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From the Editor

I'm going to stick my neck out here on something that has been a sore subject for me over the last year or two, and that's mason contractors' excuses for not joining the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA).

At first, I was pretty understanding. I know what it's like working non-stop to run your own business — I am co-owner of a photography business myself. I know what it's like to count every nickel and dime that leaves your pocket — I do the same.

Now let me give all you people out there who aren't members of MCAA a little comparison, and maybe you'll realize the blessings that you are denying yourself and your business.

As I said earlier, I am also co-owner of a photography business, and as such I can join a national association, much like MCAA. So for our little comparison, let's first evaluate the cost of joining this national photographers' association versus joining MCAA.

Regardless of the amount of annual sales, membership to this national photographers' association is $323 per year. Let me note that, despite popular belief, photographers are not raking in the dough. The median annual earnings of salaried photographers were $24,040 in 2002. Plus, salaried photographers tend to earn more than those who are self-employed. Meanwhile, the cost to join MCAA for mason contractors making under $1 million in annual sales (Class A volume) is only $400.

Secondly, there's not only an inconsistency involving the dues amounts between the two trade associations, there's also a difference between what benefits we're getting for our membership dues.

For my $323, membership to this national photographers' association offers the following benefits: copyright protection advocacy; networking with large retailers to ensure they don't allow illegal copying of photographers' images; occasional involvement in government affairs (an association employee located in Atlanta who works part-time on government affairs); limited media and marketing influence; a magazine; and discounts on insurance, credit card processing, shipping, rental cars, conventions, educational events and other services. That's it.

For your $400 (Class A volume), membership to MCAA affords the following benefits: a dedicated, full-time employee in Washington, D.C., with full involvement in government affairs; a full-time staff engineer available to help with any problems that members may have; full involvement in national codes and standards; committed marketing and educational initiatives with MCAA's web site, Masonry Showcase, Masonry magazine and more; active workforce development with "Check Out a Career in Masonry" kits, pre-apprentice and apprenticeship program support, and training manuals; discounts on insurance, web site design, educational events, conventions and other services; plus much, much more.

Thirdly, both industries are under siege but, as you might guess, only one of the associations is really doing anything about it: MCAA. Whether it's OSHA, other trades infringing on masonry market share, or other negative influences on the industry, MCAA has taken whatever steps necessary to protect its members and the industry.

I can continue with the examples, but I think you get the point. I can honestly say that I would do almost anything to have a trade association be as involved in the photography trade as MCAA is in masonry.

So, to those of you who haven't joined MCAA: stop your whining and your excuses. Support this amazing asset that you have available and be thankful for everything they do for your business and industry.






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