by William B. Campbell, III, VP of Sales and Marketing, Campbell Property Management
How many times has someone tried to nickel and dime you or your community association? Unfortunately, nickel and diming happens quite frequently in the service industry because certain companies prefer to gain your business with an appealing “low price” and then add on extra charges down the road that are “not covered by your initial fees”. They also use this “low price” approach to gain your business to drive work like painting and concrete projects to their subsidiaries.
We don’t see this happening just in the service industry, but in most sales. Think back to the last time you purchased a car. In my most recent experience, I felt like the dealership was trying to nickel and dime me for every little thing. Now having bought cars before, I knew that the advertised price is never what it seems… this being said I expected some fluctuation in the price with the “extras” being offered. However, what I didn’t expect was a surprise additional administration fee that got added onto the total after spending 3 hours at the dealership and having completed all the paperwork except the final sales sheet. Now, not only was I paying for warranties, features, registration fees, and the car… they were trying to get me to pay for another fee. Luckily for me I caught this additional fee before signing. I ended up staying another hour, till midnight, to get it waived since I hadn’t signed the final page and they had never mentioned the fee before.
Just like we do side by side comparisons when purchasing cars, we need to carefully do side by side comparisons with all of our vendor and management proposals. Make sure to compare all of the fees in the proposals, not just the “management fees”. Doing these comparisons, are more easily said than done because not all management companies clearly lay out their itemized proposals. We have drafted up a list of 18 common charges to look for in a property management company’s proposal to help you and your community avoid getting nickel and dimed. Click here to view the list.
Let us know what you think about the list and if would suggest looking for other items in our comment section below.
by Evan Bradley, CFO, Campbell Property Management
Are you ready for the upcoming hurricane season? South Florida’s 2013 hurricane season is approaching quickly. The National Hurricane Center states that the hurricane season begins on June 1st and ends November 30th. We all know Mother Nature doesn’t read any calendars and these tropical storms can occasionally hit as early as May.
Now is the time to make sure your family and your community have Disaster Preparedness Plans in place. We have put together a Community Hurricane Preparedness Guide with 15 steps to help prepare you. At the end of the guide, we have three other major resources including a link to FloridaDisaster.org’s Family Disaster Planning website, which allows you to create and customize your family’s own disaster preparedness plan. Click here to read the full guide and get access to more resources.
What do you think about our 15 steps? Would you recommend additional steps or resources? Please share them with everyone below in the comments.
by Dan Tiernan, COO, Campbell Property Management
Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Should communities have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available for medical emergencies? “Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death, killing more than one million people worldwide each year. SCA can strike persons of any age, gender, race, and even those who seem in good health. When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the heart is no longer able to pump blood to the rest of the body, and in more than 90% of its victims, death occurs. A defibrillator is required to restore a natural rhythm. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) and European Resuscitation Council (ERC), the sooner the defibrillation, the better the victim’s chances of survival.” (https://www.cardiacscience.com/resources/aed-education-materials/about-sudden-cardiac-arrest.php)
If your community association has amenities including fitness centers, tennis courts, basketball courts, or pools; discussing the addition of community AEDs with your community and attorney might be a good idea. This decision should be looked at on a case by case basis, as there are a variety of factors to consider before placing an AED in common areas.
Jacqueline C. Marzan, Esq., wrote a great article, Association’s Civil Liability with Respect to the Use of CPR Equipment in its Community, which addresses Florida Statute 768.1325, F.S. entitled “Cardiac Arrest Survival Act; Immunity from Civil Liability”. In the article she discusses how AEDs are widely recommended and supported by the State Department of Health and how recent cases in the media involving private facilities were found liable for not having an AED present.
Click here to read the full article.
Engage Unbiased Construction Advisors!
by John Tight, CEO, Campbell Property Management
Image courtesy of fotographic1980 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How should a community, whether it is professionally managed or self-managed, handle major construction projects?
One ugly truth is that every community, no matter how new or impressive, will have to deal with major construction projects over the course of its life. When major repair and replacement projects are being considered in a condominium or homeowner association, a lot of questions are raised that may be difficult to answer:
- What is the root of the problem?
- Are there regulations we need to comply with?
- Should we pursue a short-term or long-term solution?
Unless you are lucky enough to have an in-house expert that is up-to-date with the area in question, you might need some help in figuring out the best path forward. Even if your property manager has some experience in the problem area, he/she should not be considered an expert beyond the actual job for which he/she was hired: property management. The cost and risk of these projects can be significant.
If not properly diagnosed, defined, sourced, and managed, the association could suffer from any of the following:
- Budget over-runs
- Extended closure of common areas
- Ineffective repairs that result in additional work and/or wasted funds
- Unplanned special assessments
Who can you trust to be your unbiased construction advisor? Using a management provider’s contractor might lead to them recommending whichever solution drives business to their subsidiaries. Consulting a vendor can be risky and confusing because they are more motivated to sell their product than solve your problem. Hiring an engineer may be a good solution, but be cautious of them recommending the highest cost, lowest risk solution to limit their liability. The ideal advisor for construction and repair projects is:
- An experienced contractor with relevant, practical expertise
- One who is unbiased toward any particular solution
- Focused on satisfying the needs of the community
- Readily available and reasonably priced
Click here to read the full article from Florida Community Association Journal, which includes key steps the construction advisor should follow and real case studies about how they have saved associations money.
What do you think about construction advisors? Feel free to share your experiences and tips for handling major projects in your community association below.
by The Campbell Property Management Team
Image courtesy of nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Are you tired of having to look through hundreds of sources for relevant, unbiased information regarding Florida community associations? Campbell Property Management started Florida Association News (FAN) to tackle this problem head on for you. FAN is a compilation of viewpoints, advice and guidance from leaders throughout the Florida Community Association Management Industry. We find and compile relevant articles, blog posts, and issues that emerge daily, for you. For monthly updates you can subscribe to our email newsletter which features the most popular issues of the month. For daily updates: Like Us on Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter!
Subscribe to this blog or visit weekly, to get additional original content that provides insight, tips, and resources on hot topics and issues that Florida community associations are facing. These hot topics and issues come from personal experiences that we have faced with our clients and partners. We would also like to hear from your personal experiences on these topics and how you and your association tackled them. Please keep all comments on topic and professional. Any off-topic or unprofessional comments will not be published. We hope you will enjoy and share this blog with others!