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Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by tuney443, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    Anybody here a member of BNI[Business Networking International]? Was just wondering if it might actually be beneficial.I don't like the fact you have to meet once a week and can't miss more than 6 in a year.I can't imagine why you would need to meet every week.
  2. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I used to be a member of it. Quiet honestly I feel it's a waste of money. Maybe it's just because I was in a group with a bunch of owners that thought they were rich, but were just to stupid to know any better. I never got one job out of my group, but got a couple out of another group. I stopped because of all the meetings. Thought it was pathetic to go to a meeting once a week, where I wasn't going to get anything out of it, but yet they expected referrals from me each week.
  3. Advantage

    Advantage Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    Exactly what I was going to say. Don't do it. Waste of time and money.
  4. joester

    joester Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    I have been a member of BNI for the past 12 months. My friend who is an electrician invited me as a visitor to go with him. At first I was hesitant. However, I did join and once the Spring arrived I received many referrals for landscaping this past summer, and referrals for commercial snow plowing in the past 2 months.

    The reason BNI meets every week is to help build those personal and trusting relationships so when people hear snow plowing, you are the first one that they think of and they will pass your name along. The odds of that happening if you only meet once a month are much slimmer.

    A second added benefit are the other chapter members. I have utilized many of them in my business and referred them to friends and family. It is nice to have people that you can rely on and feel comfortable referring out.

    I will say their are weeks when I am swamped with work and I cannot attend the meeting too easily. In those cases I find a substitute to take my place, which is not hard to do.

    I have found that the conversion rate on proposals that come from referrals and friends is much higher than any other form of advertising our company does. That is one of the key reasons we renewed our membership for another year. I am not saying BNI is the golden ticket that will change a business overnight, but I do feel it has potential to help a company grow.

  5. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    Interesting.I saw some members on the pamphlet who I know and wouldn't refer them to my worst enemy.Now what? How are you going to work around that?I'm not even sure I want to sit with them having breakfast,never mind the meeting that probably comes after.Also,this substitute deal,it would be hard for me to find someone to go in my place.First thing in the morning just isn't right for us blue collar workers--seems to me this is more for the white collar guys/gals who don't even start until 9 AM.
  6. Advantage

    Advantage Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    You're right. I found it was made up of bankers, insurance agents and shop owners who couldn't understand why it would be hard to make it there at 7am every Tuesday. No I never have anything to do at that time in the morning.....
  7. joester

    joester Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    In my area, there are many BNI groups. Almost one in every town within 10 minutes of each other. Have you checked to see how many are in your area? Some of the groups in our area, including mine, meet for lunch which is much easier for someone in the contracting field. Additionally, if you have numerous groups to pick from, you can find one with members you may get along better with.

    I guess the point of my posts is that it may be worth taking a second look at before discounting it too quickly. Any other source of advertising is considerably more expensive than BNI, and generally attracts people looking for the lowest bid. My experience with BNI referrals is that at least 75% of them are ''warm to hot'' leads of potential clients truly interested a quality job. Ultimately, you have to be willing to make the commitment of your time for BNI to be successful.
  8. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    I'm a member, and in two years that I've been there, I've spent 750 or so on dues and have received around 4-5K in business from it.

    Basically I can't spend 350 dollars in one year for one person to drum up business for me, but with BNI, I'm spending 350 for 20 people to help market business for me.

    The numbers add up and it works great for me. I'm also helping to get the name out for the business.
  9. joe2025

    joe2025 Member
    from NEPa
    Messages: 49

    I've been a part os BNI for 12 months now. It is a commitment to meet every week at 7 am but there is a reason for it. You build trust with the other members by being there every week and it give you time to build trust in each other. For the cost of the dues and the weekly room fee is well worth the investment but you have to give it time. I have picked up several clients that more than make up for the time and money invested. I have also received contact information and introductions to a few large accounts that may work out to a contract for commercial snow management. Its a personal preference for each business owner as to spending the time and being commited to it.
  10. procut

    procut Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    I never thought it would be that valueable, but a guy I know that does tree service is a member and says he does quite well with it. My only fear is I don't know if I'd have that many leads to give out, lol.

