Are local chambers of commerce worth the membership fee?
I have received several messages from our local chamber of commerce to join. It costs several hundreds of dollars for an annual membership. We have a lot of free events in our area and I am wondering the value of joining the chamber. Curious if others are members of any chambers and if they find value. Thank you.
Do not hesitate to meet the business owners already registered to the chamber . The chamber should have a website with a list of local businesses . You should , over the conversations , get answers to some of your questions
Being a part of your local chamber of commerce come with quite a few benefits that pays off in starting and growing your business. However, there are ways around paying those hefty fees and still enjoy those benefits. Feel free to message me personally if you would like to find out how.
We have several Chambers of Commerce here in the Albuquerque metro area. I attended any number of their free events when I was first in business and determined my target audience was not among their membership. As a result, I saw no value in joining.
They are usually full of small businesses trying to sell you their services but are too small to afford yours - or in my case!!
It really depends on the size of your business, your target customers and if you like small talk!!
Not a fan of CoC.
As with many things, it depends on the Chamber.
As a long time member of several Chambers, I will say that the several hundred dollar fee is a great investment towards the tens of thousands of dollars I get in business every year through my networking efforts.
So yes, I definitely find value in certain Chambers of Commerce.
Though it did take some work and time to develop the relationships that lead to this sort of value. In other words, I wasn't getting tens of thousands of dollars in referrals the first year I joined.
It can still be a very worthwhile investment.
Here's a quick video I did on how to decide if a Chamber is right for you, and how to maximize the value of the Chambers (or other networking groups) you already belong to: https://youtu.be/gGjyeUZSO9M
Feel free to message me privately if you want to discuss further.
My Personal Experience: Local Chamber
- Joined 1996 - Cost $250 Per Year - Now - It's Over $750
- Membership Events Were Good Networking BUT
Everyone Was After The Same Objective - Sale Their Stuff To You!
- It's Like: Going To A Free Advertising Site And Everyone Is Hoping
You'll Buy From Them When They're Not In The Market At All, To Buy From
- Open Chamber Events (i.e.Expos, Community Events) Good For Leads Outside Members.
- Advertising Offline Directory/Online Site: Again, Everyone Looking To Sell, No One Looking To Buy.
- Over-All: Over Rated - Over Priced - Under Delivered.
Sure the Chamber Will "Romance" You With Their Benefits And Their Reach, But, It's Really A Social Club, Of Smiling Folks Hoping To Sell You Something, Not Buy From You.
Hope That Helps!
P.S. Remember the Chamber Is There To Help People Moving In The Area. And Showing Visitor What's Available To Them And Hand Out Information. If that's your market, you have a chance...
I have been a member of my local Chamber for about 8 years. I have found it to be worth the cost. But your situation may be different than mine.
First of all, don't expect to join and get business quickly. It takes time to build relationships. Don't be the person that hands out cards to everyone at meetings. Rather talk to a few people and get to know them and how you may be able to help them grow their business. When you show you are a giver and not a taker, you'll begin to get referrals. I have built fantastic relationships this way.
My chamber has sub-groups within the chamber that offer educational presentations each month related to certain industries or levels of business, and I have found these helpful as well. For instance, we have a small entrepreneur program, health and wellness, technology, financial, etc. I find the information shared in the specific meetings I attend are helpful to me and my business.
So to make a long story a bit shorter, you may get referrals once relationships are built, and you may have other ways your investment can pay off, but it depends on your specific chamber, the members, and how involved you are. If you go only once in a while, you may find it isn't worth the cost.
In my opinion and experience, there are without any doubts many benefits when joining a local chamber of commerce and especially if you relocate to a new town or country. Among these benefits, it is a quick manner to have an easy access to the local business community through which you can develop your own local network, exposure and business. They also help a lot to allow you to better understand your business environment receiving key information (market information, suppliers/buyers, participation in trade fairs and events,...). They also organize, through their committees many events, seminars on specific topics inviting panels of experts in this subject (HR, Legal, Digital Marketing, ...)
I wish all you a lovely end of week.
There will be hundreds and thousands of these kind of group who would want you to join them in return of few $ but if you will join all of them you will be spending more then you are earning and it will result you nothing. Instead there are lot of these free clubs which you can join
I use them all the time to network and get my message out. Also, you make friends there who will also help network you to their clients...worth while for sure!
For my firm, yes, the membership fee has paid for itself many times. Our local Chamber is very active, and the CEO promotes members nonstop. We can't imagine a better investment than a Chamber membership!
A lot of this will depend on your business type/model & also what you mean by worth it. I am an accountant & am a member of my local chamber, and other networking groups for a variety of reasons:
1) Member Benefits - my CoC Fleet Gas cards likely save me more than the cost of my membership. Most have a variety of benefits - ask.
2) Networking - depending upon your profession, this can be more/less important.
3) Referrals - nothing better than referral business. BUT don't expect referrals just because you are a member - you have to participate to increase your visibility, then your credibility, before you start receiving.
4)Competition - being a member of the Chamber can elevate you beyind some of your competition (sometimes) or bring you to the level they are at if all in your area are members
Check out other networking organizations also to compare & see where the best bang for your buck comes from - in your eyes. Certainly BNI is another great option, with the added benefit of exclusivity.
Depends on the Chamber. Some are simply "staged PR" firms for major employers. I would suggest going to a few free events first to check out what your chamber is all about.
Wow that sounds expensive. Over here there are no real memberships for the Chamber of Commerce and most events that they organise are either free or have just a small participation fee.
That aside it could very well be interesting if you are able to increase your revenue through those "free" events.
If you have the bandwidth to spend a lot of time establishing real relationships with the members and have a strong desire to contribute to your community, the chamber is a good way to go. If you are there to land clients or do business development, it may or may not be a good investment, depending on who you are wanting to attract as clients. First examine your intent, then list the pros and cons.
Absoluting worth joining but you have to attend as many meetings as possible to network and build relationships. I have been a member of my local Chamber for 15 years. I am now an Ambassador/Diplomat .
Also, by joining the chamber it will give your company recognition in the community.
I use to be a member of 2 chambers but it got to be too much so I just concentrate on my local chamber which has over 1K members.
For several years, I've been expanding a TX based company into 5 states in the upper Midwest, working virtually. Initially I joined Chambers one by one as I rolled out local programs; I did get some networking value, but more importantly, I got some business office share, at a well known address, for prospect meetings and small events. That had value for a period of time, like a year. After that, I found that promoting through city and regional business magazines, all of whom link heavily into the same list as the chambers, has been a better bang for the $$$.
I have found to be worth it. My criteria to is that they minimally have a networking meeting once a month. Most of the ones I am a member of have two. They are committed to growing there members businesses and working with each other.
We have a large chamber with 20,000 members, many are corporations that do not come to events to Network be just socialize, many times sending their PA's for a nice lunch or cocktails. I was a member for 2 years, went to events, volunteered on a sub committee and never got a good lead. The smaller networking groups & Chambers with under 1000 members, mostly small businesses ,have gotten me a lot of great leads & work.