HOA Community Managers: What to consider when hiring a vendor

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Purpose: To provide HOA community managers with insights on how to hire the right vendors for their property.


  • What qualities should an HOA community manager look for in a vendor?

  • How should an HOA community manager evaluate a contract with a vendor?

  • How can an HOA community find a win-win vendor?

When managing a property with a homeowner’s association (HOA), you’ll have to keep more than just your best interests in mind. Between juggling input from vendors, tenants, and your property staff, it will become ultra-important that you hire a vendor that understands your property’s needs and desires.

Here, we’ll discuss what you should consider when hiring a vendor for a contracted job within your HOA-run property. Because at some point, every property will need a repair or upgrade. By finding the right fit with a vendor, you can ensure that all parties walk away from the task with a win-win attitude.

Hire Licensed Vendors

When hiring a vendor or contractor for a job on your property, you’ll want to make sure that you’re working with a vendor that’s licensed. This may seem like an obvious decision for seasoned HOA community managers, however unlicensed contractors may offer cheaper rates that tempt HOA members into supporting an unlicensed vendor.

It’s important to keep in mind that quality is more important than the price of the work the contractor is offering. Cheaper rates will not always result in the best value for your community, as the work completed by the vendor might not hold up.

Therefore, you should hire vendors that are:

  • Licensed

  • Insured

  • Bonded (depending on the project)

By contracting reputable vendors that are licensed and insured, your property will be better protected if there is any damage of property or injury caused by the project. Also, licensed contractors have a guaranteed level of proficiency. So, you can rest assured that your vendor is competent, as long as their license is up-to-date.

Pro tip: Be sure to set boundaries or an evaluation system for subcontracted work. After you go through the effort to ensure your contractor is licensed and competent, you’ll want to make sure any subcontractors are too.

Carefully Consider Contracts

Contracts are agreements that are bound by more than just a handshake, they’re bound by the law. When signing a contractual agreement, you’ll want to fully understand what you’re getting yourself into, and ensure that the necessary project guidelines are explicitly stated.

Here are some of the key steps that you’ll want to consider when finalizing a contract:

  • Identify all parties involved: HOA community managers and members, and the contracted company

  • Indicate the scope of work to be completed by the vendor

  • Clearly state all important deadlines

  • Review the causes for termination

  • State prices, due dates, and methods of payment

  • Don’t leave anything blank

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The contract only includes what is explicitly stated in it. So, be sure to not leave anything unsaid or any line left blank. Now is also the time to negotiate any aspects of the contract that you’d like to change. Once your signature is on the document, it will become increasingly difficult (or even impossible) to change even minor details of the contract.

Take Your Time To Find The Right Vendor

Contracting the right vendor for your HOA community project is essential. When you and your vendor see eye-to-eye, the contracted task is likely to be completed at a quality that is to your standards. Here are ways to set yourself, and your HOA community, up for success when finding the right vendor:

1. Do they have references? If you’re hiring a new company for the job, be sure to ask for references or other forms of project evaluation. Whether you’re in contact with another HOA community manager or you receive a written evaluation from the contractor, you’ll have a better understanding of the type of work that the vendor produces.

2. Do they care about the job? It should be evident that the vendor you hire cares about the task at hand. When individuals care about the work they do, they are likely to put their best effort into the assignment. Of course fair pay is essential, but a vendor should demonstrate dedication to the project, and not just the pay.

3. Do they take pride in their work? When a contractor takes pride in their work and equipment, it will show in how they treat your property. If a vendor is concerned about their reputation, work history, and quality of service, they will be sure to complete the task to the fullest — and leave your property in better condition than how they found it.

It may take time to find the right vendor for your HOA community, and that’s alright. As an HOA community manager, it will be your responsibility to find the perfect fit, rather than rushing into a project.

Some additional items to look out for when hiring the right vendor include:

  • Steer clear of cash-only jobs

  • Value first impressions

  • Be hesitant of a request for more than 20% upfront

Show Your Vendors You Care

Finally, show your vendors you care. As an HOA community manager, you want the best for your property and part of that is finding the best vendor. You value the work that the vendor is doing, and you appreciate that your property is being upgraded. Make sure your contractors know this — a paycheck is nice, but a genuine “thank you,” helping hand, or quality time says a lot.

In Conclusion

At some point, your property is bound to need a repair or you might want to upgrade with smart technology or trendy tenant amenities. As an HOA community manager, you may want to consider how to best go about finding and hiring a contracted vendor. If you’re hoping to find a win-win relationship between your HOA members and your vendors, be sure to keep these key insights in mind.

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