    I think it's kind of like a the Chamber of Commerce, you get out what you put in type of thing, idk.
  11. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Good points, especially the time factor. Sometimes it can take a while for businesses to reap the rewards of a Networking group.

    An insurance agent in my group said it took 3 years before he really started to see the rewards, and he's extremely glad he has stuck with it.
  12. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    I have been a member for over 3 years. My chapter grew from 17 members to over 40 now. Since April 1st we have passed over $800K worth of business. I have received a ton of work from the group. My 2 biggest jobs over the passed 2 years have come directly from a BNI referrral. I am a hardscaper/mason in the summer. I have gained a partnership with a member in a different group that passed me 25 referrals that I closed last year. This started after be in the group for over 2 years and meeting with this gentleman about 8 times. I needed to build trust with him and now he is my biggest supporter! That being said, I have not received much plowing business. It definitely is a "you get out what you put in" type of group. The time commitment was my biggest obstacle but now I know that my "work" day starts at 9:00 am on Thursdays instead of 7 am.
  13. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,129

    I am on my 4th year as a BNI member. It is slow going and a large commitment. I almost quit after thje first couple months stuck it out and started to put more into it. You definatly get out what you put in.

    It does take time to build relationships. Some months I get alot of work some I get non. Those are frustrating for sure.

    The biggest benefit for me though is all the people I have met. I now have 50 people I would basically consider friends and know fairly well. I belive in todays world it is very much about who you know. You can be great at what you do but with out it getting to the right people its worth nothing. With knowing so many its easy to have someone help you get to who you need to.
    The other benefit is I met alot of people that I wouldnt have seeked out business with. They may not have givin me work but have saved me money in doing things for me. I have a great relationship with the insurance agent. He saved me around 5000$ per year on insurance and I send him tons of clients. We hang out out side of BNI and he invites me on there company cruise every year.

    In all what I am saying is it take time and the biggest benefit is the people not always the work you get.
  14. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    More good points.

    The only other thing I would add is that most areas with 1 BNI group, will more than likely have multiple groups.

    In Bloomington, there is 4 groups and initially as a visitor you can attend the different groups (as long as another biz representing the same trade isn't already a member of that group) before you make a commitment. That way you can find the group that best matches your needs.
  15. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,129

    I have around 25 in a 15 miles radius from me. Its big around here.
  16. qualitycut

    qualitycut PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,226

    I went to a few meetings for one and decided on not doing it. I just cant be committed to being there every Tuesday morning at 7am. I would have already missed 6 this winter. Yes there were almost all white collar workers there.The problem I saw was that I do lawncare landscaping and snow removal, well you can only advertise yourself under one of those categories. I believe the fee was 600. Also the lady in charge was obnoxious.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  17. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    If you can't make a meeting, you can have a Sub fill in for you. There is usually a list that floats around the area that has names of other BNI members from other groups who are willing to be a sub. That or if someone from your organization can sub for you. If it wasn't for the Sub system, I would have missed 5 meetings this winter alone.

    I can market being a landscaper and snow removal in my group. Not sure why the group you visited wouldn't allow that?

    If you didn't like the President in charge, you can either wait it out as a new leadership team is appointed every year, or you could have looked at other chapters.

    White collared is the way to go for me. Usually means they might have a bit more money to spend on lawn/landscaping services or at least they are connected to others that can spend for that type of service. Luckily my group is a good mixture of White/Blue collared so I get diverse referrals.

    Usually the first year is the most expensive with the application Fee. But, if you can pull in 3 yards to mow for a season, say at 30 a mow, for 30 weeks, then it would have more than paid for itself.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011