April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
24 Jan 2019

2 Dates To Remember

Don't forgetWith the certification renewal reminders we sent out during the last quarter of 2018, a few members called asking about membership renewal as well.

Membership is renewed annually by the last day of the month you joined NICA, while certification is renewed annually based on a calendar year. 

Therefore, all certifications are renewed by December 31 of each year following the year you achieved your designation. You will receive a letter from the NICA office reminding you when your membership is due for renewal. The email will include a link to the website for your convenience.

Once you’ve completed the 5 CEUs each year, submit the form via the Submit Certification Renewal button located on the Certification page of the NICA website. You do not need to wait until December.

Remember to utilize the downloadable CEU Tracking Form. It was created for your benefit to list the activities (National Home Inventory Month, FEMA, approved webinars) and the courses (NICA and approved synergistic industry courses) as you complete them. This will help you remember what and when you earn CEUs each year. It can also serve as a running document over the years to remind you what NICA courses you have and have not taken. Of course, you can also sign in to your account to see the courses you’ve completed. All courses taken will be listed in orange and are available to review at any time. The downloadable CEU Tracking Form is on the bottom of the Certification Page of the NICA website.

28 Sep 2017

Working With Your Associate Members

MembershipAssociate Members of the National Inventory Certification Association have invested in their membership, just as each inventory professional has. They see the value in our industry, and the value in working with each of us. Their support of each member as well as the contents inventory industry is appreciated. Consider your needs as a home inventory professional and review the websites of those who support us and have chosen to work with NICA and all members.

Do you want an additional income stream? Nugent Appraisal!

Do you need a new or ADA compliant website? Mary Gillen!

Do you want to help save the plan and have a new service to introduce to your contacts? Renovation Angel!

Do you need or want to have legal assistance for your personal and/or business needs? LegalShield!

Are you ready to start your home inventory business or know someone who is? Nationwide Inventory Professionals!

In a previous post, Mary Gillen shared information about website ADA compliance. We value the relationship we’ve developed and her eagerness to share his knowledge. Watch for future blog posts as these Associate Members contribute.

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.

05 Apr 2017

Associate Member Provides Support and Resources for New Inventory Business Owners

Visitors to the NICA website and subscribers to our newsletter are often those who are thinking of starting a home inventory business and are seeking information and knowledge about the industry. Our newest Associate Member, Nationwide Inventory Professionals, is the premier Business Package and License Agreement in the industry, providing a complete marketing package, operations guide, continuing support and mentoring for the duration of the License Agreement.

“How do I start my own home inventory business?” That is a question that many ask Nationwide Inventory Professionals. At first glance, it seems as easy as counting things and taking pictures. However, learning the industry, establishing inventory procedures, knowing how to market the service, writing a business plan, developing office documents and contracts, and much more, can be a long, time-consuming and often daunting process – especially when you’re anxious to get started!

While all of this is necessary to start your own inventory business, there is also the need to accomplish quite a bit before you can even get to those tasks. Who will create your logo, write the content for your website, and ensure that your Search Engine Optimization is serving its purpose? Who will create your business cards, brochures, and flyers. Who will write and distribute your monthly newsletter? Do you have a mentor who knows this industry?

The Nationwide Inventory Professionals’ Business Package and License Agreement is the answer. Leave all these details to our new Associate Member Instead of learning through trial and error what works and what doesn’t. This way, you can spend your time working on your business while they mentor and guide you through the 200+ page inventory guide as they provide you with continued support and mentoring.

Another component of this business package is your first year of membership in NICA, in addition to the courses and exam required to achieve the CIS designation. An investment in becoming a Licensee will enable you to be ready to do business within 30 days!

05 Oct 2016

New Membership Category

assoc memberAs we continue to focus on creating a firm foundation for our member association, we realized the need to include companies that have a synergistic relationship with the home inventory industry. Therefore, we are happy to announce a newly created membership category – Associate Member.

This membership level is designed for companies that have a quality service or product that brings value to the asset inventory industry.

Associate member benefits

The Associate Member receives a variety of promotional opportunities via the newsletter and our social media accounts, referrals to do business with their target market, and a listing in the NICA online directory.

This benefits the inventory professional members by having access to companies who focus on the asset inventory industry and have been vetted by our management team. We anticipate referral opportunities between our regular and our associate members as well.

