Things to Know Before Signing HOA Vendor Contracts
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Why is vetting important?
As someone who calls the shots, your budget and its maintenance should be at the top of mind. Do your research, know the specifics of what you want, ask the right questions, get an estimated deadline and monitor costs throughout the process. And as with any agreement, get everything in writing and make additional copies for your records.
What should I look for in a contractor?
- First, they should have insurance and evidence of proper credentials and licenses — that's state law. Just as you want to find a vendor with a good reputation, you have one to uphold too.
- Research their reputation. Talk to other communities, look over their website, BBB, Google reviews and social media accounts. It's worth noting that online opinions don't hold the same weight as the board's collective research. Still, if you see a pattern, it may impact your decision.
- Are they dressed for the job? Are they taking notes, asking direct questions and sending information in a reasonable time? If the contractor, and any document with their logo on it, looks the part, they could be a strong contender.
But beware of the risks. A quick fix today could mean an entire replacement tomorrow. When something breaks or needs cleanup, don't panic or sign a contract that excludes FirstService Residential's reliable network of vendors. If an unvetted contractor puts a Band-Aid on a serious issue, you could be looking at hefty replacement costs that may put a dent in your community's budget.
The EndgameSo, you've researched, vetted and selected the right vendor for your community. Great! But the race has only just begun. Although it's easier said than done, there's really one thing board members can do to ensure their iron-clad agreement comes to fruition: communication.
- Tell homeowners about the contract, the specific project and the estimated time of completion. Be sure to do this often, especially if anything related to costs or deadlines change.
- Communicate with your community manager and make sure you’re both up to speed about the ongoing project and its progress in case homeowners have questions or documents need to be updated.
- Consistently check in with your vendors. Listen to their expertise, get a first-hand view of how they operate and trust that they want the best for your association the same way you do. After all, both parties have reputations to uphold.
Did you know we can help navigate the vendor contract road map for your community?
When it comes to protecting your association, FirstService Residential does it all. From vetting contractors and bidding out contracts to risk mitigation and ensuring project completion, we, along with our vendor compliance firm, VIVE, are sure to boost your confidence as a strong community leader and proud resident.