How to Choose a Management Company?
In any community there are various factors, such as resources, complexity and available talent, which influence the type of management that is appropriate. Important factors to consider include:
- Community Size and Complexity – Generally the larger the association and more diverse its services, the more sophisticated the management system and skill required.
- Financial Resources – The smaller the available funds in an association budget, the lower the level of affordable management sophistication.
- Complexity of Community – The complexity of a community directly correlates with the management experience needed.
- Availability of Volunteers – The less the owners are willing, or able, to volunteer time to carry out administrative functions, the more contractual talent will be required of the management company.
- Services and Amenities – The greater the number, variety and complexity of association services and amenities, the greater the administrative burden.
When the Board understands what factors influence their community’s needs the most, and have established a fee for which the association is willing to pay for services rendered, then the process of finding the right management company begins. Define your requirements and identify qualified Management Companies to ask for a bid. Make sure you define the criteria that are important for you in the selection process. Selection criteria examples to consider include:
- Reputation/Feedback from References in the Area – Can you trust this company to do what is best for your community? How long have they been in business? Do they have nearby clients or references from similar communities?
- Contract Flexibility – Will you be locked into an agreement that won’t allow changes? Do they bait you into a long term contract by offering an initial discount?
- Customization – Does the management company force processes on the Association? Or can they tailor their services to meet the needs of the community? Do they force you to use their in-house services or let you bid out the job?
- Quality of the People – Look beyond the sales team to understand the quality of people in the company – how does the company hire, develop and retain employees? Learn about Campbell’s People.
- Understand the Total Cost – Some companies have a wide variety of surcharges/extra fees that can increase the cost of their services. Learn about common Nickel and Dime charges.
If you allow the community manager to manage, the time involvement from your board and/or their appointed committees is significantly reduced. Remember…as the board of directors, one of your main functions is to direct and advise your management company. The many hours per week involved in accomplishing property tasks will be the responsibility of your new management company and its staff.
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