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Anyone have luck with BNI?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by mapleleaf, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. mapleleaf

    mapleleaf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    Business being so slow and advertising isn't helping I am considering going to a BNI meeting to see what it's all about. It's a bunch of business that network together and refer each other, etc.. I do have reservations; the weekly mandatory meeting commitment, and the annual fee. Which I think you lose if you miss 3 meetings, or so. Also I think there is a lot of pressure to get more members to join. I haven't gone to a meeting yet, but this things are what I have read online. Anyone have a positive experience?
  2. zMaster225

    zMaster225 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    I was a member of a local BNI group during my 1st year in business. Turned out to be well worth it... Helped pick up a bunch of referrals and even have some customers that I still have today, 6 years later.

    I'd say to go as a guest with someone once or twice before making the committment as a member and check out more than one BNI group in your area if possible.

    Worth a shot in my mind... good luck!
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I am looking into it myself. There are over 35 chapters here in the Phx. metro area probably 12-15 in my immediate area. I did a search here and found a lot of positive response. Like anything it is what you make of it. We are coming into the busy season here so I will probably wait until after the rush and the holidays.
  4. mapleleaf

    mapleleaf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    Thanks for your input. Nice to see someone had positive results. Of course the BNI member I spoke with is stating how wonderful it will be, and he can get me tons of referals himself. But I know the group doesn't have a landscaper and he'd probably benefit from getting me to join. There is another group about 20 mins away that I could go to also. Does anyone know the annual fee? Do they "hound" you to get new members to join?Thanks!
  5. EA Quinn

    EA Quinn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    I joined a chapter a little over a year ago. It has turned out to be a great asset and I have recieved many jobs and referalls from being a member. I actually just completed a very large job that was through BNI. It is definately a great source for business. I have found through talking to other BNI members and Ex members, that you need to have a close knit group. Visit all of your local chapters first and pick a group that seems close knit and a good time. Our group is right around 30 members now, and everyone who visits says our group is so upbeat and laid back that it makes for a great time. If you are ever up this way and want to visit my group, give me a shout.

  6. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Thanks for posting this thread Mapleleaf.

    I've called around to the chapters in our area and it seems like it's great organization to get involved with.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I went to a BNI group meeting today.

    I'm impressed, I feel that it's definitely something I can stand behind and be a part of.
  8. mapleleaf

    mapleleaf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    Wow that's great. Any specifics you care to divulge? Is the annual fee high? Do they pressure you to get members to join? Is it really miss 3 meetings and you're out? Thanks!
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    It does seem strict on their attendance policy, but, if you can't make a meeting you can have another person to "sub" or be a proxy in your place. When you join, there is a list they give you of other members from other chapters that will sub for you. Talking with a couple of other chapters in the area when researching, it seemed that sometimes they have attendance issues, but, I think the turn a blind eye.

    Even though each chapter has only one member representing a service, you still network with other members from other groups and they have no problems referring you. I feel that helps keep the rivalries down between chapters which was a concern of mine.

    The whole thing is set up like a board meeting in some respects. Very structured.

    Every week you go around the table and hear a 60 second infomercial from each member on what clients you are searching for this week and how your service will benefit others. One segment of the meeting is about third party testimonies from your fellow members. Then, one member then gives a 10 minute speech about their service and what their company represents.

    Ultimately, your chapter is your marketing group. So what you pay for is having a group of people dedicated to getting the word out about your service. You can't put 10 people on your payroll that would give you the same dedication and return that this group can give you.

    The price to be a member is $330 a year, (at least here) and when you join there is a $100 registration fee. When I was at the meeting today, there was an auto-mechanic that had just joined, and two members approached him about work they needed done on their vehicles. He then exclaimed " Wow, now I've got my money back for the membership. "

    So, in a nutshell, it seems to be one of the best marketing strategies for the money. I don't know of any other type of advertising that would give you the same return, or potential for a return.

    I really wanted to be in one of two groups that meet at 7 a.m. once a week. That would have been perfect to get it done in the morning and be on my way for the day. But, there is already landscapers represented, so the other three open chapters meet at midday at a local hotel. Only good thing about that is I can get a good lunch in during the meeting.

    i definitively going to join, but I need to get caught up on a few bills, and complete a large project coming up in order to have some extra cash to pay for the membership. In the mean-time, I can attend other meeting at other chapters that are open and see if any other group fits my needs.

    Hope that helps, I'm sure there is a few things I left out.
  10. cfgardengirl

    cfgardengirl LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I am currently a member of a BNI chapter in NC and it is a great group. Of the referrals I have gotten about 1/2 have panned out. We have a very active group. As far a attendance I really think it is up to the group of how strict they are my group id pretty lax. You can get a sub and you are considered in attendance. I would suggest trying it for a year.

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