Managing an HOA can come with a huge burden of responsibilities. The wealth of details that need to be dealt with can be overwhelming. One of the primary areas of responsibility is organizing vendors and contractors that help you to take care of the property. One of the best things you can do to keep this side of the HOA running smoothly is to maintain healthy relationships with your vendors. These healthy relationships will create a greater likelihood that the work will get done quickly, efficiently, and at a good price.
One of the keys to keeping good relationships with your vendors is working on excellent communication with them. Nothing is more frustrating for a contractor than an HOA that is difficult to work with, hard to contact, and untrustworthy with timetables and payment schedules. There are several things you can do as management to boost communication.
One of the first things you can do as soon as you have need of a contractor is to educate yourself thoroughly. Be sure, before you even begin to contact a vendor, that you understand the ins and outs of the service they provide. Familiarize yourself with 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 vendor will appreciate the time that you spent educating yourself, and the process will be much more painless.
Organization and timeliness will also be of value to you when establishing good communication patterns with your vendors. As you delve into a new project, be sure to organize any questions that you have or points that need clarification. Set a timeline for yourself and contact the vendor promptly when any issues or questions arise.
Financial issues can be a soft spot for many, but again, communication is key. If you find yourself short on funds, instead of hiding from your vendors, communicate openly so that you can negotiate any payment plan changes. This will communicate to them that you desire to pay them, and are committed to delivering the payment and will help to keep the relationship on solid ground.
Another thing that you can do to establish healthy relationships is to work with local vendors. As a community-based association, pouring back into the community should be a top priority. Local vendors can be an absolute joy to work with as they are usually enthusiastic about working for an HOA in the community. By hiring locally, you open up your HOA to a wide network that can grow to feel more like a family. Also, customer loyalty can lead to discounts as well as higher quality work. Think locally for everything that you do whether that means using a local restaurant for your board meetings, or hiring a neighborhood landscaping company.
Keeping healthy relationships with your vendors is a must when juggling all of the details of your HOA. By communicating, staying organized, educating yourself, and hiring locally, you can go a long way in establishing relationships that will last for years between your community and your vendors.