this service. The Lake County fire burned 77,000 acres and destroyed over 300 homes, leaving personal friends to rebuild their lives, Pam stated.

Bringing the knowledge and need for a home inventory even more personal, Simpson’s brother dealt with the insurance company, displacement, and rebuilding after a fire destroyed his home in April 2015.  She stated, “The home was a total loss and the entire process was overwhelming the family. We watched helplessly as they struggled to recall their entire house only to get pennies on the dollar from the insurance company.”

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 creates a greater demand for a professional inventory service for both residential and commercial clients.

Simpson choose to achieve certification because the designation will help build trust and earn credibility. One of the key requirements for certification is to agree to conduct business according to the established industry Code of Ethics.

Based in Saint Helena, California, Take Stock provides residential and commercial asset inventory services in Napa Valley, Silicon Valley, and the San Francisco Bay area. For more information, visit their website at  http://www.takestockinventory.com or contact her at 707-758-8433 or info@takestockinventory.com.

02 Mar 2016

Small in a Biggie-Size World

In our world of BigSmallbigger, larger, or jumbo sized everything, I began to think about our industry and how the home inventory service companies are all small businesses. This is by design.

As the Managing Director of NICA, I have spoken to many of our members, and have learned from them that their desire to remain small is personal. I am asked periodically about our home and business inventory company, Hartman Inventory, and why we don’t work on growing it into something larger than just being a 2-person business. After all, we have been in business since 2004, so why aren’t we bigger than we are?

After some time contemplating this topic, I listed many reasons for a personal property inventory company to remain small. Most of them are what have encouraged us – and I assume others in the industry – to refrain from striving for growth.

Reasons home inventory companies remain a small business entity:

  • Confidentiality is a key element of this industry and the service provided
  • Total control over how the business is run (one thing many entrepreneurs “need”)
  • No employees – no employee issues
  • They want to give the personal touch
  • They enjoy getting to know their clients
  • The business image and the owners’ professional image are one and the same
  • It’s great having direct contact with the clients
  • Clients know they are working with the owners, which gives them a feeling of comfort and trust (many clients have told us this)
  • Small means there is an ability to adjust the process and customize the service to meet each client’s needs quickly, without going through a lot of corporate regulations to make a change

Now, I’m not saying it’s bad for people to want to grow a business, and many – in different industries – are working toward and achieving this initiative. Other industries are ripe for growth and it makes sense to become a larger company. However, with contents inventory being such a personal service, we see the value in remaining small and personal.

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!

05 Dec 2013

A Business Guide to Asset Inventory

EbookCover-BusinessInventory

As we build the NICA bookstore for asset inventory professionals, we will also provide a variety of resources for business owners and business professionals in all industries. This book is a perfect fit, as it covers the need for an inventory, and is written to assist those who are responsible for protecting their business’ assets.

Protecting your company assets

Whether you are starting, building, or maintaining a business, your time is valuable. This inventory guide covers the many reasons to have an itemized list and photographs of your business assets. You will read what other business owners experienced and how not having an inventory hurt their business, or how having this document was extremely beneficial. If you have the time and desire to create your own inventory, this guide will walk you through the process. However, most business owners do not have the time or resources to create an inventory. Therefore, a guideline of how to choose the right company to serve as an outsourced inventory service provider is also included.

Meet the authors

Cindy and Mike Hartman founded their home and business inventory service, Hartman Inventory™, in 2004. Lessons learned from life experiences were the driving factors in the decision to enter the asset inventory industry.

After years of refining their processes, they founded Nationwide Inventory Professionals™. This Business Package and Licensing Agreement assist new business owners to achieve a faster startup and receive continued support.

Recognized leaders in the industry, Cindy and Mike help ensure consistency through ownership of National Inventory Certification Association™, which offers certification, continuing education courses, and professional development through a variety of options in the book store.

All three companies serve the Hartmans’ mission statement: “To help others achieve success.” Whether they are providing an inventory for a home or business client, assisting others as they begin and grow their own inventory company, or overseeing the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist™, the Hartmans are living their passion.