Vetting Vendors: A Path to Success

Vendor Management Man Trimming Hedges Birds Eye ViewReplacing a trusted vendor or finding a new one can be a challenge. How can you have peace of mind that the vendors you’re considering are right for you? Follow the tips below to help screen potential vendors and get the best fit for your association. Ask for:

1. LIST OF REFERENCES

Ask participating bidders to ask for a set of reference that match or are similar to the scope of work that you need. If the vendor comes back with references for townhome complexes of 100 units and you are on the board of a 40-story high-rise, ask for high-rise references.

2. TRADE ORGANIZATION MEMBERSHIPS
Some vendors, such as plumbers or landscapers, may be part of larger organizations that set standards and guidelines for the trade. If your vendor is in one of them, you can check their reputation within the community.

3. COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION INSTITUTE MEMBERSHIP
CAI is careful about which service providers are able to join.

4. FEDERAL TAX ID INFORMATION AND W-9 FORM

5. ANY REQUIRED NJ STATE LICENSES
Verify with the New Jersey state body that provides any licenses you’re given.

6. PROOF OF INSURANCE
Call the insurance company to check that the coverage is valid. Make sure your association is listed as co-insured if needed; check with your own association broker about that requirement.

DO NOT:
Get vendor recommendations from online services that connect vendors with individual homeowners. Those vendors may or may not be able to handle a large commercial contract. Larger companies listed in those services may be paying the service to be in the list. 

REMEMBER:
There is value to a large management company or vendor with lots of resources and preferred sub-contractors. They can tap into local resources and expertise from anywhere.