Hiring an association management company can be a great way to increase the quality and efficiency of your community. But, unless you know what to look for, bringing on the wrong management can potentially cause more trouble than it’s worth. To avoid the latter, here are the qualities to look for when searching for your ideal management company.
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The Importance of Hiring an Association Management Company
Association management companies aren’t just another expense item on your HOA budget. An association management company helps HOAs run smoother and more efficiently. You may not know it, but your association may already be in dire need of professional help. So, how can you tell if it’s time to contact an HOA management company to share the workload? Here are some reasons why your HOA would need an association management company:
1. Lack of Skill and Expertise
In a perfect world, your HOA board would be stacked with lawyers, accountants, and managers. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case for most homeowners associations. A majority of HOA boards don’t possess the right skills and expertise to manage an entire community. As such, financial management, legal issues, and taxation become uphill battles. By hiring an association management company, you can fill these holes in your system and ensure your HOA is run properly.
2. Inadequate Resources
HOAs rarely have the right tools and resources to make HOA management a breeze. Association management companies, on the other hand, have professional staff members, technology, a network of industry vendors, and access to education on. With so much on their side, it’s a surprise not all HOAs partner with such companies.
3. Lack of Time
An HOA board usually consists of volunteers from the community — volunteers, like you, who lead lives outside of the HOA. With a 9-to-5 job and full-time parenting duties, balancing your work as a board member becomes difficult. With an HOA manager, you can share board responsibilities with a professional whose full-time job is to do just that — help. By hiring an association management company, you can save time on tasks and feel a burden be lifted from your shoulders.
4. Inability to Keep Up With Trends
The world around you constantly changes, and it’s part of the HOA board’s job to keep up. If there are any new federal or state laws affecting HOAs, you should know about it. But, a volunteer in a community only has so much time and energy to dedicate to such tasks. An HOA management company, on the other hand, makes it their priority to stay informed on changing best practices.
5. No Progress
You don’t want your HOA to plateau. If you notice your HOA hasn’t been seeing any growth — in terms of membership, engagement, revenues, or others — then there’s a good chance you’ve reached a standstill. While some HOAs are content with staying the same way forever, successful HOAs constantly seek ways to grow and flourish. By partnering with an association management company, you can do just that.
What to Look for in an Association Management Company
Not all association management companies are made equal. So, when you are considering your options, it’s important to look for certain qualities. After all, it’s such a big decision — one that your organization will have to work with for at least a year. A good association management company should possess the traits below:
1. Services That Fit Your Needs
Before you can find the ideal manager for you, you need to get clear on the needs of your association. Most community association management companies will provide a range of management services, so narrowing down your main needs will help you look for companies that specialize in delivering them. Does your community need full-service management? Or do you need help with less-frequent but important tasks like assistance with finding quality vendors?
The company you ultimately hire must have all the services you require. If your HOA needs financial management, see which parts of it are covered by the company. Some needs might be non-negotiable, so make sure to check a company’s list of services first.
2. Years of Experience
Look for an association management company with expert staff and years of experience. Managing an entire homeowners association is no small task. It requires a high level of expertise that only education and experience can teach. As a board member, you naturally want your HOA to be in good hands. Leaving it all in the hands of an inexperienced company would be a gamble. So, in your hunt for the best HOA management company, make sure to take expertise and experience into account.
3. Professional and Amicable
The truth is that sometimes different personalities just don’t meld well. Get to know your potential manager beforehand so you can determine how they will work with your board and your homeowners. Ask questions about how they plan to handle and communicate during common situations in your community. And always speak up if you notice a disconnect between your association and the assigned manager, as that could mean it’s time to make a change.
An HOA manager should be able to deal with issues in a professional manner. They wouldn’t let personal concerns or biases get in the way of the decision-making process.
4. Suits Your Budget
Let’s face it — not all homeowners associations can afford big-name management companies. Smaller communities usually have a tight budget to work with, so they can’t go all-in on an expensive service. Thankfully, there are plenty of HOA management companies out there who can provide quality service for an affordable price.
Even better, consider hiring a remote HOA management company. These companies provide virtual assistance on a number of items, such as financial management and back-office services, to name a few, for a fraction of the cost.
5. Great Customer Reviews
It’s always a good idea to look at customer reviews. That principle applies to just about anything, including a search for the best association management company for your HOA. Reviews from real customers can give you a better picture of how a certain company operates and deals with their clients. Of course, don’t base your decision solely on customer reviews. The reviews on company websites are carefully picked out to frame the business in the best positive light.
Start Looking for the Right Association Management Company
If your HOA is suffering from a lack of expertise and resources, then hiring an association management company is the best thing you can do. The process isn’t as grueling as it seems. All it takes is a good amount of research and budgeting. Be prepared to interview at least three different companies to find out the services they provide, their costs for the services, and how the information aligns with your association’s needs.
Many HOAs opt to hire a remote HOA management company instead. These companies offer quality service for more affordable prices. If you wish to do the same, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
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