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An Organization With A Lot To Offer

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by Mike O'Handley, Editor

Question: What association can you join and as part of your membership benefits receive:

  • A monthly periodical containing numerous well-written technical articles of value to both a home inspector and his or her clients?
  • Free monthly members' prize giveaways? (This month some lucky member will win a Kawasaki Mule worth $9,800!)
  • A monthly E-Newsletter?
  • An on-line bulletin board similar to TIJ's?
  • The chance to win up to $200. per month by sharing simple do-it-yourselfer tips for other members to use?
  • All of the above for a measly $1.50 a month (Or half the cost of a latte.)?
Answer: The Handyman Club of America (H.C.O.A.), (http://www.HandymanClub.com).

If you are in this profession and have never joined HCOA, you are missing out on one of the best deals around. I joined HCOA in 1995, about two years after they were originally formed and became a life member a couple of years after that. When I first joined HCOA, they had nearly 400,000 members. Today, not even 9 years later, their nationwide membership is nearing 1,000,000 and continues to grow.

Membership is only $18.00 a year, which is less than the average magazine subscription and their monthly periodical, Handy Magazine, is worth the price of membership alone.

The Club's members author many of the articles featured in Handy, and if you think these are poorly written by know-nothings you had better think again, because they've featured articles by members such as Rex Cauldwell and Roy Barnhardt who are nationally-known authors.

While the premise of the club is to focus on the do-it-yourselfer, home inspectors can find a lot of great information in the pages of Handy - information that they can learn from or share with their clients. For example, the January/February 2004 issue featured an article by Cauldwell about using multimeters, and there were two other articles about today's smaller, more efficient water heaters and (Gasp) mold in modern homes.

One article that I have shared with hundreds of clients over the years is an article from the May/June 1996 issue that explained in great detail how to apply a reinforced mortar cap with a built-in drip edge to the tops of chimneys. I've heard from no less than six masons over the years asking for their own copy of that article, after their customers showed them what they wanted. Since then, I've begun to see a few crowns done that way around the Seattle area(Good news travels fast!).

There's only one thing in Handy that I really object to, and that's the ubiquitous full-page ads for home inspection courses by various correspondence schools, touting the ever-deceptive claim that anyone can be s successful home inspector and make a full-time income while working only part-time hours (I guess you have to put up with some "stretches" by advertisers, but this one qualifies as a lie in my opinion.).

Another neat feature of HCOA is the tool tests. Members are chosen at random to try out certain tools and equipment and to report their experiences in Handy. When they're done, they get to keep the tool. How's that for kewl, as my grandson would say?

Those interested can log onto the website above to fill out a membership application.

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