Making sure you use vendors who are qualified and capable of getting the job done will make the process a smooth one and help you stick to your timeline.  When you have a large-scale project in the works for your community, it’s tempting to select a vendor solely based on price. After all, who doesn’t love to save their association money? But achieving a bargain-basement price may come with some headaches further down the road – vendors who take shortcuts could end up costing you a lot of money in the end. 
Here are a few tips to consider when vetting a vendor.

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

It is vital that your vendor meets the standards of professionalism and trustworthiness that come with being properly licensed, bondable and maintaining an active state registration. Although there are more criteria to consider when choosing vendors, these are some of the indicators of a quality vendor. These elements provide important protections for both you and the vendor, and re affirm you’re starting the relationship on the right foot. 

2. 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 and word of mouth 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. 

3. 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 less likely of having to deal with the inconveniences of bad workmanship that are sure to cause headaches. Additionally, nationwide companies tend to have robust training programs for their employees, ensuring they operate according to the highest standards. 

4. 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 subcontractors, and that means substandard work that will cost your association money in the long term. It’s always an inconvenience for all parties involved, especially the residents, 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 so true. 

5. 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 the pest control specialists and lawn professionals are exposed to dangerous chemicals. A good 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 essential. Though we all hope for the best, it’s wise to plan for the worst. 
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.
Monday September 21, 2015