If your association is in the market for a new association management company, the process can be very overwhelming if you don`t have a proper plan in place. Since there are many companies to choose from, how you do decide what the best fit is for you and your community? 
 Just like the different communities throughout the Twin Cities, association management companies in Minnesota carry distinguishable traits and values. However, there are 10 core qualities your association management company should have. 
 1. Strong Team
 It’s great to have an association manager whose vision and personality are aligned to your board, but it takes more than one person to serve you effectively. Find out the additional resources and other team members who could be assets in supporting your manager. The team should include human resources, engineering, training, and accounting. You want your manager to be backed by a team with experience and varied capabilities. 
 2. Established SOPs
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are extremely important for the effectiveness of running a property. The best association management company will have developed these SOPs over time and should be prepared for any possibility, positive or negative. These include preventive maintenance programs, vendor contract audits, financials and budgeting, as well as lifestyle enhancement programs.
 3. A Focus on Finances
With your association management company, they should have an internal financial management team. Their focus will be to help the board stabilize the association’s financial health. This will allow for correctly implemented internal reviews and accounting systems for top financial stability. 
 4. Good Vendor Relations
A quality association management company will have a list of trusted vendors throughout the Twin Cities. There should be a sense of accountability when working with vendors, and who will provide a high quality of work consistently. A good thing is that your association management company can negotiate more favorable rates without giving up quality.
 5. Effective Communication
Every relationship requires communication that will add value to those working with your association management company. Examples of this include a 24/7 call center as well as apps or web portals that residents can access. Any good association manager will also be open to hearing new thoughts and ideas and turn them into actions. 
 6. Detail-oriented
Thinking of the big picture does not come easy, but it is very helpful when an association manager can pay attention to the little things. By doing so, they can understand your community better, and this is essential in providing the best customer service.  
7. Ongoing Training
As a profession, association management requires years of development to be considered an experienced manager. With frequent changes in the industry, evolving trends, and new legislation affecting all communities, you need a full-fledged team that is committed to training all of their professionals to have updated credentials. Look for a firm that has demonstrated this commitment by providing frequent educational opportunities for their employees.  
 8. Full Transparency
 There should be complete openness and transparency with your association management company. Your firm should disclose any affiliated company that is conducting business with them. The best companies will demonstrate a genuine commitment to principled practices by offering an internal ethics hotline for reporting suspect activities.   
 9. Sustainable Commitment
 Smart energy use is important now more than ever, given that sustainability is necessary for the environment’s survival. It’s also good for your bottom line. A good association management company will have LEED accredited professionals on staff. When working with them, you can ask if they do. 
 10. A Willingness to be Accountable
Being a board member, feedback is crucial in improving the way your property is run. Your association management company should respect that, which means they should be open to honest, candid feedback – and be more than ready to take action accordingly. This will foster a relationship founded on collaboration and continuous improvement – just what you want from your management partner. 
 While you continue your search for the best association management company, review their capabilities against this checklist. To fully explore your options, see how FirstService Residential can best serve you.
Wednesday July 01, 2020