Associate member categories

  • Appraiser
  • Backup / cloud storage
  • Business coach
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Free lance writer
  • Home inventory software
  • Legal
  • Marketing coach
  • Social media specicalist
  • Virtual assistant
  • Web designer
  • Web developer

If you know a person or company that would be interested in working with and marketing directly to home and business inventory professionals, please share this information with them, and recommend that they contact us to learn more about becoming an Associate Member of NICA.

26 May 2016

Benefits Survey Now Open

SurveyWe are continuing our effort to learn how we can better serve our members and also other professionals in the personal property inventory industry.

The responses to our April survey regarding member satisfaction and course topics indicates that you prefer the short format, and feedback tells us you like it being part of the newsletter as well. We will also include each survey on our blog/news page to provide easy access for all.

We will continue this information-gathering for a few more months; if there is a topic you would like to see, let us know. You might have an idea and want to learn what others think. We will be happy to include your question(s) in future surveys.

The data from last months newsletter showed that the average time it took to complete the survey was less than 30 seconds! We will continue to keep them short so you will know that very little time will be required.

This month, we are asking for your input regarding the NICA member benefits. The survey can be accessed by just clicking on this link. We have 3 short questions; your input will help us when we begin making plans for additional member benefits.

Your feedback, as an inventory professional, is important to us. This survey is open until May 31. Thanks so much for your responses!

28 Oct 2015

Top 8 Questions About Certification

ceuWe have compiled the most common questions received since streamlining the certification process. This change was in response to feedback from members. One common issue that was shared with us was that having the membership renewal and the certification renewal dates being different cause confusion. Also, needing to remember what year their certification was to be renewed was a third date to remember. Major changes included certification renewal to be per calendar year (previously every other year). Feedback has been great, as it’s easier now for members to track CEU achievements, based on the calendar rather than what month they received certification. And since it is an annual renewal, they no longer need to remember in what year their continuing education credits must be met.

Of course, change brings more questions, so we are sharing the top 8 questions we’ve received in the NICA office concerning Certification.

  1. What is the CEU requirement to retain designation? Only 5 CEUs, earned annually, will keep your CIS certification current.
  2. How often and when do I renew my CIS designation? The new, more streamlined certification renewal is on a calendar year basis, making it much easier for everyone to remember and track the required CEUs. Upon completion of the 5 CEUs each calendar year, send an email to NICA@NationalInventoryCertificationAssociation.com, listing your 5 CEUs and where you achieved them (topic, organization, and # of CEUs received for each).
  3. Please use the subject line “5 CEUs for 20xx” and include the calendar year.
  4. Can I use other CEU courses towards this requirement or must I take only those offered by NICA? There are a number of ways you can accumulate the CEUs. Of course, NICA courses are faster and easier for you because we record them for you. You can also achieve CEUs by taking the webinars offered by the Inventory Institute. Another option is to take CEU-assigned courses, webinars, workshops, and seminars offered by ancillary industries (insurance, financial, adjusters, etc.). Other webinars and seminars will be considered, depending on the topic (small business planning, project management, financials, etc.), and must be reviewed by our committee before granting the CEUs. This number will be dependent on the number of CEUs or contact hours assigned by the organization providing the education. There are other activities that can enable you to earn CEUs, such as writing a course for NICA, participating in the National Preparathon, and others.
  5. How do I know the number of CEUs awarded to each NICA course I take? The CEUs are listed with each course description on the website.
  6. Are the webinars I attend with the Inventory Institute automatically added to my NICA profile? Since we are separate companies, we don’t have access to their records. Nor to we have access to other entities’ records from where you might receive CEUs. The best way to keep track of these is to create a document and list the date and how each CEU is being earned.
  7. Where do I find the complete list of CEU-earning options? Please consult the chart on the NICA website, or call the NICA office for specifics to receive approval prior to attending.
  8. How do I prove I participated in theNational Preparathon so I can receive the CEUs? Copy the form you completed, submit a link to your social media account and provide a few samples of your posts, or submit a document that verifies an event you sponsored or participated in.

Though we strive to have a comprehensive website, we know that all specific questions cannot be answered. If you have a topic that is not covered, please contact the NICA office via email or telephone. We are here to provide information for members and non-members of this industry.

30 Sep 2015

Common Questions About Membership

Members DirectoryAs with any organization, members often have specific questions about their membership. There are many benefits to being a member of the National Inventory Certification Association, and members have commented their findings. Being part of an organization of like interests seems to be a very common need that has been met by NICA.

One member stated that she feels she is finally a member of a group of professionals that have the same career goals. Another said she has found support and friendships by meeting other home inventory professionals who are also members. Another emailed us, saying that being a member has given him more confidence because it shows there are other successful home and business inventory business owners offering this service.

