NAPSA's website development team not only improved the appearance and feel of the website, it also added some new elements including a blog/forum.
In a broad sense, the North American Power Sweeping Association (NAPSA) focused its 2013 efforts, and even 2014 plans, to encourage and intensify communication and involvement among its more than 300 members.
NAPSA President Ken Lindsey, Commercial Power Sweep, Napa, CA, said perhaps the most significant change in 2013 was the completion of a long-planned upgrade to its website, www.powersweeping.org. He says the website development team improved the appearance and feel of the website and added new elements.
“With the ever-changing and fast pace of digital media, you need to update on a constant basis, and our website was stagnant for too long a time,” Lindsey says. “The website team really improved the look of the site. It’s more modern.”
The site, which receives hundreds of visits from people looking to hire sweeping services, includes its Contractor Locator on every page and also includes a more informative “How to Hire Sweeping Services” section to benefit buyers.
For NAPSA members, NAPSA added a blog to the site titled “Sweepers Exchange Forum,” which provides a place members can ask questions or just make other member aware of industry issues.
“The goal is to increase communication within the membership by adding a blog site on it and we think that’s going to be a valuable member benefit,” he says.
Lindsey says that for 2014, NAPSA will make it a point to expand its welcoming of new members. “The goal of that program has always been to help the new member in general, but we’re going to make a special effort to make new members aware of all that NAPSA has to offer. We want to make sure that we direct them to ‘similar or like’ businesses as a resource for information and ideas that can really help them.”
He says that through its mentoring program, NAPSA will encourage members to bring new ideas to the organization. “New people are joining the industry and we hope to tap into them to expand the idea of NAPSA. That not only helps us as an organization, but then people feel they have a stake in the game. Rather than being a stagnant player they become active in the industry.”
And to make member involvement even easier and more palatable to people already busy running their own business, Lindsey says NAPSA has altered the structure of some of its committees and groups. He said groups are now goal-focused or topic focused so that people who agree to serve will only serve for the duration of a project -- much like the website development team which is being dismantled. “They got the project done and now they’re done,” he says. “There will be oversight but not to the level of involvement the project required.”
Lindsey says the industry faces a number of challenges, most importantly the problem of third party providers/consolidators which he termed “really discouraging.”
He says NAPSA does encourage members who work with third party providers/consolidators to maintain service and job quality. “But that’s very difficult with jobs being taken from us and sold back to us at half the price. Where are we going to make up that money?”
He says the too-common practice of telling operators to skip sections of a parking lot every other night or to only spend a certain amount of time on a parking lot sends a message to operators that that is acceptable on every job.
“You don’t want to jeopardize the quality of your overall service by cutting service to some clients, but it’s often the only way you can do it. It’s something people need to stand up against more than I think we’re doing right now,” Lindsey says. “It’s okay to say ‘No’ to these people and if enough people say ‘No’ to them things can change.” He says he is concerned that if the sweeping industry lets the practice continue it will spill over into other areas of maintenance such as sealcoating and landscaping. “Third party only comes down to bottom dollars. They have no interest in anything else.”
Lobbying the EPA?
While in most cases businesses are opposed to regulation, Lindsey says NAPSA plans to work hard to encourage stronger regulation from an EPA standpoint of parking lot sweeping and city sweeping, which he says is “a requirement for sweeping success.”
“Everything on the roadways usually ends up downstream and with budget cuts, people have been cutting back on sweeping. Not only does it dirty our waterways, but the debris on the pavement damages the roadways and we will be facing dire consequences if we don’t do something soon.”
He says that NAPSA, speaking as one industry voice, can influence national regulations to require sweeping on a regular basis – which would help the communities, the environment and the industry.