When you have a large-scale project slated for your community, it’s tempting to select a vendor based on price. After all, what’s more important than saving your association money?

But it’s easy to be penny wise and pound foolish. That bargain-basement price may come by way of a vendor who takes shortcuts in their business that could end up costing you money.

Here’s a list of reasons why it may make more sense to go with a top-level vendor...even if it costs a little more.

1. A known, nationwide brand is less risky

Trusting a vendor to perform work in your community always involves risk. To minimize those risks, try eliminating as many unknowns as possible. Choose a nationwide vendor with an established name. With the support and depth of resources behind a vendor that is part of a successful nationwide brand, you’re not as likely to be left in the lurch by a company that goes out of business mid-contract. Additionally, nationwide companies tend to have robust training programs for their employees, ensuring they operate according to the highest standards.

2. They’ll be as insurance-minded as you are.

Oftentimes, associations overlook the specific risks associated with vendors. Painters or window washers are in danger of falls, pool maintenance personnel are subject to slips, and pest control specialists and lawn professionals are exposed to dangerous chemicals. A quality vendor will be certain that their own coverage is up to date, and may even bring the subject up to you to make sure your association is covered adequately, too. Without the right kind of coverage, your association could be subject to costly lawsuits in the aftermath of an accident or injury. That makes the right kind of insurance coverage a must. Though we all hope for the best, it’s wise to plan for the worst.

3. Reputation matters.

For most quality vendors, their chief stock and trade is their reputation. Even before review services like Yelp or Angie’s List, good companies grew their business through the positive referrals of current and former clients. You can’t put a price on a reputation; you’ll know you’re looking at the right vendor if they’ve got a good track record with other communities like yours.

4. They’ll be bonded, licensed and state registered.

You will want to make sure that the vendor meets the standards of professionalism and trustworthiness that come with being properly licensed, bondable and maintaining an active state registration. These are not the only criteria you should look for, but these are some of the indicators of a quality vendor. These elements provide important protections for both you and the vendor, and let you know you’re starting the relationship on firm footing.

5. It’s a way to fulfill your fiduciary duty.

Remember, it’s not your only responsibility to save your association money. A cut-rate vendor can use shoddy materials or employ poorly trained workers, and that means substandard work that will cost your association money in the long term when it comes time to repair work that should’ve been done right the first time. It’s your fiduciary duty to make sure money is spent wisely. Sometimes, that might actually mean choosing a higher quality vendor at a slightly higher price. The saying “you get what you pay for” has never been more true.

Choosing the right vendor is no small task. Do your due diligence and make a decision on the overall quality of the vendor, not just on price, and you’re on the right track. For more information on quality vendors, contact FirstService Residential.
Friday February 06, 2015