In addition to this type of support, we have been asked what membership offers. Key benefits are:

  • 50% discount off courses
  • 50% discount off certification exam
  • Being listed in the online directory
  • Receiving referrals from inquiry calls that are received by the NICA office.

Since the recent streamlining of processes earlier this year, we have two other questions that have recently come up:

  • How often and when do I need to renew membership? Membership is an annual renewal, due each year during the month you joined. A reminder notice is sent the month prior to your renewal month.
  • Do I need to remain a member of NICA to retain the CIS designation? No; membership is not required, but you do need to meet annual CEU requirements.

If you have other questions regarding membership, feel free to email or call the NICA office.

04 Feb 2015

Membership – Expense or Investment

When CostValuejoining any organization, one key question is, “Is it worth the cost?” Everyone works hard for their revenue, and we all must see value in each dollar spent. Investing in membership of an organization is a decision one must make annually when it’s membership renewal time. Over the years I’ve often learned that many people make the decision without giving it much thought. Some don’t renew, because they “didn’t see value” in their membership. Others do renew just because they’ve been a member for years.

Hopefully it is becoming more common that the decision is made with more thought than a roll of the dice or a flip of a coin. The must be a return on the investment, or at minimum a proven value of that membership.

The easiest way to determine this is to calculate the cost vs. value of the benefits received. Then you will know if you “get what you pay for” from your annual dues.

Cost vs. Value

For items that can be quantified financially, we did some research and found these pricing structures for other associations and member organizations similar to our industry (NICA’s information is in parenthesis in Orange text):

  • Entry in the online directory … free to over $200/month. (Free)
  • Annual membership … $150 – $500. ($200)
  • Certification exam … $200 – $700 (some charge an exam application fee also). ($200)
  • Continuing education courses for members … $15 – $180. ($15 – $30)
  • Continuing education courses for non-members … $26 – $280. ($30 – $60)

Membership Benefits

Of course, there are intangibles that can’t be assigned a dollar value. Some of those are additional exposure, the benefit of being part of something bigger, and being associated with other quality professionals in your field. For example, NICA  offers:

  • A “welcome” post upon joining for each new member and their location on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Promotional posts, on a rotating basis, about each member’s inventory business on social media, which include a link to each company’s website.
  • A press release written and distributed announcing each member who achieves certification.
  • Press release posted as a blog post on the NICA website.
  • Inclusion in the online directory, with a live link to their website.
  • Referrals when a call is received asking for a home inventory professional.

For those contemplating joining NICA, we believe that this information will help you make your decision. When it is time for current members to work on renew, we trust that this information will help you decide that your NICA membership is definitely an investment in yourself and your business.

08 Oct 2014

Membership Made Easy

MembershipImprovements have been implemented to the membership process for the National Inventory Certification Association. In the past, an inventory professional would join NICA and immediately enter into the certification program. Actually there was no choice – you HAD to become certified to be a member.

A recent Board of Directors action approved a new process where an initial membership is obtained without need to achieve certification. Added to the application for membership is a requirement to pass the Code of Ethics Course within 90 days. Due to this revision, membership will now be placed in one of two categories – a Member or a Certified Member.

Member and Certified Member classifications

A Member is one who realizes the value of being in an organization of fellow industry professionals and chooses to invest in this opportunity of collaboration. By joining an industry association, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits offered to members. You invest in yourself and your business – you can even say that you take responsibility to help the industry grow. Most members will pursue the ultimate goal of achieving Certification.

A Certified Member is a member of NICA who has chosen to be a leader in the industry by achieving their Certified Inventory Specialist designation.

Membership renews annually for only $200.

Member benefits

Listed below are the key Member Benefits:

  • Affiliation with a nationally recognized industry association.
  • 50% discount off all Continuing Professional Education Courses and Certification.
  • Referral opportunities.
  • A listing in the Member Directory, which includes a live link to your website.
  • Association with other like-minded professionals.
  • Rights to include the NICA logo on your website and all marketing materials.
  • Upon achieving your Certification, NICA will prepare and distribute a press release announcing your accomplishment.

The Board of Directors are confident that this new membership process is better for all. Members are no longer required to be certified right away – in fact they don’t have to be certified at all! It becomes a choice instead of an acceptance of membership. Industry professionals can now join NICA and begin their efforts toward certification as soon as they join, or can take it slower to help them meet the demands of a busy lifestyle, while also gaining the knowledge required to help achieve success.