Terra West | Selecting the Right Community Management Company
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Picking the right community management company is an important choice, whether you’re an HOA board member or a member of an engaged residential community. Ideally, the choice will lead to a long term relationship that benefits you in numerous ways. Of course you want to get the decision right.

There are many types of community management companies, but one way to think of potential candidates is to think of smaller versus larger companies. While a smaller company may seem more accessible or personal, that may in fact not be the case. A smaller company could be constrained by the size of its staff due to limited financial resources.

Another consideration to take into account is the range of services offered. A smaller company may not be in a position to offer you all the services you’re looking for. It’s good to write down on paper exactly what you require, and then compare what your needs are side-by-side with a community management company’s service offerings.

Besides expanded services, a larger company has a broader range of experience and resources by virtue of managing many more and different types of properties, including single family homes, condominiums, condominium hotels, and business parks. Larger companies can also achieve economies of scale across a range of services—such as banking and other vendor relationships—and can pass those economies on to you in the form of reduced fees.

A larger company is likely to have a wider range of services available, including technology resources that a smaller company simply cannot afford. While you may not want every service offered now, with a larger company, you have the option to grow into services as needed. You may also find that a larger community management company offers services that you weren’t aware of but that could potentially help streamline your responsibilities and save you time.

In exploring community management companies, it’s always wise to find out if the company has proper licenses and credentials. For example, does the company employ state licensed community managers? Is their collection agency state licensed? Are the vendors and subcontractors pre-qualified to ensure they are fully licensed and insured?

In addition to evaluating the size of a company and the resources and services they have available, you should also look at how responsive the company is likely to be to your needs. Look at the company’s stated communications policy. You may also want to ask how many communities are assigned to each manager to assess the level of care you’ll be given.

With a larger, locally owned company you have direct access to executives and owners. By comparison, larger national corporations have layers of management that make it difficult to know who to speak to and harder to reach the person you need.

Also, because corporate headquarters for a larger national corporation may be out of state, such a company can easily lose touch with what’s going on at the local level. With such a far-flung operation, national headquarters may not know what’s really happening in local offices—with consequences for HOA board members and communities.

In fact, many national companies may centralize and outsource their accounting departments, mailroom and other crucial services. As a result, community managers are left without support staff, and must call out of state or to another office in order to get things done.

When it comes to timely communication, a local company has the edge. With roots in the community, a local community management company knows the region and is dedicated to serving it. Overall, a larger, local company hits the sweet spot of having both the size to provide comprehensive service and a focused presence that allows it to respond quickly to your needs.

To assist you as you search for the right community management company, we’re providing a downloadable questionnaire that you can use to ask questions and evaluate services when requesting bids. Click Here to Download

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 October 2015 19:49