Greetings and Salutations,
Allow me to explain…
Back in 2009, I was faxed an application to become a “certified Home Watch professional” by a company out of Fort Myers, FL. The cost: $10.00. I called the head of the association, and was told that he had just raised the price of “certification” to $65.00. Certification consisted of a document with a gold sticker…poof, you’re certified. As luck would have it, this gentleman, who is a very nice man, offered to sell me the National Home Watch Association, Inc., of Fort Myers, FL. Well, I spoke with my attorney, my accountant, and my wife, and bought the association, only to close it down immediately. Although it still may show up in records in Florida, the old NHWA, Inc. has been defunct since 2009. After one and a half years of research, planning and conversations with other Home Watch companies from across the country, The National Home Watch Association, of Murrells Inlet, SC, was launched. With a clear vision and detailed plan for accrediting Home Watch companies, our website was launched.
Our first order of business was to contact all of the “certified” members of the old association. When I reached out, I explained that in order to become accredited by the new NHWA, they would have to pass muster under actual guidelines and vetting. These vetting requirements included that their company must carry general liability insurance, bonding, and adhere to a code of ethics. This requirement alone eliminated eligibility for more than half of these “certified” home watchers. I offered membership to the rest of these people at the regular fee, minus whatever they had paid for their initial “certification.” Only one of these companies applied for accreditation and actually gained it. A few thought that their $10.00 fee was for a lifetime membership.
The reason that I bring this up now is that some of these “certified” home watchers are still advertising as members of the NHWA. They are, for the most part, displaying the old logo: a green house with lettering. Please be advised that these companies are not accredited by us. Anyone that has this green logo paid $10.00 to get certified! Now I ask you, what kind of company is proud enough to brag that they paid $10.00 four years ago for professional accreditation. Check their insurance, and ask about background checks for their people. To be clear, I am sure that some of these companies do fine work. Just because they are not accredited by us does not mean that they are bad companies. It‘s just important to differentiate between the old and the new. We have also asked that they stop using the Association’s name.
The actual National Home Watch Association was formed in 2010in South Carolina, charged with the goal of creating standards and guidelines for the Home Watch industry in the US and Canada. All of our Members are vetted for insurance, consumer affairs complaints, operating practices, and must agree to adhere to our Code of Ethics and Mission Statement. Our Members have gained accreditation in order to separate their companies from under- and uninsured and non-bonded Home Watch companies operating in their areas.
As the sergeant from “Hill Street Blues” used to say: “Let’s be careful out there.”
As always, I wish you,