Relationships with HOA vendors sounds like something low on the priority list from an outsider’s perspective, but the truth can’t be much further than that. Building vendor relationships and having strong vendor management skills are vital to keeping a managed community well-maintained in a cost-efficient manner. It takes a shocking amount of logistics to keep even the smallest of communities clean, safe and secure, and having the right homeowners association vendors working with you makes a world of difference.
In this article, we’ll look at how to build solid, reliable relationships with HOA vendors, starting from the selection, vendor contracts, and the process of vendor management itself.
Relationships with HOA Vendors: Build with the Right Partners
Managing an HOA can come with a huge burden of responsibilities. The number of details that need to be dealt with is not just potentially overwhelming – in many cases, they are better left to experts in the field. As an HOA member, one of your primary responsibilities is vendor management.
That means contacting vendors and contractors that help you to take care of the property, then negotiating and maintaining vendor contracts. One of the best things you can do to keep your side of the vendor contracts running well is to build and keep healthy relationships with your vendors.
Healthy relationships with HOA vendors will create a greater likelihood that the work will get done quickly, efficiently, and at a good price.
Select and Screen Vendors with Care
The key to building relationships with HOA vendors is in getting the right vendors working with you. Getting the most reliable, best priced and most competent vendors for your HOA is up there among the best things you can do to contribute to the well-being of your community, so pick your vendors with care. That means doing your research, taking the time to talk to people, and putting the budget together to get the best vendors you can.
As with a lot of things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to HOA vendors. Think twice about going for a vendor just because they are the cheapest option. If they turn out poor quality work, the complaints and subsequent remedies will quickly wipe out whatever cost savings you might have gotten in hiring them.
Have a large pool of homeowners association vendors to choose from, to keep the selection competitive. You can try asking your residents who are familiar with the work for referrals. Try to get HOA vendors who have great references and reviews. HOA vendors who have the experience working with communities similar to yours, and have gained a good reputation doing so, are good potential partners for your community.
Another thing that you can do to establish healthy relationships with HOA vendors is to work with local professionals. As a community-based association, giving opportunities back to community members can only be a great thing. Competent and reliable local vendors can be an absolute joy to work with, as they are usually enthusiastic about working for an HOA in the community.
Have Clear HOA Vendor Contracts with Your Expectations
One of the keys to keeping good relationships with HOA vendors is having a good vendor contract with them. Nothing is more frustrating for a contractor than an HOA that has vague expectations when it comes to “quality of work” or the timetables for things that need to be done. As an HOA member, you need to be thoroughly familiar with what your community needs, and when they need it.
One of the first things you can do as soon as you have a need for a contractor is to educate yourself thoroughly. Before you even begin to contact a vendor, be sure that you understand the ins and outs of the service they provide. Familiarize yourself with the terminology, processes, and typical pricing for the service that you need so that you can appear well-informed when you speak to the vendor.
The HOA vendors will greatly appreciate working with an HOA member who is already “in the know” when it comes to their work, and the process will be much more painless.
Are your lawns the type that gets overgrown quickly during warm weather? Then you need to anticipate that and let the HOA vendors know that you need them to work more often during the warmer months. If you can set up a timetable for that in your vendor contracts, that would be even better.
Have Professional Relationships with Your HOA Vendors
Professional relationships with HOA vendors is the fastest way to get the best work out of them. That means clear work schedules, solid vendor contracts, and of course, timely pay.
Taking the time to organize your schedules and budget will also be of value to you when establishing good communication patterns with your vendors. You can give them the next timetable well ahead of time, and inform them of any issues.
Pay delay issues are always a sore spot for HOA vendors. It’s important for you to make it a priority to stay up to date with all your payments. If you find yourself suddenly short on funds, tell the vendors right away instead of delaying the news. That way, you are communicating openly with them so that the table is open for negotiating any payment plan changes. An open line of communication like this signals to the HOA vendors that your association management cares and respects the work that they do.
Great Relationships with HOA Vendors Will Build the Community
Keeping healthy relationships with HOA vendors keeps your community at the top of their client’s list. They become strong partners that you can count on when you need them. In time, you can think of them as part of the community as well – the great work that they do contributes to building the community, after all.
Quality HOA vendors are crucial for managed communities, so are you finding and keeping the right service providers? We at Cedar Management Group have seen so many examples of great HOA vendors taking a community to the next level. Need to find fully compliant HOA vendors with great references for your needs? Leave us a message, and we’ll get back to you!
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