As the Marketing & PR Manager at the NAS, I am regularly communicating how much money businesses can save on various things (such as training, insurance and SSIP assessments) through our membership benefits package. We recently launched our Savings Calculator, because having the numbers on your screen in black and white about your potential return on investment, is hard to ignore.
However our mission at the NAS is to promote, support and develop our members, and the shopfitting and fit-out sector more broadly. So although cost savings are a fantastic benefit, there is a whole lot more to what we offer too! These are what I’m referring to in this blog as our ‘hidden benefits’, because they may not be quantifiable, but can be just as valuable.
For example, the NAS team is always on hand to give advice on a range of subjects. One of our members, Vear Bespoke Interiors, is currently undergoing a full rebrand. Clive Allen, Director, said: “It’s been great having the support of the NAS, and being able to reach out to them for advice and feedback on branding and content for our company website and social media channels. I’ve also been looking into survey software, and need a designer to make a company brochure, and they’ve given several recommendations for both of these too which has been a fantastic help.”
We also help collate important news and guidance on our members’ behalf, for example sharing a round-up of recent employment law changes, to save them the time-consuming task of having to wade through tons of information across different newsletters and websites. When the pandemic hit we set up a dedicated Coronavirus hub which was updated daily, and it still remains in the top 5 visited pages on our website.
Another key part of NAS membership is that we’re the voice of the shopfitting and fit-out sector. We support industry initiatives that will benefit our members, such as Build UK’s move towards zero cash retentions in construction, and also represent our members’ opinions in order to encourage change, such as negotiations of the Working Rule Agreement or the CITB levy consensus.
We want to help combat industry issues, which is why we recently set up a Training and Standards Forum, and are soon to launch an Industry Pain Points Forum. These offer us another way of hearing our members’ opinions alongside our regular engagement calls, emails and social media dialogue.
Our strong relationships with industry contacts also enable us to better serve our members, for example Carl Sievewright of NAS Associate, Saxon Safety, explained that our Training Manager has “helped improve communication between some NAS members and the CITB, ensuring funding application deadlines are met”.
We feel as the UK’s dedicated association for shopfitting, fit-out and interior contractors, that we should be amplifying our members’ work. That’s why we regularly share member project pictures across our growing social channels, and we list all our members on our online directory, which is the second most viewed area of our website.
We also run campaigns where we collaborate with other organisations to promote important topics within the industry, our most recent being Working at Height. Not only did our members get access to preferential Working at Height training rates, and a free training audit offer from one of our providers, but we had feedback from the wider industry.
This included “NAS, with this campaign you have most likely saved a life or at the very least prevented a serious accident, well done” (Dylan Skelhorn, No Falls Foundation Ambassador) and “If it wasn’t for this campaign by the NAS I would not have known about the Ladder Association nor their fantastic “Get A Grip” Campaign. I immediately downloaded their free ‘Ladder Safety Pack’ and have told many of my friends in the industry of this” (Steven Lakin, carpenter/sole trader).
Just displaying our logo alone has actually helped our members win work. We had a member get in touch just last month to say they were filling out a tender document for a new client, and the tender asked about being members of a trade body, specifically referencing the NAS!
We also recently took a call from Matthew Lockyer at Matthew’s Menswear, who was looking for a shopfitter to fit-out his new shop in Pembrokeshire. After providing him with several contacts, he gave us some fantastic feedback:
“I would like to thank the NAS, for the invaluable help given to me recently when I was trying to find a suitable firm to fit out a new clothing store that I am moving to. One phone call and a few questions regarding what I was looking for was all it took. I was contacted by suitable people the same day, within my area that could do the job.
If anyone who reads this is looking for a shopfitter, I thoroughly recommend getting in touch with the NAS, saving you lots of work and effort trawling the internet looking for a suitable team of shopfitters. Very many thanks NAS, you have made what seemed very daunting, simple.”
Not only did this enquiry result in a full fit-out project for one of our members, but this very positive feedback from Matthew is invaluable for any future fit-out work Matthew, or his own network, may have!
Hopefully this blog has shone a light on some of the other areas, aside from cost savings, that the NAS can help members with.
We have an established history of representing shopfitters, fit-out and interior contractors across the UK for over 100 years. If you’re not already a member and are interested in finding out more, please visit our Why Join page.