Keeping track of maintenance services can be tricky. A homeowners’ association can easily become overwhelmed if there is no management system put in place. When maintenance needs come up — anticipated or not — the board may find themselves drowning in problems of quality, deadlines, and overcharging. To prevent these issues from occurring, it’s beneficial to have preferred service providers listed in your homeowners association management matrix. Here’s how to create a vendor matrix for your HOA.
Learn How to Create a Vendor Matrix
What is a vendor matrix? Also known as a vendor evaluation matrix, this table helps when you’re choosing from multiple vendors at a time for a specific project. Depending on how you design your own matrix, you can rank them accordingly and see which one is best suited for the job.
These are the steps that will help you create a vendor matrix for your association:
1. List Down Your Vendor Requirements
It’ll be easy to create a vendor matrix once you have listed down all your vendor requirements or responsibilities. List down all the maintenance needs of your community. Arrange them into maintenance categories such as air-conditioning, heating, plumbing, flooring, and the like.
Start each category with an overview of tasks and then break them down into smaller sections. The vendor matrix can also include a priority column. Indicate which maintenance needs are a high priority and which ones are low priority or negotiables.
2. Compile Preferred Companies
List down primary choices for vendors or service providers. Make sure to choose companies that can meet all your maintenance needs. The HOA board can determine which service providers qualify the most based on your vendor requirements. As you build your HOA contractor matrix, try to also think about how well you can trust each vendor with your community’s needs.
3. Add Secondary Options for Vendors
The vendor matrix for a homeowners association should also include secondary options for vendors. The HOA can reach out to your backup vendors in case your preferred vendor has a full schedule. Make sure you categorize them, as well.
Of course, some vendors may have specialties in more than one category. You may tag them in several categories but try to limit this as much as possible. An ideal number would be two or three vendor choices for each category. Keep in mind that some jobs may call for more than one vendor in a single area.
4. Review Your Vendor Matrix
If a specific member or committee is assigned to create a vendor matrix for the HOA, the final output must be reviewed by the entire board. This checking process ensures that the vendor matrix is complete and comprehensive. It should cover all the maintenance services that your HOA needs.
5. Update Your Vendor Matrix
Just because you have a vendor matrix doesn’t mean you have to stick with it forever. At the very least, your HOA should update the vendor matrix annually. This is to account for changes that happen over time.
Depending on their quality of work, a preferred vendor may be downgraded and a backup vendor may be upgraded. Changes in your HOA’s budget may also lead to an increase or decrease in maintenance services.
Vendor Evaluation Matrix Sample
As long as you follow the steps outlined, it’ll be easy to create a vendor matrix for your HOA. If you need help, refer to the vendor evaluation matrix sample below. You can customize it based on your vendors and the services they provide.
Benefits of a Vendor Matrix for Your HOA
After you create a vendor matrix, you’ll quickly be able to experience the benefits that come with having such a document for your HOA. A vendor matrix ensures that there is consistency in your maintenance services. The HOA board can refer to the list of tasks that are regularly assigned to a specific vendor. You can also use the vendor matrix to see if a service provider is able to do their tasks well.
A vendor matrix can prevent the board from requesting unnecessary maintenance services that lead to overspending. Tasks not listed in the vendor matrix should not be requested until it is approved by the majority of the board. You’ll be able to control your HOA funds and won’t have to ask for additional dues from homeowners.
A vendor matrix is also beneficial because the HOA will immediately know who to call if there is an emergency. If your pipes suddenly burst, you can call your preferred vendor before too much property damage is sustained. If your preferred vendor is unavailable, you don’t have to spend time researching alternatives. You already have backup vendors that you can also rely on.
Other Considerations When You Create a Vendor Matrix
1. Have a Standard Vetting Process
If you are not yet sure which vendors to use and trust, you can always create a vetting process. Take time to interview vendors, get insurance verification, and have agreements and applications filled out. You also want all vendors to be bonded and insured. Every company or individual listed in the vendor matrix should have gone through this process to minimize the risk to your association as much as possible.
2. Offer Vendor Training
There are times when you find vendors you enjoy working with but find that they are lacking in some areas. If you want your vendors to follow a preferred system of work, the HOA can host yearly vendor training. Your vendors will be able to learn how your association operates. It’s also an opportunity to build camaraderie with your service providers. Training should include work performance and expectations of conduct to minimize issues or complaints from homeowners.
3. Consult Your HOA Manager
If you have trouble finding vendors, don’t hesitate to consult with your HOA management company. An HOA manager will have a list of reputable companies that you can employ for your maintenance services. You’ll be able to access your HOA management company’s connections to see which vendors are highly-rated and recommended by other associations.
How a Vendor Matrix Can Help Your Community
HOAs should always be prepared to handle the maintenance needs of their community. The best way to ensure this is to create a vendor matrix for your HOA. If you have a list of preferred vendors — who can be entrusted with your maintenance needs — the board will be able to avoid bad experiences that could weaken the trust of homeowners. Clearly defined tasks also help the board stay on track and avoid overspending. Just follow the steps, and you can create a vendor matrix that’s beneficial to the community.
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