You may not be aware but operating the membership management system requires the maintenance of around 143 programs and over 500,000 lines of coding. It also involves a large amount of manpower to ensure each of our members are supported in their needs.
Recent changes to the base code in WordPress (our chosen Content Management System) and the membership management system itself, has caused problems with the automated payment systems. The only way to fix these problems was to change some of the security features installed to protect your private information.
Under advice, the board decided this was not appropriate, and a whole scale rebuilding of the website to accommodate the multiple changes to the API’s and Hooks was not feasible. Your board has been looking at this and the impact of licensing, insurance, the newly released Canadian Uniform Standards for Professional Home Inspection Practice (CUSPHIP) and the CCHI requirements on the volunteer and technical resources of your association.
In addition to this, the existing rolling membership has required that we chase members individually for payments and provide an ad-hoc notification to suppliers as to who is a member and who’s memberships have expired. We have also been informed that where Insurance is dependent upon association membership, many inspectors may find their insurance is nullified if they let their membership lapse. Obviously this is something we would not want to happen.
The board has made a decision that going forward we would align all memberships to the association to a single date in the calendar year.
This decision will allow us to reduce the amount of personal resources used to managed member concerns over membership renewals and release those resources to provide more local meetings and important content for our members.
The board looked at the best possible dates for the renewal for membership, taking into account the seasonal variations in the workload and therefore income of inspectors, and chose the renewal date as October 30th.
This allows inspectors to pay their annual dues at the end of their busy season, when they are least likely to be impacted by shortages from lean work times. We will also be reducing the current 3 month grace period to one month. This means anyone who has not renewed by 30th November will have their membership terminated, and letters will be issued to the various insurers to notify them of this fact. It will also mean that anyone with an OntarioACHI awarded certification will have that certification revoked.
How this will be phased in.
Obviously, moving from an individual cycle of dues to a single renewal date would cause some problems. What was decided was that the annual dues would be kept at $150 and the annual fees be broken up into monthly accruals. This would mean that for each month the fee would equal out to $12.50.
Renewal invoices will be sent out to all current members in the first weeks of October this year, requesting payment of dues taking membership up to October 30th 2018.
For members who have already paid into the next year, basically now until October 2018, the invoice will be reduced by $12.50 for each month already paid.
If you paid on July 4th, 2017, your current membership would run until July 3rd, 2018. We will ask you to pay for August, September and October ( $37.50) and your membership will be extended to October 30th, 2018, when you will be included in the automatic annual billing cycle. You will effectively get any days prior to the 30th of the month your membership started free in order to make the alignment.
If your membership is due now, you will be asked to pay the full annual fee and this will take your membership up to October 30th.
- If your membership is due October 1st, you will be asked to pay just your annual due ($150.00) and your membership will be extended through October 30th, 2018.
If your membership is overdue, you will be asked to pay the full annual fee, plus the overdue amount per month, less the days prior to the 30th of the month you went overdue.
- If your membership went overdue on July 18th, 2017, you will be asked to pay your annual membership ($150.00) plus $12.50 for each of the months of August, September and October ($37.50) for a total of $187.50, with the period from July 18th to July 30th being given free.
Anyone who has not paid their dues by 30th November will be removed from the membership registry and relevant suppliers and other parties notified.
New members joining the association will be required to pay the full annual fee regardless of the time of year they join. This decision was made to stop inspectors lapsing their membership and then joining part way through the year to gain benefits of membership without paying the full membership fee.
- Any member who has a certification from OntarioACHI who lapses their membership and then rejoins will have to re-apply for the certifications from the start.
This policy is in-line with the way in which we believe licensing will operate when it is introduced later in 2018.
Changes to the Renewal and Joining process.
The renewal option will be removed from the online services. All current members will receive an online invoice just before renewal time and payment can be made using that online invoice. Inspectors without a PayPal account or without a Credit Card can pay via email transfer. Payment must be received before the 30th November deadline.
The joining process will be simplified, and will ask for some of the basic Inspectors contact information as we do now. The form will ask for payment, and upon receipt of that payment the inspectors account will be created and membership access to the associations services will be given. The membership records supplied to the Insurance companies will be updated, certificates of membership sent out and any discounts available to the member will automatically be available.
As is the case now, the member is responsible for all updates to their profile, their Continued Professional Development and Continued Education records, their Police background checks and uploading a digital copy of their insurance certificates to their profile. Again this is inline with what will be expected when licensing comes into effect. Members who are having difficulties with this part of the system should contact the registrar without delay. A computer based training video will be supplied to explain how to perform each task.
What will be the benefits?
To date, your association has based all of it’s services on membership dues. Because the dues come in at random intervals throughout the year it is difficult to plan ahead, and provide members with adequate updates of what we are doing. By aligning all payments around a single date your board can properly budget for the various events that we want to provide for you.
It means we can identify events that need an extra charge and ensure that sufficient funding is available to support members throughout the year. By having a proper budgetary process it means we will be able to add extra events such as local and web-based meetings. These meetings will range through educational, business improvement, marketing and general discussion topics to information on what we are doing in respect to regulations that affect our profession and how to sustain your business during the ebb and flow of home inspections.
It will also mean that the volunteers that support you and your association are less concentrated on ensuring memberships, supplier and certification records are up to date and be able to spend more time of developing things that will help you succeed in earning a living.