full service management

Many homeowners associations mistakenly believe that they require full-service management for smooth operations. However, this kind of mindset might cause associations to overspend on an expense they don’t even need.


What Is Full Service Management?

Full-service HOA management refers to professional management performed on-site. With a full service management setup, an HOA manager typically works within the community, coordinating with board members daily. The manager tends to shoulder most, if not all, of the day-to-day responsibilities that would normally fall on the board. Moreover, the manager communicates with other parties, answering homeowner questions and liaising with vendors.

There are many self-managed associations in the United States. In fact, about 30% to 40% of all associations are self-managed. Yet, while admirable, a self-managed board often has trouble catching up with the demands of its position. Collections fall behind, requests are not addressed, and calls go unanswered. This is more common in larger communities, which is why hiring a full service property management company is usually more popular among associations with hundreds of homes.


Do All HOAs Need Full Service Management?

At a glance, it may seem like full-service property management is necessary for community associations, but it is not always the right answer. Not all HOAs are made equal, and the needs of one may not match the needs of another. With that in mind, here are some of the reasons why an association may not require full management services.


The Size of the Community

Communities come in all shapes and sizes. Some associations oversee less than 10 homes, while others have homes in the hundreds or even thousands. A full-service setup may not be the wisest choice if you have a small association.

Smaller communities don’t tend to require as much attention or services. For instance, a community with only 10 homeowners likely won’t have too many requests in the queue compared to one with 100 homeowners. Thus, small associations can operate without a hitch even if it solely relies on self-management or remote management.

Of course, it is also important to think in the long run. Your community may be small now, but will it remain small in the coming years? If your association grows quickly, your HOA board must ensure it can keep up with the increasing demands. Thus, if your community is expected to expand in the near future, it is best to devise a long-term plan that considers the option of full-service management.

Size is a good first indicator of your community’s needs. The more the homeowners, the more the requests and demands. If your board is having trouble matching pace, the help of an on-site manager may be necessary. But, if your board does fine on its own or with just a little help, a remote management team can work just as well.


The Complexity of the Work

If your association does not handle complex work, that’s another reason to skip full-service management. Low-maintenance communities likely don’t need on-site managers to conduct frequent inspections or perform day-to-day tasks. For instance, if your board can complete all the work without breaking a sweat, then the help of a full-service team is simply a waste of resources.

Most of the time, communities fall somewhere in between — some work can be complex, while others remain simple. For example, an association may have no problem performing common area maintenance but struggle with collections and budgeting. If your board is having trouble with only specific aspects of management, it wouldn’t be wise to throw all the funding away on a full-service manager.

Similarly, it is important to consider the nature of your common areas and amenities. There are some associations that offer unique amenities, such as golf courses, horse sanctuaries, and spas, that are harder to maintain. A number of communities also boast luxury homes where owners expect a certain level of service.


Budget Limitations

Full-service management costs money and is significantly more expensive than remote or partial management. Communities that have a limited budget to work with would be better off going with the latter. Don’t run the risk of overpaying for a service that you don’t even need.

If you’re looking for a better option, go for remote HOA management. With remote management services, HOA boards can still receive help with most of the operations while still sticking to their budget.


New to the Game

It may be tempting to jump to a full-service setup immediately, but you also have to consider the age of your association. Younger associations don’t usually know the ins and outs of managing a community. Homeowners in these HOAs tend to be new to the game and, therefore, don’t have much experience. It may be worth going for a full-service manager to help guide a younger board through everything. Then, once you get the hang of things, you can transition to self-management or remote management, depending on your needs.


An Alternative to Full Service Management

Just because you don’t need full service property management doesn’t mean you have no other option. Remote management is a good alternative if your HOA still needs professional help.

Remote HOA management offers most of the perks of full-service management but without managers going on-site. With remote management, associations can still benefit from back-office administration assistance, financial management, collection services, insurance help, legal assistance, homeowner communication, and consulting services. A remote management team can still provide valuable insight and make sound recommendations to the board.


A Management Team You Can Count On

Full service management, while certainly beneficial, should not immediately be the go-to option for communities. There are plenty of factors to consider, including size, complexity, and budget. Thus, boards would be wise to consider all of their options. In many cases, remote HOA management is, indeed, sufficient.

This is where Clark Simson Miller comes in. We offer expert remote HOA management services to homeowners associations and condominiums. Call us today at 865.315.7505 or contact us online to learn more!