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Learning the Industry’s Needs

Being involved in the Apartment Association of Orange County helps this Home Depot pro account rep provide property managers with solution-driven help.

When your job is helping other people do their job better, it’s a good idea to learn all that you can about their job.

That’s why Jim Chaves, Home Depot’s Pro Account Representative for Orange County, became a member of the Apartment Association of Orange County’s Product and Service Council.

“I quickly realized that property management was a community,” Chaves says about his start in the field. “And you have to listen to what the community’s needs are.”

AAOC gives Chaves the information he needs to better serve his customers. For example, “AAOC brings in water municipalities to explain what they can do to get rebates on changing landscapes, toilets and those things,” Chaves says.

Getting this deeper level of knowledge means that Chaves can better help property managers figure out what vendors and suppliers have product lines that meet their needs — from reducing water consumption to increasing energy efficiency and more.

Getting to the Right Solution

Veronica Copeland, Director of Education and Special Events for the AAOC, appreciates that Chaves is so involved in the association. “He attends our general membership meetings, which are about seven times a year, and he walks people through things,” Copeland says. “He’ll give his business card and say, ‘If I’m not able to help you, I’ll find someone who can.’ He deals with the large companies, of course, but he’s also able to provide the smaller companies with information and resources.”

Some of the specific Home Depot programs and tools that can save property managers time and money include:

•    Pro Direct programs for everything from lighting to cabinets to flooring to appliances. Pro Direct offers competitive pricing no matter the order size, direct delivery from the manufacturer to job site or in-store pick-up, and the ability to place special orders.
•    Pro Xtra, a tool that offers the ability to reconcile any receipts within the last two years. “The tool can highlight what they are purchasing in bulk, and what they might not be purchasing in bulk but should be,” Chaves says.
•    2 percent annual rebate on qualifying purchasing through the NAA rebate program.

Chaves is always looking to help AAOC members, and expanding his knowledge base makes him an even better resource. “The most important thing is educating myself in what the community’s hurdles and struggles might be,” he says. “Being an adviser is probably the most critical thing from a customer’s perspective. They want to be able to listen, trust and ask for advice, knowing there isn’t a sale attached to it.”

For her part, Copeland sees everyone benefiting from Chaves’ involvement in AAOC. “It’s a win-win-win partnership for all involved — AAOC, Home Depot and AAOC members most of all,” she says.


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