How to Build & Maintain Relationships with HOA Vendors
Managing and running a homeowners’ association (HOA) can be time-consuming and complex. As volunteers, board members have a lot on their plates and may not always have the time, expertise, or resources to successfully complete every task on their to-do list. Because of this, many HOAs and management companies partner with vendors, contractors, and professional partners to deliver specialized services. Read on to learn about HOA vendor management and discover best practices for building and maintaining positive relationships with service providers.
Why HOAs partner with vendors & contractors
From overseeing finances and maintenance to finalizing contracts and enforcing rules, these responsibilities can be challenging for a board of directors to handle solo. That’s why many HOA boards and management companies collaborate with vendors, contractors, and service providers to fulfill duties they don’t have the time or expertise to carry out on their own. With support and resources from seasoned and trusted professionals, HOAs can:
- Increase efficiency
- Save time and money
- Boost resident satisfaction
- Ensure compliance
- Reduce liability
- Prevent conflicts of interest
- Stabilize operations.
Top HOA vendors & contractors
While needs vary by association, it can be beneficial for HOAs to partner with the following service providers:
- HOA management company
- Community association lawyer
- Insurance agent
- Property inspector
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Reserve Specialist (RS)
- Landscaping company
- Pool service company
- Maintenance and repair company
- Restoration and construction company
How to find (& keep!) good HOA vendors & contractors
Forming and sustaining a strong relationship with an HOA vendor, contractor, or professional service provider is well worth the effort. When everyone does their part and effectively collaborates, the community looks better, operations run smoother, residents are happier, and boards and managers are less likely to experience burnout. Consider doing the following to find the right vendors and build a solid and mutually beneficial relationship with your partners.
1. Start with your governing documents.
Before beginning the vendor vetting and hiring process, check your governing documents. Within these documents, you’ll find board responsibilities and authority relating to finding, choosing, and paying vendors. Review this information thoroughly and confirm you understand what your HOA requires and what your board can and cannot do when it comes to vendors.
2. Set and stick to a budget.
Once you’re ready to hire a vendor, set a budget and stick to it. The board should allocate funds to cover specific services the HOA needs and get the appropriate signoffs. While these providers may be expensive, opting to do the work yourself or picking the vendor with the lowest bid may end up costing you in the long run. Remember to pay your vendors on time per the agreed-upon terms, too.
3. Take the hiring process seriously.
Choosing the wrong HOA vendor can cause significant setbacks, expose your community to liability, and cost your association time and money. That’s why it’s important to do your due diligence and take the hiring process very seriously. Conduct interviews with multiple partner options, verify credentials and licenses, and check references. To make the best choice for your HOA, consider asking the following questions in your interviews:
- How long have you been in business?
- What kind of services do you offer?
- Can you tailor your services to meet our needs?
- What will the project process look like?
- How much do your services cost, and what is your billing structure?
- What are the contract terms?
- What type of technology do you provide?
- How will you communicate with us?
- How will you add value to our community?
- Do you have the proper licenses, certifications, and insurance?
- How do you handle warranty issues?
- How do you stay updated with industry best practices?
4. Set expectations.
A written contract should be drafted and signed prior to entering into any agreement. To prevent conflicts, friction, and misunderstandings, the contract should outline:
- Scope of work
- Contact information
- Payment terms and payment structures
- Performance standards and metrics
- Conflicts of interest
- Dispute resolutions
- Insurance, permits, and liabilities
- Warranties and guarantees
- And more.
Your board, management company, and lawyer should carefully read the contract to ensure the association is protected and there aren’t any surprises. Everyone should be on the same page, have similar goals, and know what is expected of them.
5. Establish clear communication channels.
Good communication is key to any successful relationship—including HOA and vendor relationships. Upfront, establish clear communication channels and points of contact. Guarantee all parties know who to contact and how and when to contact them. Communicate well and frequently to encourage transparency and foster a positive working environment where people feel comfortable asking questions, addressing concerns, and having productive discussions.
6. Conduct reviews and give feedback.
Periodically check-in with your vendors and review their performance. Confirm you’re receiving the services you paid for, they’re meeting your expectations, and ask for feedback. If they’re doing a great job, tell them. If there are areas with room for improvement, identify and discuss them. When vendors know you’re open to feedback and evaluating them, it holds them accountable and will lead to better quality service and lasting partnerships.
How TownSq Can Strengthen HOA & Vendor Partnerships
Building and maintaining strong relationships with HOA vendors, contractors, and professional service providers is crucial to the success of any HOA. With TownSq, the leading technology solution for HOA board members, managers, and management companies, managing vendors is easier than ever. Our all-in-one platform allows you to screen prospects, hire vendors, and set up vendors in the system, minimizing your risk and standardizing your bid process. Request a demo to learn more about TownSq’s vendor management and compliance feature now!