You hire an association management company to bring in the best vendors for your property and to get the best results. You count on them to form partnerships with some of the best vendors out there.
Unfortunately, too often, we see less than professional property managers bringing in anyone they can find that’s willing to put in a bid. This might seem like the easiest way to get a variety of different options to choose from, but if you’re not starting with qualified bidders, you might not have all that much variety after all.
For example, let’s say your community’s manager invites five commercial landscaping companies to bid on your landscape maintenance contract. Right away, you realize that two of them are too small to ever complete the scope of the work the way you need it completed. Maybe one of the others have a poor reputation, and another is unresponsive, or they can’t provide references or proof that they can meet your insurance requirements. That means you really don’t have a choice after all. You have one company that’s capable of getting the work done the way you want it, and four unqualified vendors you would never consider bringing into your community.
Ultimately, the best property managers are performing research on the front end so that they’re only bringing in vendors that can truly complete the work the way that it’s meant to be done.
You also want to know that your property manager is bringing in qualified landscape companies to bid on your contract—not friends. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this too often, and it rarely works out well for the community. The “friend” may be great with smaller projects, but do you really want your community to be a learning experience about what it takes to handle a really large project? What will it mean for you when they realize that they’re in over their head?
You want to avoid scenarios like this by feeling confident that your property manager is only going to bring in bids from qualified vendors. Anything else is a disservice to you.
A Property Manager Should Facilitate Good Communication Between Vendors and the Board
It’s so important that you have good conversations happening between the board and the vendors. A good property manager is not a brick wall, keeping the board and vendor separated on each side. Their role shouldn’t be a “middleman” (or middlewoman) who just relays everything from the vendor to the board (or vice versa).
Too often, we see boards asking their property manager to just send out an RFP and bring the responses back to the board. But there can be a lot that’s lost in translation.
Instead, you want a property manager who is an effective mediator. That is, someone who facilitates great conversations and allows vendors to have direct communication.
At Yellowstone Landscape, we welcome the opportunity to be in direct contact with every community’s board. In fact, we love participating in their meetings, being on any special committees that pertain to landscaping, and even contributing articles and content to social media and newsletters that the association publishes.
We understand that some property managers are afraid that their landscaper will make them look bad if they give them direct access to the board. But if they’ve performed their research (like we mentioned in the last point), and only brought in the best vendors, this shouldn’t even be a worry. Instead, their landscaper’s ability to communicate directly with the board should help them. It should take some things off of their plate and allow them to look like the hero for bringing in such a great vendor in the first place!
The Best Property Managers are Amazing Communicators
There is no substitution for good communication. You want a property manager who keeps the board up-to-date on what’s going on and ensures that everyone involved in the community is on the same page. This simply can’t be done without an organized and effective communicator.
Of course, it helps when your property manager chooses vendors who also value communication. After all, if the vendors aren’t keeping your property manager informed, he or she can’t keep the board informed.
At Yellowstone Landscape, proactive communication is vital to us. We know that developing strong partnerships and being able to shoulder the burdens that many property managers bear comes down to top-notch communication.
Find an Association Management Company that has Stable Property Managers
Finally, in talking about the best association management companies, we’d be remiss in not mentioning stability. When evaluating management firms for your community, often you won’t know who your property manager will be until after you’ve hired a firm. So, you don’t want to choose an association management company that has high turnover among their managers.
There’s are few things more frustrating than building a relationship with a property manager only to have them leave—and then you have to start all over again with someone new. This can be frustrating for your vendors, too, who are also building a relationship with your property manager.
Choosing a great association management company where property managers love to work will help ensure that you gain stability and ultimately get the most out of that relationship.
Finding Your Trusted Partner
We think it’s so important that HOA and COA boards are well-educated on their options. That’s because we believe an educated community association ultimately makes everyone better.
We’ve seen that the best HOAs and COAs run like a well-oiled machine with the property manager, the vendors, and the board all working in harmony. There is transparency and trust at every step.
Of course, we’ve also seen our fair share of dysfunctional HOAs and COAs, too. In-fighting and power struggles within a board, or between the property manager and the board are a sure sign of dysfunction. The best property managers are those that understand that, ultimately, the board has to make their own decisions. The dynamic should be that the property manager and the vendors are all working for the board, keeping their best interest at heart.
As we’ve already said, that doesn’t just mean telling them what they want to hear. It’s critical that your community association’s manager uses their expertise to help you and your board become better educated about what your community needs, and brings in vendors who are best suited to help you achieve your goals. When everyone works together in a community, great things can be accomplished.
Are you looking for a commercial landscaping company that will work well with your property manager while helping guide your HOA or COA in an honest and transparent way? Request a consultation today. We’ll meet to learn more about your property and its challenges and come up with a comprehensive plan to take care of all of the details for you.